Saturday, June 19, 2010

Toycon Thoughts: Toys and Cosplay

I hate going to Toycon. Because of the fact that, no matter how hard you try, no matter how long or how much, you will not be able to leave the premises without turning your wallet into a desolated wasteland (read: spending until you have just your commuting money left. Not even enough for food).

So I will rant my "hate" by showing you some of my thoughts and stuff I got on the first day of the convention.

I arrived quite late around 3pm but the place is still packed with the usual cosplayers. That was the thing that bothered me actually, there was a huge increase of cosplayers this year, and most of them were there for social reasons, and not to join the event's contest. It proved both boon and bane: the costumed characters attracted a lot of attention from bystanders by their colorful costumes but made that part of the building wing almost impassible by mall goers. In the point of view of a con goer (i didnt cosplay this year, i went there to look around and check out toys) I had a hard time trying to get from point A to point B. It even came to the point that the mall admin decided to clear out the spaces in the immediate vicinity of the entrance/exits and would only allow those who actually want to go in the con to enter the area. I cant blame the cosplayers hanging outside the venue, because once i got inside, i saw there werent any space for them anyways. It was packed full of toy booths and people mingling and buying.

Not that you could blame Toycon about it. Essentially its a toy exhibition first, and they stuck to their guns when it came to that. Although the theme was DC Heroes, i was disappointed for the fact that 99% of cosplayers came everything else BUT comic superheroes. That was my only major pet peeve I had with the whole experience.

Sure, some may argue that characters from anime series are toys (thus part of the Toycon experience) and majority may technically constitute as superheroes, but deep inside, you all know what the con was talking about. If there's anything cosplayers would need to learn, is that part of the fun in cosplaying is to at least be part of the overall celebration. Toycon even had online posters and banners plastered all over featuring DC superheroes, and so far, i can count with my hands the number of cosplayers who actually went there and celebrate the spirit of this year's Toy Convention. The feeling dates back on the past SciFi Cons, where disgruntled con goers shake their heads when some cosplayers came as characters from Naruto. Although there are no ground rules on the con regarding strict compliance to theme, I do ask cosplayers out there to at least be part of the celebration the convention is trying to portray. I mean, if you throw a Naruto party, wouldnt you feel awkward or pissed if somebody came as someone from Code Geass?

Perhaps part of the reason why this happens is because Toycon had not pushed enough emphasis on their theme, not unlike SciFi Cons where even other cosplayers were telling their fellow hobbyists that its best to be part of the overall celebration. So cosplayer stubborness cannot be solely to blame, if Toycon wanted a DC Heroes themed con, they should have made it very clear from the start and made it as viral as possible.

With the number of cosplay events showing up here and there, even four times a month, perhaps its about time we give these major conventions we eagerly await every year their rightful respect. Trust me, its more fun that way, since after all conventions (especially fandom specific ones) is about celebrating your hobbies and fandom.

Having that out of my system, I suppose its safe to say that there were interesting cosplay characters there. First kudos to those who actually came as DC Heroes, like the Green Lantern, Black Canary, Green Arrow, Catwoman, a fan-designed armored Batman, a girl Robin and Supergirl (who happen to be my good friends Criselda and Hazel - the latter being the owner and proprietor of T-Tees) and a Superman cosplayer (good job, Aliencorn!) who came as Clark Kent then actually stripped to become your lovable Boyscout in Blue! I got to talk to him in the past and he's a bonifide Superman fan. Laugh all you want with his cosplay antics, but that's the kind of fandom love i admire when it comes to cosplaying.

There were also other heroes this time hailing from Marvel, like a Red Skull, a Mighty Thorand a kid Captain America. Although i thought i saw an X-Man but not sure if its Psylock.

There were some exceptional cosplays though that gave me a lot of laughs since Hard Gay Ph and Michael Jackson wasnt around to give that. Kenkoy was there with his friend cosplaying as Harry Potter and Ron Wesley, in their 60's! At first I thought they came as Zombies, and good thing there were some Plants VS Zombies cosplay (technically game characters, but attracted my attention nevertherless). And of course, for some nostalgia since the 2008's Toycon Visionaries, is of course, Ace McCloud of The Centurions.

Resorted to links from other multiply sites since I wasnt really able to take other pictures of my own, so thanks to Matrixshino, Mike013, Kenso and CSCentral for their pic links. If you want to have them removed, just comment.


Toycon has and always will be one of those conventions I look forward to every year. It hosts a lot of booths selling toys of every variety, and exhibits showing various collections, old and new. And everytime I go there, I always end up with something to play with, or gawk at, depending on the toy's purpose. This year I was simply passing by to meet old friends, not really wanting to go around hunting toys. But alas, the itch in me couldnt go away and here I am, the proud owner of 5 items that cost me P500 by the end of the day. But still, its worth the score, so to speak.

Those keeping track of my multiply would by now seen my Toycon Haul album and there were only two kinds of toys I bought that had fit my budget. Nonchalantly looking around the booths with my friend Ricki, i came across a 6.5 inch high Rei Ayanami Gladiator figure. It was a "loose" item, meaning some of the accessories were missing. Honestly I couldnt find the original toy specs online, as i dont really know exactly if its really called a "Gladiator" variant. You would notice her left hand seemed to be holding something, and whatever she was holding was no longer available. The only reason why her sword is there, is because its permanently attached to her right hand. It also had holes at the bottom of her feet, which suggests it should have included a pegged stand. It was being sold for P300, which seemed a very good deal, considering some figures with complete sets run up to P500. It also came with the Asuka Langley Gladiator version as well, who had no weapons at all, and her figure was slanted forward and her arms crooked, suggesting she was leaning on something, like a sword or a warhammer. Her armor was more impressive than Rei's, covering both her legs and part of her forearm, but without any accessories, she seemed lame. I wanted to buy it for P200, but they insisted the last price would be P250. So I ended up buying just Rei, which i didnt mind at all.

We bumped in Polidread while going back to booth and he showed me some of his prize finds: Gashopon figures of Macross Frontier Klan-Klan, Sheryl Nome and Ranka Lee of very good quality, at an astonishing P50 each! We hurried to the booth who sold them and bought a couple of good Rei Ayanami variants. These 2.5 inch high figures were very detailed for their size and price, and quite few of them left on the basket. I found it funny to find both figures actually having the same pose. I actually could able to make the other figure lay her head on the other's lap while my wife found other poses that could make me blush (sorry, i didnt take pics of them).

I noticed I have a sizable amount of Rei figures and toys lying around the house. Most of them are bootleg for sure, but I bought them not because they are cheap, but because some of them were pretty unusual or downright funny. Maybe one day i'd collect enough to warrant my own display collection of bootlegs, to celebrate the extreme fandom of a character that warrants mainstream piracy and capitalism.

The last one was to me, the most memorable "toy" I bought in toycon. At the booth, i bumped into an old friend in college, Rogel (lead singer of Valley of Chrome) and showed me, in his words "weirdest shit he found". That happened to be Suckadelic Mod Toys sold at the Hobbymaster's booth. I bought one of them being "Crimson Suicide" for P100 who happened to be using a generic mold head of a Rei Ayanami gashapon figure. As for the rest of the body I have no idea. Im adding this to my Rei bootleg collection for its bizarreness factor.

Which of course isnt anywhere near the other one Ricki bought for me as gift: The Bitch You Didnt Get To Fuck figure. Until now I haven't opened them, and probably never will, as they make really good conversation starters the next time I invite my friends over.

They even have back-stories and stats found at the back of the package, complete with disclaimers which says "don't let some stupid kid put it in his mouth" and that its said to be "produced in Chinatown, New York". Naturally I thought it was all just gimmicks aimed at parody, until I decided to Google it and found out that they have their own website, which confirms its authenticity and country of origin. XD

Now I know its a keeper!

So with my wallet in distress but in company of good friends, I still think Toycon is still one of the best convention to go, hanging out with friends, showing your fandom collection, buying toys and finding some "weirdest shit" anywhere in Manila.

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