Cosplay Show

Cosplay Show Online Signup Open July 20th, 2021 10:00PM Central

The San Japan Cosplay Show is dedicated to excellence in costume replication. Costumes may be of either Western or Eastern origin and can be from anime, manga, video games, live-action shows or movies, webcomics, web series, etc. “Crossover” characters are permitted, as well as artbook variants or costume designs based on fan works (such as fanart). All cosplay MUST have source material of some kind. Original designs with no published source material are not permitted.

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.

Class restrictions are strictly enforced. If any competitor is found to have entered a class below their skill level, the competitor will be immediately moved to a higher class. If a competitor is found to have intentionally entered a class 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. Competitors will not be notified if they have been disqualified, and judges are not permitted to discuss the judging process or the results. This is to protect entrants, judges, and staff, as well as to maintain the professionalism of the contest.



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.


For first-year competitors and competitors who have only won judge’s awards.


For competitors who have been cosplaying over a year, or competitors who have won the following awards:

  • Best Craftsmanship (Hall or Stage)
  • Best Performance (Stage)
  • Best Runner-Up (Hall or Stage)


For competitors who are professional seamstresses, tailors or costumers, or competitors who have won the following awards:

  • Best in Class (Hall or Stage)
  • Best in Division (Hall or Stage)
  • Best in Show (Hall or Stage)



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.


Competitors have 3 minutes and 30 seconds 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 will not be available. Skit entrants may be contacted if their audio is too low-quality for stage. Skits are not required to be the full 3:30 in length. There is no mininum length to a skit.


1. All competitors are required to construct their own costumes. No store-bought 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.


1. All competitors are required to be pre-judged before the cosplay contest begins. Pre-judging panels will be scheduled throughout the weekend.

2. All competitors are required to sign up for a specific time slot for pre-judging. Time slots are 3min for individual entries and 5min for groups. If you are not present when your time slot is called, you will be moved to the end and called when all assigned time slots have been completed.

3. At the time of pre-judging, the costume may be brought in on a hanger and is not required to be worn.

4. Competitors who have not been pre-judged when lineup begins for the competition will be disqualified.

5. Competitors who are entering as the model for a present commissioner/tailor/seamstress must have the commissioner/tailor/seamstress present during pre-judging.

Questions can be addressed on the San Japan Facebook Cosplay Group

or you can email us at cosplay@san-japan.org

2021 Cosplay Judges

Announcing July 2021

Announcing July 2021

Announcing July 2021


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. The winners of these awards will be presented TBA prizes.

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. The winner of this award will be presented with TBA prizes.

All “Best In” entries will win cash awards (issued in pre-paid debit cards). The denomination amounts will be posted at a later time.


Any information in your online entry may be changed on-site when you check in. We will have a reserve list which we will take last-minute signups for those who did not check-in online at the convention starting at 12:00PM SATURDAY 9/5 but this is expected to fill up. If you wish to guarantee your spot in the Cosplay Contest then you are required to signup online in advance.
The Main Cosplay Show does not require to be in theme in order to enter.

The entry caps will be as follows:

  • 10 Youth Walk-ons
  • 60 Novice Walk-ons
  • 25 Journeyman Walk-ons
  • 20 Master Walk-ons
  • 10 Skits (total)

Entrants may not be a member of San Japan staff or San Japan volunteer. Entrants may not enter the same costume in the stage show and the hall cosplay.

Online Signup Opens on July 20th, 2021 at 10pm Central


We will only be ticketing one section of the Lila Cockrell Theatre which will be the Center Orchestra seats. These tickets will issued as complimentary tickets to Gold and Premiere pass holders. It will be a $5 charity donation for general attendees.

These tickets will be available at the CHARITY section located in the Dealer Room industry booths.

All other seats which are not designed will be open to attendees.

  • If tickets are lost you will need to sit in the open seating area.
  • Tickets do not have a seat assignment as it will only list a designated section. Seats in each section will be FIRST-COME/FIRST-SERVE. There will be no seat holding.
  • Only Center Orchestra seats will be ticketed. All other sections will be open seating that are not designated for specific people.
  • Attendees will not be allowed to line up for the Cosplay Show until one hour before seating time.
  • Attendees who are caught cutting in line will be pulled.
  • Attendees must line up in the designated queue section. Attendees who do not line up in the correct area will be the last ones. Attendees who queue up in front of the Lila Cockrell entrance will be asked to leave or risk forfeit of their convention badge.
  • Attendee lineup will have a sign marking where it starts which will be away from the Lila Cockrell entrance. We will work with the venue that lineup is indoors.
  • Ticket holders who are arrive more than 30 minutes late to sit in the Orchestra center section after it has started will be required to go the 1st or 2nd level balcony.
  • For questions about the Cosplay Show please go to our Cosplay Group


Friday 09/04/2010AM - 4PMMandatory Online Check-In / Hall Cosplay Sign-UpRoom 208 - HBG Convention Center - 2nd Floor
Friday 09/04/202PM - 4PMREQUIRED: Pre-Judging (Appointment Required)Room 209 - HBG Convention Center - 2nd Floor
Saturday 09/05/209AM - 12PMMandatory Online Check-In / Hall Cosplay Sign-UpRoom 208 - HBG Convention Center - 2nd Floor
Saturday 09/05/2010AM - 12PMREQUIRED Pre-Judging (Appointment Required)Room 209 - HBG Convention Center - 2nd Floor
Saturday 09/05/2012PM - 1PMOnsite Sign-Up Opens UpRoom 208 - HBG Convention Center - 2nd Floor
Saturday 09/05/202PM - 4PMREQUIRED Pre-Judging (Appointment Required)Room 209 - HBG Convention Center - 2nd Floor
Saturday 09/05/205:00PM - 6:30PMCosplay Show Entries Check-In and StagingLila Cockrell Theatre
Saturday 09/05/207:00PM - 8:00PMDoors Open For General Attendees (7:00 Early Entry For Gold/Premiere/Center Orchestra Only, 7:15PM For General Public. Badge Required. Ticket Required Only For Central Orchestra Seats)Lila Cockrell Theatre
Saturday 09/05/208:00PM - 9:30PMCosplay ShowLila Cockrell Theatre

Stage Location

The Cosplay Show will be located at the Lila Cockrell Theatre for all future San Japan conventions. The stage is 113 feet wide and there will be 25 feet behind it with a curtain drop. However, don’t plan to do anything extravagant with a stage that large.

Stage Rules

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.

5. 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 the stage with them. This is not our stage. Please be respectful of the space.

6. 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.

7. Group entries are limited to 8 people.

8. Competitors may not touch or involve cosplay staff as a prop or part of the skit/walk-on. All competitors are barred from interacting with the emcee when on stage. Breaking this rule will be an automatic disqualification.

The Cosplay Show Online Signup will open on July 20th, 2021 at 10:00PM Central Time.

The deadline will be August 23rd, 2021 at 10:00PM CST SHARP at which point the form will be closed and/or when all divisions slots have been filled.

We will not accept late entries by e-mail for any reason. All online entries must be through the signup form.

All online entries will receive an automatic notification that it was received. If you don’t see that email then we didn’t get your entry.

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. Fashion Programming is a separate set of events.

Cosplay Show FAQ

Question Answer
What else should I bring?ANY reference photos, printed or you can show on your phone. Construction photos of your cosplay also helps.
Do I have to wear my cosplay to the Pre-Judging Session?No, you can bring the cosplay on a coat hanger.
Do I have to attend ALL of the Pre-Judging Sessions?No, you only have to attend your appointment time. Once you’ve been judged then you’re done for the pre-judging section. You will still have to participate in the Cosplay Show. If you no-show at the Cosplay Show you are disqualified. If you miss your appointment time you may come to another time but you will have wait until the very end of the pre-judging session which will be two hours of waiting so don’t be late or no-show when you’re called up.
When applying for the Main Show does my Cosplay have be part of the them.No, we accept all cosplays for the Main Cosplay Contest. The only contest which has a theme category is our Hall Cosplay Contest.

Cosplay Museum

If you’ve ever wanted to get an up close and personal look at remarkable costumes from all skill sets and craftsmanship levels, the Cosplay Museum is your gateway to that experience. Curated by Southern Cospitality Cosplay, this Museum displays elegant and incredible works from all kinds of cosplayers, displaying excellence and imagination in sewing craft, armor, prop making, and costuming ingenuity. Submissions come from all over the country and are displayed for the entire weekend. Southern Cospitality Cosplay’s docents are knowledgeable and there to answer any questions about the exhibits.

As they say to most everyone who comes to the museum; “Feel free to look around, take pictures, ask questions! All we ask is that you don’t touch the exhibits and not cross the tape line!”

If you want to submit for the museum, submissions typically open in early summer and are always announced on San Japan social media. There will be a form to fill out, where they’ll ask for information on the costume as well as some plain pictures that show the whole costume, front and back. They take submissions from cosplayers of all skill levels, and your work need not have won any awards to be eligible for display. If a costume is difficult to display on a standard mannequin, just contact us, and they’ll see if they can work something out. The most important thing is just to do it!

Southern Cospitality Cosplay is a Texas-based cosplay group “specializing in doing whatever we want”, as they say. They have over 15 years of experience in costuming, cosplay shows, cosplay judging, etc, as well as a deep passion for the craft and showing all of its potential as a form of self-expression.

If you want to get in contact with Southern Cospitality Cosplay directly, they can be reached at: