AFA Regional Cosplay Championship (ARCC) 2015: The Biggest Cosplay Competition in South East Asia

AFA 2015 Singapore  ARCC 2015 Winners 1

Cosplay performances in South East Asia are a big deal. And it really doesn't get any bigger than the ARCC! Short for AFA Regional Cosplay Championship, this year's installment saw the epic performances of five regional cosplay teams, representing Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. Taking place on the 27th of November, it was a great way to kick off the festivities for the very first day of AFA 2015!
With each team fighting for the ultimate cosplay honors, and the the top prize of SGD$800 and an all expenses paid trip to Japan, it was a heart pumping display as each team showed their passion for their art.

Congratulation to team Indonesia (Devil May Cry), Thailand (ROCKMAN) and Philippines (SW) for winning AFA ARCC 2015!

Cosplay performances are serious business. Any cosplayer will attest to that. It usually takes months of planning, practice, and choreography and coordination. However, the product of the fruits of their labour is a spectacle to behold! This year's winning performance well-deservingly goes to Indonesia, with Philippines as the runner up and Thailand securing second runner up.

Each ARCC team was comprised of two members, with Erlan and Naru representing the winner team DAIKON SKY, from Indonesia, they performed the Capcom game “Devil May Cry” and took home S$800 as well as a trip to Tokyo.

Interview with ARCC 2015 Winners - Team Indonesia (Devil May Cry)

AFA 2015 Singapore Winners - Daikon Sky Indonesia Team

Honey's Anime was able to catch the winning team as they were celebrating their victory, and were lucky enough to clinch an interview with them and here's what they had to say!

Honey’s Anime:
-- How long did you guys take to prepare your performance?

Naru:
It took two months of planning and deciding what to do, then another two months to choreograph and practice our set. Making the costumes took another two months.

-- That effort seems to have paid off!

Erlan:
Hahaha, yeah!

-- So, how was it like performing on stage after all your preparations?

Naru:
We were very nervous. And I was quite sad that I forgot some of my moves. I am a perfectionist! Must always aim to be perfect, that's how you improve, hahaha!

-- But even though you missed some steps you still won! How do you guys feel?

Erlan:
I'm very glad that we won, this was our first competition here in Singapore so it's a very big deal to us. Every year since 2013, Indonesia has been winning ARCC so I'm also happy that we were able to be the champions of 2015!

-- How are you guys planning to spend the $800 prize money then?

Naru:
To make more costumes! Hahaha!

Erlan:
Yes! Cosplay got us here, so it makes sense to use the prize money on more costumes!

We congratulate Daikon Sky from Indonesia on their victory. As reflected in the interview, we understand the dedication, effort and time that cosplayers invest in their art and we would like take a small portion of our time to acknowledge that. Kudos to the other contestants for their effort as well!

A theatrical re-creation of the best scenes from our favorite anime series, with amazing stunts, tailored soundtracks, and incredible hand-made costumes, the ARCC draws throngs of fans every year. And it's not hard to see why!

What are some epic cosplay performances you've have seen? Share them with us on the comments! Who knows? We may even make a list!

Interview with Guest Cosplayers

AFA 2015 Singapore Guest Cosplayers 1

Making the costumes themselves from scratch, changing careers, and dealing with criticism are some of the challenges cosplayers face without losing enthusiasm for their passion.

No anime festival is complete without guest cosplayers! Gracing us with their skills, craft, and stunning looks, they're a great addition to any event and help bring the anime experience to life. As the biggest anime event in South East Asia, AFA was able to secure a stellar line up consisting of Angie, Baozi&Hana, Ely, Jun & Neru, Kaname, Liui Aquino, Otogi Nekomu, Sansin, Tomia, Ying Tze,

Honey’s Anime was lucky enough to be able to get a Q&A session with Ely Cosplay, Liui Aquino, Tomia & Sansin as they shared their thoughts on cosplay, community and themselves!

Honey’s Anime:
-- How is the cosplay culture like in your home country, and do you add any local elements into your cosplays?

Liui:
Ok I'll start! Cosplay lately has become more mainstream in the Philippines, more people are starting to try it, you know, teenagers and even old people! They think it's fun. My friends and me are like promoting cosplay to be fun, and it's for everyone. And that's pretty much it!

Tomia:
In Korea, there are specialty shops that make cosplay costumes. They prepare them quite fast, unlike Japan, which takes a long time to prepare one costume each time.

-- What's are some challenges you faced while starting cosplay and how did you overcome it?

Ely:
I think it was making the wig and costumes, like how to make it as close to the characters as possible. It was quite hard cause we didn't know how to translate the 2D into 3D, hahaha.

Tomia:
The costumes were the most difficult to me. I went on the Internet to learn how to make the costumes myself. But it was still very difficult so I ended up attending fashion school. But now I can make any costume!

Liui:
To me, as a male cosplayer, there were a lot of difficulties I experienced, not just for costumes, not just for trying to show the girls that us guys can cosplay too. The hardest part for me was trying to get my parents to understand that cosplay was a good hobby. Something like they can accept, and trying to get people to appreciate and that it's very valuable to us cosplayers. It's not just about how the costumes are very difficult but also about how passionate you are, and how much you love your character.

-- Have you been criticized by your family and friends when you started this hobby and how would you recommend new cosplayers to carry on despite similar challenges?

Liui:
Yeah actually... We don't really care about what people say about us. For family, especially for older people, they think it's immature and not something like, grown ups should be doing. I think that's one of the sadder things we hear, but we don't really care about what people will say. And, I'm into Disney and Dreamworks cosplay, and there's a lot of cosplayers into that as well and a lot of people criticize me like "Oh you're Asian, you cannot do western characters". And it's kind of painful but we don't really care, cause we're doing this for fun, yeah.

Ely:
I think it's cause I love cosplay. When I'm out of this hobby on a normal day with other people, doing normal work. But in cosplay, I want to enjoy it, so I don't really care. I keep it separate so I can enjoy different lives.

Sansin:
I started cosplay when I was younger but kinda stopped for two years. When I came back I was 18 and a lot of people were saying that it's a very late age to start. And since I do a lot of male characters there are a lot of limitations to it. So for those who just started cosplay; don't be scared, just go with it. Just do it.

-- How do you feel like when meeting with your all your fans?

Liui:
I think it's more of, they support us cause they like the characters we're cosplaying.

Ely:
I feel very appreciative of them.

Liui:
Oh yeah, I'm very appreciative of them too! It's like because of them we're here. When people are mobbing us, it's kind of scary sometimes but it's also like they appreciate our presence and I think that's priceless for us.

-- In what significant ways has cosplay impacted your lives?

Tomia:
I changed my major due to cosplay and like, my career choices? Yeah.

Sansin:
I have very low confidence out of cosplay, but when I dress up as a guy I suddenly get a lot of confidence. But one of the negative impacts is that my wallet is always empty!

Liui:
Even before cosplay I was already kinda confident? You know, derping around with other people something like that. I think what positive things it gave me was that I appreciate more. Like what I want to do, what I want. I appreciate my family more too, when I go out I miss them. And I appreciate people overall too like, you should not judge people and the way they do things, cause you don't know how hard it was for them to make something or do something. Like, other cosplayers, you don't have to judge them, just appreciate what they have. And I also appreciate little kids, before I didn't like kids but now one of my goals is to make little kids happy or young at heart people. But one of the negative things is that I am missing time with family and friends.

-- How do you manage time between cosplay and work?

Ely:
Because of cosplay my main job was changed. I was an office lady, but because I spent so much time on cosplay and travelling, I changed my main job yeah. My main job is an illustrator now.

Liui:
I worked as a manager back in the Philippines but after a while I didn't like it so I changed to being in human resources. I started working right after college so I had no time to had fun. But I made an investment in my career so if I ever want to return to what I did before, I can do that but right now I want to enjoy. Cause nobody right now has so many opportunities to travel and meet so many people so I want to take this chance and when I don't like it anymore, return to my old job.

Tomia:
I can make the costumes and manage my time cause I'm doing part time work. Like I do web design, logo designs, modeling fitting. I also help people make costumes and direct photo shoots. I get a lot of help from the people around me so I get to do what I'm doing now. So there's no problem with managing my work and cosplay.

Sansin:
I major in drawing, so my work is very otaku related. So there's not much trouble managing work and cosplay.

-- What are some interesting or memorable experiences you had during photo shoots?

Sansin:
Once, for a shoot with a big team, we rented out a whole hotel suite. In hunterxhunter there is a scene where all the characters gather in a hotel room and we tried to recreate that scene so it was very special shoot for me.

Tomia:
This is one of the bad experiences I had. When shooting Elsa, it was very cold, so we went to a rural area to shoot. The driver didn't know the way so we drove around for 5hrs and I caught a cold! I couldn't stand more than 20 minutes for the shoot before we had to go back.

Liui:
Memorable? I think everyone knows my hiccup photo, the one on 9gag with only my top half looking into the distance? The real story behind that was my father took that photo on our roof top and yeah, the top half was very good but I was only wearing boxers for the lower half, hahaha. So it's like expectations and reality? So it was very funny cause I didn't expect it to go viral, and I'm very proud but when people ask me "Where is the bottom half?" I'm like "Nope, boxers" hahaha.

Ely:
When I was shooting for my photobook I was in Japan, and I was shooting at this mountain with a tengu center. So my character was a tengu, and when I was there I met this little girl and she was like "OOOH! Tengu! Omg tengu!" And when she goes home I think she'll tell her parents about how she met a tengu in the tengu mountains.

Honey's Anime was able to catch the winning team as they were celebrating their victory, and were lucky enough to clinch an interview with them and here's what they had to say!

-- How long did you guys take to prepare your performance?

Naru:
It took two months of planning and deciding what to do, then another two months to choreograph and practice our set. Making the costumes took another two months.

-- That effort seems to have paid off!

Erlan:
Hahaha, yeah!

-- So, how was it like performing on stage after all your preparations?

Naru:
We were very nervous. And I was quite sad that I forgot some of my moves. I am a perfectionist! Must always aim to be perfect, that's how you improve, hahaha!

-- But even though you missed some steps you still won! How do you guys feel?

Erlan:
I'm very glad that we won, this was our first competition here in Singapore so it's a very big deal to us. Every year since 2013, Indonesia has been winning ARCC so I'm also happy that we were able to be the champions of 2015!

-- How are you guys planning to spend the $800 prize money then?

Naru:
To make more costumes! Hahaha!

Erlan:
Yes! Cosplay got us here, so it makes sense to use the prize money on more costumes!


And that marks the end of our Q&A segment with the wonderful Ely, Liui, Sansin and Tomia! Honey’s sincerely thanks all the cosplayers for their honest and well-thought answers. Today’s interview was joined by our fellow media friends.

It was an interesting dialogue, rife with so many inspiring stories and advice. That being said, do you feel inspired to start cosplaying yet? Which was your favourite part? Tell us in the comments below!

AFA 2015 Singapore Guest Cosplayers 2
by Suika

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