The year 2022 is marked with a lot of changes, not only with the world as a whole, but with how things are going inside the cosplay convention scene and it doesn’t matter if you’re a cosplayer, an organizer, or even just a simple congoer, these changes can be felt as time went by.
With that said, let’s start with the major thing that greatly affected the way we attend these cosplay conventions: the ticketing system. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole ticketing system wasn’t as complicated as it was now and it created not only an overcrowding problem but also the annoying #teamlabas posts that you see on social media whenever a major cosplay convention rolls around.
Now we have a much more streamlined ticketing system that manages to resolve both the overcrowding problem and the #teamlabas problem but then it gave birth to two new problems: scalpers and scarcity.
Both problems go hand in hand and with cosplay convention organizers limiting the number of tickets to a certain amount, it creates this scarcity problem wherein the demand outweighs the supply once tickets go on sale and one of the main reasons, in my opinion, for this dilemma is that scalpers, now more than ever, have the balls to go ahead and hoard those tickets and then sell them for much higher prices.
I would suggest, and Cosplay.ph already implements this sort of thing, limit the number of tickets to sell, especially per person because what happens is this: sure you only limit the overall number of tickets you sell to 300 or 200 but people can only order as many tickets as he or she can. What I am saying here is to limit the number of tickets to be sold per person to something like 2 or 3 per each day the person wanted to go to.
Ozine Fest, on the other hand, has a much more convoluted solution to this ticket problem, in my opinion: sell tickets for paid events on their free events (aka events with no entrance fees whatsoever) and then make a limited offer of selling the same tickets at Lazada of all places.
This creates a sense of exclusivity since tickets are only sold in limited quantities plus it’s only being sold for a limited time but I think this method of ticket selling might backfire in the long run if you plan to sell tickets on the day of the event itself.
Another thing that has changed the face of cosplay conventions here in the Philippines is the proliferation of fanservice (or fan services depending on what you want to call it).
The last time I attended a cosplay convention, providing fanservice isn’t a thing at all then all of a sudden, by the time either Cosplay Matsuri 2021 or Otasuke Anisong Festival 2022 happened, a lot of cosplayers offer these kinds of services to convention goers. I am neither condoning nor condemning these kinds of things but I am just bewildered about who, what, or why this trend started to happen? Is it solely to promote their Fansly (or OnlyFans/Kofi/Gank) pages? Is it to money on the side? We will never know, do we?
All I can say for now is that based on what I am seeing, this fanservice thing we’re seeing right now is just a fad and somewhere around 2023 or 2024, it will be gone but it’s going to be a fad that would spawn a sector of the weebsphere that claim that cosplay events be “family-friendly” as well as more unsuspecting attendees who would continue to sexually harass cosplayers because, in their minds, all cosplayers provide fanservice.
Speaking of harassment, it’s still alive and well in the community and it has now expanded from sexual abuse to online bullying. To be fair harassment in the cosplay community is nothing new and I’m afraid that it won’t go anywhere soon but in my opinion, it amplified during the pandemic.
With the birth of anonymous cosplay confession pages and groups like Cosplay Scrambolan, which I covered in this blog post, cosplayers who wanted to rant and rave about the state of the cosplay community now have a platform to do so and when there is smoke, there’s always bound to be fire.
I believe the best solution to cosplay drama is to talk directly to the person and either solve things out via dialogue or duke it out with a fistfight but unless they need to spread awareness of what’s going on, there’s no need to make private drama public.
Now for some fandom-related stuff in this retrospective. When we last left the in-person cosplay scene, and let me know if I am wrong with this, there was no single fandom that dominated the Philippine cosplay scene, and then came Genshin Impact.
Who could’ve imagined that a game released on September 28, 2020, would make waves in the cosplay scene that would dominate cosplay conventions for almost a year beating new anime releases like SPY x FAMILY and popular manga like Chainsaw Man? Nobody, based on what I’ve seen on social media.
For one, I can see the appeal of Genshin Impact to the anime-watching population that comprises almost the whole cosplay community in the Philippines with its anime-based character designs. Maybe you’re not into anime and manga at all but at least you can say that Genshin Impact reminded you of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with its impressive graphics and lore that would match a modern Dragon Quest game.
No matter where you look at it, Mihoyo’s fantasy-based gacha adventure game captured the attention of everybody so much so that most of the cosplayers would don a costume of someone from the said video game, and understandably so that everyone and their mother would also sell merchandise from and based on Genshin Impact.
This would then create some detractors among the cosplay community as they would be bombarded with people who cosplay as either Klee, the Raiden Shogun, or even a Primo Gem to the point that they would create the phrase “Buong Bansa, Genshin Impact” (The whole country is [obsessed] with Genshin Impact). Some anime-themed establishments and other enterprising individuals even partnered with Hoyoverse to create a Genshin Impact-themed event.
You don’t see that being done with Honkai Impact III in the Philippines.
Remember when every cosplay convention back then would either be filled with Ken Kaneki cosplayers or Umaru cosplayers? This is basically what the sudden influx of Genshin Impact-based cosplayers/merchandisers/artists looks like to me.
Give it some more time and with how trends come and go, there will be fewer Genshin Impact-related media/cosplays in the future as all fads do so for the time being, we should let people enjoy this Teyvat-themed ride.
It’s not only the cosplayers who get the spotlight at these conventions in 2022, the indie idol scene is getting its time in the sun.
The return of in-person events not only gave a chance for idol groups not named MNL48 a chance to show what they can bring on stage but at the same time, inspired some idol enthusiasts to go out and make new idol groups, or in the case of a certain idol group, regroup and bring itself back to life.
I wasn’t there during the rebirth of the group formerly known as Aidoru Sozai but the return of said group as their second name, LoveSo, is a sign that the indie idol scene is coming back to life with them. They also brought in new groups and performers with them like FESTA, Nekonnect, and Sai Pingwin. I also applaud the organizers who decided to give these groups a stage to perform on since cosplay events such as these make their names known not only to the people in attendance but to the idol-loving populace.
The stuff I mentioned above are just my observations of what transpired within the Philippine cosplay community for the last 12 months but this is not yet the end of the year-in-review just yet. As early as November 20th, I posted a survey about the general consensus of the cosplay event attending audience with what they think happened to this community in 2022. Here are the results.
Out of all the respondents who answered, and I thank you very much for that, the audience seems a bit divided on the view that cosplay events changed from 2019 to 2022.
Out of all who responded yes, the majority of the responses point out that the rise in ticket prices is the most prominent change that they noticed between now and 2019. The second most prominent change that they saw is how COVID mandates greatly affected how pictures were taken at cosplay conventions, for better or worse.
One of the responses to this question made me think:
I guess the obvious change is that everybody uses a mask now. I’m too scared to take it off due to the COVID threats and as a cosplayer, it makes me a bit sad because they can’t see my whole face on with my make-up due to the mask thing going on. Cons are also very limited now with a strict number of attendees to avoid overpopulating and to observe social distancing.Julie
A quite simple and obvious change that greatly affected the way cosplay conventions work in the Philippines since this country has one of the most disastrous COVID responses ever seen in human history. I can sense the fear for the respondent’s safety.
This would also make a negative effect on cosplayer-congoer interaction as COVID mandates would greatly limit such interactions that it would be hard to take a picture with your favorite cosplayer. Gone are the days wherein convention halls would be filled to the brim with people and stalls, now the only place you can see a throng of people together in one place is when tickets are sold out.
Do these changes greatly affect how most congoers attend these conventions?
Much to my surprise, 100% of the cosplay convention attending audience would still go to cosplay conventions in the future, especially since more than half of the respondents noticed that there are changes between 2019 and 2022.
However, when it comes to the last two questions, something caught my attention:
I would admit that I should’ve made my instructions clearer but noticing the trend outside of this survey, I noticed the duality of your average congoer. They would want to go to a cosplay convention but at the same time, there are certain factors that would make them reconsider their decisions, with the distance between their homes and the convention venues being the primary factor.
Which reminded me of this post that I shared on Facebook way back in September (and the fact that Cosplay Matsuri turned out to be Cosplay Carnival II with all the images of lines everywhere): the number of congoers from around the Philippines has exponentially increased from the minuscule numbers that our ancestors from the late 90s had with their cosplay conventions.
Despite the transportation problems in this country, especially in Mega Manila, congoers would find ways to go to their cosplay convention of choice but the fact still remains that most conventions are still being held at either Megatrade Hall or at the SMX Convention Center, both located in the Manila area. If you’re coming in from Marilao or Antipolo, travel time would eat a lot of your day that was supposed to be spent more on, you guessed it, enjoying the cosplay convention.
If we look even back further, the only new place for cosplay events is OtaCute but that’s in Sampaloc, Manila so, at the end of the day, cosplay conventions are still centralized in Mega Manila. I would like to have more regional cosplay events akin to Ozine and Cosplay Mania and not just cosplay competitions.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the equilibrium, the top three reasons why people would still go to cosplay conventions are being with friends and fellow fans, merchandise, and the fact that cosplay conventions are fun in that order. For these people, this is a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of daily life and sometimes, you can buy exclusive merchandise at cosplay conventions.
With this in mind, I can easily say that the way cosplay conventions are being handled has changed, for better or worse. With that, I would like to say, I hope more cosplay conventions are to come this 2023 and hope that we learn from the mistakes of the past. Happy new year everyone!