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rAge 2012 Cosplay Winners & More Edition – the Massive Grand Finale (part 3)

Hi all! Sorry for the very very late final edition of my A Judge’s Eye View series! (Part 1 and part 2)

To kick off the end, I’d like to give everyone a massive thanks! It wasn’t perfect, but it was certainly better than any previous years by many magnitudes! Big thanks to LegionInk for their very hard work, and again to all the cosplayers for their effort.

OK, so here are the winners! The competition this time around had many more prizes than the past, which was great, and to be honest I will hope that there will be even more prizes as there simply were many unrecognised greats.

The three categories were: Anime, Games, and Pop Culture.

 

(By the way, there were so much more cosplay goodness that I think a part 4 rounding up all non-contestants should be in order, so I’ll see if I feel like writing for it or turn it into a giant phot-fest – which, let’s be honest, is all you really want, right?)

 

Anime winners

Comparatively speaking, the anime cosplay were the smallest group of them all, but we still had a real hard time picking. Later we saw a few guys who didn’t enter for whatever reason (and will be covered further down!), and we thought it was a bit of a shame.

 

   

3rd – Hatake Kakashi – Naruto (Christo)

What can we say, he got all the details right. The right protector guards in the right place, the right vest outfit, the hair (THAT HAIR! One of the hardest things to do in cosplay is getting that hair to do what it’s supposed to do without it looking like it’s drowned in product.), the little book, and then he whips out the surprise of pulling up the forehead guard to reveal a Sharingan. Good stuff!

The performance was spot-on too, pulling all the signature moves like the Asian Squat that Kakashi loves so. The only let-down was that many of his pieces were not hand-made.

 

 

    

2nd – Cirucci Sanderwicci – Bleach (Philecia Erasmus)

This Bleach costume looked simple, but were really nicely detailed. What attracted us most to this one was that it was all hand-made – obviously – as you couldn’t buy these bits even if you wanted to. So often people come to cosplay with one of those mass-produced Bleach cloaks – which is fun and all, but just lack the je ne sais quoi that we’d like to see in our cosplayers!

Her impressive hair ornament, as well as the cool little… weapon-thing were nicely constructed, and there were a few details that could have been cleaned up, but overall it was really well put together, nicely fitted. The performance was up to standard too, with no rushing and running.

 

 

     

1st – Sakata Gintoki – Gintama (Jes)

You may know her best as Yamaki Chiya, the name she prefers going by on the internets, and she stole first place with sheer detail! Gintama may be a slightly off-the-beaten track character (especially compared to the usual diet of Naruto and Bleach), but anyone who’s been exposed to the endearing character will recognise and be able to relate instantly to this cosplay. First of all ALL the details were spot on – from the hair (another well-groomed, natural looking effort) to all the bits in the costume, it couldn’t be faulted at all.

Then, as we say time and again, if cosplay were a battle, it must be won on performance, and hers was fantastic. She was in character even before she stepped on the stage, with a couldn’t-care-less demeanour that fits Gintama absolutely to a fault. The nose-picking? Not quite intrusive but basically there. Then the magazine thing – “I’M ON THE COVER” was telling the story of Gintama, as if he walked off the pages she was holding (infinite look paradox!?) Even off stage she was caught greeting with the customary Japanese “yo.” palm-forward greeting (pictured above). Topping it off, she had an entire entourage of Gintama and co there… It wasn’t the deciding factor, but it sure was cool. And that, dear friends, is what cosplay is about. Recreating the character.

Then, there was the Gangnam Style dance that Team Gintama was part of organising, that was first performed on stage, and all over rAge, and was pretty darn fun and memorable.

Her Sasuke last year also blew us away – also on the performance and detail. Looking forward to more from the talented miss :)

 

 

Gaming Winners:

The gaming category was a huge Oh-Em-Gee this year! While cosplay’s roots were from anime, this year, gaming and co has definitely stolen the spotlight! There were many more entrants whom we wished we could reward, as you could see from Part 1 and 2, but after some real hard headbutting, these were our final choices:

     

3rd – Caitlyn – League of Legends (Linda Ma)

Even though a lesser known character (one of a massive ensemble of heroes from a game that has less history – although undeniable popularity), this steampunk LOL champion was immediately grabbing. The overall impression was great, with clean, vibrant colours as well as no glaring loose ends. Then the details were just as impressive – the tophat, the gun, and all the bits were hand made, and just as impressive. An appropriately gentle(wo)manly cosplay done well. Despite having a fumble moment with her massive top-hat (pictured above!), she didn’t panic and handled it well. She also had her pose down to a t as she basically had the same one in ALL her photos :) Overall, the quality and detail of the costume build was simply outstanding. Her little documentation of how she made the cosplay was very interesting too.

 

 

    

2nd – Pyro – Team Fortress 2 (Brogan Jones)

First impressions last. The trio of Team Fortress characters (including Scout from part 1) quickly became the focus of much attention at the comp, and the Pyro cosplay was simply chock-full of goodness. Everything was in place, including the endearing mask, the little badge on her shoulder, the flamethrower, the gas canister, everything. And any astute reader would have noticed I said “her shoulder” just not a second ago, and there’s the icing on the cake. The Pyro Is A She! Anyone following Team Fortress would know that Valve has been trolling the players that Pyro might be a she, but not never for certain, and it’s this kind of cool detail that made this cosplay come to life for us, in addition to the great quality, detail, team effort and cool (granted not very vocal) performance.

I wish there were more and better pics of Pyro! Couldn’t find more!

 

 

      

1st – Ezio – Assassin’s Creed (Paula Ferreira)

I have a confession to make – I was going to try and cosplay as Ezio from Assassin’s Creed myself. Then I saw the enormity of the task, and realised that I couldn’t use any of it afterwards (I’m practical like that) and abandoned the idea. Then when we saw Ezio stop onto the stage, we were gobsmacked. First impressions were fantastic, everything was in place. The multitude of armour pieces, the right colours, shadow cast by the hood, it was all there. Then we looked at the details and was doubly impressed by the entanglement of engravings on the armour and just had to ask – was this off eBay? The answer was no – who knew home-made layered and bent plastic sheets spraypainted silver could look so amazing? The performance was exactly on the mark too – Morgane even tried to make her laugh on stage, and it didn’t work. Her icy cold glare held through the entire stage time. Oh and this Ezio’s a she, but not that I had noticed myself until afterwards, so that’s more kudos to her.

I guess they don’t readily make boots like those for guys… Girls have an advantage in cosplay boots! 😛 Well done!

 

 

 

Western/Pop Culture Category:

Again, the more western selection of this year’s cosplay really stole the show this year, and to me that really highlights cosplay as a emerging artform coming to the fore, as opposed to our previous years of being sidelined and regarded being the very fringe of the already fringe. Here we go with the real pop culture stuff – mostly really contemporary!

 

    

3rd – Batman – The Dark Knight Rises (Darryn Bonthuys)

Just look at that. Rubber-plating ALL OVER. First impressions were amazing. It really was as if Batman himself walked in. Even if his performance was lacklustre (He didn’t do the voice), even if he hadn’t brooded on stage, we were simply entranced. We were convinced that his costume was bought, but had to make sure with him. Turns out he has a rubber injection moulding or something machine, and that the parts he did make himself has cost him at least to the tune of a thousand bucks, probably more. Two key pieces were not made by him, the helmet and the chest-piece, but everything else was – Including the skintight wetsuit-like thing that he made from the same material as the suit Christian Bale wore. I can’t remember the name of it and my research turned up nothing. But damn, that was impressive. The material suit thing were just a little bit off-fit, but it wasn’t very noticeable.

Now just get the voice downpat and you’d be golden :)

 

 

    

2nd – Black Widow – Avengers Movie (Kirsten Douglas)

With the rise (and rise) of the superhero movies, even sidelined characters are starting lots of love, especially when their on-screen counterpart was the sultry Scarlett Johannson. From her first step onto the stage, this Black Widow commanded the stage and the audience. Her glare was cold and they held, boy did they hold. No smiles, no small-talk.

The suit was great – clean lines, good details. All the right markings, all the right lines. It was a great fit – not too tight, but no loose lines either. Overall, a well chosen character that suited her well, with great custom production values and topped off with a great performance. Sometimes it’s the quietly understated that just feels so right.

 

 

  

1st – Spawn (Theuns Vorster)

So after the nice, sensibly selected and performed cosplay, we have another totally crazy, out-of-the-ordinary one for you – Mr Spawn. First Impressions? It was like Hell incarnate. This guy was TALL. His towering frame was even more imposing with those two spikes-to-the-heavens colloar bits, and his all-black suit added so much bulk that he actually looked like the hellspawn CG supervillain he’s playing. Then he took off his mask to reveal his burnt-off face. Icing on the cake – complete.

Then the closer inspection revealed that all the details we thought we saw were not only there, they were home-made, and well-rounded off. His torso and arms were wrapped in a heavy, textured material – apparently that was the result of glue-gun texturing. He had black latex gloves on that fit, we,, like gloves. The skeleton buckle, the chains, the cape, all came together very very well.

It was a great venn diagram of physique, effort and quality in production, a suitable character, and going that extra little mile (two masks? Really!?) that brought him the win – it was tight (in all respects), but great.

 

 

Additional Winners & Prizes by Elle & AnimeWorx

There were much more than these winners who deserved recognition (I sound like a broken record right about now), and we were glad we could award these bonus prizes to these awesome cosplays. And I really really mean awesome:

 

   

Iron Man/Tony Stark – Ironman 2 (Dawid Strauss)

Dude, that is IMPRESSIVE. An entire Iron man suit, that moved with him. And a Tony Starke moustache, too? You’re kidding me. And the chest lights up!? What? AND YOUR GAUNTLET CANNON LIGHTS UP TOO!? That’s just TOO MUCH!!

It was so superb that we simply were slackjawed about it, but unfortunately it came down to details – it was a rough production, unfortunately, and the signature Iron-man helmet was absent from the configuration (although it had been made – but unfortunately couldn’t make the comp due to timing), but we honestly, honestly applaud the amazing project. If it were tightened up a lot more it would simply be INCREDIBLE. Like, WAY TOO MUCH.

*EXPLODES*

 

 

 

Poison Ivy – DC Comics (Domnique Bruni)

Here is another case of simply being impressive. There’s actually not much to say about this Poison Ivy here – everything’s pretty much spot on (well, depending on which Poison Ivy canon you subscribe to, I guess), and the effort of hand-sewing each and everyone one of those ivy leaves onto the dress, to me, shouldn’t go unnoticed. The expertly pinned and secured runners throughout were well placed, and even the hair (I can’t remember if that was a wig or dyed, my bet’s on a wig) was a brilliant cherry on top.

 

 

    

Itachi Uchiha – Naruto (Leendert Viljeon)

If there was one thing you should have been at the rAge cosplay for, it was THIS GUY. The cosplay was pretty good – he had most of the details right – the Akatsuki cloak, the one hand inside the cloak, the markings, head-guard, etc, but he did miss the hair, which was arguably the most important thing for recognising any anime character.

But fuck the hair, who needs the do when you have A FUCKING KATON!? For those who don’t know, a Katon is a giant ninja fireball that’s expelled through the mouth, and a signature move of the Uchiha clan.

This guy blew a fireball on stage, without ANY warning. At all. Which is why there were very little photographic evidence of this. Then at the prize-giving he blew another one, if anyone grabbed video footage of that, it would be amazing to share that with everyone. My scrounging has gotten me a few photos – so, imagine that in front of you.

I could feel the heat on my face. It was pretty mad.

 

 

  

Psycho – Borderlands (Philip van der merwe)

This guy totally nailed it for me. He took an obscure character from the very current marketing of a big name game right now, and cosplayed it to perfection with the least amount of effort. This shows again what impact a well-selected character can have. His physique fit the character well, as did his performance – the signature stance from every Borderlands 2 poster, boxart, banner, every ever? Nailed it. The cosplay was full of attitude and fun. It was very simply awesome.

 

So, there you go – all the winners of the 2012 rAge cosplay. And boy what a collection it was!There were still tons of great cosplayers who didn’t compete, so there might be a part 4 to this thing… Depending on whether I’ve time to compile that stuff. Here’s hoping :)

 

 

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

Linda Ma’s photos

 

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

 

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