Last weekend, cosplayers from around the world flocked to the Wold Cosplay Summit. This is more than simply the Olympics of posing and priming in character costumes. Cosplayers perform on stage, giving the competition an air of theatrics.
Held since 2003 and supported by the Japanese government, the World Cosplay Summit invites cosplayers from across the globe to face off. The first day of the competition is the cosplayer parade; the second date is the stage competition. The WCS began way before the Tokyo Game Show began trying to showcase foreign cosplayers.
What makes the WCS competition somewhat unique, and one reason why it garners governmental support, is that the costumes must be handmade, and more importantly, must be of a Japanese video game, anime, or manga character.
Judges include some very famous individuals, such as famed manga artists Leiji Matsumoto (Space Battleship Yamato) and Go Nagai (Cutie Honey).
Japan has only won the World Cosplay Summit once, while France has won it once, Italy has won it twice, and Brazil's won it three time, including this year, with costumes of Balthier and Ultima from Final Fantasy XII. The winners, Maurício Somenzari and Mônica Somenzari, also won for Brazil back in 2006. The grand prize winners won round-trip plane tickets to Japan and the country's Minister of Foreign Affairs Award.
This year, Italy came in second place with characters from Sugar Sugar Rune, while China was third, cosplaying as characters from hack-and-slash game Dynasty Warriors 7. Second place winners got a complete set of Bushiroad trading cards, while third place got an array of Nagoya snacks and treats. (More info on Yokoso News.)
Photographer Achim Runnebaum of Albas Photography attended this year's World Cosplay Summit in Nagoya and provided Kotaku with photos of the cosplayer's parade and stage competition. Be sure to check out the dazzling costumes and pics in the gallery.
Cosplay is part of Japanese pop culture. But it's become international—it global geek culture. And one of the best things about the WCS is that it's helped in destroying the notion that only Japanese people are good at cosplay—so not true!
To enlarge the photos, click in the lower corner.