Interview with Saiyora-Saga

It’s time for another interview, this time with Saiyora-Saga! She’s another lovely gal from Florida, who is quite a talented cosplayer!

Saiyora-Saga out of costume

What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
My cosplay alias is Saiyora-Saga. Originally I was under the name Ephemerality, but after a while I felt that the name didn’t fit me and I needed something more original. I also learned that someone else had held that name far longer then I had. I started playing around with Japanese sounding names because I love how the names sound… it’s like a pretty note in your ear. Anyway, the name Saiyora has no meaning in the japanese language, but I fell in love with it nevertheless. I decided that I needed to add ‘saga’ to the end of it though, because I began putting this alias as not only my cosplay name, but my pen name and artist name. Saga is of course defined as a story, and I have many stories to tell, and that I hope to have them told long after I’m gone.

How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
I started cosplaying back in 2003, that’s eight years now! Actually, this sudden realization of how long it’s really been kind of just blows me away.

I’ve always been into video games, and once I figured out where these masterpieces originated from I began to learn about Japanese culture and fell in love from there. The concept of cosplay sort of moved me out of my shell from back in high school. When I tried making my first costume (all by hand sewing, might I add), I was just sucked into it. Patterns, crafting, painting, you name it. Anything that had to do with construction of something, I was hooked, and it all came to me very easily. Investing in a sewing machine immediately after my first costume was a must. It made life as a cosplayer a heck of a lot easier, and construction a lot more clean. My first costume was Yuna from Final Fantasy X. I spent four months constructing it. It’s a shame I don’t have many pictures of it, but I wore it at Orlando’s Megacon Convention back in 2003.

Saiyora-Saga as Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII, photo by Simple Beauty

What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
Hands down; fabric. I love to bring together different textures in a costume and place them together to bring a costume to life. Sewing is fun for me. I never use patterns (honestly… I don’t understand them. I’m sure if I were to sit down with a master seamstress I would be able to understand it better). I make up my own patterns and most of the time they’re a success, and on occasion I will have a couple of flops and feel really terrible about wasting fabric. I’ve also gotten into leather work, which is surprisingly VERY easy, and can be used for a lot of things and looks really, really nice. The great thing about leather is, if you mess up with molding it to shape, you can always drench it and shape it again. Craft foam armor has also been an interesting material to use, which I’m trying out on one of my newest costumes, Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII-2. Thus far, I am very impressed with the material, and ask myself “Why haven’t I used this before?” It’s a cheap material that can produce stunning results if done right. I only hope that I can do it right.

What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
I’m really excited for Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII-2, remaking my Final Fantasy XIII Lightning, a gijinka-moogle group me and a few others are planning, as well as Nariko from Heavenly Sword. For Lightning from XIII-2, I’m excited to be doing armor again. I’ve been told before by some really excellent cosplayers that I have great patterning skills, especially when it comes to armor. That means a lot to me coming from these amazing costumers. That and I get to play with the craft foam material and hopefully nail it the first time around. I really love Lightning’s character and can relate to her in many ways, so cosplaying her is always fun for me. I’ve made her first costume in the past, and I ended up selling it because I wanted to remake it. I learned a lot from the first make, and actually ended up finding the correct buckles after a year or so, hahaha. When I remake it I plan on using a more correct choice of materials. For instance, her white jacket vest, I used cotton on the previous version, mostly because of expenses. On the new version I plan on using a denim bottom weight because the high-res images show me the textures of the fabrics used in her costume. It’s really cool how graphics have progressed into that advanced detail. The pros are you can be as accurate as possible. The cons are, if you do play with fabrics in the costume on a detailed character, they can be seen as better or worse by others.

I’ve also never tried gijinka characters, but this will be my first time trying it thanks to a friend of mine who convinced me to do these characters this way. We’ll be cosplaying The Cranberry Knights from Final Fantasy Agito. I’m super excited about this one because I got to design the costume to fit me. Playing with it was really fun, now just to find the right fabrics and sew it!

Then finally there is Nariko, which has sort of been a long term project. I’m not really good at wigs, and Nariko has a head full of hair, I’ve been waiting for the opportune moment to get that done and finish sewing the pseudo kimono. I’ve also used quite a bit of leather in the project, which I feel proud of how it came out and I can’t wait to debut it.

Saiyora-Saga as Motoko from Ghost in the Shell, photo by Morataya

What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
I judge costumes at EXP Conventions, and I’ve seen many great things. I love it when I see originality done right and put into a design. I also love it when the costumer puts different fabrics into the costume that blends throughout. I also love it when the person goes through a great deal to do research on the costume. It really shows! For instance, Hime no Toki recently did a Princess Tutu costume in which she spent a lot of time researching and making an accurate tutu for the costume. The outcome was absolutely gorgeous; I love the fabrics that she used and the time and love she put into it could really be seen. Then there’s also Dominique (another amazing cosplayer) who recently did a fanart version of a more historically accurate Cinderella from Disney. She changed it up a bit and put her own interpretation into the design, it was stunning and she pulled it off very well.

What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
A fun hobby shared with many others. There’s drama here and there, I’ve learned to just look the other way, have fun and do my own thing.

What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
I would just like to see people have more fun with it.

What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
It can be an expensive hobby, so be prepared to spend anywhere from $50-$600 on a costume as you progress into an advanced costumer. Also, you’re probably tired of seeing the same answer from every cosplayer out there, but HAVE FUN! Cosplay is not serious business. Serious business is being in a lot of debt, or losing your job, just to name a few examples. Cosplay should just be an outlet for creativity or stress relief even, enjoy it. It’s a great hobby.

What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
I really love hotel cons. EXP Con for instance has become one of my favorites. Not only is it a hotel con, but it mostly features video games! My love.

I’ve also been meaning to attend DragonCon, as I’ve heard many great stories about it. Just the drive from Fort Lauderdaleto Georgiaputs a full tank of gas in my car and leaves my wallet on E.

Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
My Monster Hunter Freedom 2 Vespoid armor is made out of cardboard, but it looks like it was made out of something else entirely.

Saiyora-Saga in The Vespoid Armor from Monster Hunter Freedom 2, photo by Maboroshi

Thanks for the interview, Saiyora-Saga! You can see more of her work on her website, her Deviantart, and her account!

About Yunie

I am a cosplayer, a nerd, a geek. I am whatever you call me. However, I have a brain and tend to use it.
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