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Winning a Cosplay Competition: Do you need to be in armor?

Right after the Best of Anime 2012 event I received text messages and Facerbook private message asking that is it mandatory now to be in an armor or mecha costume if you want to win or at least have a chance to win in a cosplay competition.  I shared several personal views regarding this matter and here is my answer to winning a cosplay competition and do you really need to be in armor to win?

First and foremost let me remind everyone that "cosplay" is not only the "competition" part.  When you decide to start cosplaying, you should first and foremost understand the original intent of this art and hobby (that is what I consider cosplay to be).  You should study the character that you want to cosplay and at least get to know him or her better.  Understand who he is and then when you cosplay that character become him on the event.  An epic cosplayer is someone who becomes the character and people sees that character in that cosplayer rather than someone who just wear a costume and look good.

Second, I always believe that what is being judged is the whole package, that is the costume + how it is carried on stage.  I rather want a judging criteria which says "accuracy" rather than "craftsmanship."  Why?  First and foremost not all cosplayers own their costume and even make their costume.  Craftsmanship will only apply to those who make their costume and wear it, then again it is also unfair to say that a cosplayer should only be those who can make their own costumes.

Accuracy, in the word itself measures how accurate is the costume to the one scene in the anime, movie, game, etc.  How close is that costume?  Do you actually imagine the character coming to life when you see the cosplayer on stage?

Mr. Satan from Dragonball Z with Super Saiyanman and Videl at Best of Anime 2012
Third, to directly answer the question, I do not believe that a cosplayer should be in an armor or mecha costume in order to win.  I do not believe that an epic cosplayer is one which cosplays mecha or armor alone for that is not what cosplay is supposed to be.

Fouth, if you want to win in a competition you need to do your best and to have self confidence.  It is true that a cosplayer in armor has an advantage somehow but if you can outperform that cosplayer and awe the audience and the judges then you have a great chance of winning.

Fifth, the competition always depends on how the judges define the criteria or in some cases how the organizer defines the criteria and the selection process.  Cosplayers cannot argue on that since the view and decision of the judges are always superior among everyone else.

Cosplay in Tokyo: Photo from  www.globalgrasshopper.com
Some would ask, do I have the credibility to say these things?  Definitely yes.  When I won as Best Anime Cosplay during ToyCon 2012, I defeated armored and mecha cosplayers simply because the character seems to have came to life in the eyes of the audience and the judges.

In closing, always remember that cosplay is not about winning.  Sometimes, I myself have problems in accepting defeat but in the end I always remind myself of this.  If you truly are a cosplayer then the first and foremost priority is for you to ensure that you are having fun and giving entertainment to others and winning is just a consolation for your great work.

Do follow us on Twitter @shenbrood and my cosplay organization too @narutocosplayer ^_^V

Happy cosplaying!

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