It’s time for another interview, this time with Captain Wakusei Prince! He’s a talented cosplayer from Virginia, who has made some awesome costumes!
What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
It was originally simply Wakusei, but grew into Captain Wakusei Prince. I used to work at an amusement park and one of the people I worked with commonly said that working with me was like visiting another world because of how random the conversation evolved. He began greeting me by saying “how’s life on planet Moe?” The sound of it struck a chord with me and I started using “Planet Moe” as my usernames online. It came to my attention that the name was also used by a music site, or so it was at the time. I wanted to be more of an individual so I translated it into Japanese; Wakusei means planet. I dropped my name off when I started my Cosplay.com account back in 2004 and began using it as my stage name. The title and last name was added on sometime later, Captain being my rank in my cosplay crew and Prince because of me mainly being known as Sanji (Mr.Prince).
How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
I guess you could say that officially I’ve been cosplaying for seven years. In actuality, I have been crafting and wearing costumes almost my whole life. I grew up in the eighties and during that time we had lots of costume prop style toys. The first costume I remember making was a Snake Eyes mask from G.I. Joe. I had a prop Uzi and the whole outfit, with help from my dad’s love for comics and military gear. That was back when the small G.I. Joe figures first came out. In the fourth grade I made a hood, armor, and went to school dressed as Skeletor for Halloween. Awhile after that I began frequenting small comic book conventions in Richmond. I got back into costuming due to one convention held on Halloween, where if you came in costume you got in for half price. I took some sportswear and some felt and made a Flash costume. I stopped going to the comic book cons a short while later, but learned of Anime Mid-Atlantic being started. I went to AMA on its first year, my first anime con, and seeing there were people like me there jetted me back into costuming. The first time I started a costume for a con it was Gene Starwind from Outlaw Star. The type of fabric was new to me and I sort of screwed it up, so it never got completed. Instead I waited until 2004 and dressed as Hatake Kakashi from Naruto. I took an honorable mention for the outfit.
What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
Shapes. I’m just a sucker for shapes. Taking something two dimensional and translating it into our world introduces so many wonderful shapes. I’ve made plushies for other people’s outfits just so I could work with some of those odd shapes. I also like to work with vinyl, but I rarely have the need to in my costumes. Making props or helping people figure out how to work with odd shapes is probably my favorite thing.
What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
I think the main thing I’m looking forward to working with is the rest of my crew. I’m teaching my crewmates to actually sew on their own. Other than that, in the coming year I’m working on armor which I’ll need to wire up for sound and lights.
What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
I’m the kind of person who likes playing the part, so when it comes to costumes I believe the most important part is the way you carry yourself. Its one part recognition and one part character. I’ve seen people with fantastic costumes, but when asked to pose for a photo look like they’re standing for the fourth grade class picture. When I can recognize the costume and see you strike a real pose befitting the outfit, then you’ve impressed me. I met someone a couple times now that impressed me more than any other. I don’t know him by name, but all of the Kamen Rider fans from Otakon may be able to tell you more. He was dressed as civilian Kamen Rider Black and he was like an encyclopedia of Tokusatsu poses. He even memorized the exact quotes in Japanese that were spoken during the attack moves and transformations. There are so many good costumers that I know it’s hard to choose between them, but that guy really makes the biggest impression.
What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
When I started into it, I was fortunate enough to befriend some very good people, who weren’t all gaga for winning awards, but instead cosplayed for the joy of being their favorite characters. It’s the reason why I do it. Over the years some people have gotten big heads and think that since they live in a certain place or win awards that they are better than the rest of us. It has become a den of favoritism and “idols.”
What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
I want the friendships with judges and staff to stop affecting masquerades and for all of us to be able to meet on the same level. It’s where we all belong. We are all supposed to be doing this for the love of it, not the glory or to flaunt how much money we can afford to spend.
What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
Never lose who you are and what you love. Don’t ever go into it just to win prizes. There’s enough people out there like that. We need more people who are in it because they love anime.
What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
It was when I started cosplaying that I expanded my yearly schedule. The one I look forward to every year is Animazement. I’m a big fan of the original Japanese language versions and live action Japanese shows, Animazement usually hosts a great number of guests involved with those. My very favorite was Anime Weekend Atlanta, but I haven’t been there in quite awhile. It was my favorite because there was none of the stress involved interacting with the people there. It was the only con where I felt good walking around and talking to new people.
Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
Back in 2004 I was the first Jiraiya cosplayer in the United States. I began the costume right after the raw Japanese episodes of him first came out, as I had a friend inJapanwho sent them to me via the internet. I won my first actual two awards for the costume and the skit at AUSA 2004. That costume is both one of my favorite and least favorite outfits, but it is the one I am most proud of.
Thanks for the interview, Captain Wakusei Prince! You can see more of his work on his American Cosplay Paradise!