Cosplayer Focus: Raistlin & Aya Follow-up - The Aftermath of WCS 2012!
In early August, Singapore-representatives, Raistlin & Aya (whom we interviewed previously), flew to Nagoya, Japan, where they participated in 2012's World Cosplay Summit (WCS) Finals. There, they competed against 19 other teams all around the world in a competition of epic proportions. They emerged in 2nd place - a first for Singapore!
As the dust settled and the triumphant pair got home safely, anibee managed to get a hold of them for a chat, and to share their valuable experience with everyone!
anibee: Welcome back guys, and congratulations on your outstanding performance! What's the first thing that went through your minds when the results were announced?
Raistlin: I think the biggest shock was when the scores for the first 10 teams that performed were announced and we found out that we were amongst the top 5 - a first for Singapore! When the final results were announced and confirmed we were in 2nd place, we were overjoyed and not paying attention to much else! Hence, we were speechless when they announced that we won the prize for Best Costume (Brothers' Award) as well! We didn't expect to do this well to be honest, all I had in mind was to do our best and put up a good show!
Aya: Thank you! The exact thing that went through my mind was - "Wow, is this for real?" I really didn't think we would actually win runner-up and the Brothers' Award as well! We just wanted to give everyone a good show that they would remember long after the competition.
anibee: What were some of the activities you had to do? It must have been busy!
Raistlin: The events at WCS are more than just about cosplay. It's learning more about Japan's culture. We were scheduled to visit the mayor of Gifu and they brought us around to experience and learn about the prefecture. For example, we were brought to the countryside to eat Nagashi Soumen (流し素麺) where noodles are passed through open water pipes and we have to "catch" the noodles in order to eat them! Also, I learnt that Gifu marks the center of Japan with a postal code prefix of 500 (Japan postal code is 3-digit from 1 to 999). Other countries made appearances at TV shows and publicity campaign for the event.
Aya: Yes. For 7 days, we were packed with activities daily - this was more so because it was the 10th anniversary of WCS this year! We had to participate in the Ichinomiya parade, walking the red carpet, visit the Gifu prefecture and meet the mayor! Of course there were plenty of Media interviews etc as well. The organisers did plan some relaxing activities too - Karaoke sessions and going for onsen!
anibee: What was the experience of taking part in such a large-scaled, international cosplay competition like?
Raistlin: An eye-opener! To have 40 cosplayers from 20 different countries together with similar interests is definitely a huge party. However, with all the logistics involved, there are bound to be hiccups. You should never take things for granted and expect the unexpected.
Aya: It is really an enjoyable experience and an eye-opener for many things.
You get to know many overseas cosplayers who present their performances in different ways.
anibee: How did taking part in WCS differ from taking part in a local contest?
Raistlin: The biggest difference is the time range of the event and the logistics involved. In Singapore, transport is much more convenient, thanks to our small size. In Japan, things are really different, especially for a competition of an international-scale such as WCS. With lots of large props and costumes, you will be cracking your head figuring out how to transport everything between venues, and in a foreign country no less! You will also be cosplaying everyday for an extended period of time (in our case, about a week) before your Championship performance and that means you really need a lot of stamina. It's like a marathon!
Aya: WCS is strict in their grading and you really won't know the final outcome until everything has been finalised. The final score from the judges and the total of points from audience can really make a huge difference! Also, this is not only a test of how good your costume/performance is, but also your mental and physical stamina.
anibee: What advice do you have for aspiring WCS contestants?
Raistlin: For starters, watch all the WCS videos on YouTube to understand the level of competition before embarking on your journey! Know that you would need to commit a lot of time and effort in order to take part in WCS. Moreover, you need to understand what goes behind everything you see in those 2 1/2 minutes of performance - from the months of preparation, the logistics involved, and all the events you have to attend that tire you out even before you perform on stage!
Aya: The journey for WCS is a turbulent, but definitely a fruitful one.
People will always talk about you, in both good and bad ways. So instead of being discouraged by other people's negative comments, why not embrace it and see it as another way of how can you improve further? Be confident when you are on stage - don't think of anything and give it everything you've got!!
anibee: What are your plans for the immediate future?
Raistlin: Initially, I was satisfied and I said that I will take a break. But after a week, I got bored - so here I am, at it again! I have some stuff on my mind and I know I definitely will take part in more performance-based competitions in the future. For now, I'm just preparing for a fun and simple cosplay for the future events, like STGCC.
Aya: I plan to take a rest from competitions for the time-being and start on other costumes (backlogs, and new plans) for upcoming events such as STGCC and AFA. I am really hoping to perform again!
Truly inspiring words from a passionate and hardworking pair! Congratulations Raistlin & Aya - you've done us all proud!
All pictures taken from the WCS Team Singapore 2012 Page.