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Cosplay Mania 2017 Post-Mortem

The year 2017 is the year of the nerds, as more and more people seem to flock towards the latest in pop culture. Games, anime, and movies has been a highlight this year, and what better way to celebrate that mutual liking of pop culture than to dress up as your favorite characters from a chosen media. Thus, cosplay, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and cosplay is just that. 

On the last weekend of September, Girls Got Game covered the biggest cosplay event in the Philippines. Cosplay Mania 2017 was a smash as thousands of cosplay and anime fans flocked to SMX Mall of Asia to take part in the two-day event.

Far from its humble beginnings in 2008, Cosplay Mania has now become the most-anticipated convention by Japanese pop culture enthusiasts. This year was even bigger as prominent guests from the anime industry and cosplay community were flown in. It also provided cosplayers the opportunity to strut their stuff. We got to witness and participate in some of the exciting activities that were lined up for the event.

What were the highlights of Cosplay Mania for you?

Karen Ang: Yuri!!! on ICE is one my favorite animes and when I learned that Cosplay Mania was bringing in Sayo Yamamoto, I was super excited to go. I was able to attend the panel where she and Fuuka Noda talked. That was like a dream! I also bought a stub for their autograph signing. Unfortunately, photos weren’t allowed in both events but I have the autographs as souvenirs. An unexpected highlight for me was the talk with voice actors Wataru Hatano and Koutaro Nishiyama. Wacchan was so funny and he talked a mile a minute, I kind of felt sorry for his interpreter. I was also stunned when my number was called for the autograph signing with the seiyuus.

Xrystina Marcos: The entire affair was full of energy. As an attendee, cosplay was not required and one could enjoy other activities. But of course, those that did cosplay ended up being the ones that stood from the crowd! One could feel the passion of these cosplayers radiating from their costumes. After hours upon hours of glue gun burns and missing pins, it was all worth it for them to be able to participate in the biggest cosplay convention of the year.

The Cosplay Cup was amazing too. Cosplayers with the best performance and costume had the chance to best one another in order to win a cash prize.

Judith Razon: What made Cosplay Mania a lot more memorable for me this time around were the panels. It’s been quite some time since they had something of substance in their programs, so having wonderful, incredible guests talk about their respective industries was a very welcome change for me.

Were you able to maximize your time there?

Karen: In a way. But I bought a VIP ticket which helped cut down waiting time a lot. I think I was able to maximize my time at the Collectibles Zone because I walked away broke.

Xrystina: Yes, exploring the Artist’s Alley was great. Local creators were given a chance to sell their merchandise and meet other creators as well. It shed some well-deserved spotlight on their art and talent. I could see the enthusiasm and joy of the artists as dozens flock to their stalls to buy their merchandise to the point that they get sold out, earning that well-deserved cash at the end of the day.

Judith: More or less! I went in early and got to try my hand at the jubeat machines in the Quantum booth, which was really fun. Canon had really fun offerings too, from free printing to a photo with giant Pikachu plushies. What I really went in for, though, were the events in the main stage. The cosplay competitions were as consistently high-level as in the previous years, and the panels were A+ as expected. I also stayed until the JAM Concert, which is something I attend every year despite not knowing most of the artists.

What aspects can be improved on?

Karen: I think the organizers should employ more manpower especially for the entrance and distribution of tickets. The lines for entering SMX were very long and undermanned although the situation improved on the second day.

Xrystina: The event didn’t go off without a few issues. The lines in front of the venue were staggering to the point that attendees spent more time in line rather than inside the actual convention center. The merchant booths were just a sea of people shoving and pushing one another. Unpleasant as the experience was, the event organizers addressed the issue and promised to fix it for next year’s Cosplay Mania.

Judith: The line on Day 1 really was the biggest issue. I timed it myself; processing took anywhere between 10-40 seconds per person depending on what ticket you had. VIP took the longest due to badges, while there was only one stamp for two lanes for Silver, which was inefficient. What further exacerbated the problem was the volume of attendees – almost double compared to previous years. Thankfully the second day was much better since they assigned a separate person for stamping. It cut the processing time in half and people got in faster despite having more attendees than Day 1.

What do you hope will happen in Cosplay Mania 2018?

Karen: I hope they’ll fly in more exciting guests from my favorite animes. I’m crossing my fingers that Mitsurou Kubo will be among the guests next year.

Judith: I really hope they’ll continue the trend of bringing in more industry professionals in addition to more JAM artists. This year proved that there is a clamor for them, and people will definitely line up early just for them. They’ll also need more volunteers – a lot more – for next year, as it’s their 10th anniversary. People will certainly flock to the event and I’m really looking forward to it!

Though not as smoothly run as last year, the activities and guests more than made up for the long waiting times outside in the hot sun. Cosplay Mania 2017 was a weekend filled with energy, and it was all thanks to a community of cosplay enthusiasts who all share the same goal: to bring together a community of people who enjoy cosplay, anime, games, and more for a weekend of fun-filled activities and ninja running.

We would like to thank Cosplay Mania 2017 for allowing us to cover the event, and we will see you at Cosplay Mania 2018!

Xrystina Marcos
Judith is an unapologetic fangirl who doesn't need much excuse to dress up as her favorite characters. She likes to spend her time on the Internet or anywhere she can nom, preferably both at the same time.
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Karen Ang
A bifemme of varied interests. A dweeb who loves cosplaying, video games, and board games. Avid fan or Victoriana and period costumes. Burlesque performer for Burlesque PH. Currently learning how to become a proper domme and catching up on anime culture.

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