From the 27th of July to the 4th of August, cosplayers from around the globe will gather in Japan to compete in one of the world’s most prestigious cosplay competitions – the World Cosplay Summit! Founded in 2003, the Summit aims to cultivate friendships between cosplayers from different nations, and to promote Japanese culture through the lens of cosplay.
If you’re new to the community and haven’t heard of the competition, or you just haven’t had the time to check it out, here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know…
It takes a lot of work just to qualify for the competition…
First off, each team in the World Cosplay Summit must make their costume from scratch. Every detail must be considered, from their choice of fabric to the proportion of the character’s weapons. Contestants are only allowed to cosplay characters from Japanese media, though with the wide range of popular anime, manga and videogames to choose from, that’s probably the least of their worries.
In addition, the teams must obey a strict weight limit for stage props and equipment, and are limited to only three stage props per team. Each team will then undergo a pre-judging session, where they will present their costumes and construction process to a panel of judges.
…and a whole lot more to perform in it!
Of course, contestants for the World Cosplay Summit can’t just look the part–they have to act it, too. Each team of two contestants will be given two and a half minutes to perform a short skit, which must be executed without the help of any stagehands or assistants.
For example, the 2018 Malaysian representatives to the Summit, Dova and Shinku of Team Valkyrie, revealed in their panel at Geek Summit that they used a system of strings and magnets to pull off a stage effect where a prop would appear to be cut in half without requiring any outside assistance. This stroke of inventiveness definitely contributed to their win during the 2018 Malaysian qualifiers to the World Cosplay Summit.
There’ll be plenty of firsts at this year’s competition.
World Cosplay Summit 2019 will see a record-breaking number of participating countries, with newcomers Austria, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Trinidad and Tobago bringing the total number to 41. It’s a far cry from their first competition in 2005, where only eight nations were able to send representatives.
The Summit will also head to Tokyo for the first time, where the cosplayers will have the chance to perform at Tokyo Dome City. This round will not feature any eliminations, but will simply serve as a bonus stage to prepare the cosplayers for their grand showdown in Nagoya.
It’s also a momentous first for our Malaysian representatives Team Kuramaker, who will be competing in their first World Cosplay Summit! The seasoned cosplayers wowed judges with an action-packed and humorous Tekken skit in the 2019 qualifiers at Geek Summit, and you definitely won’t want to miss what they’ll bring to the finals.
There’s plenty of fun to be had, too!
Cosplayers who are selected for the Summit don’t just have the finals to look forward to – they have a whole host of activities waiting for them in Japan, starting with the Osu Cosplay Parade in Nagoya. The Cosplay Parade attracts thousands of locals and tourists alike every year, who gather to watch cosplayers from around the world strut their stuff on the red carpet.
The participants are also invited to take part in traditional Japanese activities such as visiting hot springs and preparing mochi, as well as bonding with and getting to know one another. While only one team can be crowned as Grand Champion in the finals, all the contestants will get to walk away with a newfound passion for cosplay and a sense of camaraderie with their fellow cosplayers.
Now that you’re all caught up, be sure to tune in to the World Cosplay Summit 2019 official livestream on their Nico Nico Douga channel! With over forty nations competing for the grand prize, it’s sure to be a sight to behold – and you might just be inspired to join the competition yourself.