© Candee, Inc. / Mari Kurea

Cosplayers to Watch: Mari Kurea (Photos and Interview)

Mari Kurea spent her childhood years in the Philippines but turned 20 in Japan. Inspired by her longstanding love of anime and manga, Mari, or Maririn as she is known by her fans, began cosplaying four years ago and has since expanded her range of activities dramatically. She enjoys cosplaying a wide range of characters, from Haruhi Suzumiya, Tsukihi Araragi from Bakemonogatari, Kongou from Kantai Collection, Queen Medb and Scáthach from Fate/Grand Order and virtual YouTubers like Kizuna Ai and Mirai Akari, to name a few. In addition to cosplaying for fun, she is also active as a cosplay promotional model at events as well as a fashion model. She is very interested in expanding her activities beyond Japan!


Interview

grape Japan (gJ): Since when have you been cosplaying?

Mari Kurea (MK): My first time was back when I used to work in an amusement arcade. They had a campaign in which staff would cosplay characters as a tie-up with the game prizes and I cosplayed a character from One Piece. But the first time I cosplayed with my own outfit was four years ago at the Winter Comic Market when I cosplayed Haruhi Suzumiya!

With permission from © Candee, Inc. / © Mari Kurea

gJ: Why do you cosplay?

MK: Although my first opportunity to cosplay came about because of my work, I’ve always liked anime and manga. Seeing my favorite cosplayers on Twitter, I began to feel that I also wanted to cosplay my favorite characters so that I could become them! So, that’s how I got into cosplaying on my own. These days, I cosplay because I want to become my favorite characters and because I want to cosplay cute characters!

gJ: Do you have a particularly memorable cosplay experience?

MK: My most memorable cosplay is Scáthach from Fate/Grand Order, since she was the first cosplay for which I made the outfit myself. At the time, there weren’t any pre-made outfits on the market for Scáthach, so it really took a lot of effort, but when I finally finished it and took pictures of me wearing it, I was very happy with the result.

With permission from © Candee, Inc. / © Mari Kurea

With permission from © Candee, Inc. / © Mari Kurea

gJ: Do you make your own cosplay outfits?

MK: Usually, I don’t make an outfit from scratch but rather buy something and adjust it at home.

gJ: You’ve cosplayed everything from Sailor Mars to Kongou from Kantai Collection. Do the characters you cosplay have something in common? If so, what is it?

MK: To be honest, I don’t know... But since I cosplay for the enjoyment of it, I love each character I cosplay, so maybe that’s something they all have in common.

With permission from © Candee, Inc. / © Mari Kurea

gJ: How did you become an official cosplayer for Shinkūkan Dolls? What do you think about the game?

MK: An acquaintance of mine was looking for official cosplayers for Shinkūkan Dolls and I was lucky enough to have been contacted by him. Unfortunately, the app is no longer available. I was glad to have such a big opportunity of being among the first official cosplayers for the game and I could enjoy working with other cosplayers, so it was a very good experience for me.

gJ: How did you become the official cosplayer for [figure and moe goods delivery service] Moetaku!’s mascot character Moe Otakara? Do you cosplay her at events?

MK: First, I received an email from Moetaku! inviting me to be a cosplay promotional model at Wonder Festival. But then, I’m happy to say they kept me on for each Wonder Festival after that, and that’s how I ended up cosplaying their official mascot character Moe Otakara at the Moetaku! booth. Unfortunately, Moetaku! didn’t attend the last Wonder Festival, so I couldn’t go, but I think I’ll be working for them as cosplay promotional model the next time they do!

gJ: Is there anything you particularly pay attention to when you cosplay?

MK: Apart from work-related cosplay, when I participate in photo shoots or other activities on a personal basis, I always cosplay while keeping in mind how much I love the characters and the works they appear in.

With permission from © Candee, Inc. / © Mari Kurea

gJ: You grew up in the Philippines but when did you come to Japan?

MK: I came to Japan before I turned 20 but I lived in the Philippines from my 5th year of elementary school. You could say I spent the “springtime of my life” in the Philippines (lol).

gJ: Do you speak Tagalog and Spanish?

MK: I can speak Tagalog but not Spanish. My textbooks in school were in English, so, although I’m not extremely good at it, I can also speak English.

gJ: Have you participated in events abroad? If not, would you like to?

MK: I haven’t yet had a single opportunity to participate in an event abroad. I would really like to participate and interact with people from all over the world. My dream is to attend a cosplay event in the Philippines!

gJ: Do you have international fans? If so, how do you communicate with them?

MK: I don’t have too many fans among foreigners yet. Sometimes I receive comments in English on Twitter, so I respond in English when I do.

gJ: What do you think is your most attractive feature?

MK: I think my most attractive feature is my smile!

With permission from © Candee, Inc. / © Mari Kurea

With permission from © Candee, Inc. / © Mari Kurea

gJ: Do you have any hobbies aside from cosplaying?

MK: Karaoke, since I love to sing! I’m also happy when I’m comfy at home reading manga. I also play game apps on my smartphone every day.

gJ: It was your birthday on August 6th, so happy birthday! Did you do anything special?

MK: Thank you very much! On August 6th, I had dinner with some of my closest friends and ate delicious food, so it was a happy day! I also had a birthday event on August 18th. Many friends came to show support and celebrate with me, so it was a happy birthday for me!

With permission from © Candee, Inc. / © Mari Kurea

With permission from © Candee, Inc. / © Mari Kurea

gJ: Going forward, is there anything new you’d like to try?

MK: As I mentioned earlier, I’d like to attend events abroad someday. I look forward to interacting with all kinds of people because I’d like to expand my horizons.

gJ: Finally, would you like to say anything to grape Japan readers?

MK: Thank you so much for reading! I’d truly be happy if you learned something about Mari Kurea and if you got a bit interested in me as a result. I hope from the bottom of my heart that I’ll be able to meet you at an event someday!


Kurea Mari information

Profile

  • Date of Birth: August 6th
  • Country: Philippines
  • Height: 158 cm / 5'2"
  • Blood Type: B
  • Hobbies: Cosplaying, manga, anime, game apps, karaoke, idols

Experience

  • Nico Nico Chokaigi 2016, Official cosplayer for Shinkūkan Dolls
  • Wonder Festival 2016 Summer, Moetaku! booth, Official cosplayer for Moe Otakara

SNS

With permission from © Candee, Inc. / © Mari Kurea


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