Living out a fantasy

STARS: Taiwanese cosplayers Judy Seven (left) and Akatsuki Tsukasa.

They met and became friends through cosplaying more than a decade ago.

Now Taiwanese cosplayers Akatsuki Tsukasa and Judy Seven, both in their 20s, are celebrities.

Akatsuki Tsukasa, whose real name is Wang Yi Ting, is one of the 10 highest-ranked cosplayers in the region, with more than 63,000 fans on her Facebook page.

She is well-known for cosplaying Vocaloid's Megurine Luka, Sheryl Nome from Macross Frontier and Boa Hancock from One Piece.

Judy Seven, whose real name is Chang Chi-fen, has more than 7,200 fans since she set up her Facebook fan page in late 2012 and is gaining popularity by cosplaying Super Sonico from Nitroplus and Ranka from Macross Frontier.

The pair, who often travel together for overseas appearances and events these days, were in town last weekend for the launch of Japanese anime channel Aniplus HD on SingTel mio TV Ch 340.

The channel will feature exclusive Japanese anime series, including popular titles such as crime thriller Psycho-Pass and fantasy Attack On Titan.

Both of you sometimes wear very skimpy and sexy outfits during cosplaying. Do you feel conscious of your outfits and have you suffered any wardrobe malfunctions so far?

Wang: I've not had any wardrobe malfunctions. I usually wear a nude bra and nude panties and take extra precautions so that no compromising photos will be taken. I usually wear these skimpy outfits during photo shoots only. If I go for appearances, I wear something more comfortable.

Chang: We use double-sided tape to make sure our outfits don't shift around during the photo shoots. If there are requests for us to wear sexier outfits for appearances, we take precautions by making sure that the photographers are not standing too near us. We also travel in a group so that we can watch out for each other in case anyone tries to take advantage of us, or takes compromising photos of us.

What is the craziest fan encounter you've had so far?

Wang: I've had fans who print decals of my photos and put it on their cars or laptops. A fan once sent me pictures of his car and my face was on it. I think it's a little creepy. When I went to Japan for events, the photographers simply stuck their cameras right in front of my chest and started snapping away. It was a huge culture shock.

Chang: I've had a fan who added me on the Line app, and started sending me messages non-stop. He even asked me to meet him at a train station in Taipei but I didn't go. He then messaged to tell me that he waited there for one whole night.

Sometimes, the two of you dress up as male characters such as Natsuki Shinomiya from Uta No Prince-sama and Shintaro Midorima from Kuroko No Basket. Does that help attract female fans?

Wang: Yes, of course. They run up to us and tell us they really like us when we are dressed up as guys. They give us fan letters and ask us for a kiss or a hug. Some even want us to kiss them on the lips but we don't do that. Some of them purposely stand very near us when we take photos with them.

Chang: We don't find it weird at all. I think they like us so much because we can emulate the manga characters very well.

Do you have day jobs and do your co-workers know that you are cosplayers?

Wang: I design cosplay costumes for cosplayers in Taiwan now, as many people like to order from me because I pay attention to the details. However, in my previous jobs, I tried not to let people know about my cosplaying as I felt that they would judge me.

Chang: I am a graphic designer. My colleagues don't know that I am a cosplayer. I don't tell them because I don't want them to look at me differently. Some seem to suspect, and they ask me about it. If they seem open-minded, then I tell them. If not, I think it's a better idea to keep the two separate.

Are you seeing anyone now? If not, would you want to date a fellow cosplayer?

Wang: I am single now but I don't want my boyfriend to be a cosplayer. He just needs to understand why I love cosplaying. All my ex-boyfriends are not cosplayers. I like a guy who is muscular, handsome, funny and nice. Someone like Captain America will be ideal.

Chang: My standards are not as high as hers. I am looking for a guy who is filial and responsible. And he doesn't have to be a cosplayer.

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