rAge 2012 Cosplay – a judge’s eye view (part 1)

Here’s the TL;DR for those with ADD (whether you know it or not)

  • Thanks to the organisers and sponsors for being AWESOME!
  • Thanks to everyone who participated and was AWESOME!
  • A few awesome cosplayers who were late or couldn’t join in – you’re STILL AWESOME!
  • I want to offer a few humble tips for people who cosplay to become EVEN MORE AWESOME!

So, on with the show :) I had the honour and the pleasure to be part of the 2012 rAge cosplay as a judge together with three other awesome and knowledgeable people:

  • Jack aka ZeroJ my brother-with-a-different-father-and-mother Otaku Magaziniest
  • Angie Hattingh aka Electrra the Fashion Designer and Digital Director
  • Margan T Leleux who is among the top cosplayers in SA

The cosplay was organised by the good people at Legion Ink (page and group) as has become the tradition for rAge, so a massive big thank you must go out to them. Of course most of the cosplayers are part of the Cosplay South Africa group, so they all deserve one big hug!

Expected: 30. Registration: 79

As you can see from the little statistic right there, we had a hectic time. And cosplay seems to have taken wings (at least for a few) and went bigger year-on-year. I want to stop writing and start offering up some photos of some awesome cosplay. Disclaimer – I didn’t take any of these photos – all I could do during the cosplay was take crappy photos from my iPad to try and keep a record of who was officially entered, since the entries expanded so much at the last second, and mr iPad has never been known for its quality or grace. Full photo credits to come at the end of the post :)

Criteria

The judging fell into 3 criteria this year, and we thought they were really appropriate. They were:

  • Impression: how impressive was it without going into the nitty gritty?
  • Quality: Quality of the build? was it made or was it bought?
  • Performance: Not necessarily a song and dance like Idols, but whether you’re in-character.

While each cosplayer excels on one part, they often stumble at the other. I’ll try to explain why and how as we go through the cosplayers.

Performance

This one’s so important I thought it deserved its own heading. The majority of cosplayers are running onto the stage and dashing off. I hadn’t even had a chance to take a snap for record-keeping yet, nevermind getting a good look and studying the cosplay. So, there are a few things that I wish all cosplayers would take into heart:

  • Get on, strike your poses, HOLD THEM FOR A WHILE. A good guideline is to see/hear the cameras go off, and when they calm down a bit, do the next one. 5-10 seconds per pose is good. 3 to 5 poses is also good.
  • Check out the judges – by this I mean make eye contact, and hold it, and see if they want anything – like turning around, etc.
  • Engage the people too – they are who you’re doing this for after all!
  • Be in-character. Don’t know your character? You should. Research! The top cosplayers ALWAYS do this, and it’s FREE :)
  • Don’t be shy! You’ve already spent so much time and effort on your cos, make the most of it! Enjoy it! Enjoy the hell out of it!

First, the NOT winners (who were awesome)

There were really so many great cosplayers that we were all very sad that we didn’t have more prizes – something that’s already been much better than the past (this time we actually had 13 prizes!), but still there were people who really should have been recognised but hadn’t, officially anyway. Here they are in all their awesomesauce (in order of their appearance on-stage):

Remember to click on images to enlarge :)

 

First off was Ray, and his picture-perfect Vash of Trigun fame. It was simply great! The details were wonderful, that stuff on his left arm, the knee-pad, the perfect hair, everything. GREAT impression, great quality, even the performance was great, as you can see in the cool poses struck. He does the team organising the whole shebang great justice :)

 

Natsu from Fairytale! (Thanks KomboKittenThen this guy… I think he’s from Bleach. Do correct me if I’m off the mark! Apologies for not being able to hear the announcer at the time, as well as not really following Bleach after chapter 4577421 😛 IT was pretty good, the hair is a great effort, and it was overall pretty clean. Decent performance, but not awesome.

 

Ah Chainsaw Lollipop girl. Check this direct comparison out – the accuracy in her cosplay is stunning – pretty much every detail had been covered, and if she had a head dangling from her belt I’d have totally bought it (not the head, the cosplay).  The performance could have been a bit more dramatic and true to the source though.

 

Izumi from Full Metal Alchemist. She was actually pretty fantastic, everything from the braid in the hair to the stellar no-smile performance to the presentation. Aced quality and performance, but the nature of the cosplay was that it was less impressive than elaborate ones.

 

The Kingdom Hearts cosplay was pretty damn good, nice details, cool keyblade. It was a shame that we only saw it for like 5 seconds because she dashed on and off the stage as quickly as Kingdom Hearts gameplay.

 

The pixel-perfect Grim Fandango cosplay was really cool, but just not quite impressive :) Nice little jig and jive on the stage too. Don’t know if Grim did that in the game 😛

 

Two My Little Pony cosplays, which was very difficult for me to comment on as I had no idea how olden equestrian children’s cartoons had become a 2012 sex icon. Really nice outfit, cool interpretation of errrr, THOSE (above). Stunning. Kim did do that stunning Portal Chell last year, so the pedigree is there :), and the Rainbow Dash (I think that’s her name) also had a nice vibe with the rainbow hair.

 

Death Note is always easy and fun to cos, and this one had plenty of personality. He was going around writing down people’s names on it, and he had an apple, and he threw it into the crowd. Hope noone got hurt :)

 

Team Gintama’s support had a quality outfit and a stellar performance, too. If you’ve watched the anime/read the manga, this would have brought a smile to your face.

 

Kooh, from an Online game called Pangya (Thanks LeLani Kate) I cannot for the life of me remember who this was supposed to be, (I’m guessing someone from Sucker Punch) and this demonstrates one of the pitfalls of cossing someone who lacks distinguishing elements plus coming from a very obscure reference. Looked nice, and she seemed to have had fun. BUT staying on the stage for a bit longer would have been good!

 

Sherlock Holmes. Or Watson. I enjoyed it, including his limp, and he reminded me more of House than Holmes, but it was pretty fun, but he was running on and off stage pretty fast with that limp (MORE PERFORMANCE PLEASE!).

 

Final Fantasy 9 pair: They worked great as a duo, and individually the detail holds up. The performance was ok, and kudos for trying to cosplay chibi-lised characters whose heads are supposed to be bigger than all the rest of them.

 

Queen of Hearts: She had a fantastic costume, which looked to be hand made. If she made it herself then +20 points. However, the Queen of Hearts really shouldn’t be dishing out cupcakes. So even though Morgane took one and enjoyed it thoroughly, we were in two minds over that bit of performance. Plus point for crowd pleasing, or minus points for off-character? Hmmmm?

 

Ezio of Assassin’s Creed: MAN this was actually pretty impressive. Obviously lots of love and attention went into it, and we could see the shoulder-cape could conceal the weapon hand, and the harness for the hidden blade. It was good… Except for the better Ezio that had appeared too. Kid, you did great :)

 

Scout – part of the Team Fortress trinity of Pyro, Scout and Medic present, he was actually pretty cool. Scout by himself, details were almost all there, and if he had a metal bat and bashed it till it bent it would have been super bonus points. Otherwise it was an accurate and fun cos.

His brethren (sister) was even more awesome though, they’re still coming up, but if the trio did some kind of interaction that would have been awe-waitforit-some :)

 

 

The League of Legends duo had great impressive silhouettes, and we were plenty “ooooh”ing “ahhhh”ing at simply that despite detailing falling just short (for example, why not make the dual-blades come to a point instead of squared?). On that though, the LED lit bow was a GREAT piece.

 

Bane was actually one of my favourites. The head piece was spot on, and the posing was perfect. The only thing that prevented it from taking ace was the lack of a muscle shot – that was what Bane was known for (and that was what made the Borderlands guy’s cosplay – will be discussed in a later post – really stand out for me). And if he could have spoken with Bane’s accent. Whew, then I would have fought for his win :)

 

Leia. Oh Leia. Oh my golly Leia. This classic, timeless and legendary character and cosplay was done pretty well as all the pieces (the few that there are) are in the right places doing the right things. It was thoroughly impressive. But there was a sliiiightly bit too much public nakedness for my personal taste – not to detract from it at all – I think it’s fucking awesome that she’s so comfortable with it – and I encourage it 100%, without sounding like a creepy guy. Let me stop trying to dig myself out.

 

Diablo 3 monk was pretty fun, with the right facial hair to match perfectly. The costume was well made and his performance (“RAAAWWRR!!!”) was pretty much on the money.

 

 

This is turning out to be a lot more work than anticipated, first photo hunting, then writing, then fighting this WordPress thing. I’ll continue later. Hope you enjoyed it so far :)

 

Photo credits:

NAG’s rAge 2012 album

Jan-Hendrik Hofmeyr’s photos

Morgane T Leleux’s photos

Legion Ink’s rage 2012 album

IT News Africa’s article: Cosplayer Characters at RAge

Chanel Rossouw’s rAge 2012 album

Chanel Rossouw Photography page’s rAge 2012 Cosplay prizegiving album

Ruth Shand’s rAge 2012 album