Cosplay Contest

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From anime to books to podcasts, cosplay is the art of bringing your favorite characters to life. What matters most is that you’re having fun!

So what’s the cosplay contest? It’s a chance to show off that awesome work you’ve done. If you have a costume you made and want to be judged on your work, or have a performance you want to show a crowd – come check out this event and bring your best poses for the spotlight!

Due to COVID-19 safety concerns, the 2021 Cosplay Contest will be limited to 40 entries.

ANIME FUSION COSPLAY CONTEST

All those wishing to take part in the Anime Fusion Cosplay Contest must read ALL sections of the rules fully and carefully. If you have any questions or need clarification on any rules, please contact the cosplay contest coordinators at: af_cosplay@animefusion.net

PARTICIPATION

  • Sign up forms will open online prior to the convention and will close two weeks before the event. A limited number of slots will be reserved for on-site sign up.
    1. No custom audio will be accepted at on-site sign up. Custom audio will only be accepted during online sign up. All audio will be pre-screened for PG-13 rating and content. If there is an issue with your file, the cosplay contest coordinators will reach out to you with the email you provide on the registration form.
      • Online sign up is mandatory for Performances due to custom audio.
    1. Default audio will be provided for on-site sign ups and any online sign ups that did not provide audio.
  • Any contestants under 18 years of age at the time of convention must have a parent or legal guardian with them for check in to sign off on the waiver form. Any minor without a legal adult will be unable to participate.
  • All contestants (including exhibition) must CHECK IN on Friday in the Cosplay Lounge. Contestants will be asked to sign a waiver during this check in for stage use so it is mandatory to check in. If you are unable to make it to the convention on Friday and cannot check in, please email the cosplay contest coordinators at: af_cosplay@animefusion.net
  • All participants (including exhibition and HANDLERS) must attend MANDATORY orientation on Saturday morning (specific time TBA). There will be no exceptions to this as it is to go over stage safety, greenroom, and tech requirements. Performances may do a rehearsal of their skit during this time; others may rehearse their stage walks (walk-ons).
    • If you are running panels, please let Programming know that you will be unavailable during Cosplay Contest Orientation.
    • If you are running a table in the Artist Alley or Dealers Room, please plan accordingly.
    • If you are a handler and unable to attend orientation, you will not be able to go backstage or access the greenroom.
    • Contestants do not need to come to orientation in full costume and makeup. If you have special shoes or a large costume piece, please bring that to rehearsal to practice getting on and off stage.

CONTEST RULES

Cosplay Competition Categories:

  • Craftsmanship (costume quality and construction)
    • Craftsmanship Levels:
      • Novice: Contestant has won 0-1 major awards
      • Journeyman: Contestant has won 2-3 major awards
      • Master: Contestant has won 4 or more major awards or gains income through cosplay commissioning or works in costume/clothing alterations (professional).
    • Anime Fusion’s definition of Major Awards constitutes: Best in Show, 1st in category (1st place Novice), Best Performance, etc. If you have any questions about major awards, please contact the cosplay contest coordinators at: af_cosplay@animefusion.net
  • Performance (skits)
  • Exhibition: Contestants who wish to show their costumes on stage but do not wish to take part in craftsmanship judging. (Not eligible for awards.)

Contestants may enter both Craftsmanship and Performance categories.

ALL contestants MUST check in with Cosplay staff in the Cosplay Lounge on Friday of the convention.

Contestants who signed up online still need to check in to receive orientation instructions and call time. All Craftsmanship entries will select their craftsmanship judging time (prejudging) at this time.

PERFORMANCE (SKITS)

This category is for individuals or groups who wish to perform a skit on stage.

  • Performances are allowed a maximum of 2 minutes and 30 seconds (2:30) on stage.
  • Performances must have pre-recorded audio and skit content must adhere to a PG-13 rating. All audio is pre-screened for content by the cosplay contest coordinators.
  • A mandatory rehearsal is required on Saturday morning at orientation for screening of performance content. If the content is determined to not adhere to the PG-13 rating, contestants will be asked to revise or will be changed to a walk-on with default audio.
    • If contestants refuse to revise, they will be removed from the contest.
  • Any props or materials brought onstage during the performance by the competitor MUST leave with the competitor. Glitter, confetti, liquids or other messy materials may NOT be used onstage. Open flame, lasers, strobe effects, fog/smoke machines, and projectiles are also NOT permitted.
  • There will be no live steel or real weapons allowed! Any prop guns must be obviously props (i.e. marked with an orange tip). Prop firearms cannot be pointed at the audience at any time and fingers must remain off the trigger. Please see our convention policies on props here: Cosplay Policies

Any stage combat must be safe for all cosplayers and convention property. All stage combat must be reviewed by Cosplay staff prior to competition. All stage combat must stay on the stage.

WALK-ONS (CRAFTSMANSHIP AND EXHIBITION ENTRIES)

This category is for individuals who wish to display their costume and model for pictures on stage. 

  • Walk-ons are limited to 45 seconds.
  • If using custom audio, please submit the sound file cut to the appropriate length. Anime Fusion Tech staff will not cut music or start music at specific times. 
  • All Craftsmanship contestants are required to cross the stage. Please come to the show in full costume and makeup.

CRAFTSMANSHIP JUDGING (PREJUDGING)

This section is for cosplayers who make their costumes and wish to be judged upon the quality of construction. Cosplayers may enter individually or as a group.

Contestants will select a craftsmanship judging time on Friday in the Cosplay Lounge when they check in.

  1. At least 80% of the costume must be made by the participant or, if you are modeling a costume you did not make, the creator must be with you during craftsmanship judging.
  1. Contestants may not enter a costume into Craftsmanship that has previously won a major award at another convention, physical or online. They may only enter a costume that has won a major award if they present extensive documentation of updates/changes made. Contestants found to be breaking this rule after being awarded will be barred from entering future Anime Fusion Cosplay Competitions. All erroneous awards and prizes must be returned to the convention. If you have any questions about awards or qualifications of your costume, please reach out to the cosplay contest coordinators at:  af_cosplay@animefusion.net
  1. Contestants may use a model to showcase their costume if they wish. Both maker and model MUST be physically present for craftsmanship judging. The model will cross the stage, but if awarded, the award will go to the maker. If only the model is present for judging, the contestant will be entered as Exhibition.
  1. Each contestant or group is allowed to have one handler to join them for craftsmanship judging and greenroom.
  1. Reference materials (ex: character photo, Original Character/Design drawing, WIP (work in progress) photos, and/or a build book) are required for craftsmanship judging. Failure to bring reference materials will result in loss of craftsmanship points. Original Characters may enter our contest as well as designs done by published artists such as Sakizou, NoFlutter, Hannah Alexander, etc. Contestants may bring physical reference materials or digital. If using digital, please bring your own device and have photos ready when you come to craftsmanship judging. Please have them organized into a folder so judges may scroll through unencumbered. 
  1. Craftsmanship judging will be done during “prejudging” time slots. Please come in full costume and makeup.
  1. All costumes and props must adhere to Anime Fusion’s safety, dress, and weapon policies. Any modifications made to costumes or props to fit within these rules will not count against the contestant during craftsmanship judging. For Anime Fusion’s policies, please see: Cosplay Policies.

If you have any questions regarding craftsmanship judging, please reach out to the cosplay contest coordinators: af_cosplay@animefusion.net

STAGE GUIDELINES

  • Please come in full costume and makeup to the main show. If you have special shoes or a large costume piece, please bring that to orientation/rehearsal to practice getting on and off stage.
  • To access the stage, contestants may need to pass through a small hallway and climb a few stairs; please plan your costume accordingly. If you have concerns about mobility, please contact cosplay competition staff as soon as possible at: af_cosplay@animefusion.net
  • Each contestant or group is allowed to have one handler to join them for craftsmanship judging and greenroom. Handlers will also be allowed on stage if necessary (if so, please contact the cosplay contest coordinators as the handler will need to sign a waiver; all handlers must be present for Saturday orientation). If contestants do not have a handler and are in a large/unwieldy costume, Anime Fusion cosplay staff will do our best to assist entering and exiting the stage, however if any damage is done to the costume, staff and convention are not liable for reimbursing.

AUDIO GUIDELINES

If you would like to have a custom audio track played during your stage walk (walk-on) or performance, please follow the guidelines below and submit the audio with your online application. Note: NO custom audio will be accepted on-site. 

  • There will be no live mics for competitors.
  • All audio files must be pre-recorded/cut and submitted in MP3 format.
  • All audio files must adhere to PG-13 ratings. (All audio files will be pre-screened for length and content.) A PG-13 rating excludes mentioning of profanity, sexual content, offensive or inflammatory topics, political or religious beliefs, sensitive or controversial material, and other content not suitable for a PG-13 rating.

Walk-ons (Craftsmanship and Exhibition entries)

  • Craftsmanship and Exhibition entries have 45 seconds to cross the stage. If you choose to use custom audio, please have your audio pre-cut to this length. Anime Fusion Tech staff will not cut music for you. Contestants will go over cues with tech at Saturday morning orientation.

Performance

  • Performance entries will have 2:30 minutes on stage. Failure to adhere to this time limit will disqualify your skit from awards. Sound files over this length will not be accepted; cosplay contest coordinators will reach out if the audio exceeds the time limit. Please have all your audio (music/vocals/etc) assembled in a single sound file. Anime Fusion Tech staff will not cut music for you.

If you choose not to submit custom audio via the online registration form, a default track will be provided.

If you are questioning whether or not your material fits within these guidelines, please contact Cosplay staff at af_cosplay@animefusion.net

ADDITIONAL NOTES

  1. No entries may contain religious, political, insulting or offensive statements. We utilize the following definition of offensive cosplays: cosplays that incite violence, racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, transphobia, ageism, and bigotry. This includes race-facing (e.g. blackface/brownface/yellowface) as well as costumes that replicate or make light of historic or current international or national tragedies (this includes depictions of the novel coronavirus in any way).
  1. If any contestant(s) becomes unruly, disrupts, or interferes with other contestants or Anime Fusion staff or volunteers at any time, they will be disqualified and asked to leave. 
  1. Poor sportsmanship and bullying other contestants is strictly prohibited. If the contest coordinators find out that bullying has occurred, the bully will be disqualified. Be kind to your fellow contestants. 
  1. Cosplay judges have been selected for their craftsmanship skills and professionalism. Speaking ill of the judges may result in disqualification. Concerns related to judging or the judges should be brought to the cosplay contest coordinators’ attention.
  1. Any violations of Anime Fusion rules and policies may result in disqualification and removal from (future) contests. 
  1. Exceptions to previously stated rules can be made at the sole discretion of cosplay competition staff.
  1. All decisions of the judges and cosplay contest coordinators are final.

Questions? Email our Cosplay department.