2013 Year In Review: Big Things Come in Droves

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We are hopeful that 2014 will not only be a great, but also a banner year for anime events in the country (FreedomStrike Group photo)

2013 may be best remembered for being the most eventful and the most controversial year that I had experienced. Sure we had the Zamboanga Crisis, Napoles and the Pork Barrel Scam, Calamities, Natural (like the Bohol Earthquake and Supertyphoon Yolanda [Haiyan]) and Man-made (the Saga at the Senate featuring Senator Miriam Santiago and Johnny Enrile), Beauties (like Ara Arida. Megan Young and Bea Santiago) and Brainless (the return of Battle of the Brainless on Philippine TV).

We witnessed how Philippine Television has evolved for the past 60 years (and celebrate it with style), then the slew of happenings that happen during Election season (the campaign, the mudslinging, and the Election Coverage innovations and etc). Deaths, from Bella Flores and Pepe Pimentel, Eddie Romero and Danny Zialcita, to Paul Walker, Nelson Mandela and Cory Monteith.  The Affordable Health Care Act (or Obamacare) had a rough time sailing past bipartisan lines, A US government shutdown, A Movie that will enter the annals of film history as the biggest bomb this year (The Lone Ranger). All that happened this year.

On tech, Blackberry almost succumbed, while Apple revamped its OS to a design similar to its fierce rival Android. Windows Phone slowly gained momentum, as opposed to Nokia ending up from top of its game to its devices unit being a part of tech giant Microsoft. “Selfie”, “Regram”, “Foodporn” “OOTD” “QOTD” and other Instagram hashtags became social bywords. Al Jazeera America and Fusion debuted, while the BBC and TV5’s news operations moved to new sites. Brian Griffin was killed off, only to be resurrected after two weeks. Michael J. Fox and Robin Williams made stunning TV Comebacks, as Breaking Bad and Dexter said  goodbyes, alongside a slew of cancelled programs

All of it, made 2013 the most memorable year I have ever witnessed.

And the Philippine Anime Community also shone bright in 2013.

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Interconnected: Kwento ng Kasiyahan and Cosplay Mania 2013

October 7, 1953, Judge Antonio Quirino took out his nerves of steel and launched the first ever Philippine Television Broadcast via DZAQ-TV Channel 3, We were the Second country next to Japan to have regular Television broadcasts . Technology was cumbersome, There were so many glitches, but for the very brave few who started PH TV off the ground, It was the start of a 60-year journey.

Fast forward to today, We are celebrating 60 years Philippine Television. No one can ever deny, or can ever argue, that Television was instrumental in bringing to us a paradigm shift in the change of cultures and our lifestyles

This weekend, we will celebrate two historic events, Events that I believe is interconnected to our television pastime. The Kwento ng Kasiyahan Event, which celebrates our kinship to television, and Cosplay Mania ’13, which utilizes the power of television and and social media to connect to anime fans everywhere.

I don’t want to say these two events are different, they’re one and the same, For me, They represent how TV has changed our lives, Whether you are a Kapamilya, Kapuso or Kapatid, It’s undeniable that Philippine Television surely affected us and touched us in one way or another.

Happy #Kapamilya60Years Philippine TV, and Let’s Get into Overdrive this #CosplayMania13!

This was the post I wanted to write on my personal Facebook wall today, but either because of the character count or because of my internet connection, I had to truncate it, and this was the result (don’t worry, it’s one of my few public Facebook posts)

Now, quite interesting that this weekend will have two events that I had a heart in. October 7 marks Philippine Television’s 60th birthday. And, like I said before, I do believe that without television entering our lives, We won’t be enjoying the best anime programs, the best Korean dramas, or even your Teleseryes and newscasts, and I stand by it. 

Just think, If not for James Lindenberg’s dream and Judge Antonio Quirino’s nerves, We would never have Philippine Television. However imperfect it may seem in PH TV’s formative years, without the insistence of Don Eugenio Lopez to his son Geny to buy Alto Broadcasting System (ABS) and merge it with their Chronicle Broadcasting Network (CBN), There wouldn’t be Buhay Artista, Oras ng Ligaya, An Evening with Pilita, Nida-Nestor and Gloria-Luis, and when they went back on the air in 1986,  There wouldn’t be any Home Along Da Riles, Palibhasa Lalake, TV Patrol, MMK and other Philippine television gems.

To be fair, If we won’t have TV as well, you won’t see Marian Rivera donning her Darna costume, Richard Gutierrez doing his swashbuckling moves, Dingdong Dantes getting all emotional on a scene, or even you won’t hear Mike Enriquez yelling “Hindi namin kayo tatantanan!” or Jessica Soho sign off “At ito po, ang State of the Nation”. You won’t even see the Tres Kumares on Morning TV, Vic Sotto asking “Is that Your Final Answer?” or Ogie Alcasid hosting “Battle of the Brainless” and leave you in stitches.

And, same way too, We won’t have any Cedie, Sarah, BT’x, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Naruto, Gundam SEED, Hitman Reborn, Kuroko’s Basketball, and you won’t see Slam Dunk, Ghost Fighter, or even Shakugan no Shana, Tora Dora, or Gundam 00.

Anime and Television are interconnected, make no mistake about it, and I am one with ABS-CBN, and all other Filipinos who love television in celebrating this momentous occasion that is 60 years of Philippine Television which is coinciding with the biggest cosplay event in the country, Cosplay Mania 2013.

So many people are prepping for this event, So many cosplayers are fixing their costumes, and so many photographers are investing in their lenses and other peripherals, That I what I think about Cosplay Mania. It has become the most awaited cosplay event of the quarter, and with so many people coming in droves to the SMX Convention Center – Manila, you’d bet that Cosplay Mania definitely is a big event.

And, talk about being big, They have lined up a superior covey of guests from the Asian cosplay scene to grace the Occasion, Event Returnees Kaname, Reika, Jesuke and Pinky Lu Xun will be joined by other Cosplay Mania first timers like Viospace, Vic Kumiko, Goldy and Orochi X, to name a few. Cosplay Mania was the pioneer of bringing guests to the country, and for that, we should be thankful that despite all the problems, despite all the scandals and issues that rocked the country, they still found our country to be the most endearing, the most cosplayer-friendly and the most passionate country when it comes to cosplay. We surely had our hospitality genes in place when these guests come in droves, and for me as a Filipino, I’m proud.

Starting tomorrow, We will look at possible scenarios that would play out in Cosplay Mania. The Cosplay Tournament of Champions is surely going to be a big draw with returning champs Adventure Team raring to go back to Singapore and compete in the ARCC, or will it be Team MARCH’s  turn to go back?. We will also see so many cosplayer stories that will play out, especially on Tuxedo Team, Jin Joson has been letting out some clues already on her pages, so let’s see how it will play up.

And, will there be an Anime Festival Asia – Manila Leg Announcement? For sure, AFA’s Songwen Ouyang may come back to have a final ocular look at Cosplay Mania and, once for all, hopefully, drop the big bomb that AFA 2014 may finally include Manila as one of it’s stops.

These are the stories to watch out for this coming weekend, and We do hope to be with you on those weekends to report and be with there on these historic two days.

Cosplay Mania and Kwento ng Kasiyahan, Two Events, Two Weekends, Interconnected by one medium, and that is Television. 60 Years ago, It was all dreams, 60 Years later, We’re looking into the future.

And That’s The Way It Is, Headin’ Out!

Anime on Television: Boon or Bane?

To open up this blog post, I will extract two very beautiful dialogues and scenes from my current series addiction, The Newsroom, on its 7th episode, The first one is where Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) is having a heated debate with Leona Lansing (Jane Fonda), and I am going to link the post from the show’s official page.

 

“We don’t have the trust of the Public Anymore”. A strongly worded statement there, (if you don’t know what the hell Charlie is saying, watch it from the start of Season 1)

 

And this post from one of the lead characters, the ubiquitous Mackenzie MacHale (Emily Mortimer)

Now, why do I had to start with those quotes from them? Because Television is a public trust, we all know that. The public trusts television not just because of the news content. The people trusts television because it has been their constant companion ever since. When we were born (well, if you were born post-October 7, 1953), TV has become our ultimate companion. We have been bombarded with the latest news, information and entertainment in our midst. Take note that TV has become our babysitter, mentor (and tormentor), guide, informer, and, most of all, entertainer. Sure the concept of “trust” would only be allowed (and is definitely true) in news and information/factual programming. But do entertainment shows have that same “trust” factor that people behind the scenes also understand?

Personally, yes, There is still that “trust” when it comes to entertainment programming, and in what form does “trust” go in entertainment? Well, a very vague example is you trust ABS-CBN, GMA or TV5 to provide the best teleseryes that will air from morning till night. You trust these three networks to give to you the Korean drama you wanted to watch. And, in our topic. You trust these three networks for the best in Anime. 

Yes, you trust them for the best in Anime. You entrust the networks to at least understand you and air the best anime titles. Whether it was already aired before or even an ongoing series from Japan, you want to trust them to deliver what you really want in terms of anime programming.

But the networks betrayed you because they did not air what you wanted them to air. And you, the viewer, think that the networks has left you, and thus, you lost their trust to them.

It’s the same line I have been hearing and reading since I first became engulfed in the culture in 2004. The networks will never spend foolish company money just for an anime title which will only be watched by a few thousand people, and that is basically true. Anime audiences are a fickle as compared to the k-drama and the primetime and daytime soaps that can reach a mass-based audience. Anime audiences are just a simple niche, as compared to the general audiences that these networks want in effort to get ratings (and revenues) for them to support their business.

Yes, Television is a business, not a charity organization. But it seems that anime fans are taking anime programming more seriously to a level that is already on the “facepalm levels”.

Yes, I do believe that Free TV terrestrial stations must have a semblance of anime programming in their lineups. Ever since GMA introduced the very first anime series on TV, which was Voltes V, It has become a culture, and a part of our lives. (Well, you have to thank Freddie Garcia for that). And if not for an executive who wanted to dub anime in Filipino and some regional languages, the masses (yes, the very same teleserye-loving masses) will never understand what these characters are saying (again, credit that to FMG)

I also do believe that Anime on Free TV should also be the latest anime series from Japan, as evidenced by ABS-CBN’s pilfering of Kuroko’s Basketball which not only topped the Nationals, (the first ever anime series from ABS-CBN to top the national ratings since time immemorial, and even break into the daily Top 20 for a time), but has endeared many people because of its storyline, which connects the audiences well. Not only because of its bishie characters, but because of its story, A story that would make ABS-CBN’s Teleserye writers more like novices in comparison.

But because of the tight financial burden anime has become, No free television channel will ever risk investing a new title and place it on a slot where advertisers lust for it. No one will invest in anime on prime time because hey, it’s more wise to create a 50-million peso teleserye than a let’s say, 10-million peso, 25-episode anime title at 6:00PM. Advertisers are not going to invest on anime simply because Anime is for kids, and what products will they only put in these kinds of programs? Fastfood Toys, Sodas, plus the fact that anime is all to underestimated by a lot of network people!

That is where cable comes in, and as i’d like to say a sports jargon, “No harm, no foul.”

Cable is there to serve that niche. Yes, it is expensive (picture PHP 2000 peso installations and monthly fees ranging from 300 pesos to 2000 pesos/month, that’s why these “anime otakus” who watch on Free TV despise cable)  but it is more effective to program in cable because there is that niche. And cable has two sources of income. The revenue it generates from the operators who are willing to shell out carriage fees per month, and advertiser support. Nowadays, Advertisers are not only banking on Free TV to show their products, with the advent of Cable and Satellite, (to think, we have more cabled and satellite-installed homes today as compared to 10, or even 5 years ago), Advertisers are now more tightly-focused. They now peddle their products to the exact audiences that they want, and that’s how the power of Cable and Satellite can also influence network execs.

Now, let me give you this question: Is Anime on TV a boon or a bane?

My answer, Yes, it’s a boon, but it could also be a bane. It’s a boon for the networks and audiences. It’s a boon for the networks because it is a chance to show them a content which is quite different from the normal fare. It is also a boon for TV programmers to finally get that millennial audiences they are so hard to program with. Just think. Anime is a genre that could connect to a wide array of audiences, audiences that need escape from the regular fare that they always see.

But its a bane too, A bane on the part of networks because of fans being too demanding. A bane on advertisers because it is not a marketable format to put products on, and a bane on those who loved k-dramas and regular local fare because of anime being, “For Kids Only”

Now, would we trust the Networks again to air the best anime programs like “Free”, “Gin no Saji” and “Shingeki no Kyojin” because of these reasons?

And that’s they way it is, Headin’ Out!

 

The Essence of Being A Writer and a Journalist

Writers are a superstitious bunch when they always write just about…. everything.

I read that Road Dahl has a writing style that is completely his, He only has one choice of pencil and one choice of yellow pad when he writes his famed children’s novels. Yes, he writes his story in long hand and also he painstakingly erases everything that he knows will not fit well to the story. One one instance, one of his books that was 30+ pages long had to go 200+ of papers just thrown away!

I also heard of some other writers having their own superstitious beliefs when they write, or they type. I also happen to be on that bunch too, I write using a long ruled yellow pad, of certain quality, and I also write using black ink. My creative juices also go in the wee hours of the night, which is not unusual for some writers as well. That’s why during my college years, whenever I have the chance. I write my novels and try to immerse myself. Sometimes, when inspiration is there, I go two-three pages, but when the well is dry, I write sometimes half a page long.

But I always think myself first as a writer, second as a journalist. I write because I really want to speak on what I believe in, I write because there are so many things that come into my head and I needed a medium to let it all out. I write because, hey, I love to write.

I write novels, and yes, my first ever novel was written 9 years ago, during the time I was still in high school. I also write short stories and also some fiction features that would tickle the imagination of teenagers. The topics of all my stories center around on two main themes: Extreme sports and Friendship. That is one thing I want to share it to you, my never-ending passion to write about how teenagers become scuba divers, or skydivers, or ice-divers. They are in the age where they are not scared of exploring the world beneath them, and for me, these extreme sports personify these traits of teenagers. When they are in deep trouble with themselves, they count on their friends to be there and to help each other while at the same time they explore about themselves. That for me, is how I want to tell you as a writer.

Would you believe that during my elementary school days, I hated to write? Yes, I hated to write because I always grow tired of writing long sentences and phrases. My teachers noticed it, and my mom quickly intervened, She enrolled me to a “Writing workshop” which will eventually “cure” that trait. Little did I know that workshop was a Journalism workshop, and things started from there, for me as a Journalist.

 

I was a campus journalist all throughout, from elementary, to high school, all the way to college. I am proud to be a part of the greatest teams who chronicled history, and that was the reason why I chose to stick to this career path, with so much interest. I felt more inspired to be on the heels of history, reporting and telling you what is happening. I will write about the event in the most objective way possible.

And now, I apply what I have learned to ZEN Otaku Honbu, itself an institution in anime journalism. I know that doing this job that we grew to love has its own sacrifices. Before, I used to go into events with my friends, and just hanging around. Now, I sacrifice my time and my effort to know more about the event, Interview people and write the story in as little as 12 hours after I go home or we get scooped by some “bloggers” and “writers” who act as “journos”.  To tell you the truth, it hurts to me to be outscooped, more so that in this age of social media, blogging and the internet, anyone can become a journalist and become a writer. To me, nothing beats good old inquisitorial journalism and hard nosed reporting. People will try to emulate you, and that’s good, but when they become copycats, or more, they became too much over their head over a few likes on Facebook, or retweets on Twitter, or even being discussed on their own blog, that, my folks, is a different story (and a different editorial to boot)

 

Writers are here because they have a job to do, They have the job to tell you what they think of their world. Journalists have a job to do as well, and that is to tell you what is happening in this world. And I am proud to be both, to tell you about my world and what’s happening in this world.

 

And that’s the way it is, Headin’ Out! 

Groundbreaking

 

 

Later is going to be Hero Face Off 2013, surely it’s going to be the biggest cosplay event in the country, and it’s also groundbreaking.

Why groundbreaking? Well, its going to be the first ever official World Cosplay Summit national qualifiers. and no less than Ed Hoff, the communications head of World Cosplay Summit (yes, the one in Japan) is going to grace the event, possibly as one of the judges of the WCS Philippines finals but of course, overseeing the big event organized by Anime Alliance Philippines.

We had a really nice chat with Mr. Hoff, who is a Japanophile from Canada. He has lived in Japan for the past 15 years and it seems that his knowledge of Cosplay was really way beyond what we knew. He became at home to our culture and to our food, and to me, it was a good sign that great things are sure to come.

 

We do also expect some ABS-CBN Executives to be there in the event as well, led by Narrowcast Head Antonio “March” Ventosa, who has to grace the event (hopefully) as the in-charge of Creative Programs, which owns Hero TV. Also expected to be gracing the event are some channel heads of CPI Channels, of course, led by concurrent Balls and Hero honcho Marjorie “Jojo” Estacio.  And of course, personalities would also be there to

Meanwhile, Today at Toycon, I bumped into former TV5 President Ray Espinosa, who made a quick tour inside the venue. Looking dapper as the just-appointed associate director of First Pacific,  he went inside the function halls to check into the life-sized figures and busts. Maey Bautista and Mike Nacua of GMA Network, meanwhile. cosplayed as Kirito and Asuna of Sword Art Online for a shoot for GMA News TV’s Day Off. I wonder, surely, is SAO the only anime we have?

 

Toycon Day 2  has became an affair with everyone, from Executives to celebrities, to just ordinary folk who would want to search for that long lost toy, to be with their friends who share the same interests, or even to be in the character of their choosing.

Day 3, meanwhile, will be groundbreaking. with WCS Philippines, Radyo Pirata, and Social Media, what can be more “groundbreaking” than this?

 

Headin’ Out!