～World Cosplayers～ third issue is about spanish cosplayer Clow.
On the day before the interview, Clow wrote on Twitter "I have an interview tomorrow so I will work hard today until the last train leaves!"
Clow is putting all of his effort not only into his cosplay but also towards interaction with his fans.
This is the second part of the interview.
Please enjoy the enthusiastic Clow talking about his passionate world.
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.
I don't only want to cosplay, but be creative in new ways too
--- What do you put the most effort into when it comes to cosplay?
I think I put the most effort into photoshootings.
I have a lot of love for each creation, so recently I even get called "director" sometimes. (laugh)
If it's a solo-shooting then I don't mind just working with the cameraman together, but if it's a group-shooting I often give advice like "You could do an expression like this" or "Stand there and look in that direction", "Camera from here, lightning from here" and so on... Recently I've been very fussy over this.
--- You take care of everyones position, expressions and even the camera and lightning?
Yes, it's very important.
Recently I enjoy photoshootings the most.
It's fun to go to events as a cosplayer, but as a creator I always want to challenge myself to make something new.
Last year I did a photoshooting at a pool for the first time, aswell as a photoshooting with fire, or going to locations I've never been to before. I want to try doing action-scenes with jumps next, and many other new challenges.
These kind of things are what makes photoshootings fun after all.
--- Are you getting more work was a cosplayer recently?
Recently it's increasing a bit.
By the way, I dont think I am popular. It's just that my face is known by many.
This is gonna be a talk about numbers, but for popular cosplayers they usually have immense numbers of followers.
In my case, I only have a decent amount of followers, so I realize that I am not that popular.
But sometimes when I gain some followers or go viral, I get job offers.
Like that one time when I got a job was an official cosplayer for Bio Hazard at Tokyo Game Show.
However, I was only casted as a zombie. (laugh)
--- Clow as a Zombie?! What a waste!
It was supposed to become a topic as a handsome zombie. It actually did turn into a big topic. (laugh)
I also was allowed to work at Animate Girls Festival recently.
Don't forget the joy of cosplay!
--- How does it feel to cosplay as a job?
Ah, it's so much fun!
But to be honest acting like a zombie was pretty exhausting. (laugh)
Zombies aren't supposed to speak, so when my friends came around to see me, I wasn't able to talk to them. That was a bit troublesome but I still had a lot of fun.
It was fun to surprise people who were just standing there looking into the air like "WAAH!!" - the reactions were really good! It was a blast!
But I realized that I am still inexperienced in these matters.
It's not like I want to become more famous, but in the end, if I want to challenge something new, it would be helpful if I would gain more followers.
One of my dreams is becoming an official cosplayer for one of the works that I'm a fan of, in order to make that dream come true I will work hard from now on too.
I am glad I was able to be a zombie, but I also want to be an actual character. (laugh)
--- What's a character you would like to do as an official cosplayer?
There's so many of course!
I really love "FFVII", I cosplayed it previously!
So of course it would make me very happy if I could be the official Clowd cosplayer. I also like "Persona" a lot, I would generally be happy if I could cosplay any of the works that I like!
In reality I am a huge fan of Bio Hazard, so I did a cosplay of Leon before. Maybe someday I can get the opportunity to cosplay him officially, and not only be a zombie. (laugh)
I want to show myself as an official cosplayer to my fans one day.
--- What is something you value during your growth as a cosplayer?
In this generation, cosplay is for becoming popular, being a profession, or to create something amazing, it depends on each person.
I don't want to forget my origin.
Where I started cosplaying.
It's not that it's not enjoyable anymore when you forget that, but I think that it changes.
It doesn't matter why you do it, but it's important that you do it because you like doing it.
"I like this character, so I want to cosplay them! I want to do it together with a friend who likes them as much as I do!"
In the end it's the most fun if you do cosplay because you enjoy it.
If you continue doing it like that, you also gain friends.
When I first came to Japan I did a cosplay of an anime that isn't very well known, called "Little Busters!". Someone who knew the character I was doing actually ended up becoming my friend.
Thanks to these friendships, I was able to improve myself.
My feelings towards cosplay from back then, like "Cosplay is amazing! So much fun!!!" is important as the origin.
Just recently I did a pretty big "Persona 3" group-photoshooting with friends.
Everyone was so skilled, some even were official cosplayers, so I was worried if I was good enough.
But it's not so much that famous people gathered, than actually people who like "Persona 3" gathered.
It's currently very popular, but we all liked it since a long time ago so we planned to to a group-shooting together. That was a lot of fun.
The photos were amazing too, but it was so much fun!
That's when I realized again, as long as you don't forget this feeling, cosplay is really something great.
I do what I like because I like it.
--- Are there any hardships as a foreign cosplayer living in Japan?
Once when I was going back home to Spain I wanted to bring Clowd's sword made by a Japanese cosplayer to surprise my friends.
At the airport and in the airplane, I was asked "What is this???" and I had to keep explaining that it's just a toy. That was quite troublesome. (laugh)
Carrying back the sword on the way back to Japan I also got the same questions.
Recently I carry that sword around at many cosplay events when I cosplay Clowd from the "FFVII" remake, but the first time I used it was in Spain! (laugh)
There's also hardships when cosplaying.
Japanese characters obviously have a different face than me. Starting from the eyes, it's all different. (laugh)
So I put a lot of effort into make-up.
But still, my nose is big. (laugh)
Whenever I have a photoshooting as a Japanese character, I refrain from getting pictures taken from the side.
One time I cosplayed from the anime "Hyouka", an anime from Kyoto Animations. I did it together with very popular cosplayer Kurasaka Kururu, and we took really good photos.
Back then, Kurasaka Kururu told me "As I thought, when I look at you from the side I realize you come from overseas" (laugh)
From the front I can still manage to hide it somehow, but from the side my "foreign power" is overwhelming.
On the other side, when I do cosplays of the "Fate" series like Diarmuid or Leon or Clowd, I don't mind being photographed from the side since they have big noses. But for Japanese characters I really can't be photographed from the side. (laugh)
Other than that I try my best with make-up.
What makes me the happiest recently is when I put a lot of effort into my make-up and speak Japanese at events, some people call me "Half-Japanese Clow" on the internet. When I see that, I think "Wah I am so glad! I made myself look half-japanese!" (laugh)
--- When foreigners cosplay Japanese characters, they often receive criticism for it. What do you think of that?
I think these days it's important if a character suits you or not.
But still, I don't want people to forget that it's something you do for fun.
I did a character called Araragi Koyomi, who is supposed to be Japanese, so I actually also often got criticism for that.
Especially when I did a character from "Steins;Gate" called Okabe Rintarou, who has a very normal Japanese face, I was told "It looks so wrong, as if you're wearing coloured lenses." and other things.
But I am fine with that! Because it's not my profession.
I do it because I enjoy it! Because it's the character I like.
I might not be Japanese but in the end the characters are 2D, so I'm fine with it.
Of course it's still important to put effort into it. To try to get close to the original as much as possible with make-up or the right poses.
"FF" is closer to Europe, Leon for example is supposed to be American according to his description, so I have higher chances of going viral when I cosplay him.
When I do Japanese characters I also often get told "Ah, instead of this, you should do this character (foreign character)" and so on.
But I still don't want to forget that I do it because I like it.
Doesn't matter if it's a Japanese or a foreign character, if I want to do that character, then I should do so. I don't do it to go viral after all.
However, it's still difficult for me to cosplay Japanese characters.
But I think these kind of feelings are known by my fans and followers.
Even if my photos don't get popular, I get comments like "Clows cosplays are filled with love", so I think there are always people who like seeing my photos.
My photos usually don't go viral, and my face is still completely like a foreigner, but I'm okay with that.
--- What happened with the female version of Clowd? (laugh)
Actually, no. (laugh)
I love "FFVII" so much.
I was told I'd be too early, but I knew it since 23 years ago, so I already prepared it by cosplaying it at home.
The outfit is completely different. I put a lot of effort into make-up and the hair-styling.
When the PV came out, I thought "Today's the day!! It's today!!" and "It's being hyped right now so I have to do it now or never!" so I came back from work and did it instantly.
But still, I can't turn into a girl. (laugh)
However, Clowd is also a boy, so if there's some boy-ish vibe left to it it should be fine, is what I thought. It's what I want to believe. (laugh)
--- Recently there's many female and male crossdressers, right?
Indeed. The reason why I try so hard with make-up is because female crossdressing cosplayers can't be exceeded with their masculinity!
I think that the only thing I can do is do my best with make-up.
For male characters, usually female cosplayers crossdressing are more popular than actual male cosplayers.
So I'd lose to them if I don't to my best by improving my make-up and posing skills.
In the end, characters are just 2D, so if you think of the typical 2D beauty, the most popular cosplayer is usually a female cosplayer dressing up as a male character.
I think male cosplayers are using it as an example and look up to them.
I want to connect not only with Japan but also with overseas
--- Who do you look up to the most?
For a long time I looked up to Reika and Kaname, who represent the Japanese cosplay world. When it comes to foreigners, I respect Kamui from Germany who is really good at crafting.
I always knew of Kamui, but the first time I met her was very recently. (laugh)
I never met Reika before but I did meet Kaname, recently when I did the group-shooting with "Persona 3" cosplayers, I met many people that I look up to. Sometimes I get the opportunity to create something together with them aswell.
These times we get closer and even become friends, but my respect for them just grows bigger and bigger.
After all their photos are stunning, aswell as their make-up and their posing. It makes me realize how much I respect them.
That feeling gives me motivation to try harder and harder to get to the top.
--- It's nice to be able to create something together with people you look up to, right?
The community grows bigger, sometimes an acquaintance would offer me to introduce me to someone - and that again lets the community grow.
Thanks to that, I can meet with more cosplayers and photographers, and then challenge new creations.
Also, being in Japan the Japanese community is growing, but one day I hope I can do the same thing with the foreign cosplay community aswell.
--- I think the reason you keep gaining friends is because of your effort and your personality.
I guess that's the case.
I think I am especially friendly.
I wonder if people think "Clow might be a foreigner but he can speak fluent Japanese and is so friendly. He's easy to talk to and everyone's friend."
Sometimes I feel a bit lonely when I can't manage to talk to everyone as much as I'd like to at events, because I have too many friends.
Well, Japanese events are usually very short, so it can't be helped.
Trying new challenges while being harsh on myself
--- You also stream live on Instagram, right?
Yes, because I want to strengthen the bond of the community by connecting with followers and fans.
Recently in Japan, live streams have gained popularity.
I don't want to miss out on it! So I wanted to try it as a cosplayer. (laugh)
Instagram originally comes with a livestreaming function, next I also want to try streaming on Twitter's casting service.
I don't only want to talk about cosplaying, but also play games and talk to my followers. It's another new challenge for me.
But that would mean that I'd get busier again so... I'll slowly get into it. (laugh)
--- Including those livestreams, what are your plans for the future?
You might have already noticed by now, but I am quite harsh on myself. There's so many things I want to do, so I don't want to waste my time. (laugh)
This year I do want to try many new things.
This year in May at Comiket I plan to release a new photobook.
I didn't make it in time for last comiket, so it ended up being a sold online instead.
But I was thinking of making something new. For that cause I have been doing a lot of interesting photoshootings recently!!
It will be a spoiler but... Actually I want to make a Bio Hazard photobook, cosplaying as Leon.
This time I don't only want to show his cool side, but also his improvement during the game.
For that, great effort is necessary in terms of expressions and shooting.
The most effort went into the weapons that are being used in the game - I received a lot of help from other people, to recreate the weapons as they appear in the game.
Other than that, well I am not popular in Japan but I think many people know my face here. Since I participate in so many events and have many friends.
But actually overseas I am not known at all. (laugh)
Recently I try very hard on instagram, but it's still quite difficult.
So this year I want to be active overseas aswell. I plan to go to events overseas.
--- You also made an English-only Twitter account?
Yes yes yes!
But it's hard to manage 2 Twitter accounts and Instagram all at once.
The recent trend is that foreign cosplayers all use Instagram for their activities, and through tags they connect with other cosplayers and photographers.
But going to events is still the most effective, since you can build so many connections on the spot.
The cosplays I do are usually from Japanese games and anime, which usually aren't very popular in America.
But speaking of overseas, in Taiwan "Fate" is pretty popular, and in Korea "Persona" is popular. The trends there are similar to Japan, so I gained some fans from those countries recently.
Since those countries are quite close, I hope I can go to an event in Taiwan atleast this year.
I'll get busier again, but it's a new challenge!!
--- Would you like to say something to your fans?
From now on I will do livestreams, and release interesting photobooks at events - I want to try many new fun and interesting things so please look forward to my future activities! Then I think I can do many new good things!!!
Activities overseas are important for the development and advancement of the cosplay culture.
We hope that Clow will be able to catch the hearts of more people and be active all over the world, and we felt strong passion and love coming from Clow towards these goals.
We would be glad if this individuals appeal would reach you through this interview.
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