The Hobart

Tassie Duo to Dress Up for World Cosplay Champs

by Hobart Magazine
Tassie Duo to Dress Up for World Cosplay Champs

Most of us only dress up in costumes on Halloween or at fancy dress parties. For Hobart professional cosplayers, Dr Emerald L King and Amy King, it’s an obsession. We spoke to the dynamic duo about their passion for cosplay and the 2024 World Cosplay Championships in Japan.

How did you and Amy become so passionate about Japanese pop culture and cosplay? Emerald: I grew up a child of the 80s on a diet of Astro Boy, Mysterious Cities of Gold, Voltron and Sailor Moon (anime/cartoons). But it wasn’t until a school exchange at age 16 that I really started my Japanese journey when I spent a year in Japan on exchange. After that, it was a fast track to study, more exchanges, and now I work as a Lecturer in Humanities at UTAS, so this is my job! Amy: Growing up, my older brother had a Sega Mega Drive, and I have fond childhood memories of playing games like Sonic the Hedgehog and Street Fighter. I also grew up watching cartoons like Astro Boy and Pokemon, and I guess that was the beginning of my interest in all things Japanese.

How long have you been cosplay­ing? Emerald: Dressing up has been a long obsession. My first actual cosplay costume was when I was asked to give a talk on magical girls at what is now TasPop Convention as a PhD student in 2007. Amy: Oh my, over ten years now. My first costume was made by my mum, so naturally, it was amazing. Subsequent cosplays that I had a hand in making haven’t been quite as fabulous. But as my skills grew, so did the quality of my costumes. Emerald: Amy’s being modest. She learnt how to make moulds and cast resin and electric wiring so that our award-winning costume lit up. No mean achievement in Tasmania, the state where resin doesn’t cure!

What inspires your cosplay outfits? Emerald: I’ve always stuck to anime and manga. But I am obsessed with char­acters that started as Japanese literary or mythical figures, but who end up in games, manga, and anime. Amy: Mostly video games and anime for me.

You were recently selected to compete at the 2024 World Cosplay Summit (WCS) Championships in Nagoya, Japan! Emerald: Since 2017, I’ve worked as a volunteer translator and interpreter for WCS, so I’m excited to see what it’s like to be on stage rather than behind-the-scenes. Everyone who gets to Nagoya has already won, so the energy backstage is really supportive. Teams help each other out, and it’s a real celebration. Amy: I had the opportunity to go on exchange to Nagoya for six months while I was studying at uni, and I actually got to go and see the World Cosplay Summit live that year. I was amazed by the costumes and performances and thought that they were all on a different level to me. So going to compete in a cosplay competition in Nagoya is a dream come true!

Emerald and Amy winning the Award of Invitation to the 2024 World Cosplay Summit Championships. Pic: Red Scarf

Any advice for people interested in getting into cosplay? Emerald: One thing that we’re both really proud of with our costumes is that everything apart from the wigs and the resin was made from reclaimed or upcycled materials. The Resource Collectables Hobart Tip Shop has been a really great place for us to find materials. There are so many ways to get into cosplay and Japanese pop culture these days. You can go to an event like TasPop down here or up to Smash in Sydney, but you can also make TikTok videos and engage with other fans online – it’s incredible!

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May 2024

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