Over the weekend last week, Cosplay Mania - the Philippines' biggest and most well-known cosplay convention, was held at the SMX Convention Center in SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City. With so many cosplayers, cosplay enthusiasts, photographers, otakus, as well as people who are casually into geeky stuff from all over the country as well as from other countries (especially Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore), it is one grand two-day feast in celebration of popular culture and visual media, with a much greater focus to cosplaying in general. But to me, this is just a footnote to what Cosplay Mania means to me. (click to read about my first Cosplay Mania, which is also my first ever cosplay convention) - a world where characters that I only find in anime shows, manga and comics, and movies come to life, a world that caused me to meet new true friends and pretty girls that are either real or fake (most recent one is fake), and a world that made me realize that I want a reinvention and become a fictional character myself on certain days of the year. Thus, this year, as a nod to the cosplay and otaku scene becoming a great part of my life and to the convention that opened this secret realm, I return for my third and so far the best Cosplay Mania I've had.
Just like my first Cosplay Mania, all I brought was a cellphone, a digicam, and some money (tons of it actually). The only difference is that this time I already am a cosplayer myself for a year now and have friends in the cosplay scene. But as much as I love to cosplay and hang out with my cosplayer and otaku friends, I already set in my heart that Day 1 will not meant for that. Rather, it will be just like my first Cosplay Mania - a beautiful day for hunting and slaying, for I will be seeing a lot of pretty girls dressed and acting as fictional pretty girls, and I will have my picture taken with them.
Momo (left) and Nica (right)
Mich and I
Nonetheless, I saw my friends Nica, Owen, Nico, Momo, and Mich, and they saw me too. And since I was already there, I picked up my Recon Corps hooded cloak that I ordered from Nica and bought a Scouting Legion jacket in preparation for my cosplay for Day 2 (you guys already have an idea what/who I'm going to cosplay). A few hours later, my fellow hunter Fernan came and joined the fun. While he's not allowed to have his picture taken with the beautiful cosplay girls since he has a prospect, it was more than enough for him to sit outside as we look at the cosplay girls who were passing by, talk about cosplay girls as well as girls in general (most especially about the girls we like and used to like), and taking my photo with them - somewhat reminiscent of what we used to do in UST, except that:
* We never bring a camera to UST.
* The girls there don't wanttheir contacts asked or their pictures taken, be it solo or with a guy.
* The girls there aren't cosplaying.
And since we're talking about UST, we went there afterwards to play some DoTA, just like what we did when we first went to Cosplay Mania. Unfortunately, we lost in all of our games, especially with the last one, since we lost despite Fernan getting 33 kills with Earth Spirit. But that's okay, because even though it wasn't exactly a good day for battle, just like my first Cosplay Mania and all the other cons I have attended, it was a very beautiful day for hunting and slaying.
Finally, the big day. What makes Day 2 the big day, you ask? Well, it's the day I'll finally cosplay, hang out with my cosplay friends and a friend who I haven't seen for quite some time now, hunt and slay a little bit as some sort of sideline, and hopefully meet a new girl (I'll fill you in on what happened with Lin next time - ugh, I got so much explaining to do). Aside from the bare basics for slaying, I brought along my costume since I couldn't wear it from home to the event venue (actually I can, it's just that I can't handle all the stares I'd definitely get if I traveled while wearing my costume). And since my costume included knee-high leather boots, I had to put it in a gym bag, while I had to put my camera, wallet, and cellphone in my messenger bag. I brought more bags in a cosplay convention than in a 3-day camp - talk about suffering for your art.
When I got there, the first thing I did was to change into my costume, since I was already safe from scrutinizing eyes, not to mention that I could no longer contain my excitement. While my costume was definitely incomplete since I lacked the harness and the wig wasn't styled 100% accurately, that didn't make me feel any less of a proud member of the Scouting Legion who aims not only to protect humanity from titans, but also reclaim the lost lands the titans have taken. And I'm not just any member of the said esteemed military branch, I am the leader of its Special Operations Squadron. I am Corporal Levi.
I hung out with Konan and Alex, old friends from my Akatsuki cosplay days, friends from Otaku Brigade - Aron, Jun, Marlen, Kenetsu, Lanie, Mikee, Charles (thanks for the donuts), Angelica, and Yhen.And since I'm looking forward to meeting someone pretty, I also hung out a little bit with Ehm and Princess (perfect Juvia, by the way), since I heard Princess's elder sister is really pretty, and Princess is already pretty! But some woman that I don't even know had to wait, because my friend Zacc, along with his girlfriend Janica, went to Cosplay Mania that day, and I just had to hang out with the two of them because it's been quite a long while since I did.
Zacc isn't exactly a cosplay enthusiast, as he's there to find action figures worth buying. Nonetheless, he's definitely no stranger to geek culture, as he's one of the people I usually talk to about chapter discussions for Naruto, Bleach, and Fairy Tail ever since college. And I'm actually very glad as well as surprised that he's also watching Attack on Titan (then again, considering Attack on Titan is a top-notch anime that is highly recommended and gets a lot of good word of mouth, I shouldn't have), as he was able to recognize who I'm cosplaying. We went around the exhibitor's hall looking for things to buy and cosplayers to take pictures with, although Zacc wasn't able to find anything worth the fruits of his labor. However, he was able to find his old Tekken comrades instead, beckoning him for a game or two. Of course, Zacc refused, as he has already left his past as a warrior behind him, and is now a man content with the love of his beloved.
Afterwards, we ate at Karate Kid, discovered L from Death Note actually smokes, then went back to the event area to get my bag and for me to part ways, as they were still looking for cosplayers to take pictures of, while I headed out to go to my cosplayer friends. Unfortunately, it was already 8PM, and all I could do with them at that time was have a little chat and send them off. While it's quite a shame that I couldn't hang out with them on the day of the Philippines' biggest cosplay event of the year, I always hang out with them during other conventions, and there's always a convention around all year round. After all, I don't always get a chance to hang out with my old college buddy that I haven't seen for quite some time now, and in Cosplay Mania of all times.
In Cosplay Mania 2013, not only did fiction and reality meet, but also of the different circle of friends: my college friends Fernan and Zacc, and my cosplayer friends. And I guess the past, present, and the future also did collide, as I spent with both an old friend as we did an old but gold activity, another old friend and his current and future partner, as well as not-so-new friends who I share a not-so-new hobby with. How long will I be going to conventions, either with Fernan hunting pretty girls or cosplaying and hanging out with my cosplay and otaku friends? When will Zacc, Janica and I get to hang out again? Will I find the girl I like in the cosplay/otaku community? I do not know the answers to those questions. How long will we be friends with my college and cosplay/otaku friends?Ah, that I am sure of - until I die, just like how long I'll like anime and manga. In the end, Cosplay Mania 2013 will be one of the most unforgettable events I've been to. Truly, the biggest cosplay event in the Philippines never fails to make me happy.
P.S.: I didn't find a girl worth making moves on during both days.
P.P.S.: I got totally sidetracked and never got to see Princess's sister.
THE REASON YOU'RE HERE:
THE REASON YOU SKIPPED THE AWFULLY LONG TEXT:
That perfect Saya Kisaragi stare.
Master James approves, Servant Saber.
Her name is Sugee Sue, and she came all the way from Taiwan.
It's not our fault you don't have a boyfriend, Kuroki-san.
If you know who he's cosplaying, I'll give you a prize.
This is a pink Zaku, boy!
We interrupt this peaceful sipping of coconut shake to give you A TITAN ATTACK!
Unless your character's from some super-obscure series, expect to find a clone in a big-ass event such as Cosplay Mania. By the way, my money's on the Juvia on the left, and it's not just because it's Princess.
Have you guys watched The Ring?
BIASED COSPLAY SELF-EVALUATION TIME:
I'll do better next time, Mister President. FOR THE GLORY OF HUMANITY!