She keeps her cosplaying life secret from friends
University student keeps identity secret even as some fans recognise her out of costume
She has been in the cosplay scene for about eight years, but Kirisaki (not her real name) is still concerned about letting her friends know about her passion.
The 23-year-old university student, who has brightly coloured dyed hair, is not fond of entertaining questions about her cosplay life.
Kirisaki told The New Paper yesterday at The Cathay's J-Obsession 2016 event: "People in my school don't know that I do cosplay. I like to keep my cosplay life private.
"I don't like to tell people because they tend to think that it's a weird hobby.
"I find it convenient to just avoid telling people so that I don't have to explain to them when they ask me questions."
Kirisaki's family, though, know about her cosplaying.
"At first, my mother was unsupportive of it, but after a few years, she became more and more supportive by saying things like, 'Oh, the costume you made is really nice'," said Kirisaki.
"My father just goes with the flow."
Kirisaki and Ms Sabrina Wong were the two local guest cosplayers invited to appear at The Cathay's J-Obsession 2016 event.
About 500 cosplayers gathered to attend the three-day event, which ended yesterday.
Anzu Manaka and Martha Asahi, two of Japan's most well-known cosplayers, also made appearances.
Even though she hides her real identity, she has been recognised by strangers.
"Once, I had no make-up and cosplay costume on, but people still recognised me from far away.
"They went up to my friend and asked, 'Is that Kirisaki?' and they wanted to take a picture with me," she said.
"On Friday, I was dressed in T-shirt, shorts and slippers and this uncle suddenly came up to me and said, 'Can I take a picture of you?'.
"I don't know how these people recognise me."
When asked about some of her pleasant and unpleasant fan encounters, Kirisaki said: "Another time, I went to the Philippines for a convention as a guest with my friend. The fans there were so crazy.
"There was one girl whom I waved at, she started running in circles after I waved at her.
"When my friend waved at her, she actually ducked under the table."
But some fans are not so nice.
Kirisaki gets weird messages from people online and some even send her obscene photos.
Kirisaki started cosplaying when she was around 14.
She had been interested in anime since young, but it was only when her friend took her to Cosfest Asia that she became interested in cosplaying.
"I like pretty costumes, I like looking pretty, I like anime, so I guess cosplay kind of combines everything," said Kirisaki.
She has made more than 250 costumes over the span of seven years.
She started taking commissioned jobs two years ago and tries to keep her rate under $200 for a costume.
"I do an average of five costumes per month.
"I use the extra cash for food - I eat a lot," giggled Kirisaki.
She taught herself to sew by watching online tutorials and reading books.
"My mum used to be tailor, so her criticisms on my sewing also helped me improve," she said.
At yesterday's event, Kirisaki was dressed as the character Honoka from the Love Live! anime series.
Wearing skimpy costumes is not really Kirisaki's style.
"I do wear skimpy costumes, but just not in public, only for myself," she said.
When asked her thoughts on cosplayers who wear skimpy costumes, Kirisaki said: "It depends on the characters they are trying to portray.
"If the character is sexy, then there is nothing wrong with wearing a skimpy costume.
"I know cosplayers who wear skimpy costumes for the attention, but some cosplayers actually do it for the passion."
The fans there were so crazy.
There was one girl whom I waved at, she started running in circles after I waved at her.
- Local cosplayer 'Kirisaki' on an encounter with a fan in the Philippines
The 'little girl with big props'
Ms Sabrina Wong is no newbie to the cosplay scene.
She is a two-time winner of the J-Obsession cosplay competition - in 2013 and 2014.
The 27-year-old, who is known as Sabbie in the cosplay scene, is an executive in the property industry.
She is known for being the "little girl with big props".
Ms Wong told The New Paper yesterday: "I like to cosplay with big props because I feel that little girls tend to get underestimated.
"Having big props allows them to look impressive and to stand out from the crowd so that people will not look down on them.
"I find those characters with big props interesting as well.
"Big props are meaningful to portray the character and the anime," she said.
At yesterday's event, Ms Wong was dressed as the character Ranka Lee from the anime Macross Frontier.
She said her job does not keep her from doing what she loves.
"My job doesn't affect my cosplay. I will always find time to do it," said Ms Wong.
She started performing with a local band singing J-pop songs in 2007, before getting into the cosplay scene in 2010.
The band is called Ryuusei, which translates to "shooting star", and they cover Japanese songs.
"My circle of friends have always been very into Japanese pop culture, so I first started when a few friends asked me to join them for cosplaying.
"I didn't really get into it until a few years later," she said.
She learnt from friends how to make props.
Ms Wong's parents are supportive of her cosplaying, she said, adding: "They only complain about the props taking up a lot of storage space at home."
Ms Wong added: "My mother even told me, 'Remember to thank the friends who taught you how to make those cosplay outfits'."
Her husband, 28, is also supportive of her hobby.
"He also enjoys the J-pop culture. He doesn't do cosplay, but he does have other things that he is interested in," said Ms Wong.
Big props are meaningful to portray the character and the anime.
- Ms Sabrina Wong on why she chooses to portray characters with big props