What if You Met the VTuber You’re Cosplaying in Person?

Capping off a series of reports from Cosplay Mania 2023 is an interview we didn't expect to do: A conversation between a VTuber and a cosplayer who's dressed up as that VTuber.

Filipino Independent VTuber Hanami Arisa (also a member of the Pinoy Virtual Bahay collective) performed at the Globe EX Stage on the second day of Cosplay Mania 2023, singing a variety of anime and VTuber songs alongside Rei Orihara.

She surprised the audience appearing as her IRL self, belting out her cover of Hoshimachi Suisei's hit single Stellar Stellar to several audience members on stage, including some of her long-time fans and PVB friends.

Behind the Scenes

Following her first performance on stage, we got in touch with Arisa as well as Asori, the cosplayer who's dressed up as her. Asori debuted a cosplay of Arisa commissioned to a tailor at ONLive last April, and she continues to cosplay as her at select events afterwards.

It's no coincidence that Asori cosplayed as one of her favorite VTubers on that day—Arisa's stage schedule has been set, after all.

Face to Face

We took refuge at the rest area upstairs and together with Arisa's manager Kizuflux and handler Arbeed, we set up the interview with little to no rehearsal.

As we hid Arisa behind her standee, we let her share her feelings right after her performance: "As soon as the performance ended, I wanted to go straight to her—my cosplayer [...] I really wanted to feature her because she's the one of the cosplays that caught my eye, even in other events [...]

"I was really grateful that they actually paid a tribute to me, so I also wanted to be with her when I took the picture with the crowd."

Even if Asori met other VTubers IRL, this encounter is unique: "It's surreal... [...] meeting your idol feels different. She's right here next to me. Now, it's definitely a dream come true."

We wrapped up with a feeling of satisfaction, as this encounter was a rare opportunity. It's not every day you'll meet your idol in person (and in most instances, it's discouraged), but we can say with trust and confidence that both Hanami Arisa and the cosplayer dressed up as her have felt the same feeling.

If you enjoyed this story, take a look at our previous reports from that weekend:

PRISM Love in the Philippines
VTuber agency from Sony Music Virtual meets its Philippine audience for the first time at Cosplay Mania 2023
VOLs’ First Convention Appearance at Cosplay Mania 2023
Aside from talking to the first-generation talents, fans of VOLs Project saw the debut of two new VTubers under the 1.5 Generation.