Is everyone a cosplayer?

Rica Facundo -- Media. This wont be the last time you see this pairing

People have a lot of assumptions about the cosplay industry, but I think we only judge what we do not understand.

So, attending and covering my first ever cosplay event at Alodia Gosienfiao’s Birthday Bash was intense, interesting and fun.

It’s just a theory and an observation, but what I find fascinating about subcultures is how they relate to the mainstream. Ironic, right?

Meriam Webster defines subculture as “…a social group exhibiting characteristic patterns of behavior sufficient to distinguish it from others within an embracing culture or society.”

But I think subcultures might be an intensified and exaggerated microcosm of everyday realities. Cosplay, which is short for “costume play,” is the act of putting on costumes to look like fictional characters from comic books, games, etc.

Some people say that cosplay might be a form of absurd escapism, which is a  “habitual diversion of the mind to purely imaginative activity or entertainment as an escape from reality or routine.”

To put it simply — I think everyone puts on a costume or a mask in order to fulfill a desire to belong to a community. In that sense, we all cosplay, some with decked out army gear, others with simply 4 inch heel stilletos.

To non-cosplayers, our fictional characters are ourselves.

I see so many people escaping reality by paradoxically trying to participate in it with projections of who they want to be, especially in the eyes of their audience — their fellow peers maybe?

Abraham Maslow knew in his hierarchy of needs that a sense of belonging is part of human nature and that feeling left out sucks.

I’m not an expert and I won’t be donning an anime costume any time soon, but the cosplayer isn’t very different from me, or you. I might be wrong so feel free to comment for any other insights.

Anyways, below is the article I wrote. It felt like a moshpit with people shoving, pushing, and shouting whenever Alodia came out or prizes were being given away. But like any other concert experience, that’s also part of what makes an event fun ;-)

The best thing about going to events alone is being able to meet interesting people. You'll be surprised if you just talked to the person next to you! Photo by Geoffrey Sobrevilla

I finally found my Superman! Herbert Chavez won Best Male and he's also known as "the guy who underwent plastic surgery to look like Clark Kent."

When the cosplay queen celebrates, legions come

By Rica S. Facundo

FILLED UP. Photo by Mineski

MANILA, Philippines – It was an unlikely family reunion at Alodia Gosienfiao’s Birthday Bash, where a legion of characters came to celebrate, whether decked in layers of battle armor or simply armed with a camera.

Despite the commotion caused by thousands of cosplay and gaming enthusiasts surrounding the stage, on their feet or even sitting on the floor, the SM Cyberzone still felt like a home for a community just doing what they love.

“I was hoping only at least my cosplay, online, and gaming friends would attend. But boy was I wrong!” exclaimed Alodia about the overwhelming turn out of the event, which took barely a month to plan.

“We had so many old faces in the community as well as a lot of new ones,” she said.

From Voltron to international celebrities to plain old supporters in regular jeans and T-shirts, it was an epic homecoming for the thousands of supporters left spellbound by Alodia in the last 9 years.

LINA INVERSE. Photo by Kira Hokuten.

Lina Inverse

Because of the growing cosplay industry, the number of attendees who came out to strut their wings, helmets, swords, and hammers, should come as no surprise. But it did, most especially to Alodia.

“There were also a total of 91 cosplayers who registered in the Cosplay Showdown! That’s a lot,” she said.

From 91 cosplayers only 31 were shortlisted to compete during the actual program with photographer Jay Tablante, sister Ashley Gosiengfiao, set designer Raffy Tesoro, comic book illustrator Harvey Tolibao, and comic book Leinil Yu as judges.

Due to the massive crowd of fans, Alodia, who was dressed as Lina Inverse, a famous character from DOTA, could not go down the stage and “pick a cute guy in the crowd,” as originally planned.

Adoring fans

On the other hand, it was unsurprising to hear the overflowing amount of testimonials, revelations and dedications coming from fans both local and international.

Mas mahal ko si Alodia kaysa kay Justin Bieber (I love Alodia more than Bieber),” said one fan being interviewed on stage. Bieber has 19,241,006 followers on Twitter while Alodia only has 117,762.

SO CLOSE. Photo by Rica Facundo

Distance was never a factor for the fans of Alodia who made an effort to give well-wishes and adoration for the cosplay queen.

Danny Choo, a successful Japanese pop culture blogger and also the son of noted fashion designer Jimmy Choo sent a video message, while one fan at the front of the stage flashed a message from his friend in Baguio.

“Well fanboys kami, obvious ba?” said Silver from Segatron, the band which opened the birthday bash. They serenaded the crowd with “Hey, Hey Alodia,” which they wrote especially for her.

Standards of cosplay

Alodia knows how to bring out the best from people. By challenging herself in the various characters she portrays and by competing overseas, she’s paving the way for aspiring present and future cosplayers.

“She’s the girl who opened the mind of the people in the Philippines about what cosplay is and how the cosplayer should be,” said Herbert Chavez, who won the award for Best Male and Best Performer, for his Superman outfit.

AS SUPERHERO. Photo by Rica Facundo.

“This is an opportunity for the cosplayers and gamers to merge. It’s actually a good idea that she threw her birthday party publicly,” said Isabel Cortez who won the award for Best Female, for her Starcraft outfit.

BEST FEMALE. Photo by Rica Facundo.

Both Herbert and Isabel have been cosplaying for only 2 years.

But John Andrew De Los Santos, who was the president of Alodia’s first-ever Fanclub in 2003-2004, volunteers what he thinks is what sets Alodia apart from other cosplayers – both locally and internationally.

Sila ma-cosplay para manaloSi Alodia ma-cosplay para ma-enjoySi Alodia,kahit pagod na pagod na siya, sige smile pa rin siya.”  (They’re into cosplay to win. Alodia is into cosplay to enjoy. Even if she’s dead tired, Alodia still keeps on smiling.)

View original article here


13 thoughts on “Is everyone a cosplayer?

  1. I personally don’t understand why people, like Alodia and some of my friends, go into cosplaying. I am not against them doing such though. Let me just say, I find them “weird”. However, I can say that cosplaying is their way of expressing how and what they feel. Also, you’re right. “To non-cosplayers, our fictional characters are ourselves.” We may not be donned with layered costumes and the like, but non-cosplayers are more fictional, for we often project a facade to others. :)

    • Hey Rudylen,

      I know where you’re coming from. I know a lot of people find it “weird,” which is a reaction I got when I told some people that I was covering the event.

      But for me, just cause it isn’t your cup of tea, doesn’t mean it can’t be appreciated, respected and that you can’t enjoy the experience. As a craft, there seems to be a lot of art, thought, and science that goes into constructing the costumes, etc. Just like a beauty pageant haha.

      Although it was only my first time at a cosplay event, I saw many similarities to other “normal” things/events non-cosplayers typically enjoy.

      And yes, i think we often put up facades to others, just in different forms :)

      Thanks for the comment btw!

  2. I’ve been to a couple of cosplay events since I used to be a cosplayer as well. I’ve seen Alodia before and I’ve seen how the people are so drawn to her & her awesome costume.

    I was told by my cosplayer friends about this event as well. The first thing I thought is there would surely be a lot of people from what i have experienced before. Seeing this post made me regret not going. I really miss cosplaying and the crowd. :)

    • There was a crazy amount of people! Haha. But unsurprising because Alodia is really something else.

      The crowd is really friendly. It’s never too late to go back! As Alodia said in the article, there were a lot of old faces in the crowd.

  3. Wow, that guy really does look like Superman! :O

    In high school, my best friends were into cosplay and anime. I didn’t understand it and thought they were weird. Fast forward 4 years and I’m the girl who marathoned 2 seasons of Code Geass and around 60 episodes of FullMetal Alchemist over the Christmas break.

    I like how you said “we only judge what we do not understand.” Things are fun, life is fun–simple as that. I don’t see myself cosplaying as Winry Rockbell anytime soon, but when I think back on all the Halloween costume parties (and even non-Halloween ones) that I’ve attended as various TV characters, I think ‘how is that any different?’ That’s cosplay, too!

    It’s fun to dress up, it’s fun to pay tribute to characters you love. And for the serious or professional cosplayers, I’m amazed at how intricate their costumes are. That’s production/costume design right there. That alone is enough to command respect.

    So who knows, maybe I’ll try it too one day. As I said earlier, life is fun. :)

    • Hey Ceej! Sorry for the late reply to your comment. I think we’re all a little weird inside. Some people are better at hiding it and some forms are more accepted than others haha. I didn’t think about it in the Halloween context though!

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