Raine Kugami

Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII // Cosplayer : rainekugami Photo : joseph_lane_photo

Cloud has always been one of my favorite characters since I was a little kid, first discovering him as a secret character in Final Fantasy Tactics (then later in the source material). When I started cosplaying, I knew for sure I wanted to include him as one of the characters that I’d eventually do.

I debuted the most recent version of Cloud at 2019’s Anime Weekend Atlanta (AWA) and the response was extremely positive and I was given a lot of compliments for my attention to detail. I ended up meeting some other awesome Final Fantasy cosplayers, and even ended up in some of those cosplay music videos that they shoot there. A great experience, hands down.

The complete process took me about 3 years (and 3 separate revisions) to bring the cosplay to where it is now. I started Cloud in my first year cosplaying and a lot of different skills had to be learned and implemented to make the costume as accurate as possible. I had to learn how to craft armor, swords, sew, style wigs, and solder LEDs, all of which I’d never done before.

After the first try, I perfected the armor the way I wanted, learning the proper way to work with foam. The next year, the iconic Buster Sword, learning to create Materia props (glowing orbs that give power to the characters in the game). Finally came wig styling which is definitely my weakest strength at the moment

joseph_lane_photo

Cosplay has taught me that anything is possible. Literally, if you can dream it, you can make it happen. It also taught me not to underestimate my own abilities and to continue to challenge myself. I would have never thought I’d be able to create half of the stuff I’ve made, but 2 closets full of props, costumes, armor and a few contest awards certainly say otherwise

I’ve actually been in a bit of an “artist’s block” as of late and haven’t had the motivation to complete anything. That combined with the state the world is in (especially for being a person of color) kind of makes it hard to put my usual “tunnel vision-esque” focus into any one thing at the moment. Mental health is something a lot of us take for granted.

Just a big thank you to you for the opportunity and to my family, friends, fans and followers for all the support over the years. You all are the reason I do what I do and love what I do.