'Pretty' cosplayers Baozi & Hana to return to Singapore
Chinese cosplay duo Baozi & Hana are excited to return to S'pore for AFA
Cosplayers Baozi and Hana are so beautiful, they could almost be mistaken for women.
The androgynous-looking men, aged 24 and 22 respectively, are blessed with good genes, a talent for costuming and excellent make-up skills.
Hana especially is known for playing females when the duo cosplay together, sporting long, flowing wigs, false eyelashes and high heels.
"When I get mistaken for a girl when cosplaying female characters, I feel it is a success," said Hana from China via an e-mail interview with The New Paper.
"It is actually very troublesome for guys to cosplay female characters as the body proportions, make-up, facial expressions and poses are hard to control.
"But I enjoy it as I really like some of these female anime characters."
The China natives, who declined to reveal their real names, will be in town for Anime Festival Asia (AFA) 2016 at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre from Friday to Saturday.
With more than 232,000 Facebook followers and around 148,000 followers each on Instagram, Baozi and Hana are among the top cosplay celebrities in China.
They have published photo books and postcards, have fan clubs in the Philippines, Indonesia and Brazil, and started their own make-up company, HuaZhiXiao, in October.
Their range of cosmetics, sold on Chinese online marketplace Taobao, includes false eyelashes, eyeshadow kits and a make-up brush set.
"Cosplay is half a hobby and half a job because our work now is closely related to cosplay. We are really happy to have jobs we are passionate about," said Hana.
Baozi joked that his nickname, which means bun in Mandarin, came about "because I was a bit chubby when I started cosplaying, and my face looked like a bun".
Hana's handle, meaning "flower" in Japanese, is from Japanese romance film Hana And Alice.
The duo met at a Chinese cosplay event in 2011 and have been cosplaying together for five years.
"Hana is better at make-up and editing pictures, while I am good at making props and accessories. So the two of us together can complete any kind of cosplay," said Baozi.
Said Hana: "When we started cosplaying, we would slowly teach ourselves how to do make-up by watching online tutorials.
"We would analyse how to replicate different looks on our faces, and which kind of cosmetics and make-up styles suited us."
(From left) Hana as Natsume Takashi and Baozi as Natori Shuuichi from Natsume Yuujinchou. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/BAOZI&HANA
Baozi and Hana have a special affinity for Singapore, as they both studied here in 2014.
Though they did not wish to reveal which schools they attended, Baozi holds a Master in Business Administration, while Hana studied fashion design.
The pair returned to China before Hana's graduation to start their company after receiving support from a China investor.
"I hope I'll have a chance to return to Singapore and finish the course in the future," said Hana.
"We stayed in Singapore for over two years. We really like it. It is like our second home."
They may be stars in the cosplay world, but the duo confessed they are sometimes overwhelmed by their support from fans here.
Baozi said: "When we first came to Singapore, we didn't know if anyone would recognise us, but everyone supported us so enthusiastically."
Hana joked: "Because Singapore is very small, sometimes we would encounter our fans, but because we are very shy, we would run away."
He said their fan base is mostly female, but they are sometimes "pleasantly surprised" to see male fans.
As public figures, they are used to brickbats online but have adopted a mature attitude towards haters.
Said Hana: "Some unfriendly people leave comments online that bother us. But there is no point wasting time and energy on people who don't like you, while ignoring the friends who have always supported you."
Indeed, Baozi and Hana are looking forward to meeting their local fans at AFA, which Baozi called "their No. 1 favourite event".
"This is our fourth time attending AFA Singapore, and we are happy and excited to meet everyone again."