Cosplay Mania 11 is the largest cosplay con in the Philippines — held this previous weekend the 1st and 2nd of October 2011 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City. The event features three different activity zones for cosplay enthusiasts: the Free Hall for Cosplay Appreciation Day, the Fiesta Hall for sales and exhibitions, and the Stage Hall for competitions and performances.
This year’s event has been made extra special with the participation of four of South East Asia’s most accomplished cosplayers: Clive Lee from Singapore, JiakiDarkness from Thailand, Pinky Lu Xun from Indonesia, and YukiGodBless from Thailand. The four Guests of Honor took part in various activities such as stage performances, craftsmanship demonstrations, and autograph sessions.
Clive and the two Thais took on Guy Singson in an on-the-spot costume creation competition called Cosmaker Battle Royale. It was all in good fun, as no winners and no losers were expected. Pinky on the other hand gave a short dance number in Hatsune Miku cosplay, after which she did a workshop on creating one of the many stunning accessories she was wearing for the performance.
Of course — what would Cosplay Mania be without cosplay?! One of the biggest cosplay competitions held this year (in any convention!) was CM11’s Project Cosplay — judged by Clive Lee, Pinky Lu Xun, and award-winning cosplayer-turned-couture designer Cat de Jesus . I certainly didn’t envy the judges — they had the grave responsibility of selecting eight winners from a very talented pool about 150 individual competitors.
Some of our favorite contestants at this year’s competition were Red from Angry Birds, Superman (who looks like a theatre actor on an off-day — he even sang some lines from “Can You Read My Mind”, the love song from Superman The Movie), and possibly every single Monster Hunter cosplayer who went onstage — the level of intricacy on those costumes were outstanding!
After a butt-numbing two hours of edge-of-your-seat performances, the winners selected for the 2011 Project Cosplay are:
Best Overall Cosplayer: Abraham Cruz (Exteel)
Best Male: Guy Singson (Garo — Garo Makai Knights)
Best Female: Jonam Baladad (Gundam Unicorn)
Best Kid: Belldandy Grimarez (Voltron)
Best Craftmanship: Miggy Panlilio (Joseph Jobson — Blassreiter)
Best Performance: Karla Fuentes (Takamachi Nanoha — Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force)
Best Anime/Manga: Jeff Miranda (Gundam RX-78 Alex)
Best Video Game: Toni Else Lozano (Dark Elf — Rohan)
Best Comic Book: Marx Loriada (Batman Killgear)
Best TV/Movie: RB Cheng (Shockwave — Transformers)
Major props go to the stage concept at Cosplay Mania: the band set-up off to one side aided in cutting down prep times for musical performers, and the two-prong U-shaped ramp gave photographers plenty of opportunity to get good shots on both sides of the stage. However, the piece de resistance was the rolling LED curtain that split right down the middle, allowing oversized costumes to enter the stage via a ramp from behind. Many cosplayers certainly milked it, like the Gundams and the Transformers mecha costumes — to the delight of the cheering crowd.
As for gripes — this is directed more at the competing cosplayers than the organizers: please keep your onstage performances to under two minutes It’s bad enough that the crowd has to go through seven cosplayers doing the same character, but spending five minutes on each one is honestly not my idea of a good time. Also, please remember the staff instructions on entry and exit; walking around the stage like a headless chicken looking for the off-ramp certainly will not help your final score.