Undoubtedly the most anticipated event on the Philippine convention calendar, Cosplay Mania 2013 has pulled out all the stops for its 2013 event. Held at three (!!!) carvernous halls at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, the event has pulled in anime, gaming, and cosplay fans from as far afield as Japan and Australia.
This year’s event features the return of international cosplay idols KANAME☆, REIKA 麗華, and Jesuke, who have been joined this year by Japanese mecha cosplay pioneer Goldy, and award-winning Indonesian/Australian tandem Pinky LuXun and Orochi X of The Endless Illution. Rounding out the line-up of overseas guests are Singaporean cosplay stalwarts Starpolaris Reiko, VIC, and Viospace.
Hall 3 welcomed participants with a holding area slash mini-market that catered to participants who were unable (or unwilling?) to purchase tickets to the event halls. This served to alleviate the crowding of cosplayers and gawkers in the concourse area, which usually built up at cons of this scale. Although the concept is sound on paper, we feel that the execution fell a little short >.>
People who pre-purchased their tickets still had to queue to get into the venue (the Fast-Pass system proved ineffective), while those who needed to purchase tickets on the spot had to queue twice :P As for the aformentioned cosplayers and gawkers, they turned both Hall 3 and the concourse area into an obstacle course anyway >.> If anybody has thought of a better system than the one currently in use, we highly encourage you to please speak up!
The Dealers Hall however was a welcome relief from the chaos of Hall 3. The aisles running between the booths were wide enough to drive a car through — so much different from the sweaty back alleys of other local events (eyezooms at ToyConPH) and we love it! The booths were also laid out in a way that every single one of them was a corner lot, giving sellers and exhibitors plenty of room to show off their wares.
And speaking of wares, they was a good mix of licensed and official merch, and lovingly handmade fan merch. One of the biggest and most eye-catching booths was GreatToysOnline’s, featuring UART Comic Creators Lab all the way from Japan! Alas — this being the Philippines, there were still booths dealing in pirated merchandise :( Case in point: Mango Manga was selling burned CDs of scanlated manga taken off the internet :/ Dishonor on you! Dishonor on your cow!
That bit of unpleasantness aside, if you did spring for the extra cash and got an All Access Pass, Hall 5 has plenty of treats to give you more bang for your buck — starting with free snacks and drinks from sponsors Universal Robina and 7-11. The 7-11 people were very generous in particular, agreeing to fill up personal tumblers and water bottles of Hall 5 guests with their signature Coca Cola Slurpee.
Hall 5 guests were also treated to onstage performances and cosplay panels with the international cosplayers. High-pitched screams from the crowd (predominantly of the female persuasion) could be heard as far away as Hall 3. Last but not least, Hall 5 pass holders were able to witness the thrilling finals of one of three major cosplay competitions at the event — the Cyberzone Cosplay Grand Prix.
This is just Day 1 of a high-tension weekend, and more surprises are in store for the second day of Cosplay Mania 2013.