Cosplayer Spotlite: Torihime

This week we are shining our spotlight on NJ cosplayer Torihime (she/her)!

Keqing from Genshin Impact (photo by Kyungjin91)

How long have you been a cosplayer?
My first cosplay was Mew Ichigo for Halloween in 2006. I was only 13, and my beloved grandma taught me how to make it after much pestering! I didn’t get to my first convention until a year later for MangaNEXT 2007.

 What got you into cosplay?
Honestly, I can’t say for sure. I loved Sailor Moon and Tokyo Mew Mew, and I really, really, REALLY wanted to wear those costumes! They were so pretty! My grandmother had always made my brother’s and my Halloween costumes growing up, so the idea of custom costumes and sewing was very familiar to me, I’d just never done it before myself. I wanted that cute pink dress, and begged her to make it for me. She said she couldn’t, she was too old, and so I said, “Fine! Teach me to do it, then, I’ll do it!” And that was the start of the madness.

Do you make, buy, or is it a combination?
At this point, a combination. I used to be very proud that every cosplay was handmade, but as I’ve aged and cosplays have gotten more complex, I just don’t have the fabric printing technology, 3D printing, or embroidery machines to keep up. I simply can’t afford them, so some things that I can still manage with what tech I do have, I’ll gladly make! If not, or if the cost of making it will exceed a store-bought, I’ll cave to purchasing. Some cosplays only get worn a few times. It isn’t always worth the dozens of hours and hundreds of dollars. Choose wisely and craft what’s dear to your heart.

Mew Ichigo from Tokyo Mew Mew at MangaNEXT 2007

First cosplay?
Mew Ichigo from Tokyo Mew Mew! I had every manga volume, and my friend wanted to be Berry with me. It was so fun! I made everything, both of our costumes and props, I loved it.

Latest cosplay?
Arlecchino from Genshin Impact. Who doesn’t love a baddie? Even my mom and head teacher have said, “oh, so she’s like you, adopting your younger friends and managing your students.” I felt kind of called out… but in a funny way I hadn’t considered.

Favorite thing about being a cosplayer?
Oh, gods, where do I even start?? The first thing that comes to mind is the amazing power to shapeshift. We can be any body shape, personality, gender, age, species, etc we want! It’s wild to see someone I know personally go from Girahim one day to Ada Wong the next. We’re all magicians now, and the skills and tech are always improving. Other honorable mentions are the personal community and found family one can forge, the creativity you wouldn’t find anywhere else, and the memories I’ve made along the way. I’ve made the most wonderful friend groups over the last 18 years, and I have no intention of letting them go. I would never have met them if it weren’t for cosplay.

Least favorite thing?
By far, the toxicity the cosplay community has bred and created within itself… From just “being cringy” to downright racism, people forget who they are when presented with the face of anonymity. People will attack each other over such a simple thing as a costume for a day, or use it as an excuse to forget that they are, in fact, human and should really act like it. Words and actions are exceptionally hurtful, and especially in today’s world of social media and camera phones, word of what you do will spread SO fast. Don’t forget who you are, and don’t forget who you’re speaking to is another human being with feelings and a life you don’t know.

What do you do for work outside of cosplay?
Accidentally, I am a one-to-one ADA paraprofessional and occasional substitute teacher. I work with specifically one young lady in an 18-21 program for students with disabilities and special needs. This is FAR from my field (I have a BFA in costume design), but I fell into it out of convenience, and I actually love it. I love my students, I love my head teacher, I love my fellow paras, and I know the work I’m doing is meaningful to both my student and her classmates. I’m the youngest para in the room by a long shot, so they can easily talk to me about pop culture or current trends, and get some fresh life advice from someone who just started in this questionable economy we have going on these days.

What are your top 3 fandoms?
There are some fandoms I don’t entirely interact with, but I would probably say Danmei (TGCF primarily), Twisted Wonderland (Pom and Scarabia best dorms!), and Genshin Impact on and off. Depends on the story they’re running and characters at the time. Honorable mentions are JJK, Bungou Stray Dogs, and Final Fantasy XIV! Feel free to talk to me about any of them. Or anything, really!

What cosplay are you planning next?

Thanatos from Hades at MAGFEST (photo by Candy Striped Cosplay)

I’m actually planning on finishing one I started, and one that needs upgrading. The first is Overblot Vil from Twisted Wonderland. I made some killer progress, but when it became apparent I wasn’t going to be able to finish in time for this past Otakon, it kind of fell by the wayside. Now I just want to see it done and be proud of my handiwork. The second is Thanatos from Hades. I worked SO hard on that cosplay, but there were parts that were impractical for Magfest use. Since Hades 2 is on the way (screaming internally), I want to finish it and give it the love and attention it deserves!

What’s one piece of advice for new cosplayers?
I have so much, my gods…. I guess, do everything with intent. Decide what that intent is from the beginning, and use it as a guideline. What on earth am I talking about? Okay, say you want to compete with a cosplay. You want to show the judges and win an award. Put. Your. Heart. And. Soul. Into. That. Cosplay. Show the judges your best, nitpick those details, it will all matter so much in the end! On the other hand, if you’re cosplaying with a group of friends and you plan on making a bunch of videos or having a photoshoot, focus on the group. Your wee details may not match someone else’s, your colors may be a bit off, your wig may be a bit crooked… and that’s okay! You’re with your group, you’re with your friends, you’re going to make MEMORIES. Memories you’ll talk about eighteen years from now, I promise. But not if they’re listening to you whine about how something isn’t quite right, or how something keeps falling off. Match their energy. You’re a team, you’re no longer the individual. You’re not being judged. Go have fun!

Where can people find you on social media?
I’m @ Torihime or @ TorihimeCosplay on most social medias. I also have a LinkTree! If I’m allowed to plug one last thing, PLEASE scroll to the last thing on my LinkTree, Bunny Brigade Inc! I’m a mom to four wonderful bunny balls of fluff that I wouldn’t trade for the world, and Bunny Brigade has been wonderfully helpful to us along the way. I don’t have enough time to explain everything, but after losing one son, they came through with flying colors for our girl to choose a new bond for life, and they’re the happiest little munchkins to this day. They helped us with another one of our buns I’m going to keep hush hush for their sake as well, I can’t thank them enough! Please give them all your love and support, sponsor a bun, buy from their Amazon Wishlist, whatever you can manage. They do AMAZING work in the bunny rescue community, show them some love!

Below is a gallery of some of our featured subject’s cosplays! 

About Gabby Bibus

Gabby has been obsessed with anime since she was just 9 years old, and is proud to say she has watched over 200 different series. But that’s not even her biggest claim to fame: she also lives on a farm with over 80 goats! Although anime and animals are her two favorite things in the world, she also loves music, books, and movies. Her day job is a middle school ESL teacher, and she is also a staff member at the New Jersey Renaissance Faire.

View all posts by Gabby Bibus

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.