Tracing the Roots of Filipinos’ love affair for Anime with fans, cosplayers and Viu
Whether you are a new, casual, or hardcore fan (i.e. Otaku), there is a good chance that you’ve been exposed to the Anime scene in one way or another. Whether it was catching it on daily morning shows as a kid or knowing someone who joined cosplay conventions, Anime has been a consistent staple of Filipino pop culture for years. Over time, it has built a loyal following of fans who grew up with their favorite character and series and have helped continue its popular rise today.
The Beginning of Anime Culture
Otakus believe that the anime love affair can be traced back to the early 2000s when TV networks brought in a variety of Tagalog-dubbed shows. This helped make Anime content more accessible to kids in cities and provincial areas. Some fans even grew up watching Anime because their parents were also fans and it had become embedded in their childhood—from the toys they played with to the clothes they wore.
“When my mom realized that my sister and I love watching Anime, she started buying us a lot of Anime merchandise like pillowcases, bed sheets, and Video CD so we can watch our favorite series over again. My earliest Anime memory was watching Dragon Ball and Cardcaptor Sakura. Since then, I just became addicted to Anime and I explored more things that are connected with it,” said Roxanne Kho, MSI Gaming Philippines Ambassador, & Cosplayer.
Another reason why Filipinos find Anime appealing is because of the relatable life lessons and characters they grew up with. “I think what makes Anime special is it has an overarching theme that makes you want to keep on watching. What is unique about it is you grow up with the character. The audience for Anime is also wider, it can tackle serious themes that aren’t often seen in other cartoons that are made for younger children,” added Jin Joson, World Cosplay Summit 2021 Philippine Representative and Winner of Special Award for Costume-Making.
The Anime Effect
The platonic love fans had for their most favorite characters paved the way to the rise of cosplay conventions in the Philippines that eventually became their venue to express themselves, promote their hobby, meet new friends, and get updates on everything Anime. Conventions also hosted various activities for fans to enjoy such as Artists’ Alley where indie creatives sold artworks, the Dealer’s Hall where sponsors sold collectibles, Industry Guests where attendees got to interact with the voice actors, producers, and other key figures behind the Anime show, and the Main Stage where cosplay competitions were held.
It was also through these events that their hobbies became a lifestyle, and some were even able to build a career path out of it. The passion for their craft led to learning professional skills such as tailoring, photography, or makeup that allowed them to also grow artistically in different aspects and continue nurturing their undying love for their favorite shows. Julienne Muñoz, a fellow Otaku, believes that the boom of Anime was reincarnated because most of the fans are now grown-ups, and she uses her influence to spread awareness about Anime among her circles. “In my case, I work in Viu and I use my job to bring in good Anime shows that a lot of people can enjoy and relate to,” said Muñoz
Video-streaming platform Viu Philippines recently added the most popular and fan-favorite Anime titles to its growing library of premium Asian entertainment that fans can watch legally and for FREE. “Watching Anime Shows on Viu is really convenient because you can stream on demand. I love that there is now a legal streaming site where we can watch our favorite Anime shows,” added Joson.
“Before, I used to watch on different websites but now I have a platform where I can watch all my favorite shows. As mentioned in one of my Anime review videos, I love how Viu brings nostalgic shows like Slam Dunk. I’d also recommend a new Anime show called Takt:op Destiny,” said Diane Sabandeja, Cosplayer and Anime fan.
What is also great about Viu is it has the nearest translation of subtitles, keeping the authentic message or essence of an iconic scene. “I really love Haikyuu!! and the way that I was able to get the character’s point of view. This is why good translation is very important for every fan. With Viu, it has the nearest Japanese translation in the subtitles, which gives us fans more feels while watching the show,” said Fran Añonuevo, a fellow Otaku who also works in Viu.
With Filipinos’ growing love for Anime, it is undeniable that it will continuously grow in the next 5 or 10 years – opening infinite possibilities for people to make their hobby as their passion and career. “There is a magic charm that only Anime can give us, it takes us to another world and makes us temporarily forget our worries and problems. Who knows, a few years from now, cosplaying can be a profession or Anime culture will be taught in universities too,” noted Kho.
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