Iconic cosplay model Neneko spoke to The Natural Aristocrat about her life’s passion, cosplaying as Dead or Alive’s Honoka & Marie Rose for Koei Tecmo, if she’d like to feature at New York Comic Con, and much more!
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT [NIR REGEV]: How did you first discover your passion for cosplaying?
NENEKO: I always admired Japanese culture from an early age in my childhood. Growing up, I felt further inspired by the beauty of their animated work. My classmate friends would craft fanzines and sell their drawings at events.
They told me about what Cosplay was and I started studying role playing on my own… Falling in love with the art form every day a bit more than the last.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Do you make your own costumes?
NENEKO: Some of the costumes I put together myself, some not. I have always been very meticulous about fine details and concerned about the overall look of the costumes. Usually even after others make them, I will find ways to rigorously make them look more restored and my own.
For example, whether the clothing accessories flow together as a complete match, if the size accentuates my body’s natural curves.
After I receive the clothes, I will make modifications to suit my body shape, and modify the details until I am satisfied. For me, it’s the pursuit of wearing the same outfit on my body but still channeling my own personality style through them.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: You’re well known in the Dead or Alive community for your exceptional cosplays of Honoka and Marie Rose. What was your process for bringing these characters to life?
NENEKO: I love fighting games, and actually first played Dead or Alive in elementary school. Honoka and Marie Rose didn’t exist at the time. When Dead or Alive 5 released with these two new characters when I grew up, I soon began to research clothing and accessories for hair and makeup.
For that photo shoot, I took took many in-game screenshots of fighting poses for inspiration. The series of photos that everyone has seen are from years ago now.
I really want to play these two roles again because I’ve learned so much since then and my Cosplay skills have improved a lot.
Plus, I have worked hard to lose weight and have a new posture. I feel confident that I can bring these two roles even closer to reality.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Koei Tecmo was so impressed by your Honoka cosplay, they had you represent Honoka at a Taiwan media press conference for Dead or Alive 6. What did that mean to you as a Dead or Alive fan?
NENEKO: Koei Tecmo has given me so many opportunities. I feel very honored and thank them for allowing me as a fan to have such an incredible experience. There’s two memories, two mementos of the experience I hold dear in my heart.
The first time I took a flight to Japan to participate in the Dead or Alive World Fighting Competition, there were players from various countries at the scene. At that time, I cosplayed Marie Rose with her voice actor Mai Aizawa live together. She was so cute to help me dub in the way of translation. So very kind and touching!
I also used Japanese to introduce myself. My Japanese is not very good, but I worked hard to make the players feel my enthusiasm.
The second time was the Dead or Alive 6 press conference.
I played Honoka and I was very nervous to meet the game’s producer! I even got the chance to play Dead or Alive with him. After all, I was a fan, so I was so excited.
I am really happy to have these two unforgettable opportunities and thank Koei Tecmo for making them happen and taking care of me.
These memories are still very unforgettable for me to this day!
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: One of your earliest cosplays was Yumeko Jabami of Kakegurui. Which part of the anime do you like best?
NENEKO: Every time Jabami Yumeko appeared on screen, I loved everything about her. Jabami is my favorite character type.
When gambling, her exaggerated expressions and thoughts are so very exciting! The animation has a happy atmosphere for me. I was impressed too by the design of “Deal With the Devil”, Kakegurui’s opening theme!
I’ve supported Kakegurui since the first Manga comic.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: What characters do you receive the most fan requests to cosplay as?
NENEKO: The cute type is usually the most requested. There are funny ones requested too and I try my best to play it. Everyone usually enjoys it!
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Your most recent cosplay for Shadow of Nyog is amazingly detailed. What can you tell us about the cosplay?
NENEKO: Shadow of Nyog is a mobile game where the developer wanted me to portray the role of Little Red Riding Hood. The background is made by a Taiwanese studio!
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Would you like to go overseas to New York Comic Con to meet your fans?
NENEKO: It would be amazing! I’ve never been to New York City and would love to be part of the convention. If the organizers are willing to arrange and send me an invitation, I am happy to bring my cosplay enthusiasm to everyone!
Just email me. I will specially prepare new costumes for the anime fans in New York!
What is your most popular cosplayed character of all time?
NENEKO: In the beginning, it was K-On!’s heroine Hirasawa Yui. I relished playing this role in various ways. Many fans started to know me because of this role.
Later, the most popular role was Kurumi Tokisaki from Date A Live. She is a very Charismatic character!
Have you considered pursuing an acting career?
NENEKO: I am very willing to challenge myself if a studio is interested in casting me!
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Thanks Neneko!
NENEKO: Thank you!
Looking for more Fashion & Cosplay Interviews and Industry News?
– Be sure to read our exclusive interview with Instagram model and reality TV starHeidi Mae!
– Check out our interview with Mrs. America, Mulan costume designer Bina Daigeler on researching every detail (Interview)
– Kakegurui fan? Read our Fantasia Kakegurui film review
– Go to The Natural Aristocrat’s Fashion section for more Fashion Industry and Cosplay coverage!
– Fan of Team Ninja’s fighting game series Dead or Alive and Japanese video games & Anime in general? Visit the Gaming & Anime sections for the latest industry news and interviews! One step closer to becoming a core fighter (or reader) yourself…