Thanks to the success (and controversy!) of our first “biased” list, I decided it was high time we put together another list 😀 This time, we will be running down the five most memorable cosplay-related events in the Philippines that occured over the past ten years. Without further ado, here is another prejudiced list of the five events that changed Philippine cosplay history.
AXN Anime Festival (2001)
AXN Anime Festival was groundbreaking in two ways: 1) it was one of the first cons that featured the Philippine finals for an international cosplay competition; and 2) the event was also one of the very few local cons that were able to pull in a Japanese Guest of Honor in the person of Blue Sub 6 and The Animatrix director Maeda Mahiro.
Despite being held at one of the most inappropriate places to hold a convention — and that would be the Activity Center of SM Megamall Building A, it proved to be an enormous success, with people still waxing poetic over it five, even ten years down the road.
Culture Crash Convention (2002)
Lovingly remembered as one of the first “real” cons (and not free events held at mall concourse areas) C3 pioneered many of the standard practices in local cosplay conventions. These include: 1) the establishment of a dealers hall for people looking for anime merch — previous cons mostly had activity centers and other gimmicks; 2) the SOP for marshalling, pre-judging, catwalk presentations, and most importantly winners selection; and last but not least 3) the convention was the catalyst for many succesful cosplay careers, including those of Robert Wong, Hazel Velas, Jerry Polence, Pablo and Tanya Bairan, and the Gosiengfiao sisters Alodia and Ashley.
TOEInty Anime! (2006)
A funny thing happened one weekend in November 2006: three anime conventions were scheduled on the same Saturday. Loyalties were declared and battlelines were drawn, but in the end the lure of a giant wad of cash proved too strong to resist for many local cosplay groups. TOEInty Anime! — the 20th Anniversary of Toei Animation Philippines, drew massive crowds of people to the country’s first-ever groups-only cosplay competition.
With over PhP 100,000 in cash at stake, the event also holds the record for the largest cash prize ever offered in a local cosplay competition — although that record is in jeopardy as TOEInty Five! is putting up PhP 360,000 in cash prizes. Cha-ching!
Level Up! Live (2008)
Level Up! Live 2008 marked the first time that the Ragnarok World Championships were going to be held outside of Korea — and with the game’s popularity in the Philippines it is hard not to see why Manila was picked as the host city. With all the attention the event was getting from gaming media all over the world, local cosplayers pulled out all the stops in portraying characters from their favorite Level Up! games. And although the Philippine team succumbed to the eventual tourney winners the Thais, they managed to carve out a victory off of Team Japan — an achievement in itself considering the highly competetive gaming culture of the Japanese.
Cosplay Mania X (2010)
The first real national cosplay competition — unlike a previous event that was only called a “national cosplay competition” but never truly was, Cosplay Mania Tournament of Champions put up the time, effort, and funding to bring in cosplayers from other cities such as Davao and Bacolod to compete with their compatriots in Manila. The event proved such a success that they earned a nod from Anime Festival Asia’s Regional Cosplay Championships to hold the official Philippine eleminations for their 2011 event.
Aside from TorCh, the event also held individual and group cosplay competitions, on-the-spot cosplay construction competitions, and a cosplay video competition sponsored by Animax. It doesn’t get any more cosplay-centric than this.
These events were selected based on their depth, scale, uniqueness, and how far-reaching their influence is even after the event has wrapped up. I would’ve loved to include such debacles as “No-Go Kaisho” and “Anime Implosion” for the batshit that their events generated — but controversial does not necessarily mean historic, so I left them off the list.
Comments? Suggestions? Violent reactions? We welcome them all from the effusive to the vitriolic — the comments box is your playground! 😀
Photos from Cosplay.PH and Level Up.