Anime Expo’s masquerade this year was full of great passion portrayed through all the craftsmanship and the hard work of the cosplayers. It packed a full house in the largest hall and lasted for over two hours. They opened the show this year with a video mixed with anime and cosplay shots from over the weekend. Our hosts for the event were Kyle Herbert (Ox King from Dragon Ball Z) and Lisa (Badtz Maru). We were given a surprise opening act/introduction to the guest judges. The Try-Guys came on stage in Sailor Moon 80’s hair band crosplay while a clip was going behind them of their Sailor Moon transformations. After a lip sync rocked out song, a female Tuxedo Mask entered the stage and had a little speed dating set with the guys. This was the first time the Try-Guys had cosplayed and did an impressive interpretation of the Sailor Scouts. The guys were half the judge panel (primarily judging performance of the contestants) and the other half were experienced costumers from the industry (judging craftsmanship).DSC_7713There were over thirty contestants, each with an opening clip and a performance to best display their cosplay. The very first performer was a little girl who goes by “Chibi Cosplay” dressed as Miku the Vocaloid. She won the hearts of the crowd with her pint sized dance routine and kawaii charm. About half the routines were complete performances and the other half were set to music for the cosplayer to just walk around and show off their craftsmanship. A vaporeon cosplayer wowed the crowd with her historically accurate 1800s dress with a pokemon twist. The entire Cute High Earth Defense Club Love crew performed complete with full costume transformations for both the main five guys and even the three “villains.” More favourites of the evening were the “Otaku fangirls” who had functional moving parts, steampunk Scarecrow, a Meow furry suit from Space Dandy, an impressive choreography of the Joker and Harley Quinn, and incredibly well done Gundam mobile suit who used a sales pitch of a used car salesman. The final group of the night were the “Voiceover Brigade” performing a pokemon battle sequence. Their super silly skit turned utterly romantic in a split second when the battle seemed to be over until one pokemon master gave his pokemon a “destiny knot.” The pokemon then quickly recovered from his assumed defeat to purpose to the other battling pokemon. It took the whole crowd, along with the now fiance, a split second to realize what was happening until you could see her physically shaking from the shock. The audience went wild and needless to say, she said yes. DSC_7814While the judges deliberated backstage, the halftime show started with four songs performed by the vocaloid IA. This was “her” debut to performing for the first time. She was set up at a large video on the screen accompanied by two cosplayers on stage micking both her dress and dance. The dancers were much more enjoyable to watch because they could really pop all the moves the vocaloid was only animated to do. After their performance, a surprise second show started with two members from the Wagakki Band. The Wagakki Band were guests to Anime Expo over the weekend with doing panels, signings, and a performance. They are a traditional Japanese musical instrument band with a modern rock twist. Yoko, the lead vocalist, and Daisuke, shakuhachi flute player, improved a shigin or traditionally sung poem. They began with the flute player playing as the vocalist interpreted danced with a paper umbrella. It was a completely visual performance from start to finish. Once the vocalist started to sing, the whole crowd got goosebumps from her impressive classically trained vocal range.
DSC_7951The judges returned to the stage to present all of the grand prizes. Winners were broken down into four categories: novice, intermediate, master and best in show. Within each category were a third, second, and first prize. Every category winner received prizes ranging from certificates to movies and other such prizes. Best in show won $3,000 and a sewing machine that is worth $4,000. Amazing prizes for people who truly earned it for all the hard work into making and performing their pieces. Third place best in show went to “Sexy Cosplay” for their Soul Calibur 5 cosplay, second to “Team Magpie” for their Persona 4 cosplay and finally best in show went to “Get-a-Gimmick” for his wonderful Butterfree costume.
IMG_1104Check out the rest of the images from the evening below!

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