2023 Planet Anime Kansas City Cosplay Contest
Do you love cosplay and the glitz and glamor of competition? We do too! Planet Anime Kansas City (PAKC) is excited to bring you the PAKC Cosplay Contest, an event for cosplayers of all levels to showcase their craftsmanship and performance skills! The PAKC Cosplay Contest will be hosted on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. CT in 3501 the Great Hall. Monster Energy, Flyover Event Co, 3DHQ and B&B Theatres are proud to showcase the best cosplayers in the region as they light up the big stage with colorful costumes and pageantry as they pursue prizes and a chance to be remembered as a winner in the first ever Planet Anime Kansas City Cosplay Competition! Entry is included with your paid PAKC admission credential.
PAKC is pleased to announce that veteran Show Host Leva Bates and Anime enthusiast Sierra Berry will be the co-emcees for the cosplay contest! “
Please be sure to check the convention app and programming schedule online regularly in case there are updates on the time and location.
This year’s contest will include custom trophies provided by Shield Labs! Contestants will be competing for a share of the $7,000.00+ prize pool!!
The PAKC Cosplay Contest is an opportunity for contestants to compete for a variety of prizes based on their craftsmanship and performance skills. The contest will accept up to 40 entries divided up by the class delineations of Beginner, Intermediate, and Master. Entrants may also select whether they would like to enter as a skit. Contestants will sign up using the online registration form below beginning Tuesday, August 22, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. CT. Online registration will close on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. CT. There is a limit of 40 entries, which will be determined based on a set of criteria identified below. All Contestants will be notified of their entry status no later than October 14, 2023.
If you need to drop out of the contest for any reason, please let the Cosplay Contest Directors know in advance. Failure to communicate that you are dropping out may disqualify you from future competitions! Please read all sections carefully.
General Participation Rules
- All contestants, models and their handlers must have valid tickets for PAKC for the day of the contest.
- All contestants will be required to adhere to any and all policies and guidelines enforced by PAKC. Please check the PAKC social media channels and website for updates.
- Convention staff and volunteers may not enter the cosplay contest. Headlining and invited cosplay guests or other invited parties are also not eligible to enter the PAKC Cosplay Contest.
- Only entrants 15 years of age and older may enter the PAKC Cosplay Contest. Children 14 and under are not eligible to enter unless they are part of an entry with at least one member who is at least 18 years old.
- Contestants agree to allow video recording and photography of their costumes for future promotions of PAKC.
- No weapons that violate PAKC’s Weapons Policy or Bartle Hall’s weapons policy or local laws are allowed. This includes but is not limited to: realistic-looking firearms without an orange muzzle cap; live steel; projectiles of any kind; unsheathing of bladed weapons without prior approval. More information about the PAKC weapons policy can be found here: https://planetcomicWeapons & Props Policy – Kansas Cityon.com/weapons-policy/
General Costume Eligibility Rules
- PAKC is a convention celebrating anime and Japanese pop culture so costumes from this genre are encouraged, however, we welcome entries from all fandoms.
- No offensive cosplays. Offensive cosplays are cosplays that incite violence, racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, transphobia, ageism, and bigotry. This includes race-facing (e.g. Blackface/Brownface), as well as costumes that replicate historic or current international or national tragedies. The goal is to make sure our attendees feel included, and appreciated, so cosplays should reflect this goal.
- Cosplays and performances should adhere to a maximum PG rating. No nudity, profanity, or politically charged cosplays allowed. When in doubt, ask!
- Cosplays must be recreations or fanart of licensed characters to be eligible for Best in Show. Original characters are eligible for other awards, however.
- All entries must select a category. See the Categories section for more information.
- Contestants are only allowed one entry, and may only enter in one category. (e.g. you may not enter one costume in the Single Entry category and enter the same or a different costume in the Skit category).
- All contestants are required to submit a character reference photo as part of their submission form. Entrants participating in craftsmanship judging must submit a reference image along with 3 progress photos to determine eligibility. See the Registration and Acceptance section for details on entry materials.
- For contestants participating in craftsmanship judging, contestants must bring a reference photo and a progress book of their costumes to judging. These photos must be printed copies and bound in some way (e.g. in a folder, or a notebook). No digital (e.g. pictures on a cell phone) will be accepted. Progress books must have a minimum of 3 reference images. Please note this is different than the progress images requested at the time of application.
- You can have someone model your costume, but the crafter must register for the PAKC Cosplay Contest and be present for prejudging to answer the judges’ questions. If the costume receives an award, the award recipient will be the crafter, not the model.
General Stage Rules
- Liquids, messy substances, glitter, confetti, objects smaller than 3 square inches, or anything that may pose a danger are not allowed to be used as part of your time on stage.
- Pyrotechnics, fireworks, open flames and/or fog machines are prohibited.
- All electronics must be self-contained. There are no electrical outlets onstage.
- Stage walk time is limited, so please make sure to consider what you will do before showtime.
- Single Entry category entrants will have up to 1 minute of stage time.
- Skit category entrants will have up to 2 minutes and 30 seconds of stage time.
- Throwing things into the audience, including yourself, is prohibited. Contestants will not be allowed to leave the stage as part of their performance.
- Background music/audio submissions are allowed, however all music/audio will be subject to approval of the Cosplay Contest Directors.
- Please submit your audio with your application by the application close date of Tuesday, October 3, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. If you are utilizing your own audio, or performing a Skit, you MUST also provide blocking and a script if there is dialogue. A copy of your full blocking and any dialogue must be emailed to the PAKC Cosplay Contest Directors by October 3, 2023.
- Any contestant providing their own audio is required to attend a tech rehearsal on Saturday morning. The time of the tech rehearsal will be emailed to you closer to the event.
- No live audio will be allowed.
- This contest is about balancing fun and competition. For the integrity of the contest, you may be placed into the appropriate class at the discretion of the Cosplay Contest Directors without prior notice.
- You may not enter a costume for craftsmanship scoring that has previously won Best in Show or a major award at any other cosplay contest. See the Glossary for the definition of “major award.”
- Contestants will be judged on the criteria noted in their selected class/category, and their overall execution of the parameters. Contestants will not be judged on the basis of their identities, such as race, size, disabilities, sexuality, gender/ gender expression, social economic status, religious or non-religious affiliation etc. We celebrate cosplayers bringing their whole selves to the competition environment. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Cosplay Contest Directors.
- Contestants understand that the published PAKC Cosplay Contest awards may be adjusted, changed or withheld pending complaint resolution or for any reason deemed appropriate by PAKC.
Violating these rules will disqualify you, and possibly result in escort off the premises.
You must enter at the class level of the individual who has the highest class in your entry (e.g. if you are in a duo and one person is a Master and the other is a Beginner, you must enter in the Master class). Class requirements are only used for entries participating in craftsmanship judging.
Please do not enter into a class that is not suitable for your level. Doing so may result in disqualification. If you would like help determining your class, please email the Cosplay Contest Directors. We would be more than happy to assist.
This class is for anyone who has never won a major award before at any other convention. 50% of the costume must be made by the contestant(s).
This is the class for anyone who has won 1-2 major awards at any convention. 60% of the costume must be made by the contestant(s).
This is the category for anyone who has won 3 or more major awards in a cosplay contest, taken a Best in Show title at any cosplay contest or if the contestant makes or sells cosplay costumes professionally. 75% of the costume must be made by the contestant.
If you are unsure if your costume meets a percentage requirement, please contact the Cosplay Contest Directors, and we would be happy to assist.
Single Entry Category
Show us your building skills! This category is craftsmanship-centric with some points awarded for stage presentation. Entries consisting of 1-2 individuals may enter this category.
The required percentage of contestant-made elements of your costume is determined by your class. No fully purchased costumes, or costumes composed of only altered items are allowed in this category. For clarification on the definition of “made” vs. “altered,” please refer to the Glossary section.
All costumes presented in the entry must adhere to the percent-made requirement of the class you are entering. See the Class section for specific information on class selection.
As part of your application, you must submit a link to a folder with a reference picture and 3 progress images. Please note, this is to review the eligibility of the costume and determine entry into the show. More information on this requirement in the Registration and Acceptance section.
Single Entry category entry contestants will be judged on their craftsmanship execution, fit, finish, character fidelity and technique. More information on judging criteria is outlined in the Judging section.
Move us with your stories! This category is for contestants who would love to impress the audience with their compelling performances. The Skit category is performance-centric with optional craftsmanship judging. Skit entries may have up to 5 individuals.
The costumes can be made or purchased. Entries in the Skit Category must provide their own audio and/or dialogue. Audio must be submitted at the time of entry through the submission form. A script and stage blocking must be submitted to the Cosplay Contest Directors by October 3, 2023. Please email these items to firstname.lastname@example.org. No live audio will be allowed. Skit entries must attend tech rehearsal. Audio must be in the final form at the time of submission. There will be no opportunity to edit the audio on site.
Skits entries will be judged on their ability to convey a story or successfully perform to the judges and audience during stage judging. Skit entries may be eligible for Best in Show if the entrant(s) choose to take part in the optional craftsmanship judging. Skit entries participating in craftsmanship judging must select a class. Class delineations are outlined in the Class section. More information on skit judging criteria is outlined in the Judging section.
The contest judging is divided into two parts: craftsmanship judging and stage judging. Skit judging occurs during the stage judging portion of the contest.
For craftsmanship judging, contestants will arrive at the designated time and location for their class and meet with the judges to discuss how their costume was made.
- Entries of 1-2 people will have 5 minutes with the judges.
- Groups of 3-5 will have up to 7 minutes to talk about their work.
This is to ensure we can get everyone judged in a reasonable amount of time so everyone can enjoy as much of the convention as possible. With that in mind, please do not be late to your judging time slot, or you may be disqualified from the competition.
- You should be prepared for judges to check your seams, paint job, wig work and other elements. They will ask you about how you created the piece.
- You will be judged on technique, finish, how well it stays together, and the overall impression.
- You will also be judged on fidelity to reference images.
- Factors that will NOT count against fidelity to the reference image include the cosplayer’s race, age, ethnicity, height, size, use of mobility items, corrective vision or lack thereof, socioeconomic status, and other health, cultural or religious identities that the cosplayer has that may differ from the character, etc. See the Glossary for a complete “fidelity” definition.
- Judges will be closely examining your work and may ask you to hold up or move parts of your cosplay for them to see. If this makes you uncomfortable, please let the Cosplay Contest Directors know and we will assist with finding an alternative arrangement.
- Each class will have a designated judging timeslot and craftsmanship percentage requirement. See the Class section for information about percent-made requirements.
- Please note that if you are entering any of the categories with more than one person, each of you will be judged on craftsmanship/participation individually, and the scores will be averaged. You will be judged at the class level of the person in your entry with the highest class.
- You are required to bring reference images of your source material, as well as a minimum of 3 work in progress photos in hard copy form (no digital copies or photos on your phone are allowed). Volunteers will be standing by to help line you up, and handle your photos if needed. When the competition concludes, you may pick up your progress photos in the Green Room.
All entries are free to enjoy the convention before and after judging, but must be back for Green Room at the designated time. Contestants will be notified of their judging and Green Room times via email.
For Single Entry contestants, this is your opportunity to show off your work and any other special features of your costume. Contestants will be scored on how well the costume moves and stays together. Contestants will also be scored on their characterization, use of the stage, and overall impression. Throw in some twirls, some bows, hit those battle poses! As long as you’re adhering to all general rules, this should be your time to have fun! Single Entry entries will have up to 1 minute on stage.
For Skit entries, this is your opportunity to dazzle the judges with your performance! This is your time to tell a compelling story suitable to your character or perform a captivating routine. Contestants will be judged on cohesion, use of audio, execution, and how well rehearsed the performance is. Contestants will also be judged on their ability to convey a compelling story or message. Skit entries will have up to 1 minute and 30 seconds to set up any props they will need on stage. Please contact the Cosplay Contest Directors if you intend to bring staging equipment. All backdrops, props etc. must be approved prior to the performance. Contestants will have up to 2 minutes and 30 seconds to perform.
This is also the time to show off to the audience! While the audience does not have any impact on scoring, show them how much time, effort and razzle-dazzle you put into your costume and performance! They’re here to celebrate all that you’ve made, so don’t hesitate to show them what you’ve got!
Awards are granted to those entrants who score the highest in their classes and categories. Only one prize will be given to each entry. If there are multiple people in your entry, the entry members will be responsible for dividing up any prizes won. For example, if your entry receives a trophy, only one trophy will be distributed and it will be up to the members of that entry to share, saw it in half, set up visitation hours, etc.
This award is for the best overall showing of both craftsmanship and stage presentation (either through stage walk or skit). Original characters and skit entries that do not undergo craftsmanship judging are not eligible for this award.
Best in each class (Beginner, Intermediate, Master)
The best overall showing in each class for both craftsmanship and stage presentation (either through stage walk or skit) are eligible for this award.
Best overall stage presentation, regardless of craftsmanship.
Judges’ Choice Awards
Each judge may award a judge’s choice award. Maybe you didn’t win a major prize, but you left a positive impression on the judges in some way, so we want to recognize you!
Registration and Acceptance
Contestants will sign up using the online registration form below beginning August 22, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. CT. The limit is 40 entries: 35 Single Entry category and 5 Skit entries. The Cosplay Contest Directors reserve the right to adjust slots as needed based on entry volume. Online registration will close on Tuesday, October 3 at 6:00 p.m. CT.
All entrants must complete the registration form which includes submitting contestant information, agreement to adhere to PAKC rules and guidelines and other entry submission materials.
- Contestants, regardless of Skit or Single Entry type must submit a character reference image via a link.
- Entries participating in craftsmanship judging must also submit 3 progress images along with the reference image.
- These images are not meant to be your full build book, but rather, a cursory review of your progress.
- Photos submitted should showcase the elements of the costume that you made, and the general trajectory of the build. This is to review the eligibility of the costume.
- Slight preference will be given to entrants who can demonstrate that their entries are in line with PAKC Cosplay Contest rules and that at least 50% of the total build is complete at the time of entry.
- All entries will be reviewed to ensure they follow the rules, and meet the cosplay contest requirements.
- While there is no limit on the number of non-Japanese pop culture entries that can enter, slight acceptance preference will be given to entries that are from Japanese pop culture media sources.
- Costume genre will not be a consideration in judging or award distribution, however.
Acceptance notifications will be sent at no later than 2 weeks before showtime. There is no on-site registration.
A follow up email will include information about your judging time slot, confirmation of locations and other details. This email will come no later than October 14, 2023.
Make sure to enter sooner rather than later so there is ample time to troubleshoot any questions you may have! If you have any questions, please email the Cosplay Contest Directors at email@example.com.
All entrants must check-in on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at the Cosplay Registration Table, location TBD. Check-in is for everyone who has registered for the PAKC Cosplay Contest. Please arrive a few minutes before your judging time slot so we can make sure you are registered. If you attend tech rehearsal prior to your judging slot, you can check-in at tech rehearsal. If you do not check-in at either of these times, you may be disqualified from the competition.
All entries who submitted their own audio for use will be required to attend a technical rehearsal. If you did not submit audio, tech rehearsal is optional. During rehearsal, we will review your audio and you may view the stage. We can also address additional practical stage matters at this time. Please note tech rehearsal will allow for one or two attempts at your performance. There will not be time for extensive practice.
Cosplay Contest Checklist
Thanks for signing up! We are thrilled to see your interest in the PAKC Cosplay Contest this year!
- Carefully read all the rules and ask the Cosplay Contest Directors if you have any questions.
- Sign-up during the designated registration period.
- Keep an eye on your inbox for your entry status, and a later email regarding your judging time slot and confirmation of details.
- Make sure your costume adheres to the rules.
- Create your hard-copy work in progress book and bring it with you to judging.
- Make note of all mandatory time slots: Judging, Green Room and showtime, and double check these times at the convention in case there are last minute changes.
In General: Cosplay is not consent. This means:
- Do not touch a cosplayer, their costume, or their props without permission.
- Do not take photos of a cosplayer without asking permission and allowing them to pose first.
- Do not use the zoom feature to highlight only aspects of a cosplayer without their consent. If you would like them to do a specific pose or do a closeup of a certain aspect, ask them!
- Do not make any lewd or suggestive comments to a cosplayer because of what they are wearing. Unwanted criticism/critique or comments directed at cosplayers may be treated as harassment. This includes but is not limited to:
- Criticizing someone because of their race, gender, body, etc.
- Making snide remarks about skill level.
- “I could do that better” statements.
- Unwelcomed critiques of their cosplay. Unless a cosplayer specifically asks for feedback about how to do something better, do not give it.
- In short: if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
Etiquette for Photographers:
- Please do not use flash or auto-focus assist lights during the cosplay contest! It makes it difficult for cosplayers to see when they are walking across the stage.
- Do not ask to take photos with only one cosplayer out of a group from the same series/clearly in a group cosplay. Take a picture of the group, and if you’d like an individual shot of your favorite character, ask later.
- Please be mindful of your equipment that may block walkways, entryways, or other general traffic.
- Only PAKC approved press will be allowed in the Green Room.
Etiquette For Cosplayers:
- Be fully aware when in a large costume or in a costume with protruding elements (like wings, tails, etc.). If you cannot see well, make sure you have a friend to help make sure your pathways are clear.
- If asked for a photo, move out of the flow of traffic, against a wall, or to a less common area.
- If you are wearing extensive makeup or body paint, seal it properly. You don’t want to be in a situation where you cause damage to something (e.g., the pool, hotel or convention center decorations, etc.).
- Do not use being “in character” as an excuse to be a jerk, make lewd or suggestive comments, or physically or verbally bother someone. The harassment policy still applies to you, regardless of who you are dressed as.
- You may not, under any circumstances, Black/Brownface, or wear any costumes that are offensive or disrespectful to any group of existing, living cultures and people. This includes darkening your skin to match that of an existing race, wearing Nazi regalia, etc.
- Do not use accessible stalls or other designated accessibility areas to change or store props unless you would otherwise need that space. Doing so can result in removal from the cosplay contest.
- If you are not a cosplay handler or cosplayer, please do not hang out in the Green Room.
- There may be photographers in the Green Room. You are welcome to politely refuse photography if you do not wish to be photographed.
- Please remember that the Green Room is a collective space with a lot of nervous energy. When in the Green Room, please be mindful of your noise level, how much space you are taking up, as well as the content of your conversations.
- Major Award: This is an award for a costume that has won a first place in class and/or category such as Best Beginner, Best Intermediate Foamwork, Best in Show, etc. This does not include a Judge’s Choice award or a runner up award.
- Class: Your rank within a contest based on the number of awards you have received: Beginner, Intermediate and Masters. Each contest and convention has different ratings, so please make sure you read the information carefully.
- Fidelity: This term is in reference to how closely your costume and/or stage presence matches your character and/or reference images in terms of color, choices and overall character essence. If you deviated from the reference, is the deviation sensible? Areas NOT considered for accuracy include: race, age, ethnicity, height, size, use of mobility items, corrective vision or lack thereof, socioeconomic status, and other health, cultural or religious identities that the cosplayer has that may differ between yourself and the character.
- Green Room: Pre-show meeting and stage queue. This is usually an hour before your actual stage walk. This is an opportunity to make sure everyone is present, organized and ready to go.
- Made Cosplays: “Made” refers to elements of your cosplays that have been fabricated from raw materials and count toward your craftsmanship points and required craftsmanship percentage (See class level for details). Please note that this is different from “altered” items, which are elements of your cosplay that have been purchased or fabricated by someone other than the contestant and modified in some way, such as painted or embellished. If you are altering a piece of your costume, only the portions of the item that have been altered count toward your craftsmanship points and required craftsmanship percentage. It is also important to note that a costume that is comprised only of alterations does not meet any minimum required craftsmanship percentage.
- Minor Award: Awards that are not class and/or category specific, or first place awards in those categories. Examples would include a Judge’s Choice award, a runner up award, best prop award, etc.
- Offensive Cosplays: “Offense” is a somewhat subjective term, but we are functioning with the following definition: cosplays that incite violence, racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, transphobia, ageism, and bigotry. This includes race-facing (e.g. Blackface/Brownface) as well as costumes that replicate historic or current international or national tragedies. The goal is to make sure our attendees feel safe, included, and appreciated, so cosplays should reflect this intent.
- Original Characters: Characters that are not licensed characters. Original characters may be submitted but they are not eligible for Best in Show.
- PG Rating: No nudity or coarse language will be permitted on stage. Simulated violence and thematic situations are okay as long as they are not gruesome or traumatic.
- Progress and Reference photos: Progress photos are images that document the elements of your costume that you made and highlight anything particularly interesting/difficult about your costume. Reference images are images of the character you are personifying. These images must be presented in a hard copy form (i.e. “Progress book) and bound in some way (e.g. in a binder, a folder, stapled together etc.) No digital copies or photos on your phone allowed.
- Sandbagging: Sandbagging has two meanings in the cosplay community, and both may disqualify you from the contest and bar you from competing in the Contest at Planet Anime Kansas City in future years:
- Intentionally placing your costume in a skill class lower than yours to increase your chances of an “easy win.” For the integrity of the contest, you may be placed into the appropriate class at the discretion of the judges and Cosplay Contest Directors without prior notice.
- re-entering a cosplay for which you have already won a category award.