On July 7, 2018, we stepped into the realm of passionate cosplayers in this year’s Anime and Cosplay Expo 2018. The Anime and Cosplay Expo (ACX for short) is a cosplay event based in the Philippines. Through this event, cosplayers from around the world are able to gather and suit up. In addition, cosplayers are able to make friends and learn tips and tricks on crafting better costumes. Furthermore, attendees get to see and avail exclusive merchandise to add to their collection. It is in these kinds of events where the spirit of the fanbase truly shine.
The event started off with an introduction from the hosts. To follow up, an auction was held featuring items and collectibles from different sorts of anime. After the auction, a contest in the form of Cosplay Karaoke took place, wherein cosplayers get to sing their favorite anime songs in front of an audience. There was then a showcasing of up and coming anime series for Animax’s TV Channel. And last but not the least, contestants are able to bring them and their costumes up the stage in character show. In this, cosplayers are judged based on the quality of their costumes and how well they can embody the character.
Overall, the event was very loud, which is good when considering the engagement of the expo to the audience. The attendees were also very supportive and helped a lot of people muster up courage. The community appears rather niche, but is actually doing well based on the jam-packed venue. The expo had so many sections that was not only well tailored to its market, but could also surprise the casual audience in one or two ways.
The Art of Character
One of the main questions that always presented itself to the general audience is “What Makes a Cosplayer Suit Up?” For this, answers were given not only through the event itself but also through interviewees who participated in these kinds of events.
It has a thriving community
Cosplay is a genre which has already been established around the world. With this, local communities are formed. The communities play an important role in helping the industry grow visibly and financially. The bigger the communities become, the more grounded cosplay is in a certain country. This will allow events such as the Anime and Cosplay Expo to exist and gain profit as well as exposure. Take Japan for example. Japan is one of the few places where Cosplay is very normalized. In fact, Cosplaying has its own districts in a few of Japan’s cities such as Akihabara and Harajuku.
It entertains others
Being in a costume really attracts the attention of people. Its actually very much appreciated in these kind of hubs. This goes to show very evidently when a child someone sees their favorite hero. The joy a person gets from meeting their favorite character and taking a picture with them can be quite enjoyable for the passerby and the cosplayer alike. This experience is elevated even more when the passerby is a child.
It brings people out of their shell
Events such as the Anime and Cosplay Expo really make its participants express themselves. Cosplaying is known to make fans bring out their inner anime character. For some, they would even find pleasure in entertaining others in the role of their embodied idol. The experience is even brought further when characters from different animes come across each other. When two worlds collide, it can become really interesting. Even for a non-cosplaying audience such as myself, the situation can become very amusing to those who understand the references.
It is a work of art
Cosplaying allows its users to literally embody their favorite characters. In this, the costumes and props are the paint and the cosplayer is the canvas. When cosplayers are commended for their costume design or character portrayal, it really makes them feel special. As seen in many events such as ACX, picture taking consumes most of the event. When fans see someone live and breathe a character they know, it really makes them feel like their idols came to life. Each picture taken is a sign of approval that the cosplayer’s art is superb and that it speaks to its fellow viewers deeply. That being said, it is also a form of exposure for designers to spread out their works of art in hoped that they could do requests and make a living out of it.
It can become quite competitive
As seen in the Anime and Cosplay Expo, cosplaying has become a competitive activity. One of the event’s greatest highlights was the contest where each participating cosplayer went to the stage. Through this, contestants are able to show off their eye in design and their own renditions of their characters to the public. When a winner is declared, contestants aim to come back with their costumes redesigned to become better.
Its just plain fun
We should all realize that cosplaying is just another form of a hobby and should not be regarded as unusual. By the end of the day, cosplaying will always be fun for its users. Similar to others, people would go back to their hobbies because they find happiness out of it. There are those who would find joy in creating or acting and cosplay is of no exception. In fact, cosplay could even be considered unique as it melds creating and acting together. Much to their entertainment, it gives cosplayers a strong and valid reason to suit up once more.