Otaku Expo Tanabata Festival is back, covering all of Megatrade Hall this weekend!

Most people know Tanabata as a star festival held on July 7, but a conversation with Allineus had me Google the keyword “Tanabata season.” After a few clicks, I saw this post from Japan Guide which reads:

Because the 7th month of the year roughly coincides with August rather than July according to the formerly used lunar calendar, Tanabata is still celebrated on August 7 in some regions of Japan, while it is celebrated on July 7 in other regions.

The organizer of Ozine Fest and Otaku Expo had its Tanabata Festival Special event at Ayala Malls Manila Bay on the weekend of July 15-16 (I was able to capture snapshots there). To follow that is the main Otaku Expo Tanabata Festival to be held this weekend at Megatrade Halls 1 to 3 of SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.

Knowing that Otaku Expo has been a name in Manila’s convention circuit since its first edition in 2010, I’m pretty sure that it’s been a constant staple of the cosplay crowd as time passed by:

  • Currently, Otaku Expo has two editions—an Anime and Manga Drawing Special held at the start of the year, and the Tanabata Festival which we are to talk about. Preceding the Tanabata Festival concept was Otaku Expo Reload which ran for some time.
  • In 2020 we are fortunate to ask DMYO / Nao Shirahane a few questions. I know DMYO best for her illustration of Culture Japan (Danny Choo)’s Mirai Suenaga.
  • I interviewed Hanari from Hong Kong, a cosplayer recognized by hololive Production’s Akai Haato, for VTuber NewsDrop. That interview happened at Otaku Expo Tanabata last year.
  • Otaku Expo has invited cosplayers from nearby countries, such as Miu and Shimo (in 2018), as well as Luffy and Tsubasa in 2016. At the Tanabata Special last July, I met Misaki from Thailand.

What’s In Store at Otaku Expo Tanabata Festival?

Otaku Expo already has a detailed guide on Facebook, but to make it brief and concise, the venue is going to make good use of its three halls for all visitors:

Hall 1—Most of the time, we’ll be here to capture photos of cosplayers in their best poses. We may also have our interviews done in this area. (keepsakes. is a media partner for the event.)

  • Photoshoot Area (Organizer’s note: “We will be dividing the space to accommodate more photographers. Just a reminder to the photographers to discuss amongst yourselves so that we can give a chance to other photographers as well.”)
  • Tanabata Area featuring the games you’d usually see in an outdoor fest in Japan. Note that if you are dressed up in a kimono, you can get treats like free popcorn and cotton candy. You can also rent kimonos in the area, or browse through these kimonos on display.
  • Cosplayer Guests Meet and Greet Area
  • Baggage Area (Charges may apply)
  • Busking Area (featuring surprise performers singing to the tune of your favorite anime songs)
  • Food Stalls and Refreshments

Hall 2—The largest hall at Megatrade in terms of space will host a lot of exhibitors as well as the stage area.

  • Stage Area—We’ll be here for the Battle of the Bands, Singing Competitions, Cosplay Competition and the like.
  • Sponsors such as Japan Foundation Manila, Ragnarok Origin Online, Razer Gold, Mineski Slash, and Fuwa Fuwa are here.
  • Ragnarok Origin Online Cafe—I remember that one time I went to what was supposed to be the last Ozine Maid Cafe, only to see that they’ve revived this again and this time teamed up with Ragnarok Origin and Razer Gold.

Hall 3—This is where you go for merchandise and fan arts.

Otaku Expo Tanabata Festival Exhibitor List 2023
Otaku Expo Tanabata Festival Art Booth List 2023

There will also be areas at Halls 1 and 2 allocated for people with disabilities and senior citizens called Ozine Cares:

  • Hall 1—near the busking area
  • Hall 2—near the side of the stage

Sskait, a comic creator of today’s generation and now a staple in most conventions, will be releasing a limited edition “Shiny Sakura Talong” plush at Otaku Expo Tanabata Festival.

Guest Cosplayers

This year’s Otaku Expo Tanabata Festival brings together 5 guest cosplayers from here and abroad:

  • Tomia from Korea, a cosplay legend who has a stellar lineup of cosplays ranging from video games to anime;
  • Joining Tomia is Sansin, who is also from Korea, and a first-time visitor to the country;
  • Tsubasa from Hong Kong, a past cosplay guest who I now remember the most through his cosplay of Redo of Healer‘s Keyaru alongside his cosplay harem composed of Hong Kong’s cosplay legends.
  • Hakao, local cosplayer and official content creator for Hoyoverse’s Genshin Impact with 1.5 million Tiktok followers;
  • and Boozt.io co-founder and chief creator Charess, whose life is divided between her corporate role, guest appearances in the Philippines and overseas, and being a mainstay for Brand New Company’s Irregular Programing network.

Tickets Available On-site

From the organizer: “Online Ticket purchase via Mineski Slash are already sold out but we will be selling at the event […]” Those who are yet to still purchase tickets will still have the chance to get in.