Busy but fun. Otakuthon is one of my staple events for the year and it delivered good times with my friends. I came into the city on Thursday evening and I was able to grab a few drinks with a friend on a patio and catch up after a few years apart.
On Friday I wore Nidalee, I didn't forget my necklace this time, and I got to shoot with White Specks. I immediately had to run to my panel afterwards and it went surprisingly well considering I thought it was cancelled and I had to make due without my notes.Afterward I had an amazing seafood dinner at the Captain's Boil. It's a pirate themed restaurant with bibs, gloves, and food in bags. It was glorious and delicious.
On Saturday I got dressed in my Fall Sawsbuck costume after attaching some last minute flowers to the skirt. I'm so stoked to get photos back for this costume. I felt majestic af in this. I love it so damn much with its warm colour palette. I also hung out in the Otakuthon lobby for a bit and I was pleased to see how warmly the costume was received especially since it's an original gijinka design.
The rest of the day was spent judging the masquerade and Otakuthon always has stiff competition. This year was the year of WOW. There were so many talented Sylvanas cosplayers, in addition to a lot of Hakuouki and Madoka Magika.
On Sunday I wore Ducklett and I took it pretty easy. I watched the WCS Canada performances, then jetted out for a fashion inspired shoot, then came running back for the award ceremony. I spent the rest of the day eating great food with friends and catching up with them.
All in all it was a good weekend despite the questionable weather.
I brought the sea goddess to Mechacon, and I was happy with how well received Tia Dalma was.
Friday was busy since I was doing craftsmanship judging for the masquerade for the most of the day. I was amazed at the amount of talent I saw in the cosplay competition. After a few hours of that I went to the opening ceremony with my fellow cosplay guests Chinasaur and Starbuxx. I was really impressed with how well produced the opening videos were for the event in addition to the talent on stage since many of the musical guests preformed throughout the ceremony.
Afterward we had a meet and greet with the guests (ambassadors) and VIP con guests. It made for a great time to meet new people and socialize. It set a great tone for the weekend.
I wrapped up the evening by grabbing dinner at a great Colombian restaurant and calling it an early night.
On Saturday, I wore Kida. Earlier in the day I was judging more entries from the cosplay contest then I got to spend some time at my booth. I met so many interesting and nice people. Thanks again to anyone who stopped by to say hi and buy a print.
Later in the day I got to watch the cosplay competition and boy was it intense. There was a crazy amount of craftsmanship on display and it was hard narrowing down the winners. I'm also used to having lengthy deliberations to determine the awards but we had to pick the winners within 15 minutes! In the end, we came to a consensus and the contestants really put on a good show.
After the con I got to catch up with Hane Cosplay over dinner and frozen rosé. Yum.
Weekend Cosplay Gallery
Sunday & Monday
Sunday was the most relaxed of the weekend. I was mostly at my table in my Ducklett costume. The AC is not a joke at this con so I was sporting a jacket most of the day.
I had a great time socializing with the attendees and the other guests in the guest table area. I've got to say that Queen D is a great cosplayer and a joy to be around. I would love to see her MC a Canadian masquerade.
Chinasaur and Starbuxx were lovely and I had a great time hanging out with them over the weekend. Also thanks to Most Flogged for swapping X-men stories and taking me to the aquarium on Monday.
Stay awesome New Orleans!
This was my 9th year at Otakuthon. Wow! It has always been a favourite of mine thanks to the venue, location, and friends. I had a great time this year even though it's getting harder and harder to spend time with friends since the event is so photoshoot friendly that everyone tends to wandering around shooting all day.
This was a much more relaxed year since I skipped competing in the WCS Canada preliminaries/finals and judged the masquerade instead of competing. Although after a year of judging events I feel due for a good stage performance.
Conventions can be a place of fun, discovery, and learning. I've been going to conventions for over 10 years and I find there are many things a conventions can offer to enrich a visitor's experience. Conventions have brought me so much joy with great experiences with friends and that's why I find it great to give back to the events that have given so much to me.
Participating in an event, be it as a panelist, volunteer, or staff, can be a great way to learn about how the event is run and to create more connections with the community. It can be especially important if the convention is run by fans or volunteers, but it can still be an enriching experience when it comes to profit-based events.
I'm going to focus on cosplay-oriented activities one can do to contribute to conventions and the local cosplay community.
I love Anime North. It is a staple of my con schedule. I accidentally overbooked myself this year. I judged two competitions and had 3 photoshoots. As a result I took ZERO photos this year. I got to spend a grand total of one hour in the dealer's hall and artist alley but overall I still had a good time.
We drove to Toronto and just as we arrived we had to run to the Friday Cosplay Workmanship contest to start assessing entries. It's a small competition but we had a great variety of costumes. I got to ogle at leatherwork, knit sweaters, and silicone cast hobbit's feet.
I made the finishing touches on Five (Drakenguard) in the morning before my shoots. My sewing machine broke the night before the con. Talk about a cosplay nightmare. It finally happened. Luckily I was able to borrow a friend's machine and even though it hated me, I made it work.
I got out of my hotel room at 2pm to shoot with AmaLeigh Photography. she was great and it was nice meeting her. Right afterwards, I went straight to a shoot with Don Dolce photography. After fumbling a bit with my armour and props we managed to get a few good shots. This costume was a reminder that I need to keep polishing my armour skills. I was so sore after wearing it for 3 hours.
After my shoot I got changed into my Aion Bard then went straight to the masquerade to judge the stage competition.
Welcome to Summoner's Rift.... err I mean the 2015 Anime North Masquerade!
I would say close to half of the show was League of Legends cosplays. Luckily my knowledge of the game could be carried over to the judging table. It was a little disconcerning that there was a lack of diversity in source material. Ironically, there were very few anime or Japanese game cosplays at the masquerade and this is an Anime Convention. On the plus side, the selection of characters and skins in League means you don't see the same costumes over and over.
Remember Cosplayers, if you enter a competition with a costume from a popular game/series you risk of running into identical entries. That is an awkward place to be for many cosplayers in a competition environment. Also it becomes more challenging to make your costume and performance stand out.
Overall, it was a good show and deliberations were straightforward.
I also got to meet Misa on Wheels, the cosplay guest of honour, because she was also a stage judge. She oozes positivity and I encourage you all to say hi to her if you get a chance to meet her.
Sunday snoozing was followed by getting dressed in my Bard again, packing my luggage then going straight to the award ceremony. It's always a pleasure seeing all those happy faces and rewarding hard work. After we wrapped up the prizes I went to shoot with RS Photography. I had a great time shooting with him for the first because he's a funny and friendly guy.
Afterwards, I did a speed run through the dealer's hall, visiting my friend Vickybunnyangel at the Cosplay Supplies booth and another friend in the artist alley.
I had a great time being a staff member at Anime North this year. Ideally for next year I'll staff one event instead of two so that I have time to see my friends. I didn't get to hang out with anyone but my roommates and I feel guilty about it.
Anime North is my year tradition and it was a whirlwind like every other year. There are not enough hours in a day to do all the things you need to do at AN.
I'll keep my blog brief so you can all enjoy my shaky cellphone photos instead :)
First of all, I would like to thank Pop Expo for inviting me as a judge to the event. I accepted the position before I found out Heroes of Cosplay was going to be at the event. I decided to stick with it since it would ensure the judging process and criteria would stay as close to the usual as possible. Attendees and participants in the masquerade got a heads up (about 2-3 weeks) that filming was going to occur at the event, because PopExpo posted details on their Facebook page. Since I did take part in the filming process my report will be a little less detailed than usual but you can most likely glean information from others who attended the event.
It was PopExpo's first year and I am happy that the event was sustainable with over 7,000 people attending. They have already confirmed there will be a PopExpo 2014.
Myself and Miss Calamity (aka Valkyrie Gear) shared a table over the weekend and it was a nice place to run into all the attendees. We also had a clear view of the wrestling ring for the entire weekend, so we got an earful.
I was very impressed with the costumes present at the event. I was worried the cold snowy whether would keep people away. The gallery below includes cosplayers who did not compete in the masquerade.
On Saturday, I wore Tia Dalma (Calypso). The first half of the day was spent manning my table and checking out the event. The other half was spent at the masquerade.
There were four judges for the event: Frenzy Wonder, Nailo Syanodel, Yaya Han, and myself. Three out of four of the judges were local. All of which have judged using the ICG rules at other events and we all agreed to do this before finding out the filming was happening. The judging was basically the same, the main difference being there were cameras in the greenroom and judging area. We ran into some delays because there was no lighting in the judging area when we arrived but we managed to get back on track before the show started.
The masquerade went well except for one hiccup. The only difference in the setup was the lighting directly on the judges. Normally we are hidden in the darkness along with the crowd, so I'm sorry if that threw anyone off. Immediately after the show we went straight to deliberations which were also filmed. We deliberated on the awards (some had a cash prize attached) that were presented that night: Best in Show, Master class awards, and our judges choice. After we made our decisions we returned to the stage and presented the awards immediately. All other awards and honourable mentions were decided afterwards with more deliberations and presented at the award ceremony on Sunday morning.
Side note #1: Judge's choice are relatively rare at Canadian events. Normally, we find some other award or Honourable mention to give the participant.
Side note #2: Cash prizes are even rarer. Normally ribbons and certificates are handed out.
The award ceremony was first thing in the morning at 10:15, so it was no surprise that so few people were able to make it. In the end it lasted maybe 15 minutes. We handed out the awards and congratulated those who were awarded the day before again. I also welcomed all the contestants to come chat with the local judges to get some feedback on their costumes and performance. It was a positive experience and the majority of the people said they enjoyed the masquerade. We spent an hour and half talking to the contestants and that was quite possibly the most productive thing I did all weekend. The rest of the day was spent quietly behind my table.
Now I get to play the waiting game along with everyone else to see what kind of edit I get in the final cut.
A special thanks goes out to all the staff and crew of the masquerade for making it through all this.
FYI: I will most likely have my glasses on with my Tia Dalma costume for the most of the show because I have an eye problem so I couldn't wear contacts and my eyesight is horrible without them. Looking good comes second to properly judging the costumes. So please no comments about costume inaccuracy.
Myself and Riddle
I barely had time to actually enjoy the convention and the city of Montreal but Otakuthon is a staple in my convention lineup, and overall I enjoyed myself. I didn't have as much fun as previous years because I had many commitments.
I got to meet the special cosplay guests and my fellow masquerade judges Riddle and NadiaSK.
I also got to hand out some Crunchyroll swag to some special congoers.
I owe a special thanks to my friends, especially Cosplay Calamity and Tamar Wolfe (my table partner), who really helped me by looking after my artist alley table over the weekend.
I had a great time at Conbravo as a cosplay guest and masquerade judge.
Here's a little taste of my adventures, Vine Style.
MeltingMirror's Cosplay Blog
Learn more about my experiences in the cosplay world, from conventions to photoshoots and everything in between.