If there’s one anime convention anyone in the Philippines has to look forward to, Cosplay Mania always comes to mind. Set in the third quarter of every year during the country’s convention season, Cosplay Mania has been one of the longest-running events supporting and celebrating the anime and geek fandom. Being veterans in the business, there’s an unspoken expectation within the community for something more, or something better with every passing year. This year’s Cosplay Mania did not disappoint. In fact, it even set the bar for conventions in the Philippines.

Busy in every corner

Cosplay Mania’s event area spanned the entirety of SMX Convention Center’s floor area, giving ample space for sponsored booths, merchandise area, concert area, and even a massive space for the concessionaires and common area.

The great thing about Cosplay Mania’s layout and schedule was how it kept everyone busy. Sponsored booths had their own activities, like Lumica’s wotagei lessons and performances, stage performances in the exhibit area, a bustling mini-shopping center for otakus, and exclusive concert and stage interviews down by the SP Hall. The event was sure to have something on both exhibit and concert stages by the hour to keep everyone entertained, while most sponsored booths have their on-site activities as well. And although cosplay is the focal point of the event, ample space was also given for indie artists, costume and prop makers alike in the merchandise areas. The only gripe here is that there’s too much to do in such a short weekend.

Cosplay Haven

The best thing about being in Cosplay Mania is how it creates a safe and positive space for cosplayers to express themselves.  Newbies and veteran cosplayers romp in and out of the venue area to showcase their talents in replicating their favorite characters in real life. As the name implies, Cosplay Mania has a number of cosplay contests for those interested in competing their creations, such as the Hall Cosplay Masquerade, Cosplay Solo Showdown, and the Cosplay Mania Cup. But for those just wanting to wear their costumes around the event, there are a large spaces for photography opportunities, especially in the huge lounge and food space just beside the SP Hall. The event proved to be a world stage for local cosplayers, with numerous photographers and media representatives from all over the world present to cover the event too.

Guests Galore

This year’s Cosplay Mania pulled out all the stops with more than 10 guests from different industries and genres, ranging from anisong, stage, voice acting, and cosplay. Together with returning artistes such as May’n and Asuma Kousuke, Cosplay Mania brought, for the first time ever in the history of Philippine geek/otaku conventions, a Vtuber, Mirai Akari. Rounding out the JAM Concert artistes are Myth&Roid, Asaka, and Yasutaka Nakata. Together with Asuma Kousuke is his fellow Haikyuu! stage actor colleague Allen Kohatsu. Voice actors Motoko Kumai and Rumi Okubo also joined the festivities in the SP Hall to give attendees a glimpse into the world of voice acting in Japan and share their experiences to everyone. With the plethora of real and virtual guests, attendees have surely increased tenfold, if only to watch the happenings in the concert hall. Meet and greet opportunities for all the guests were also opened up for the attendees, with limited slots.

The SP Hall had a full schedule that overlapped with the activities of the EX Hall. It was unfortunately hard to be present in both areas for the festivities, with the extremely tight schedules for both halls and the meet and greet area. Still, the event managed to squeeze in all the guests in their own timeslots, and even had enough time for the concerts on both days. With minimal delays, schedules made it on time. The concerts and the stage spotlights with the guests naturally filled up the whole SP Hall with fans and attendees alike, and was expectedly well worth the time and money.

Gold Standard

With years of experience behind them, Cosplay Mania has set itself up to be the gold standard for events in the Philippines. The event has given attendees and fans a complete experience similar to outstanding events overseas, and has put the Philippines on the map as one of the go-to countries with the best otaku-related events. Though the usual problems of ticket prices and long queue lines mire the event, these are easily overshadowed by a packed schedule and amazing guests. We can expect only the best from Cosplay Mania from here on out.

Cosplay Mania 2019 happened on September 28 and 29, 2019 at the SMX Convention Center. For more of their events, visit their official website at cosplaymania.com.