A huge flock of cosplayers and fans gathered at the SMX Convention Center Manila as it hosts its first cosplay event of the year, Cosplay Carnival 2022. CosCarni, as some fans call it, is part of the annual Cosplay Mania event series organized by Cosplay.ph. Cosplay Carnival 2022 happened during the weekend of April 30 to May 1 at Halls 2 to 4, covering around 6,300 square meters equivalent to 75% of the ground level.
The last Cosplay Carnival event was held in 2019 and was set to return for another run the following year, only for the pandemic to hinder everyone’s plans.
Unprecedented Number of Visitors Expanded Event Size
The sheer number of visitors on its first day led to major adjustments—ticket-selling for Day 2 is closed, and Function Room 5 upstairs is opened to ease up crowd congestion inside the main halls and the venue lobby; as well as outside the convention center, where visitors queued up bravely.
Genshin Impact, My Dress-Up Darling Still Strong Among Cosplayers
One noticeable trend in the event is the utterly high number of cosplayers dressed up as characters from Genshin Impact (which we estimate at around 50%), followed by a noticeable number of cosplays from My Dress-Up Darling (estimated at 10%), Spy x Family (estimated at 4%), Nijisanji, Hololive and Independent VTubers (estimated at 5%).
We will share the cosplay photos we captured in a separate photo gallery.
Cosplay Carnival 2022 Event Activities Go Hand-In-Hand
The event’s activities at the stage area and exhibitor booths are just right—they add something of value to the event and does not take away anything from the overall experience. Cosplayers took their time to have their photos taken at the custom oriental studio displays set up, while those who look for merchandise got their fix at the exhibitor booths.
Stage activities such as Cosplay OTP, Coplay Karaoke, Frenemy Feud and Cosplay Dance Duet are well-attended; so are the meet-and-greet sessions of guest cosplayer Plant Lily from Singapore.
We roamed around the fan fair during Day 1 and saw a variety of prints ranging from stickers to cosplay photos. We see business is booming, as visitors pass by from one booth to another. We’ll share our VTuber-related loot to everyone in a separate report.
What Went Right and What Can Be Done in the Future
Cosplay events in the Philippines have returned to circulation since November 2021 as the country’s capital region is placed on Alert Level 1. This enables event organizers to hold events physically, and thus motivates cosplayers and fans to meet in person once again. Fans miss attending physical events—some even missed attending last year’s hybrid Cosplay Mini Matsuri event—they are so determined to join, thus it’s no surprise that Cosplay Carnival 2022 was packed on its first day.
The general sentiment of the visitors for Day 1 is mostly negative due to the number of people who were not able to enter the halls, but the organizer redeemed themselves on Day 2 by setting up an impromptu stage at Function Room 5, keeping the attendees there hooked for toy auctions and karaoke segments.
As Cosplay.ph announced the dates for its next events, Anime and Cosplay Expo (ACX) on July 16 to 17 and the flagship Cosplay Mania event this October, still at SMX Manila, we expect fans to still arrive in droves even with the volatile health restrictions in place. The organizer has set up limited-time ticket tiers for ACX to gauge audience reception and adjust venue space according to demand. If you really want to be there, the best time to secure a ticket is now.
Setting aside the crowds, we spent our energy and enjoyed the sights and sounds of Cosplay Carnival 2022 to the fullest. It’s been so long since cosplay friends met in person, and we can feel everyone’s anticipation of meeting face to face once again, even with masks on.
Also, our colleague Carla wrote her take on visiting an anime/cosplay event after a long drought: “What It Felt Like Joining an Anime Convention for The First Time in a Long Time“
We would like to thank Cosplay.ph for having us as one of Cosplay Carnival 2022’s official media partners. For more information on Cosplay.ph’s upcoming events, visit Cosplay Mania on Facebook.
Photos by Allineus, Kimberly Dakis and Jay Agonoy