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yamada takayuki

Last August 15, 2009, our group, Project Eiva, was invited to attend the First Cosplay Mini Summit and Open Forum.  One of the goals of the event was to promote the cosplay community. The event was organized by USP Events Specialist Inc. and Holy Ground Productions.  A panel of speakers from the government and the creative arts industry were invited.  Various cosplayers were also invited including people from Cosplay.ph.

The panel of speakers included:

  • James Romana, Division Head for Creative Industries, Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM)
  • Ramon Ibrahim, Cyberservices Comissioner, Commission of Information and Communication Technology (CITC)
  • Eric Tamayo, Special Assistant to the Undersecretary, International and Economic Relations, Department of Foreign Affairs
  • Ranulf Goss, Vice President, Game Developers Association of the Philippines (GDAP)
  • Ruel "Zyn" Abila, Game Master, ABS-CBN Interactive (AMPED)

The open forum was an opportunity for the government to have a better understanding of what cosplay is and what it is all about.  This was perhaps in a way for our community and the subculture in general to let our government have a glimpse of what we are like in the midst of continuous negative sentiment from various government officials.

Please take your time and read more about the cosplay summit on my main blog at the dot hacker review - First Philippine Cosplay Mini Summit and Open Forum

yamada takayuki

Metro Comic Con 2009


Metro Comic Con was held last August 8 and 9 in Megamall Megatrade Hall 1 & 2.   The event was organized by HobbyLink Productions, Inc. and was to be the biggest gathering of comics, comic book enthusiasts, artists, and publishers in the country.  I was able to attend the first day of the convention.

Entrance to the event was PhP100.00 though it wasn't abundantly clear when I was trying to find the price on their website.  There wasn't much of a line to the ticket booth and the entrance which was rather a welcoming site.  The event space was rather huge and quite spacious.  I did like the floor plan for the event. It was clear and unobtrusive.  They placed the stage area on the far right of the event hall, the major sponsors and exhibitors were placed in the middle with enough walking space to walk in between them, and the comics and independent titles on the far left of the event space.  I love the fact that there was so much space. 

There were a lot of booths and merchandise being sold at the events, typical of what you would see in a convention of this size.  There were times from toys, collectibles to anime and fashion merchandise.  However, it became quite clear that there was a severe lack of comics at this convention.  This is sad considering this is a comics convention.  Observers have said that this was more like a toy fair than a comics convention.

Read more about this event at the dot hacker review here.

yamada takayuki


We recently watched Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince on IMAX 3D.  The ticket was PhP400 so it was a bit pricey than your average movie but I think it was definitely worth it.  As early as the start of the movie,  we are thrust into the recent events in the series.  The IMAX 3d rendering was awesome.  I especially enjoyed tha part where you see the Death Eaters swooping around London and the part where the Millenium Bridge strated to break apart.  I thought it was a nice touch to give the audience an idea what has been happening within the series since they last left Harry Potter.

The movie delivers when it comes to special effects.  You'll definitely feel that you have been sucked into the wizarding world and is one of the charactes in the story.  The IMAX theater enhances the experience with full surround sound so you can almost feel like you are actually inside the movie.  The visuals were seamless and was timed well to get the most desired effect.

Those familiar with the book will know that a host of new characters have made it into the movie, including the new Potions professor, Horace Slughorn played by Jim Broadbent and the mother Draco, Narcissa Malfoy, played by Helen McCrory.   Even before seeing the movie, I had imagined Slughorn to look and act as he does in the movie so I think it was a good casting.  The rest of the cast was splendid as well.  I personally enjoyed Bellatrix LeStrange and Lavender Brown in this movie.  Helena Bonham-Carter returns to play Bella.  As usual, she does a stunning job playing the sick psycho-demented character that Bella is.  She's definitely one of those characters you'd love or love to hate.  I enjoyed Lavender Brown here because her character has never really been introduced in the movies.  She was really funny and the way the character was portrayed she was really somewaht like a blonde ditz with an unhealthy obsession for Ron Weasely.  The comedy between the two characters was done well.

The movie itself is not very heavy and more action oriented this time around.  With such a dark theme, I guess they cautioned against putting in too many details into the movie, considering as well that this is probably one of the most detailed books of the series.  Though personally, if I wasn't reading the book and based my experience with Harry Potter solely on the movies, I will admittedly get lost.    I think the plot for the movie has a tad too many loose ends.  I personally felt sad that the last scenes in the movie felt a bit rushed and did not allow the audience to really experience what was happening in the final parts of the movie.  Also, I think the movie also did not delve much in explaining who or what the "Half-Blood Prince" was which was essentially what the movie was all about. 

However, despite that, I think that movie was good and it made me laugh and enjoy throughout the movie and I think the part where they raised their wands in honor of Dumbledore was definitely a nice touch.  I am definitely looking forward to next year's installment of the series.

I give this movie is 3.5 out of 5. 
 

yamada takayuki
~Originally posted on the dot hacker review~


Okay, okay, this is late.  I got busy and a tad bit lazy.  As you may already know, we recently went to Singapore to attend and have Ice compete in Cosfest VIII A Very Happy Event.  The event was held last July 11-12, 2009 at the Downtown East center in Pasir Ris.   Entrance to the event was completely free so anyone can come and join the festivities.  We were lucky because Sese's sister came with us so we wouldn't get lost.  We were however still late on the first day.  No biggie though as we really just wanted to see the layout of the event space and see some cosplayers.

Even before we reached the event area, we were already starting to see cosplayers outside.   There were so many cosplayers and they were all just posing for pictures.  I noticed that most cosplayers found a certain spot where they could showcase their costumes and pose for pictures and for the most part did not move from their spot and waited for the photographers to come to them.

The nice thing about the community there is that they know how to practice etiquette.  When cosplayers are busy fixing their costume, eating or on the phone, photographers don't bother them.  In fact, some photographers will sit and wait till you are ready and they won't even take pictures right away.  They will ask first.  Even Ice noticed that there were some photographers that would be hesitant to ask you for pictures.  They would even wait for somebody else to ask so that they can join in taking photos.


Cosfest Event Area - D'Marquee tent

 
A huge tent called the D'Marquee is setup in the middle of Downtown East.  They usually hold events there  including Cosfest.  At first, I kind of worried that it would be a small space, but after entering the tent, I was surprised at how huge the tent area was.  What I appreciate the most is the space.  It was so spacious I could practically run around the area.  People did not have to force theirselves into the event area nor did they have to suffer not being able to move. 

The booths inside the event were all anime/manga/cosplay related.  They even had a booth of a company that sells wooden swords and other bladed weapon replicas.  Here we have a penchant of having companies setup booths in an event even if it's totally unrelated to the theme of the convention.  And we allow it as long as we can get their sponsorships.  It's sad but true.



Cosfest List of Sponsors
 

Cosfest received a lot of support from various Japanese organizations including the Japanese Embassy.  You'll notice that the two major airlines, JAL and ANA are some of their major sponsors.  The Japan Creative Centre and the Japan National Tourism Organization are also sponsors of the event.  I think the organizers had an effective marketing strategy for this event because it really looked like they made sure that they have lots of support from the Japanese government and Japanese organizations.  They also had a lot of sponsors for the event.  This probably would explain how the event was able to give away 42" LCD TVs and Return Trip Tickets to Japan.  I can only dream that our events were able to give away those kinds of prices.

We weren't able to view the program on the second day as we were busy taking pictures of the cosplayers and the event space.  I really liked that they had this huge stage in front where the contests and the cosplay performances were held.  Some of the performances on the first day was from the game and anime The Idolmaster, and a dance performance of Gackt's song.  The stage is big enough for concerts and from what I understand they held a Side A concert there, hehe.



Idolmaster Performance at Cosfest 2009 Day 2


Interesting to note here is that they barely had any marshals at the event.  There were only people at the stage area to ensure that they are able to track the people coming in and out of the backstage and ensure a smooth flow of their scheduled programming.   The event was so spacious and the booths were clearly visible that marshals on the general floor area was not necessary.

The second day of the event was reserved for the cosplay events.  They had three categories, the singles cosplay, the team/group cosplay, and the pairs cosplay for the World Cosplay Summit.  Cosplay competitions in Singapore are completely different than the ones we are used to doing here.  When cosplayers present there, they go all out with the presentation.  They make sure that they leave a lasting impression.  Even individual cosplayers are allowed to have their own skit during the competition.  I especially liked the Hatsune Miku cosplayer.  She did something like a dance interpretation of the song Love is War, and it sent chills up my spine.  It was really like watching a musical theater play.



Hatsune Miku cosplay - Love is War


Some of the best team/group cosplays included the Samurai Warriors cosplay, Paradise Kiss cosplay, XXXHolic cosplay and the Macross Frontier cosplay.  In fact two of those cosplay groups had an onstage costume change that literally made my jaw drop.  Needless to say, it's something I have not seen in cosplay performances here in the country.  The winner of the Best Team Category went to the Samurai Warriors Cosplay done by a team from Jakarta, Indonesia.  I think they really did a good performance.  Their costumes were spot on and the weapons were actually made out of wood so I am impressed by the amount of detail that was put into making those props.

Now, for those of you who don't know Cosfest plays host to the regional qualifier for the World Cosplay Summit (WCS).  The pair that wins the qualifier will then be sent to Japan, all expense paid, to represent Singapore and compete in the World Cosplay Championship.  This years winner was the pair who played Ranka Lee and Sheryl Nome from Macross Frontier.  Their stage performance included an adaptation of the final episodes of the anime.  This also included an onstage costume change for the Sheryl Nome cosplayer.  The high level of quality in their performance coupled with the creativity of the onstage costume change was simply magnificent.  After all that, I couldn't help but be in awe of their ability.  They really deserved to win.



Sheryl Nome & Ranka Lee - Macross Frontier


The experience in Singapore was simply amazing.   The way they do things when it comes to organizing events to how cosplayers and photographers behave is very different to what we are used to here.  The organizers themselves are very professional and it is obvious that they plan these events very carefully and months in advance.  The cosplayers on the other hand are amazing.  They pay attention to a lot of details in their costumes and spend a lot to get them looking exactly like the characters they are portraying.  I think what sets them apart from us is that even if the materials they use are not as good as materials used here, they make up for it with attention to details that we Filipino cosplayers tend to let it slip.  I guess it's the bahala na attitude of ours. 

Cosplayers there make no distinction between registered contestants and those simply roaming the event grounds in their costumes.  In fact there were more cosplayers outside the main event than there were registered cosplayers.  The Singles category only had 13 contestants.  I think it's only here in the country that we actually coined the term costrip (cosplay trip) to refer to cosplayers who don't compete.  I believe there really shouldn't be a distinction at all as cosplayers should be counted as such regardless of whether they compete or not.  The cosplayers were also very courteous and accomodating to spectators, photographers and foreign cosplayers. 

Cosfest really addressed a lot of the issues that most conventions here don't do and continue to take for granted.  I do hope one day that we can reach a point that our events are as well organized and that the community is as gracious as they are abroad.  I guess we still have a long way to go but it's really nice to learn from what other foreign communities are doing well. 

That's it for now.  I leave you with the brain breaking YAOI Dance and some pictures from Cosfest 2009. 



Alex Louis Armstrong - YAOI


 


COSFEST DAY 1


 


COSFEST DAY 2

yamada takayuki
We left early the morning of Friday, July 10. We had a long trip ahead of us as we would be flying from Clark Airfield instead of the traditional Manila International Airport. Tiger Airways is a budget airline and it would be cheaper to fly from Clark. Sese's parents arranged for someone to drive us to Clark. We packed our things and off we went. I was so full of excitement that I could barely take a nap despite my lack of sleep the previous day.

We arrived earlier than we expected so we decided to eat lunch in the mean time. Sese's mom was kind enough to treat us to lunch before she sent us on our way. Cabalen buffet for the win! In fact we were so early that after lunch we still had to wait outside the terminal before they allowed us to check in.

Travel tip: for those flying abroad as a tourist, prepare PhP 1620.00 for your travel tax. Filipinos are required to pay this for all travels outside the country and they do not accept foreign currency so you need to have pesos handy. We also got charged an additional PhP 600.00 for the terminal fee. Customs and Immigration here really make a killing that it's almost unbelievable. After passing through Immigration, all we needed to do now was wait for our flight.

The flight was approximately 4 hours long. Tiger Airways is good but they don't serve meals on the flight as it is a budget airline. Everything there is for sale including additional cups or ice. But the flight was pretty pleasant aside from the slight turbulence here and there due to the seasonal rains. The plane landed at the budget terminal at Changi International Airport. There we were greeted by Ice's uncle. He couldn't stay long but just wanted to say hi to Ice. We then headed off to the hotel which we were later met by Sese's sister who has been working there.
 
The following day, we decided to do some sight seeing and shopping before we headed to Cosfest which was later this afternoon. Going around was extremely fun especially trying out their MRT and Public Buses. Transportation in Singapore is all interconnected with one easy card called the EZ-Link which kind of works like a prepaid card where you can load a certain amount and then you can use it anytime for the trains, buses and even taxis. I understand that you can even use it at McDonald's or 7-Eleven. We got a bit delayed so we arrived at the event at around 4-5 PM. Cosfest was held at Downtown East which is kind of like a commercial center with shops and resorts.

When we finally got there I was somewhat star struck by their cosplayers. Most of the cosplayers were really really good. I have to say that even their Naruto cosplayers look stunning and don't look like they just bought their costume from the nearest hobby shop. Most of the program was over but we decided to look around inside the convention area. We checked out the booths and the stage. The stage itself was huge, nothing I have ever seen in anime conventions that we hold. It's comparable to Level Up Live in size, probably a bit smaller. We obviously won't have any problems with Ice performing on stage.

After taking tons of photos of cosplayers, we decided to head back to our hotel, ready the costume and equipment and do a dry run of her costume and some of her moves. Needless to say, we barely got any sleep. 

The following day, Sunday, was what I called D-Day. This was it. We were finally going to see if our hard work had finally paid off. Mind you, we didn't aim to win. We wanted to compete and wanted to see if people would enjoy the effort that we had put into the costume. We didn't know what to expect in the competition really. And it didn't help either that Ice was the to be the first Singles cosplayer contestant.

Cosfest Graffiti Wall

She was a hit. We encountered many times that random people wanted to take photographs of her. We also spotted what seemed to be a Soul Calibur group who easily spotted her from a distance. All of them wanted a shot with her. They even wanted her to do some moves for them.

She finally performed on stage. It was just a short piece with some moves we had practiced which I think she executed well. What we were not aware of was the fact that individual cosplayers can have a long skit just like group cosplayers. But she was still awesome. It was definitely an experience for both Ice and for us as a group. The cosplayers that came after us were all amazing. In hindisght, I wished we had Ice go around the event area some more but that's an experience we learned that hopefully we can use if and when we come back next year.

Watch out for my review and thoughts about Cosfest in my next blog entry.  In the mean time, here is a short video of Ice as she was practicing some of her moves.



Ice as she was performing on stage.


And here is a bunch of pics of Ice taken by the event participants.  You may click on the images to enlarge.

 
yamada takayuki

We've been planning the trip to Singapore for many months now. I have often told my friend Sese that I wanted to be able to experience a convention outside the country as I have often found conventions and events here to be disappointing. Often our local events focus more on ticket prices and sponsorships than actually creating an event that would really cater to their audience.

We finally decided to attend Cosfest VIII (2009). Cosfest is Singapore's largest cosplay event held every year in July. It also hosts the Regional Qualifiers for the World Cosplay Summit held in Nagoya, Japan.  There have been attempts to hold regional qualifiers for the Philippines, but as we have not been recognized as a participating country, we can't really send our own delegation.

The original plan was really just to attend the event. But we thought, why not have someone from our group join the cosplay competition and see what it is like to compete in a foreign country.  Now our group has cosplayed here and there but none have really joined a competition so we weren't really sure who was up for it.  After some thought, we decided that our very own Ice Artificio would be perfect. 

Now that we knew who would be going, we had to decide what character to portray.  We couldn't choose just any character.  We needed a character that would represent the group and something that will make people say "WOW" if we did it.  After much debate, we chose Talim from Soul Calibur IV.  We thought what perfect way to represent the Philippines is with a Filipino character. 

Now, Ice is relatively new to the cosplay scene.  She has been in a number of private photoshoots and she has been a maid for Victorian Valentine 2008 and 2009 but this would be her first time to join a cosplay competition.  We were afraid that she may not be ready for this endeavor but she herself assured us that this was something she wanted to do and was willing to go through this challenge. 

The next step was to have the costume and the props for Talim done.  Talim from Soul Calibur IV is not one of the easiest costumes to do.  If you haven't noticed, Talim has a lot of skin on her costume.  In fact the lower half of her costume is almost just skin.  We also had to contend with the amount of detail that had to go into her costume.  We wanted to get as close as we could to the details while staying in budget.  For the costume, our seamstress in Marikina, Madam Belen took on the daunting challenge of working on the costume and the details.  We had an especially hard time on the pants, as a lot of threadwork was needed and on a material that's not really that thread-friendly. 

For the rest of the costume, we had our team of creative design experts Ings, Vica, Tere to work on the weapons and the other accessories for the costume.  Ings Isungga & Vica worked with the weapons using rubber foam and PVC while Tere worked on the sandals.  Those sandals were epic, I have to say.  They also worked on her buckle and her necklace as well.

In the mean time, Ice was practicing for her routine that she would do on stage at Cosfest.  Ings provided her a some sample tonfas to work with while they were finishing up with the props so that she could get used to them.  Ice is also taking up Capoeira so we thought she could incorporate the moves she knew from Capoeira with the ones that Talim does ingame. 

With the costume and props on the way, all we needed to do was book our tickets to Singapore and our stay there.  We booked tickets through Tiger Airways and by some really good luck, we were able to book ourselves at a good hotel.  


Continued in Part 2...
14th-Jul-2009 01:25 pm - Home from Singapore
yamada takayuki
I am now home from Singapore. Our flight arrived in the afternoon yesterday. It was still raining too when we arrived. To be completely honest I am still in a daze and feeling a sense of disbelief that we were there. That we experienced Singapore and experienced what a convention is in another country.

Right now I am just fixing up my photo albums and uploading them online so that everyone gets to see it. The experiment is done and complete and I now know a little bit more about Singapore's culture and more about how conventions are done.

So for the next few days I will just be at home gathering my thoughts and thinking of what to write about the whole experience. Rest is definitely needed. I will definitely start my review of Cosfest as soon as I get my bearings back.

For now signing off.
yamada takayuki
~Originally posted on the dot hacker review~


 

It's a bit late but I needed to post this up.  I finally got to watch Transformers last Saturday.  I watched it at Gateway with a friend of mine.  I was trying to get some IMAX tickets but unfortunately it has been completely sold out.  Expected as much, considering all the hype for the movie.  Even the cinema house in Gateway was full of people.  I was checking the timeslots for Transformers when I realized all of the cinemas were just showing Transformers that day.  I was standing in line for about an hour before I actually got to buy some tickets.  In hindsight, I should have really reserved tickets before I got to Gateway.

I have been waiting for this sequel since the first movie came out.  When the first Transformers movie came out, I didn't really have high expectations, I just wanted to see it to relive my childhood.  But after the success of the first movie, I got really excited to see the sequel. 

The movie starts off with a brief history of the Transformers and the villain of this movie, known as The Fallen.  We are then catapulted to present day where we are introduced to what has happened in the 2 year gap between the first movie and the sequel.   We are immediately introduced to the new members of the Autobot team, including Arcee, the twins - Mudflap and Skids, and Sideswipe.  Sideswipe is my favorite in this one.  With Jazz being killed in the first movie, a replacement was needed and Sideswipe filled in the role quite well.  And even though he only spoke a few lines, he was really awesome.  I have to say though,  Bumblebee is as adorable as ever and seems to have taken a big brother role when the twins are around.

The movie also introduces a bunch of new Decepticons including Soundwave and the Constructicons.  There are so many of them this time, that it is slightly overwhelming and the odds seem to have tipped over in their favor and if you've seen the trailers

The movie delivers on 2 things.  Comedic timing and action packed adventure.  There is never  dull moment in the movie.  When the movie is not in full force action, your laughing your head off at the antics of the characters.  The movie brings back Shia LeBouf as Sam Witwicky as he goes back to his "normal" life after the events of the first film.  Though you can't help but start laughing at him and his family.  What I enjoy about this movie that it's not only about the robots (though that's good enough reason) but it adds a human element to it and gives a perspective of how life is living with a Transformer.  I know I would want to.

The movie's plot is a bit lighter this time around but I believe this was intentional.  With the action, adventure and globe-trotting they really couldn't make it too heavy.  And what it lacks in its plot more than makes up for its visually stunning scenes and the almost non-stop action.  If anything, you'll watch this movie for the action and seeing your favorite Transformers on the big screen.  Or, perhaps, to watch it so you can see Megan Fox running in her high heels.  lol.

Kidding aside, the movie also delivers a war time feel to it, especially in the scene in the desert.  The protrayal of hopelessness facing almost insurmountable odds and the struggle the characters go through to finally win the battle.  And though I found it a tad bit cliche, the top down slow motion shot of a medic helicopter flying on top of the desert camp was a nice touch to that portion of the film.

It's funny, despite the negative reviews of critics, the movie is already one of the top grossing films of the year second only Angels & Demons and it's only been running for a week.  If you haven't watched Transformers yet, then it's time to get off your seat and go buy a ticket.  Director Michael Bay definitely delivers in this movie, which arguably is as good or even better than the first.

That's it for now guys.  ^_^
yamada takayuki
~Originally posted on the dot hacker review~


The 8th Philippine Toys, Hobbies and Collectibles Convention (TOYCON) was held at Megamall Megatrade Hall 2 & 3 last June 13 and 14, 2009.  There has been a lot of buzz for this convention even back in early May.  I personally was looking forward to the event because of the exhibits and the collectibles that would be available for me to see. 

As early as 10 AM, Saturday, a line was already amassing in front of Megatrade.  In fact, the line got so long that it reached the bridge area and then back to the other side of the atrium.  With the recent marketing strategy of Toycon and the infamous irenecullen multiply blog (which by the way I still suspect is connected with an organizer of Toycon), it wasn't much of a surprise at the amount of attendees.  The cosplayers haven't even arrived yet and the crowd was swelling.  Entrance to the event was PhP 100.00 per day.  I did hear that they sold out on the tickets that they had to sell day 2 tickets for day 1.  Though one way the could have avoided this is by preselling the tickets, which I understand was not done (correct me if I'm wrong).


    
Waiting in line to get tickets


Once we were ushered in, you would automatically notice the cosplay registration area on the immediate left side of the entrance.  In front of the entrance was a setup of Globe and what looked like War Rock (didn't pay much attention to it to be honest).  On the other side was Hero Channel, Maxi Collector booth and the e-Games booth.   The vendors were on the left side (the Megatrade Hall 2 area) while the main stage area was on the right side.  The nice thing about this setup is that you keep the buyers and vendors separate from the cosplayers and the spectators.   But you know, they could have given us a map.  I didn't even see one at the entrance. 

Sadly, I feel like the layout of the whole convention could be improved and overhauled.  In my past reviews, I have always stressed the need for space.  With the ever increasing population of congoers it becomes a necessity that the organizers to setup a layout to manage crowds and keep the steady movement of people.  I hate the fact that people are forced to move and push through tight spaces just because they wanted to put in another booth to maximize their income.  You create a conflict of interest between people stopping in front of booths and people wanting to move through the aisles.   What's worse is that the main alley in the event have booths (gaming booths, Alodia's booth) which we know for a fact draws a huge crowd.  This causes problems with keeping the flow of traffic smooth.  And where were the marshalls you ask?  Well if they were not manning the entrance and exits, they were near the stage.  I didn't see any marshall helping in keeping the smooth flow of people.  Something the organizers should probably think about.


    
Crowd Shot inside of Megatrade Hall

    
Some of the booths at the front near the entrance and exits


This year featured a lot more vendors and exhibitors.  Transformers seemed to be a hot item this year, along with G.I. Joe.  If I had the cash I would splurge already, but that would have screwed up my budget.  There was also a lot of anime merchandise from stuffed toys and plushies to figures.  There were items that was purely for exhibit purposes as well.  Not everything on display is for sale and some are just really to show off some of the more popular (or even relatively unknown) collections. 

The highlight for me was the function room that was rented out as a toy exhibit.  In the center of the room was a war time diorama (perhaps depicting Iraq).   It was a different diorama for each day of Toycon, which is pretty impressive if you think about it.  A lot of effort was placed into recreating those scenes and to do it in just a few hours is amazing for me.   There were also other displays including a full size Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and Thor the Thunder God.  There was even a display of vintage old G.I. Joe's that somehow just made me geek over it.  Conventions should really have more of this type of exhibits instead of heavily relying on merchandise for sale.


    
Collections in the toy exhibit

 

Some of the other activities during the event included an auction of toys and other collectibles.  Some of the items up for grabs were a Transformer Grimlock die cast model and YuYu Hakusho (Ghostfighter) figures.  There was a photo contest as well but you wouldn't know it because the photographs were put in the corner of the trade hall.  In fact there were other contests that I did not know happened because of the complete lack of coverage.
 


Grimlock and Yuyu being auctioned with other collectibles

 

The main event of the whole convention was the cosplay.  Cosplay has become a staple for Toycon and is one of the most awaited events of the year.  Day 1 featured Individual Cosplayers.  I did get a lot of shots from random cosplayers ^_^;;.  The whole 5th floor of Megatrade was completely packed with cosplayers, spectators and friends.  Actually when the crowd swelled inside, my friends and I decided to stay outside and catch pictures of cosplayers.  Some of the best I've seen were Chii from Chobits, Cinderella (which was pretty amazing imho), Bumblebee from Transformers movie, and Cobra Commander from G.I. Joe.
 

    
Cinderella and Cobra Commander


In the recent years, I have noticed that the focus of Toycon has increasingly been moving away from toys and focusing more and more cosplay.  People who know me, know that I have nothing against cosplay.  I myself have cosplayed before (though not necessarily on ramp).  But when the convention has become all about cosplay and has completely forgotten what the convention is about then that's where I draw the line.   "It was more a media event rather than a showcase for toys this year," says Project Otaking and I agree.  If you check the website of Toycon, the activities listed included diorama contests, customized figure contests, photography contests, scale models contests and die cast car model contests.  These contests were either out of site or were in a small corner while the Cosplay Contests took center stage.   There was so much focus on cosplay and not enough on the toys and collectibles that it was really disappointing.  I guess when you are trying to maximize profits, you'll put what sells right up there and push everything else into the background.
 

    
Some of the entries for the photography contests
 

I will say one thing though, Toycon knows how to draw crowds.  They know that cosplay events will bring people and some of them are actually interesting.  It's not often you see a Japanese/Cosplay themed fashion show contest in a convention.  Or even a cosplay contest that focuses on Gamer Girls and Booth Babes... right.  What's next? A wet t-shirt contest?  I wouldn't be surprised either.  I don't know about you, but I came to Toycon to see the convention, the toys and collectibles, and perhaps see some brilliant cosplayers.  I don't understand really how a convention about toys become a convention for cosplay.  My friend even said she was pretty disappointed and felt there was nothing much to offer but cosplay.  Have conventions come to a point where there is a mandatory cosplay event for it to actually be successful?  For once I would like to see an event come up with something new that did not result in another cosplay event. 

I guess what I am trying to say is that I am tired of seeing the same old thing where a convention has to rely on the cosplay to draw the crowd and not offering much of anything else.  And I believe cosplayers will come anyway, considering there are a lot of cosplayers that don't even compete but go to events to be seen.  Maybe we really should have more toy related activities for Toycon and a little less focus on cosplay.

 

   
Individual and Group Cosplayers

But despite my objections, Toycon was still a success and is in fact one of the better organized conventions out there.  Toycon does offer a bit of something for everyone.  I even hear that they plan to rent out all three Megatrade halls next year and that's definitely a welcome news.

I guess that's it for now.  Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments.  I'll leave with more pictures of the convention.
 

 




More pictures are available on my Multiply photo album.



yamada takayuki
~Originally posted on the dot hacker review~

Gundam RX-78-2 in Odaiba, TokyoA full scale 1:1 replica of Amuro Ray's RX-78-2 Gundam was recently completed in Odaiba, Tokyo as seen in the picture on the right. The replica was completed just this June 09.

I have been watching the progress of this replica since I first read about it from dannychoo.com. And just like an avid otaku, I waited and waited till someone would start posting pictures of the completed model. It stands at about 18 meters tall. The base of the model is anchored by to steel pipes inside the legs and feet of the Gundam.

By just looking at the picture on your right, you can see how it towers over trees and really looks lifelike. In fact the amount of detail that came into the construction is amazing even to the tiniest of decals. What surprises me is that the project only began about a month or so ago and progress was made so quickly. Even night pictures of the Gundam shows the work and effort that has been put into making a realistic design.

When news first hit the blogosphere about the full size Gundam, people were all jittery. This came after a fully functional giant beetle robot and giant spider robot were introduced in Japan just a few months ago. There was immediately talk of giant combining robots and Gundams would surface next. Low and behold, a Gundam was suddenly a realization. Some were even saying that they are ready to sign up in the Japanese Defense Force.

A lot of speculation has really surfaced when the Gundam model was completed. There was talk that the construction process were all a facade and that the Gundam was real, that it would actually activate when people were not looking. Some even said that this was Japan's answer to North Korea's threat of nuclear war. Whether any of the speculations are true, one thing is for sure, this replica will be flocked by fans and non-fans alike.

The actual date when the model becomes open to the public is still in July but I can already foresee huge numbers swarming the model to get as close to it as possible. For now, we can be content with the amount of pictures bloggers took of the scale model.

More pictures are available at punyari.wordpress.com and at dannychoo.com.

That's it for now. Check out the pictures and you be the judge.
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