Posted October 9, 2014 by GP Manalo in Events

Cosplay Mania 2014: In The Eyes Of A Cosplayer

I’ve always been another face in a large crowd of a con; I’m the kind of guy who would wear funny hats, fan shirts, and a Captain America shield bag. I’d be the guy, who would buy cool things that (sometimes) I don’t need that much, geek out whenever I see an awesome cosplayer who portrays a character I like flawlessly and just sit around somewhere a guard won’t tell us to “screw off”. When I was sitting around at last year’s Ozine that was where I wondered “what could it be like if I cosplay a character to a con”, and so I did later that year after a crucial 2 months of looking for materials of my costume and preparing my costume for the target con I wished to debut.

I wasn’t able to go to last year’s Cosmania (To attend an entrance exam that I failed anyway), a con that I was supposed to debut my first costume. But now I’m happy to finally go to the con that I always look forward to go every year (other than ToyCon and Collecticon) as one of my favorite characters that I first cosplayed: Kick-Ass. Whenever I go to a con, I don’t expect anything but to be surprised, and when you’re a cosplayer there were lots of surprises for my con experience.

Among the “Normies”:
10717452_10201622666368062_388498640_n I dressed up as Kick-Ass, a “superhero” for the 2 days of Cosmania and in superhero fashion; I wore my costume under my “normal” clothes as I left home. On my way to the con, there was a certain thrill of “yeah, I’m a superhero under these ‘high-fashion’ clothing”, It sounds “silly” for me to even think like that but that’s just me being a dork. Although when I was I waiting for a jeep  The superhero feeling started when I ran to a nearby alleyway phone booth bathroom corridor at SMX and changed to my costume. I never thought dressing up would be so – “awesome”, but that was just one step of cosplaying as a superhero.

Of course you tend to do some stuff “normal people” would do with your cosplay. When I was still in my normal clothes, I was waiting for a jeepney. A jeepney barker around Gil Puyat told me “Kuya! Dito ka nalang! Andito ang mga kasama mo”. Lo and behold, I was in a jeepney with people carrying around swords, daggers, foam armors, and colorful wig wearing girls, I figured he was referring me to them due to the fact that my batons were sticking out of my bag (and that I was wearing flashy yellow shoes) – So much for a secret identity. It’s sometimes funny to see cosplayers in character while going around the mall, for starters I saw Batman pig out around the concession stands at the con, and I even sat next to Jason Voorhees at Burger King (thankfully I lived to tell this story), even saw one Anime character (I don’t know her character name) go shopping around the department store. Something about that makes me chuckle a bit for some odd reason.

Compliments to the Cosplayer:

I love the thrill of cosplaying a character as I walk around the con halls like I am a real superhero. The more people believing that you are the character boosts up the con going experience so much. When I went upstairs to the con, I was immediately welcomed with people screaming “KICK-ASS!” in an excited tone, or at least people quietly telling their friends “uy! si Kick-Ass!” and of course the occasional “pwede pa-picture?” When I was still new to the con-going experience, My aunt told me that I should take pictures with Cosplayers more because it’s a way of complimenting them that they have a “great costume”. It’s not like we cosplayers live to please but it is nice to have people noticing your hard work, especially them expressing it to you by the gesture of taking a picture with you and complimenting you. The fact that there are people out there who are happy to see my character come to life through cosplay is pretty much the highlight of my cosplay experience.

10477825_405158309623579_68679296_nIt’s inevitable to have these coming along your way as a cosplayer. At first, you may tell yourself “I’ll just go out anyways, not a lot of people won’t know who I am”, prepare anyways – I said the same thing back in ToyCon and I was surprised on the large amount of people who took pictures of and with me (same case here at Cosmania). I’ve only been through 2 cons and it was ToyCon and this one so this was a first to me; there are photographers who actually went out of their way to have a pictorial-esque set-up, I was happy to be one of those cosplayers who was asked to get his pictures taken by those photographers with a set-up, and probably the best concept a photographer came up with was to put me and Daft Punk’s Guy and Thomas in the same picture, which is awesome because Daft Punk is one of the artists that got me in to techno music back when I was a kid. I do remember one “session” (let’s call it that) with this photographer, I was waiting for my friends to dress up to their costumes and this guy asked me to take a pic, I did it anyways and I figured it won’t take too long – but it did. He was probably the first photographer I’ve met who actually took time with me. He provided great direction in that “session”; he came up some pretty cool poses I never thought about, tested out different angles, and even some concepts too (he’s the first guy who didn’t mind to take a pic of me without my mask on).  I had to brace myself for the people who will ask me to do some “wacky” stuff for their pics. I’ve already been through the baton-beating and the balls kicking but there were a few “unique” things people requested me to do such as “kawaii” poses, pogi signs, and  (I got one that I will put into detail later on).


The last Cosmania I attended was 2012, and I always notice that there are some people that are dressed up in historical fashion whether it’d be them in Barongs, Filipinianas, or even Katipuneros. They would go around the cons and interview cosplayers about how they started out, who their characters are, and why they are cosplaying them. This year was the same too, although I did shook hands, took a picture, and even got interviewed by a couple of Nazis (they told me they’re “good” Nazis but… I have trust issues) and even a guy dressed up as Clark Kent (and calls himself that) interviewed me with the same questions, there were still girls who goes around in Filipinianas but they are fewer in number than what I remember 2-3 years ago, and Back then they claim to be students working on some survey for their project, as I heard someone say it’s a “project” back in 2012, but  some of them appear older if not as old as me to even be called “High School students” (I’m 18). A friend of mine conspired about those “kids” could actually be convention organizers or hired to survey cosplayers, but that’s just a weird thought we had it may not be true…… OR IS IT?! *dun dun duuuunnnnn*

If you’re lucky, people from the media who is covering the con could even interview you and put you on TV. I got interviewed but I haven’t heard of this news network called “GPN” (I checked my digibox listings), but whatever, I don’t like seeing myself on TV anyways. They pretty much asked the same questions the “culturally dressed” people had asked me before, I played it cool which is good enough, I feel like I stuttered some of my words, but it beats shaking like a s**ting dog.

Mixed-Up Identities:

KickAssThis happens a lot to me for the past couple of cons that I attended as Kick-Ass, whenever people approach me in-costume I hear compliments, high fives, and the occasional “mix-up” where they shoutout the name of my character wrong but not in a word mix up but an identity mix up.

Take these for example: I remember at the con, an elderly woman actually said in front of me “Ay o! ang cute! Si Green Lantern!” as she pointed at my direction and pulls down the arm of her husband excitingly. But that’s not all, a lady photographer tapped me to join in the photo of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers group as she shouts to the team “ito o! may green ranger na kayo”, I didn’t remember joining since I was in fan-mode. There was even one kid who yelled “WOW! Si Dragonfly!” when he was near me as I walked around outside the con.

Usually, other cosplayers would be mad and say “man, these guys are such idiots for not following or even bother knowing a piece of art like (insert the series/movie/video game where the character you are portraying is in)”. But me? Not really, I understand the confusion since my character is not universally known to the masses unlike the power rangers, Green Lantern or even the Dragonfly from that Superhero Movie. I’ve always thought that people calling me the wrong “identity” could make funny post-con stories to tell to my friends and family (and they are).

I embrace these mix ups as a running gag whenever I cosplay this character, I even shook hands with a cosplayer who portrayed John Stewart around the 2nd day and told him “it’s nice to meet a fellow Green Lantern”, he laughed and I’m assuming that he understood that joke. I told these to my friends afterwards; we had a good laugh about them and my friends who were with me at the con shouted at least one of those names (sometimes all at once) on-purpose whenever people will take pictures with me.

Odd Jobs:

1620574_264885680302285_4289999566993615010_nSometimes you’ll encounter people who will ask you to do some stuff for them or for the lack of a better phrase, “to help them out”. Stuff like promoting some snack brand or somebody’s booth, sometimes people even ask you to look out for somebody for them (and not even give you their number for you to tell them where they are). I’m not really doing these kinds of things for the sake of being “in character” (I’m a superhero after all) – I just feel like helping someone out because I can. I mean, really… it’s not like I have anything better to do in my 5+ hour stay there in a con. I think I helped my friends out on their barely noticed booth, not trying to be “egotistic” to say “oh, more people came to their booth because of how awesome I am”. But by their sincere gratitude I guess was of big help to them.

Meeting Colorful People:

I’m not the best at talking to people especially to people I barely know, by the way – brace yourself when this happens to you because you’ll meet a lot of people when you’re in a costume, expect them striking conversations with you to the point where not only they’ll say goodbye or thank you for the photo you took with him/her.

I tend to geek out whenever heroes like 5 members of the X-Men, The Justice League, or even Captain Jack Sparrow himself having a conversation with me about the things we like or even just them telling you “HEY MAN, YOU KICK-ASS!” for a brief moment. If it was my 5 year old self who was walking that very place in the costume while having his heroes high five, brofist, or even complimenting him he’d be out of his mind by then. I also met a couple of people touching my costume while they pass by. I think they’re wondering about the fabric I used? I hope that’s the case, because their smiles are Titan level of creepy and that they never spoke a word.

But it gets interesting in day 2, first there was this (I don’t know if he’s gay but I’ll just call him a) guy who was cosplaying… Something… Wasn’t very sure what that character was but he was wearing only a thong (or tidy whities?), bandana mask, some cap, and a red cape. He came up to me to ask for a picture with me, of course I said yes since I was “on-duty”, but instead of asking me what I should do to him in the photo, he instead posed immediately by….. Making me slap his ass….. Yeah, that happened. But I played the game anyways by pretending that I am in this photo.

Then, this guy came up to me, I’m not sure if he’s cosplaying as a character but he was holding a bat around (I was thinking if he was cosplaying Frank West but I’m still not sure), and he asked me to fight him at first I thought “oh are these one of those ‘Kick my Ass’ photos where you punch me in the face or let me beat you with my batons? (that sounded wrong)” but it wasn’t, he immediately struck me, but oddly enough he was pushing me against my weapons – and there I realized that we’re actually fighting and the guy holding the camera was recording it. The fight didn’t take long since my phone kept falling off my sleeves (oh, the problems of having no pockets in this suit), but the final round was where the real fight was. Sure he pinned me down, but I fought back by pushing him with all of my “strength”, and repeatedly slashing him, I tried not to hurt him since… It’s SMX and I heard a lot about the security of that place. It was a first for me definitely.

In the end, Conventions are one of the best places for you to release that inner kid in you no matter how old you in many different and creative ways but most of all to see your imaginations as a kid (or even now) come to life as you see stuff like key members of The Avengers playing Magic The Gathering in one corner, have lunch at Burger King with Jason Voorhees, or even watch your favorite LoL or DOTA 2 characters fight or even shake hands and play multiplayer on their PSPs. What more if your cosplay became part of the fun?

If you were like me before, an ordinary person walking around a con and at some point complain about how “boring” a con is – try cosplaying, even though the con may be “boring” to you, you can still get some fun out of it as a cosplayer. You’ll never know what a con will have in store for you, so expect the unexpected, and the unexpected can be the best part of your stay at the con. At the same time, conventions like Cosmania is where you’ll see a lot of amazing cosplays that could inspire you to try it yourself. It’s definitely hard to go around and enjoy the festivities Cosmania has to offer and even take pictures of really cool cosplays but it was still nice to have people around somehow making your cosplaying experience better (In a sense).

Inspiration is why I’m doing this in the first place; I just started doing this last year  and now that I finally cosplayed a character that I like there’s a feeling inside me that “you can’t stop now with just one character”. Seeing so many cool cosplays made me bring out my handy-dandy notebook and write down the cosplans that I could do with my ability and the rest of the stuff fell under the “yeah right” list, even have my friends an endless discussion about our cosplans. Here’s to the coming years of successful cosplays and if you were ever inspired to cosplay after reading this, I guess I’ll see you around future conventions.


- Kick-Ass 

GP Manalo

G.P. Manalo is a student by day, and a resident tortured writer by night. Writing to keep him sane from all the Business School papers and presentations piling up each week.