The Myth of Convention Cannibalism

The convention circuit has seen a great upheaval over the past couple of years. Bigger conventions like AsiaPop Comicon, ToyCon PopLife Fan X, and Cosplay Mania have become the annual convention triumvirate that pop-culture fans are waiting for; drawing some attention away from the smaller conventions that have been happening since the early 2000s.

However, this paradigm shift is not a death knell to smaller conventions; they are not being, figuratively, cannibalized by the triumvirate. It is, instead, proof of a stronger Philippine pop-culture scene wherein there is demand for conventions big and small.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at the Anime and Cosplay Expo 2017 in Megatrade Hall (THE original home of pop-culture conventions in the metro). Despite taking up only one hall (diminutive compared to most conventions), it’s still packed to the brim with activities, merchandise, and, of course, cosplayers.

philippine conventions
Small Wonder. ACX2017 only occupied one hall, but it held in it a lot of great stuff.

#TeamLabas

Smaller conventions have always had to deal with the lobbyconners (#TeamLabas in local parlance). Cosplayers who don’t have any intention of buying a ticket to the convention will just stay outside of the venue, blocking foot-traffic, and in some extreme cases, causing trouble. Bigger conventions solved this by providing an entire hall for lobbyconners and increased security.

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The one-hall venue understandably had a lot of spill over, and was indeed rife to be a lobbyconners paradise. So I was wondering how ACX would tackle the problem, only to find out later that there really was nothing to worry about.

philippine conventions
Crowd (self-)control. Despite the crowd outside the Megatrade Hall, it was not too chaotic. The attendees of ACX2017 were very considerate and cooperative with mall security.

Surprisingly, almost everyone cosplaying outside paid for their respective tickets. While it was definitely crowded, and you can still see some of their bags and personal effects laid on the mall’s floor, it was not as messy as the notorious #TeamLabas of old. There was also some extra security on hand, and everyone was compliant.

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Con-vergence

It’s good to see that the growth in the convention circuit managed to also create a more mature cosplay community. Not to say that #TeamLabas is all but a memory; I still encountered a bunch of Deadpool lobbyconners doing some hijinks. But it is a great start.

The quality of ACX2017 is a testament to the experience and tenure of Cosplay.Ph in the events scene. Despite the massive growth of their flagship event, Cosplay Mania, they never forgot their roots. They recognize smaller conventions like ACX still have a place in the convention circuit and are here to welcome those who want an amazing convention experience without breaking the bank.

That said, I’m totally looking forward to Cosplay Mania on September 30 to October 1, 2017 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay. If a one-hall con like ACX2017 was able to provide much fun and substance, just imagine how much more Cosplay Mania can offer.

Photos by Japo Anareta and RoninVampire

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RoninVampire
RoninVampire
Not quite a sire-less creature of the night. Not quite a miserable pile of secrets.

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