Filipino Cosplaying Reflection 2014
It’s been a while since I went to a cosplay event. I think it’s been six years as an actual goer and three or four years as someone “just dropping by”. And today I just happened to stumble upon one.
I only knew about the cosplay event at SM Megamall earlier this morning as I was browsing Facebook. It was actually from a rant at how there were too many people with too little space to go around (and Megamall is as spacious as it could get when it comes to events) and there was this picture that was like a photograph of a dystopian future wherein overpopulation has become the world’s greatest enemy.
I didn’t go there on purpose; mother had a few thousand pesos worth of SM gift-checks and we had to use them before the expiration date. The event used, I think, all three of the trade halls with one mainly for the cosplayer’s only lounge (i.e. a big empty room). The three trade halls were pretty big (but not as big as SMX’s) but they still seemed unable to contain the whole event as usual. They, the cosplayers, even moved to towards the skating rink and for good reason too. The area is less dense, cooler, and has fresher air than anywhere within 10 meters of the trade halls.
It wasn’t until I was wondering around ’til I saw the reason for the whole density of the attendees: The event was OzineFest, considered one of the major cosplay events in the country, rivaled only by ToyCon in sheer number of both participants and audience.
Needless to say, I was there to just take a look at what happened after our generation left the cosplay scene. As I wrote about it in my notrious cosplay-related blog, I practically all but lost hope for Filipino cosplaying. After witnessing today’s events, which I’m sure wasn’t as worse as it was yesterday (because cosplay-people, whether fan or cosplayer, usually go to these events on Saturdays), I still stand by what I wrote.
Filipino cosplaying has become nothing more than a spectator’s event. What do I mean by this? Due to the sheer number of people during these events, I can’t help but stress that perhaps the real event is not inside the convention hall but out in the mall lobbies. Why would people bother to pay for tickets when they can just happily wait for a passing cosplayer or look around for someone who is currently being mobbed by photograpervs and take their photos or get their autographs for free?
When we left the scene years ago, the whole place was already overpopulated and now I can definitely say that it has more than three times the people. Among those people, I think only a third are cosplayers while the rest are either typical goers or cosplayer-wannabes (a “cosplayer” minus the actual cosplayer effort; an upgrade of the usual con-goer). I’m not even sure if all those people paid for a ticket. But I can tell you this: the venue was insufficient and not cosplayer-friendly.
For fuck’s sake, it’s Ozinefest. They’ve made money out of literally hundreds of thousands of people all over the country and they can’t even rent two SMX rooms? Fine, maybe it’s for the cosplayers who might find SMX to be too far but still, they should’ve anticipated the amount of people who are both payers and non-payers of the event and made more than enough room for cosplayers.
The scene has gotten worse from where we left it. I’ve seen good cosplayers tired or stressed from just changing into their costumes. The bathrooms at SM Megamall aren’t big enough for most cosplayers and overcrowding can easily happen. What more that the bathrooms aren’t exclusive to Ozinefest attendees. People were also found sitting on the floors again because Ozinefest did not even so much as rent a few chairs or benches for the cosplayers to rest. I can’t even imagine the number of people who lost something at that event. Bags and other cosplay paraphernalia were literally scattered everywhere.
If at first I felt frustrated, now I actually feel sorry for the cosplayers this time around. I see the improvements, I see the creativity, but the programs for cosplay conventions are still not cosplayer-friendly. The good cosplayers are also largely outnumbered by dipshits who think wearing something that resembles a character is considered cosplaying already.
From what I noticed too, the cosplayers who are really appreciated are the ones who either go overboard like this:
or in the case of women, those who barely wear anything like this:
I got nothing against these guys. In fact, they can’t be blamed specially the women. That’s how their characters look like and they made good portrayals of it but what about the simpler costumes? Do they get the same amount of audience as well? Of course not. It’s either the mecha, the barely-dressed babe or the group of super sentais getting the attention. Seriously, I’ve seen some pretty hyped up cosplayers lose energy because they don’t get enough of the audience all because they’re not wearing slutty-costumes or because they don’t big boxes all over themselves. It’s sad how our standards have fallen from mimicking the character to simply going for the sexiest or the biggest cosplay.
Okay for a moment, let’s discuss the rampant sexual harassment of women in the convention. That’s right, as I blogged about it before, I’ll blog about it again. It’s during these conventions that women are naive and men are opportunistic. It’s like a free-for-all pervert convention and the ladies assume that it’s because of their costumes that they’re getting so much attention. Perhaps few of these women want the attention and are aware that they’re being photographed for their bodies but the majority, I will still say, would think otherwise.
It also doesn’t help that the number of perverts have practically increased what with all the cheap DSLRs making them think they’re “photographers”. I feel sorry for the women who fell victim to sexual harassment just so some fucked up pervert can masturbate to their pictures. I was there and sure, they revealed some serious skin but it was all for the character and these perverts can’t even respect the lady. I guess internet porn is not enough for these douchebags. They have to get as close as possible to some unlucky girl willing to be sexually harassed thinking its their costumes that are appreciated and not their semi-nudity.
With all said above, I have to confess one thing: I got goosebumps while observing the event. Literally, cold sweat was trickling down my spine. I guess something inside me has awakened from a deep slumber and had some sort of excitement over the sight of cosplayers again. I guess I miss the scene or being part of the event itself. I guess I miss being known in the cosplay community and now I feel weird at having been recognized by no one at the event. Needless to say, I was hoping I’d see someone or a familiar face but the ones I saw were either fellow veterans who probably don’t remember me or people I simply worked with once but never again and the odds of them remembering me (back when I weighed 240 lb; now I’m 178 lb) is close to nil. I also looked for a few friends who may be playing in Cyberzone but none of them were present, unfortunately.
Well, that’s that I guess. To conclude this, there are more cosplayers now but the overall quality of ALL of them put together has fallen far from the optimum. Come on, maybe we can make a good ratio out of this. Two out of five? Or maybe even one out of three? The majority still belongs to those who simply put some sort of clothing and call themselves cosplayers for the whole world to notice. I’ve become strict and maybe even elitist but it’s easier to make costumes now than it was before (with all the costume-makers out there) so it should be easier for people to become, or at least look like, good cosplayers.
The program should think more about their cosplayers than the amount of money they’ll rake in from each event. I mean, cosplayers are people too, and the event would be dead without both the good and bad cosplayers. To the women who might be scantily clad for costume or on purpose, I sincerely hope you didn’t get more than what you bargained for. To the guys who went overboard with their costume (mecha, gundam, super sentai) I hope the discomfort you felt was worth it.
And I hope that those who were traumatized from events like this don’t give up the hobby and instead look for ways to make the event better, at least for yourself. If you can’t, then you either stay away from cosplaying or spend more because both chaotic and expensive.
P.S. I apologize for the images used specially for the people involved. I didn’t really pinpoint anyone in particular but if your face is found here and you were offended, kindly write your comment below so we can discuss the matter or the issue. Also, I didn’t really care about the quality of each shot so you’ll find a lot of extras or lazy angles but I’ll upload the decent ones (i.e. not blurred, viewable). Maybe if I went to the event as a con-goer, I might have more good shots as I did back when I was reviewing cosplay conventions but I’m not that interested anymore so fuck off 😀