To answer questions about cosplay in general at San Japan like props and dress code, please read the convention San Japan Cosplay Convention Rules first.
If you intend to cosplay at San Japan but don’t plan to enter in the Cosplay Show, it is perfectly allowed to just show up at San Japan. Cosplayers are not required to enter the Cosplay Show. There is no age limit to enter the Cosplay Contest
The Cosplay Show will be located at the Lila Cockrell Theatre in 2014. The stage is 113 feet wide and 60 feet deep. However, don’t plan to do anything extravagant with a stage that large as we will be updating our rules.
We will be holding a Fashion Show this year as a separate event.
Below are our 2013 Cosplay Show Rules. These rules will be modified for 2014 in the coming months.
2013 Cosplay Show Rules
The San Japan cosplay show divides entrants into four competitive classes and two performance divisions. While entrants may enter in any class they qualify for, judges reserve the right to change a competitor’s class at any time. Entrants may only enter one class and one division.
Division restrictions are strictly enforced. If any competitor is found to have entered a division below their skill level, the competitor will be immediately moved to a higher division. If a competitor is found to have intentionally entered a division below their skill level (also known as sandbagging), the competitor risks immediate disqualification.
San Japan encourages competitors to bring costumes to our competition that have not previously won awards. However, we will accept those costumes that have only won awards at conventions of a smaller size (calculated by attendance) than San Japan. Any entrant found to be entering a costume which has previously taken a major award at a larger convention (also known as sandbagging) will be immediately disqualified, and risks being barred from future competitions.
When entrants are in the cosplay room, in pre-judging panels, and backstage for the show, the staff and judges monitor their sportsmanship. Rude remarks, put-downs, or other unsportsmanlike conduct will have consequences. Egregious cases may result in immediate disqualification. Respect the staff, the judges, and your fellow competitors.
Youth: For entrants 12 and under to compete among their own age group. Normal craftsmanship rules apply, however the cosplayer can have parents or relatives assist them in making their costume. All competitors in this division receive a participation award.
Novice: For first-year competitors and competitors who have only won judge’s awards.
Journeyman: For competitors who have been cosplaying over a year, competitors who have won best in class or similar awards, and competitors whose craftsmanship is considered by the judges to be of a journeyman level.
Master: For competitors who are professional seamstresses, tailors or costumers, competitors who have won best in show awards, and competitors whose craftsmanship is considered by the judges to be of a professional level.
Walk-on: Competitors have 30 seconds of stage time beginning when the competitor crosses onto the staging area from backstage. Competitors are allowed custom audio. Audio must be music and is preferred to be from the series being cosplayed. No microphones will be available for walk-on competitors. Competitors are highly encouraged to upload or submit files in .MP3 format when signing up for the competition. Tracks are limited to 1:00 in length and may be cut or faded. No YouTube rips are allowed due to low-quality output. Staff may contact you about your file if it is too low-quality for stage. If you do not submit custom audio, music will be chosen for you. Audio must be rated TV-PG. Entrants with bulky costumes or other concerns crossing stage will be allotted time within reason to clear the stage outside of their 30 second performance window.
Skit: Competitors have 3 minutes of stage time beginning when their audio starts or when entrants begin speaking. All introductions, if applicable, must be made by the MC. All skits must submit scripts in advance to be screened by staff on content, coherence, originality, and entertainment value. Pure dance skits without original choreography will be declined unless applicable to the series being cosplayed (IE Vocaloid). Skits are highly encouraged to submit pre-recorded audio, as microphones cannot be guaranteed. Skit entrants may be contacted if their audio is too low-quality for stage.
1. All competitors are required to be pre-judged before the cosplay contest begins. Pre-judging panels will be scheduled throughout the weekend.
2. At the time of pre-judging, the costume may be brought in on a hanger and is not required to be worn.
3. Competitors who have not been pre-judged when lineup begins for the competition will be disqualified.
1. All competitors are required to construct their own costumes. No storebought costumes are allowed in the show
2. If the competitor’s costume was constructed by a third party, the third party must be present at the competition. The third party, not the model, will be eligible for all awards.
3. Some costumes of simplistic design may raise questions about whether “enough” of the costume was constructed by the competitor. As a general rule, at least 75% of the costume must be constructed or heavily modified by the competitor. Borderline costumes will be accepted or declined by staff or judges on a case-by-case basis.
4. Cosplay staff and judges may disqualify any entrant at any time for not meeting craftsmanship requirements.
5. Craftsmanship requirements may be waived for skit entries only.
6. Costumes must be fandom in nature: Originating from a TV show, movie, video game, manga series, comic book, webcomic or book. Original designs may be accepted on a case-by-case basis. Costumes do not need to be of Japanese origin to qualify.
1. All walk-on entries, skit performances and costumes must conform to a TV-PG rating. No nudity, foul language, sexual content or references to drugs or alcohol are permitted.
2. All skits must be submitted with a script that will be pre-screened for content. The staff and the judges reserve the right to decline any skit for lack of original content, incoherent scripting or dialog, or lack of entertainment value. All skit entries are strongly encouraged to use pre-recorded audio.
3. Competitors are required to have at least one foot on the stage at all times. Absolutely no jumping, tumbling or stunts are allowed. Special permission for dance moves which require both feet to leave the stage must be obtained from the staff in advance. Stunts performed without prior permission will result in disqualification.
4. There is absolutely no flash powder, liquid, food, projectile or swinging weaponry allowed on stage at any time. Anything a competitor brings on stage with them must leave stage with them. This is not our stage. Please be respectful of the space.
5. Competitors must arrive on time for lineup and seating. Competitors arriving more than 15 minutes late will be disqualified from the competition. If an emergency arises, please contact the staff.
6. Group entries are limited to 8 people.
Judge’s Awards: Personal awards acknowledging costumes favored by a particular judge. The number of judge’s awards will be announced when judges are announced.
Best Youth: This award is given to the overall best entrant into the youth division, judged on both craftsmanship and stage presentation.
Best Craftsmanship: This award is given to entrants who exemplify excellence in craftsmanship. There are three craftsmanship awards; Novice, Journeyman and Master.
Best Performance: This award is given to entrants who exemplify excellence in presentation on stage. There are six performance awards; Novice, Journeyman and Master in the Walk-on and Skit divisions.
Best in Class: Winners exemplify the best combination of craftsmanship and performance. There are three best in class awards; Novice, Journeyman and Master.
Best in Show: The cosplayer or group selected for best in show represents the best in craftsmanship and performance across all classes and divisions. There is only one Best in Show award.
For San Japan 2013, the winner or group selected for Best in Show will receive a $500 Gift Card from Jo-Ann Fabrics (to be issued in 5 x $100 cards) along with an elegant trophy. All Master Class winners will receive elegant trophies.
Entrants may not be a member of San Japan staff. Entrants may not enter the same costume in the stage show and the hall cosplay. Entering or winning the World Cosplay Summit Southwest Qualifiers WILL NOT disqualify entrants from this competition.
If you have questions about the Cosplay Show, please ask them on our forums or you may use the form below: