When your cosplay gets mistaken for an HD remake screenshot, you know it’s good. And that’s exactly what happened to Geina, aka PokuriMio. Her Legend of Zelda Happy Mask Salesman cosplay is so accurate, so lifelike, that those who saw it simply had no choice other than to believe Nintendo was re-releasing Majora’s Mask on the Switch. The character is a memorable to fans as one of the first characters one encounters in the game, his creepy mannerisms setting the tone for a Zelda adventure significantly darker than Link’s previous outings.
“I think those were some of my favorite comments!” Geina tells me about the first reveal online. She started cosplaying in 2013 after a trip to Sakura Con—having already been making props of some of her favorite Zelda pieces at home like the Deku Shield and the Wind Waker baton, Geina wanted to get into costuming and more intricate prop-building. From there it was a slippery slope for her and her sisters, and they’ve been cosplaying ever since.
Geina’s cosplay game is strong, there’s no doubt about that. One look at her Instagram reveals the skill and creativity in her work. She admits that her strength isn’t in making clothing, relying mostly on patterns from the fabric store. There’s no shame in that, of course. Where her work shines is in her roots—the props—and she usually tries to pick characters that require a lot of them.
Her choice to do The Happy Mask Salesman came about out of a last minute need for a costume, when the cosplay group she was originally going to appear with bailed on her.
“It was a month before a con we were going to attend and I didn’t have anything else planned so my default was to think of characters I love from my favorite game series,” she explains. “I am an extremely huge fan of the Legend of Zelda series. I would even say that it has influenced me the most in terms of my interest in music, art, and games.”
After narrowing it down to the Zeldaverse, the idea of the Mask Salesman was at first a joke, in a “wouldn’t this be hilarious?” kind of way. But then, Geina admits, there was simply no other choice. “t felt right was because I love sculpting head props. Everything I knew about how to make fit perfectly in this project.”
You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?
But how does one build a Happy Mask Salesman totally and utterly from scratch? Other than using some shoes as the base, everything about the cosplay is 100% handmade. The answer? Weeks of labor and aluminum foil.
“I begin making the mask with aluminum foil. I like to think of this as the “sketching” phase because it’s all about sculpting without any patterns. It’s all done by crinkling and forming the aluminum foil into a shape you need for the head prop or mask.” For Geina, it’s important to keep the cost of materials low—hat’s why her cosplay arsenal is full of household products like aluminum foil, masking tape, wood glue, newspaper, and her secret weapon, a foam filler called “Smooth On” she discovered one day in Wal-Mart.
After the aluminum “sketch” is completed, she uses masking tape it keep it in place, and from there it’s papier mache time.
“Once it’s dry, you need to smooth out the bumps of the mask so what I use is a foam filler… it’s easy to use and sand once it’s dry. After the mask is smoother, we have to prep it for painting to create a smooth surface, then I paint a couple layers of wood glue since it dries hard and smooth.”
From there it’s painting time using acrylics. Sometimes Geina even streams her painting process on Twitch, as she feels it may be helpful or simply interesting for viewers.
The Happy Mask Salesman face alone took a week and a half to construct from beginning to end. The rest of the cosplay, including the bag, clothes, and other masks took an extra two weeks. As any con-crunching cosplayer will know, Geina pulled long hours every single day working on her outfit and props.
To Be Continued…
With the whole cosplay assembled, Geina took it out for a walk, even mimicking the Nintendo 64 animation of the Salesman. The reactions to the cosplay were ecstatic. Geina says she’s constantly stopped for photos, and she appreciates the exclamations of passer-bys who recognize her.
“At conventions, most reactions are a double take where they realize who I’m cosplaying and they either yell, ‘AH! Oh my god!’ or ‘Happy Mask Salesman! That’s amazing!’ Anytime I wear this cosplay, I just love the many reactions I get from people and the amount of Zelda fans I have been able to meet. I look forward to improving the cosplay and wearing him to many more cons.”
Princess Mononoke seems to be the next project on the horizon, but Geina has an even bigger Zelda goal in her mind: the ultimate mask. “One day, I would love to also make the Majora’s Mask as well to carry around with the cosplay. I can see that one being very fun and challenging to make!”