The annual event that caters to J-Culture activities can go a lot further if they can refine its rough edges.
Coslandia is a new player in the otaku convention scene as their main attraction is the J-Idol scene. Previously situated in Centris alongside Movie Stars Café, which moved from their old Pasay location, this year’s event promised to give an incredible J-Culture experience to their audience. To make it short, they did provide a great experience to their fans, but there were some setbacks, let’s take a look.
The biggest attraction for Coslandia was its performers, it had everything a fan of idols would enjoy. From international stars like Ebisu Muscats, Farirytale, 1-Girls, Amatsusora, Gracorex, Hirotoshi “TJ” Maeda, Hazuki Tsubasa, Tomoka and Samero that graced the stage area for a weekend of musical performance, plus some of the local talents such as Pastel Mix and the fan-favorite MNL48. Each day there’s always a performance happening either at the main stage or at its satellite stage (which is at the exhibitor area of the venue), so fans of certain idol groups can watch them perform and in some cases, have a mini meet and greet with them or have a Cheki; a term used in idol culture as taking a picture with them. A special panel with the cast of the live-action Seikimatsu Blue also happened on stage, where the audience can ask questions and even have a meet and greet session with the cast, in which some of the members of MNL48 were also part of the cast.
Speaking of stage performance, Coslandia’s stage production was top-notch, it shows that they are not joking when they are giving a full J-Culture experience. With amazing lighting effects and a massive LED screen on stage with matching videos being played to sync with the performance. It’s more a full production concert and those who attend the event for the sake of seeing the guests perform will surely have a great time.
There are other side activities happening on the satellite stage, ranging from cosplay competitions to trivia challenges and other side performances. As for cosplay competitions, the Pop Culture Hiroshima Philippines NCR Qualifiers was conducted at the event, where the winners will become the PH Cosplay Ambassadors for the Pop Culture Hiroshima event in April 2020.
Despite Coslandia bringing out the best quality in stage activities, the event had its noticeable setbacks. First was the booths; some booths are actually empty around the event, which turns out is allocated to certain partners or sponsors that are only available on a certain day. With a venue that has a smaller floor space (SMX Aura’s 3 Function Rooms is almost equivalent to a single large Function Room of SMX Manila) where attendees had few selections, with most are being sellers of anime or J-idol merchandise. Though there are some plus sides on the booths, which came from the Cosplay Ambassadors and World Cosplay Summit PH area where attendees can meet some of the cosplayer guests and purchase their photoshoot prints, the international guest area where fans can purchase their merchandise and have their own meet and greet sessions, the Neutral Grounds booth where everyone can try out the new card game based on the MNL48 idols, and the RapidShots360 booth where they set up their 360 degrees camera set for everyone to try out and have their own 360 video.
Another concern and the biggest one is the ticket price, for something that utilizes a small event with fewer booths, the PhP 600 per day ticket price seems like a deal-breaker to some, especially for those who attend major conventions at a similar price tag. Sadly, with fewer booths available at the event area, it makes it hard to justify the pricing on the event pass. Though this could be acceptable if the budget was put more on the guests and the stage production, however with the sudden announcement of the XP Pass, it adds more frown to the overall expenses an attendee would spend aside from the event pass. Not to mention it also adds more confusion to everyone as there was no proper explanation on what the XP Pass actually do after it was announced at the last minute. The XP Pass costs at PhP 1,000, where it consists of 10 passes worth PhP 100 each, the idea would have been great if it wasn’t for the fact that you need to purchase the entire XP Pass if you only need to use one pass, meaning there is no other option to choose your preferred pass. Some stage performances require an XP Pass, so if you only came to watch the MNL48 or Ebisu Muscats (yes, we know you want to watch them) performances, you still need to purchase the entire set. So the actual cost of the ticket price per day is PhP 1,600 as you still need to purchase the XP Pass if you want to get the full experience. If you would compare this to a video game, it’s like buying a base game that still requires you to purchase a DLC that’s more expensive than the base game where most of the great content is locked inside it.
Though Coslandia overall has a potential to grow, as it has an incredible stage production that is on par with some of the major anime conventions in the country and could even outmatch some of the local pop culture conventions, and not to mention bringing fan-favorite idols and new faces to build a new fandom. But they need to address the elephant in the room, which is their pricing, it is rather difficult to justify the value that the attendee will get over what they will actually experience. Adjusting their day pass at a more reasonable price and changing their format with the XP Pass are the things that could remedy or even eliminate the cons.
The Coslandia, as like with any new conventions, needs a lot of polishing on their content, but we could surely say that they are already on the right track in focusing on the idol culture and giving their fans a great J-Culture experience.