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Philippine Cosplay Revolution: For the Good or for the Worse?

In just span of three years since I cosplayed there are major changes in the cosplay community.  Changes that affect how the community evolves, interacts and view the hobby of cosplaying.  I started cosplaying in 2010 when there was less than 10 conventions a year and then today there are more or less 40 different cosplay events across the country.  Seems good for the community or is it?

First of all, I would like to make it clear that all photos used here are made to appreciate those in the photo and in no way made to stress a point connected to its relative placement on the article.

The number of cosplay events is actually not bad since it means cosplay had now becodme mainstream and more people are willing to organize, sponsor and join such events.  However, when cosplay events become so common thus those who are the "better" cosplayers competition wise become more obvious and which results in a monotony of who gets to win and who gets to lose.

A recent discussion in the community talks about the rise of chibi cosplayers who had been winning one event after the other.  They had been defeating even both adult and veteran cosplayers.  Some of those who raised the opinion are concerned about the monotony and others even get to the dirty part of competition rigging.  The truth is that most of these Chibi cosplayers are really good.  They are supported by their parents financially and exert effort in delivering cosplay characterization and performance on stage which tends to impress judges.  They win partly because they are more impressive considering at their young age they are at par or even better "competition wise" to their adult counterparts.  As to the rigging part, though we cannot discount the probability that at some point this happens in majority this is a hard thing to do considering the number of judges and the tendency of other cosplayers to see the obvious.

Way back in 2010, I remember that my main reason to cosplay is because I want to experience how to become a cosplayer since I am an anime fan and then later on it evolved to the purpose of giving entertainment to people.  Back then cosplaying your character requires that you at least have the majority of its necessary materials in order to go to a con.  Cosplayers mingle with one another, enjoy taking photos and enjoy going to the con as the character they love.

Fast forward today, we see cosplayers who call themselves cosplayers of a certain character while they only have a portion of that character's materials.  How can you call as Luffy someone who just wore a straw hat? or even Hatsune Miku someone who would just wear a long green wig?  Cosplaying is supposed to be bringing your character into life.  Your costume need not be all brand new for it can even be made of recycled materials.  So, thus that mean cosplaying is only for those who can afford?  No, cosplaying is for those who have a passion to discover the real cosplay and not just there to be part of the cosplay fab.

International competition and cosplay rankings had also been introduced to the community.  The World Cosplay Summit (WCS) and Hero Face dOff which aims to bring local cosplayers to the international scene brings our cosplay community at par with the rest of the world.  However, this move also increased the level of competition, enmity, and indifference of some cosplayers towards one another.  If you would be joining and a friend who would also be joining asks you about certain tips how to win, would you share it to him or her?  What cosplay would you chose in order to win in competitions like these?

Media brought cosplay to the mainstream and it had been sensationalized and made part of the Philippine popular culture scene.  How many times have we seen cosplay telated episodes of Matanglawin, Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho and other shows?  Even certain non-cosplay related shows like iBilib brings cosplay in its every episode and we wonder what's the connection.

In making cosplay mainstream we invite everyone to be part of the community without even educating them of what cosplay is all about.  We cannot blame people who do cosplay and does not know anything because as cosplayers ourselves who knows something about it, perhaps we should take on the responsibility of telling them what cosplay is all about.  Not only telling them by the way but also showing them the beauty, fun, and entertaining world of cosplay.

An easy entry to fame.  That is what some says about cosplay.  If you want to be popular then start cosplaying because that is what Alodia, Ashley, Myrtle, Jinri and a lot more did and walah they become TV personalities.  Let us re-examine this hypothesis further... of all the popular TV personalities how many did start as cosplayers?  If you did compute, you will get my point and besides popular actors, actresses, singers and others did not start with the dream of becoming famous, they started because they want to do what they love the most and bring that joy to others.

I have seen a lot of cosplayers who did rise to somewhat popular status in the community.  They were of course helped by friends and in some their groups.  After getting to that particular status in the community they will suddenly change their friend circles, abandon whoever helped them and never look back.  It is a pity how some would actually do use people and even what they have like beauty and looks and even money just to gain fame and be on the top.

In the cosplay community, as what I believe before THERE IS NO COSPLAY GODDESS, THERE IS NO COSPLAY PRINCE or PRINCESS.  There is NO ROYALTY IN COSPLAY.  What we do have in cosplay are just those who DO A GOOD COSPLAY and at some point DO A BEST COSPLAY.  It is what determines your passion as a cosplayer and not the branding, the fame or any other entitlement that you do achieve.  

If in the end YOU ARE RECOGNIZE FOR YOUR COSPLAY CHARACTER and even confuses you for that character then you did well as a cosplayer.  If you cosplay your character passionately, with characterization and with the heart then you did well as a cosplayer.

The cosplay community is still evolving and I would say we might be seeing some worse things happening but I believe we are going for the good things ahead.  HAPPY COSPLAYING!

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