Ozine Fest may not be the hottest event in the Annual Anime event cycle. It used to be and tried to be one in the past, with mixed results. From moving to a more prominent venue like the others that came after. To bringing guests, old and new from the annals of fandom. It tried. But the more they try to change the formula, the more the face backlash, in the form of different controversies.
In any case, I’m not here to discuss the past. What this post will focus is my observation on my brief attendance at this year’s event. Particular on the first day of the such.
As a person who coved this event in the past. Typical Ozine fest occupies the entire Megatrade Halls. This year is a bit different. Halls 1-2 are the only place filled, while a fashion bazaar holds hall three. In this setup, I should expect that they crammed every nook and cranny of space they have for the dealer’s room. It was their biggest bread-and-butter after all, besides the ticket sales. But to my surprise, they didn’t, which also is a disappointment for people looking to buy their swag. I remember the last time there was a lot of vendors, most of them unique. Some even sell artificial vaginas, which got them some media mileage for that matter. This event is also where I bought my Yaoi games. Something that I haven’t gotten around into reviewing the other two.
In any case, my time roaming around yielded your big indie stores and some whom I guess were patrons of the Uy brothers. The people are responsible for bringing this event. I can’t say for sure if any of the issues that plague them in the past contributed to the sparse turn-out of vendors, or it is a conscious decision by the management to keep the vendor size to a minimum. After all, they still have other means to earn their keep. Like the tarp auction and their meet-and-greet cosplayers, which I won’t cover since I am not interested in them.
It Was A Music Centric Day
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to Ozine that day. I checked their social channels regularly days before the event, hoping that they would give me an idea of what to expect for that day. But then it dawned me that I am going to Ozine and if you go to their event, expect to be surprised. Given my experience, I thought that they would split the cosplay event into two days. Either the first day is for the group cosplay and the other for the individual. While no surprise that the cosplay catwalk happened on the second day. I didn’t expect for them NOT to have a single cosplay event on day 1. But despite the lack of information dissemination, the people who attended seemed to have gotten the memo of some sort. Cosplayers were less than what I expected, both from inside and out. Not a lot of standouts in that made me notice.
Despite the lack of cosplay program, the silver-lining for me is that it’s all music throughout the day. From your usual Karaoke contest to Battle of the Bands. They also have feature performance from your staple anime cover bands, Moonspeak and Asterysk*. They also have feature indie idols, which I will delve deeper later, that gave life to the show. I spent most my time recording each of the contestants and bands that played until my batteries run out. I’ve posted the videos of performances I find worth to share on my Facebook page and Twitter. I’ll have them posted here as well so that people can always look back without having to search for them in my social streams.
Overall, as far as to summarise my impression on the contestant, there are interesting ones, and there are odd ones. Yeah, a lot of them suck. But to some them, it is just one of the means to muster confidence or their self-imposed rite-of-passage to showcase how devoten fan they are to a series. Their homage through singing gave them the opportunity and with the event’s “chill” nature, which makes it a perfect environment for them.
Idols Rouse the Crowd
As I mentioned above, the creme-dela-creme of the event is the idol performances. Yeah, they aren’t your typical Idol group per se. None of that live from Japan that other prominent event organisers are holding in their event. It was more of an omage to the culture of the idol fandom, where fans (mainly boys) cheer for their idols while the idols show their appreciation by working hard for the said fans. Fans buy merchandise and religiously attend the events that involve their said idol. It is in line with what we see in the west as screaming fangirls wetting their panties for their stars. This one is more nuanced, and it follows a particular structure. I could go on about this peculiar culture, but this isn’t a venue for it, at the same time I don’t have any clout to speak for this niche. Just remember, idols are to be respected and feared.
Oh, I forgot that it also featured the debut performance of an indie idol group called loverin or something to that effect. I didn’t follow their performance because since it was plagued with technical difficulty. But even so, people still went wild from their performance, so I’ll leave it at that. I am also bewildered to how they manage to get a sizable following despite being their first debut. They don’t have a backing of any big network like MNL. But for some strange reason, boys would scream for them. All in all, these idols performing were the highlight of the show.
This review may not be the most technical and objective review of the event. After all, I just went there to test my new equipment. Local events like these and others are nothing to write home about anymore. If you have seen one, you have seen them all. Ozine just one of those events that people attend to have fun and meet people who happen to like what you like. When I was there, I felt a connection. That connection to me is to listen to music and see fans try their best to sing their favourite anime in front of the crowd. Yeah, a lot of them suck. But as I had mentioned previously, itself giving them the mic for a brief moment gives them the power to build their confidence. This is why in this year’s Ozine, despite its lack of bells and whistles, it is one of the nicest Ozine events that I had attended and it worthy to give praise.