Tomoyo-Chan aka Jen B. is a rising star in the world of cosplay. She has grown to become one of the premier Latina cosplayers in Southern California with her wonderful renditions of Sailor Jupiter, Shana, Rise, Luka and many more. I have had the pleasure of doing many photo shoots with her since we became friends several years ago. Here is a transcript of our three part interview that covers a variety of broad subjects, from the origins of her love of the hobby to how she deals with future cosplay. Enjoy!
Interview Part I
Kris: Welcome Tomoyo-chan to my third interview
Kris: So let's get started, what drew you to anime conventions?
Tomoyo-chan: I have been watching since I was like 10 years old. I used to live In Guatemala so I grew up watching anime subbed in Spanish, they are really good dubs by the way!!
Kris: Nice! Can you talk a little bit about the anime that got you into the hobby?
Tomoyo-chan: SAILORMOON! It was the first anime I ever watched
Kris: Wonderful, so what aspects of the anime drew you in?
Tomoyo-chan: I want to say the storyline, magical girls with awesome powers. I was into Power Rangers at the time too.
Kris: I see...
Tomoyo-chan: so I wanted something more girly as a counterpart, hehehe
Kris: Did you want to be a Sailor Senshi when you were little?
Tomoyo-chan: Yes! I used to play Sailor Moon with my friends. We roleplayed and I was always Jupiter because I was tall, but I knew more about the show so I directed the roleplaying
Kris: So speaking of Sailor Jupiter, you have cosplayed as her and gained quite a reputation with her cosplay. Can you relate to the character?
Tomoyo-chan: I can! She has always felt in disadvantage with other girls because of her height and I feel that way as well. I also love sweets and flowers like her and she is a very quiet character but when she gets upset, the thunder comes out! I can relate to that.
Kris: Are there any other females in the cast that you could relate to?
Tomoyo-chan: Sailor Pluto, whom I will also be cosplaying at AX
Kris: Why do you like Sailor Pluto?
Tomoyo-chan: she has a motherly vibe - she is very protective of her friends, especially chibi-usa chan. I am like that with my friends. Come on, She can stop time!
Kris: That is quite an awesome power, with a rather unfortunate consequence. Ha ha ha
Tomoyo-chan: Yup, ha ha ha!!
Kris: You mentioned that you were born and raised in Guatemala. So can you give a little insight into anime culture when you were younger?
Tomoyo-chan: Of course! I was actually born here and then had to move to Guatemala
Kris: Oh my fault!
Tomoyo-chan: So I had built somewhat of a geekness here before going to Guate. I was exposed to American culture long enough to understand that awesomeness of being a geek. I moved to Guate when I was 8.
Kris: I see, so what were the contrasts between Guatemala and the USA for anime? You mentioned amazing dubbing
Kris: Okay, perfect transition. So you are a big fan of CLAMP
Kris: What do you like about CLAMP's work?
Tomoyo-chan: The art! it's stunning!!! I LOVE how they draw their characters and bring them to life, they are all about the costume design too. I love that!!
Kris: Yes, I love those aspects of Clamp too. It is very impressive that four women could come up with such a rich world and interesting characters.
Tomoyo-chan: I couldn't agree more, when I found out it was women only I was like WOW!
Kris: Yes, and that is the big differentiator between Japanese comics and American comics. There are a lot of female authors and artists.
Kris: It always surprises people to find out that the manga-ka behind Fullmetal Alchemist is a female.
Tomoyo-chan: I know right? It surprised me as well!
Kris: Speaking of Manga, what are your thoughts on the medium of manga?
Tomoyo-chan: Although people say Manga is just another word for comics, I think it provides an amazing alternative voice! I think the medium of Manga contains powerful storytelling. Sometimes manga makes me cry, and I feel kind of silly, but that is how amazing the artists/storytellers are!
Kris: Yes, with the bankruptcy of Borders and the shrinking of Barnes and Noble, what do you think about the future of pritned manga?
Tomoyo-chan: I am worried about it to be honest, while I often read manga online, it's just not the same as buying the actual volume and seeing it on your bookshelf
Kris: I agree, looking at a screen has so much eyestrain. There is no replacement for printed paper. Are there any manga characters you would like to cosplay as in the near future?
Tomoyo-chan: Mmmmm, now that you mention, no. All the characters from manga that I plan to cosplay already have animes released.
Kris: Very true, not to mention that cosplaying from obscure manga-only characters would lead to confusion during anime conventions.
In Part II of the interview Tomoyo-chan goes into the date that turned out to be an anime convention. She also discusses her favorite cosplay and the first award she won in a cosplay talent show. She also divulges a passionate hobby that hopefully in the future we can see her blossom and grow in.
Part II of the Interview
Part III of the Interview