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Sunday, October 9, 2011

My Cosplaymania 2011 Experience ... The Best Event Ever, as Predicted!

As predicted (yep, in my prior blogpost: Cosplaymania-2011-is-biggest-event-ever.html as my psychic powers tell me ... LOLZ), this is by far the biggest, the grandest, and the best cosplay event ever! Cosplaymania has never failed to deliver what con-goers expect and what they've promised thus far, be it the booths, the cosplay contests, the fun & excitement, the crowd, and loads more. This is the fourth (4th) Cosplaymania event that I've attended since I started in 2008. Every year, the event provides lots of improvement and more stuff that surely, everyone in all age groups and clans would enjoy. All my past reviews and photo albums / collections are in my Multiply site so just go check 'em out from there. I've seen it thru the years since 2008 and they (organizers and event-goers) have all succeeded!

Photo Courtesy of Retsu from Deviantart 
The quality of the competitions and costumes you see in Cosmania has improved a lot as well. Before, and this is my personal take on it ... you'll see a lot of recycled costumes. YES ... recycled ... i.e. costumes that have been worn over and over again at almost every convention. I have nothing against reusing costumes. I've personally done that too but I guess doing it in like 10 consecutive conventions in a month? I may be exaggerating but I think that's overly doing it. Fortunately, this time around, I could say people have put a lot of effort into it and newer and more exciting and magnificent costumes have been launched. I am happy with everyone's efforts. (^_^) I love the outcome!

I almost thought I couldn't attend this year's event and oh boy ... I wanted to cry! But I've been blessed and was still given a chance to attend this year's most-promising event. It was a whirlwind week and with that allow me to recount what happened and how it came about ... prepare for somehow a lengthy post ...

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    COSPLAYMANIA TORCH II - SM MANILA LEG

    T'was that Saturday, September 24, 2011 when the final leg of Cosplaymania's TORCH II or better known as Cosplay Tournament of the Champions II has marked the end of the competition. Me and my xiong di Domz have worked together for about a month's time to practice and join this tournament. We both love Tekken so we decided to cosplay characters from the series. T'was a pretty-tiresome month considering that I have a major work project that I was working on. But I didn't falter in my hobbies and our plan ... so despite the sleepless days and nights, I still managed to work with my lil bro and pushed thru with this plan.

    Domz and Chai - Team D2X
    Domz picked Lei Wulong and I did Asuka Kazama (geisha / yakuza version). It was a pretty-challenging task for me considering that ... well ... ain't it obvious that I love to eat? Hahaha. When you're happily in love, you both love to eat and ... ok enough of the segue lah~ So we had a lot of practices and exercises to make me a bit more fit and yes, we succeeded! Skit moves and storyline is our brainchild and music / background music was done with the help of our dear friend, Melisse Cordero! Without her, we wouldn't have completed it. Props and other tools were done by our master propsman as well, Jonx Ingeniero.

    So we were all set ... unfortunately, on the day itself, my dear bro left at home this very important piece ... a requirement for the competition ... HIS PASSPORT! Demmit! We attempted to get it within an hour's time so he went back home to get it ... however, we already missed the cut off time when he got back. I honestly felt a little down because ... despite the hardships and some sacrifices, we didn't make it. (T_T) I even had the henna tattoos done to make my cosplay as accurate it could be hehe. I managed to get over it real fast though and I just watched the other contenders and enjoyed the event. Domz joined the individual cosplay contest and surprisingly, he won as the BEST MALE cosplayer. Wooohooo! Congrats brothah!I didn't join the Female category anymore. I immediately changed since I had to go back to work that time already.

    Yuu as Chun Li (Street Fighter)
    Chai as Asuka Kazama
    (Tekken - Geisha / Yakuza Version)
    I pretty much enjoyed the skits. It's a "level up" for most cosplayers who joined. The costumes were really wonderful. I've been watching the other entries via Cosmaniavideo's Youtube Channel and I have to say, everyone has really put a lot of effort in this hobby. What's at stake is the chance to represent our country, the Philippines, in the prestigious international cosplay competition held at AFA - Anime Festival Asia, the Regional Cosplay Championship where partners from each country vie for the title versus other Southeast Asian cosplayers. I was only able to attend this last leg, personally, out of the 8 Total Legs. The pressure was there ... considering that a number of contenders have already showcased their craftsmanship and performance. This one was really tough. I enjoyed my friend Yuu's team with her partner Marko as Team Lion Rush. Their Street Fighter tandem was really wonderful! Congrats to them as well for winning 1st Runner Up in the contest. They're truly deserving! *hugs* I had a photo with her too and probably my only photo in costume since I didn't bother roaming around anymore. The Champion for this leg was Team Vostel with their Voltes V skit. T'was pretty hilarious and I can't help but laugh all throughout. The costumes were wonderfully done and their execution was marvelous. The big costumes didn't hinder their performance and they really looked like they were doing scenes from the anime. I wasn't really a big fan of it when I was a kid, prolly because I didn't really grow up watching it but I did catch a few of their episodes from reruns I guess??? Can't remember hehe. But I do know the series and yes, it was pretty good! Congrats to TEAM VOSTEL for winning.

    My Saturday that time ended shortly and I had to rush back to work. I did not get any chances to do photoshoots anymore (T_T) but Domz and I agreed to do a photoshoot with these costumes and launch the team elsewhere! Yey! The action-packed skit is still due ... soon!


    COSPLAYMANIA - DAY 1

    It's been a week and I know this review is kinda late hehehe ... been caught up with work ...

    I didn't get a chance to attend early because I still had a number of work items that morning 'til afternoon. I got in at around 5PM-6PM only I guess and I wasn't able to roam around that much. I was excited to meet a lot of my long time friends and I have to say I was still successful for that hehe.

    I was sure lucky enough to still catch Hikaru Jan (a.k.a. Jan Pesino Illenberger) as this was her last day in the country. The next day, she'd be flying off. I went to the Circles buffet that morning, thinking I would be able to catch her haha ... but she went to the gym instead so we parked the breakfast plan and hopefully do it some other time. We also weren't able to play DDRX2 anymore ... dang! Sooo little time!

    Chai as Olivier Mira Armstrong (Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
    Jan Pesino Illenberger as Panty (Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt)
    Jen Ching as Claire (Claymore)
    Pinky Luxun as Hatsune Miku (Vocaloid)
    Naoko Chan as Noctis Lucis Caelum (Final Fantasy Versus XIII)

    I noticed first the large cosplayer's area at SMX Convention Center Function Room 3. It was intended as a free hall for cosplayers this year. It's something new considering that most (and all conventions I attended thus far) of the events have little to no space at all for cosplayers to move freely. And this year, it was one whole area! It was a good gesture from the organizers to celebrate Cosplay Appreciation Day and so I participated and signed up as well on the logbook. Part of their effort to gather the most number of cosplayers as a world record so I gladly supported!

    Jumpshot Photography
    Too bad I really came in late though due to a lot of reasons aside from coming from work until late afternoon that day. Work is a priority for me so I don't regret it but it's just sad I missed a lot and wasn't able to meet a lot of folks. I was able to roam around a little with my office bestfriend Jolay and her new colleagues and their kids. T'was awesome to meet new kid cosplayers haha.

    I had a few shoots done with Kira Hokuten and friends. I didn't stay too long though because I really wanted to roam around. I really appreciate it that almost everyone I met loved my version of Olivier Mira Armstrong. It really makes me happy ... my efforts paid off hehehe. Though the fitting is really kinda big ... I know I had it a bit adjusted due to my back braces but I didn't really plan on wearing the brace while in cosplay for a few hours so I need to have the costume readjusted ... again. It makes me look BIGGER than how I should've looked haha. :p But I'm happy with the photo turnouts. Doesn't even look like me hehe. I wasn't able to join the Individual Cosplay Contest (Project Cosplay) anymore since again, I was late hehe. Above all, thanks to my dear friend Kynkyn for inviting me to her group as Mira. It took sooo long to make lah hehe. But finally (though my sword is still in its "revamp" phase and I just used my old sword ...), this came to place! I can't wait to join Kyn's Sigil group for our photoshoot. Hopefully, my schedules would allow hehe.

    There are lots of other folks I met that day but I'm just unable to spend more time with them (coz I was late, duh!) I love how my kumareng Markee had a childish aura with his Pretty Cure Cosplay Group. I like Sese's cosplay group as well (I just dunno from what series (T_T) I am sooo outdated with animes these days and the likes) ... Happy to see Zell and Yuu once more! Too bad the day had to end too soon. T'was pretty tiring as well hehe.

    I had a late dinner with Kira and friends at Chowking but I had to bid goodbye pretty quick ... it's been a long day for me already soooo I had to go ... my eyes can't keep open for long anymore nyahaha. Funny though ... I heard a number of complaints as to how SMX handled security ... I understand there's been a lot of SM violence lately but ... isn't it too over-acting? Even eyeliners, makeup kits, contact lens solutions, etc. were confiscated??? I guess that's too much. So even if I just purchased them from the mall, I can't bring them in? Oh well ... I guess I was just lucky not to have any of my items confiscated.


    COSPLAYMANIA - DAY 2

    I really wanted to start early this day and have my shoots in the morning so I can freely roam around and enjoy more of the event in the afternoon and just relax in the evening (ok stop the run-on sentence now, Chai) ... however, due to poor weather conditions since the previous day, I wasn't able to come early. Also, the last pieces of my shoes were still being completed that morning.

    I guess I could say I was able to come in a bit earlier than the 1st Day but it still wasn't as early as planned. My DAY2 get up was more complicated than the first. I had put more efforts in my makeup and putting on my armor. So it took longer. I'm just glad that at least, I'm finally able to launch it too. Hehe. It was also a year in the making. It was also hot! Eeek! Despite the AC working fine in the halls, it was hot because I'm fully armored. Lah~

    Chai as Meiko from Vocaloid (Synchronicity Version)
    With Armor and Withour Armor (Just the RED Dress)
    I am happy that for Day 2, my dear Emman accompanied me all day. He was in full support for my cosplay and I just can't thank him enough! (^_^) He even gives way for everyone taking photos of me. I'm just so happy.

    A lot of my cosplay friends didn't recognize me at first. I guess they're not used to me wearing armored costumes hehe. I'm really fond of launching new costumes every Cosmania since I consider it as my "Cosplay Birthday" hehe and I want to be able to improve every time I launch a new one. This is by far, the most complicated, I guess hehe. First armored cosplay for me! (^_^)

    Team March Omega (Photo c/o Zhel)
    The main attraction that day was of course, TORCH II Championship. All champions from the different legs compete for the title and aim to be the representative of the country for AFA 2011. Me and my fafi did watch the entirety of the skits and we were really amazed by everyone's execution. All skits have different themes and the variety did not bore the audience. All groups had new techniques to show and wowness costumes altogether. We both still loved how Team Vostel did their skit and it was really uberly funny and entertaining. However, only one group can be declared as champions and they did rank as a runner up anymore. Without much surprise, Team March Omega won the championship and I'm just sooo happy for them for winning. Both of them I personally know and these 2 are really wonderful cosplayers! Their craftsmanship is awesome and the smooth transition from their video presentation to the stage skit did the trick! They stayed true to their story and wonderfully executed their stunts. No wonder they won! Congratulations to Zhel Guiral and AC Hernandez for winning! Bring home the bacon from AFA please! (^_^)

    The contest was judged by non-other than the international guests Clive Lee, JiakiDarkness, YukiGodbless, and PinkyLuxun. I thought I wouldn't be able to meet them anymore since security was too strict. My dear sister Naoko was giving me access to the VIP area though but I didn't want to be a distraction to the ones who were already seated. The judges were on the elevated platform anyway so I wouldn't be able to meet them. Also, my costume prevents me from sitting long. Havin' a hard time resting haha so I was standing all day. However, luck was really on my side so right after the TORCH presentation, and the guests being interviewed on the side, there was a short photo opportunity granted to the ones who were there so I took the chance.

    Chai Chen, YukiGodbless, Pinky Lu Xun, and JiakiDarkness
    Photo by Gene
    I will always remember this opportunity hehe. Although Clive wasn't with them anymore, I guess, he's been a local already haha. This is his 2nd time guesting after Cosmania X last year. (^_^) Thanks to my friend, Gene for taking this photo. Makes me feel like I'm one of the guests then. LOL.

    I had a mini-shoot once more with Kira and friends. I can't wait to have a proper shoot with this costume then with my groupmates (Vocaloid Synchronicity) with my sistah Naoko as our leader. Woot! Despite the challenging costume, it was all fun. My xiong di Domz asked me to do Asuka instead but I reserved that then for another shoot and launch instead so I opted for this one. All photos will be available in my Deviantart site then. Vocaloid has really grown to popularity and I'm glad I've finally learned what it's all about c/o Naoko hehe.

    Chai and Yuu
    I met a lot of awesome folks once more like Jin Joson and Team Tux. Jin was absolutely stunning in her Rei Ayanami cosplay. I have a photo with her but I can't find it yet. >.< I will post once I found it hehe. Happy to see Zell and Yuu once more as my "regulars" hehe. This couple is really cool! I love their company.  

    Kira had a number of entries too in the Cosplay Snapshots Project 2. One of the finalists is a photo he took last Toycon and that was my cosplay of Needa Schuetlitch from Shuraki Trinity. Last year, he won the overall contest ... this guy's really amazing! He puts a lot of effort in his shoots well so good job dude! And congrats! This year, while he didn't win in it, he had a few photos in the finalists. I'm glad I was able to help at least. Hehe. Project 8 won the Costube contest and I must say, they truly deserve the win! Their video is astounding! Makes me feel like it ain't from our country hehe. The comic relief they bring plus the amazing effects and visuals clearly show how the cosplay scene in the country has improved since its humble beginnings. Watch their Costube 2011 entry: Red Revo Super Sentai Battle.

    Chai and Pinky
    Photo by Gene
    The day was almost over after the program but it didn't end without friends meeting and chatting and whatnots ... I'm so touched when Pinky asked me to sign my Jean Grey cosplay photo for her. I'm like ... WHOOAAA??? She's the international star and I'm just a nobody lah~ And gosh, she's sooo sweet. She did have a number of Filipino cosplayers she likes and I'm just happy I was one of them. I just really became close with her thru our Deviantart interactions and I'm glad she remembers me. She was sooo excited to me (and posted it on my FB wall causing a surge of friend invites with me right after hahaha) whereas, it should've been the other way around. I should've been the one more excited. LOLZ. Well, I was ... and I'm glad to meet her on both days. There was a Monday trip scheduled for her and the rest of the guests as she advised but because I was too tired ... I slept almost all-day Monday and forgot to text Naoko to join lah~ They all enjoyed the Tagaytay trip (T_T) and I was just sleeping! Huhuhu. Dang! Anyway, I guess it was ok ... I have work that evening so I would be tired if I joined ... oh well! But really, Pinky was really nice. (T_T) *tears of joy* She's a nice online friend and now, a real life friend. LOL. Is there such a comparison? Haha. *SIGH* I'm really glad to have met her.



    COSPLAYMANIA - OVERALL

    My expectations were delivered! The event was really awesome! Cosplaymania-2011-is-biggest-event-ever.html - granted! In its 4th year that I've attended thus far, this is the BEST. How many times do I have to say that then? LOL. As a cosplayer and congoer, I'm very much satisfied.

    For more information about my costume details, check out my Cosplay Resumes:

    Here's a few points to summarize what I love the most:
    • 3 Big Function Rooms with a freedom cosplay hall for everyone to enjoy
    • a local championship for AFA 2011 RCC representation thru TORCH II
    • the LED powered display on stage .... UBER COOL!!! Even folks from the farther end can still watch the stage scenes!
    • more international guests! 
    • partnership with SM for ticketing - I think it's faster and we didn't have to queue on the day itself just to buy tickets
    • the events and intermissions were cosplay-centric than non-related band performances
    • booths are separated from the main stage which allows cosplayers not to get too-crowded in one area
    • BIGGER space to roam around in all function rooms

    And if I'd wish for me, I would've loved to have these ...
    • baggage counter for cosplayers (even the non-participating ones) ... I know it's wishful thinking ... not a demand but just a wish/request *wink*
    • more food choices (I guess this year's sponsor was a bit pricey for most attendees?)
    • seats at the free hall (with a lot of cosplayers around, sitting on the floor makes it look too crowded)
    T'was an all-good experience, overall! I really love this year's event and I guess I don't have more words to say and express how this one is the BEST. Thank you very much to the organizers for making this happen! Cosplay.ph team does make it better every year! KUDOS to the team!

    To those who missed it and those who want to relive the moments, watch these amazing videos:



    Cosplay Mania 2011 Aftermath Video by: reimaru

     
     
    Cosplay Mania 2011 Cosplayers by: tempestfilmsph
    Cosplaymania 2012 is something to watch out for! Can't wait! (^_^) Chai

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