(or, “How’s my experience in the first Extreme Moments meet-and-greet?”)
Extreme Moments (XM) is the invitational cosplay photoshoot series wherein cosplayers and photographers are toured to various places around the country. This year, XM is commencing its 6th edition with the popular mobile game “Fate/Grand Order” as its theme.
The series is done in two parts: The just-concluded Cebu leg where they highlighted the popular tourist destination Temple of Leah that gives you an overlooking view of Cebu, among a few locations; and the Tagaytay leg which is yet to be commenced.
Prior to the Tagaytay leg, a meet-and-greet session (this is a first in XM’s history) is done featuring a few who participated in the Cebu leg. Held at the Kandle Cafe along Mother Ignacia Avenue (just beside Puregold Jr.) last Wednesday, November 15, and 36 people are listed to meet the cosplayers, namely:
I’m one of the lucky guys who got on the list — I was listed on the 11 am batch, but the times got adjusted. It actually helped as I am prioritizing my other pending tasks. This is where the story begins. (The answers have been paraphrased to the best of my understanding)
Q: What’s the biggest challenge in preparing for XM?
- Anto: The weather (in the country)
- Keik: The weather and the logistics (she then points our attention to a huge baggage at the back, which is a weapon prop). Also, the deadlines (she did her costumes in two weeks).
- Diane: Deadlines (she did 4 costumes in just a few days).
- Kimu: Asking permission from everyone in her hometown that she’ll be going on a holiday.
Q: What inspired you to cosplay? (Or maybe, what’s your first cosplay?)
- Anto (a cosplayer for 5 years): Kagamine Len (Vocaloid)
- Keik: Male characters
- Diane (who started her cosplay journey in 2009): She confesses that during her early years, she bought sword props at the mall and had applied poster paint to her hair and improves as time goes on. She had dreams of going to Akihabara, but that’s too far to happen, so she decided upon herself to being the Akiba culture in Cebu.
- Kimu (who started cosplaying around 2 or 4 years ago; time flies fast it seems): Shinoa Hiiragi of Owari no Seraph.
Anto quipped that his beloved waifu Keik is “a lady woman.” (Erm, that’s what my notes say.)
Diane says she wanted to inspire others, which will eventually lead her to be a pioneer in Cebu’s cosplay community; though she points out that such projects like XM are a “team effort” where photographers inspire the cosplayers too.
I was checking Kimu’s Facebook to find out that she also cosplayed Maika from Blend S — she knows where we’re at. (Also, Watch Blend S.)
Q: How does your cosplay community look like in your area?
- Kimu (from the Netherlands, a country with a cold environment of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius): Events are done in hotels, and so are cosplay photoshoots. They don’t want to go outside because of the cold climate.
- Diane: Before, there’s a stigma against those who cosplay, but nowadays events are growing and it is eventually being accepted there. The UP Otakufest — the newest qualifying venue for the World Cosplay Summit Philippines — is just among the witnesses of how Cebu’s cosplay community is flourishing.
- Anto and Keik (Keik mostly speaks on her experience as a cosplayer in Australia): “In Australia, we don’t care what people are doing, generally.” They can go photoshoot everywhere — case in point, for a NieR: Automata theme, they go into an old warehouse and do the shoot. Wait, is the security there? No problem, they won’t bother as long as you don’t do drugs. ???
While there’s also the aforementioned stigma in Europe, Kimu stressed that in Europe most convention attendees cosplay and only a few go in casual clothes. She doesn’t want to be left out, and so she cosplayed and the rest is history. Kimu keeps her cosplay persona as her alter-ego.
As Australia has lots of lands, their convention halls are far larger than what we have here, making it great for huge cosplays to pop out (Think of 4-meter weapon props). Keik said that the best time to go to Australia is every August, where SMASH (a home to their country’s annual World Cosplay Summit qualifier) is being held in Sydney. Also, they go to Airbnb to scout for places to shoot, which I find quite odd for some reason. Their government also starts to promote pop culture too, in which I also hope the same for the Philippines.
Bonus: Their remarks for the Philippines so far?
- Kimu: Photo studios in the country are quite expensive (so photoshoots are done outdoors).
- Keik: “I never heard of permits (to take photos),” pointing back from her previous statement.
Over the course of the meet-and-greet, Keik and Kimu stuck out the most — While I already mentioned earlier that Kimu is a woman of culture (for having cosplayed Sistine Fibel and Maika Sakuranomiya), Keik is so, so bubbly.
Keik was so accommodating she even said that she will tour us if we get to step on Australian soil, and so I am conflicted if I will go to Taiwan, Japan or Australia in the long, distant future (to note, I’ve worked with Australians before and prior to this I learned how the country’s culture was built, which is pretty much amazing).
As for Diane (and Cebu), I’m looking forward to seeing the developments of the World Cosplay Summit in the Visayas region especially in the Queen City of the South.
I went on to continue what I was supposed to do after the meet-and-greet, spending more time to feel the cafe’s vibe (I’ll narrate more of this in a separate post).
To sum it up, I learned new things about the cosplay communities from within and outside our country. I’m also looking forward to actually participate in XM in the near future (I just need my own SLR and a good grasp of photography and I should be all set to kick-start a long-term photo collection).
Special thanks to Jeff Ricalde and the XM Team for organizing a great gathering; hope to see everyone in the next meet-and-greet. Cheers!