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Event Report: Cosplay Mania 2022

After a hiatus of almost two years due to the pandemic, one of the Philippines’ largest anime conventions returned bigger than ever! The much-awaited 2022 iteration of Cosplay Mania (or “Cosmania” for short) opened its doors to the adoring public last October 1 and 2, 2022 at the SMX Convention Center in Metro Manila.

A crowd at Cosplay Mania 2022

As the convention’s name implies, cosplay is a staple at this event. Cosplayers strutted their stuff on-stage and dazzled the crowd with not only their well-made costumes, but also their performances. 

A winner being announced at Cosplay Mania 2022

But cosplay isn’t Cosplay Mania’s only highlight. It’s also known for its lineup of local and international guests, and this year was no different: a plethora of personalities guested at the event. With Cosplay Mania bringing out the big guns, there was something for everyone.

Special guests ranged from popular cosplayers, to voice actors, to Hololive VTubers, as these virtual celebrities are currently the rage among the otaku community. Fans had the chance to virtually meet their idols: undead VTuber Kureiji Ollie and squirrel-girl Ayunda Risu, both of whom also gladly answered questions from their fans. 

A poster announcing VTubers Kureiji Ollie and Ayunda Risu as guests at Cosplay Mania 2022

Of course, since cosplay has always been at the forefront of Cosplay Mania, this year’s lineup of cosplay guests was also impressive. Among some of the names on the guest list were Hiroto Kuramasu from Japan, Onnies and Thames Malerose from Thailand, and Yosuke Sora from Singapore.

Guest cosplayers at Cosplay Mania 2022

Congoers also showcased a variety of cosplays of characters from popular manga, anime, and games. Some even cosplayed their favorite VTubers!

While just strolling around the convention in costume was of course fine too, interested cosplayers could also take things to the next level by competing in the Cosplay Mania Cup 2022. This on-stage contest is an annual challenge for cosplayers to wow the audience with their dedicated craftsmanship and performance skills. 

Competitors are required to not only dress the part, but also to put on a captivating show — and put on a show, they did, as they captured the audience’s attention with entertaining performances that momentarily suspended the audience’s disbelief. Check out their performances here.

But it wasn’t just cosplayers, photographers, and cosplay fans who got their money’s worth at Cosplay Mania. Music enthusiasts also got their fix with the highly anticipated JAM (Japanese Anime Music) concert, which featured energetic live performances from MindaRyn and — in continuation with the Hololive love that this year’s CosMania treated fans to — two songstresses from Hololive Indonesia: Pavlova Reine and Moona Hoshinova.

The JAM concert lineup at Cosplay Mania 2022

Additionally, DJ DASU also provided wicked remixes of crowd favorites.

DJ Dasu playing anisong remixes

Then, for fans of both music and cosplay, cosplayers got to show off both their stunning costumes and their vocal range at the Cosplay Karaoke Cup. It was a showcase of the best of the best in both cosplay and vocals, as contestants brought their A-game in both regards, belting out familiar tunes while in costume.

A cosplayer competing in the Cosplay Karaoke Cup

Who reigned as champion in this battleground of music? Find out for yourself here:

Next, one of Cosplay Mania’s main draws this year was voice-actor guest Nozomu Sasaki. His presence brought back nostalgic childhood memories for many Filipino fans who grew up in the ‘90s watching Ghost Fighter (the localized title of Yu Yu Hakusho in the Philippines) on mainstream television. Sasaki-san voiced Yusuke Urameshi, also known as Eugene in the Tagalog dub. 

Having a well-respected seiyuu who voiced a beloved character that left such a deep impression on Filipino pop culture as a guest was a pleasant surprise for Cosplay Mania attendees. In fact, a group of Yu Yu Hakusho cosplayers attended Sasaki-san’s stage event, and he graciously acknowledged them and thanked them for their passion in Tagalog: “Salamat.” 

Veteran seiyuu Nozomu Sasaki speaking virtually to fans at his Cosplay Mania 2022 panel

Sasaki-san started his session expressing his desire to visit the Philippines in person in the future. During the question-and-answer segment, he recounted that his two-year stint voicing Yusuke was a meaningful and worthwhile learning experience. He mentioned that it provided him plenty of opportunities to develop his skills as the character of Yusuke developed throughout the show, which ultimately helped him grow as a seiyuu.

Interestingly, Sasaki-san shared that became a seiyuu by accident. Unlike many who intentionally trained for a career in voice acting, becoming a seiyuu was nowhere in Sasaki-san’s life plans. Rather, he was just hanging out with aspiring seiyuu friends who convinced him to try auditioning. Though he’d barely watched anime and only auditioned on a whim, unprepared, he somehow landed a role, and the rest is history.

When asked to choose which character Sasaki-san had the most fun voicing among his long repertoire of roles, he diplomatically answered that he didn’t really have a favorite. He liked all of his roles because they all provided unique experiences. 

Nozomu Sasaki's panel at Cosplay Mania 2022

Then, asked about challenges he’d faced throughout his career, Sasaki-san shared that as a voice actor, one is expected to take proper care of their voice — and the rest of their body, too — to be able to continue working in such an industry. Another challenge was that since Sasaki-san became a voice actor through a spontaneous audition, he had to learn through trial and error and undergo a lot of practice to voice his characters. For example, when he voiced the calmly sociopathic Johan from Monster, he had to carefully study the character to be able to match the personality with the voice. 

Sasaki-san left some food for thought for aspiring seiyuu, advising them that if they wanted to become voice actors, they should not limit themselves to just watching anime in order to broaden their range. Anime watching is good, but if seiyuu hopefuls do not expose themselves to a diverse range of media, their opportunities would be limited to anime. Sasaki-san thinks that seiyuu should be versatile and expand their horizons.

Next up was the audience Q&A session. One of the most fascinating bits of trivia that Sasaki-san shared in response was that it was thanks to his seiyuu job that he learned to love anime. He actually didn’t watch a lot of anime before becoming a voice actor, as he was always more of a film buff. 

A fan asking Nozomu Sasaki a question at his panel

Regarding the differences between voice versus live-action acting, Sasaki-san answered that when voice-acting for an anime, seiyuu cannot move too much because the microphone might pick up the noise caused by the movement. They do, however, get to physically act out their roles a bit by moving their heads as they speak. 

Sasaki-san also fondly recounted his experience as a student of the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Law. He balanced law school and seiyuu work at the same time, and he expressed that his studies also had an influence on his voice-acting work.

He pointed out that law is a different kind of performance that heavily relies on logic, giving him the opportunity to exercise his intellect. Though law school was tough, it was clearly a memorable chapter of Sasaki-san’s life. He mentioned that he met a lot of people that he would never have met if he limited himself to being a voice actor.

In response to a question on how the seiyuu industry has changed, Sasaki-san recalled that when he entered the industry, he realized that it was more than just about voicing anime characters. When he and other seiyuu from his generation were just starting out, a seiyuu’s job was simply voicing a character.

Now, though, seiyuu are expected to do more than just that. They make appearances in live-action TV shows and films, they are expected to take part in live stage events, and they even sing. Simply put, seiyuu now have a lot more on their plate compared to before. 

Sasaki-san added that seiyuu work is not something that you separate from your personal life. He personally finds it hard to separate both, because every time he plays a character, he finds it inevitable to incorporate bits of the character into his daily life. He also mentioned that he regularly draws inspiration from real people for his roles. 

Finally, asked if Sasaki-san had ever played a character with a personality similar to his own, he answered that instead of just one character, he finds small similarities with all of the characters that he’s played. 

With Yusuke, for example, he thinks that they’re both straightforward. Then, he and Tetsuo from Akira both have childhood insecurities, And finally, he and Johan have the same knack for reading and analyzing people. No matter what kind of character he voices, Sasaki-san  always takes care to find something that bridges himself with the character.

This stage event proved to be very enlightening not only for Sasaki-san’s fans, but also for those who wanted to get glimpses into the life of a seiyuu and the voice-acting industry. 

In addition to the panel, fans got to further interact with Sasaki-san via a virtual meet-and-greet. Each participating fan had the opportunity to talk to the veteran voice actor one-on-one, then receive a signed poster at the Manga Planet/futekiya booth.

Overall, Cosplay Mania 2022 was an enjoyable romp that marked the triumphant return of the face-to-face convention in Manila, and we at Manga Planet and futekiya were honored to have participated in it. We’re looking forward to greater things from Cosplay Mania as they continue to provide Filipino otakus with a world-class convention worth looking forward to every year.

Until then, you can look back on Cosplay Mania 2022 with this compilation of event highlights:




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