An anime fan’s dream come true! A simply animazing experience at this year’s Cosplay Carnival!
This February I was given the privilege to attend one of the Philippine’s premiere events for cosplay and anime fans. Cosplay PH’s Cosplay Carnival was a big treat for someone who loves anime! It’s a celebration that will get any anime geek giddy. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I mean I do love anime, but I have never been active in the scene. Going to an event which gathers fans for something I enjoy is not something I am used to. Here’s everything that had me enjoying Cosplay Carnival and why I’m excited to see what other events Cosplay PH has to offer up this year.
Anime Merchandise Everywhere!
I was able to arrive at SMX Convention early, so I managed to explore everything around the show floor. To my surprise (and my wallet’s dismay) Cosplay Carnival was filled to the brim with Anime Merchandise. Everyone took their time roaming around and looking at the different stalls which contained memorabilia from multiple anime franchises. It took all of my will power not to purchase everything that I wanted to buy, and believe me it was a lot! Big players in collecting retail were present as well and seeing all those toys just made my collector senses tingle. Here’s a run down of everything collectible that you are able to see in Cosplay Carnival.
1. Action Figures
Everytime I go to a convention where there are toys I always go straight to the action figures. Cosplay Carnival’s selection did not disappoint. With stores like Hubbyte Toy Store present, these figures will be basically screaming at you to buy them. If you’re into collecting Figma, Nendoroids, Kotobukiya, and Funko Pop!, then Cosplay Carnival’s booths will be your own little slice of Heaven on Earth.
Personally, I love collecting Nendoroids (especially if my budget permits it) and managed to grab a few while I was there.
But if Nendos aren’t your cup of tea, there are still a ton more things you can collect while browsing through the collectibles.
2. Fan Art and Merch
This section of booth’s are something that really amazed me. It’s always cool to see fans using their talent to promote their favorite T.V. shows and anime series. The amount of variety and talent that I saw was so astounding that I couldn’t help but feel proud to be part of such a passionate community.
Some of the things that really caught my eye were the original artworks and prints that were up for sale. Each stall had their own masterful take on such established characters! You could really see the love and effort that was placed into these works of art.
After some well thought searching, I decided to purchase stickers from my favorite gaming franchise, Final Fantasy! Aren’t these stickers just awesome? Kupo!
Also, I purchased this magnetic bookmark of Persona 5’s Joker to further help me with my reading and my pursuit of changing hearts towards anime appreciation (yes that joke was a bit forced, I’m sorry I couldn’t help it).
Plush toys are basically one of the cutest things about the anime fandom and they were everywhere. I am not exaggerating. Plushies as far as the eye can see! These stuffed toys ranged from Pikachu to Monster Hunter Palicoes. I even saw attendees carrying plushies of their Love Live! bias. I almost jumped on the bandwagon and thought of purchasing a Yazawa Nico plushie for myself, but my friends told me to control myself. A decision I sorely regretted once I went home.
These hoodies are always something that captures my eye. Their made so well that they’d be the perfect gift for any of your friends and loved ones who like games and anime. My personal favorites are the hoodies of D.Va and Soldier 76. They look so spot on. You could even use them as the gateway to starting cosplay. Yes, that’s how good they are!
Another item to really look out for. These hats come in many shapes and sizes. Their designs span through all of geekdom. I’m serious! They’re so updated that they even have a hat of Ugandan Knuckles. Yes, owning one will surely prove that you know de way! But, if you aren’t a fan of the Ugandan version of the red echidna, you can always get a hat of Mario, Pikachu, or Moogle. The possibilities are endless!
Those are only some of the amazing merchandise I saw at Cosplay Carnival. If you want to get your hands on these goodies, then keep an eye out for the awesome events that Cosplay PH has planned for everyone!
Events for the Fans by the Fans
Aside from browsing around, cosplay carnival offers a lot of programs for event goers to enjoy. I often found my self stopping my exploration in order to watch the shenanigans that were happening on stage. Many of the antics were funny enough for anyone to enjoy. These event’s I’m about to mention though take the cake when it comes to crowd participation and enjoyment.
1. Gyudon Eating Challenge
One of Cosplay Carnival’s main sponsors is Yoshinoya. Yoshinoya is a popular Japanese food chain that can be located around the world. It’s most popular selling product is the Gyudon Bowl and this is where all the fun starts. Cosplay Carnival had two competitions to see who could eat the Gyudon Bowl the fastest. They divided the competitors into two categories, Male and Female. Let me just say that eating Gyudon with chopsticks is no easy feat. I mean that meat and rice can get so slippery, it’s a marvel that they managed to finish every single piece. That’s right, contestants couldn’t leave a single piece of meat and grain of rice in the bowl. Add to that a timer and two contestants fighting against you and you’re in for a challenging ride.
To join the contest, hopefuls must answer correctly select trivia about Yoshinoya. Once the three contestants were chosen, the eating began. It was like the contestants channeled their inner anime character and started eating the Gyudon bowl in the classic way fans see in the anime. Bowl to the face, using chopsticks to shove generous amounts of food into their mouths. It was so entertaining to see! Once done, they must shout “I LOVE YOSHINOYA!” in order to win. Though, I don’t know why they didn’t go for a more Japanese way of saying it like “YOSHINOYA DAISUKI!” – that’s just my inner weeb talking. The winner won a 500 PHP gift certificate to Yoshinoya and a stomach full of gyudon.
2. Frenemy Feud (Anime Style Family Feud)
Now this competition really had me entertained, I had to sit down in order to watch this. Two teams were gathered in order to answer questions about anime family feud style. Carnival goers were surveyed in order to get the answers to the questions that were asked during the competition. This competition allowed the contestants to show who had a more impressive collection of anime knowledge.
Best questions asked during the contest.
Cosplay Carnival’s Frenemy Feud also showed how much anime has changed through the generations. I had no idea what the answers were to some of the questions! My personal favorite question asked was name the most popular anime dog. To no surprise Nina Tucker and Alexander made it as the number 3 and 4 most memorable dogs in anime. How such a tragedy became an ultra popular meme in the anime community is beyond me, bu there it is!
Another question that most of the contestants couldn’t answer was “Name a Mahou Shojou anime series”. For those who want to know, Mahou Shojou can be translated into “Magical Girl” in English, and it surprised me that not many people knew the answer to this. Most of our childhood afternoons were filled with anime from the genre. Some popular Mahou Shojou anime are Card Captor Sakura, Sailor Moon, Puella Magika Madoka. There was a cosplayer of Sakura right in the audience, but the contestants could’t seem to get the clue right in front of them. After a short refresher though and with a little help from the audience, the contestants managed to name these anime.
The last question that got everyone scratching their heads was “Which anime has a punctuation mark in the title?”. It took a while for the contestants to guess this, but you could hear the collective anger of attendees when Yuri on Ice!!! was given as an answer and it didn’t appear in the board. It was like everyone gave a collective “NANI!?” to the people who answered the survey. It was fun to see how much everyone knew about anime and how emotional they got when their favorite series didn’t make it too the answers.
3. Pikachu Meet and Greet
My inner child basically screamed out when the hosts said that we had a popular “yellow mouse” making an appearance during the carnival – OK, I might have physically screamed as well. Sue me! It’s frickin Pikachu! Not one, but two Pikachu (Pikachi? Pikachus?) made their way to the stage. These Pikachu weren’t a knock off version either. They were the official Pikachu mascots from Japan. They didn’t need to do much to be cute, they just bounced around on stage and everyone instantly loved it. Once they stepped off, I immediately went in line so that I could PokeSnap a photo with them. That’s one thing checked of this trainer’s bucket list!
4. Anime and Cosplay Auction
The Anime auction is an event which holds many treasures. Essentially all bids star at either 1 PHP or 50 PHP, but if you play your cards right, you can score an awesome item as a reward. There were many note worthy items like official anime posters and statues, but what caught my eye the most was the original copy of FFVII, FFVIII, and many other games bundle into one. I wanted to bid on it so bad, but when I saw that the price reached over 2000 PHP, I it was too much for me to handle, but hey at least an FF fan managed to score an awesome nostalgic prize.
One of the most sought out items was an official bracelet from the anime movie “Kimi No Na Wa” or “Your Name”. At first no one was bidding. It was as if people were checking out how much the community valued the trinket. When someone gave the first bid, hands started shooting up like crazy. The bracelet landed on a value of 1,600 PHP. I couldn’t believe it! I thought the bracelet was something you could buy at the con itself for much cheaper. This made me take out my phone and check on the value of the bracelet online, and it turns out that the bracelet actually cost that much. So, congrats to the bidder! You managed to snag a cool item for the right price!
A Celebration of Cosplay
It wouldn’t be called Cosplay Carnival it it didn’t have awesome cosplay involved right? The event featured and showcased the talents and ingenuity of Filipino cosplayers through many events. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that the convention floor was so colorful and filled to the brim with different characters. These people came to show off their love for cosplay and they did it well. Cosplay Carnival also featured plenty of events and contests for cosplay. Here are my two favorite segments.
1. Cosplay Karaoke
Getting the look and feel of your character is already hard enough, but add to the mix singing a song from your favorite anime can be nerve-wracking. This is exactly what the contestants during Cosplay Carnival’s Cosplay Karaoke competition had to go through. What’s worse is that the songs they had to sing were given at random. So unless they really prepared for it, they were in for an awkward time. Luckily all the contestants manage to sing through the contest. While some did get songs they did not know, they confidently pulled through it. Audiences were able to hear songs like “Secret Base” from “Ano Hana” and “Closer” from “Naruto:
2. Cosplay OTP
This competition is where all the contestants gave it there all. The premise was simple. Show off your cosplay skill through a skit, then tag the next contestant to the stage with an exciting fight scene or pose. Many cosplay outfits in this category were stunning to say the least. There was a one man who cosplayed as a really convincing Geno Breaker. A girl who cosplayed as Wonder Woman, complete with shield, sword, and bow. Male and female versions of Saber also made it to the stage. Someone even gender bent Harley Quinn. All these costumes were fun to see and the skits that the cosplayers did were so convincing, you would believe that they were truly the characters that they came as. They even had international cosplay sensation Rithe as one of the panel judges.
To Sum It All Up
All in all, Cosplay Carnival was a good way to end the month of February this year. There was a lot of merch to see and buy, collectibles left and right, and entertaining events that were really amusing. What’s more important is that it lets you immerse yourself in a community that is so passionate with their fandoms that the feeling gets contagious. It’s truly an event to enjoy and not miss out on if you are an anime and cosplay fan.
Don’t worry if you missed out on Cosplay Carnival because Cosplay PH has more events lined up for this year! Yup! More cosplay, more anime, more merch, more contests! In fact, during Cosplay Carnival they announced FanFes as a brand new event. Also, Cosplaymania is right around the corner. So breathe that sigh of relief and get ready for more cosplay heading your way!