We are nearing the end of 2018, and with it, we get closer to the beginning of the 2018 League of Legends All-Star Event. The event will feature a lot of entertainment for the fans and viewers, including the Sneaky-Bang cosplay collaboration. Although the cosplay was planned for the two to dress up as Xayah and Rakan, both players ended up choosing Xayah, so there’ll be a bit of competition to see who’ll be the better ‘Rebel’.
What’s the progress on Bang’s cosplay? During this past weekend, we spoke to Bang for an update. This is our light-hearted interview with Bang.
Hello! Recently, you’ve been garnering a lot of attention from the media. You left SKT, joined 100T, and now, you’ll be attending the 2018 All-Star Event and will be cosplaying with Sneaky! Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Bang: Hello, I’m 100 Thieves’ ADC player, Bang.
Although info regarding your cosplay collaboration with Sneaky is widely known now, can you enlighten us by giving us some more details? Like how and why you decided to cosplay?
Bang: When the All-Star voting began, I said to my fans that I really, really wanted to go. It all started when I pledged that I’d do a night-stream at Las Vegas when I win the vote. Then, my viewers started saying that won’t be enough. “Do a cosplay with Sneaky,” they said.
I responded, “That’s easy!” and before you know it, everyone assumed that I’d be doing a cosplay with Sneaky. And so, here I am.
I guess it wasn’t something thoroughly planned; it was more of a spontaneous idea.
Bang: At first, I just thought, “Sure, I can do that,” and not “I’m definitely doing that.” I don’t regret anything though, as I was planning to do it if it was necessary to win the All-Star vote anyway. However, when I needed to plan things out to do the cosplay, I was a bit flustered.
So you were fully willing to do it, but were halted when you realized didn’t have a full plan laid out?
Bang: Yes. I had about a month of time, and I had to find a way to create the costume. It wasn’t something that I could’ve taken care of on my own, so I started posting on social media looking for help. Thankfully, many people reached out and offered help. It would’ve been tragic if I didn’t receive any help.
How did the people around you react? Friends, teammates, or the coaching staff?
Bang: “I heard you were doing a cosplay.” Surprisingly, their reactions were pretty dull.
You are currently garnering a lot of attention because of the cosplay. Isn’t the attention overwhelming? Or are you enjoying that attention?
I’ve actually been enjoying the attention. I used to think that as a professional, all you needed was the skill. Of course, being skillful is important, but interacting with your fans and receiving their love in return is equally important in my opinion. It’s not overwhelming; it’s great, actually. I used to avoid gaining too much attention, but I changed.
A lot of people are curious about why you chose Xayah. Is there a reason why you didn’t team up with Sneaky as the Xayah-Rakan duo? Is it your pride as an ADC, or is it really about your six-pack?
Bang: At first, I went for Rakan since Sneaky wanted to cosplay Xayah. However, Sneaky told me to do whatever I want because this was something I planned first. Then he told me that it’d be better for us to both cosplay Xayah. I actually did want to cosplay Xayah as well.
So now it will be a Xayah cosplay competition. Aren’t you feeling pressured?
Bang: I’m not pressured. I thought that it’d be impossible to win against Sneaky through cosplay in the first place. The result is already there; he’s a celebrity on that front. I just don’t want to lose without trying my best.
Now that you won't be doing a Rakan cosplay, do you have any close pro players that would look good as Rakan?
Bang: Maybe Thal or SoHwan? Since they are quite fit.
Does Thal have a six-pack?
Bang: He doesn’t have a six-pack. Wait, he might… (laughs)
(To streamer, Ok_ja) I heard that Sneaky will get help from his girlfriend, whereas Bang will get some help from streamers. Now that you’ll be his trustworthy mentor, can you introduce yourself to the fans?
Ok_ja: Hello everyone, I’m a Twitch streamer named Pakokja(Ok_ja). I’ve been doing cosplay for 6-7 years now.
Bang: Wow… That’s how long I’ve been performing as a pro.
Why did you decide to work on Bang’s Xayah cosplay?
Ok_ja: I was in a cosplay team and I saw Bang’s social media post asking for help on his cosplay. I was going to the All-Stars event, so I sent him a message thinking it’d be nice to help Bang out.
How is the cosplay going and what is the main focus of it?
Ok_ja: Currently the Xayah costume is being made by professionals. At the venue, I’ll be with some streamers to help out with the makeup. The focus would be… Well, Sneaky is known for his ‘pretty’ cosplays, so our focus would be to make a more handsome male version of Xayah. You know, we’ll probably lose if we go against him with a female version.
(To Bang) What is it like to prepare a cosplay with professionals? Are they trustworthy?
Bang: When I first began, I thought that all I needed to tell them were my typical sizes such as my feet, waist etc. However, I was a bit shocked to see them measuring my arm length, shoulder width, my lower and upper thighs… I couldn’t fathom how much time and professional work would be needed to prepare a single cosplay. I only thought that it was really cool to see, but I didn’t know it would require this much detail.
What were your thoughts on cosplay before all this? You might have liked it, or you might have felt a bit awkward about it.
Bang: I was simply amazed to see all the diverse cosplays when I went to big events. All I thought about was "how did they prepare that and how did they make it?" It was like... "that’s cool. I’d like to take a picture with them." As a player, I met cosplayers in the venue when I was waiting for my games. Now I think I can get a feel for all the work they had to put in.
Are you planning anything else, other than cosplaying?
Bang: It would be fun if I played games with all my makeup and costume on. Well, I can play my 1vs1s with the Xayah cosplay and play as Xayah. If it’s possible of course.
Are there any other characters aside from Xayah that you’d like to cosplay?
Bang: Although I like humanoid characters such as Xayah, I’d like to cosplay ‘monsters’ like Hecarim as well. And if it’s not a League character… as long as it’s in the fantasy genre, I’m cool with it. Cosplaying characters from anime like One Piece would be fun, too.
It’s very interesting that all of this began because you were frequently communicating with your fans. Is there a certain reason why you started interacting with your fans so much recently?
Bang: Well, because I’m free. I wasn’t necessarily ‘confined’ before, though… I just feel freer. SKT T1 is a very prestigious team, and [being on the team] requires a lot of responsibility -- so I was being very careful. When I go to NA, I think I’ll be able to say things that I couldn’t previously; express myself more.
What happened to your plans with Bengi? You said that you’ll go to a casino with him in one of your live streams.
Bang: Although I told Bengi that I’ll pay for everything including the plane ticket and the hotels, he said that he’s too lazy to go. I even told him that I’d reserve everything for him. That’s why I thought it’d be impossible to bring him with me. Still, I know that he’s a person that would be in front of a slot machine for 10 hours straight. He would've had fun for sure.
Even if you won’t have Bengi on your side, you’ll still go with Faker and Peanut. What are your plans?
Bang: I heard that the Cirque du Soleil is magnificent. Well, I’m looking forward to the All-Star event. If I get some free time, I’m going to try the slot machines. I’m also going to learn how to play Blackjack.
What if you get a jackpot that would give you enough money to create a gaming team? Would you still continue to be a pro gamer?
Bang: (laughs) Well, I’m not going to take a lot of money with me. It’s sort of a safeguard.
What will you be doing on Christmas?
Bang: I like the Christmas vibe. It snows a lot in Hongcheon as well. I’d like to decorate my hut with a Christmas vibe. I’ll buy a tree, some ornaments, and turn on some carols; it’s going to be an exciting Christmas.
Cay you say something for the fans who are looking forward to your cosplay?
Bang: First of all, the people who are helping me out are preparing very hard. I’ll try my best to make it fun and deliver something that is interesting to see.
Do you have anything else to say Pakokja?
Ok_ja: I’m going to work hard to make a great cosplay to win against Sneaky.
Before we wrap up the interview, can you say something to Sneaky, who will be doing a cosplay with you?
Bang: Now that we’re going to be rivals playing for the same region, it’s nice that we’re facing each other as ‘cosplayers’. Although it seems likely that I’ll lose, I hope we’ll have fun.
A managing editor who can do more things than you think.