Hataw Hanep Hero 2008: the biggest anime convention in the Philippines
I haven’t made much progress with regard to my anime watching. I have been doing my thesis for the past few days, and I also started reviewing for the medical admission test which is three weeks from now.
Despite all these, I still found time to go to the HERO Anime Convention. In the Philippines it is the biggest anime convention. I went to the same convention a year ago and found it to be a good experience. In addition to being able to purchase some good posters, I was able to obtain a good Ayumi Hamasaki CD. Because of these things I really had no hesitations from going to this year’s convention. To my dismay, however, it wasn’t as good as the previous year. I didn’t have many expectations going into the convention, but I knew there was a bad omen when the convenor (ABS-CBN) switched from the spacious SMX convention center found across the SM Mall of Asia. I wasn’t familiar with Silver City (the new setting for the event), and so were most of my friends who were into anime as well.
Fortunately, we had been able to get there without any hitches. The place, however, was (as expected) smaller than the SMX Convention Center of the previous year. When one decides to go to conventions, however, one has to be prepared of being cramped, and I had revisited the scenario in my mind enough not to be disturbed by the lack of space. I usually go to conventions with purchasing well-priced anime merchandise in mind (not cheap, but not unfairly expensive), and this was what I noticed was lacking in the current conventions. The usual stalls were around: there was Comic Alley; there was 2Rats; there was HobbyArena (?), but they didn’t really offer anything new. There was also a stall which sold used but authentic Japanese manga and CDs: I believe this was the stall from where I purchased the Ayumi Hamasaki CD I bought last year. This year, however, they didn’t really stock good Japanese music, so I wasn’t able to buy anything.
They had authentic Japanese doujinshi as well. The problem was that they only had yaoi doujinshi for the most part. My friend (who accompanied me to the convention) and I had a laugh over it, as the stall, from their merchandise, primarily targeted women. I even saw a doujinshi of between One Outs‘s main characters. The merchandise sold were unimpressive for the most part: I didn’t purchase anything except a cute purple pillow. I actually wanted a lighter tone, and asked for other violet pillows, but that pillow was their last stocked one, so I bought it instead.
Both me and my friend didn’t feel we got what we paid for, so we stayed for the cosplay. It was a very good decision as we were able to see the creative powers of other Filipinos. I especially admired three cosplayers, that of Hiei (from Yu Yu Hakusho), one of Ichigo’s (Bleach) cosplayers, and of Botan-kun. Hiei’s cosplay was just a very wonderful theatric presentation: he had people dress up as his summoned dragon, and it was really well-choreographed; Botan-kun had a confetti gun; and that Ichigo avatar transformed into his hollow form right under our very eyes.
There were a lot of beautiful lady cosplayers, but a significant number of them no longer participated in the cosplay contest. Most of who participated in the cosplay portrayed the protagonists of popular shounen anime: there were about seven Naruto renditions, and about 20 or 30 more Naruto characters; about ten characters from One Piece (two renditions of Luffy); and about twenty renditions of Death Note characters, with about four L portrayals and about six Amane Misa avatars. Code Geass isn’t as popular in the Philippines as it is abroad: if the cosplay demographics are to be reflected upon, there were only three Code Geass characters for the whole competition, and none of them cosplayed Lelouch. Two of these people cosplayed C.C. horribly: I myself puked a little inside when I saw them strut in the escalator-cum-stage.
All in all, despite everything, it was still a pretty good experience, although I hope that the convention would once again return to form to what it was a year ago.
Edited as promised. The pictures were taken from PhilAnime. Sir, if you wish I take down your pictures, kindly just leave a comment or so. 🙂
Now head on over to this site for all the pictures.