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.
In Part 1 she went over the anime that got her into the hobby and her thoughts of the decline of the manga market in the USA. In part II she talked about her experiences in anime conventions and her favorite cosplay. In this section, she talks about Infotakus and her favorite cosplay photographer. Hint: He has a master's degree and used to run Anime Expo.
Interview Part III
Kris: Let's go on to another topic, the group that you started called Infotakus.
Tomoyo-chan: Ah yes!!!
Kris: What was the inspiration for this group?
Tomoyo-chan: We started it due to con withdrawal. Primarily, we wanted to hang out more, not only at cons. My friends and I wanted to reach out and meet new people, we are based in the LA area and I know there are tons of otakus here; we just need to reach out to them.
Kris: Yes, some of the best ones in SoCal are in the area. What are the qualifications to join Infotakus?
Tomoyo-chan: That is the best part! There are not any, anyone can be part of it. Of course, we have staff and admin, but anyone can be a member. Our only golden rule is NO DRAMA. Otherwise, you are good to go.
Kris: Yes, that is a rule that should be heavily enforced, since the convention world is filled with it. So what does infotakus do over the course of the year?
Tomoyo-chan: We host gatherings for most of the major holidays: Valentine's Day, Easter, Summer, Halloween, Christmas. In other words, we get together when there is not a con going on, we also celebrate birthday parties
Kris: Awesome, have you considered expanding Infotakus beyond the LA area? Such as expansion into the Inland Empire, Orange County, or San Diego?
Tomoyo-chan: We have certainly thought about it, like maybe having gatherings in those areas and getting together with other clubs. There is a club based in the OC called the SoCal AMCC and we would love to do something with them at some point
Kris: Speaking of the future, what cosplay are you looking forward to doing in the near future?
Tomoyo-chan: Hhhhmmm I am going to do more video game/comic characters, I will do some. For WonderCon, I will be cosplaying Lara Croft.
Kris: What is your process for choosing a cosplay to wear at a convention?
Tomoyo-chan: It depends on the con, I have a master lists of cosplays I want to do. I look at the con and then check my master list. Wondercon is more comic/videogame related to me.
Kris: Ah, so you use the con to determine your cosplay.
Tomoyo-chan: Yup!! I also consider whom I am going with? Am I doing a group cosplay? Am I cosplaying solo?
Kris: Yes, that is quite a consideration. Okay, so let us go into another interesting point. How do you choose your cosplay photographer?
Tomoyo-chan: Good question! This is something I had an easy time with because one of the first cosplay photographers was awesome and he set a high standard for the rest I have met. That would be you, Kris!
Kris: Thank you, that is quite an honor.
Tomoyo-chan: You were the first person I ever had a shoot with!! Anyhow, it all about how comfortable you feel.
Kris: Well, let us go into it. What did you think about your first couple of photoshoots?
Tomoyo-chan: My first shoots were awesome….and again, it is because I felt so comfortable. There has to be a good dynamic I think between the cosplayer and the photographer.
Kris: Yes, having good rapport from trusting your photographer is very important.
Tomoyo-chan: Yup, the photographer needs to trust the cosplayer will do what needs to be done, like portraying the character in a certain way
Kris: Let us go to the other extreme end, have you had any bad experiences with a cosplay photographer?
Kris: So it came from a lack of knowledge and trust
Tomoyo-chan: Yup, both people need to trust and help each other
Kris: For any other photographers wanting to do shoots with you, do you have any suggestions or recommendations to make your experience a memorable and fun one?
Tomoyo-chan: Yeah, do not force me to do weird poses; just let me do my thing. Let the cosplayer have fun with the character because they probably know more about the character and the reason why they are cosplaying such a character.
Kris: Very true!! Looks like you are suggesting that a prerequisite for shooting with you is to have them shadow me to get an idea of how it works.
Tomoyo-chan: Yeah, pretty much! Ha ha ha
Kris: Okay, so let us go full circle here. Are you looking forward to the new Sailor Moon anime?
Tomoyo-chan: Yes and no! I know, confusing. I grew up with this image in my head you know?
Kris: Can you elaborate?
Tomoyo-chan: I am nervous as to what they will come up with. I am re-reading the manga so I hope they stay true to it, I am mostly nervous about the art.
Kris: So, your ideal reboot would be a version that follows the Manga more.
Tomoyo-chan: Yes - I think so. I mean I loved the old anime, but I felt sometimes it had too much filler if that makes sense
Kris: Yes, that is true. They pretty much spread 2.5 volumes over the course of a 40+ episode saga. That means LOTS of filler.
Kris: Thank you Tomoyo-chan for this enlightening interview. How can people get in touch with you?
Tomoyo-chan: no problem, thank YOU! They can check out my cosplay page:
tomoyo-chan cosplay: https://www.facebook.com/TomoyoCosplay
My DA - http://www.kimagurejen.deviantart.com/
My twitter - https://twitter.com/JenBar86
And also through Infotakus on FB
Kris: Thank you very much, I had a great time and I learned quite a bit about you. Please come back again for a future interview.
Tomoyo-chan: Sure! Anytime! Will do!!!
Interview Part I
Interview Part II