CONQuest 2023 Event Report

All the happenings at the biggest event this Summer—from a VTuber-adjacent perspective: The first part of our CONQuest 2023 coverage.

CONQuest Festival 2023 was much, much bigger than last year: Aside from holding activities in multiple locations, we read that the main venue at SMX Convention Center Manila has reached 90% occupancy, making the event one of the biggest pop culture events in terms of crowd size.

(You've already seen the rest of the brouhaha that has happened during the weekend, especially on Days 2 and 3. We are aware of it, and that will be covered in separate stories as the days pass by.)

On this Event Report, I am here to share to you VTuber-related coverage from the three-day weekend event, including:

  • Stage Activities with featured guest VTubers.
  • QuestMarket, which hosted 100+ artists (some of them are VTubers too).
  • Select corporate booths which hosted VTubers.

My Take: Allow me to say that I had a challenging time producing a VTuber-related coverage during the event—I was ready (or so I thought). I was not happy with the situation so I sought my own kind of happiness by meeting local and international VTubers (and clippers) in person. To those whom I met at CONQuest, thank you very much.

Unnamed's Guerrilla Meet and Greet*

Afternoon of Day 1: Just before their scheduled appearance at Thailand's MaruYa #36 the following day, the VTuber we now recognize as Unnamed hosted a guerrilla meet-and-greet with Filipino U-rei at the Starbucks Reserve branch in S Maison, just at the back of the convention center.

  • Prior to the actual meeting, the team who helped them—Ady Laine, Mira Rae, Raya, Jinsei and Kousei who cosplayed as U-san roamed around SMX to invite anyone interested. I was lucky to say hi. 👋
  • More than 40 U-rei were present to meet them.
  • One question from the audience: "Aside from Mephisto and Shoto, who is your favorite dog?" U-san answered with "... So, actually, Mephisto—he has two types, actually: He's a Doberman, and he's also a Miniature Pinscher..."

* This is not even part of the main CONQuest event.

Bao and Shoto's Stage Activities

Morning of Day 2: The Main Stage at Hall 4 (Ground Level) is already filled with fans of VTuber guests Shoto and Bao the Whale. I got to the area just in time. I can see that Bao is ready to appear on stage, but Shoto's segment went on first.

Moments from Shoto's Stage Segment

  • As with any live program, technical difficulties may occur, leading to lull time. The hosts got a good solution to keep the momentum: Invite those cosplaying as the guild leader up on the stage.
Ten cosplayers who are also fans of guest Shoto are invited to the stage. (Screencap: CONQuest Facebook)
  • One of these cosplayers—dressed up as Haruto, his spring persona—is so up-to-date, you know you're looking at a solid fan. Wow.
  • One of the hosts, Bruce, has been converted to a Guildie live thanks to the suggested clips of the cosplayers.

There are just excerpts from the stage segment, which you can still watch in full on Facebook (starting at 1:20:00)

Is there one place you'd like to visit in the country?

"...Besides Manila, I think Boracay."

Shoto teaches the way to rizz (that's 'to show charisma' to us oldies):

"If ask me what I like, honestly, if somebody has a really nice smile, that really gets me. If somebody has that really awesome smile, that makes my heart flutter."

...How's the weather treating you right now?

"...It feels like warm hugs. Like, a little too warm, you know what I mean? As soon as I got to the hotel, I had to blast the AC on immediately because I'm not used [to the weather]; I like to sleep in the cold, I love the cold a lot, all winters are my favorite seasons..."

If you would like to invite another VTuber to the Philippines, who would that be?

"First one that came to mind... I met up with him recently, back in Japan; because we hung out together for a while, and they seem to really want to come—like, just want to leave the country and just visit other places too because they've only ever been in Japan—

"You guys know Minase [of Neo-Porte]? And U-san too. I knew they would've loved the Philippines."

Any tips for aspiring VTubers?

"I feel like my main advice is... just f*cking do it. People that want to stream, that want to be a VTuber, I feel like a lot of them are kinda afraid to make that jump into it, and they're overplanning anf stuff like that, but my best advice is just, 'Hey man, see if you like it,' right?

Get into it and see if it's something that you'd vibe with and something that you genuinely enjoy, because I think a lot of people end up realizing that it's not for them..."

Anyway, Shoto, we're kind of running out of Shoto time. Is there anything you—

"NO! Wait! NO! Don't take me away! I don't want to go yet. Guys, help! They're taking me away! I don't want to go... Guildies, I miss you. I miss you so much."

Moments from Bao's Stage Segment

Next up was Bao—who started her segment by singing Love Me Not. (The segment starts at 1:56:00)

"As soon as I came back, the first thing I ate is kare-kare, it's my favorite food; and then I woke up and the first thing I did was, 'Ok, I'mma go down to breakfast, I wanna have three cups of [soybean pudding],' and that's it."

Is there any other food that you're trying to get for the remaining days that you're here?

"... I haven't [had] Jollibee yet. No one's invited me to go get Jollibee. I need to get Jollibee."

Whenever things feel so competitive, how do you go about it to get the energy to keep doing what you love?

"So, I struggled with that a ton; and my biggest advice to anyone who's struggling with keeping up with the schedule and avoiding burnout is, you should definitely make a schedule and stick to it—and when I say schedule, I mean you should plan when you want to start your stream and when you should end the stream, and so you don't go over and you can continue to retain your strength for the entire week.

"Spacing all that out is really important, having time to rest is also really important, because streaming is only 25% of my job. You have so many other things to do, so don't waste all of that energy on just streaming."

Valorant Showmatch (featuring Demenishki)

From Left to Right: Host Riku, Team 2 (Newt, JoshSeki, Razzie Binx, Een, Demenishki), Team 1 (JaeHyeong of The Rose, Sykkuno, Spicyuuu, Oasis Gaming's Xavi8k and Krisrey), Host Bruce (Screencap: CONQuest on Facebook)

Afternoon of Day 2: Another VTuber guest, the gamer Deme, joined Razzie Binx at for Valorant Showmatch as part of Team 2.

  • The showmatch ran for more than an hour, and the main stage area was already jam-packed at that moment.
  • Team 1 (led by Sykkuno) won over Team 2, 21-19 in favor of Team 1. Both teams had several overtime match points as each one-up the other.
  • At one time, Deme (playing Raze) did a clutch move by taking down 2 remaining opponents, making the scoreboard even, 10-10. In her team, Deme is the second frag.**

** Brief analysis with assistance from Martin of WillWork4Games

Exhibitors + QuestMarket

The whole two floors of SMX had a variety of places where VTubers are highlighted and/or welcomed:

Ground Floor

Second Floor

  • Gank—Featuring meet-and-greet sessions with several VTubers (in person)
  • QuestMarket featuring 150+ artists and merchants

We checked out Bao and Shoto's booths at the QuestMarket, featuring their merch:

Our Meet-and-Greets (but not the MeetZone)

Something personally dear to me: Prior to the CONQuest weekend, it was told to all participating media that our access excludes the MeetZone and guest interviews, so we will divert our attention to the ones accessible at the SMX!

  • I was able to interview select VTubers participating at the Gank Booth, as well as meet 7Seas Horizon's Leivani at the Pizza Hut Gaming booth, and representatives from Kyun Entertainment at the Boozt booth.
  • Aside from these, I met with several VTubers at Project Solaria, PPNO VTubers and PHVT Collective at the QuestMarket.
  • There were other meetups in and around CONQuest—most especially, the surprise meetup at FAAC's Booth! Finally, I got myself into a VTuber selfie!
Photo: FAAC

Select VTuber Cosplays

We cap this post with a selection of VTuber cosplays—more of this on Facebook:

Our CONQuest 2023 coverage continues on VTuber NewsDrop with post-con stories from VTuber guests, plus other development surrounding the event from a VTuber-adjacent perspective. That will include feedback from those who attended the MeetZone.

At the moment, applications for refunds are open until June 16 at 11:59pm Manila time. Please check if you are qualified for the refund, and exercise your rights.

We thank organizer AcadArena Technologies for extending media access to us for the said event.