Heaven’s Gem Cosplay recreates fan favorite tokusatsu characters using creativity and compassion.
What got you interested into cosplay?
What got me into cosplay was its way of bringing people together. I started out in 2011 as was a way of making friends and finding your own creativity. I was a very introverted growing up, and there weren’t many outlets for creativity. I wanted an outlet and I wanted to make friends in the fandoms that I was in. I loved anime and the arts, I love being challenged and creating costumes and learning how to sew. Going to conventions helped me broaden my horizons. I began to open up to people and start having fun, and cosplay helped me connect with people who have similar interests as me. This helped me grow as a person, as I started coming out of my shell and started enjoying the color that cosplay has brought to my life.
When and how did you discover tokusatsu?
I found out about Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in 1995 when I was around was 8 years old. Power Rangers showed me that normal people can become extraordinary. Around the same time, BeetleBorgs began playing on TV. Through my childhood, Power Rangers were a way to aspire to do something greater than myself. I found out about tokusatsu around 2002, during Kamen Rider Ryuki‘s TV run. I always loved fantasy, dragons and the like. Being a kid, I had no idea what was going on, but I was fascinated.
Can you walk us through your process in creating a cosplay?
When working on any character, I first look at just how much do I like that character, what intrigued me about this character. Almost all the tokusatsu characters I have ever cosplay were closet cosplay, which means I look for what I have in my closet that can match what that character wears in the show. Let’s take Ankh, the Bird Greeed from Kamen Rider OOO as an example, he was my first Live Action cosplay. Ankh presented several interesting challenges to my creative process. He had worn many different outfits throughout the show some it was interesting to pick and choose which outfits I wanted to match. Once I chose the outfits I wanted to replicate, I began to start looking for the clothes. When it came down to figuring out his red arm wrap. I went and bought two button down shirts in black and white and I bought red satin. the satin was sewn on by hand, and fasten the gold accessories to keep the wrap in place in key spots. The biggest challenge that I had was Ankh’s hair. I found a lacefront wig and just began curling until I felt that the hair was to my liking. The Bird arm that Ankh wears is something I am still working on.
When I plan a sewing project, I look at my budget, finding the best fabric within that budget. I look online for patterns when I can’t get access to them when I go shopping in the fashion district. Most that I find online, I take as they are and if they are able to be printed. I take the patterns that I find and modify them. I’m looking to see what patterns I can take and make it work for the character I’m creating.
If you could cosplay any character, who would it be?
I would love to one day cosplay the TaJaDor Combo suit from Kamen Rider OOO.
What is your favorite tokusatsu series and why?
My favorite tokusatsu series is Kamen Rider OOO. Ryuki introduced me to tokusatsu, but OOO came in a time in my life where it’s message was something that I needed. When does desire to do good become corrupt? The core of OOO was fighting social conditioning and that desire isn’t inherently evil, it is a source with you choose your path with. Eiji had a desire to help people. He wanted to reach out to those in need. When he lost his desire, for himself to do good, it took a Greeed, an embodiment of desire, to show him that a desire is what you need to live. I was taught that being selfish isn’t a bad thing, to want something for yourself isn’t wrong. I began to understand that I need to live in my own light, the desire to live in my own light, and help people.
What’s the funniest experience you’ve had while cosplaying?
One of the funniest moments I’ve ever had in cosplay was when I was dressed as Ferid Bathory, a vampire from Owari No Seraph, who is known to be a sadistic kind of character. A friend and I went around as Mika and Ferid in 2015 at Katsucon. During that time this series was very popular, and most of the time I would walk a few small steps behind my Mika. Several other Mika cosplayers would see her first and happily approach her, meanwhile, I would come up behind my Mika and see the other cosplayer jump at least three feet away from us, I couldn’t stop laughing. This scenario would repeat itself most of that day, and it’s the fondest memory I have.
What advice would you give to yourself when you first started?
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Don’t be afraid to engage people. Cosplay is meant to be fun and you will find amazing people in the fandoms you love.
Where can we find your work?
My fanpage on Facebook.
Do you have any cosplays you’re currently working on that you’d like to share?
I’m proud to say that I’m starting to learn more elaborate foam work. I am working on the base form of Kamen Rider OOO. I am also debuting Asakura Takeshi, and a newer version of Ryuga Banjou. Outside Kamen Rider, I am working on Sailor Mars and Sailor Moon, and I’m happy to say that I am debuting Rio from Gekiranger at Katsucon.