COURTESY ZARLI WIN
Jolene Sasaki, 25, cosplayed as Soi Fong, the tough leader of the Secret Mobile Forces from the anime "Bleach."
Profile: Jolene Sasaki
For Jolene Sasaki, 25, a University of Hawaii student and graphics designer, the most detailed costume she's done in her two years of "official" cosplaying is Soi Fong, the tough leader of the Secret Mobile Forces from the anime "Bleach." She made the "happi coat, hakama, Suzumebachi weapon, hair extensions, rings on the hair, everything," she says. "It took about a month. Every weekend I worked on it."
When choosing a character to cosplay, "I look for someone with a similar facial structure as me ... also personality and attitude," Sasaki says. Among other costumes, she has also dressed as Rukia Kuchiki from the same anime, and has previously done her own version of a moogle, a creature from the "Final Fantasy" video game series that has become one of the series' unofficial mascots.
Within her circle of friends who cosplay, Sasaki is one of the few who has previous sewing experience, so for the past few years it's fallen to her to lead the group through the process. Her Kunia home becomes costume-creation central in the months leading up to Kawaii Kon as the group gets together nearly every weekend to make clothing and accessories. This year, with the number of cosplayers and amount of work to be done, she made a posterboard with instructions to help people along. Her boyfriend, Ron Kaneshige, 26, also a cosplayer, affectionately describes her as "the guild leader in a sewing guild."
Sasaki's next costume will be Chi, the main female robot companion from the anime "Chobits" who wears several very detailed dresses throughout the series. Sasaki is making a white, frilly one.
One of her more unique suggestions for cosplayers: "Elmer's glue is really useful for hair," she says, since it dries clear and washes out with water. She used it to keep her hair in place for her Rukia costume.
"(Cosplaying is) a lot of fun," she adds. "Anime was something fun that I watched (in high school). Seeing more people cosplay, it brings out the more fun side."