Sunday, July 2, 2006

Anime Alliance Philippine's News Article
for the 5th Philippine Toys, Hobbies & Collectibles Convention 2006

June 17, 2006

A very successful event from ToyCon has just ended… the maximum capacity of Mega Trade Hall 2 has almost been surpassed not only if they stopped selling tickets early around 5:30 pm at their first day as the inside was jam-packed! They had numerous events and the traditional "bring me" game which they held on and off to give away prizes such as an exclusive poster of Superman Returns ToyCon edition…

Also the Acafellas performed around 2:00 pm and followed by some bands that played their original composition as a tribute to their favorite band or anime character. Late Isabel also played promoting their album and got the house rocking with them before the cosplay started around 6:30… as the Cosplay event started… everyone became wild as over 170 cosplayers filled the cosplay area and one by one rolling down the catwalk as they posed not only for the judges… but for the crowd. A lot of highlights as 3 to 4 mechas has been seen which you can't see in every convention… A lot cosplayed as the hero of FMA and also a group of Sailormoon hotties tagged along the stage…rare animes and games such as Suikoden 2, Devil May Cry 3, and even the Koreanovela "Jewel in the Palace" has been brought to the cosplay competition!

It was surely an exciting first night for ToyCon as it continues the next day…

Anime Alliance Philippines Exclusive Interview with HERO TV Producer, Mr. Eric Go
Correspondent: Irene Jean Cabalquinto

What do you think of this year's ToyCon?
A: Well this year's ToyCon I think is the biggest and aside from that, we've observed that there are several new companies and organizations wherein they stress interest in joining the convention…

HERO Channel's anniversary is just around the corner… would HERO have some activities?
Of course… this year we're planning it with a bigger venue, at the same time we've closed a deal with World Trade Center, so pretty much we're sure about the idea of holding it there. We're trying to copy and at the same time exceed the expectations of the anime fans that we're better than Tokyo Anime fair. This time... if last year there were a lot of booth and events. This year is bigger and better including higher rappelling for Naruto, we would have a lot of aquarium-type booths for the toy collectors, we also have bands… and the stage is wonderful… so definitely it will be bigger and better… and I think probably the best.

Since HERO Channel came out, there has been a series of anime conventions here in Metro Manila… what would you say about that?
Well… of course first of all.. the trust… probably the goal of HERO TV is to immerse the channel to all the Anime communities in the Philippines especially here in Metro Manila, that's why.. every now and then, if there's any convention or event that's sponsored by different anime community organizations, we really join in, because we want the people to know especially the Anime fans that we're here to support.

HERO is needed out in the provinces as well as a lot of raging Anime Fans wants to get a hold of your channel… is HERO taking steps for this?
Of course… maybe late next year.. we're planning to have a HERO TV Caravan, wherein we'll visit the key cities here in the Philippines like for example, Baguio city, Cebu city, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao city… So we are planning to have a mini convention on those cities to bring in all the Anime titles we have, bring in all the costumes, the sculptures we have to enjoy.

Would you like to reach out to them and give a few words?
HERO TV is not only for Metro Manila fans, I mean HERO TV is for everyone, everybody here in the Philippines because after all, our market is for the Filipinos… and we would just like to say, it may sound corny.. but we want to say that… "dito sa HERO TV, lahat ng anime fans ang bida" (Here in HERO TV, the anime fans are number 1)

A lot of HERO fans out there are really rooting for your channel and support in the anime industry… would you like to give a few words?
Uhm, okay… so maybe… I think the key word there is "unite" Let's help one another, because we're not different from each other. Like for example, HERO TV loves anime, we want to broadcast all the wonderful anime, you guys, want to watch good Anime titles… so there's no point to say that we're the best or to say that we're the greatest, or the biggest… for us here… we're only one, that's why all anime communities whether it's small or big, pro-Japanese or not, whether it's for collections or not, we have to unite. Because the aim of HERO TV is to come up with a good council, and I'm inviting Anime Alliance to be part of the council. We started the council three months ago… the pioneer members of the council, UPAme, UST Tomasinotaku, De LaSalle Nihon Kenkyu Kai, Adamson BKK, Otakuzine, Ongaku Society, FilCosplay. Because of FilCosplay, we formed this council… and this council will be the governing body, so at least we can police all the happenings in the anime scene… so I already asked Anime Alliance to be part of this council. So what is the role of this council? Of course when there's an event, we all help each other out.. for example Nihon Kenkyu Kai has an event this coming July, so all the council members should give their full support.

Can you give us a quick motto for HERO? Just for fun
"Dito sa HERO TV… Ikaw ang bida!" (Here in HERO TV.. you're number one!)

Exclusive Interview with ToyCon's organizer, Mr. Azrael Coladilla
Correspondent: David Michael Ramas

What do you think of ToyCon 2006 as it continues its success?
When we say as a starting point or a stepping-stone for us for being recognized as one of the best international convention in the Philippines… So our vision is very extreme and large for being recognized and being seen by the whole world that we have our own convention… that have our own hobby that we can be a part of the growing community.. Internationally.

What is this Year's Highlights?
Every year we have this cosplay competition, we have customized action figure being done every year, and also our new highlight the live "Battle of the Tribute Band" with featured musicians composing original music for tribute to any anime character, movie, band… we also have the new "convention booth babe" contest… and also the visit of Mr. Digger Mesch of Art Asylum…

What's so special about this year's ToyCon from the previous ones?
During our first year of the convention, we only had a small crowd… but this time, its very big and the first time we held the convention for two days. Now being recognized internationally as the official Philippine Toy Convention… this is already the 5 th and we were the only who hosted this kinds of activities… because we do the event very different and unique… though if someone organizes another convention aside from us… it's alright… and it will be cool, coz we want people to organize more events like the ToyCon, but people are still pushing us to do more events.

Are you guys planning for a ToyCon 2007?
Yes we are… hopefully we're planning to get the three Mega Trade Halls in the future… and then hopefully we can hold it for 1 week or at least 3 days, just like the San Diego Comic Convention… it's like a mirror there… In the US they have this big convention what they call the San Diego Comic Convention while here in the Philippines, we have the Philippine ToyCon… but in the US… it's one week.. here we only have one day or two… So we're targeting the 1 week or just even 3 days and the 3 halls… having international celebrities to come here and do talk and also professional artists in the US.

How would you foresee ToyCon 2007?
It's a big plan… for having the 2007 Toy Convention.. because we never foresaw ToyCon 2006… it's a surprise for having Mega Trade Hall 2, for having a 2-day event… it's very unpredictable… for now I'm starting to short-list my activities and my planning about the 2007 because it's the year of Transformers because Transformers will be shown next year and Spiderman 3… well I think we are getting Spiderman 3 just like this year with Superman Returns and last year with Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith… so we always have a theme.. so maybe we're targeting Transformers the movie, the live-action movie or Spiderman 3… if we get those two… I'm sure it would be much bigger, as big as 2006 or better.. because our themes are very iconic…Superman was the biggest icon character in the whole world… so if Transformers and Spiderman 3 enters ToyCon 2007, it would be very big!

Any messages for the Philippine Toy Convention?
I could say… It's the granddaddy of the hobby convention in the Philippines… it's the one big gathering of collectors, hobbyists, and fans… the organizers are very crazy in creating this kind of event... and all of us are still kids at heart…even if we are married or grown up (laughs)

Interview with Level-Up Games Manager in ToyCon
Correspondent: David Michael Ramas

So what do you think of this year's ToyCon?
Well it's definitely bigger than before… back then I remember, they had to ask the cosplayers to line up outside… so it was a hassle.. but now they got it organized.. it's bigger and extravagant… a lot of booths… and a lot of game companies as well that joined in so it's definitely a plus for the community, for the fans.. not really for the sellers… it's more of for the community.

Personally… how do you see the cosplayers?
Well, though I'm not pro to this… there were a lot of Yaoi and Yuri cosplaying! (laughs) Their audience impact was great… and there are a lot of better cosplayers now.. a lot of mecha… and I heard they don't really know each others… before when we experienced cosplay… there were only 1 or 2 mecha costumes.. but now there are a lot… I'm pretty sure that there will be more who'll participate in the future cosplay events.

Are there any future events that Level-Up will participate in?
After ToyCon, we'll be having a booth also in the National Cosplay Competition of Otakuzine and HERO… after that, we'll be having an event of our own… at September to October, the "Level-up Live" where we'll feature the national finals of the best game series in the country which is of course.. Ragnarok… the Ragnarok Philippine Championship… finals for RF Online.. Rose, Freestyle and other games…

Any messages for the Level-Up supporters out there?
Thank you for supporting Level-Up… I believe we had rough times before, and we might be having a lot more problems ahead, but we are foreverly grateful… also to the anime fans.. because from the very start they were right behind us always… and they never failed to support us in every events… Even this… just a booth in ToyCon… not exactly a Level-Up event but a lot came… so we are really thankful to them and hopefully they all keep supporting local games and all events here in the Philippines.

June 18, 2006

ToyCon continues it's event for the 2nd day as numerous bands and original films by groups has been played to be judged and given a prize by the organizers… this day's highlight was the panel discussion of the Pinoy Toy Kolektors which discussed about how and why they collect toys, knowing how much it is to fund and what's its basic morals and values of being a toy hobbyist.
Also an appearance from mister Digger Mesh of Art Asylum made the crowd once again loud as they joined the panel discussion and answered a few questions from the audience… later that day… the cosplayers has been asked to assemble at Mega Trade Hall 1 for the group cosplay event… but a special appearance by Dingdong Dantes and Karylle made the crowd scream for autographs and took a lot of pictures… He was asked to judge a contest of "Create you Local Superheroes" and later headed to Mega Trade Hall 1 to greet the cosplayers and soon exited after.

Mokona of Tsubasa Chronicles also made a scene as it's almost 3 feet diameter costume made the people squeal for joy and take pictures… Before the start of the cosplay event, the band named "Reklamo" played one of their songs, they were known to be a Transformer's fan and played the Transformer's theme as their ending music. The Group Skit Cosplay then continued on with 7 groups… extravagant casting of Gundam Seed Destiny, Naruto, Magic Knight Ray Earth, Kingdom Hearts II and of course, the most waited of all… Angel Sanctuary cosplay group, and others which was given a standing ovation from the audience

Exclusive Interview with Art Asylum's Founder, Mr. Digger Mesch
Correspondent: David Michael Ramas

So what do you think of this year's ToyCon?
A: I think it's great… I had so much fun.. I'll be coming every year…

Could you give us a brief description of your organization?
Well Art Asylum was formed about ten years ago… with me and a handful a lot of people… main office is in New York.. I'm the founder and just resigned in being president and I've been living in Hong Kong for 6 years ago… I'm still part of the company but I just didn't want to be the acting president.. so I still continue to support it with the new company…

Are there any events that you'll participate in?
Well if it's here and it's good… I'll come… yeah…
Connecticon is coming up on July… is Art Asylum doing any steps to be in this?
Where is that?
I didn't even know there was one there (laughs) The main show is in San Diego… we'll be there
Any messages for your supporters out there?
I love the energy here man…I found a lot of really great artists… I did expect a lot of talented artists, but I just didn't know how many… everybody who showed me their work… it was excellent… so yeah I'll be coming back every year… the girls here are cute too… (laughs)

Interview with Himitsu Heki’s Lead Female Vocalist
Correspondent: David Michael Ramas

Who is your favorite J-Pop Band/Singer?
There’s a lot… but my first influence of course is Utada Hikaru… now it changed.. mostly it’s male singers…Q:

So what do you think of this year’s ToyCon?
It’s fun and a lot more contests and jam-packed!

Any messages for your fans out there?
Fans? (laughs) Keep on supporting us… and hopefully they can always appreciated these kinds of musics…

The half-a-million pesos expenses of ToyCon has really paid off with a lot of people who enjoyed it even if it was jam-packed, full of people… everyone who exited the event had a smile on their faces… probably because the VCDs went down to 10 php or rather they got the rare items they wanted! We expect more from ToyCon on 2007 and we'll be there again to cover it!

Prepared by:
Irean Jean Cabalquinto
Futomi Nomura
David Michael Ramas
Alyssa Acedillo
Joshua Guinoo



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