While I often complain that the Philippines does not have a rich localized manga industry like Singapore and Indonesia, we do have a very rich history in animation.
Some of you may have heard of members of Pixar coming from our shores, but for all the local otaku out there, did you know that Toei animation has been in Manila for 25 years?
Last Nov. 16, Toei celebrated their 25th anniversary in the Philippines, sharing the works that they’ve done all these years as well as some goodies (in fact, A LOT OF AWESOME merchandise!). Currently, Toei Manila is working on Precure, Toriko, and One Piece. Their animation history extends as far as Dragon Ball, Sailormoon, Kinnikuman, Hokuto no Ken, and Voltes V (The Philippine Fan favorite). Almost all of these titles have had their chances in being shown in local television.
Seeing the event reminded me of all the anime that was generously shown in local TV. I suppose, it’s not much of a surprise that Filipinos immediately associate Japan with anime rather than manga because most Filipinos encountered Japan through television… and World War II… but we’ll get to that later.
I was fortunate enough to be dragged along as a volunteer for this event again, and while the morning was spent as a Toei family day, they had booths open to the public where they have some One Piece figures on display, have your photo taken with Sakuragi, or… have yourself sketched by one of their animators.
See, there’s an episode of Smap x Smap where KimuTaku and friends answered a One Piece Quiz. The prize was an illustration of the winner with the Strawhats crew. Clearly, KimuTaku fought hard to win it, eventually gaining a portrait of himself with the Strawhats crew. The thing here is, it wasn’t an illustration by Oda. It was actually an illustration from Toei animation.
Hence, I took this opportunity to take my chance in getting myself illustrated by one of One Piece’s animators. According to her, she’s currently a background designer for One Piece but she’s had her shot in drawing Luffy and friends. Thus, it was very easy for her to draw my strange request: a picture of me and Luffy eating a giant onigiri.
Towards the afternoon, there was a fun karaoke contest and TOEI held a parade which was smaller compared to their 20th anniversary parade, but just as fun as the last one. I think they’ve taken note that in the next event, they’ll put on cosplayers rather than beauty pageant finalists.
The final event was a cosplay competition which was kinda awesome given how well craftsmanship in Philippine cosplay has evolved. There were transforming robots, kamen riders, and tons of magical girls. The winner was a SuperRobo Wars, Philippine fan favorite: Voltes V. I’m quite sure that 80% of the people who stopped by has no idea what One Piece is, but I’m quite sure that 100% knew Voltes V… enough to even sing the ending song during one skit of the winning team.
You can check magnetic-rose.net for the other details about the event.
Big thanks to Toei animation for working hard in giving us some fun anime to remember!