Over this past weekend at SMASH! 2014 at the Rose Hill Gardens, cosplay superstar Reika held panels for her adoring fans, discussing her love of cosplay and the detailed artistry that goes into crafting the perfect cosplay.
Reika is arguably Japan’s best cosplayer, having won numerous cosplay competitions in her home nation as well as internationally. She has garnered global acclaim for her cosplay performances as characters such as Levi from Attack on Titan, Tobio from Haikyuu, Sakon Shima from Sengoku Basara and many many more.
During Reika’s panel she held a cosplay workshop, teaching cosplayers in attendance her ways, taking on the role of cosplay sensei for many rookies in the audience. She detailed different ways to style wigs, apply make-up and of course construct the outfit itself. From an outsiders perspective, having no real cosplay experience myself, it was abundantly clear that Reika was an expert on the subject and her professionalism and passion had me enthralled in her panel.
Following her workshop demonstration, Reika held a Q&A session answering the questions of her fans to the best of her ability. Most inquiries revolved around getting advice on their own cosplay work. In one rather amazing question, a fan stated that Reika was her inspiration to cosplay and thus find a purpose in her life, she followed up by asking what inspires Reika to cosplay. Reika’s response was one that would no doubt resonate in the heart’s of many cosplayers out there. She said that she cosplay’s to bring a character she loves to life. She beomes that character, personality and appearance. That is what you call dedication. That is what you call true passion.
Reika’s second panel on the Sunday of SMASH! was more conversational, discussing cosplay and the art of it. Fans were wowed by a surprise performance at the end of the panel in which Reika showed off her vocal talents, by singing a soaring rendition of the Evangelion theme song, Cruel Angel’s Thesis.
It was rather clear through both panels how passionate Reika is about cosplay and that passion has evidently spread across the globe and even right here in the heart of Sydney. Reika is an inspirational figure for young cosplayers around the world and judging by the standing ovation she received, she has inspired more than a few people down under.
I went into Reika’s panels at SMASH! 2014 with a pretty solid idea of what cosplay is and what it means to people, but I left with a deep understanding of the emotion that goes into making cosplay and portraying a character that you hold dear to your heart. Cosplay is more than just dressing up, cosplay is a way of life, that is what I learnt from Reika at SMASH! 2014.
If you’d like to take a closer look at the work of Reika you can check out her cosplay at WorldCosplay.net. Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments section below.
All cosplay images belong Reika2011.