This post is also available in: Dutch
Time for a new cosplay interview! It was possible to have a mail interview with ItsAMe & ViXN, cosplay duo of InuNeko Cosplay. Interested in how they started out with cosplay, but also what they find the hardest part of cosplay or what the three most essential things are to have with you when cosplaying at a convention? Just like the last cosplay interview, it became a very extensive, and interesting interview, so grab a drink and some snacks and enjoy!
AVO Blog: Please introduce yourselves and tell the readers how the duo InuNeko Cosplay got started.
InuNeko Cosplay: Sup people!
We are Mario & Petroeshka. Also known as “ItsAMe & ViXN” of InuNeko Cosplay. We’re a cosplay duo and geeky couple that started out cosplaying for the first time in 2013 at Abunaicon. The year after that we made our very first cosplay costumes and we debuted at Abunaicon 2014 as Mortal Kombat 9’s Sub-Zero & Lady Scorpion. Later on, we also cosplayed Starfox’s Fox McCloud & Falco Lombardi and Star Wars Legacy’s Darth Nihl & Darth Talon.
AVO Blog: When did you first get in touch with cosplay and why did you start cosplaying?
InuNeko Cosplay: Starting out with the fact that we are both dancers. In dance you always get to deal with the parts of show and performance aspects. We met each other through the hip hop club scene and at that time both of us were dancing at different dance schools. We also danced together in the same dance crew in which we also always got to deal with performances with different types of themes. Thanks to all the performances we did while dancing, we learned how to act as another character with a different particular appearances and how to express different kinds of personality traits while being on stage.
But when we think about it, we’ve actually always been into cosplay, but we just didn’t call it exactly that. We both grew up as kids who loved dressing up and painting our faces and all that kind of stuff. You know how it goes when you’re a little kid: Playing knight, Batman, Ninja Turtle or Zorro…
ItsAMe: ViXN is the one who started it all because of her background with martial arts and interest in anime, video games, Japanese rock bands and pop artists. I’ve always been involved as a pretty active gamer. But thanks to ViXN, I really started watching anime. The stuff she loved just kinda rubbed off on me. And according to her, I’m now an even worse geek than she is. Haha!
ViXN: I’ve always been into various Asian culture related things and geeky stuff. One day I saw a picture online on a blog about Japan of someone dressed at a Shinjuku Park festival as a character of an anime that I knew. So then I just researched it for a bit and came to the discovery that this phenomenon was called “cosplay”. Later, I discovered that it was actually a worldwide thing and that there were actually people in The Netherlands doing that stuff too. And these people were not just cosplaying characters from anime, but also from films, comics, series, cartoons and video games.
My kind of hobby! So in 2010 we first went to a convention in the Netherlands: Chibicon 2010 in Houten. But then we did not cosplay yet. In 2013 at Abunaicon in Veldhoven we were really cosplaying for the first time. The year after, in 2014 we made our debut as Sub-Zero & Lady Scorpion at Abunai 2014.
AVO Blog: Is there a specific goal as a cosplay team that the both of you share?
InuNeko Cosplay: Well, to be honest: Not really. Though it would be supercool to make money with our favorite hobby, we’re not cosplaying to make money. It would just take up too much of our normal social life. Besides being cosplayers, we’re just normal people with jobs and obligations just like everybody else out there.
Our common goal is just to make cool stuff that we love and that mostly doesn’t exist in real life. Meet as much awesome cool people and do awesome things along the way and try to bring something new and cool to the stage when it comes down to performance in the Dutch cosplay world. Learning how to make that stuff look even more awesome if possible. And having as much fun together as we can while doing all that.
You gotta have a realistic view on things. We live in The Netherlands. Dutch cosplay culture is still pretty conservative when it comes down to acceptance of the whole “cosfamous” thing.
It hasn’t evolved enough for anyone to make a fulltime job out of it yet. If you want that, you gotta go and cosplay abroad where it is way more accepted. Because it seems that the community just doesn’t fully tolerate it yet when it comes down to Dutch cosplayers. And though that’s pretty much a shame, let’s hope that maybe someday it will. It would open up a lot of doors for a lot of creative talented people.
AVO Blog: Between the 2 of you, who is the biggest cosplay fan?
InuNeko Cosplay: We both love cosplay equally. It’s something we do together as a couple, so there’s not really one of us that loves it more than the other. Though ViXN is probably the one doing the most with it on social media.
AVO Blog: Can you tell the readers about your cosplay outfits? How many cosplay outfits have you made in total, which was your first one and which are you the proudest of?
InuNeko Cosplay: We make our cosplay outfits ourselves. Most of the time we just use well-known regular household materials, but also a lot of industrial building materials and just try and turn it into something completely different. The materials, methods and techniques we use differ for each project. Depending on what we’re making. The only thing that’s always a must for us when making a costume, is that that they should be efficiently easy to put on. That we should be able to move around freely in them and that they have to be “act-proof”. Meaning that we should be able to do stunts and dance in them on stage without having to worry that anything will break during a performance.
We have made a total of 3 duo-outfits until now: Mortal Kombat 9’s Sub-Zero & Lady Scorpion. Starfox’s Fox McCloud & Falco Lombardi. And Star Wars Legacy’s Darth Nihl & Darth Talon.
And 3 individual costumes: Ushio to Tora’s Ushio Aotsuki. Ratchet & Clank: Deadlocked Gladiator’s Ratchet. And Mortal Kombat X’s Grandmaster Scorpion genderbend.
The outfits that we’re most proud off up until now…
ItsAMe: That would be my Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat 9. I just feel like I learned so much from working on that one.
ViXN: Same for me with my Lady Scorpion from Mortal Kombat 9.
We just got to do so many amazing things thanks to those outfits: It started us off by learning working with various materials. It got us a featuring on MTV Gamekings Live at Firstlook 2014. It got us our first duo stage-act prize together. And also a couple of other titles after that. We got on a lot of official Mortal Kombat blogs and a lot of our photos went viral. We got to work with so many talented audio-visual people like Circular Media, Dazzle Photography Art, Kawin Wu Studio’s and Arian Shiri Arts. (There are a lot more people, but we simply cannot name them all.) Got to do crazy epic things like having photo and video shoots all the way on the rooftop of the Central Library Rotterdam and being models for sketch artists. You name it. So much awesome things!
We even got recognition of one of the motion actor martial artist of the original Mortal Kombat game who acted out some of the most well-known characters of the franchise: Daniel Pesina. And of course, most importantly: Since we made these outfits, we got to know a lot of our cosplay friends that we still hang out with today.
AVO Blog: Do you always chose to cosplay from the same series/game? By that I mean if your cosplays always match each other?
InuNeko Cosplay: When it comes down to main performances in which we perform on stage as a duo, our costumes will always match indeed.
But we’re still 2 individual artists with both our own styles of crafting and different qualities while on stage.
AVO Blog: Do you ever disagree when creating a new set of costumes?
InuNeko Cosplay: Of course! That occurs pretty often actually. But even though we disagree on some terms, there’s always a path that leads down the middle of the things that we both like individually.
The key to all that, is to not be scared to be original and inventive.
AVO Blog: What is the hardest part of cosplaying for you?
ItsAMe: The time deadlines. Absolutely! I hate it when I have to work under pressure. It just makes your work look sloppy when you’re distracted by time limits and such. Also kind of sucks the fun out of stuff I think. So I always try to work as precise and accurate as possible when it comes down to that. I’d rather have an accurate and nicely finished costume and missing the deadline, than rushing through things and missing half of the details while making the deadline.
ViXN: The hardest thing of cosplay…That would probably be the fact that in real-life there is this thing called “gravity” and in the fictional world it seems like a phenomenon that doesn’t exist. Making a fictional costume work for you in real life and then particularly on stage while being in full motion. Especially as a woman.
AVO Blog: What is the most important thing you have learned from cosplaying?
InuNeko Cosplay: To be accepting and tolerant towards others. Though cosplay is becoming a more accepted mainstream and commercial thing, we still see so much contrast in it when it comes down to different kinds of people. You can find everyone in it: It is a multicultural layered hobby. Young and old. Male or female. Gay, straight or transgender. Disabled or non-disabled.
They all cosplay! In normal life you almost never see all these different kinds of people interact and party with each other in such a beautiful and creative way. There are only a few sub-culture communities in which that happens. And cosplay seems to be one of those. And that is something we think is really cool!
Also a personal aspect: That we’re never done learning and reinventing ourselves as being creative individuals. It might take some emotional struggle sometimes, but in the end it makes you feel so damn proud of yourself.
You only get accomplishments through hard work and being inventive. And cosplay is the perfect example of that.
AVO Blog: What was the worst cosplaying advice you have received in the past?
InuNeko Cosplay: We actually never got any bad advice of anyone. We learned most of our techniques from YouTube videos of professionals like Kamui Cosplay, Evil Ted, Wayne’s Workshop and Bill Doran. We like to figure things out ourselves. This way, when we make a mistake, we learn from it and just try to do better for the next try.
AVO Blog: Who of the cosplay world is your biggest inspiration and why?
InuNeko Cosplay: Well, we have a couple of people who we look up too and who inspire us: Kamui Cosplay, Elffi, RBF-Productions-NL, Jessica Nigri, Leon Chiro Cosplay Art, Bill Doran, Yeliz Cosplay, Evil Ted, Wayne’s Workshop, Yaya Han and Maul Cosplay. Simply because all these people were able to turn the thing that they love the most and do the best, into something that is professionally profitable and are always a positive inspiration to many. As they are to us.
AVO Blog: What is your number one secret to stay motivated to make new cosplays, to go to conventions and promote InuNeko Cosplay?
InuNeko Cosplay: There’s no secret. We just do whatever the hell we like to do with cosplay. There are no rules for it. And we think that if anyone tries to push through that there is, that they’re dead wrong.
We just always try to keep in mind to never feel like we “have to make costumes” or go to cons for the likes of others. We work at our own pace and in the way that we think fits for US personally. Cosplay or no cosplay: It will always be “first things first”.
Furthermore a simple lesson: Stay of online forum boards or social media pages that spill around salty annoying mean comments and ugly rumours. It’s no use seeking competition where there is none to find. Haters have no lives and are just anonymously hating because they can, so leave them be. It’s their right, but nothing you should pay too much attention to.
If you feel like you can start your own successful entrepreneurship by making your favorite hobby into your job, why not just do it? Just don’t put others down along the way. We don’t like to give in to stereotypes. We try to stay true to who we are as persons alongside the fact that we’re apparently also seen by others as “those 2 cosplayers”. There’s not much need to really promote yourself when it comes down to that. People will pick up on that in a positive way naturally.
AVO Blog: You two can be found a lot at conventions. What has been the best experience you’ve had during a convention?
ItsAMe: That would be Dutch Comic Con 2015. Back then The Netherlands never had a comic con before and since it was a whole new concept back then, the organization did very well for a first time big mainstream audience con.
ViXN: Same as ItsAMe. Also Dutch Comic Con. Some may see this convention more as a “big mainstream commercial media circus marketplace”, but I noticed that it’s something you just love or hate. I can’t help it: I love it! Performing on stage there never disappoints. The crowd over there is awesome and always super hyped! And the fact that the crowd exists out of hardcore cosplayers, but also out of mainstream audience who maybe never even saw cosplay being done before, makes it even more fun. It gives you a certain kind of freedom when performing a cosplay act. And that also makes the con more accessible for everybody.
Dutch Comic Con gave me the feeling that The Netherlands is finally beginning to accept cosplay as being part of Dutch pop culture and not just as some “weird hobby only done by weird creepy people without friends”.
AVO Blog: Talking about conventions; Which convention is your most favorite and which convention is at the top of your list to visit?
ItsAMe: Colossal Con, Dragoncon, New York Comic Con and of course San Diego Comic Con in America.
Colossal Con, because of their petting zoo and awesome waterpark.
Dragoncon, because of their 24-7 party on the confloor. And the annual parade is crazy! I would love to take part in that!
And New York and San Diego Comic Con, simply because of they are like the origin of comic cons.
ViXN: Katsucon, Dragoncon, Blizzcon and also New York Comic Con and San Diego Comic Con.
Katsucon, because it just has a really beautiful location and just seems like a really fun con.
Dragoncon, indeed because of the crazy 24-7 parties on the confloor and also because of the fact that it’s the biggest con in America at the moment. I’d like to see what that represents.
Blizzcon, just to watch all the amazing costumes of other cosplayers.
And of course New York and San Diego Comic Con.
AVO Blog: What are the three most essential things to have with you when cosplaying at a convention?
InuNeko Cosplay: Food and drinks, a small repair kit and deodorant. These are the things we ALWAYS at least have with us when at a con.
AVO Blog: In contrast with the earlier question of what your best experience was, what was your weirdest experience while cosplaying? (not necessarily convention related)
ViXN: The weirdest thing I’ve ever experienced at a convention was last Summer at FACTS 2016 in Belgium, when some guy got down on his knees and asked me to marry him when I was cosplaying Darth Talon.
ItsAMe: I don’t know. I never seem to experience any real weird stuff. Most of the time ViXN is the one getting all the weird experiences. Must be the fact that I’m a guy or something.
AVO Blog: At which convention can we find you the coming months and which cosplay will be on the agenda?
InuNeko Cosplay: We will be at Japan Expo in France, Abunaicon and FACTS in Belgium and Spangdahlem Comic Con (Winter edition) in Germany. Everything else that will be added in will be announced on our social media. It all depends on where we feel like going to at that moment.
When it comes down to costumes, we would like to keep those a secret for now. We have a list, but we never announce our upcoming costumes beforehand. But keep watching us on social media and you’ll find out soon enough…
I want to thank ItsAMe and ViXN from InuNeko Cosplay for the possibility and their time to answer all the questions and Team AVO for the support. Please follow InuNeko Cosplay on Facebook, Twitter, DeviantArt, and Instagram! Don’t forget to leave a message or share the interview if you liked it.