There are a lot of League of Legends fans in Asia, but very few cosplayers out there have convincingly become as many of the game’s champions as Taiwan’s Hisai Mio (that’s her stage name). With cosplays of Ahri, Miss Fortune, Katarina, Caitlyn, Janna, Irelia, Nidalee, Ezreal and more under her belt, she’s got an impressive portfolio of characters at her disposal that also includes a few of the game’s unique skins. Why has she put so much time and effort into cosplaying League? I got a chance to speak with her and find out.
“It was probably in high school that I started [cosplaying],” Hisai told me. “At the time I liked watching anime, but I totally didn’t know about cosplay [until] some friends asked me to try it.” But once she did try, she was hooked. “I was really excited. It was a new experience!”
Why has she kept doing it? “When I see a character I like, I want to imitate them, I want to become strong like they are,” she said. She’ll also cosplay characters as a way of studying their style. But mostly it’s the adrenaline rush: “Every time I cosplay I get nervous and excited.”
Hisai started out cosplaying anime characters, but she added League of Legends to her repertoire eventually because of her love for the game itself. “I started playing [League] as soon as the Taiwan server was launched,” she told me. She says she loves all the game’s champions, but her absolute favorites are Katarina, Ahri, Ezreal, and Renekton. The giant, angry crocodile is the only one she hasn’t yet cosplayed, but don’t rule it out. “There are a lot of League of Legends characters I want to cosplay that I haven’t had time to do yet,” she says. Preparing a convincing costume and building the props takes a long time, after all.
She may like all the characters in the game, but on the cosplay side of things, she does have a clear favorite champion to dress up as: Katarina. “I love her lore, and everything about her kit and abilities. Plus, my face and overall feeling fits that of a female villain as well.”
She also occasionally cosplays characters from Counter Strike Online and Dragon Nest, two other games she says she enjoys.
Hisai tells me that being a cosplayer in Taiwan is pretty awesome. “Everyone is really friendly and passionate in Taiwan’s cosplay scene,” she says. “Especially when people see you cosplaying a character they like, they’ll run over and strike up a conversation.” And although you might wonder if her parents have any opinions about Hisai’s habit of dressing up in sometimes-skimpy video game outfits, she says they don’t disapprove. “My family is pretty open-minded,” she told me, “they see this as a kind of performance. Sometimes they’ll talk with me about which characters I should do next.”