When art and games collide: Thomasians share their love for cosplay
By Brin Raizulli Isaac
Ever since the rise of the pandemic, the world has more or less observed a great deal of dullness. There comes a point when activities are more or less repetitive, all while being (almost) stuck in our own homes because of the limitations posed before us.
Due to this, we have learned to adapt to this way of living, made bearable by the help of art, technology, and entertainment. In a year alone, many of us observed a rise in developing hobbies and special skills — some of which have turned into a passion that will seem to last a lifetime.
I find myself resonating with this as well. I take interest in fandoms and other hobbies I never thought to be obsessed with. If you’d ask my peers two years ago if I’d get into gacha games, they would scoff and say never. Though, they are now wrong with this part. Art and pop culture are one of my greatest companions since the dull world has taken over us.
Having recently attended AcadArena’s most-awaited event of the year, CONQuest Festival, I expected that there would be attendees who would attend as some of the game characters I have played in the pandemic. I got the pleasure of talking with Thomasian cosplayers about them, their art, and cosplay itself. Here’s what transpired in my brief talk with them over the weekend.
Yuri and Denise Lubiano
Having encountered thousands of cosplayers in the weekend affair, one of my favorites has to be the Lubiano siblings, Yuri and Denise. They both came in the fashion of one of the most iconic characters in Hoyoverse’s Genshin Impact, an anime-styled open-world fantasy game.
As someone who used to play Genshin Impact, their cosplay tugged a little on my heartstrings, remembering all the fun times I had with the game.
How did you get started in cosplay?
Denise: Well, it first started when we were looking at other cosplayers. We thought, “That’s very interesting. Maybe we could also be some of the characters”.
Yuri: It was a spontaneous decision because I think that we can safely say that we are both introverts. From the pandemic, I think we had a lot of pent-up feelings to express. We saw certain cosplayers [at] one SMX convention before, and I thought that we should try.
Is there anything you’d like to share?
Yuri: Since this is our first cosplay convention, I think I’d consider going to another one because everyone’s so supportive of each other.
Denise: It is very exciting and nerve-wracking, but maybe it’s also a good part of being who we want or who we are or who we want to be, you know? Something like that.
Yuri: In essence, I think that we both chose to cosplay so that we could have character development and be better people in order to help.
Denise: And maybe become less awkward. Possibly, I hope!
Sofia Deneise Anasarias
Nursing senior Sofia Anasarias attended the CONQuest Festival dressed as the newest character in the first-person shooter game VALORANT as Fade, a Radiant from Turkey. Sofia, who also goes by Sowfi, has around 11,000 followers on Facebook, where she is known for her many looks, especially her Raiden Shogun cosplay.
What do you think about the Philippine cosplay community?
Sofia: I’ve only started cosplaying a little over a year and met so many nice people during cons and on Facebook. We have a group called “CosComm” or “Cosplay Community.” And people know each other! Nagugulat ako parang biglang may lalapit sakin, “Kayo po ba si Sofia?” or “Oh, I know her!”. Kahit online lang, magkakakilala kami. Tapos ‘yung conventions it’s a way that brings people together with the same interests.
How do you feel about seeing other people wearing and celebrating cosplay?
Sofia: It makes me so happy kasi I met a lot of people lalo na kung same game or franchise. Kahit makita mo lang sila, magtitinginan kayo and say, “Hey, let’s take a picture!”. Parang magtinginan lang kayo, parang may energy na–may bonding na agad.
Alyssa Rae Zabala
Architecture senior Alyssa Rae Zabala, also known as Azia, was a fresh breath of air from all the cosplay looks I’ve seen at the CONQuest Festival. Amazed by her photogenic and confident stature, I found her to be well-versed in cosplay. And upon my brief conversation with her, she proves to be a woman of great knowledge and practice with this art.
Can you tell me a favorite memory when you were cosplaying?
Alyssa: My favorite is when I entered a cosplay competition in 2017. I asked my younger sister and my older brother to cosplay with me, and we all performed on stage. We were all wearing the costumes I made over the summer. I really cherished that because [it was] just a bonding moment, but it’s also a fulfilling experience. I later turned out to be one of the finalists in that competition.
What do you look forward to in the Philippine cosplay community?
Alyssa: Nowadays, cosplaying is already so easy that you could take something out of your closet and just make something out of it. You can record yourself on TikTok and explore. Anyone could join, actually! The special thing about cosplaying is you can express yourself while portraying your favorite characters and putting something from [yourself] into the character.
Creating art means celebrating identity and expression. Over the weekend affair, it was refreshing to see Thomasians showcase their love and passion not only for games and pop culture but for cosplay as well. With the rise of the hottest games and shows on the block, perhaps it’s high time we finally set our sights on the next look Thomasian cosplayers will be whipping up.