New Zealand Cosplayer Yukari Interview
Cosplayer Yukari Interview
Hey there Outright Geekery readers, we have a special interview today. Not everything we see on the internet is what it seems? In our latest interview, we travel over to New Zealand to meet this unique cosplayer. An immigrant born in China, Yukari is a seasoned cosplayer, a pianist, a composer, an actor and now comes the surprise, Yukari is a male dressed as a female cosplayer and he’s absolutely amazing. Please give a warm Geeky welcome to this talented cosplayer, Yukari.
OG: Thank you so much Yukari. It is our pleasure to meet you and welcome to our interview.
Yukari: Thank you for having me for this interview. I really appreciate and I just want to say, as a male, who cosplay as a female cosplay impersonator, I love doing what I love.
OG: Wonderful. I really appreciate that. We, at Outrightgeekery, give words of inspiration if you should ever reflect a moment in your life. Here we go, “If your life just got harder, that means you just leveled up.”
OG: Tell us all about yourself to our readers.
Yukari: I was born in Tsingtau, China and immigrated to New Zealand at the age of fifteen. Like most Asian people my eye-color is brown, I’m Gemini, and I speak English and Chinese. In real life, I’m a pianist, composer, and actor. Graduated a Masters degree in Composition at the University Of Auckland School Of Music,
Yukari: In 2019 my piano composition “Epilogue”, the 5th movt from my piano suite “Tāwāhi” has been selected by the Trinity College London to be included in their Grade 6 piano exam syllabus for 2021-2023. I have also been involved in the film and entertainment industry in New Zealand and overseas as an actor and film composer. In regards to my cosplays, I have been featured frequently by the local cosplay magazine here in New Zealand, the “NZ Cosplayer: Con-Artist”, as well as the overseas publications such as the “CosplayZine”.
Yukari: I have just won the regional first place in the most recent Cosplay Grand Prix Contest, winning my first ever prize money as a cosplayer. My favorite Animes include “Black Butler”, “The Rose of Versailles” and “Fate” series, most of those are based on historical settings, hence myself being a nostalgic person.
Yukari: Recently I have been following the “National Soul” (“國魂”), a Taiwanese manga series based on the history around the Xinhai Revolution in China.
Yukari: My all-time favorite comedies include “The Blues Brothers” and some slapstick classics such as the “Airplane!”, mostly those made in the 70s-80s. And it is part of my academic profession to enjoy the classical/serious music composed up to this day, alongside the pop classics of the 50s-80s including Beatles, David Bowie, and Bee Gees.
OG: This is a first, you are a classic car collector. Tell us about it?
Yukari: I’m a classic car collector who attends the local car shows here in New Zealand regularly in my 1976 Oldsmobile 98 Regency, a project that I have been restoring since 2014.
OG: Being born in China obviously has affected the number of siblings. Did that mean you got all the attention?
Yukari: I have to admit that I was spoiled as a child. Since I have moved to New Zealand here has become my home for over a decade. What I enjoyed the most here is the freedom of choice as well as the openness of the society, which has unleashed a lot of potential for me that I am allowed to do whatever I like and enjoy here unlike many of my childhood friends in China.
OG: What places would you share from your experiences in New Zealand?
Yukari: If you ever come to visit New Zealand, I would recommend seeing our natural wonders such as the Lady Knox Geyser, the Fox Glacier and Milford Sound. And my favorite food of New Zealand would be the “Hāngi”, the traditional Māori cuisines.
OG: Was there ever a time you wanted to dress-up from a historical time period?
Yukari: And yes I have loved wearing costumes since as a kid, in particular those of the “Baroque” style of the 17th-18th centuries with elaborate clothing and wig, as well as the tricorne hat that has been idolized through the pirate cultures.
OG: Who was your absolute celebrity crush growing up?
Yukari: My celebrity “crush” would be Sophie Marceau from her performance as the Bond Girl in “The World is Not Enough”.
OG: Are you an animal lover?
Yukari: I have two cats, one Bi-colour and one Bombay Black.
OG: What was your first Cosplay wear?
Yukari: I just wanted to challenge myself with things that once considered “extreme” or “impossible” to me. My first-ever cosplay was, however, that of King Edward V from “Black Butler”, a male character, and since that character has rarely been cosplayed I had to commission that costume by providing its design with all the size information myself.
OG: I’m told everyone’s first time cosplaying might turn out to be a nightmare. Full of nerves and anxieties. How was it for you?
Yukari: My first cosplaying experience wasn’t so nervous though probably because I had planned for years before my cosplaying career actually kicked off, once I’m in a stronger position financially, and I have already been an actor for quite a few years which has certainly helped with building up my experience, that I very much see the cosplaying as an extension to my acting career.
OG: Now as a seasoned cosplayer, what’s been your latest cosplay?
Yukari: Nowadays my characters are mostly soft feminine roles usually with over knee-stockings and dark fringe hairstyles. I do have something darker and more “gothic” for my next cosplay, however, which will be Atago from Azur Lane, the personification of a WWII Japanese heavy cruiser. The make-up is essential to my cosplays especially with the technique of using the medical tape to reshape my face to make it look more feminine, and delicate eye-makeups to make my eyes look bigger.
OG: Have all of your cosplay outfits were from the request of fans or personal challenges?
Yukari: Initially, my cosplay decisions were mostly based on personal challenges but as my fan base grows I’m now doing more by request from fans, as long as I deem that character suits me. I have also been offering fan signs from time to time.
OG: Was there ever a cosplay outfit you were not happy with but your fans absolutely adored you in?
Yukari: I wasn’t really comfortable with cosplaying as Astolfo in his JK/sailor’s uniform at first since it exposes part of my belly which is a little difficult for me to accept being a private person with a conservative taste; although I did that on demand of my fans and it turned out OKAY, and I have gradually changed my mind into more acceptance of such costumes ever since. In fact, I may do this character version again in the near future!
Yukari: But in general, anything that is too revealing would cross my redline despite high demand from lots of my fans, and the JK Astolfo might be the furthest I’d be willing to go.
OG: Now if the readers were not aware of Yukari. He is a male cosplayer portraying female characters, which I find absolutely amazing. Are there special “Tricks” you do to pull-off this Fabulous look?
Yukari: As I have mentioned previously, I’m using the medical tape to reshape my face to give it a more feminine look, which is like a temporary “plastic surgery” that is undoubtedly painful but worth it. I also use double eyelids to enlarge my eyes. I’m not good at doing the makeup myself, therefore, I have hired a professional team to help me with it every time I cosplay.
OG: Is there a community of cosplayers in New Zealand and are they supportive?
Yukari: There is a huge community of cosplayer friends here in New Zealand who share the same love in anime and cosplay. I have already tried my best to make myself as better as I could during my childhood.
OG: What sort of research or homework do you do when portraying a character?
Yukari: As usual, I have to do extensive studies of the character’s poses and expressions before cosplaying the part. In general those female characters with a dark long hair with fringe, for example, Shirokane Rinko, Yohane (Yoshiko) Shoukan and Reina Kousaka, would suit me better since they have covered my face more to hide imperfections, and the dark-colored hair matches my skin tone better.
OG: Again, which is amazing of course.
Yukari: Although the pink-colored Astolfo works on me too since the character himself is a male anyways. As for the outfit, I’m usually going with the school/JK uniform or in lolita/maid fashions, and most of them feature the over-knee stockings (“Zettai ryōiki”) as part of the character design.
OG: Do you have any collaborations with some of manufacturers or makers you use?
Yukari: Since I have a long collaboration with some “Zettai ryōiki” themed online platforms/fan pages to promote my cosplays, nowadays my cosplays are almost exclusively featuring “Zettai ryōiki” to make sure that they are eligible to be featured on those platforms.
OG: Is the cosplay community very large and boastful out there in New Zealand?
Yukari: The cosplay community in New Zealand remains relatively small compared to the rest of the world but it is extremely friendly and supportive towards each other, and we have at least 3 annual main cosplay conventions here in Auckland: the Japan Day, Overload and Armageddon Expo, with the Armageddon Expo being the largest and the most important of them all and it is internationally renowned.
Yukari: And indeed I have to constantly collaborate with other cosplayers locally from time to time to work on my props and outfit since I don’t have the materials and techniques to go it alone so we’d always have to help each other, and I sincerely appreciate their patience when working with a difficult male-crossplayer like me. I admire all those cosplayers who have the ability to turn themselves into whatever the way they want to look like and have the techniques to create their own costumes and props. There is no limit to their creativity.
OG: Dressed like a beautiful woman, does the size of a woman matter (The height, bra size, or weight) when performing a character?
Yukari: My main challenge has been my height, given that I’m a slim person. That makes it difficult for me to fit in in the group cosplays. For example, I have tried to cosplay as Midare Toushirou for the local Touken Ranbu group back in 2018 and it ended up a complete failure due to my height that made me look out of place when comparing to other cosplayers in the same group.
OG: What was your solution to that problem? And does it help in selecting the right photographer?
Yukari: Since then, I have shifted my focus on cosplaying solo. I have collaborated with quite a few renowned photographers here including the DPS Photography Studio, StudioTsu, DMK Photography, and Lumenox Photography, and we are not lying to ourselves that every photoshoot has been a challenge in some way given my unusual nature being a male crossplayer, but it worth all the effort when we see how satisfying the end result turns out, and the process of collaboration has also become less and less time consuming as we are building up the experiences over time.
OG: Do you feel that photoshoots for you, be always outdoors?
Yukari: At the start, we mainly shoot outdoors due to the lack of studio facilities here in Auckland, usually at the locations with natural sceneries such as the parks or botanic gardens. Recently the DPS Photography Studio has set up a little studio to make it more feasible for indoor shoots.
OG: Sources says you are in a film production that will soon be available for audiences to see, please give us the scoop?
Yukari: As for the feature film that I’m going to be part of, the “Neila: Extinction”, it is going to be the third installation of the director Fred Potts’ “Neila” trilogy, which ironically has a plot setting of a post-apocalyptic world after a virus outbreak that takes place in the early 2020s!
OG: What a coincidence. Life is stranger than fiction. Please go on.
Yukari: Fred has started writing it since the mid-1990s, however with only 7,000 survivors left on earth, and my character design as of now is a crossdressed leader of a cave gang, and the character himself is named “Yukarikari” after my cosplays, as that is what I have drawn attention from the director Fred Potts to create that character in his screenplay in the first place.
OG: Do you use any sort of makeup or is it something specifically you use?
Yukari: I have to be selective on what makeup foundations to use that will be least harmful to my skin. As mentioned above, my next cosplay will be Atago from “Azur Lane” which is quite Dark and Gothic, and vintage too given the character’s WWII setting. On whether being a “cosplay artist” or “sexy model”, I will let my audience to decide.
OG: What are your thoughts about cosplayers pushing the envelope in doing Burleques photos. Is it for artistry or profit?
Yukari: I respect the personal choice of those cosplayers who decide to shoot burlesque photography, and I know some may be in financial needs as well that they may have no other choice, and I’m not at the position to judge; however being a Christian in real life myself it is one of several things that have crossed my boundary which I will never consider. Certainly, photography like that will help boost their popularity with financial benefit, I’m not going to sacrifice my principle though.
OG: Has the weather out there in New Zealand play a role in your photoshoots?
Yukari: Unfortunately I’m not a photographer myself. And I have to admit that the wet weather during the winter season here in New Zealand could be very, very frustrating for my planned shoot with other photographers.
Yukari: The only outfit that I have ever created is for my character concept from the upcoming feature film “Neila: Extinction”, which drew inspiration from the costume designs of “Mad Max”.
OG: These questions always have various responses to the cosplayer. Are all the cosplay outfits you create are reflections of your personality? Or is your personality a reflection of your cosplay outfits?
Yukari: If drawing any connection to my personality, it may be reflecting the fact that I’m cosplaying cute feminine characters in the Otaku community but being masculine who is also driving a classic yank tank in real life.
OG: What’s been the most expensive price tag outfit you’ve ever invested in?
Yukari: The most expensive and also difficult outfit I have come across to date would be that of Shirokane Rinko, who happens to share my profession as a pianist/keyboardist from “BanG Dream!”, although my next cosplay of Atago from “Azur Lane” is expected to be a lot more challenging.
OG: How did you come up with your cosplayer name, Yukari?
Yukari: I created the brand name Yukari (結佳梨 in Japanese) after consulting three friends, two from Japan and another who is specialized in the Japanese language, as this is a gender-neutral name in Japan that is also considered a cute name, to reflect the nature of my cosplays.
OG: What would be the one thing you could change the opinion about cosplay in general?
Yukari: If there is anything in the cosplay world to be changed for the better, I’d wish some people, especially those of my audience from mainland China, would become more open-minded with more acceptance of the idea of male crossplayers, and there shall be less body-shaming going around in this community, if not eliminated entirely.
OG: Have your fans been very supportive of you?
Yukari: Fortunately, most of my fans have only become more supportive and admired me more upon learning my true gender, as they are amazed by how real I have looked in those cosplays as if I’m a real girl. And it is lucky that my girlfriend is one of those hardcore fans who has been constantly supporting me all this time.
OG: Unlike other cosplayers, you seemed to be financially sound from you being a musician, is that correct?
Yukari: Since I’m a full-time musician who is surviving on piano teaching and writing music I’m in a relatively stable position financially to support what am I doing now (not just cosplays but also collecting and restoring the vintage cars), and my upcoming role in “Neila: Extinction” may become my first major profit from my cosplays. Of course, I have been planning to release a printed album or photo calendar since last year but again that is all depending on the development of the pandemic now.
OG: What sort of wisdom or advice would you like to pass down to inspiring cosplayers?
Yukari: As for my advice for the new beginners: be determined to do whatever you like and do not be put off by others! After all, I would like to be remembered as a musician (composer/pianist), some sort of a political activist and an actor as my Oliver identity in real life, and separately, a cosplayer and crossplayer as Yukari.
Time we ask Yukari Cosplay our, “So-Far OutRight Just-Geeky questions!”
OG: Do Hobbits really exist in the South islands?
Yukari: There is a Hobitton if that counts
OG: Either in a photoshoot or at a convention and dressed in your female cosplay wear, what bathroom do you choose?
Yukari: Either male or utility bathroom, never the female bathroom as I consider that unethical.
OG: What is your favorite piece to perform?
Yukari: My favorite piece would be Grand Polonaise Brillante Op.22 by Chopin.
OG: What Disney Character would you have as a Best Friend, who would that be?
Yukari: The sloth from Zootopia.
OG: Have you ever gotten lost in New Zealand?
Yukari: One or two times when I was in high school and exploring Auckland.
OG: If you could have any superpowers, what power would you have to make this world a better place?
Yukari: I’d use the power to stop the COVID-19.
OG: Was there ever a wardrobe malfunction?
Yukari; Yes especially with my armored Astolfo outfit!
OG: Canyoning in Auckland. Is that something people should avoid with a heart condition?
Yukari: Yes of course.
OG: What is Yukarikari’s Biggest Pet Peeve?
Yukari: Getting woken up by my cat at 6 am in the morning.
OG: Is there anything you want to change about yourself, what would it be?
Yukari: Make my face look more feminine (especially my chin) so that I no longer need to use the medical tape to reshape it every time when cosplaying.
OG: Who is your celebrity crush?
Yukari: Sophie Marceau
OG: Are you a lefty or a righty?
OG: What is LOVE?
Yukari: GOD is LOVE
OG: If your parachute fails while you are Skydiving, would you do it again?
OG: How long should one wash their hands with soap and water?
Yukari: At least 20 seconds, the same length you sing the first verse of the “God Save the Queen”, or “Happy Birthday” twice.
OG: Is there an Anime/Manga character that best describes your character?
Yukari: Shirokane Rinko
OG: What does it mean when one says, That’s Cap?
Yukari: A lie or a way to say “no way” when you don’t believe something, according to the Urban Dictionary.
OG: What part of World History would you change for the better?
Yukari: A successful modernisation of China in the late 19-century to early 20th century which could have avoided my country of birth being invaded by Japan later in the 1930s.
OG: What Anime/Manga/ DC/ Marvel weapon would you use to win the Caronavid-19 War?
Yukari: I’m not sure if TARDIS counts, to me that seems the most effective solution, either that or a DeLorean, anything that could help wipe out what’s happening in 2020.
OG: Can you Sneeze and still keep your eyes open?
Yukari: Not sure, haven’t tested it yet.
OG: Can I get a hug?
Yukarikari: Yeah sure!
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Yukarikarinzcosplayer
Wishlist: desperately need the Yohane (Yoshiko) school uniform outfit!
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