Cosplay has come a long way in India, and we’ve seen quite a few amazing cosplays at various Gaming, Anime and Comic Conventions. It was at IGX, Mumbai that we saw Rhea, aka Rheality Lapse, in an amazing Tomb Raider cosplay.
We were blown away by how accurately it captured the essence of Lara Croft’s origin saga! Sadly, we weren’t able to stick around and chat with Rhea, but we recently got the chance and she had a really heartwarming story to tell us about her journey as a cosplayer, and how cosplay has influenced her being the person she is today. Read on!
Gaming Central: Tell us a bit about yourself?
Rheality Lapse: Hi, I am Rhea (aka Rheality Lapse). I am a moody writer, an editor by profession and a cosplayer by passion 🙂 I come from a variety of cultures since I moved around a lot as a child. Since India does have so much diversity in terms of culture, I became a person who loves embracing diversities and other cultures.
My love for Japanese culture transcends anime and gaming. I love Greek and Norse mythology. In short, I don’t see “different” as a threat; I see it as a warm welcoming change.
GC: How and when did you start doing cosplays? What got you onto it?
RL: Back in 2010, I came across this girl called Niha Novacaine; now that very girl is a PRO cosplayer and much of a celebrity in the cosplay crowd 🙂 I started cosplaying since I got a lot of motivation from Niha and I always did want to turn into a character I loved. Cosplay became a medium for me to do exactly that. My friends were very supportive. My then boyfriend and now husband Shaival cosplayed along with me and also was very supportive of me doing cosplays (yes, I am married!)
GC: How is it being a Cosplayer in India? What are the challenges you face?
RL: Honestly, I did not know a thing about cosplay and to me it appeared both surreal and intimidating! I never thought that this day would come where I would have done as many cosplays and costests with raging passion. It is a hobby that grows with time.
Some people find it way too eccentric, I have encountered such people in day-to-day life. They usually give reactions like they’d just gasp and joke about how we look like something has possessed us. I always laughed it off and it never really bothered me because I feel like that about many things in this world that are normal to other people but I can never imagine doing it, so to each his own.
My family has been very supportive about this hobby. They find it amusing too! Which is fine by me. To sum it up I have always taken whatever positivity that I could, ‘cause when you do something you love and you do it for yourself, the world and its opinions fades away, somewhere 🙂
GC: What does Cosplay mean to you? Why do you do it?
RL: Cosplay means passion to me. It is something that helps me grow as a person. It helps me explore parts of me through characters that I probably would not have explored. So I owe a lot to cosplay for being the person that I am today.
GC: Rheality Lapse. Where does the name come from? What does it mean and represent about you?
RL: Rheality lapse simply is my name manipulated into the word ‘Reality’! The line between what is real and what is not real fades on my page as I do my best to bring the characters that do not exist anywhere but are etched in our minds, to life for a fragment of time. That, to me is the lapse. It is an eternal one! (Hopefully).
GC: Cosplay is highly influenced by Anime, Manga and Video Games. What are your favorites?
RL: Yes, cosplay is all about anime, games, manga. Why would I not like to see a character I love brought to life? Be it by me or be it by some other cosplayer, I would always love coming across people who passionately work towards it and stay in character. It just gives you this exhilarating feeling, I cannot describe it in words but yes, it is just REALLY cool!
My favourite cosplay character is Diva from Blood+. It is an old anime. I started my cosplay fiasco with Diva, and I will one day perfect it. So I have cosplayed Diva twice already. I love her character so much that I was not happy at all with the outcome. So till I meet my level of expectation for Diva, it would be one heck of a day for me! Influence on me was first anime and manga and now it is games and series, as well as movies!
Another huge influence is Artworks by Artists. If I see an artwork and I really LOVE it I always contact the artist and take permission and their views about how to go about the cosplay. Cosplay and Art are two sides of the same coin, after all.
As far as Video Games go, League of legends is currently my favorite game and my favorite champ there is Morgana. She is a fallen angel and I connect with her a lot not because I have a knack for liking fallen dark characters but I love everything about her, from her torn wings to her taunts her dance, where she seems like she does not have a care in the world but she always repeats “Feel my pain.” I love how she can be easily perceived as being evil but I really think she is misunderstood and she sacrificed herself for greater powers, just because she is not on the side of light does not make her evil.
GC: How do you pick the Cosplays that you do? How do you make them? What challenges do you face?
RL: Picking up cosplays is simple. I connect with a character, I work towards it. I watch the way they talk, their body language, their postures, as much as I can. Absorb it and present it. Two cosplayers can cosplay the same character and be very different. I may concentrate on certain things while the other concentrates on other factors. There is no right or wrong here. It really is all about how you perceive the character and how they influence you.
Since most characters I pick are complex, they are very well-rounded personalities. Like Diva from Blood+, manga is not a villain but an anti-hero. There is a huge difference. I of course would not be able to do it if my fellow cosplayers did not help me out; Niha Novacaine and Dancing Kitteh Cosplay, as well as Vijay Sinha cosplay have helped me out.
Redemption props has shown me what it is to make something like foam look like an intimidating armour, he is a genius with crafting! Without the early guidance from Niha, I’d be totally lost! So her PRO support and her faith and confidence in me really pushed me towards bettering my skills, and I will continue to do so in the future, as well.
GC: You are now among the most renowned Cosplayers in India. How has the journey been? Any special mentions or shoutouts?
RL: Oh wow, I don’t know if I am very renowned. Very humbling of anyone to think I am one of the better-known cosplayers! The journey has been FUN and frankly a lot of late nights and blood and sweat (literally).
Cosplayers are not just people in costume, they are people in character, wearing something uncomfortable but doing their best to not show the discomfort because they want to live up to the character’s reputation! They will smile and be very happy to be recognised and click pictures as long as people reciprocate the respect the cosplayers show towards them.
My shout out to all the aspiring cosplayers or just admirers would be, don’t be scared, people will judge you but who cares as long as you are having fun. Step out and be what you want to be, let yourself fail, it is but a stepping stone to numerous wins and most importantly the feeling of happiness you’d feel that YOU brought an artist’s hard work to LIFE.
GC: How has the Cosplay scene evolved in India? Is it still in the nascent stages or advancing steadily? What’s needed to make it as big as it is US, Europe or Japan?
RL: Cosplay in India has evolved at an insane rate. It is so cool to see the standards going up and people coming out of their comfort zones and trying new things out. We still have a long way to go before we catch up with the States and Japan etc. But I am sure that day is going to come very soon!
GC: Lets step away from Cosplay for a bit. What are your interests?
RL: Apart from cosplay, I love reading books, I love writing poems and I love eating. I cannot live without cheesecake, seriously! I work as an editor so that one day I can hopefully write a book and get it published and make a difference in the world. Someday! My favourite book is The Catcher in the Rye. Love the book, have read it multiple times. It is my Bible. I read bits from it whenever I am low or whenever I need a laugh. It is not just a book, it is like a person for me; that lends a guiding hand to me from time to time.
Life Is Strange became an instant favorite game for me since it was filled with references from the book. The game was not only a visual treat, but it was also about the long dead American Dream. I loved the game to the core!
It’s hard to pick a single movie, but if I had to I’d have to go with ‘Born Free’. I loved everything about the movie. The other Elsa, the lioness and her journey back into the wild where she belonged and free. I love animals so this was a movie I grew up with fond memories.
My family is in Kolkata while I live in Mumbai, I miss them dearly and I occasionally get a call from my parents, them telling me how they loved a cosplay or how they read an article and loved it. It gives me so much happiness to hear that from them.
My mother is a painter so she really gets cosplays. We both use brushes (one for make-up, other for paintings ha-ha). My friends are almost all anime lovers. We all are avid manga readers and gamers too. Just having a good game with my friends or fangirling about our manga crushes together is insanely liberating! I am very lucky to have a very close circle of friends. They are few but they are the best ones. I hope that I meet more wonderful people in my life and just have a good laugh or share an emotional moment with them. That is all I need.
GC: Wow! Seriously, we’re big fans of your cosplays, and hugely appreciate you taking the time to talk with us. We’re sure many of our readers (both gamers and cosplayers) will be quite taken by your story.
Originally Posted – Jan 2016
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