The breadth of costume design in Final Fantasy XIV is a boon for cosplayers: from casual wear to intricate armor, flowing robes to monstrous bosses, there is something to inspire everyone. Visenya, a cosplayer known as Annshera Borel on Twintania, doesn’t shy away from some of XIV’s most striking designs. Her samurai artifact set and Tsukuyomi cosplays make an immediate visual impact, and the quality of her work shows how proudly she wears them.
Stormblood, Visenya’s favorite expansion, kicked off the beginning of her XIV cosplays: “Stormblood blessed us with so many beautiful [and] traditional Japanese inspired design[s], it spoke to me [on] so many levels. It makes me really excited [to] just imagine myself working on these costume[s] and wearing them.” She also has a strong connection to her in-game character, Annshera, so it comes as no surprise that the opportunity to dress Annshera in beautiful Japanese outfits, particularly kimonos, would lead to Visenya cosplaying FFXIV: “She is the black female main character of a Final Fantasy game I always dreamt [of], it’s a pleasure to cosplay her.”
The samurai obi was no small feat, as it has many intricate details that can be missed at first glance. The gold leaf paint, the bits of gold and silver armor, the golden tassels along the bottom, and the perfectly draped scarf, and braided ropes all come together into a visually stunning costume that invites a second (and a third, and a fourth!) look. Visenya had to remake the obi twice using a cotton fabric until she was satisfied with the quality, and the final design reflects the great amount of work and care put into it.
Tsukuyomi was another great labor of love for Visenya. She had created a Yotsuyu costume earlier that she admits was quite incomplete, but that did not stop her from tackling Yotsuyu’s primal form. Her fondness for the character and the enjoyment she had wearing Yotsyuyu’s costume only fueled her drive to create Tsukuyomi. The costume was built from purple and white velvet, which brings a beautiful sense of weight and luxury to the design. She procured a black and white bodysuit rather than having to make one from scratch, making the most challenging aspect of the cosplay the body paint.
Tsukuyomi was Visenya’s first time using body paint, but rather than express her frustrations on the new challenge, she remembers the ordeal with amusement: “[First of all] I didn't really know what to buy and second of all I had [a] hard time making . . . the white body paint [hold] on my face since I'm black. Funny thing, I spoke with a friend who also cosplayed Tsukuyomi and she told me it was in fact the black part of the body paint that was tricky for her since she is white. We laughed about it.” Despite the difficulty with body paint, Visenya says her FFXIV costumes, being traditional kimonos, are some of her most “chill and comfortable” cosplays.
Visenya says she had a “blast” wearing Annshera to Fanfest, and has also worn both her samurai and Tsukuyomi outfits to FFXIV cosplay contests. She even won third place with her samurai outfit at the Japan Expo 2019 FFXIV costume contest, but she isn’t stopping with that one victory. She is currently working on the dancer artifact set (which she already has previews of on her social media) and the Neo-Ishgardian healer gear. Visenya’s close attention to the beauty of FFXIV’s traditional designs reflect the joy she has for her cosplays, and her excitement and positivity should inspire all FFXIV cosplayers to embrace their favorite designs and create what they love.