Day 2 of Cosplay Mania 11 — the Philippines’ biggest cosplay convention held last 1st and 2nd of October 2011, saw the SMX Convention Center at SM Mall of Asia Complex filled to the rafters with cosplayers, photographers, and cosplay fans. Lines snaked out on to the street despite the inclement weather, and even the organizers were surprised by the turnout — as all 15,000 tickets were sold during the course of the day.
The party started with a rousing performance by J-Pop Anime Singing Contest and Ongaku Society stalwarts Himitsu Heiki, who played hits from Macross Frontier and Vocaloid. They were joined by fellow Ongaku Socity regulars Moonspeak, who rocked out to tracks from Getbackers and Nura: Rise of the Youkai Clan.
Two of the biggest competitions of the day are the Project Cosplay Group Competition, and the Costume Building Contest. At Project Cosplay, teams of cosplayers vied to impress judges with their stage performances; meanwhile at the other end of the hall, groups of costume builders worked at a fiendish pace to complete their super robot before alien invaders arrive to destroy the world.
Guests were treated to more onstage performances by the event’s Guests of Honor — with YukiGodBless and JiakiDarkness re-enacting their award-winning World Cosplay Summit performance for their adoring Filipino fans. The exactingly-scripted performance used the stage’s LED light curtain to full effect, as well as showed off the surprising mobility and flexibility of the Thais’ enormous armor pieces.
Immediately after their performance, Jiaki and Yuki were joined onstage by Pinky Lu Xun and Clive Lee to talk about their experiences as cosplayers. I have had the pleasure of hosting the panel with our Guests of Honor, and we learned that their experience in international competitions aside, we are all essentially fans doing the same thing we love.
Late in the afternoon was the last but certainly the most-awaited event of the entire weekend: the Grand Finals of the Cosplay Tournament of Champions II. With a field of eight pairs from all over the Philippines, pride and glory were not the only things at stake — there was also the opportunity to become the official Philippine entry to the AFA 11 Regional Cosplay Championships to be held in Singapore in November.
As one of our favorite performances of the afternoon, Team Enigma of Davao’s innovative use of props and scenery, and that absolutely jaw-dropping backlit fight sequence that used the stage’s LED light curtain in a way that even I have never seen before, deserves a place in the annals of Philippine cosplay history. Their performance is even more inspiring considering the fact that a mishap earlier in the day resulted in the loss of a majority of their armor pieces. Team Enigma relied on sheer guts to pull off one of the best skits of the afternoon — bar none.
Another fine performance came from Team Vostel of SM Manila — the two boys-at-heart cosplayed a title that is closed to many Filipino fans’ hearts: Voltes V. Judging from the thundering cheers inside the hall, as well as the flattering remarks from the judges (who were also waxing poetic over their own childhoods), Team Vostel is just 1.4% shy of clinching a spot at AFA’s Regional Cosplay Championships.
Alas, we can’t bring all eight teams to Singapore, and one very deserving pair was picked to represent the Philippines at Anime Festival Asia’s Regional Cosplay Championships. With a seamless transition from their onscreen short film to their stage performance, coupled with an intricate light-up armor system that had even Clive Lee and JiakiDarkness impressed, Zhel Guiral and AC Hernandez are off to Singapore as the current Philippines Champions.
Cosplay Tournament of Champions II: Team March Omega (Cagayan de Oro)
Project Cosplay Group: HTP:Team Suna (Naruto)
Costube Short Film Competition: Project 8 (Red Revo Super Sentai Battle)
Costume Building Contest: Project 8
I’d like to congratulate all the contestants who battled with all their skill, determination, and heart, in all competitions held at the convention this weekend. I would also like to congratulate the Cosplay Mania team for a nearly flawless execution this year. As usual, there are still nips and tucks needed here and there — but as far as I can see this con lived up to all the hype, and is in its way to becoming one of the truly epic conventions in Philippine history.