Hobbycon Sabah 2022 surpasses target, attracts 12,000 hobbyists
Founder Johan Julian Lee says while cosplay event may seem like a waste of time, it is meaningful to hobbyists
HAVING started cosplaying a few months ago, Melanie Yap Mui Hua, 32, said that cosplay events know no age. They also unite people regardless of gender, religion, and race.
“It is a way to let our ‘inner child’ have fun and share our mutual love for the characters or stories. It is not bound by any status quo; [cosplaying] unites everyone sharing the same passion,” she said.
Yap, a Sabahan, recently attended Borneo’s largest animation, comics, and games (ACG) event, Hobbycon Sabah 2022, where she was dressed as Lucy from Cyberpunk: Edgerunners (a video game).
She said it is her fourth time participating in an ACG event, with the first one being the Sabah Otaku Market last October.
She said she took part for fun but found it to be a creative outlet for expressing her passion for fictional characters, and making new friends who share the same interests.
Melanie Yap dressed as a video game character, Lucy from Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. – Pic courtesy of Melanie Yap
“I understand that not everyone is into anime/cosplay, but ACG events today cover a wider scope including comics, e-sports, card games tournaments, VTuber, and so on.
“Cosplaying is also not strictly limited to anime characters. You can do Marvel/DC comics characters, gaming characters, and more. It is interesting to see what people come up with, and their interpretation of a character is what makes each cosplay unique to different people,” she said.
Another participant, Wilson Kevin, 30, has joined ACG events in Sabah since 2012, and it is his ninth time taking part in Hobbycon Sabah.
Wilson said he had waited for two years for the event, which was halted due to the pandemic. He showed up with four different costumes representing different characters.
He was Tohru from Miss Kobayashi’s Maid Dragon on the first day, and Naruto Uzumaki from Naruto, Hilichurl from the video game Genshin Impact, and a T-rex.
Wilson Kevin (right) dressed as Hilichurl from the video game Genshin Impact. – Rebecca Chong pic
Kevin said that he spent about RM300 for the entire event, and he managed to save a lot of money by making parts of the costume himself.
“A lot of people might not understand that the friends you make during the event are a huge part of why we love to participate in ACG events. Everyone having fun dressing up as their favourite characters together, it is a lot of fun and an escape from our daily hectic lives,” he said.
Both Yap and Kevin flaunted their creative outfits – thanks to Hobbycon Sabah 2022 for hosting the event locally.
Founder of Hobbycon, Johan Julian Lee, said that the organising team was absolutely surprised to see this year’s event so well-received. They has expected 3,000 participants, but over 12,000 people showed up.
About 12,000 cosplayers nationwide attended the Hobbycon Sabah 2022. – Pic courtesy of Hobbycon
He said that the team has done everything they could to prepare the best experience for the visitors, and was glad that it turned out to be a success.
Speaking about common misconceptions about cosplay as a hobby, Johan stressed that the hobby is far from “a waste of time”.
“Cosplay on the surface may seem like a wasteful hobby but dive deeper in, you will realise it is an activity that helps introverts meet friends and socialise with their circle sharing the same hobbies.
“It also promotes skills like make-up, crafting, props building, presentation/skit,” he said, adding that parents of teens should not stop their children from exploring the hobby.
Another organising team member, Kendrick Ng Tiong Heng, said that most people started cosplaying because they love a character, series, or game so much that they want to express their joy for it.
He said people continue cosplaying to test their skills, to show their creativity, and as a way to be a part of a community.
Today Hobbycon is a must-go event for Malaysian con-goers, illustrators, comic artists, toy collectors, gamers, cosplayers, and fans. – Rebecca Chong pic
“Even though cosplay may seem like a kind of silly dress-up for adults on the outside, it’s a lot deeper and more meaningful for the members of the community. People put a lot of work and love into their costumes. It’s something you can’t know fully until you have experienced it.
“Cosplay is a way to participate in the fandom and express yourself and your interests,” he said.
An event for introverted youths
Johan said Hobbycon actually started by “accident” when in 2007 members of a forum named Clickstartplay – which gathered cosplay and games enthusiasts – decided to host an event to showcase their hobbies.
It was called Hobbycon for its variety of hobbies.
“After the first event, I knew I had to keep it going as it was a great outlet for hobbyists to gather. And I realised the impact it had when introverted youths get to open up and make new friends,” he said.
Over the years, the event grew to become the largest event of its kind in East Malaysia, a must-go event for Malaysian con-goers, illustrators, comic artists, toy collectors, gamers, cosplayers, and fans today.
Wilson Kevin dressed as Tohru from Miss Kobayashi’s Maid Dragon anime series on the first day of Hobbycon Sabah 2022. – Pic courtesy of Hobbycon 2022
This year, Hobbycon Sabah was held for two days at the Sabah International Convention Centre on December 17 and 18. It attracted thousands of local Sabahans as well as enthusiasts from the peninsula, Labuan, Sarawak and international visitors.
The event saw various activities including the All-Stars March, Star pass meet & greet, stamp hunt, games and esports tournaments, stage talks, and performances, live stage performances, special and featured guests, cosplay competition, hijabi cosplay competition, kids cosplay and colouring competition, art competition and more.
Among the highlights this year was the Creators Alley, where content creators like cosplayers, streamers, illustrators, comic artists, and crafts enthusiasts showcase their talent through a variety of self-published goods, artworks, comics, and crafts.
There were also a Toys & Collectors Avenue, Food Market, and Tabletop Lane where vendors display and sell their goods, F&B, toys, games, and other items.
Special guest cosplayers Knite, Yosuke, VTuber Sushiya, and popular comic artist Ben Wong, as well as featured guests cosplayers such as Nono Britannia, King Angel, Hiyoteru, Hinatasyah, FoxxyQueen, and Ephe were also invited to the event.
Malaysian artist #Kendylife, streamer Doddy Gaming, and VTuber Bella Yukihime were also present.
The event was sponsored by TierOne Entertainment, Gank, Sakura Color Japan (Malaysia), My Game Store, Hado Malaysia, Borenos Chicken, and D’Live. It was organised by Kinabalu Impact, powered by Rema Synergy, and endorsed by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah.
source – The Vibes