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Feb 5, 2016

Philippine Cosplay History and How it started in the country?


For the past years, Cosplay became famous in the Philippines. However, have you ever wondered how cosplay and anime convention started in the country?  Who is the first generation of Filipino cosplayers? 

First, let us provide brief information about its actual origin.

Back in 1960’s, comic con-goers dressed up as action heroes and science fiction characters in US. In 1984, the founder and writer for Anime publisher, Takahashi Nobuyuki visited a convention in Los Angeles.  He was overwhelmed with the costumes and encourages Japanese anime fans to do the same. He initially created the phrase “Costume play” but was shortened to “cosplay” or “kosupure”.

Then how it was introduced in the Philippines? Let's turn back how Anime Convention was born in the country. 

In 1995, Magic: The Gathering was a big success in the country where tournaments are held regularly. At those times, there were no hobby stores that can accommodate the growing number of participants. Because of that, organizers held the event at malls. 
In the late 90's, Novelty Entertainment pushed for larger events like a collectibles collection. In 1999, anime is striking its mainstream due to Ghost Fighter (YuYu Hakusho) and anime culture was being developed.

In year 2000, Anime Explosion introduced cosplay to the Philippines. It was the first convention that was exclusively dedicated to anime. It was held in SM Megamall Megatrade hall. 


It was followed by ArtFarm Asia (Cosplay Manila) and AXN cosplay in year 2001. ArtFarm was also held in SM Megamall Megatrade hall while AXN was held in SM Megamall's atrium. The cosplayers had so much fun after AXN Cosplay. They got free ice skating and free drinks in El Pueblo bar along Ortigas. There were also Anime on Ice, C3Con, Anime Quest and other conventions after that.

ArtFarm Asia (2001)
AXN Cosplay 2001
Anime on Ice (2001)
Free Drinks at El Pueblo Bar after AXN Cosplay and Anime on Ice (2001)
Yuu Watase 
(Creator of Fushigi Yuugi and Ayashi no Ceres)
Before international cosplayers, they had pinoy celebrity like Michael V. They also had anime dubbers, Japanese mangakas like Mahiro Maeda (Creator of Blue Submarine No. 6) and Yuu Watase (Creator of Fushigi Yuugi and Ayashi no ceres) as their guests. 

Ever since, anime conventions are being held every year. Over the years, several themed conventions would arise such as Jpop, toys, comics etc. 

Aside from cosplay events, there were Otaku magazines back then such as Questor and Culture Crash.  Before Facebook takes over, they had anime forums like Filcosplay, Anime Club, Cosplay PH, Gamer Clan and many more.

And now, who are the first generation of Filipino cosplayers? With the help of social media, we have located some of them. 

Before wigs, they have to color their hair permanently. Before the art of make-up, they have to deal with their natural looks. Before online cosplay stores, they have to make their own costumes and props. Sometimes, they need to improvise costumes (Depends on their budget) and they learned how to overcome obstacles. Before digital cameras, they had films with a maximum of 36 shots. Not to mention the exposed photos. 

We proudly introduce the pioneers in the history of Philippine Cosplay. We have conducted short interviews and collected their “old” cosplay photos: 

JM CHUA



  • COSPLAY CHARACTER/S: Saito Hajime (Rurouni Kenshin), Wolfwood (Trigun), Rogue (Ragnarok Online), Endymion (Sailormoon) and random Shinsengumi member
  • COSPLAY STATUS: Retired
  • CURRENT COSPLAY/ANIME RELATED ACTIVITY (If Any):  Took photos of cosplayers for some time after being inactive as a cosplayer. 
  • COSPLAY GROUP/BLOG/WEBSITE (If Any): No online cosplay-related sites, but a member of a group comprised mostly of the first cosplayers in the country. 
"Cosplay was unheard of when I first cosplayed in 2000. Did it mainly because I loved the character I was cosplaying as, and wanted to bring back pictures to a mailing list I belonged to. Made a couple of friends, and even though we don’t cosplay anymore, the relationship was still there. Now attending more serious matters in life. I don’t attend conventions that much anymore, but when I do, I usually take photos of the toys and figures being exhibited or displayed."

HAZEL VELAS SOLOMON


  • COSPLAY CHARACTER/S: Makimachi Misao – Rurouni Kenshin (2000),
  • Hikaru Shidou – Magic Knight Rayearth (2001), 
  • Sailor Mercury – Sailor Moon (2001), 
  • Sakura Kinomoto – Card Captor Sakura (2001), 
  • Michael – Angel Sanctuary (2002), 
  • Hideto "hide" Matsumoto - X Japan (2002), 
  • Shuichi Shindo – Gravitation (2002) and many more.
  • COSPLAY STATUS: Active
  • CURRENT COSPLAY/ANIME RELATED ACTIVITY (If Any):  Organizer and layout artist for Cosplay Mania JAM - https://www.facebook.com/JAMConcert/
  • COSPLAY GROUP/BLOG/WEBSITE (If Any): https://www.facebook.com/HazelCosplay and http://worldcosplay.net/member/hazelvelas
"I started cosplaying when I was 20 years old during Anime Explosion 2000, the first anime convention in the Philippines. Since then, cosplay has been part of my life. Cosplaying taught me a lot of things such as how to make my own costume (sewing and crafting), do my own make up, coloring my hair, play the guitar (cosplaying J-Rockers and forming a band), seeing little kids get excited to meet me/the superhero or whatever I'm being, boosted my self-confidence, organize events, and met a ton of AMAZING people. Cosplay helped me make more friends than I ever had in grade school, high school and college combined. It's one of the best thing that ever happened to me. Without cosplay, I think my life would have been boring."


HANNAH SOPHIA ARADA A.K.A. YATEN KOU

  • COSPLAY CHARACTER/S: Rurouni Kenshin (2001)
  • COSPLAY STATUS: Retired
  • CURRENT COSPLAY/ANIME RELATED ACTIVITY (If Any): None
  • COSPLAY GROUP/BLOG/WEBSITE (If Any): None
"In an unfortunate event that happened to me in the past, between those glorious cosplay years and present, I lost most of my past memories so I am only relying on my cosplayer friends and some pictures that we find here and there to recall my memory. It appears I have been a cosplayer and an event organizer in the past. I no longer have any cosplay related activity at present, oddly enough, I don't feel like cosplaying at all. The loss of memory might have changed my personality as well causing me to not really have any interest at cosplaying anymore. Perhaps someday I can remember it fully or at least understand what really happened."

AIEN TATSUIKE



  • COSPLAY CHARACTER/S: Hotohori from Fushigi Yuugi (2001), Kurapika from Hunter X Hunter (2002) and Kazuki from Get Backers (2005)
  • COSPLAY STATUS: Inactive
  • CURRENT COSPLAY/ANIME RELATED ACTIVITY (If Any): Organizing private shoots, Cosplay photo retoucher, Cosplay judge (Once in a while) and Manga Ilustrator.
  • COSPLAY GROUP/BLOG/WEBSITE (If Any): Hunters Association PH / www.facebook.com/huntersassociationph

"When we learned about cosplay in year 2000, it feels that as if we met our first love. The high enthusiasm is priceless. I made a lot of true friends, learned a lot of experiences and lessons. I took a break in 2005 and made a comeback in 2011 (Because I found my old cosplay friends in Facebook) but not as active as before. This is when we made our "Inactive" cosplay group (Hunters Association PH) where some members are from the first generation. Most of the time, we are only doing cosplay trials with improvised materials. Spending for good quality costumes are not our option anymore especially if we're no longer into competitions or working as a cosplay model. Currently, I only visit conventions once in a while as an audience. In some events, I still cosplay if I receive an invitation from close friends or for judging opportunity."

NICK



  • COSPLAY CHARACTER/S: Mao from cooking master boy (2001)
  • COSPLAY STATUS: Retired
  • CURRENT COSPLAY/ANIME RELATED ACTIVITY (If Any): None
  • COSPLAY GROUP/BLOG/WEBSITE (If Any): Cosplay PH
"Cosplay back then was all about fun. It didn't matter if your costume was made from simple fabrics or elaborate rubber foam sheets. Cosplayers of 2000-2002 were there to showcase the fun there could be had by acting a little "crazy" and to show their love for an anime series. Up to now, my closest friends are the ones I made 15 years ago in August of 2001 at the SM megamall atrium for the first ever AXN cosplay convention. No current relation to the cosplay community though I still show up as a spectator once in a while."

ISTAIPEN CRUZ




  • COSPLAY CHARACTER/S: Tamahome from Fushigi Yuugi (2001) Ginji from Get Backers (2005)
  • COSPLAY STATUS: Inactive
  • CURRENT COSPLAY/ANIME RELATED ACTIVITY (If Any): Watching Anime
  • COSPLAY GROUP/BLOG/WEBSITE (If Any): Hunters Association PH

"Started cosplaying along with friends during its early stage in the Philippines. Was able to reach out and socialize with fellow anime fans, we expressed our passion through cosplaying."

EUGENE "KOJI" ZARAGOZA




  • COSPLAY CHARACTER/S: Shun Ukiya (Gatekeepers) 2001, Kaoru Koganei Aka Lorcan (Flame of recca), Sanosuke Sagara (Rurouni Kenshin), Mido Ban (Getbackers) 2005, Sniper (ragnarok Online), Monk (Ragnarok Online)
  • COSPLAY STATUS: Retired
  • CURRENT COSPLAY/ANIME RELATED ACTIVITY (If Any): None
  • COSPLAY GROUP/BLOG/WEBSITE (If Any): None

“My cosplay experience had so much fun. Almost everyone knew each other, no competition and we’re like one big family. Though I’m officially retired in cosplay, we still have a communication with my cosplay friends and we go out once in a while with my wife.”

ABBY DEL ROSARIO



  • COSPLAY CHARACTER/S: 2002-Utena Tenjou (Revolutionary Girl Utena) & 2003-Jue (Animatrix)
  • COSPLAY STATUS: Active
  • CURRENT COSPLAY/ANIME RELATED ACTIVITY (If Any): None
  • COSPLAY GROUP/BLOG/WEBSITE (If Any): Hunters Association PH

"The cosplays before were not that complicated. You will not see much mecha or big heavy artillery props that you see today. Since cosplay was just starting, nobody knows what an anime costume is. It was very difficult to find tailors who can make the costumes with the details that you like. And before, when you say that you are a cosplayer, you will always have a perception that you are a weird person. I’m now based in California and I still cosplay with my children. My son portrayed Gon from Hunter X Hunter and my daughter portrayed Alluka from the same anime series."

TRISTAN VILLAJUAN




  • COSPLAY CHARACTER/S: Mitsukake from Fushigi Yuugi (2001), Leorio from Hunter X Hunter (2002) and Benitora from samurai deeper kyo (2005)
  • COSPLAY STATUS: Inactive
  • CURRENT COSPLAY/ANIME RELATED ACTIVITY (If Any): Watching Anime
  • COSPLAY GROUP/BLOG/WEBSITE (If Any): Hunters Association PH

"Cosplay back then is like an underground activity where only few people knew about it. My experiences in cosplay is very awesome. Almost all the people you'll meet can be your friend. When you met a cosplayer wearing the same costume as yours, you can't feel any competition at all. Instead, you will feel the friendship and the fun while you share the same interest. After the first event, we all exchanged landlines. There is no social media and cellphone yet. We all talked in the phone as if we knew everyone for a long time. Unlike today, I loved the guests before. They are dubbers, anime creators or someone who has a big contribution to anime and comic community. Today, I'm officially inactive but still open for cosplay trials when my close friends invite me."

SOLEIL PONCE


  • COSPLAY CHARACTER/S: Yukino Hojo of Gate Keepers (Anime Quest 2001) Youko Kurama of Yuyu Hakusho (Anime Quest 2002) Lina Inverse (Anime Quest 2003) Pan of Dragon Ball (Hataw Hanep Hero 2005) 
  • COSPLAY STATUS: Inactive 
  • CURRENT COSPLAY/ANIME RELATED ACTIVITY (If Any): None
  • COSPLAY GROUP/BLOG/WEBSITE (If Any): Cosplay PH

NOEL CATILO



  • COSPLAY CHARACTER/S: Hanya from Rurouni Kenshin (2001), Itachi (Naruto), Iori Yagami (King of Fighters), Garuda (Street Fighter), Aoashira (Monster Hunter), Tyrant (Resident Evil), Majinbuu (Dragon Ball Z), IQ40 (Culture Crash)
  • COSPLAY STATUS: Inactive
  • CURRENT COSPLAY/ANIME RELATED ACTIVITY (If Any): Costume crafter
  • COSPLAY GROUP/BLOG/WEBSITE (If Any): W.T.F. Cosplayers
“My first Cosplay was Hannya from Rurouni Kenshin. Since then, Cosplay became an important part of my life because it is where I met my wife. Since we both share the same hobby, we also made Cosplay props together and later on, we decided to open a small Cosplay business. Right now, we are too busy at work so we don't have much time to join cosplay.”

RICCI TAMAYO



  • COSPLAY CHARACTER/S: Natsumi Tsujimoto, Fuu Hououji,  Pirena, Zaki (Rival Schools, ) Assasin (Ragnarok), Kurenai (Naruto), Juvia Lockser
  • COSPLAY STATUS: Retired
  • CURRENT COSPLAY/ANIME RELATED ACTIVITY (If Any): Creating Costumes (Personal Hobby)
  • COSPLAY GROUP/BLOG/WEBSITE (If Any): ManikaManila
“Cosplay was a great experience. However, right now I'm retired and enjoying life as a BJD hobbyist. That's where I put out my creativity and sometimes I make costumes for my dolls.”

SHEENA TAN




  • COSPLAY CHARACTER/S: Miyuki from You’re under arrest (2001), Videl from DBZ (2002) Etc.
  • COSPLAY STATUS: Inactive
  • CURRENT COSPLAY/ANIME RELATED ACTIVITY (If Any): None
  • COSPLAY GROUP/BLOG/WEBSITE (If Any): None

“I still have my line up of characters to cosplay but life has been busy since motherhood, career and business. If ever I would be given a chance to cosplay again, I would love to do it again..now with my child. As of now, still not active. Im not retiring yet, I'll make a comeback with my one last cosplay na character that i really love, i would just surprise you with the character.

TEL BATILER




  • COSPLAY CHARACTER/S: Yukime from Hell Teacher Nube (2001), Machi from Hunter X Hunter (2002), Hikaru from Rayearth (2002), Iria (2002), Hsien-ko/Leilei (2003), Charen (Culture crash: Pasig (2003) Etc.
  • COSPLAY STATUS: Inactive
  • CURRENT COSPLAY/ANIME RELATED ACTIVITY (If Any): Games, Cosplay Crafts Etc.
  • COSPLAY GROUP/BLOG/WEBSITE (If Any): WTF Cosplayers - https://www.facebook.com/WTF.Cosplayers


“Hi, I'm Tel. I became a fan of Japanese animation when I was in Highschool. The first convention I attended was Anime Explosion 2000 together with my twin, Iyey.  After then, we decided to join cosplay. I made my very first handsewn costume overnight haha!

Attending conventions and joining cosplay competitions became my hobby, we even recruited our friends and classmates until we decided to form a group. Back then, it was hard to find a good craftsman who can make an accurate props so we do it by ourselves. Going to different places, discovering unusual stuff which can be turned into a good cosplay material and meeting lots of people with the same passion was the best experience I ever had.

Most of my cosplays are characters from the games I play. I became more hooked into games than anime. Right now, work takes so much of my time so I no longer have the chance to prepare and join cosplay events but I still get the chance to attend cons every time our company, a game publisher, will join an event.”

----

These are just some of the cosplayers that we managed to get for this article on the Philippine Cosplay History.  This article was contributed by a friend so that all of us will be better acquainted with the origin of cosplay in the Philippines.

References/Contributors:


All photos here, as well as information is done for educational and reference purposes.  Any publication or duplication is allowed except for commercial and for profit purposes.

If you want to contribute something to this article please share it in our comment.  If you are part of the early stages of cosplay please send us your input too.

Thanks for reading!


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4 comments:

  1. This post is Platinum! I was there when Anime Explosion and the Anime event that was sponsored by GMA happened! I even had the signatures of the Director of Hell Teacher Nube and DragonBall Z! We are literally worshipping miss Yuu Watase that time!

    The memories of the great Golden Age of the cosplay time here in the Philippines~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment. It is thanks to Aien who manage to put this together and we published it here. The Golden Age of cosplay is still happening and there are great things to happen. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  2. Cosplay is also a part of Philippine history! So cool!!!

    ReplyDelete

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