I was very much intrigued at the idea of cousins finding the time and enjoyment to cosplay together. Not only that, but they also pick the same series to play the characters from. You can really see the progression of them honing their craft as each con & year passes.
Enough of my bad banter and stupid puns, lets get to the interview, shall we:
Please introduce yourselves and let us know where do you reside?
We are two cosplaying cousins from central Florida who go by the names Hanamaru and Tranquility. We enjoy making and wearing costumes together and going to conventions with our friends.
We love cosplay because it's an addictive form of 3D fanart that combines sewing, drawing, painting, sculpting, and photography into a single hobby!
Was it a separate journey for each of you to start cosplaying or did you both want to do it at the same time?
Tranquility: I started cosplaying about a year before Hanamaru. My friend and I wanted to dress up as Utena and Anthy for Halloween and we somehow stumbled onto cosplay sites while doing research. In 2003, we heard about a local convention called Metrocon and decided to check it out. I was instantly hooked!
Hanamaru: My first experience with cosplay was in high school; our Games Club would sometimes have "cosplay day" and some of the members would dress up. It was intriguing to me, and it wasn't until Tranquility invited me to come with her to Metrocon in 2004 that I decided to make my first costumes - Noriko from Battle Royale and Saria from LoZ: Ocarina of Time. I had such a great time cosplaying that I haven't been able to stop!
Are there any challenges when trying to decide on what you both will be cosplaying?
Since the both of us have similar taste in anime, video games, comics, movies, etc., deciding who to cosplay actually comes quite easily to us. We choose a series that we both really like and then usually just pick our favorite characters or ones that suit us. The biggest challenge in deciding who to cosplay is taking into consideration our physical likeness to the characters, sewing difficulty, cost, and time we would need to make the costumes. We think it's fun to cosplay in big groups too, so sometimes we make costumes for our friends so that they can join us. Organizing large groups and sewing for other people is also a big challenge!
What characters have you cosplayed?
Noriko - Battle Royale, Saria - Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Sasori, Hinata, and Sakon - Naruto, Female Character - Animal Crossing, Lyndis - Fire Emblem, Evil Zukin - Dance Dance Revolution, Kevin - Sin City, Ms. Wario Original design - Nintendo/Mario Bros, Morrigan - Darkstalkers, Lucca - Chrono Trigger, Nana Komatsu - NANA, Rei Ayanami - Neon Genesis Evangelion, Midna - Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Sakura Kasugano - Street Fighter, Sheik - Super Smash Bros. Brawl/Legend of Zelda, Jolyne Kujo - Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Chie Satonaka - Persona 4, Miwako - Paradise Kiss, Bulma Briefs - Dragon Ball, Fire Vulcan - Odin Sphere, Misao - Rurouni Kenshin, Kim Pine - Scott Pilgrim, Oerba Dia Vanille - Final Fantasy XIII, Anarchy Stocking - Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, Red Pikmin - Pikmin
Anthy Himemiya - Shoujo Kakumei Utena, Miho - Megatokyo, Gerudo - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Itachi, TenTen, and Orochimaru - Naruto, Maid Zukin - Dance Dance Revolution, Miho - Sin City, Lilith - Darkstalkers, Nana Osaki - NANA, Misato Katsuragi - Neon Genesis Evangelion, Chun Li - Street Fighter, Midna - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Samus Aran - Metroid, Hermes Costello - Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean, Lain - Serial Experiments Lain, Yukiko Amagi - Persona 4, Yukari - Paradise Kiss, Kamatari - Rurouni Kenshin, Oerba Yun Fang - Final Fantasy XIII, Fire Vulcan - Odin Sphere, Crono - Chrono Trigger, Envy Adams - Scott Pilgrim, Anarchy Panty - Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Blue Pikmin - Pikmin
...so far. XD We've made a ton of costumes for our friends too.
What conventions or shows have you both cosplayed at?
-EXPcon, St. Augustine
-Anime Festival Orlando
-New York Anime Festival, NYC
We enjoy our Florida conventions, but we'd like to start attending more out-of-state cons in the future too!
Have you won any awards?
We aren't competitive people, but we occasionally enter costume contests just for fun. We've won a few "Best Group" awards with our friends, a "First Place Journeyman" award, and two "Best in Show" awards. Our favorite prize we've received was an all-expenses-paid trip to New York Anime Festival in New York City courtesy of Metrocon. We got super lucky with that one!
When not cosplaying, what do you do?
Hanamaru: I recently graduated from college, and have been pursuing a career in the science field. When I am not at work, I enjoy hanging out with my friends, baking sweets, reading books and fashion mags, watching movies, going swimming, DDR dancing, and of course reading manga and comics, watching anime, and playing video games.
Tranquility: I'm currently a full time student. In my spare time I like to sell stuff on the internet, watch my little brother and foster siblings, spend time with friends, see movies, hang out at the beach, go to themeparks, dance DDR style, exercise DDR style, create artsy things, sew custom pillows and curtains for everyone I know, waste too much time on Netflix, and obviously watch anime/ read comics/ play video games.
For any aspiring cosplayers, a little shy to take the plunge, what words of wisdom do you have for them to get started?
Just do it! Life is short, so you might as well do what makes you happy, no matter how strange it seems to other people.
We are actually shyguys ourselves, but cosplaying has helped us to become a little more outgoing. If you want to know more about how to cosplay, the best thing to do is to join an online cosplay community. There you can get some inspiration, ask others for help, and even make some new friends.
If you still aren't confident in your costume making skills, do some research. There's a lot of information out there online so take advantage of it. Also, the best way to learn is with experience. We've learned something new with every costume we've made, and you can too! Start out by cosplaying a character you really love, and we promise you will enjoy the experience!
What sites do you have for our audience to visit to see more?
Our Shared Sites: deviantART | Facebook
American Cosplay Paradise: Hanamaru | Tranquility
Cosplay.com: Hanamaru | Tranquility
Here are some additional photos of Hanamaru and Tranquility in some of there wonderful cosplays. Just so you know and have read, this is just the tip of the freaking iceberg for the lovely ladies of cosplay. I will let you guess which shows or games they are from :D
Gapple Photos | *BellaVoce4 | LJinto | Maboroshi | ~stillreflection I Morataya
Again, I want to thank *CosplayCousins for taking the time to write to me and to the Photographers that let me use wonderful photos that you get to see here today.
Want to be my next interviewed COSPLAY STAR?
Drop me a line a bluedrakon (at) gmail (dot) com!