Photo credit: WCSPH/Facebook
By Ica Hontiveros-Cheng
Ah, cosplay events. The costumes, the comics, the toys, the gimmicks. Remember when we went to a lot of these pre-pandemic? It’s obviously not the same case now, with many countries still trying to grapple with the healthcare situation.
The famed World Cosplay Summit (WCS), for one, even canceled its 2020 event. This year, however, WCS staged the show using a hybrid setup. The event took place last August 7 and 8 in Nagoya, Japan, with broadcast segments opened up to the rest of the world online.
Front and center at this year’s WCS were Filipinos Jin Joson and AC Hernandez of Team Namikaze, who represented the Philippines and came out of the contest with a bangin’ award!
The duo—as Naruto and Jiraiya from Naruto—won the Brother Special Award, a major title given to those with the best sewn costumes. Besides the plaques and certificates, Joson and Hernandez will be receiving a prize from Japanese sewing machine brand Brother, the award’s sponsor.
This is the first win for the Philippines since the country joined WCS in 2013.
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Photo credit: WCSPH/Facebook
“It was our first time stepping into WCS so we weren’t expecting anything apart from doing our best to put on a good show for everyone, and representing our community. We were so surprised and grateful to win one of the major awards,” wrote Joson on her YouTube account. “It's a title that holds a lot of weight, and considering that these were the first costumes we made completely on our own, it was so encouraging!”
“It was such an honor just to be the first to bring our beloved Naruto to the World Cosplay Summit stage. We had AMAZING comments from the judges and viewers. On top of that, we were able to make a historic first win for the Philippines and planted our flag on the list of awardees for the first time!”
Team Namikaze stood out from the preliminaries, which drew 30 countries as participants.
Participants earlier submitted video entries (2 minutes and 30 seconds) featuring their cosplay work.
Criteria for judging consisted of the following: Quality of the costume, props, acting, and the video production.
Team Germany took the WCS top prize, followed by Italy and the UK, respectively.
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Photo credit: Jin (behindinfinity)/Facebook
Joson is an OG cosplayer best recognized for her Kenshin Himura (Rurouni Kenshin/Samurai X) costume, which became her ticket to meeting Takeru Sato, the actor who played the titular role in the franchise’s live action version.
Hernandez, who started out as a prop maker, is no stranger to the circuit having competed in various cosplay competitions over time.
In an online press conference before the competition, Joson and Hernandez talked about how they breathed life into the characters especially for the prestigious event.
“What we were up against was the weather,” Hernandez recalled. “At that time that we did our reshoot, Taal Volcano wanted to erupt, and we were shooting in Cavite and it was pretty close.”
"If anything happened, there (wouldn’t be) no other day that everyone from (the production team) would be available before the submission date. So it was really stressful,” Joson added.
Are our reps pressured, especially as the championship coincides with the Tokyo Olympics where fellow Filipino delegates have made it?
“A little bit,” Joson laughed. “Personally, it’s not about winning anyway and if things happen to go in our favor, we’d be happy to bring that honor to the Philippines. I can really relate to Margielyn’s (Didal) energy, that you’re just happy to be there.”
“The prize of the World Cosplay Summit for me is actually being able to be part of that family, that experience. Being able to have this journey—it’s that prize, which is the real prize,” Hernandez admitted.
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