Dressing up as your favorite characters has become a staple to any anime convention experience! Whether you intend on roaming the halls, having fun with your friends in costume, or competing for fame and awards in our Cosplay Contest, Anime Southeast provides a great opportunity to strut your stuff!

You DO NOT need to enter your costume in order to cosplay in the halls! Signing up is for the contest only.

Cosplay Sign Up

Cosplay sign up will take place Friday evening from 8-9pm at a location TBD. Remaining slots will be available beginning at 10:00 am on Saturday. The best slots (later in the day) get taken quickly, so if you’d like a specific time, please come early! You and all members of your group (if applicable) must have a badge when signing up.

Cosplay Judging

When you sign up for the event at the times listed above, you will be able to pick your judging appointment (5 minutes for 1-3 people, 10 minutes for groups of 4 or more). Please read below to find out more about judging appointments.

Cosplay Green room

Cosplay green room takes place in Main Events 1 ONE HOUR before the event starts. All those participating in the event MUST be present or they will be counted as a no-show and be disqualified.

The Cosplay Contest (Masquerade)

Takes place Saturday night. If you are participating in the event, you should know that you will be needed for two to two and a half hours total (this includes the green room AND cosplay itself). You will want to stay for the entire event. In the event that you win an award but are not present to claim it, the award can be picked up in Con Ops until Sunday Morning. We will not mail out awards after the convention.

General Cosplay Rules

  1. Dress Code:All cosplayers must wear the following articles at all times while inside the convention center:Clothing: This is a family friendly event. No costume is considered No Costume. Absolutely no nudity. Please ensure that all costumes are properly secured at all times and are not prone to “indecent accidents”.

    Footwear: To ensure your safety, we ask that you wear footwear at all times. You should consider wearing a minimum of sandals (ie, flip flops) at all times even if your character is barefoot. Skates and rollerblades are prohibited in the hallways. Sneaker-skates my only be worn as a sneaker at all times inside the convention area. Anime Southeast will not be held accountable for any damages or injury that occurs due to inadequate or improper footwear.

  2. Mock or Play-fighting is not allowed in the hallways and convention area. Wielding or handling weapons or props in a way that could potentially cause harm to others is prohibited, whether there was an intent to harm others or not. Mock-fighting is allowed on stage during cosplay but must be carefully rehearsed, reviewed and approved by cosplay staff.
  3. Large Costumes: Please be sure to keep all large costumes contained as much as possible. (We recommend no more than 2 feet in all directions unless it can be folded up or contained) We recommend the use of handlers to help manage your costume if it is larger than this. Large costumes or large parts of costumes are not allowed inside the dealer’s room due to blocking the flow of traffic and other hazards.
  4. Picture taking: Do not stop for pictures in smaller, crowded hallways. Please go outside, to a less crowded area, or to the designated picture taking areas. Do not block doors, ramps, exits, corridors, and aisles while taking pictures.
  5. We reserve the right to remove you from the convention and/or cosplay events at any time. If for any reason we feel that your actions pose a threat or hazard to others while at Anime Southeast, we will ask you to stop or you will be removed from the cosplay events. We simply ask you to be courteous towards others at all times.

Anime Southeast Weapon’s Policy

Weapons NOT Permitted

1. NO LIVE STEEL at all will be permitted on the premises.
Live steel is defined as swords, knives, bayonets, cane-swords, and/or other objects made of metal, which can take an edge. This holds true regardless of whether the object is actually sharp. This includes star knives/shurikens.

Real Swords may be allowed on stage for the masquerade/cosplay contest only, but they are not to be swung. These will be dealt with on a case by case basis and are subject to approval by the Cosplay Head and/or the convention chair.

2. GUNS: The following types of guns are NOT PERMITTED.

  • Real guns
  • Stun guns

Water guns are permitted as long as they are not loaded.

3. There are to be no explosives or chemicals of any kind, including but not limited to smoke powder, sparklers and fireworks.

Weapons and Props Permitted

Bokens, wooden swords, walking sticks.

Fake or made-up prop weaponry (for example, made of wood, foam, bondo, resin, plaster, cardboard, etc) are permitted if they are safe and not dangerous to the other con-goers around you. For example, dangerous conditions include but are not limited to wires sticking out, items that trip passersby, clothes lining an attendee, etc.

Please try to limit the size of prop to less than 8 feet in height and weighing less than 50 pounds. If you do happen to make something heavy, make sure you are able to carry it without a problem.

Behavior with weapons

Anything can be innocent or harmful depending on how its being handled. If you handle something innocently, you won’t be bothered about it. If it appears that what you are carrying may become a problem, we will ask you to put it in your room/car. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Any weapon purchased in the dealers’ room that is boxed, should remain boxed and stored in your private quarters. Weapons are not to be taken out of their packaging or wrappings while at the convention.

All questionable items will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Anything deemed illegal outside the convention is deemed illegal inside the convention premises. All Anime Southeast staff decisions on weapons are final.

Cosplay Contest Information

Here is the information regarding the cosplay contest taking place on Saturday.

Getting on stage?

For those of you never competing in a cosplay contest before, you may be wondering how this is done. You will be going on stage to show off your costume, or going on stage
to perform a skit for the audience. You are not required to perform a skit, but you are required to go on stage!

Walk On
You will be going on stage for a few brief seconds, posing, and showing off your costume to the judges and audience. It’s a low-stress and fun way to participate in a cosplay
contest. Think of it like a J-culture themed fashion runway show!

Performance (skits)
Here, you will be going up to do some sort of performance for the audience, whether you are acting or doing a choreographed dance. These take some time and planning to do, but
they are a great experience! For more specifics on skits and performance rules please continue reading below.

When you register for the cosplay, you will be given a chance to choose how you will be going on stage!

Important notes about getting on stage: We can occasionally allow both a walk-on and participation in a skit or performance, but this will be dealt with on a case by case basis. Take note that you can only enter ONE COSTUME in the competition. You WILL NOT have time to change as the event runs quickly, and we will not stall for you.

About Divisions

Everyone entering the cosplay contest is required to choose a division. A division is simply your placement and competition level. Here’s what each division entails:

For Juniors (Ages 12 and under): For those who are 12 and under, you may choose which division you would like to enter (either exhibition, beginner, or advanced)
depending on you or the costume creator’s experience level. All Juniors who enter will receive recognition for their work!

Non-Competition Division

Exhibition: This division is intended only for people who wish to show off their costume or skit on stage for fun but are not interested in competing for awards.
There are also various costumes or situations that we will only allow in the exhibition division:

  • Costumes that you did not make yourself. These include commissioned, store bought (such as Ebay), rented, borrowed costumes or closet cosplay (costumes made up of entirely existing/found parts with little to no modification). Please note that with commissioned costumes, you should ask the costume creator
    if it’s okay for you to enter your costume for exhibition purposes only.
  • Costumes that have already won at least one major award, and/or two minor awards in the past.
  • Costumes not of Japanese or East-Asian origin. Examples of this would be Disney Characters, Avatar the Last Airbender, or American Comics
  • Japanese and east-asian fashions (Geisha, Hanbok, Lolita, Fairy Kei etc) are welcome to be entered and shown off on stage, but will fall under Exhibition if the wearer did not create 70% or more of the outfit.

In the Exhibition division, you will not be receiving any awards. Nor will your costume be judged for craftsmanship.

Competition Divisions

The following divisions are for those who want to compete for awards with their costumes and/or performances. In order to compete here, your costumes must adhere to the following criteria:

  1. Costumes must be of Japanese or East-Asian Origin.
  2. All costumes must have been made from scratch or by heavily modified existing parts at least 70% or more by the costume creator.
  3. Commissioned costumes are not allowed to be entered in the competition divisions unless the costume creator is present to answer all questions
  4. Japanese and East-Asian fashions are welcome to be entered if the wearer created 70% or more of the outfit themselves.

Beginner Division: This division is intended for those new to making their own costumes or performing on stage and have not competed much, if at all.

Criteria for Beginner Division

  • No more than 1 major award won previously for their costumes or performances.
  • No more than 3 minor awards won previously for their costumes or performances.
  • No more than 2 years of experience creating costumes or performing on stage.

Advanced: This division is intended for those who are more experienced with creating their own costumes or performing on stage.

Criteria for Advanced Division

  • More than 1 major award won previously for their costumes or performances.
  • More than 3 minor awards won previously for their costumes or performances.
  • More than 2 years of experience creating costumes or performing on stage.

For “Master Level” cosplayers: For those who have 6 or more years of experience or have previously placed in Master Division at a comparible sized convention or larger, please let the cosplay staff know of this when you register so that we will be able to place you accordingly.

All About Costume Judging

Remember that in order to have your costume judged for craftsmanship, you must enter for one of the competition divisions, Beginner or Advanced! It also must meet the criteria listed above!

When you register for the cosplay contest, you will be able to schedule an appointment to have your costume judged for craftsmanship. Here are some things that you need to know about the judging process!

  1. Bring a reference! A reference is a picture of the character that you are cosplaying. Without a reference, we cannot accurately judge your costume for craftsmanship. You will receive a “0″ for accuracy, and it will severely hinder your placement in the contest!
  2. Be prepared to talk about your costume Come in knowing what you want to say. Tell the judges everything about how you made your costume. Things you should talk
    about include fabric, construction methods, or any special methods you used to get around a problem in designing the costume (like making something gravity defying).
  3. The judges will look at your costume up close! Make sure that your hems and seams are finished properly! Your costume may look great from 5 feet away, but if it looks sloppy up close or on the inside, you won’t score as high! Take time now to make sure that your costume is as neat as possible. Also, don’t forget the iron!

Judging Appointments: There will be 60 judging appointments availible. They will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis! These appointments last for 4 minutes for groups consisting of 1-3 members and 8 minutes for groups with 4 or more. Generally, the time is spent half discussing your costume, and half looking at your costume up close.

Division Bumping: The judges and/or cosplay coordinator reserve the right to bump you into a higher division. Please let us know if you do not want to be bumped into a higher division at the time of your registration.

Skit and Performance Information and Rules

All performance entries are subject to the following rules. Disregarding these rules may result in disqualification and/or you could be asked to leave the event.

  1. Costumes and skits must be PG-13 Cursing, sexual or explicit content, and obscene gestures are not permitted.
  2. Skits must be no longer than 3 minutes in length. Skits that run on longer than 4 minutes (within reason) will be disqualified from any awards. For this reason, we encourage you to pre-record your skits unless it absolutely must be performed live (such as playing an instrument). You will be given 30 seconds in which to enter and set up, as well as 30 seconds to clean up and leave the stage.
  3. No surprises! What you present to us during your pre-screening session is what we will see when you go on stage during the event.
  4. Objects and actives not permitted on stage: No live steel and firearms, incendiary devices (such as sparklers, firecrackers or smoke bombs), messy substances (including glitter, petals, confetti etc). No throwing of objects will be permitted. If you hit the equipment or judges with thrown objects (ie, Pokeballs) you will be disqualified. No acrobatics or jumping off stage. All staged fighting must be reviewed and approved by the cosplay head.
  5. Reckless Behavior resulting in falling off stage, or breaking/damaging equipment (or nearly doing so) will result in disqualification. If you break something, you buy it. So unless you have hundreds of dollars to spend, keep the massive zombie battles for the playground and not the stage.
  6. Member Limit: Your group can be as large as you’d like it to be, but no more than 5 people should be on stage at a time. If you group involves staged fighting, no more than 3 people should be on stage at any given time.
  7. What goes on stage with you MUST come off stage as you leave.
  8. Direct Interaction is Forbidden! You may not interact with the emcee or judges. You may not ask audience members to come up on stage. However, you may interact or attempt to get response out of the audience members from the stage (such as holding up an “applause” sign).

Mandatory Pre-Screening Sessions

All skits must be pre-screened for content, subject matter and general length. To be pre-screened, you may do so at the time of your registration.
Please ask to see the cosplay head or cosplay head assistant to arrange a pre-screening session. If you do not arrange a pre-screening session by the time Green Room seating begins, you will be cut and you cannot go on stage!