Animax Introduces Anime VJs
From making anime music videos to dressing up as anime characters, anime fans tend to engage very, very passionately with their favorite anime content. Animax Asia, the leading anime cable channel in Southeast Asia, recognizes that passion. That’s why they’ve embarked on a mission to further engage anime fans.
Meet the Ani-Mates
Animax hails anime cosplay as one of the ultimate forms of anime fan engagement. They’ve been sponsoring cosplay competitions for years. In fact, they recently spotlighted cosplayers during the presentation of their 2010 lineup.
Now Animax takes their viewer engagement drive one step further, by recruiting two of Southeast Asia’s top cosplayers as their VJs and brand ambassadors — their “Ani-Mates”. Filipina cosplay sisters Alodia and Ashley Gosiengfiao will be providing introductions and commentary for Animax shows — in full costume, no less. Alodia herself is one of the most influential women in the Philippines; now her influence will reach forty million Animax viewers across Southeast Asia.
Alodia and Ashley will also be cosplaying anime characters at Animax events across the region. If the sisters’ latest performances in Singapore and the Philippines are any indication, Animax event attendees are in for a treat.
Joining the sisters as an Ani-Mate is someone new to most Animax viewers: Filipina VJ Stephanie Henares. Though not a lifelong anime enthusiast like Alodia and Ashley, Steph’s skill and experience as a mainstream content presenter should serve her well in her new capacity as an Animax VJ. Animax has recently been adding Korean live action series to its programming mix; Steph should be more than capable of adding spice to that content.
There was a very palpable sense of otaku validation and empowerment at the Ani-Mates press conference — a feeling of geek pride, if you will. After all, Alodia and Ashley are truly organic otaku darlings, two anime-watching videogame-playing blog–posting geek girls who’ve been cosplaying at anime and gaming conventions since 2002.
For decades, anime fans have actively shared their enthusiasm in wonderfully creative ways — fanart, cosplay, music videos, even character analysis essays. Now two anime fans get to share their enthusiasm right before the anime episodes themselves. Now two anime fans get to share their enthusiasm at events across Southeast Asia. Now two anime fans get to take their fandom all the way up to the content presentation level. Anime fans become anime ambassadors.
Dawn of a New Age
As far as I know, Alodia and Ashley are the first cosplaying anime VJs in Southeast Asia. This is a win-win arrangement for everyone involved: Alodia and Ashley get to express their passion for anime, viewers get a cosplay-enhanced anime appreciation experience, and Animax gets more viewer engagement. If the cosplaying Ani-Mates succeed in engaging viewers, expect other networks to start recruiting cosplayers as anime presenters. Expect other networks to start doing what Animax is doing, what every business should be doing in today’s conversational markets: hire fans to engage fans.
Perhaps one of the guest cosplayers at the Ani-Mates press conference could be the next anime VJ. Perhaps, like Alodia and Ashley, one of them could take their anime fandom all the way up to the content presentation level. Of course, even if other networks start recruiting cosplayers as anime VJs, Alodia and Ashley will forever be known as pioneers — and Animax will always be known as the innovator. The Ani-Mates initiative marks the dawn of a new age for Southeast Asian cosplayers — an age of increased opportunities for anime industry participation.
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