Tarif Shows Off His Collection


Jackie: I’d have to say: I was pretty blown away when you sent me your collection. How many years has it been since you started collecting?

Tarif: Oh, man. I’d have to say since the game first came out, which was like winter of 2002–9 years ago almost.

Jackie: Did you expect to come this far back then, in terms of how much of a fan you’d become?

Tarif: Honestly, I originally thought the first Kingdom Hearts would be a one-hit wonder, but then I told people about it, they told people, etc, etc. Eventually it just took over most of my life

Jackie: It must have taken over your room, too?

Tarif: Oh, yeah, definitely. There’s KH everywhere.

Jackie: I’d like to hear about your cosplay adventures. Tell me about your choice of Terra and Vanitas.

Click to see the larger image.

Tarif: Hmm….where do I begin? Well, for the most part, whenever I went to a convention, I’d always see Sora’s, Riku’s, Kairi’s and Roxas’. So when news of Birth by Sleep came out, I dove head-first into it and researched the crap out of it. Eventually I liked the visual and moral appeal of Terra as a character–he seemed like he was the opposite of Sora, which got me interested, seeing as they’re more or less opposite (in their nature) in the light of “heroes.” Plus, I think I fit Terra physically more than Sora.

As for Vanitas, it took being spoiled about his identity when the Japanese game was released to take an interest in him. From the trailers at the time, it didn’t look like he played much of a role. Boy was I wrong.

At the time, Sora was still my favourite in general, and seeing a visual opposite of my favourite character had me intrigued. Not to mention, the X-blade? Amazing looking weapon.

Jackie: Which convention did you take your cosplay to?

Tarif: I debuted as Terra at Anime North 2009, and I used it until the most recent convention (Anime North 2010), though I still use it from time to time. Vanitas, on the other hand, debuted this past May at Anime North 2011, and I’ve used it for the one convention so far.

Jackie: It looks like you won an award for Terra, if I’m not mistaking the white badge there (in the photo of Tarif as Terra).

Tarif: Oh, right, that. Not to brag, but I was the first and only one to cosplay as Terra in 2009, and carrying that massive Keyblade impressed a lot of people, and then this “undercover” judge gave me the ribbon, which was pretty awesome considering I wasn’t expecting it.

Jackie: You might have been the first Terra in your province, if not the whole of Canada, since the game wasn’t even out in North America yet!

How about the HP life bar prop? It’s one of the most brilliant props I’ve seen in cosplay!

Tarif: It was just for fun at first. See, I didn’t want to simply recycle Terra. So my buddy and I were joking about making an HP bar, and eventually it became a reality. We even made it so that if I took “damage,” we could take off chunks of the green part, and when I “healed,” we could re-attach them. People were pretty impressed about the idea.

Jackie: *laughs* I’m completely bowled over by that idea!

Did your friend help you make the Keyblades as well? Or were those more of a solo project?

Tarif: I prefer to work on Keyblades alone. In my mind, I have a certain way about making the props. Not to sound high and mighty, but it’s either my way or the highway. However, I take pointers and advice all the time. It’s just that when it comes to crafting things in general, I do the work solo.

Jackie: I can see how that is. Any creative person or artist has their style and method. Especially if it’s something near and dear to your heart.

Tarif: Definitely. Although, I also do commissions (see end of interview for a link), and if my “client” wants any particulars about it, I do my best to take them under consideration. But for the most part, I prefer to have free reign.

Jackie: This might be a difficult question, but out of your collection, what item would you say is your most cherished? One that carries special significance or is symbolic of a memorable experience?

Tarif: Oh, good question. I’d have to say my X-Blade Keyblade–I went through so much mental turmoil trying to create it. Everything else I own that’s KH can be bought, but when you make your own memorabilia, it sets itself apart from the rest.

Jackie: Cool. I also think it’s the most outstanding of all the Keyblades there. You really nailed the look–I originally thought that it’s been through too much wear and tear and is broken in parts, but a second look made me realize that is the original look, because the X-Blade never became physically complete (in the game).

Tarif: Exactly. I had to make the whole thing “complete” before I made it “incomplete.” I even “broke” it specifically in those spots to achieve the look of the in-game version.

Jackie: Looking towards the future, since Dream Drop Distance and potentially Birth by Sleep Vol 2 is coming out, any idea what you’ll be making for future conventions?

Tarif: Well I have a list of Keyblades in general I want to make, but taking those games into consideration, it’ll have to depend on whether or not we get new Keyblades in either game. Although, I do want to try my hand at making Master Xehanort’s Armor from Birth by Sleep Final Mix.

Jackie: Let’s talk about your Wayfinder. What can you tell me about it?

Tarif: For the last little while, I’d cosplay as Terra, and one of my friends kept saying I needed a Wayfinder. A few weeks later, she surprised me with it. She said she cut glass and soldered metal to it. It’s actually pretty heavy, and is a bit bigger than my hand.

Jackie: Oh wow! Your friend reminds me of Aqua (who made Wayfinders for her friends). I wonder how she’d feel about us mentioning her in this interview…

Tarif: I don’t think she’d mind. *laughs*

Jackie: You actually have three Wayfinders. There are another two mini ones on your PSP’s keychain.

Tarif: Yes. My girlfriend was browsing around and stumbled upon a site where people sell little trinkets, and she found mini-Wayfinders. I ended up getting three of each.

Jackie: Do you mean three of each of the character’s Wayfinders?

Tarif: Yeah, in case I lose any.

Jackie: That makes sense. No doubt they’re limited in stock, too, so once they’re gone, they’re gone.

In terms of game systems, you have all the games, so you have all the systems to play them, I presume. Did you buy the PSP and DS specifically for Kingdom Hearts?

Tarif: Pretty much. I knew about the KH releases in advance, but there were other games that convinced me I wasn’t wasting much money, such as Crisis Core, Dissidia, and The World Ends With You.

Jackie: *laughs* I have all of those, too. I suppose I’ll eventually own any games with Nomura’s handiwork, no matter what system they’re on.

My last question: Your favourite KH game?

Tarif: Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, hands down.

Jackie: Somehow, I think I wasted a question. *laughs*

Earlier, you said you do commissions. Would you like to add some information regarding that for KHU readers?

Tarif: Sure, I post most of my work on my Deviantart page, which has my contact info, and my commissioned work.

Jackie: Great! I really want to thank you for your time and for sharing your memories with us. It’s been a pleasure.

Do you have a special collection that you’d like to share with us? If you’d like to be featured, send an email to jackielaw@shaw.ca with your name and good quality photos in .jpg (please consider zipping a folder if you have many files). Separate snapshots are preferable to a collage. Keep them coming, folks!