Interview with Zacky D. of Pop Culture Hiroshima 2020/2021’s Team India

THE MAGIC RAIN had the opportunity to speak with Zacky D., a cosplayer from Shillong who recently represented India at Pop Culture Hiroshima Online 2021. Together with his teammate Garry (also known as Jester Scar), Zacky formed Abyssal Scar Cosplay, a cosplay team that has won numerous competitions such Shangri-La Cosfest and the Cherry Blossom Cosplay Competition, as well as placing second in India’s World Cosplay Summit 2021 qualifiers.

Keep reading to learn more about his experiences in the world of cosplay!

Disclaimer: Answers may be edited for clarity of reading comprehension.

What got you into cosplay?

I’m a total nerd when it comes to anime and games. Though I wasn’t always aware of cosplay in general, I used to see famous cosplayers such as Alodia Gosengfiao on Animax and used to wonder if I’d be able to make costumes for myself and if it will be as good as the others’. The urge never died and here I am today still doing cosplay as a hobby and as a source of side income for 6 years, which is still fairly new in the professional field.

Since the day I made and wore my first initial costumes (though they were not so good, haha) people loved it, and I enjoy seeing people smile, especially if they know the character.

What’s your favourite thing about cosplay and the cosplay community in India?

Cosplay showed me a path to a world where I could become my favorite characters and act like them or simply be them for the rest of the day. It makes me much more confident as a person, because I’ve always had a hard time socialising with people.

The anime and cosplay communities in India are quite vast and filled with fun-loving people, and many states have their own conventions as well. It’s a great place for anyone interested in cosplay to indulge in; even though they might be new to the concept, they can socialize with other cosplayers to learn something new. Apart from featuring local cosplayers, some events also have international ties with other events, which helps a lot in letting our country’s love for cosplay be known.

Your team cosplayed as Gilgamesh and Berserker from Fate/Zero for Pop Culture Hiroshima 2020. Tell us more about how you prepared for the competition. 

Firstly, I was more than excited to work on a new project. It took me a week just to shortlist a character before I finally landed on Gilgamesh and Berserker, which I have no regrets, haha. We had around 3 months to prepare for the costume as well as the performance, so we started working right away by making blueprints.

It’s fun crafting but when you know your deadline is creeping in, you have sleepless nights just to finish the costume on time, and since the state we live in doesn’t have all the things we need, we have to order materials from other states in India or import it from other countries which can take a lot of time.

Surprisingly, we took only 3 days to write down a script for the performance and practice it, while also trying to put elements of memes into the play, since people love meme culture.

In addition to participating in many different cosplay competitions, you’ve also been a judge. What are some things that you look for in a competition entry?

I make sure that all aspects of a costume are taken into consideration such as small details which might not be visible from the stage and can be easily missed out; and also looking for creative thought processes that went into making the costume and props, such as substituting EVA foam for cardboard or other materials.

I don’t mind when contestants substitute materials, as long as it looks good and close to the actual character which they are cosplaying. Plus, it’s also considerate to the environment for reusing items. That’s why even for us, we always try to make use of many reusable items for our props since it can save some bucks.

You’ve also worked on making props for music videos, films, and private commissions. What is your most memorable propmaking project so far?

I’m a mass media major and currently work for a media production house, TheHillsPeople, which fits well with my propmaking experience, since I get opportunities to work with renowned filmmakers such as Wanphrang Diengdoh. I have had many thrilling experiences along with my cosplay partner Garry.

One of the most exciting but also nerve-wracking projects we’ve had would be the making of a parade float or tableau for Independence Day, because it was my first time creating such huge props for a big truck. It was created for the Directorate of Health Services (DHS).

As a cosplayer, have you faced any issues with cosplaying during the pandemic?

Yes, definitely. Apart from not being able to visit Japan (cries in pain), I was looking forward to attend many cosplay conventions across the country and meet new people. Lack of materials and fabrics are also a hindrance since deliveries are getting delayed, so it’s hard to come up with new costumes or even get clients’ work done immediately.

I guess we all have to be patient and protect ourselves during this pandemic, and I pray that we all can meet again with armor which causes us back pains, which is still better than Covid.

Lastly, do you have any advice to give to someone who’s thinking about trying out cosplay for the first time?

Cosplay is a wonderful hobby. No matter who you are or where you’re from, cosplay is for everyone. For those who want to start cosplaying and jump right into this world, don’t worry about anything as long as you are happy to be that character you’ve always wanted to become. You’re gonna meet like-minded people in cons and I kid you not, it will be one of the best experiences you will cherish.

We’d like to thank Zacky D. once again for taking part in this interview! If you’d like to see more of his work, or even commission a cosplay of your own, be sure to check out Abyssal Scar Cosplay on Facebook.

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