Philippine Cosplay and The WCS

Continued from The Fine Line Between Cosplayer and Clown

Cosplay Conventions Manila Continuing a series of posts on Philippine cosplay — one tackling the issue of entitlement complexes, and another on the issue of cosplayers as mascots, is a third one on the Filipino cosplayer and his place in the international arena.

Philippine cosplay is nearing its tenth year of existence, but there is still a lack of recognition in the international community. Save for one or two local lasses known the world over, everybody else is pretty much relegated to (as the 4-chan natives would put it) “Mexicans on an island”. This is not because we are not talented, nor are we technically inept in the arcane arts of cosplay. It is mainly because we simply cannot afford the expense of flying out to compete in the proving grounds of international cosplay.

The World Cosplay Summit is the venue for international cosplay, and for years Pinoy cosplayers have dreamed of competing in it. WCS is organized annually by TV AICHI, who give accreditation to cosplay events worldwide as the official platform of selection for national representatives. These accredited events in turn must secure their own sponsors, to shoulder the expenses of the selected country representatives en route to Nagoya (as the WCS is under no obligation to pay for it).

WCS accepts applications from prospective competing countries on a yearly basis, but is only obliged to include them to its roster of official competitors, if the national event applying for the position is able to fulfill the WCS requirements. Most of these requirements involve logistics, financial backing, and local support, which many developed countries such as the US, Australia, and Singapore are able to fulfill easily.

However with the Philippines the way it is, we have to put in a bit more effort before we are duly accredited. At the forefront of our struggles is the lack of financial support. We simply lack corporate entities and other institutions willing to risk their assets to support Philippine cosplay in the international arena. Cosplay is nothing more than a niche activity here, so sponsors would find little reason to invest.

Another problem is the lack of proper venues to hold selections. Our local cons pale in comparison to what cons are overseas — massive affairs that pull in anywhere from 10,000 to 60,000 participants. The scale of these events ensure that selection is as democratic as possible, with all possible entries considered for the role as national representative, and not just from the 100-odd cosplayers who happened to show up for a small event held in Manila (with no representation from Visayas and Mindanao).

Our last concern is less economic and more social, but we can still factor it in as a financial concern just because of the sheer time and effort it costs in man hours: local cosplay wars. With the current climate of Philippine cosplay — cliques and communities busting each others’ balls just to prove who is superior, any result from the national selections will be disputed, and disputed hotly. A controversy of that size is soon to reach the ears of the WCS committee in Japan, who will understandably be very concerned with the situation — concerned enough to cancel accreditation and ban us from future participation.

All of this boils to a simple fact: we cannot afford to join WCS. At least, not yet. For local cosplay to fulfill the dream of competing in the largest event for international cosplay, it has to do three things: 1) gain as much financial support as it can; 2) gain as much legitimacy as it can; and 3) gain as much maturity as it can. Maybe then the WCS will consider us eligible for competition, instead of just another gaggle of unruly cosplayers with more talent than sense.

Concluded in Cosplay, Pinoy-style

7 Comments Add yours

  1. JM says:

    Very, very nice article.


  2. lol JM — if you’re happy with the post, i’m happy with the post 😀


  3. thebrambear says:

    I am really doubtful on the topic of local cosplay wars. I mean, i’ve never observed open hostilities in public that cause massive stirs. Most of these “wars” happen on the internet with people exchanging empty threats in forums which as we all know is as good as nothing. To add to that, people like Mike Abundo are the ones who stir trouble without being really involved in cosplay at all (except for being a bit of perv and hitting on women cosplayers). So local cosplay wars may be a problem, but is almost a non factor.

    WCS is all about cosplay and participating in competition. From what i’ve known, these groups in conflict never even win competitions at all. So why do we even bother with them? Why can’t we just promote our champions and encourage people to improve the level of cosplay instead of joining futile conflicts?

    For the past three years, i’ve been pretty familiar with those who have been winning and everyone has been pretty civil about it. There have been no big protests on winners with the exception of problems caused by blatant rule breaking by the organizers themselves. People just move on with life in general.

    I think you’re right with the financial problems we have. I also think that’s the major problem. Skills-wise, we really are one of the best. If we could only show/highlight to possible sponsors that we have cosplayers who are capable of winning on the world stage, then maybe we can get someone to help us.


  4. I am really doubtful on the topic of local cosplay wars. I mean, i’ve never observed open hostilities in public that cause massive stirs. Most of these “wars” happen on the internet with people exchanging empty threats in forums which as we all know is as good as nothing.

    i’ve been an unfortunate witness to one such altercation way back in 2005. it changes the way you view the local cosplay scene, and it never leaves you. it’s possible that all this current cynicism stems from this single event. i’m just happy that not everyone has become as jaded as i have and continue to make philippine cosplay as creative and successful as best they can.


  5. Retsu says:

    Very informative and very well said. Thanks Rotch!!


  6. majordomo says:

    Hi, great article as always ^^


  7. JM says:

    I think the main problem with our local cosplay community is the fact that there’s really no community. Instead, what we have are factions.

    If we manage to get the majority to pool their resources for one big annual event, it will be easier to get financial support for an appropriate venue, probably even sending a representative[s] abroad. If I were a potential sponsor, I would rather support just one big annual event than pour money monthly on smaller ones.

    Until the problem regarding unity is addressed, the idea of being in the WCS will remain bleak.


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