Cosplay Matsuri 2022: A Stagnant System for a Growing Community

Cosplay Matsuri 2022: A Stagnant System for a Growing Community

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The holiday season is something that most people look forward to, whether that would be spending time with family, taking care of yourself, or getting your 'pamasko' from your extended family members.

It also gives you time to go and do things you love outside of school and work, have a great time exploring new things, and attend big events during the break.

One of these big events was Cosplay Matsuri 2022 held last December 28 - 30, 2022 at the SMX Convention Center in Manila, where cosplayers and passionate fans of Japanese culture shared their love for their favorite series through this event.

Image of Cosplay Matsuri 2022 Main Stage Area on Day 3.

Dubbed as 'The Matsuwaited Year End Celebration' of, this event has been as close to the pre-pandemic convention experience as we can get, due to both capacity restrictions placed by the Pasay City LGU, and the same venue size being used, despite the community growing significantly over the course of two years.

The convention halls were filled with cosplayers showing off their favorite characters, and exhibitors selling merchandise of current popular games and series, such as Genshin Impact, Chainsaw Man, Spy x Family, Nijisanji and Hololive VTubers, and many others.

A Booth at the Artist Fanfair Selling VTuber Merchandise.

This event was undoubtedly one of the biggest Cosplay Matsuris to date, due to how big the audience for conventions has grown, as the demand for the event caused online tickets for all three days to sell out in less than 24 hours.

Emcees of Cosplay Mania 2022 Formally Closing the Event on Day 3.

If you weren't able to secure a ticket online, the infamous 'line-con' awaited you at the SM MOA Arena where you had to line up as early as 7am to get a chance to secure a ticket, according to fellow con-goers.

From personal experience, seeing how many people were left after the ticket cut-off made us realize that the employees have yet to inform the queue around the back of the line that they won’t be able to secure a ticket.

Ticket Line for Day 1 Cosplay Masturi 2022 taken at 8:00am.

Some fans expressed their dissatisfaction online, due to the lack of updates from the Cosplay Mania page, as well as the ticket booths allotted for the event being slashed in half at the very last minute.

If waiting a little over 3 hours to only line up to purchase a ticket for the event wasn't already exhausting, you have to walk and line up again at SMX to be able to freely enter and exit the venue.

The upgrade to Tyvek wristbands during Cosplay Mania last October had attendees assured that their re-entry would be much more convenient in the future, as they can claim these early on and enter the venue much easier. In a surprising move, they reverted to a stamp-based entry system, which makes their method of verification easier to be washed off and difficult to spot who does and who doesn't have one.

CosMatsuri Charms Wall filled with Messages from Attendees.

Of course, we won't forget about the typical con experience, roaming around and spending money and supporting your local artists, and buying official Japanese merch from some booths. Several programs were also held at the main stage for the duration of the day, such as an AniSong contest, a Cosplay Auction, interviews of popular cosplayers such as Rithe, and many others.

Once inside the venue, you could really feel the volume of the crowd at peak times (around 2 - 5pm) which made it difficult to navigate around the halls filled with fellow attendees.

It doesn’t mean that it’s all smooth sailing, however, as reports of theft have been made inside the venue and cosplayers being robbed of their wallets or phones.

These types of incidents are not specifically exclusive to conventions in the Philippines, as the recently concluded Comic Fiesta 2022 (CF22) in Malaysia had similar issues with their queueing system, third-party ticket scams, and many others.

Though in the future, we hope that will continue to improve and cater to more Japanese pop culture fans in the Philippines because at this point, they have to make their events better in order to not turn off both old and new attendees due to the current experiences and management for the events held last year.

Overview of the SMX Convention Center during the event.

Conventions should always be a fun and relaxing experience for everyone, and not require people to line up for more than 3-4 hours just to get in the event. When this specific period of limited capacity events will end, making sure that the space will be a safe and convenient place for everyone is critical to create an inclusive community for all con-goers.

Photo Credits: Ralph Andrei Nuñez

Written by: Ralph Andrei Nuñez