Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Interview: Leandro Jose Polidario - Cosplay Designer

Here is an interview that I conducted via email with Leandro Jose Polidario aka Polidread (yes, that is him pictured on the left). He was the designer of some of the girls cosplays from my Gundam Girl series. He has also done Macross designs as well that will be on a later post in the future (at least I am planning to).

I was able to get in contact with him thanks to Kicks who cosplayed the Gundam Girl. She saw the photos in the post and contacted me. It is always an exciting time to get when you get an unexpected email from someone you had in your post.

When he emailed me back, this is what he said:

"This is a surprise. I'm just glad people are still interested. thanks for the link up. I havn't made a complete mecha costume since 2008 but I still cosplay the odd character occasionally.

I grant some requests for small projects like cosplay prop weapons. I also share some techniques or tips to some of the newer mecha cosplayers here in the Philippines."

I thought this was a great idea as it really shows you the details off designing. Not only do you need to tailor the person the the idea, but the manufacturing of all the components is serious business.

What is your name , where do you reside and what is your age (optional)?

"Most cosplayers know me by my codename: Polidread. My full name is a mouthful (Leandro Jose P. Polidario), so I'm okay with people calling me Polidread.

I'm from Marikina City, Metro Manila, Philippines. !'m turning 32 this year.

What first started your interest in designing cosplay outfits?

"I first learned about cosplay in 1996 back when i was a college freshman and I joined UP Tomo-kai. You can also find them on wiki.

As publicity for various club activities, we'd dress up as anime characters and walk around the college handing out flyers.
I'm a Visual Communications major at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts and i practiced whatever skills i learned there by making the publicity materials, posters and costumes for the club activities."

How did you choose who you were designing them for?

"Our mutual friend Fed Makabenta approached me one day asking for help in making a Bubblegum Crisis costume for Kicks, made out of fiberglass, but I didn't know or have the resources to make something out of fiberglass, so we just threw ideas back and forth for any other costumes we can make and then we finally settled for Gundam Girl.

The Gundam Girl illustration was from an artbook by
Mika Akitaka who actually worked in the series as a mecha designer. I feel it's a legitimate thing because we were using accurate Gundam designs made by an actual mecha designer who deliberately feminized the designs and it was not some silly fan-made "Mary Sue" idea. :P

It was a mutual interest we shared - model kits - that finally sealed the deal. I haven't even met Kicks yet! It was through the Gundam Girl cosplay project that we met, so I can say Kicks has been there from square one, from the beginning, coz she was always the one meant to wear the costume. In my other mecha girl projects, I chose the cosplayer based on her personality.

For the Zaku Girl, I chose Cindy "Meowskitty" Fadera for her funny sociable personality. it was an ironic thing because the Zaku is the enemy mech.

The only Gundam series she had watched was Gundam 8th MS Team and knew the Zaku
always had an axe when it fought, so I made an axe that had a whistle. it made squeaking noises when the blade hit anything. Because she had a lot of guy friends in the cosplay scene, she enjoyed whacking guys with that squeaking heat hawk when she cosplayed as Zaku Girl.

"For the M
across Plus Variable Fighters girls I chose Hazel "Matsumoto" Velas and Ria "hideto slave" Aguilar-Guirnela to cosplay as the Alpha-One YF19 and Omega-One YF21 respectively because they were very close friends who often cosplayed together.

It took me a while to convince them to cosplay as mecha girls because they weren't big fans of mecha. They were more inclined to cosplay as Japanese rockstars and most of their friends were in the band scene as well.
I'm sure they only agreed just because I asked them to cosplay together."

How do you decide what you are going to design?

"I only make cosplays of characters or character designs that I really really like. This is why I don't have a long list of cosplays that I've made.

Sometimes I get convinced by friends to cosplay or make a costume, but only after I've seen the source material just so I can relate or have something to latch on to while making the costume."

Gundam Girl Components

What materials and equipment do you use to construct them?

"Where I reside is crucial to what I've become and accomplished as a cosplayer/cosplay designer. Marikina City is known for it's shoe manufacturing industry and thus the materials I use are mainly the same raw materials used for shoes, sandals and slippers (sheets of EVA foam).

The use of this material set my cosplays apart from the typical cardboard & paper mache armors that most cosplayers used back in the year 2000 when we (Kicks and I) began cosplaying. It looked tough and heavy and people actually thought she was wearing a Gundam armor made from wood. It's innovative and now most armor and mecha cosplayers of the Philippines use sheets of EVA foam as their material.

Aside from EVA foam, I also use soda cans, plastic bottles, PVC pipes. It varies the texture and makes the designs busy. People keep on looking at the costumes trying to guess what the parts are made of.

You don’t see girls in Mecha outfits that often, so I was wondering what made you design them?

"What made me design them? It's exactly because locally (in the Philippines) nobody sees girls in Mecha Cosplay!

We try to think out of the box for cosplay ideas and girls in mecha as a cosplay idea is almost always a difficult thing to make so that's what I pursue to make. If nobody has made it yet, our cosplay team will probably aim for that."

Zaku Girl Components

Do you have any future plans for designs or have you moved onto other projects?

"My job as a senior graphic designer has kept me busy recently.

In the meanwhile, I've returned to building mecha model kits and added toy collecting and photography to my hobbies - given my tight schedule those pursuits are a smaller endeavor than making full scale mecha costumes, but I still have some mecha and mecha girls I want to make for cosplay.

There have been a lot of new mecha and armor cosplayers and they all keep me excited with their innovation and the skills they bring to the scene that I don't want to completely quit cosplaying.

Want to see some of his cosplay designs and graphic artwork, then check out this site over at deviantART!

I thought that you would like to see more of his cosplay creations, so check out some more of them below. I have also included some excerpts from later conversations that I think are equally important from him.

Gundam vs Zaku

Polidread: "During the early days of anime conventions and cosplays in the Philippines (2001-2005) the events usually only happened once a year, so cosplayers had a long time work on their costumes and we kept which characters we were going to cosplay a secret from each other!"

Honey Candy

Polidread: "I got quite involved in the competitive nature of cosplays that I didn't want to show them how made the costumes and i believed that giving out full-resolution & large-sized pictures will allow them to study and reverse-engineer the designs."

MS-06 Zaku Girl

Polidread: "I realized that my cosplay designs and ideas have helped raise the standards of costume craftsmanship in the Philippine cosplay scene, and if teaching craft skills inspire cosplayers to make more innovations, isn't that a nice thing overall?"

Macross Cosplay

Again, I want to thank Polidread for taking the time to write to me and to supply the 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!


  1. Man! Those mecha cosplay costumes from Gundam & Macross are awesome and yes Polidread is indeed talented. His talent has earned him a great career and a master to young cosplayers and prop makers in his homeland.

  2. Nice review :)Thanks for highlighting one of the Cosplay Pioneers here in PH :D

  3. @Dennis aka Katsuden ~ it is really amazing the work that he put into these and the end results were just stunning

    @Nix ~ it was an honor to have been able to interview him :)

  4. thanks for featuring us here, bluedrakon!

  5. Making any cosplay is already hard, let alone designing girl mecha cosplays. I'm very impressed with polidread.

    Great interview, bluedrakon. Very nice questions and interesting person to feature. ^ ^

  6. @polidread ~ I should be the one thanking you for taking the time to do this THANKS!

    @Yi ~ I am very impressed with the dedication they have for making sure it all fits and works for the girls.

    I am glad you liked it and I hope to have a few more soon.


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