The Mainichi Academic Group of Bangkok in cooperation with Mah Boon Krong Shopping Mall played host to some of Thailand’s best cosplayers and most ardent J-pop fans at the Halloween Street event. Held on 3rd October 2009 in front of the MBK main entrance (and in the shade of Bangkok’s BTS National Stadium Station), the event featured merchandise booths, a cosplay competition, and a J-pop song and dance competition.
Before I get started, lemme get some things straight: no, I did not fly to Bangkok simply to cover the event. I am not that insane I was in town to supposedly catch a few tennis matches, but unfortunately Rafael Nadal pulled out of the PTT Thailand Open so we ended up spending our time in Bangkok shopping up a storm instead. That’s how we ran across this particular event, and I was only too happy to cover it for the blog.
Since Halloween Street was a free event and was held at a major shopping destination, the attendees were a mixture of cosplayers, cosplay photogaphers, and the odd American tourist feeling like he stumbled into the set of Lost in Translation 😀 My travel buddies and I felt right at home though, and we were soon in the thick of the action fishing for cosplay photographs and checking out the merch booths.
For a street event that honestly didn’t feature much in terms of competition prizes (the USD 100 being offered at local cons easily tops the prize money offered at Halloween Street), the huge turnout of local cosplayers was something special to witness. The quality of cosplay was also exceptional — for every one cosplayer that didn’t quite nail his or her costume on the head, there were plenty more that had outfits that were near perfect.
My personal favorites would be the Kagamine twins from Vocaloid 2 and Japan (Nihon-kun) from Axis Powers Heitalia, whose costumes had a great look and feel overall. They were also very sweet — obligingly posing for photographs for cosplay photographers and tourists alike. Unfortunately we had to leave early, so we never found out if our three bets won any of the prizes up for grabs. In any case, their costumes were wonderfully crafted and suited them well, and they deserve recognition for that.
Attending events like these outside of Manila is a great experience, but sometimes I can’t help but feel sad that our local cosplay scene centers too much around cons. Sure — conventions are a great place to get together with friends and indulge in massive geekery, but sometimes I get the feeling that there are events organizers out there who put together cons simply to bilk cosplayers out of their admission money. It would be great if we had enough support to hold free events like these, and I would definitely be the first person in line to pitch in and help make street events like these a success.