I’m taking a break from all the MNL48 related shenanigans and let me go back to my time machine (probably because there are no cosplay events today). Let me tell you about that time our school held it’s first (and certainly the last) cosplay competition.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Animage.
Before we even go to the event proper, I am not fond about my time in high school because, contrary to what boomers say about it, high school isn’t the happiest time of your life. That said, I didn’t totally hate my time there because this was also the time that I started to become a full fledged weeaboo and I’m not the only one.
That group of weeaboo friends have stayed on for the whole four year timeline of pre K-12 high school life, so much so that we became seniors and that can only mean one thing: we now have the power to organize our own events with the respective clubs we’re members of.
I don’t remember exactly how this came to be but back then, I was a member of the science club, and one of my weeaboo friends was a high-ranking officer or something and when event planning time came to pass, either that weeb friend suggested to have a cosplay competition, I suggested it, or I don’t know, it was unanimously agreed upon.
You see, this was 2011, not every highschooler was that deep into otaku culture. That’s something we think back then that only rich Atenean dorks and LaSallista geeks are into (and it still probably is in some form or fashion but after Alodiamania, the floodgates were open and thus we have the state of cosplay affairs right now: see Cosplay Scrambolan). At this point in time, getting to watch Special A, Code Geass, or in my case Azumanga Daioh is already enough to brand you as an “otaku”. Weeaboo didn’t come into our vocabulary until 2014, folks.
Of course, the teachers won’t just let the inmates run the asylum. So something was presented to them to tie it back to science: we must create our costumes and props using trash. You heard that right, you think recycled costumes are “bad”? Try making costumes out of literal scrap material.
Now that’s recycling to the extreme.
I don’t necessarily remember much about how the stuff prior to the event was happened but I do remember how this all went down: I initially balked at the idea of having the cosplay event to have a competition because at the time, I was thinking more it being ala Comiket wherein people can wear their costumes around the campus instead of having it to be some sort of a “pageant”.
I was a know-it-all asshole back then when it comes to otaku culture, and that kind of thinking bit me in the ass when I attended Ozine Fest 2011 because, shock of shocks, there was a cosplay contest and it was held like a pageant.
The first part is your usual show of costumes with the MCs giving the audience some info as to what materials were used to the create the costume out of. Remember, the whole context of the “cosplay competition” was recycling.
Second part is a small presentation to appease the anime loving dorks in the school. My weeaboo friend cosplayed Sakura Kinomoto and we had this mini fight wherein Sakura captures the monster in a blank Clow Card. Another friend of mine, who is not a weeaboo, was suited with a full body Doraemon costume and did a whole episode of Doraemon complete with Nobita and the gang, sans Dekisugi.
Third part is your usual question and answer portion. Nothing special.
In retrospect, Animage is something that couldn’t have, shouldn’t have, and wouldn’t have worked in any other high school, at any other time, and in any other place.
The boomer teachers aren’t that in tune with what the kids are into, the millennial students of 2011 wanted to be popular, not be known as some doofus who wore a Kirito costume in high school, and certainly cosplay isn’t a thing with the general populace will be into, well until Myrtle Sarossa won PBB or Alodia became an icon. You decide on that.
Then again, I thank the teachers who let us take the ball and run away with it, believing that we, as seniors, know what we were doing at that time. It was some sort of a success because: a) people loved cartoons and b) it was unique for it’s time.
I never felt sad about Animage 2 being a thing though, since I don’t think the batch after us are into otaku culture as much as we were (technically, the rest of our batchmates aren’t that deep into otaku culture as well. They watched anime and that’s it while my weeb circle of friends know that there’s such a thing as cosplaying).
That’s it for now. See you on this weekend because I’m finally getting over watching Mario vs Goku. Might as well watch some iSchoool once the whole drama between MNL48, HHE and ABS-CBN winds down, like that mattered anyway.