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The MDb Interviews Samus Aran!
by Infinity's End
Thaís Jussim, aka Yuki, is a fantastic, 26-year-old, Brazilian cosplayer who most recently took up the role of Samus Aran. We got a chance to talk to Yuki about the challenges of transforming into everyone's favorite galactic bounty huntress, and here's her story. (Be sure to visit her DeviantArt page or her website to see more of these gorgeous costumes!)
Do you create all your own costumes? What are their average cost?
Yes, I make my own costumes, with the help of many friends and my parents. The average cost of an elaborated costume is about $200.00.
How many characters have you cosplayed?
Over 50, and counting. :)
It's difficult to choose. I think my favorites are Sesshoumaru (from the anime InuYasha), Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII), Ada Wong (Resident Evil 4), and now, Samus.
What kinds of considerations goes into the creation of a costume?
When I like a character and I want to make it, I consider what are the most difficult parts, if I know how to do them, what kind of materials I should use, and what can I do to spend the minimum possible.
What is the most expensive costume you've ever made?
Sure was Samus. It cost me around $350.00 just in materials.
Why do you cosplay?/Why is cosplaying important to you?
I do cosplay because I like the challenge of building costumes the most accurate to the original as possible. And also because I like to perform as my favorite characters on stage.
What do you enjoy the most about cosplaying?
I like to discover new techniques and materials that I can use, perform on stage during the contests, and I enjoy taking pictures with my friends.
What do you think has been the most difficult part of cosplaying?
To not spend much money on it! XD
How many conventions have you been to? Any funny/memorable stories from fan reactions?
I have been in many conventions in 9 years cosplaying. Many funny things always happen, especially when I'm cosplaying a male character. Fangirls scream and jump on me. Some people think that I'm really a man, and when they hear my female voice, they [are frightened]! [Another occurence was] some people thought I was some kind of doll.
Have you won any costume awards? Your Metroid one is obviously brilliant. Which other costume(s) are you most proud of?
I've won some national and international important awards, [such] as the Circuit Cosplay Brazil 2006, World Cosplay Summit 2007 in Brazil, and I won awards in the Yamato Cosplay Cup International twice. The last one was this year with Samus. I am very proud of all of them , because all were made with great dedication and care. But I have to say that some are special. Sesshoumaru, the cosplay that took me to Japan, Alucard and Sephiroth, that led me to the stage of the Video Games Live for three years.
Have you thought about getting into modelling or working as a model for a gaming company? How about costume creation or fashion design?
No. I never thought about it. Working wearing videogame costumes would be great, Would someone there hire me? XD But actually, I do costumes reproductions by commission.
Have you participated in any skits/one acts?
Only in cosplay contests. I'm too shy!
How many wigs do you own? Custom contacts? Props or other costume materials worth mentioning?
I have 40 wigs, 15 contact lenses, 8 swords, 4 of them huge, very huge. And also some wings, armors and, of course, a lot of clothes.
Do you take commissions for costume creation? Otherwise, what kind of work do you do?
Yes, I started to take commissions recently. I can make anime, games, movies and comics costumes. If anyone is interested, just contact me at my site yukicosplay.com
Do you speak with or collaborate with other members of the cosplay community?
Yes, a lot. Many of my friends are also cosplayers. And I also made friends in many other countries because of cosplay.
Do you try to stay in character while cosplaying?
Yes, I do it when I'm on stage, taking pictures, or when someone asks me to do something specifically in character.
You seem to be bilingual. Have you toured the United States with your cosplay or have you just remained in South America?
No, unfortunately I haven't had chance to travel to the U.S. yet. I've been in Japan and Mexico. But I'd love to know the United States and its fantastic conventions.
If you've been to other places around the world, do you see any differences in cosplay culture in comparison with Brazil?
In some countries cosplayers are most interested in competitions, with acting or not. In others, what matters is only the making of cosplay. There are many differences that accompany the culture of the country itself. But everyone likes to have a good work valued.
Any advice for other cosplayers out there?
Just have fun, without worrying about what others will think. Cosplay is a hobby like any other, and which you do not have to be ashamed.
You're obviously a Metroid fan. What about the series has drawn you to it?
My boyfriend showed me the game and told me it's story. I was fascinated to know that underneath that huge and frightening armor there was a woman with personality and some concepts that revolutionized the history of the videogame.
Do you have a favorite Metroid game?
The first I played was the Metroid Prime on GameCube. It was my first contact with Samus!
What are you feelings towards Samus Aran as a character?
I admire the fact that the main character in Metroid is a woman who fearlessly faces the many challenges that she receives. I can say that I identify myself with this very fighting spirit of her!
Please describe the process and materials involved in the creation of the Varia Suit.
I used various materials and processes. The arms, hand, legs and body were made with sheets of EVA(editor's note: ethylene vinyl acetate). My friend Lucas and I shaped it by hand, using EVA in 3 different thicknesses. The Hand Blaster was all done by me, also in EVA. All finishes and details in low relief, I did with the Dremel. The helmet and shoulders were made in fiber glass by me and my dad. It was modeled using a motorcycle helmet and two polystyrene balls as bases. The details were carved in polystyrene and polyurethane. The painting was done with automotive paint. Electric part was done with 73 high bright LEDs: 30 green LEDs in the shoulders, 26 green LEDs on the Body and 17 red and orange LEDs on Hand Blaster, powered by 8 AA Batteries and a 3v one. We also used neon green acrylic on the suit and neon orange acrylic on the Hand Blaster.
What were some of the obstacles you experienced during the creation of the Varia Suit?
Each part was a challenge. I wouldn't have done it all without the help of my boyfriend, my friends and my parents. But the most difficult were the shoulders. The proportions of the shoulders of the suit on the body and arms - it is very difficult to adapt to a normal human body. The shoulders are huge, and needed a complex system of straps inside the armor to be stuck in place. Furthermore, there were many LEDs inside it. The longest part was the installation of LEDs.
How about during its use?
The parts of the chest, arms and shoulders forced my arms [down] all the time. And it hurt a lot. At the end of the day, I felt as if my shoulders were out of place. O.o
What are you most proud of with this costume?
The helmet is my greatest pride, because I thought I would not be able to do it. I just believed that I really made all the Varia Suit when I finished modeling it.
What do you think you could have improved?
The elbows and arms, which hurt me a lot, and lot of small details.
Can you give us an estimate of how heavy the costume is?
I don't know, Maybe about 23 pounds, approximately.
How comfortable is the helmet?
The helmet is quite comfortable, if you don't mind seeing everything in green. ;p
Any future plans for this costume? (Gravity or Phazon incarnations?)
Maybe in the future. I wanna use the Varia again, before thinking [about] another version.
How many conventions have you worn it to?
Just one up until now, at the Anime Dreams (Brazil) last January.
What other game series are you a fan of?
I love Resident Evil, Castlevania and Final Fantasy series.
What game consoles do you own?
PSX, PS2, Game Cube, GBA and PSP. And I desperately need a Wii and a DS.
How do you feel about the current portrayal of women in gaming?
I know many girls that play videogames, many girls. But I think most companies do not take us into account as the target audience, both in the development of games, and the advertising campaigns. They just don't think that a lot of girls out there do like videogames.
Who do you feel is an example of a successful female game character and why?
Besides Samus, the girls from Resident Evil. Mainly Jill Valentine. They are smart, strong, skillful, fearless and beautiful. The type of character that makes us think "God! I wanna be THAT girl!"
What do you think the gaming industry needs to do to improve on getting more girls/women into gaming?
The female characters in games are generally not made to create an identification with the girls. [They] are made only to please the male gaze. This is not a problem. There are games for all tastes. But it would be good if the companies are [thinking] about creating games a little more for female audience. I'm not talking about games full of cute pink stuffs. No! That's not what gamer girls want. Maybe with more humanized female characters, and a little more romance, you can appeal to girls without losing the men. And of course, they should put more handsome men in games! For example, look at Kratos. What girl would feel like playing God of War with a character like him? XP
Are there any parts of current industry trends that you think need improving/changing?
Hum, I think they should put more handsome men in games. XD
Any advice for other female gamers out there?
For good gamers I would say, You rock, girls! I envy you so much! For not-so-good gamers like me, I would say, Do not be afraid to not allow your friends or boyfriend take the gamepad out of your hands! And also don't be afraid to throw the gamepad in his hands when you're almost dying. XP
Bonus 1: Any chance we'll be seeing Zero Suit Samus cosplay in the near future?
Absolutely! This will be my next cosplay!
Bonus 2: What's your favorite site for information on all things Metroid? ;)
Hum, let me think, Metroid Database for sure! ;D Thank you guys!!!
On behalf of the staff of the Metroid Database I would like to greatly thank Yuki for her time to answer these questions and we wish her the best of luck with cosplaying and beyond!