Although the 2008 New York Anime Festival has passed, we are very pleased to have shared such enjoyable memories with you all. With the help of our devoted readers, we were able to sort through hundreds of cosplay photos naming three as our winners one of which is David Santiago (third place). From our interview with him, we learned that David has an interesting sense of humor and great cosplaying style. His point of view is one of pure engagement that is a truly inspirational take on cosplaying and enjoying what you love most.
Q: Was this your first time cosplaying?
A: No I’m not a cosplay virgin lol I believe once in 2002 i cosplayed once, but in 2006 i came back cosplaying, first con at baff in the marriot hotel in midtown then i came back and cosplayed in otakon 2006 from there on i’ve been on a role
Q: What first inspired you to cosplay?
A: It’s fun to cosplay and join in with your fellow otaku in a experience that you share with a couple of thousand others like yourself. It’s the one time you can dress as some one you like in a anime or video game and then on the plus act like them unless your character is a perv then maybe not
Q: Can you tell us a bit on your winning costume… what was your costume for that day?
A: I was dressed as El Blaze he is a character from the virtuia fighter video game series he is a luchador(Mexican style wrestling)who is the light heavyweight champion who wants to challenge the heavyweight champion Wolf and anyone else to test his skills and courage to see if he the true ultimate fighter
Q: So.. you are a fan of Wrestling?
A: Yes and no. i am huge fan of lucha librewrestling i think American wrestling has turned to much in to gossip girl but instead of short skirts and high heels there wearing wrestling trunks and championship belts. If it wasn’t for my father then i wouldn’t be el blaze today he was the one that got me hooked on lucha libre and he taught me to wrestle my father had a small stint as a wrestler in high school so like wise i did the same in school but the wrestling team didn’t have funds to continue for the season thus brings us here today. I just hope my dad is looking down on me smiling or laughing seeing me as El Blaze
Q: Do you have any favorite Wrestling (Lucha Libre) athletes?
A: Yes i do, my favorite wrestler was Mil Mascaras he is a legend of the old he literally had a thousand mask of different designs and wore them through out his career he was strong and a champion many many times he to was my fathers hero but the reason I like Mil is because he embodied the true spirit of strength and courage and that is what makes a champion who he is.
Q: What type of planning goes into your Costume?
A: Well as long as i get started wayyyyyyy ahead of time because i don’t have a fixed schedule as to when i am going to make it it just happens as to when I’m in the mood
Q: Did you make it yourself?
A: Yes and i had help by studying a mask i already had. it fit me nice so i used it as a guide as to how i will make El Blaze’s mask
Q: How many conventions do you attend a year?
A: 4 cons a year
Q: Do you always attend in costume?
A: Yes i do love the attention but on Sundays i don’t that’s my be me day
Q: What are some of the other costumes you have worn?
A: Well a long time ago when BAFF (R.I.P) was around I was Hiei from Yu Yu Hakusho but I’m well known as kinikuman Neisi (kid muscle) from the anime Ultimate Muscle
Q: How do you decide which costumes to design and wear next?
A: It depends on the character I am inspired to go as, I always loved the ultimate muscle series and i wanted to go as Kid Muscle but i was not in shape since i was in a car accident in 2005 my right elbow right femur bone on my legend collar bone were broken but through perseverance and determination i got myself back in shape and i was better than ever, then i was on the road to cosplay as one of my favorite characters. As for El Blaze his whole outfit was cool from the mask to the flames and the phoenix on the pants and since i’m into lucha libre style wrestling it was the perfect fit for me
Q: What are the best things about being involved in cosplay?
A: Being the character you like and mingling with others that are from the same series or video game your character is in or people that just like the character your dressed as
Q: So when you wear your costume are you “in Character”?
A: I’m in character if someone approaches me as if I am the character and when taking a picture but besides that I just be me when I talk to others or hang out in the main hall or wherever else in the con but I think people were intimated by me so don’t be you can approach me as anyone else lol
Q: Are you looking forward to cosplay at NY Comic Con? Who will you be?
A: Yes I am looking forward to comic con and again El Blaze will make a encore appearence, back by popular demand. I also want to thank everyone who voted for me because if not for you I would not be in the top 3 so next time I’m gonna be number one “I’ll become invincible beyond all imagination!” El Blaze