Despite setbacks, Cosplay Mania 2022 was successfully held at SMX Convention Center Manila during the weekend of October 1 to 2. The said event features guest VTubers from Hololive Indonesia—Ayunda Risu, Kureiji Ollie, Moona Hoshinova, Pavolia Reine—as well as the local ones—YashinLive and Kitsui Akira (Kiichan).
After two years of drought, the event was held with thousands occupying the upper levels of the venue. Preparations for the said event have been the talk of the town, and it even gained a spot on the front page of national broadsheet The Philippine Star.
As this is a cosplay event, various cosplays were featured during the weekend. We have photos of cosplayers dressed up as VTubers on this post, along with some anecdotes from the convention floor.
Placing flower stands in concerts or other events is a tradition among Japanese fans. The arrival of several guests from the said country, as well as the idol culture boom in the Philippines, made several Filipino fans aware of these set-ups.
Zeroblade and Mari from DareDemo Sekai initiates this annual tradition, and with the help of several individuals, the project was successful. Considering the challenges of setting up the project—from soliciting donations, curating the suppliers of the flowers, to the actual setup—what's more important is to let the guests feel welcome.
YashinLive and Dasu
Day 1 featured a DJ performance from YashinLive's very own Dasu. The Vocaloid song producer and Stellar Paradigm CEO capped the day with her set list of Vocaloid hits, one of which is Nakakapagpabagabag (Worrisome) with Kagamine Len as the singing voice.
In a separate interview with NewsDrop, Dasu looks forward doing an encore of this in the future:
It was absolutely fun! I loved hearing and seeing people's reaction to the set that I've prepared just for my stage performance.
There were numerous times I definitely felt the DJ table shake during one of the music drops, I was laughing to myself. The crowd was wild and I could say that both me and the audience had a swell time. I hope to be able to do it again~
Over at their booth several blocks away, standees of each YashinLive talent were on display. These life-size standees were auctioned at the end of Day 2. In addition, cosplayer Lola dressed as maid Dasu, leading to lots of photo opportunities with fans.
We asked the whole team which moments made their Cosplay Mania 2022 experience:
All of the talents found it very memorable to meet their fans again, some for the first time. Meeting nearly the entirety of YashinLive and its staff was quite the experience too.
Of course, the event itself is still fresh in everyone's mind, from being able to booth again to being on stage seeing all their fans and speaking to them in real life. Overall, it was an unforgettable experience for everyone.
Did their participation at Cosplay Mania made an impact among VTuber fans and even themselves?
We believe that quite a large impact was made for fans new and old to VTubers.
For the current fans they were very excited to meet the talents, some for the first time. Each fandom grew closer with the Meet and Greet and various performances.
For new fans however, it's surprising the volume of people that have made it known that they found us through CosMania itself and grew an interest in YashinLive.
It's a spectacle to see the amount of people that look forwards to our projects as a result of the exposure Cosmania gave us; that is the largest impact we've had at the event.
Kitsui Akira / Kiichan
On Day 2, Kitsui Akira showed up as her VTuber self on stage, singing her hits such as her multi-lingual cover of 热爱 105°C 的你 / 阿肆 Super Idol first sung by Tian Yiming.
Prior to this, she participated in a Q&A session which provided the crowd with some interesting answers. The best moments in the said segment include her sharing a story of how she apparently helped some viewers cure their depression, as well as how she accidentally shut off her computer when she got so enraged while playing a game on stream.
The craziest thing Kiichan has ever done so far is to ask her community what color Barney is: Pink or Purple? This debacle was evident with a con-goer offering a quick survey on this exact question a day before the segment. Kiichan on her end states that Barney is purple.
At her post-event stream, she confessed that she set the "no recording" rule in place as she thought she's going to mess up on stage. The organizer took it as a special request from her, which is definitely normal especially for an artist of such caliber as Kirsui Akira herself.
Her first stage performance could have ended up as lost media. Thankfully, someone was able to record her set despite reprimands from security staff who are just following what was ordered to them.
Rare VTuber Cosplays: Lyrica and Kaheru
Long-standing fans of the Philippine VTuber community know who Lyrica and Kaheru are. Lyrica, who "retired to Maldives" last year, was one of the best local VTubers of her time, engaging her fans to a certain extent that they read classic Filipino literature on stream.
When a costume maker posted photos on Facebook of the work in progress, we did not think twice and added it to the checklist of cosplays to capture. Happily, and luckily enough, it was revealed that another VTuber was cosplaying the legend.
"I miss Lyrica, and a lot of friends miss her as well, so my friends sponsored me to cosplay as Lyrica; and also, it's because I love Lyrica," Yuusachii told NewsDrop. She's not a beginner to cosplay as she first cosplayed her character as Project Kokonatsu's radioactive eggplant around five months ago.
Also on Facebook, someone cosplayed as Kaheru, considered as the top-of-mind names in Philippine VTubing with over 249,000 subscribers. "One day, I'll have the budget to cosplay myself," says the orange VTuber—only to be beaten by fan named Akairo. We were so amazed that someone did a rare cosplay of a local VTuber that we forgot to ask why he did cosplay as the orange VTuber.
Following initial observations on VTuber merchandise in the Philippines this year, we tagged with Madekuji Masamune, Oliver Canticle and their friends around the fan fair area. Madekuji, who operates the Good VTuber Subs Twitter bot, expressed that there are more artist booths which offer VTuber merch than previous events.
The presence of Hololive Indonesia VTubers at the event may also have contributed largely to the boom of VTuber merch in a field still dominated by Genshin Impact fan arts.
VTuber Cosplay Photos
Finally, here's a gallery of cosplay photos from the event. Thank you to the cosplayers who took time to be captured on camera. More photos are posted on this album.
We've seen several cosplays of Gawr Gura, Hoshimachi Suisei, Houshou Marine and Calliope Mori (including her male form, Calvin). We've also seen two cosplays of Ninomae Ina'nis and Nanashi Mumei. Rare cosplays include Tokoyami Towa, Oozora Subaru and Nakiri Ayame.
Next, we have cosplays from Holostars' Japanese branch—Arurandeisu, Astel Leda, and Kageyama Shien.
While Hololive is a popular brand connected to VTubers, there's an abundance of Nijisanji cosplays from both English and Japanese branches, which in comparison undermines the number of Hololive cosplays throughout the event.
We've seen a Nijisanji EN Cosplay group on the night of the second day, and they were all having so much fun.
Cosplays of VShojo Japan's KSON is not that rare, but it's different if we talk about her colleague Amemiya Nazuna.
We've seen several cosplays of independent VTuber Shoto, who collaborates mostly with members of Nijisanji EN's Luxiem so much that he's asked his fans to stop saying he's part of the group. Cosplays of pioneering VTuber Kizuna Ai are also seen as well.
Aside from Lyrica and Kaheru, a rare cosplay of local VTuber Cornelia Star (done by her muse, Nina Nirvana) complete with roller skates was sighted.
Despite the challenges of producing Cosplay Mania, it is still one of the most-welcomed events every year. Here's an excerpt from the organizers' post-event statement:
While my stay at Cosplay Mania 2022 felt a bit short, everyone who joined the gathering knew that it was the experience of a lifetime. Welcome back, CosMania, and see you again soon.