For the last part of our Cosplay Carnival 2022 event report, we will focus on a niche trend: Virtual YouTubers. We are all made aware that the quarantine lockdown forced fans to do something remotely, from their homes: Cosplayers continue to dress up and post their trials on social media, but some already went a step ahead and built their virtual selves. These VTubers in a way helped sustain the anime culture and the creative economy in general, as the demand for artists and rig modelers increased.
Almost two years after the lockdown, we now see the gradual rise of physical events, which have to deal with more health and safety protocols. As events are held one after another, we see an opportunity for the niche VTuber market to flourish. At Cosplay Carnival 2022, we’ve seen merchandise related to VTubers—even some are created by VTubers themselves—as well as the cosplays. Prior to the release of Kaheru’s merch on her birthday, we got a glimpse of what these shirts look like, courtesy of the team responsible for producing the merch who is walking around the hall.
VTuber Merch Haul
At the Fanfair area, my goal is to acquire as much VTuber art as I can—regardless if it’s Hololive, Nijisanji or the indies. First on the list, we have the full force of Chibaneele x Sprout Factory, which includes Virtual YouTubers Doremii and Lunaly Hoshi as guest artists. I got a sparkling art print of Hololive English’s Gawr Gura at the Polly the Dinosaur x Maerachii booth, an Amelia Watson chibi sticker at Donotous, a set of Nijisanji domestic stickers plus a sparkling Millie Parfait sticker at Sofia Ebby‘s and a Mysta Rias sticker at Arzenpai. Nyanarin, Coffee Smugglers, Yuenri, arTrash / RA (Random Artist), The Con Artist, Sana Owl, Comic Friends and even the Tali-papa Circle also has VTuber merch.
Over at the Lifestyle Zone beside the stage area, Kanpai Clothing and Cornelia Star also have their own set of merch. Did you know that Cornelia’s homemade cookies are delicious, I bought two packs?
Cosplay Carnival 2022 VTuber Gallery
I am happy to report that we saw a lot of VTuber cosplays the whole weekend. Among all cosplays, we saw a lot dressed up as Gawr Gura and Hoshimachi Suisei—and then there’s the Nijisanji EN gang. We had been tipped out that there will be one Nijisanji EN cosplay group gathering at the Carnival, but to my surprise, I met two!
While VTubing is still considered a niche market if compared to the larger anime, cosplay and gaming communities, what I saw at Cosplay Carnival 2022 is one example of how VTubers and their fans blend well. If my projection is correct, we can see a larger VTuber cosplay group photoshoot and a dedicated area for VTuber merch, considering the successful Hololive Super Expo as a benchmark. Only time will tell if we see this vision turn into reality.
This concludes our event reports on Cosplay Carnival 2022. After this, we will be sharing snippets of VTuber-related content from the event on Twitter (@VTuberSection).
Thank you to Cosplay.ph for having Anime Corner as one of its official media partners. The next event in the Cosplay Mania series is Anime and Cosplay Expo (ACX) 2022 on July 16 to 17. Tickets for ACX are now available for purchase at SM Ticket outlets and online via smtickets.com.
Banner Photo: A fan poses alongside a standee of Project Kokonatsu’s Coronetto.
Cosplay Photos from Kimberly Dakis, Allineus and Jay Agonoy