I just got back from an awesome weekend in Manila attending Cosplay Mania, an anime and cosplay convention held at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City, Philippines last September 29 and 30. Now celebrating its 10th year, I have to say that this was so far the most memorable convention that I have ever been to!
Note: I was one of the exhibitors of the con so I didn’t have time to take many pictures.
Behind the Con
Just to give you a brief background, Cosplay Mania is organized by the Philippine-based cosplay website and organization Cosplay.ph. This annual event began in 2008 in the Megatrade Hall 3 of SM Megamall then to the SMX Convention Center in 2010 which became their venue since then. As the years go by, more and more people attend this con coming from different parts of the Philippines to different countries. They had a recorded attendance of over 23,000 back in 2013.
Bringing Cosplayers and Anime Fans Together
I first started to attend and travel to conventions back in 2014. Luckily it was only an hour and a half flight to go to Manila but going to conventions is always a challenge on the wallet since flights, hotels, and food all come into play.
I started to appreciate Cosplay Mania and Cosplay.ph’s dedication of promoting their event when they were visiting different key cities in the country holding small cosplay events and competitions. I remember back in 2010 when they introduced Cosplay Tournament of Champions where a cosplay team pair can have a chance to represent their city to the grand finals at Cosplay Mania and later the grand champion is selected as the PH Representative for Anime Festival Asia’s Regional Cosplay Championship. This was also the particular period when I made a decision that my first out-of-town trip after college will be attending this con in Manila.
Attending it has its huge benefits on me too—it widens my connections. A majority of my long-time friends in the community and industry were those that I’ve met in Cosplay Mania. It has even gotten to the point that the convention has become like a huge reunion event of sorts for us to catch up and just enjoy the weekend.
All-Star All The Way!
Cosplay Mania has been notable for bringing popular International cosplayers, Japanese voice actors, and artists every year! Their 2018 line-up had Zwei, AiRI, Megumi Nakajima, and fhana in their JAM (Japanese Anime Music) Concert. 2.5D stage actors Hiroki Ino and Asuma Kousuke and voice actors Chiharu Sawashiro and Shunsuke Takeuchi were also there. Video Producer DJ29MEAT and DJ SunaP rocked the EX Hall Stage with awesome anime songs that attendees danced and moved to the beats. Emperor cosplay, Astarohime Koyu, Hakken 八犬 and Ola Aphrodite were the con’s guest cosplayers for this year. Their special guest this year was Hiroto Kuramasu for the Cybird Ikemen Series.
The convention also has a number of activities for both cosplayers and con-goers to join and experience. Your day is worth it as some sponsors and exhibitors give out some freebies and cool stuff!
One of my favorite moments I’ve experienced was being to meet and attend the handshake event of idol group Aidoru Sozai. Their reactions were just priceless when I told them that I was the one who interviewed them way back. This was also the first time I was able to see them perform live as well as. JAPH DOLLS too!
They Always Deliver
Every convention has its own hurdles and Cosplay Mania was no exemption to this. What shocked me the most about this convention is that the organizers acknowledge these hurdles and fix it to make sure it will be a better experience for attendees next time. Their challenge last year was dealing with long queues. This year, they were able to fix that problem and everyone in the convention had less stress and more time to enjoy the atmosphere. My partner who wasn’t able to purchase their ticket in advance was able to buy and enter the convention in less than 10 minutes without hassle. Incredible!
Great Items and Deals
If you’re looking for anime or various fandom items to add up to your collection, then Cosplay Mania is the perfect destination to go. Their exhibitor halls are filled with variety and it’s nearly impossible for you not to spend at least an item or two—maybe three?
What I’m usually looking forward to is when the con is now on its last few hours and items go on a discount spree. Discounts even go as far as 50% off. No joke.
Looking Forward to Next Year
Out of all the conventions and anime events that I’ve attended, Cosplay Mania has been the most enjoyable. I’m looking forward to what they have on their sleeve for 2019. They rocked their 10th year and this decade of awesomeness is definitely going down in history!