In-Focus: Cosplay Event at Siena Taytay School Fair

[Left] The St. Thomas Aquinas Building of Siena College of Taytay; [Right] The Stage for their school fair’s Gakuen Clash Year 3. (Photos: Ricky, JustForPics; Francis Laus, Team Prank Multimedia)

Just yesterday, I spent almost the whole day at Siena College of Taytay to observe what seems to be my first experience of a Cosplay event inside and academic institution. Siena Taytay is celebrating their school fair, with the theme “Saya pa more sa [More fun at] Siena Taytay,” and their annual Cosplay competition is at its third year. In this post, we’re not just profiling the event, but I’m going to put the spotlight on one Cosplayer that I’ve just met.

I joined the people from the Anime Gaming and Cultural Festival, in which one if its members that we will refer to as Koji invited this writer to come. Luckily, I have free time, and so I went. Koji is the host for the said event as Aoba Seragaki dressed up as a maid in high-heels.

The Ferris Wheel that is among the activities inside the school fair. (Photo: Ricky, JustForPics)

The event started at around 10:30 in the morning at the St. Thomas Aquinas Building. There is a decent size of audience that can be reflected in the start of the program, when the sun’s rays haven’t hit the part of the stage.

The competition is called “Gakuen Clash,” and is being organized by the College Student Council of the academic institution. As I talked to Koji while they are preparing in the dressing area, he says that this year’s iteration will gather more audience — with Sienans still a majority — than last year’s.

Sixteen Cosplayers participated in the clash — and one of them is Christine, who Cosplayed Asuna from Sword Art Online. Christine has been participating in the competition since its inception three years ago — on her second turn, she got third place.

Christine, in her Asuna Yuuki Cosplay. (Photo: Francis Laus, Team Prank Multimedia)

The competition began with the parade (around the stage) for the audience to see up-close with their cameras (or camera phones) on. After stating the rules and the judges who will then judge the participants, the show starts.

The judges for Gakuen Clash Year 3. (Photos: Dwight Gatlabayan)

At first, I felt the usual scenario for Cosplay competitions here, which is Cosplayers dancing to the tune of novelty songs — something I still disagree with up until now. Then there comes Christine up on the stage.

Her first attempt to complete the skit was a mess due to the technical difficulties that had happened — it also happened to another contestant donning a Fairy Tail skit — and since she was not satisfied with the results, she asked the hosts to redo it again. So they did, and her expectations were fulfilled.

After her performance, I went back to Christine to ask if she has the chance to bag the first prize. I’ve mentioned to her that there are notable Cosplayers in the roster — one of which is Ashley Misaki — and I felt she thought twice.

Moving back to the stage, the hosts are now deciding on who should win the People’s Choice award. The rule from the start is that the audience will take pictures with the Cosplayers in order to gain votes, but that has been replaced with whose competitor gets the loudest cheer.

Apparently, Christine has the loudest of fans to cheer her up. The selection was a bit tense, when she gets next to Ashley. As with me, I’ve never been this excited to see a Cosplayer who won last time try to bag the prize, so I joined her fans.

When one of the judges — two of them are members of Bulacan State University’s Anime Cosplay Empire (ACE) — talked about what Christine did, here’s what has been about her:

About the craftsmanship, her costume’s accurate; […] she took the stage performance seriously, […] and she has a lot of fans.

Asuna got two awards. Even if she only got third place for this year’s competition, Christine also got the People’s Choice award. (Photo: Arvee Andaya)

She got third place for the second time around. Moving back to the last time I approached her, I asked her something like this: If you lost your chance to get to the top, will you still join the competition next year? She says yes.

The Final Pose. Participants, Visitors, Judges and Hosts in costume gather for the final picture. (Photo: Arvee Andaya)

Finally, I was able to experience what Cosplay events are like inside academic institutions. I’ve been longing for these things, and it just so happens that I am free during the day. I’m looking forward to more of these in the future.

The original version of this piece has information about a case of theft in which even the contestants lost valuable items. For the sake of archiving, we will leave it away from the piece’s original angle.