February 4, 2018 — Megatrade Hall 2, SM Megamall
Before I start talking about the event, here’s a story: I got contacted by rayan of AnimePH Project that they will be out of town during the weekend of Otaku Expo 2018, and I am asked if I’m interested to cover it. I said yes, of course, given that the Ozine Team is always open to the likes of us.
A day before the event, I met with the Ozine Team (that includes its General Manager Dennis Uy) and noticed that the hall where it will be held, Megatrade Hall 2, is on its way to refurbish the doors of that hall.
(Hall 1 has been refurbished to look like the doors of SMX Manila, just in time for the venue’s 25th year anniversary.)
That got me thinking — when was the first time I actually connected to them to be a media partner? If my memory serves me right, that may be in 2011?
It’s been a long time joining their events as a media partner — and I’ve seen their ups and downs (especially their downs) — now, why I am still with them?
Iba na kasi ang may pinagsamahan. Regardless of the situation they face or the opinion of some against them, they are still organizing events for the common otaku folk (especially those who are starting to dig themselves deeper in the community). I’ve gotten select issues of Otakuzine, but I still feel connected to its events. I give them props for staying long — they’ve been doing these events for a decade.
In the language of events management, there are two types of media: Above-the-Line (ATL) and Below-the-Line (BTL). Ozine covers these two: their Magazines go under ATL, the events go under BTL. I thought I just had to put this fact here, and you’ll read more of my bite-sized thoughts later in this post.
Let’s get started with the activities — which is nothing more, nothing less. I’ve observed that Ozine’s events have its own single template, and only the major highlights differ each event from one another.
If you ask me, the one thing they started to put into the event’s experience are the booth games at the side.
Aside from the Karaoke, Band Eating and Cosplay contests (not to mention the unique, traditional auction that they are known for), this year’s Otaku Expo gave time to show on-the-spot art lessons as part of its Sketch: segment.
I didn’t ask the Ozine Team if it’s called “Otaku Expo” or “Otaku x Sketch: Expo,” merely because it’s already called the former and I’m too old to be bothered with the naming conventions (and also because the visitors don’t mind it at all).
Do note that I only attended Day 2 (which falls on a Sunday, the 4th of February), so that includes the opportunity for me to see the Cosplay competition and the auction that I had just mentioned earlier.
They got 20 banners hanging in the ceiling. It doesn’t matter to me how many of these gets hung there, the fact that it’s hanging there means there is a tarpaulin auction.
Heck yeah, I was right.
Here’s another story: My friend Tyler, was falling in line for the Cosplay competition which will happen right after the said auction.
He wanted this Ranko Kanzaki banner and bid for Php200.
Someone got ahead of him and placed a bid for Php500.
The thing is, Php500 is the maximum bid.
Whoever bids Php500 will automatically get it.
The bid’s closed, and I felt a sad Tyler afterwards. Natigilan si parekoy. BAD END.
…although it’s not that of a bad end for him after all — he went on stage for a short skit (he’s looking for a KonoSuba cosgroup, and as his compadre who sees him suffer with no cosplay group, I ask everyone who has a KonoSuba cosplay to team up with him, even for once).
Speaking of the Cosplay competition, I saw Seushi Cahill, a former MNL48 applicant. She’s one of the judges for the said competition. Tyler involved her in his skit only by asking her one question: “Do you know the way?”
Seushi answers: “Yes, I know the way!”
Then she proceed to dab. Yep. To me, that is so cool.
Shimo / Miu
Moving a little bit backwards from our series of events, we go back to the highlights.
…and these are our guests during their brief stage appearance:
Let us welcome the Cosplayers who made Otaku Expo 2018 Day 2 what it is:
I for one welcome our Danaganronpa cosplay group:
No matter what we partners (or pundits to an extent) say, there are some things that visitors of these kinds of events want: Meet with friends, hang out with them, and then create their own keepsakes in the form of either cosplay photos or bonding moments.
Otaku Expo 2018 is just one place for them to do so.
Since I took a brief break from this community in 2015 to reflect upon myself (and went on solo flight afterwards), I brought upon myself a renewed point of view to just enjoy an event’s experience and stop being too technical about it.
This mindset actually gave me a break; a breath of fresh air. Instead of me saying more of like “this event is bland, the visitors are still trash,” I end up saying “nothing more, nothing less, but it’s OK.”
It IS OK. The event was done without any hitches, and they even have the eating contest participants sign waivers prior to joining. I didn’t see any complaints online so far. Even I, as their partner, didn’t saw something wrong.
To me, it feels peaceful. It might be me being positive as I write this post at midnight, but the event really feels peaceful to me.
This ends my thoughts on Otaku Expo 2018, and if you read through all of this, let me tell you that a video for this is on the way. I will also have a full album of this coming up next week on Facebook.
Thank you to the Ozine Team for letting me in once more as media in this year’s Otaku Expo.
Thank you for reading, and see you in the next events.