We’re keeping the Funimation Space For Everyone initiative alive with a three-part series spotlight on Indigenous cosplayers and innovators, creating a space for “Indiginerds” to talk about their unabashed love for all things geek.
We’re not holding space for sensationalized portrayals of Indigenous Americans steeped in stereotypes, but instead, amplifying the beautifully human voices of Indigenous people in the realm of nerd culture.
Meet Connor, AKA Unbroken Hades: water protector, cosplay foam-smith and mythology enthusiast.
What is your tribal affiliation?
I am Coahuiltecan and Apache.
Tell me about yourself.
I’m Connor, AKA Unbroken Hades, and I’m a 27-year-old artist who grew up all over the U.S. in a military family. I love anything involving anime and comic books, and I run my own cosplay business from home. In my spare time, I like to play video games, read and hang out with my family, friends and cat.
What is your cosplay origin story?
My first cosplay was Gaara from Naruto back in 2008, when I attended my first convention. I had such a good time at the con and I absolutely loved how cosplaying made me feel. Shortly after that, I started learning how to make things on my own.
I made armor out of cardboard and hot-glued fabric together to make all sorts of costumes and props and eventually learned to work with other materials such as worbla and EVA foam. I would practice and learn from other cosplayers and eventually I got to the point where I turned cosplay into my career.
How many years have you been cosplaying?
I’ve been cosplaying since 2008, and I started cosplaying as a career back in 2017.
Are your cosplays homemade or do you buy/commission them?
Almost all of my cosplays are handmade. I work mostly with EVA foam and I have some amazing friends and family that help me with 3D-printed and fabric pieces. I mostly build armor, props and helmets, but I’m always looking for new builds that will challenge me and help me grow as an artist.
Of the many cosplays you have done, which one is most meaningful to you and why?
The most meaningful cosplay I’ve ever done is Kirishima AKA Red Riot from My Hero Academia. I was going through a rough patch a few years ago and had little motivation to work on cosplays or projects. My best friend introduced me to My Hero Academia and I binged as much as I could and absolutely loved everything about the anime.
I connected with a lot of the characters, but Kirishima always stood out to me, and I felt really inspired by his constant positivity and determination. I built my Kirishima cosplay and attended the Los Angeles Comic Con in 2019 with my family, and I even got to meet Justin Cook, the English voice actor for Kirishima!
It’s not my biggest or the most complicated cosplay but it always holds a special place.
Has your Indigenous background ever inspired your cosplay? If so, how do you incorporate your identity with that of the characters you cosplay?
I’ve been inspired artistically by my Indigenous background a lot the past few years, but I’ve only recently incorporated it into my cosplay. There are only a handful of Indigenous characters in mainstream comic books and anime and recently I decided to build a dream cosplay of Warpath, an Apache X-Men character from Marvel.
I’ve also been designing characters from other franchises in Indigenous attire, such as an original Mandalorian character, and hope to build them sometime next year!
How can the cosplay community improve in regard to Indigenous cosplayers and makers?
I feel like the cosplay community can improve by sharing work from Indigenous cosplayers and makers, and by standing up for them when it comes to harassment and bullying. Indigenous and other POC cosplayers receive more harassment about “cosplaying outside their race,” even though cosplay is for anyone regardless of their race, gender and body size.
If cosplayers and makers support one another more I feel like the community as a whole will be more positive and welcoming for others.
What would you like to see in terms of Indigenous representation in anime?
There are over 500 federally recognized Indigenous tribes, all with unique cultures and practices. Instead of having one or two random Indigenous characters in anime, I’d like to see characters from a variety of tribes and areas to show all of the diverse cultures, not just one or two. And in doing so, I feel like more people will feel represented in a place where they wouldn’t normally be.
What are your cosplans? Do you have any special projects coming up?
I’m currently working on my Warpath cosplay from Marvel’s X-Men for National Native American Heritage month, as well as Moon Knight (Marvel) and Boba Fett (Star Wars)!
If you were stranded on a deserted island, which anime character would you invite to keep you company?
If I was stranded on a deserted island, I’d want All Might from My Hero Academia to keep me company. He’s a huge inspiration and there would never be a dull moment.
Where can we find you?