The story behind the country’s biggest professional cosplay company
Metro Manila – Cosplay.ph, the Philippines’ largest cosplay events and management company, conducts its business with a single credo in mind: “Do right by everyone.” With this principle guiding each one of the organization’s efforts, the company has grown from a team of 8 passionate friends to a business that employs over 150 contractors, staging more than 10 events per year. As Cosplay.ph enters its 12th year in 2018, the company has its sights set on expanding their reach overseas, all the while upholding the philosophies that shaped its early days.
The popularity of cosplay, in which participants not only dress up as pop culture characters, but also portray them dramatically, has grown exponentially in the past 2 decades—and with it, the demand for quality cosplay-centric events. Cosplay.ph first formed in 2006 as a website, then responded to that demand in 2008, staging two of the Philippines’ first major cosplay conventions. Over time, the company has built its success on its reputation for professionalism, ethics, and passion.
“We don’t just build events, we build cherished memories,” Cosplay.ph president Pablo Bairan explains. “Those memories should be sacred; they should be treated with the utmost respect and built with the proper tools and done the right way.”
It is with this in mind that Cosplay.ph’s eight founding directors developed their motto, “Do right by everyone.” By everyone, the company refers not only to the cosplayers themselves, but also to everyone involved in the staging of a major cosplay event, including sponsors, partners, costume and prop-makers, venue staff, stage crew, and special guests, both on the local and international level.
This atmosphere of respect has helped Cosplay.ph become a pioneer in bringing in international guests and talents, fostering trust between them and their foreign partners. Over the years, Cosplay.ph has been able to work out partnerships with a slew of major names in and around the cosplay community, including internationally renowned cosplayers, voice talents, anime directors and producers, and musicians. In working with its partners, the company takes several measures to prevent untoward incidents from happening, all the while evaluating and improving their policies with each event.
Bairan, however, understands that it all boils down to respect for its key demographic. “We work with a strong sense of responsibility to grow the market in the correct way: not by taking advantage of the con-goer, but instead by making them feel the clear value that they gain from joining our events.”
That sense of responsibility extends to the growth of the cosplay community itself, Bairan explains. “We strongly emphasize a code of conduct that strictly prohibits harassment. We also promote tolerance and acceptance. We try to develop a sense of healthy competition rooted in sportsmanship and national pride. We promote cosplay as a healthy, family-oriented activity that both adults and the younger generation can enjoy together.”
Cosplay Mania, Cosplay.ph’s premiere annual event, is a testament to how the company’s professionalism has helped take the local cosplay scene to new heights. On September 30 and October 1, 2017, Cosplay Mania filled an entire floor of the SMX Convention Center with an estimated 40,000 visitors, including nearly 200 partner exhibitors and sponsors spread across several experience zones, making it the largest cosplay convention in Philippine history. Cosplay.ph also flew in 14 international guests and talents from both the cosplay community and the anime industry, including Sayo Yamamoto, director of the pop culture phenomenon Yuri!!! on ICE.
Cosplay Mania 2017 also marked Cosplay.ph’s first-ever JAM (Japanese Anime Music) concert, which brought in four of the performers behind some of anime’s most memorable songs. Konomi Suzuki (No Game No Life), Shiena Nishizawa (The Asterisk War), ELISA (ef — a tale of memories), and kradness (Konami’s BEMANI music games) look to be the start of a new mainstay in Philippine cosplay events.
None of this would have been possible without Cosplay.ph’s history of doing right by everyone, according to Bairan. “The trust and confidence of our market and our partners is invaluable,” he says.
As Cosplay.ph looks to expand its events to Cebu and Davao, as well as in several international locations, Bairan believes it’s his company’s credo that will establish it as the Philippines’ first global cosplay brand.
Cosplay.ph is the Philippines’ premiere cosplay events and management organization. Aside from staging the country’s biggest cosplay conventions, the company also offers consultancy services, as well as talent management and media sponsorships.