General Cosplay Rules

Though some of the cosplay events at Tsubasacon are judged, and therefore have more specific rules, every cosplayer must abide by a basic list of guidelines:

  • Outfits should not be so revealing as to warrant indecent exposure charges. All body parts should be covered and not require constant pulling, tugging, straightening, etc. of the outfit to keep them covered. A good rule of thumb is to not wear anything that covers less than what you would wear to the pool or beach.
  • Tsubasacon is a family event; while we understand that some cosplay characters wear more revealing outfits than others, you may be asked to "cover up" or modify your outfit in some way that is more modest in public areas (see below about cosplay event exceptions).
  • Some of the hallways of the convention center, especially near Artist Alley and during busy periods, are narrow and extremely congested. If your cosplay entails pieces or accessories which may hinder hallway traffic (e.g. wings, trains, prop weapons, etc.), please design your cosplay so that these pieces may easily be removed in case you are asked to do so (see below about cosplay event exceptions). A good rule of thumb is a costume should be no more than 2 feet on all sides.
  • While Tsubasacon may ask participants to modify their costume for various reasons in the public areas of the convention center, we do realize that a lot of work has been put into the outfit. During cosplay events, such as the masquerade or costume judging, cosplayers are permitted (and encouraged) to wear their cosplay in its original, unaltered form.
  • Due to health code, shoes MUST be worn at all times. There must be an entire sole on the bottom of your feet. Just socks are not allowed.

Cosplay Craftsmanship Rules and Regulations

Cosplay judging will take place throughout the day on Saturday, beginning when the convention doors open, until an hour prior to the Masquerade. Participants will sign up for an appointment with the judges, at which you will have your photo taken and your cosplay assessed by a panel of judges

In order to conform to the rules of the cosplay craftsmanship judging, all participants’ costume(s) must be of their own construction. 75% or more of costume must be constructed by the cosplayer. The only acceptation to this rule is if the cosplayer is modeling for the constructor, who must be present at the time of both judging and award presentation in order to qualify. This 75% includes:

  • Created from scratch using fabric and other like materials.
  • Generic in nature (socks, undershirts, undergarments),
  • Modified from pre-existing materials (shoes, belts, shirts).

Cosplay outfits are not considered to be of “original construction" if more than 25% of the outfit's articles fit the following criteria:

  • Commissioned specifically for cosplay purposes (without the constructor themselves being present at time of judging and award presentation).
  • Purchased specifically as a cosplay or replica item (masks, props, and other such accessories not made by either the cosplayer or constructor),
  • Purchased items with no modifications (shirts, pants, jackets, shoes, etc.).

Wigs are considered an article of your cosplay. A wig which requires modifications in the form of styling, cutting, dying, etc. is considered to be of "original construction". Unaltered wigs of natural colors are items not specifically designed for cosplay use and fit under the "original construction" rules.

Wigs which are of unnatural color (e.g. blue, bright red, green, etc.) are not considered to be of original construction unless they are altered or styled in some way.

Craftsmanship Participants must bring adequate reference photos with them to their judging time. A good photo reference will assist the judges in their scoring of your outfit. Good references showing the front, back and side views are highly recommended. They may also have close ups of details and props. Examples of references include: screen captures, DVD covers, art books, manga, color printouts, etc. Failure to provide references will result in a penalty to your overall score, so please come prepared.

In addition, contestants should be able to clearly describe what patterns and materials were used to make their costume, as well as answer questions from the judges.

Cosplay Craftsmanship Judging Categories

Cosplayers wishing to be judged on their craftsmanship abilities may enter any of the following categories as long as they meet the eligibility requirements.

Craftsmanship (Beginner, Journeyman, and Expert)

Costumes entered in the craftsmanship category may pertain to either Asian or Western culture. This includes animation, manga/comics, video games, and live-action films/television shows. Costumes must be at least 75% original construction. Please see the Craftsmanship Competition Rules and Regulations for details.

There are three levels of craftsmanship, which are determined by the following criteria:

  • Beginner: No previous cosplay awards in any category or 3 or less constructed costumes
  • Journeyman: Up to 2 Major Awards/4 minor awards or between 4 and 6 constructed costumes
  • Expert: Between 3 and 5 major awards/5 and 10 minor awards or 7 or more constructed costumes.

Original Design

Costumes eligible for the Original Design category are of the cosplayer's original design. Costumes can be based on either Asian culture, such as an original Gothic Lolita outfit, or be of Western influence, such as a custom World of Warcraft character. Costumes must be at least 75% original creation. Please see the Craftsmanship Competition Rules and Regulations above for details.

Builds

This is a new category that we are implementing starting in 2015. This category is for those cosplayers who build/construct more than sew, creating characters that are made up of more alternate materials than they are fabric (e.g. full armor, fursuits, etc.). Costumes may be from either Asian or Western influences. “Builds” are broken down into two separate sub-categories, Original Build and Canon Build, which will be explained below.

  • Original Build: This is for costumes that are an interpretation of an original character (example: original furry character). This can be your own original character, a friend’s, or an artist’s/writer’s/etc. that you like. Please be respectful to the creator and get permission from and give credit where it is due.
  • Canon Build: This is for costumes that are from a pre-existing title or series (example: Wolf Link from The Legend of Zelda, Twilight Princess.)

Both of these sub-categories have new regulations that may differ from the general cosplay regulations. They are as follows:

  • Overall costume must be made by the carrier (no commissions or replica pieces).
  • Less than 25% sewn (we’re looking for BUILDS!!).
  • Contestants must provide an adequate reference picture (or pictures) of their intended target at the time of judging. Failure to do so will result in a penalty to your overall score. WIP folders are optional, but we highly encourage you to supply them for us if you have them. If you do choose to supply them, please bring backups, as we would like to hold onto them once your judging appointment is over so we may reference them later when determining award winners.
  • Contestants should be able to clearly describe what patterns and materials were used to make their costume, as well as answer questions from the judges.

Props

Another new category that we are implementing starting in 2015. Props are defined as additional items of dress and/or equipment. This includes (but is not limited to) items carried or worn by a person/character such as: weapons shields, masks, animal companion (in the form of a plush or something of that nature) or anything else the character often has with them that may or may not be attached to their body. Props may be from either Asian or Western influences. Original creations such as steampunk weaponry and accessories, original wig designs, etc. are acceptable, so long as they follow the guidelines below.

  • All props must follow the Tsubasacon Weapons Policy, which can be found here (bottom of the page): http://www.tsubasacon.org/information/rules-and-policies/rules-and-regulations
  • Must be at least 75% hand made. Modifications to and/or splicing of toys and such are allowed, son long as at least 75% of the prop is unrecognizable from its original form.
  • Contestants must provide an adequate reference picture (or pictures) of their intended target at the time of judging. Failure to do so will result in a penalty to your overall score. WIP folders are optional, but we highly encourage you to supply them for us if you have them. If you do choose to supply them, please bring backups, as we would like to hold onto them once your judging appointment is over so we may reference them later when determining award winners.
  • Contestants must be able to clearly describe what patterns and materials were used to make their prop, as well as answer questions from the judges.

Please note that this is a Single-Award Category for standalone props. If a prop is part of a competitive cosplay, the entire cosplay (including the prop) should be entered in the craftsmanship category, and extra points for having said prop will be added to the contestant’s overall score (example: Sephiroth’s wing, since it is not always visible, but is a notable part of his design).

Cosplay Craftsmanship Awards

The following awards will be presented for excellence in cosplay craftsmanship:

  • Best Cosplay Craftsmanship (Expert)
  • Honorable Mention: Cosplay Craftsmanship (Expert)
  • Best Cosplay Craftsmanship (Journeyman)
  • Honorable Mention: Cosplay Craftsmanship (Journeyman)
  • Best Cosplay Craftsmanship (Beginner)
  • Honorable Mention: Cosplay Craftsmanship (Beginner)
  • Best Craftsmanship: Original Design
  • Best Craftsmanship: Original Build
  • Best Craftsmanship: Canon Build
  • Best Craftsmanship: Best Prop

Best Original Build, Best Canon Build, and Best Prop are all tentative awards, based on varied annual demand for such categories.

Cosplay Craftsmanship Registration

Online Registration will be opening later in the year!

Tsubasacon Cosplay Masquerade Information

The Tsubasacon Cosplay Masquerade is a chance for all of our cosplayers to perform for the crowd in a variety of ways. Cosplayers do not need to participate in cosplay craftsmanship judging in order to perform during the Masquerade. The Masquerade is split into two parts: performance and walk-on.

Cosplayers wishing to participate in the Masquerade are to be present during the setup session one hour before the masquerade. The official time and place will be announced at a later date.

Masquerade Performance Guidelines

In order to provide a quality show for all of our patrons and to maintain order and a family-friendly environment, the following guidelines are in effect for all Masquerade performers:

  • Skits must be no longer than 3 minutes in length. Performers are allotted 30 seconds to set-up and 30 seconds to exit in addition to the 3 minutes.
  • Skit content must have a rating no higher than "PG-13". Tsubasacon is an all-ages event. Explicit swearing, nudity, and obscene gestures and mannerisms are prohibited, and can result in disqualification. If there are any questions pertaining to your skit, please contact the cosplay department head.
  • All pre-recorded audio must be presented on a playable CD at time of registration. CDs must be clearly labeled with the names of the performer(s) and the name of the performance. Audio will not be queued (it must be ready to go as soon as the track is played). CDs are not returnable.
  • Weapons and props must abide by the Weapons Policy (see Rules and Regulations section on the Tsubasacon website). Projectile weapons, jumping from the stage, and throwing objects of any kind into/at the audience is strictly prohibited.
  • Due to safety concerns, all stage combat and stunts MUST be cleared with the cosplay department head. This includes martial arts, gymnastics, fighting with props, etc.
  • Performances are restricted to the stage area.
  • No confetti, rose petals, glitter, etc. Any items that come on stage with you must leave with you.

Masquerade Performance Awards

The following awards will be presented for excellence in Masquerade performance:

  • Best Performance
  • Honorable Mention: Masquerade Performance

Craftsmanship and Masquerade Registration

Registration for the cosplay craftsmanship and masquerade contests will take place on Friday from 12:00 PM until 8:00 PM and Saturday from opening until 1:00 PM. There will be no registration for cosplay events after 1:00 PM Saturday. If you have not registered by this time, you will be unable to compete in the cosplay contests. The cosplay registration table is located at the convention center's entrance with admission badge registration.

Judging for the cosplay craftsmanship contest will be on Saturday and run from 1:00 PM until 5:00 PM. You will be given a designated time to appear for judging at your time of registration. In order to judge all cosplayers in a timely fashion, not appearing for judging at your designated time will result in disqualification from the contest.  Judging for the cosplay masquerade contest will take place at the Masquerade held Saturday at 7:00 PM in the Main Events room. Contestants for the both the craftsmanship and masquerade contests must come to the preparation and walkthrough at 6:00 PM in the Main Events room.

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