Piercing circle-lensed eyes, blood-red armor with deadly-looking spikes and an enormous blade weapon that glows crimson at the tip, all of it held together by an unwavering commitment to wear the heavy (or cumbersome or fragile or skin-tight, or everything combined) costume and then to strike a killer pose when cameras are within clicking distance—that’s the stuff incredible cosplayers are made of.
Kicking off this 2018 AsiaPOP Comicon (APCC) cosplay tribute with a kilometric description is equivalent to all the jaw-dropping moments this year’s costumed geniuses have created. They’ve leveled up their game, and it simply won’t do to skimp on the adjectives for that feat.
The impressive warrior described above, Jersen Magallanes in Rank 9 Set armor from the fantasy-adventure MMORPG franchise Perfect World, took home first runner-up honors at The CAGE (Cosplay Authority Global Challenge) competition during the recent APCC, or that mecca of geekmania annually staged at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
In this edition, video game characters handily upstaged their mainstream counterparts, such as those from movie blockbusters, cable TV and streaming, animé, manga, even the Marvel and DC powerhouses.
In fact, another The CAGE Top 3 contender, Maria Paula Castro in an Excalibur-toting Saber/Artoria Pendragon (the Japanese name also roughly translated as Arthuria or Altria) who made a mighty royal statement in a blue, white and silver combat uniform, had visual novel origins (“Fate/Stay Night”) but later on conquered the video game platform (Fate/Grand Order), too.
The cyborg ninja Genji and six heroines from Overwatch wore A-grade suits with authentic-looking weaponry. (Big shoutout to Widowmaker for matching a very violet dominatrix look with fierce attitude.)
Aussie cosplayer-influencer Vera Chimera joined the RPG pack disguised as Diablo 3’s Demon Hunter, as did a few swoon-worthy hunks from early Final Fantasy editions, the latter a throwback to the popular sci-fi video game franchise.
‘Komiks’ from Mars
Another exciting development for cosplay could be found in the booth that ABS-CBN had specially designed for Mars Ravelo’s komiks characters. The broadcast-multimedia network had acquired licensing rights to Ravelo’s creations, which would allow the company to make the movies as well as develop promotional content and merchandise.
At APCC, Captain Barbell, Darna and Lastikman did not just appear on useful collectibles (check out Super’s merchandise guide), cosplayers have also brought them to life.
Their costumes fit like a glove, with every single detail in their proper place. All three cosplayers (also the team that worked on the costumes and makeup) were faithful to the source material—as they very well should given the scarce representation of original Pinoy komiks iconography, and if they were to introduce the Mars Ravelo brand to a new generation of fans.
What doesn’t seem to be a rarity, however, is the number of family cosplayers that noticeably multiplied this time around.
Among them were Adam and JC Celones with their kids, 2-year-old George and 11-month-old Luke, dressed up as Dragonball characters. You wouldn’t know they were cosplay and Comicon newbies judging by the quality of their Saiyaman, Saiyaman 2 and, for the tots, identical Goten outfits.
The costumes and the APCC trip for the entire family were JC’s birthday gifts to her husband, who had just turned 30. “He (Adam) doesn’t know, but there will be a party as well after we leave Comicon,” JC whispered during our quick chat.
“It’s always been his childhood dream to dress up as Saiyaman because it’s his favorite character from ‘Dragonball Z,’” she explained. “I wanted to fulfill one of his dreams… this was one thing I could do.”
The entire process (as well as keeping the preparations a secret) took a month, the latter three weeks taken up by Doki’s Costume, which sourced all materials and created the outfits and accessories.
Good thing JC discovered the costume maker, whose work transformed the Celoneses into a legit, not to mention adorable, Dragonball fam.