Interview

“It will be horribly hard to judge - again!” - we chat to Kairi about cosplay, ESL One Hamburg and more!

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ESL One Hamburg powered by Intel, taking place in the Barclaycard Arena on October 28-29, will be the first official major of the 2017/2018 competitive season. With a prize pool of US$1,000,000 and 1500 Dota Pro Circuit Points on the line, we’re in for some world-class Dota 2 and tons of not-to-miss action.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an ESL One Dota event without a cosplay competition. We are thrilled to once again welcome talented Dota cosplayers who will enrich the entire event and partake in our contest.

Sign up for the cosplay competition here!

Ahead of the event, and the cosplay contest, we chatted with one of our judges, Kairi. Kairi is no stranger to ESL One, as she participated in the cosplay competition at ESL One Frankfurt 2015 where she took 2nd place, and returned to Frankfurt a year later as a cosplay judge. This year, Kairi will once again use her experience and expertise as a judge, this time at ESL One Hamburg.

ESL: Hi, Kairi, and thanks for taking the time to chat with us! What have you been up to since ESL One Frankfurt 2016?
Kairi: Hi! Pleasure is all mine. I took it easy with cosplay competitions and focused on some less stressful projects. I worked with some booths at gaming events and produced a short cosplay musical this year! I’ve also been honoured to be one of the Japan Expo cosplay guests this year which I think of it as a great and rewarding adventure!

ESL: Two years ago, at ESL One Frankfurt 2015, you earned second place in the cosplay competition with your Windranger. Tell us about that experience.
Kairi: The decision of making Windranger was rather spontaneous so I was not expecting much, as it was kind of a last-minute costume. I was happy with the outcome but there were many great costumes in the competition so I was quite shocked that I’ve been mentioned by jury in such a nice way. It’s still nice to watch the video from big screens back then. So many people gave us an applause!


Click to enlarge

ESL: Tell us a bit more about the costume itself. Why did you choose to go as Windranger and how was the process of creating her?
Kairi: I had to have a comfortable, eye-catching costume which would be possible to build in only two weeks as I got commissioned as a cosplayer for one of the booths. And this is how I chose her outfit! I love the color combination too. Gathering all needed materials was definitely the most time consuming process. I’ve done similar costumes before so the whole crafting part was rather fast and enjoyable. I’ve used lightweight materials such as Eva foam or polystyrene


Click to enlarge. Photo by Kyman Cheng.

ESL: Last year, you returned to Frankfurt, but this time a cosplay judge. How did you find the competition and the costumes our attendees made?
Kairi: I loved it! The quality of costumes has risen since the year before and I was just stunned of all the details, and unique techniques used! It was very hard to choose the top three winners, without a doubt everyone did a splendid job.

ESL: This will be your third ESL One Dota 2 cosplay competition in a row. How high do you think the cosplay level will be judging from the past two events?
Kairi: Cosplay is an industry that transforms very fast so you can’t take anything for granted. Every year brings us new ideas and technologies. I bet this year will be full of 3D prints and electronics. It will be horribly hard to judge - again!


Click to enlarge. Photo by Foto Czarny.

ESL: Dota 2 definitely does not lack in the hero design department. Are there any particular cosplays you would like to see in Hamburg?
Kairi: I am always eager to see animal-like costumes, these are so demanding construction-wise! Faceless Void or some heroes on their animal companions would be badass!

ESL: If you were to cosplay another Dota 2 hero, who would it be and why?
Kairi: Definitely, I’d love to cosplay Crystal Maiden. I love most of her skins and she has beautiful staffs a well! Hope I’ll have some spare time to get this project done someday.

ESL: You have competed (and won) (and judged) in many cosplay competitions, both in Poland and abroad, including Eurocosplay, European Cosplay Gathering, and more, making you quite the cosplay veteran. Could you share your top three tips with cosplayers wanting to compete in Hamburg?
Kairi: 1. Always choose a project that is close to your heart and you will get enough motivation to work on it with passion.

2. I know that you may be overwhelmed with the great job you’ve done but don’t take anything for granted - it’s better to be nicely surprised with a prize than disappointed with loss.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback after the competition - with a constructive critique you will be able to enrich your experience and will be well prepared for the next one!


Click to enlarge. Photo by Studio Zahora.

ESL: Thank you for your time! The last words are yours.
Kairi: Cosplayers of ESL One Hamburg - STAY STRONG! Work hard, don’t forget to rest and stun me with your shine once I’m there! :D

Be sure to follow Kairi’s work on Facebook and Instagram!

Sign up for the cosplay competition here!

Be sure to join us at the first Dota 2 Major of the new season and head over to our ticket page where you can choose between regular Weekend Tickets, Weekend Plus, Premium or the exclusive Aegis Experience lounge. Remember to stay in touch via Twitter and Facebook for updates about the event, qualifiers, and more.

Header photo by Kyman Cheng.