Mainstage Cosplay Contest

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 a 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!

Badge-holding Anime Fusion attendees wishing to take part in the Anime Fusion Cosplay Contests must read the ALL sections of the rules fully and carefully for the contest they wish to enter. If you have any questions or need clarification on any rules, please contact the cosplay contest coordinators at:

For the more informal hall cosplay contest, click here.


Due to the popularity of our cosplay contest, spots will fill up fast. We will not accept updates or any changes to your entry once submitted (ie: changing of members of group, changing characters, changing series). Pretend your submission is like a letter dropped into those big mailboxes at the post office – once it’s in the post, it’s off to its destination and no taking it back! 

  • If you need to make an update and the form is still OPEN, please email to inform the Cosplay Coordinators you will be canceling your original submission and resubmitting so we may delete your old entry.
  • If you need to make an update and the form is CLOSED, please email to inform the Cosplay Coordinators you will be canceling your original submission. We will email you to either resubmit if there are available places OR we will inform you that all places have been taken and you will need to plan to sign up for a waitlist spot at-con (limited spots available).

Signups for the 2024 mainstage cosplay contest will open in mid-August. Join our mailing list or follow us on social media for announcements!


Sign up forms will open online on August 18th , 2024 and will close on October 1st, 2024 or when all available online slots are filled (40 online slots). An additional limited number of slots will be reserved for at-convention sign up.

  • 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 provided on the registration form.
    • Online sign up is mandatory for Performances due to custom audio.

  • Default audio will be provided for on-site sign ups and any online sign ups that do not provide audio.

  • Any contestants under 18 years of age at the time of convention must have a parental guardian with them for check in to sign off on the waiver form. Any minor without a legal adult will be unable to participate.

    • Any contestant under 12 years of age at the time of the convention will not be able to compete in the mainstage cosplay contest.

  • 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:

  • All contestants (including exhibition entries) 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 partial 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 Artist Alley or Dealers Room, please plan accordingly and communicate this to the cosplay contest coordinators at

    • If you are a handler (or stage helper for a performance) and unable to attend orientation, you will not be able to go backstage or on the stage. You will only be allowed in the greenroom space.

    • Contestants do not need to come in full costume and makeup to orientation. If you have special shoes or a large costume piece, please bring that to rehearsal to practice getting on and off stage.


  • Performance: Skits up to 2 min 30 sec in length.
  • Exhibition: Contestants who wish to show their costumes on stage but do not wish to take part in craftsmanship judging. (Not eligible for awards.)
  • Craftsmanship: Costume quality and construction.
    Craftsmanship Levels:
    1. Novice: Contestant has won 0-1 major awards
    2. Journeyman: Contestant has won 2-3 major awards
    3. 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 (e.g. 1st place Novice), Best Performance, etc. If you have any questions about major awards, please contact the cosplay contest coordinators at:

ALL Contestants MUST check in with cosplay staff in the Cosplay Corner on Friday of the convention. This is mandatory. Those who do not sign in on Friday, unless they have a written exception from the Cosplay Coordinators prior to the convention, will not be participating in Saturday’s mainstage cosplay contest.

  • All 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.

Contestants may enter both Craftsmanship and Performance categories for the Mainstage Cosplay Contest.

Contestants may NOT enter both the Mainstage Cosplay Contest and Hall Cosplay Contest with the same costume. You may however enter these events in different costumes.


This category is for individuals or groups (5 maximum) 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 partial 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 (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 weapons/props here: Policies & Guidelines

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

    • Please note our stage dimensions for 2024: 24’ length x 18’ width. There is approximately 9′ clearance for the ceiling, and approximately 6.5′ under the chandeliers.

  • Violations of rules will result in disqualification (firm), and may result in a ban (softer) as determined by Cosplay Staff.

  • 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 service hallway and climb a ramp; please plan your costume accordingly. If you have concerns about mobility, please contact cosplay competition staff as soon as possible at:

  • Each contestant or group is allowed to have one handler to join them for craftsmanship judging and greenroom. If you have a handler who is also going on stage, please contact the cosplay contest coordinators as the handler will need to sign a waiver and 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 reimbursement.


This category is for individuals or groups (5 maximum) 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.


This category 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 (5 maximum).

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. If what you did not make is commissioned or purchased from someone who cannot be present with you in the judging room (e.g. online seller), please state that in your build book or during your pre-judging time.

  2. 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 return is requested. If you have any questions about awards or qualifications of your costume, please reach out to the cosplay contest coordinators at:

  3. Contestants may use a model to showcase their costume if they wish. In this instance, 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.

  4. Each contestant or group is allowed to have one handler to join them for craftsmanship judging and greenroom, unless otherwise approved by the cosplay contest coordinators.

  5. 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 and pictures of process will result in loss of craftsmanship points. O.C.s may enter our contest as well as designs done by published artists such as Sakizou, NoFlutter, Hannah Alexander, etc. Contestants must 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.

  6. Craftsmanship judging will be done during “prejudging” time slots. Please come in full costume and makeup.

  7. 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: Policies & Guidelines

If you have any questions regarding craftsmanship judging, please reach out to the cosplay contest coordinators:


If you would like to have a custom audio 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.
  • If you are going to say or shout something in-character while on stage, let the Cosplay Coordinators know. Do not surprise us – surprise the audience!
  • 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.) 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 PG-13 rating.

Walk-ons (Craftsmanship and Exhibition entries)

  • Craftsmanship and Exhibition entries have 45 seconds to cross the stage.
  • If you choose to do 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 staff at Saturday morning orientation.


  • 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 do not choose 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


  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 coronavirus in any way).

  2. 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.

  3. Be kind to your fellow contestants. Poor sportsmanship and bullying of other contestants is strictly prohibited. If the coordinators or cosplay staff witness or find evidence of bullying, the antagonizing party may be disqualified.

  4. 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’ attentions.

  5. Any violations of Anime Fusion’s rules and policies may result in disqualification and removal from the contest and/or future contests held by Anime Fusion.

  6. Exceptions to previously stated rules can be made at the sole discretion of cosplay department staff.

  7. All decisions of the judges and cosplay contest coordinators are final.