～World Cosplayers～ third issue is about spanish cosplayer Clow.
Previously, Clow received much positive feedback for his appearance in our Winter Comiket C97 video which was published on emoma! Youtube channel.
This time, he let us interview him.
At first, we got excited seeing his strikingly handsome foreign looks, but 1 second later he greeted us with perfect Japanese in a fluent manner, which made us think that he's half Japanese. The more we spoke with him, we noticed how he is brimming over with life, but also modest and bright, somehow these features even gave us motivation to try harder.
We would be glad if also people who don't know Clow yet would read this article and get to know him, so we have divided this article into 2 parts.
From his life before Japan to now, his future plans, and every other little detail. You will find out about Clow's passion, which can't be conveyed through his photos only.
What is World Cosplayers?
【～From Japan to the world, from the World to Japan～】
A series of featured articles from the editorial department of emoma! about interesting cosplayers from various countries, who play an active part in either Japan or overseas.
Coming to Japan to make dreams come true
--- Thank you for shooting with us at C97.
Thank you too. Usually Comiket is very crowded so it's not easy to take a good video there, but I was very early on that day and it was still empty, so we were able to take some very cool footage.
Thanks to that, I received a lot of positive feedback.
Afterwards I also got filmed again at Wonder Festival.
--- First of all, are you half Japanese?
No, I am completely Spanish.
I've been living in Japan for 5 years now.
--- What!? You were able to speak fluent Japanese in only 5 years?
No, I already studied the language when I was in Spain.
But in my 5 years in Japan I was able to become fluent since it was necessary for my survival. (laugh)
Thanks to cosplay events I made a lot of friends, and at my company I have to speak Japanese always so its natural to pick up the language.
--- Still, your Japanese is very good.
--- What made you start doing cosplay?
Actually my friends in Spain liked cosplay, so they asked me to join them. I started doing cosplay for that reason 10 years ago.
In Spain, cosplay is seen in a carefree way, like "Let's hang out with all friends doing cosplay!"
Little different from Japan, since it's not so much about having serious photoshoots, but more to have fun doing cosplay, that's what it is for.
I was also like that in the past.
So when I came to Japan 5 years ago, I saw how everyone is so serious regarding the shooting or their makeup... I was surprised.
But that culture really grabbed my interest, which lead to me improving my cosplay more and more. Now I also get quite determined about shootings and such.
--- Did you not like anime and games from the start?
Oh, I am of course an otaku.
Originally, from a very long time ago I am an otaku!!
It's a bit related to my current principal occupation, but the reason why I am in Japan now is because I loved games so much that I had the dream of someday making games in Japan!
The reason I am in Japan because I want to make games, but since I like games I also want to cosplay them. (laugh)
So I am currently a working at a company, playing the games I like, and cosplay aswell.
--- What made you like Japanese games so much?
It was a game from 23 years ago, "FFVII" (Final Fantasy).
I wasn't much of an otaku back then but I became one when I played FFVII, and saw Anime's from CLAMP like Card Captor Sakura.
I am using using the nickname Clow for a long time now, which is because its the name of a magician in Card Captor Sakura.
--- What was the first cosplay event you visited in Japan?
Hmm, actually my first cosplay event was not after I moved to Japan, but around 7 years ago when I came to Japan for vacation - it was Comiket.
I used to keep looking at photos from Comiket, thinking it must be so much fun, so I went to summer Comiket.
I did cosplay on the first day, but of course with no make-up! (laugh)
I went as Araragi Koyomi from the Monogatari Series, but overseas there was not cosplay makeup culture yet so I did it with no makeup and my real hair. It was fun for sure, but the quality was so bad that I could not show you any photos of that time now. (laugh)
Actually I gave it a try again 2 years ago with my current skills. Sometimes on Twitter I upload a comparison of my improvement, but everything from wig to make-up to posing turned out so overwhelmingly different. (laugh)
But since that first summer Comiket was so much fun, I thought I want to live in Japan. I came back to Spain and started to prepare everything to come to Japan for about 2 years.
The first event I went to after I moved to Japan was an only-event.
A friend told me "There's an only-event from a series you like", so I went there. But my make-up skills were still very lacking and bad quality...
My Japanese was still not that fluent, but everyone was very kind to me and made friends with me, I got Japanese friends for the first time!
From there on I got to know a lot of other events, so the frequency of doing cosplay increased a lot. I went to Ikebukuro-Halloween, Comiket, Wonder Festival, Anime Japan, lots of big events in the area.
Due to that, I got connected with photographers and other cosplayers and went to photoshootings at outside locations or studios in the city. Recently I cosplay about 1 time per week. By the way, cosplaying 1 time per week is my ideal!
But famous cosplayers cosplay 2 or 3 times per week, right.
My days off from work are on the weekend, like most other cosplayers, but they have plans for photoshootings on so many days, it's amazing!!
Japan has a lot of events, so we can connect through cosplay
--- Are Japanese games and animes popular in Spain?
No, they are not popular! (laugh)
They aren't popular, but there are otaku. Compared to Japan though, they are very rare.
Recently anime isn't very popular, but when "Naruto" or "Love Live!" was famous, anime was popular too. But now the trends for otakus have changed a bit, the series on Netflix are most popular, and Japanese anime on the other hand isn't.
Japanese games are somewhat popular in Spain, but still it's not very common.
--- Did you have any friends who liked "Final Fantasy"?
No, of course I did not have any ordinary friends who liked it.
But otaku create their own community so we gather there. (laugh)
I lived on the countryside, so there was no one who knew the works that I was interested in.
But when I went to events in other cities, there were some people who knew them, so we formed a community and went to a lot of events.
It's the same as in Japan, when you go to events and someone talks to you because they know the character you're cosplaying, you might end up becoming friends with them right?
In Japan that happens a lot so it's normal, but overseas it is a very special thing!
Once you notice you might have met someone who likes the same game, it's like "What!! By any chance... do you also... like Persona !?!?!" (laugh)
Now we have social media, so it is even easier to connect with others.
--- Are there a lot of cosplay events in Spain?
Uhm, I don't think you can compare Spain with Japan.
Tokyo has a lot of events, actually, extremely many events.
Especially as a cosplayer there's a lot of events every week.
There's too many! So many to choose from! Like, which ones should I go to next time? (laugh)
Overseas there are not many events in the cities.
In Madrid there are 1 or 2 per year, even in Spain's biggest city Barcelona we have 2-3 events per year only. But Spain is big, so if you travel some distance, you should be able to visit some kind of event eventually.
But it's usually not like in Japan where you have events for Anime only or some other culture. In Spain it's mostly events where a lot of different themes are thrown together.
--- Are there famous cosplayers in Spain?
I think there are. But until recently, cosplayers created stunning armor and costumes to perform on stages at events like WORLD COSPLAY SUMMIT or European Cosplay Gathering (the biggest cosplay competition in Europe with 13 countries taking part).
The participants who are chosen to represent each country are all really skilled! That's why they get popular.
But now the times have changed, so similar to Japan, cosplayers who are like cute influencers, recreating popular works in good quality, gaining popularity by promoting themselves like that is now becoming the main thing more and more.
Overwhelmed by language and cosplay culture
--- What were the things you had trouble with when you came to Japan?
First of all, the japanese language. I started studying it in Spain for 3 years, and managed to pass the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) up to level N3. (From N1 to N5, N1 is the most difficult) I thought this would be good enough, but when I came to Japan I was not able to communicate at all. Even though I practiced so much. (laugh)
I didn't even understand what the supermarket staff was saying to me. "Payment?! What is payment!?" (laugh)
That was quite shocking to me.
But then I understood, that you can't learn a language if you don't actually go to the country.
You need to actually use the language and communicate with people. This is important!
Since I didn't know the language well, I had many problems with communication in the beginning.
For example when looking for an apartment, or job-hunting, not only the language but also the culture is different so that was very hard for me.
--- What made you feel the culture difference the most?
The most shocking to me was job-hunting related.
In Spain everyone starts looking for a job once they graduated. But isn't it different in Japan?
I wanted to start looking for a job in April, but it was already too late.
I went to a university in Spain, but when I came to Japan I went to a Japanese language school for a year.
I was going to get a job after I finished, but it was already too late. All the spots for newly graduated applicants were already taken!!
In Japan you start going to interviews during your last year before graduation.
In order to have a tentative decision in March, I would have had to send out documents around December already, I guess.
That means, I would have needed to start looking for a job from the moment I started going to language school. (laugh)
So now I tell my friends who want to work in Japan, that they have to inform themselves about job-hunting beforehand and check the seasons. They have to start 1 year before graduation!
Also, I thought that the cosplay culture was also very different.
overseas, it's very lenient.
The events don't start so early in the morning, and don't end until 8 or 9pm.
So everyone is very carefree at the events.
If I do this at a Japanese event, it might already be over once I arrive. (laugh)
If you don't go early in the morning, you won't get a space right? You have to stand in line!?
So I started going to events in Japan very early in the morning, stand in line like a soldier, Japanese events are like war. (laugh)
Otakus are busy
--- It's amazing how you manage so many things like learning the language, finding an apartment and a job.
--- Was making costumes a strength of you originally?
No, I was bad at it.
I was able to do it once I tried hard enough. (laugh)
In the beginning I couldn't do it at all, so I started out by making alterations to simple outfits, and sooner or later I was able to make a cosplay from scratch.
But I was very slow.
When I lived in Spain, it took me 1 month to make 1 outfit.
But once I moved to Japan, there were so many events, that making 1 cosplay per month was just not good enough.
I realized I had to get faster, so I tried harder. Nowadays I can make a typical school uniform in 1 or 2 weeks.
But still... I know some people who make a whole outfit in 1 night before the event.
They are all busy, there's many events, they are working adults, so they have to work fast to be able to cosplay!!
--- You mentioned that background editing is important too, is editing something you were able to do before?
No, not at all!! (laugh)
I also learned that.
I used to create websites so I already knew the basics of Photoshop. But web design and manga-style illustration editing is very different to editing normal photos.
It would look very weird if you edit those the same way.
Therefore, in the beginning I was very bad at it.
I watched many tutorials on Youtube and learned what looks good.
These days it's very easy, since you have so many tutorials on Youtube! (laugh)
Sometimes even professional cameramen upload tutorials!
However, I still am very bad at special effects.
I recently watched many videos on retouching, they use a lot of effects and editing on movie posters and stuff.
I can't make effects look so natural yet, I'm not on that level yet.
But I like photoshootings.
I enjoy acting as my favourite character, and recreating the atmosphere of a certain scene.
For that, I look up locations which fit the original the most. I think that is very important. But sometimes you just can't find the right thing, right?
That's when editing is very important.
I think many cosplayers use phone-apps to editing themselves a lot.
That is important too of course, but you need to also take care of the background, so that it fits.
--- You learned to do so many things
--- You also put great effort into workout, right?
Isn't that just being a human?
If you try hard, you can learn to do anything!!
I think workout is something you need to do as a cosplayer. (laugh)
My body wouldn't be able to handle it without workout, with long workdays as a corporate slave, or drinking nights after events.
If I want to be like a character, I have to put effort into my body.
--- I guess that's true, but normally handling all these things isn't easy
--- You also like to cook, right?
No no no. (laugh)
I actually really like cooking. But I can only cook myself when I have time.
Since I am from Spain, I am really good at spanish cuisine, and the pasta I make is really delicious.
My friends also often ask me to make them a spanish omelet, since they love it so much.
So sometimes for example during cherry blossom season, we would meet up and I bring the food I made for my friends to share.
As a cosplayer your body and face are important, so working out, getting enough sleep, making your own food, doing these basic things is very valuable.
If you don't do that, your health will suffer! (laugh)
So I would like to bring my own lunch for work, but in the end it depends on my time.
Otakus are so busy!!
Besides of course cosplaying, we also work normal jobs, and play games every now and then, so we are very busy!! (laugh)
--- You can also craft armor right?
Yes, to some extent.
But I'm very slow at it and not so skilled... Generally I don't really want to do it, to be honest. (laugh)
Because after building the armor, you have to paint it too, it takes so many hours. It's very troublesome, and still at the end I look at it an think "What do I do with this...!?" (laugh)
Also, Japanese apartments, especially in Tokyo, there's very little space... so crafting armor is a little bit difficult.
Once I made it, theres love and emotions connected to it, so it's hard to throw it away, I'm also sure I'll wear it again sometime, so that means the armor takes up space forever...
Under my bed theres actually a lot of swords. If a burglar breaks into my apartment, I can use so many swords (laugh).
Of course for characters that I really like, I'll do my best, but if possible I'd like to stay away from armor crafting as much as possible.
--- You always reply to your twitter comments very carefully right? Do you also answer direct messages?
Well yes of course! I try my best to answer them all.
If there's someone that I missed out on, I deeply apologize. (laugh)
But I try hard to answer as much as I can, even if I get a lot of them I want to atleast favourite their reply.
At events I am very busy, as soon as I get out of the changing area I meet friends, so I have barely any time to use my phone.
Since fans and friends come by to see me, I think it is very important to let everyone know where I am as soon as possible.
But it's rude to take selfies and use twitter when I am around friends, so recently I try to prepare a whole text beforehand and take a quick selfie so that I can post it right away on Twitter.
I am not so popular so it's not a big problem, but for popular cosplayers they get a lot of replies, many people come to see them at events, they don't have time to take selfies, it seems very hard... I wonder how they do it! (laugh)
--- Do you sometimes get hurtful direct messages?
At comiket or other events, I get like 50 direct messages per day, so it is very hard to answer every single one. It takes a lot of time, but when my reply comes too late sometimes I get back angry messages...
From photographers I check every photo they send me and reply to them.
Since I do it all on my computer, I have to get back home first, otherwise I can't do it.
But sometimes there's after-events or other work, so it takes up much time.
After events I reply to everything one by one inbetween my actual job, I don't do this for money after all, so please understand if it takes some time to get a reply.
Sometimes theres also other things that get to me. When my works or activities get criticised.
I'm especially sad when someone who likes a certain production as much as me criticises me.
I just want to make something good as a creator, so I want to share my favourite works together with the world!
--- Why do you reply even if you experience that?
I am not a popular cosplayer, you know.
I cosplay really unknown works aswell, in the end I only cosplay the things I really enjoy. (laugh)
So I am happy just if someone supports me for that.
I appreciate it very much when someone supports me just for doing the stuff that I enjoy.
I cosplay animes and games from so many different genres, but still there are people who say they enjoy all of my cosplays. I'm so glad to hear that.
There's so many different people who visit me when I am at events or do independent circle activities.
These events are important, but the reactions on the internet are valuable too.
Support is something you can't really see, right? Many people say "I support you behind your back."
Especially in cases where female fans support a male creator.
But I wish people would be more open with their support and give more feedback.
I want to let people know about this on the internet more.
After all, I check all the comments and react and reply to them always! So please support me from now on aswell!
In the part2 we talk about Clow becoming a director and zombie!? Aswell as future plans.
With a focus on "love", it will be an even deeper interview.
We would be happy if you would also read the second part.
emoma!channel On YouTube!Check now from below!!!