Anime and Events in the 2020s

  • Opinion
New Year's Fireworks at Eastwood City, 2020.
New Year’s Fireworks at Eastwood City, 2020.

Let me put this side story first before we proceed: I got invited by Red Mendoza of Anime Pilipinas for an ambush interview at Cosplay Matsuri 2019. The topic of the interview was about the next decade, the 2020s.

After an exchange of ideas, he got me a pass to enter the PHRadio group online. There I got hold of the information that the esteemed 105.1 Crossover is no more. They’ve transitioned to an online application, while the new kid on the frequency is already up and running.

It was the station that kept me sane over office work (just like how 96.3 WRock Cebu kept me comfy and well while I transition this site to 2.0, but I guess it was too late to even bid farewell.

I remember being into the PayMaya office for a Podcast Network Asia meetup, and one of their guests, veteran DJ Tony Toni, spat truth bombs that only us titos and titas who have listened to the radio in most occasions can relate to.

In the past decade, we saw the introduction of news-talk radio on the FM band, thanks to Radyo5 followed by all of the country’s existing News Radios, News FMs, Newsics, Muews, whatever they call themselves.

Y’know, of all the major broadcast players, only the 5 Network had the balls to do that – and our generation loves that.

Our community saw a lot of things in the past decade as well:

  1. The gaming community having a fair share of major esports and gaming events like the Manila Major, Conquerors Manila, ESGS, REV Major and the like.
  2. The rise of cosplaying in the country (which to me is best exemplified by the appearance of then Nosebleed Cosplayers Guild and other cosplayers at the Mall of Asia when GoKaisho got canceled).
  3. Speaking of cosplay, we saw a slowly rising trend of cosplayers selling their own printed merchandise, which is pretty evident during the Cosplay Week (Ozine Fest winter Festival and Cosplay Matsuri 2019).
  4. The increased distribution of anime movies and even delayed live (concert) viewings which gave way for distributors like Singapore’s ODEX and our Pioneer Films to get a slice of the anime fan market.
  5. The rise and perhaps gradual fall of anime as part of the terrestrial television broadcast mix.
  6. Perhaps I can also include the continuous evolution of experiential marketing and events, like how TOYCON is co-branded with PopLife FanXperience (of which I am part of the staff since they moved to SMX Manila).

Back to the conversation I had with Red, I decided to lay out what I discussed with him – my outlook for the anime/cosplay/gaming community in this next decade – on this piece:

Insight: Legal Anime Streaming on YouTube for Southeast Asian anime fans

In 2019, we have seen the rise of content distributors such as Singapore’s Muse Asia and Hong Kong’s MediaLink Ani-One sharing anime on YouTube for Southeast Asian anime fans to digest to.

Prior to this, there’s already the Aniplus on Demand VOD service which complements the anime channel’s content delivery to platforms such as iflix and HOOQ.

All of a sudden, I can now watch my anime on YouTube. I think this is a move that progressive Japanese media companies are pushing hand in hand with companies that knows their subscribers well.

As we talk about this, we still see illegal uploads of anime series on both Facebook and YouTube, something that Anime Pilipinas have talked about around two years ago.

Having anime legally accessible to online platforms is already a positive step done as well by major on-demand players like Netflix which continues to have anime series in their lineup.

What more if my anime is distributed legally on YouTube? Muse Asia and Ani-One are tapping into the mobile Southeast Asia YouTube audience:

Now, another side of this is that we see a possible way for distributors to set up paywalls on YouTube – remember, we can rent movies there – but that’s another possibility.

If Muse Asia and Ani-One continue to prosper, they will give the two cable channels Aniplus and Animax Asia a run for that market too.

Speaking of Animax Asia, its parent Sony Pictures Television Asia is handed over to its former executives at the start of the year, citing an Anime Pilipinas report from industry sources:

The move sees Sony shifting its strategy from owning networks to becoming a mostly content provider under the aegis of Sony Pictures Chairman Tony Vinciquerra, adding that its executives has pinpointed that its Southeast Asia group of channels are the ones that are ready to be sold.

Is Animax Asia doomed? Back-tracking from the report, former SPT executive Andy Kaplan, now of the newly-formed KC Global Media speaks:

“We strongly believe in the global channel and content model, which has the potential for tremendous growth,” […] “Traditional television continues to offer many opportunities and advantages. Our goal is to fully maximize all of them, building a footprint with these channels and laying the foundation for a beautiful future.”

Anime Idol Cover Group Dream Catchers at the EX Stage.
Anime Idol Cover Group Dream Catchers at the EX Stage of Cosplay Mania 2019.

Thought: Events will continue to evolve with the help of trends, insights and feedback

In marketing, we have this thing called market research. People give feedback to anything, and the market researchers tally those feedback to get valuable insights.

TOYCON Philippines has changed its brand last year as it aims for a wider audience. Cosplay Mania enters 2020 with its “Isekai Adventure” theme based on the current trends. ESGS continues to awe people as they know what their audience wants.

Even Ozine formats their events to have its own theme – in 2019, we saw “Otaku Expo Hearts’ Day Special,” “Ozine Fest Summer School Festival,” “Otaku Expo Reload Tanabata Festival,” “Ozine Fest Halloween Special” and “Ozine Fest Winter Festival.” Have you noticed the pattern?

Hey, even organizers will feel that they get kind of stale, so they add a different flavor to their activities. Events will still continue to one-up each other – after all, they are supposed to, all for their audience. I understand that this is kind of a “duh” moment, but I hope my details gave you a wider point of view.

I’m also expecting that the guys at NCPH will have a boost now that the annual Pinoy Otaku Festival (of which I have moderated two panels since 2018) joins the International Otaku Events Association (IOEA), making it the third event from the Philippines to be part of the organization next to Cosplay Mania and AsiaPOP Comicon Manila (as per the member list).

We can always predict major changes in the anime/cosplay/gaming community in the 2020s, and only the future will tell us if these outlooks will be a reality.

Do you have your own outlook for the anime/cosplay/gaming community in 2020 that I have not yet pointed out in this piece? Let me know in the comments section.

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