And for the sake of convenience, I’ll replace the phrase “Titanium ticket holder” by the word “Titan” from here on out.
As the event website says, the Titanium ticket grants the following privileges to its owner:
- access to any (or all) meet-and-greet sessions with international guest cosplayers Linda Le (aka VampyBitMe), Reika, KANAME☆, Jesuke, Tatsumi Inui, Pinky Lu Xun and Orochi X and J-music artists LOVERIN TAMBURIN and Aya Ikeda;
- limitless access to all event premises, including a VIP seat inside the main stage during the Cosplay Solo Showdown, Cosplay Tournament of Champions (TORCH) finals and the JAM concert; and
- a limited-edition poster signed by all of the guests, gift packs from event sponsors and a custom event badge.
The price is no joke, and they only made ten Titanium tickets available. I asked a co-organizer in the event who I happen to be friends with to reserve a Titanium ticket for me in case there is one left. Luckily for me, one pledger didn't go on to buy the last Titanium ticket, so it was sold to me. I didn't have the money to burn; in fact, I found it hard to save up for the ticket at the same time I was paying my bank dues, so I had to make sure that the money I was dishing out for this was worth spending.
Then the event came.
The perks of being a Titan - Day 1
I attended both the morning and afternoon meet-and-greet sessions with Vampy, where she was partnered with Jesuke and Pinky, respectively.
I recall asking Vampy, who had cosplayed various Capcom characters, which Capcom character she would want to cosplay next, and I couldn't contain myself when she said Megaman/Rockman was on the list. And not only did she sign my 3DS, I also got two StreetPass tags from her the next day!
I kinda felt bad for both Jesuke and Pinky because most of the questions and the attention were directed to Vampy during the panel Q&A, so I made an effort to interact with them for a bit and compliment them for their costumes.
It was obvious that it would take a lot of time before I could have my turn to meet them. During KANAME's session, they played the songs "Sekai ga Owaru Made wa" from Slam Dunk, Chuuka Ichiban/Cooking Master Boy's "Kimi Sae Ireba", and Choujin Sentai Jetman's "Kokoro wa Tamago".
THOSE ARE MY JAMS RIGHT THERE!
I entertained myself by singing along while waiting. What was amusing in that moment was KANAME went curious as to who was singing along with the music, and then he saw me.
Then, an epic karaoke duet of kings ensued. And the girls loved it.
I told him that the next time he comes to the Philippines, I want an opportunity to do another epic karaoke with him. He liked the idea, but let's just leave it to fate if it will happen.
The perks of being a Titan - Day 2
She still gave me a token of appreciation for my efforts, in the end.
In retrospect, I thought it sucked that I chose to dress up as Anji in the afternoon, because I clearly couldn't break character in my costume. I didn't look good in the picture below, either.
When her meet-and-greet session was over, Aya-san also personally gave us her Twitter name card. She's such a sweetheart, that she almost made me melt. She followed me back on Twitter, as well!
The VIP area: it's JAM time
And ultimately, I got to enjoy the JAM concert at the VIP area where I got to watch LOVERIN TAMBURIN and Aya-san perform upclose with the international cosplay guests seated beside me.
Among the songs the band played were two familiar tunes: Makai Senki Disgaea's "Aishitageru" and a cover of Sailor Moon's "Moonlight Densetsu". You wouldn't have any idea how many nostalgia butterflies flew through my guts during those moments, that I couldn't help but dance to the jam. I’ll never forget that moment when KANAME joined me and my buddies in dancing to the band's music. Reika recorded us while dancing, and I wonder if she posted that video, because I would love to see it.
Then on Day 2, Aya-san graced us with her set of performances. Obviously, she performed various Pretty Cure themesongs. While the songs were catchy, I couldn't seem to dig the music. But when she performed her original songs, I felt that she was able to showcase more of her musicality through those songs. I thought to myself, "Wow, she should produce more of these!"
That’s about it for the good things that came out of my Titanium ticket; now, here were my disappointments.
Strike one. I shouldn’t have expected for a good-looking ID, but I don’t think you can blame me, because the Titanium ticket is supposed to be a VIP thing.
Another one of the perks we’re supposed to get is a limited-edition poster signed by all of the guests. I thought it would be a poster featuring all the international guests in one picture. How dead wrong I was, because what I got instead was a standard promotional poster that they had been using to hype their event. The guest cosplayers simply signed their autographs next to their names on the poster.
Strike two. I’ve been a collector of limited-edition stuff, and I daresay that that poster clearly didn’t qualify to be called limited-edition, especially since it had been on display for quite a while before the event happened. What really became a limited-edition item that day was my own 3DS when Vampy and Reika willingly signed it for me.
While I had access to any and all the meet-and-greet sessions I wanted to go to, instead of being the priority customers for the meet-and-greet, we Titans were made to fall in line along with the regular meet-and-greeters. You can imagine the inconvenience that caused me, especially in Reika’s and KANAME’s overcrowded guest rooms.
Strike three. I felt that most of my time was wasted waiting for my turn to interact with the guests when I could’ve also taken a stroll around the event premises and take pictures of other sights to see.
Strike four. I’m not an infected zombie, for crying out loud.
Then there’s Aya-san’s meet-and-greet session. Aya-san herself was friendly and accommodating, but her handler definitely wasn’t. She called me out when I requested an additional picture with Aya-san when one of the pictures turned out to be blurry, and that didn’t sit well with me.
Strike five. Thank you for treating me like a crook, Miss Handler.
During the JAM concert, we Titans got the opportunity to be seated at the VIP area beside the international guests and interact with them, listening to awesome J-music. It was the guests’ only free time to enjoy the event for themselves, and as a Titan, I wanted to maximize the opportunity I had, but I could only try to politely ask them if they would be willing to take pictures with me during the concert, so it would’ve been fine if they refused.
Strike six. I believed that during the concert, the guests themselves should be the ones to decide whether to grant or refuse picture requests from us at that time, but apparently, their security didn’t afford them that decision, as they out-front prohibited us from asking to take pictures with them.
I was delighted that even though that was the case, Vampy was gracious enough to grant me one final picture with her at the concert.
Now that I’ve said my grievances about the Titanium ticket, let me now share what I think they should’ve done for us who went on our way to spend our hard-earned money to get the VIP treatment we paid for.
What could have been done
First is the VIP badge. We Titans paid P5,000 to get those perks, so I think it would be just right if we got at least a special button pin or a VIP card of sorts to signify our status, because honestly, that laminated card with the lanyard made me feel like I was an event marshal.
Next is the meet-and-greet session. I think it would’ve been A REAL GREAT IDEA if they held a separate meet-and-greet session for us Titans featuring all the international guests, because that would give us the feeling of intimacy and exclusivity that is worth our money. I wouldn’t mind if we’re only limited to two pictures per guest, but please give us some consideration for blurry picture attempts, too.
In addition, I think it wouldn’t hurt if their security towards the guests were a bit lighter with us at the VIP area, because we paid for the chance to interact with them, after all.
Then, there's the band performance line-up. If they are going to feature international guest performers, it wouldn't hurt to put them in the line-up as the final performers of the night. You see, after Aya-san finished her last song on Day 2, we all thought that she was the final performer of the night. We were all getting ready to go home after her performance, but apparently, there was one more J-cover band left to perform, but seemingly so, only a few cared to listen to them. I'm sure that moment felt awkward for that band.
So with that in mind, I suggest that all cover bands be made to perform before the main attraction.
Finally, the limited-edition poster. When you say “limited edition”, PLEASE MEAN IT. Don’t give us your generic promotional posters that are merely signed by the guests at their names, because you can’t expect us to post your generic event poster on our bedroom walls and look satisfied. You should’ve produced a limited number of posters featuring a studio group shot of your international guests, because that would’ve been really special.
Of course, we can’t turn back the time and try set things right at last year’s Cosplay Mania. However, I hope that the organizers consider my suggestions so that if they ever decide to offer the Titanium ticket again in this year’s event, the buyers won’t experience the same troubles and frustrations I had as a former Titan.
I might not decide to get the Titanium ticket should they offer it again, but it will still depend on the perks and the rules that they’ll implement. Regardless, I’m still looking forward to the next Cosplay Mania.
And just for the record, I don't have any sour grapes.