March 14, 2012

Goodbye 2011 (Annual Review)

It’s been a good year for all of us. We experienced the best and possibly the year when the Otaku community becomes larger than we have ever imagined. This is what the forerunners and innovators of the trend wanted, and they manage to achieve a year of pride, popularity and acceptance. It not only affects those businessmen, cosplayers, and the mass media, but also it affected us in a way that we could not predict when we first started doing this in the first place.
Alodia Gosiengfiao's rection when her co-star, Grace
announced that she is still single. Taken at TOYCON 2011.
The year was 2011. What could have been the “GOLDEN YEAR” of cosplay. Cosplayers started to multiply in size and the variety. For related businesses, they managed to have the exposure that they need to thrive on themselves from their foxholes.  The appearance of cosplay-related online shops as well as the establishment of the first maid cafĂ© in the country indicated that it was a pronounced sign of great things to come.


Alongside the businesses is the formal (and sometimes hurried) establishment of organizations to provide related services and information for otakus, cosplayers, and anime lovers alike. The local media started to accept us and realized they could use it to their advantage. As a result, it has become more of a fan-based obsession similar to celebrities and artists. That became into reality when the Philippines “Cosplay Idol” Alodia Gosiengfiao signed a contract with a local television network. From them on, more people used cosplay as another form of gaining reputation, turning the scene more of an entertainment-related activity.
"You can't hit me" - A superman cosplayer being arrested by the members
of the Resident Evil cosplay group. Taken at COSPLAY MANIA 2011
As for the events themselves, they mushroomed into more of a weekly fan affair. Unlike the quarterly conventions that every otaku old-timer knew from the last half decade, it evolved into a monthly tribute to anime, manga, and for all intents and purposes, the local cosplay scene. A new breed of organizers were created to tackle the massive supply and demand for cosplay to turn into a standard staple in Philippine Society. The biggest malls in the country allow them to create not only larger events but also events of variety, packing all the anime-related activities into one big festival.
Front stage of the recently concluded Level Up Live 2011 (LULIVE).
Notice the dual projector screens and the LED monitor at the center stafge.
Everyone around the trend started to create conventions. From the big department stores and shopping malls to universities, high schools, and regional campuses, and even extravagant event locations, every otaku is creating events like it was their bread and butter. Another worth mentioning is the cosplay photography business. The simple photo-ops and major product deals in print, television, and web media ensures its position to the masses. The good thing about it is that these photographers proved that you can make cosplay photography into a thriving business, many of which are now working internationally.
Fenbrook Gardens in Pasay were Fantasy Quest was held.
With all the greatness of last year were its consequences. Standard places where cosplay conventions usually held were now deemed “unacceptable” by the public due to the massive amounts of people entering them. Lack of organization by the organizers is also become a huge burden not only for their sponsors and exhibitors but also to the con-goers and cosplayers themselves. Respect among cosplay groups and idols themselves were the largest issue. Alongside these were the issues regarding cosplayer femininity as well as the fan based bash-offs and the greatest factor of them all, COSPLAY TRIBALISM. Not to mention the hard part of filtering the loyalists from the opportunists and the lack of ethics on cosplayers, con-goers, and photographers alike.
The stars of COSPLAY NATION as they being "photobombed"
by photographers.Taken at the first day of TOYCON 2011
In the end, it all depends on us know to make the change. In our experience last year, we felt that there was something lacking among all of these. The LACK OF DIRECTION for what the community wanted to proceed on. All of them have something that they want to keep in exchange of fame and control. We definitely understood them but that tactic was so-so 2008. This is the decade that we must act upon. If we don’t then the community that we managed to grow and cherished will be its stepping stone to its own separation.

As part of this community, we will uphold the values that stood us from the rest of the attention seekers; the equity, equality, and transparency that will not at any time be deterred by the times. We never lied to our viewers about our intention to make a living out of what we do but that is for serving you (the one who is reading this post) the latest and the most interesting writings about the Philippine’s cosplay scene. We personally thank all of you for the greatest support that you are giving us. Rest assumed it will be our fuel to continue infusing journalism and cosplay into our hearts.

We have reached the TOP OF THE PEAK; it’s about time we make the change.