Surrounded by avid cosplayers dressed in their favorite fictional characters, one might find himself/herself transported to another dimension because of the unique, colorful and fancy surroundings of Cosplay Mania ’12 held on September 29 and 30 at the SMX Convention Center of SM Mall of Asia.
About 15,000 cosplayers and cosplaying enthusiasts gathered to share and celebrate their passion over their creative hobby. The event gathered the young and old as well as enthusiasts from different provinces of the Philippines.
There were various activities such as cosplay competitions, band performances, costume-building contests, eating contests, and gaming tournaments.
The function rooms became busy as merchandise items such as costumes, wigs, toys, and other collector’s items were being sold by both local and international exhibitors who had booths inside the function rooms.
Cosplay fans patronized the event hoping to spot their favorite fictional characters being portrayed by cosplayers. These fans were also hyped up as internationally renowned cosplayers graced the event.
Strike a pose!
Every corner of the convention center was filled with cosplayers wearing brightly colored wigs, carefully crafted costumes, and detailed props. They imitated their favorite fictional characters from television shows, comics, movies, role-playing games and other fictional stories by wearing costumes.
These cosplayers did not just strike a cool pose with their costumes, apart from dressing up like the characters they imitate, cosplayers also imbibed them by mimicking their expressions and actions as they performed on stage.
Reyu Cordero, one of the cosplayers from Cebu, said his hobby pushes him to be at his most creative self. He shared with InterAksyon in an interview: “Cosplay is my battlefield kasi dito ko naipapakita sa ibang tao kung ano ang kaya kong gawin. Mahilig ako sa mga crafts, so through cosplay, I can show what I can do.”
Cosplayer Christine Jean Belardoni, a newly registered nurse has been involved in cosplay since 2010. She started to like cosplay as a hobby since she had been also involved in creative pursuits such as making crafts and sketching.
Perhaps the youngest cosplayer at the gathering is Fiona, a five-year old kindergarten student. She said she enjoys cosplaying and watching animes (Japanese animation). Her mother Jen, also a cosplay enthusiast, said her daughter already cosplayed many characters.
On the other hand, Guy Singzon, 45 years old, is considered by the cosplay community as the oldest active cosplayer. Since 2007, he actively creates costumes and joins cosplay events.
Singzon said cosplay is his passion in life. “Even when I was a child, mahilig na ako sa ganito eh, you know, yung make-believe. Pero lalo pang na-enhance yun noong nag-work ako sa isang foundation na nagtuturo sa mga bata and I had this chance to prepare the lessons—props kasi yung way ng teaching namin and through illustrations. So I’m the one in charge of making the arts and crafts,” he said.
Now, he is being invited in the different parts of the Philippines in to conduct workshops in costume-making.
Cosplay Mania for artistic expression
Tanya Bairan, one of the organizers of the event said it is important to provide venues for cosplayers to express their creative talents.
“Doon nila nailalabas yung artistic expression nila. It’s a healthy and very creative form of self-expression kasi pati yung accuracy kailangan, importante ‘di ba pati mannerisms, pati pagkilos ‘di ba so it builds self-confidence, it builds creativity, it builds your artistic and performance skills,” she said.
Apart from the honing their artistic talents as cosplayers, their personalities were also being built up.
“Marami kaming mga naririnig na cosplayers na dati mahiyain sila but through cosplay they were able to hone their talents whether it is craft-making or performance and it makes them a better person in general,” she added.
[We have heard from cosplayers that they have low self confidence before but through cosplay they were able to hone their talents whether it is craft-making or performance and it makes them a better person in general.]
According to Bairan, Cosplay Mania started since 2008 and is annualy being held to celebrate cosplaying and to provide a venue focusing on cosplay and cosplayers. It started with her group of friends who are also cosplayers and cosplay enthusiasts who felt that there is a need for cosplayers to shine.
Cosplay as a growing community
Bairan said the practice of cosplay in the Philippines started 12 years ago and every year, the community of cosplay enthusiasts grow in numbers.
“We’ve seen them grow from small beginnings hanggang sa lumalaki siya and nag-catch up yung popular culture, popular media, lumalaki at lumalaki talaga iyong pagka-hilig ng mga tao sa cosplay,” she said.
[We've seen the community from its small beginnings until it grew and popular media caught up with it until the numbers of those inclined in cosplay increased.]
Singzon also said he witnessed the humble beginnings of a small cosplay community with ordinary costumes but through the years, new materials are now available thus improving the quality of costumes. Talented cosplayers also share their talents with fellow enthusiasts paving the way for an increased knowledge on the part of other cosplayers.