It’s rather fitting that my first time using a DSLR camera coincided with the World Cosplay Summit US Preliminary at Katsucon 19. This round determines the Eastern Qualifier that will fly to Anime Matsuri in Houston to compete in the WCS US Finals of which the winner will represent US on the world stage in Japan.
If that’s not intimidating enough, the lengthy rules and application process read like a formula. It certainly weeds out the amateurs which include me so I had no idea what to expect walking into the Main Hall. I did drop by the craftsmanship judging the day before but it was apparently closed to the public. In hindsight, I somewhat wish I had exercised my press privileges to observe the proceedings but it’s always better to err on the side of caution and not intrude.
Please forgive me for taking three paragraphs to introduce the host, Yaya Han, not that she needs any. She was lovely and engaging as Mistress of Ceremonies. Of course, her cosplay, like all her other ones over the weekend, begs for photos in its sublime magnificence.
The Summit proceeded at an efficient pace. Length between setups provided just enough time to make and send a tweet. Prefaced with a bio from each team, some of which were rather humorous, the MC would announce the body of work the performance is taken from. While I was unfamiliar with most of the sources, the skits remain entertaining for the most part.
Photos can speak to the craftsmanship of each costume so I won’t dwell on that. More notable are some of the props which rival or exceed the intricacies of cosplay. Every performance unfolded to music with well rehearsed timing. The timing of the curtain drop to dramatically reveal Saber in an reenactment of the summoning elicited a chorus of approval.
At some point, I felt that the act of appearing from behind a prop became overused. That said, it’s fairly natural that distinct teams arrived at the same method given the alternatives. Unlike the Masquerade, points are awarded for faithfulness to the source so that places limits on the skit.
I have always wondered about the degree of creativity presented via art or mathematics. Art, without inherent rules, offers no boundaries for one to create. Mathematical laws force certain realities that one cannot escape. Is something more creative due to the restraints placed upon it? In other words, does it take more creativity to give birth out of nothing or to do so under strict structure.
Take a painting or a building for instance. Which is more creative? A van Gogh that blossomed from a blank canvas or Fallingwater that materialized within the confines of physics? In a related tangent, would the skit be easier if less or more time were allotted? All the teams deserve solid recognition for the hard work poured into the creativity demonstrated lavishly here.
Only one brief moment soured my experience. While a time limit is placed upon the staging of props, one of the teams gestured agitatedly with an impatient expression to a stage hand that made me frown. Perhaps there was miscommunication but it would have been more presentable to address the issue off stage.
At the conclusion of performances, the judges retired backstage for deliberations. They took considerable time so all of the teams must have made great impressions. Meanwhile, WCS US performances in Japan from previous years were broadcasted on both screens to entertain the audience.
All the teams shared hugs after the announcement of the winners. And without further ado, the results are below.
1st Place: Karmaluna
2nd Place: Fox Gloves
3rd Place: Kiwi Teacup Studios
Organizer/Best Résumé Award: Fox Gloves
The teams are:
1. Karmaluna (chrono cross): lunadyoflight and karmada
2. Fox Gloves (fate/zero): Ali and Ashe
3. Kiwi Teacup Studios (RG Veda): Envel and Dustbunny
4. Lady Ava and Oshi (Castlevania)
5. Scarlet Mafia (Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden): Erisaka Blu and Vicious Cosplay
6. Last Minute Cosplay (Tsubasa Resevoir Chronicle): Tohma and Shey
7. Saturday Cerebus (Monster Hunter): Ian of Saturday Morning Cosplay and Sharbuncle of Cerebus Productions
8. Make it Work Cosplay (Tales of Grace): Evenstar1 and Utai Mitsumo
9. Cosplay Awkward (Are You Alice): JavaChai and Smashley