WCS2015: Thank you!

As I’ve said, maybe a million times before, World Cosplay Summit was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! When we waited for our flight in Helsinki Airport back to Oulu, our hometown, I tweeted that “I still haven’t cried #tooswagtocry”. Next day when I woke from my own bed, drank my morning coffee, started writing, I couldn't stop the tears after all. I realized it was all over and I probably will never meet all those people again. I realized that after 4 years of wanting to go to WCS and finally getting there, it was really all over.

You don't realize it right away, but you usually never get a chance to meet cosplayers from 26 different countries at the same place, it's a pretty amazing. Even though I've written so much criticism about the event, the first thing that comes to mind when I think about WCS is not all the things that had gone wrong, it is the amazing people I met and the honor of being the ones who got to experience all this as guests in Nagoya! Most of the time I loved WCS! This will be the last post about WCS 2015 so it's time to thank all the amazing people who helped us during our journey and made this event possible!

First I must thank all the people here in Finland who have supported us and inspired us! Iiris, Ilona, Hootti and Uruhara FC's Päivi and Satu hav been great alumni’s to us and gave us lots of information about WCS. I wish I can be as great alumni to the next representatives as you have been to us! Thanks to Tracon for sponsoring our trip to Nagoya. Thanks to all Finnish cosplayers who watched the stream and followed our WCS journey during this year. Especially I want to thank my family and friends and my fiancé, who knows the best what I've been going through. Without all the supporters in Finland all this wouldn’t have been possible. 
Friends and family watching live stream from Nico nico douga.

Next thank you all who supported us in Japan! Toshiki (btw I'm always saying Takashi, sorry XD) and Mana, our amazing omotenashi students in Nagoya. You both were so nice and helpful and I hope you enjoyed the time you spent with us like we enjoyed the time we spent with you! Team Germany's Asuka, we will also miss you! We're still laughing about the thing you did at oh!-sta.

And of course we're really grateful to all the people who made WCS possible, all the sponsors, all the Teams, Nagoya International Hotel, etc. The organizers, The Big Boss (at least I think he is) Ed Hoff was an amazing person! He was on our side always, understood the cosplayers and tried his best to cheer us forwards! I really didn't have the courage to talk to him, but I still admired from afar. He was kind of "a cosplayers best friend" during the whole trip. Thanks also to all the amazing fellow cosplayers whom we met in WCS. Especially Team Germany, Team Singapore, Team France, Team Sweden and Team Russia. I hope someday we will meet again! You are all welcome to Finland! I have a great brand new couch if you want to become my houseguests, I really mean it! You have my facebook, let’s keep in touch and visit sometime!

Crepes not crabs.

I will miss Eetu for sure! I'm really picky when it comes to people with who I can be myself around and Eetu is one of these people. Eetu was the best translator, great photographer, blogger and assistant during this trip. I'm happy that he lives in Finland and we can meet in Finnish conventions even if it's not the same anymore.
Nus? Einus?

And the person I want to thank most is my WCS partner Kaisa! It's us who worked hard for years and finally reached our goal. We can say mean things to each other, be annoying and especially I can be really harsh sometimes to Kaisa when it comes to making cosplay, but that’s what makes us a great team. We can say what’s on our minds and just go back to work. Kaisa lived at my place for 2 months and it’s now weird because now I have to make morning coffee myself instead of texting her to the other room “Coffee NOW!”

What did I learn? First of all I got used to talking English. I'm ok at reading, writing and listening, but before WCS I was really shy when talking in English, because I’ve never had a chance to use it for a long time. After this I eve had the courage to become a tutor to Japanese students in my university. This sounds really cocky, but WCS made me realize that I can actually do things well and that Finnish cosplayers are freaking talented. Even though our scene is young, taking that into account, our countries craftsmanship skills are amazingly good! In WCS I learned to come out from my comfort zone more. Even though I was still me, I could do things that I don’t usually do or even ones that i'd usually be scared off, because that's what representatives must do, I think. As a Finn I’m pretty proud of myself that I was able to handle the heat of Nagoya. Of all the countries that represented In WCS, Finland was one of the ones with the coldest weather (around +15) and I made it without getting a sunstroke, heatstroke or getting sick. Last but not least I learned that cosplayers from all over the world are nuts in their own unique way and they are also freaking talented in different ways, like our grand champion Team Mexico aka Twin cosplay!  

When I become a better performer and cosplayer, who knows, maybe I'll apply again to the World Cosplay Summit! But before I start a new cosplay project, it’s important to relax and load some batteries for the new adventures. Or not... I actually have my next goal in sight already ;)

I don't have any words left but... 

...Thank you all and good luck 
for World Cosplay Summit 2016!


WCS2015: Osu-parade and Onsen episode!

Day 9 At Sunday morning we actually were cleverly ”late” from the parade. We were eating breakfast at the hotel diner at 9AM, when Eetu rushes in and says that the bus is leaving soon and we are like wtf we thought that the parade starts at 11AM. It did but for some reason teams needed to be there 1 hour early. 
Well me and Kaisa didn’t rush because if the parade didn’t start until 11am we didn’t see why we had to be there so early. Also we should have worn Yoko and Nia at the parade, but because I didn’t have the energy to fix Yoko’s wig the night before, I just decided to wear Poison. Luckily her costume is nice and cool. We did our make up and went to the parade place by taxi that costed only 700yens for 3 people, cheap! We arrived 30 minutes before the parade started and other teams had arrived to the waiting place, which was outside, an hour earlier. Everybody was so agonized because they had waited for so long for no reason so IT WAS GOOD THAT ME AND KAISA WERE LATE!
The parade started and I felt so bad for the other teams, because many of them didn’t feel so well, it was so hot again. Everybody was sweating like pigs again. No wonder since it was the hottest day in Nagoya, maybe over +38.C? Team Mexico, who was walking before us, offered their parasol even though they had much more uncomfortable costumes. These guys were so nice, like real royalties and gentlemen!

The parade was nice, but again it was kind of a mess, because nobody knew what to do. Was it ok to stop in line and pose? How long of a distance we had to keep with the other teams on the parade? It was a bit confusing, but the audience was nice and I felt like a celebrity again. What is it with Japanese old ladies and little sexy costumes? Every time during the events it was the old Japanese ladies that commented my costume “seksushiii” “kakkooiii” etc. It was weird and funny at the same time, hahaha! 

When the parade was over we went back to the hotel to take our costumes off and went to check Team Sweden’s and Team Canada’s performance at the Oasis shopping center where the WCS finals were held in 2012. I’m happy that WCS has changed the location to be indoors. After seeing all the performances in WCS, and of those of the observing countries, I can say that my favorite performance was the one the Chinese women made, so sexyyy! I’m happy that they won the best performance price, because that would have been my choice too. 

At the evening we had a little free time that we spent shopping again. We went to the Pokémon center and afterwards had a little room party with Team Singapore. We had a great time! We also had the stupidest ideas for WCS shows, I won’t tell you anything more about it!  

Day 10 It was time to relax at the Onsen! Half of the bus trip to the onsen I slept and half of it I was staring out of the bus window, because the scenery was so beautiful. It looked just like a scene from Mononoke Hime! Just too beautiful! 

We stayed at the same room with Team Portugal and Team Sweden. We threw our stuff to the room and I really wanted to go outside and look at the amazing scenery. It’s sad that in Japan the sun goes down so early, so we didn’t have a lot of time to admire the scenery. The sun was going down, so it was too dark to look around and we went back to our hotel room. In the onsen we were supposed to wear Yukatas, but I had absolutely no idea how to put the Yukata on. Luckily Team Sweden was so sweet and helped everyone in our room.

The onsen itself was nice. It was kind of like sauna. I love sauna, so of course I fell in love with onsen too. There was delicious food, lots of people and everybody could finally relax after the competition. I was really happy that the place was finally big enough for our big group and everyone was able to talk and eat behind their own little table while sitting, not standing. 

Picture Eetu Lampsijärvi
 I don’t remember anything specific about the onsen. Just the mood. I was observing the crying people around me and of course the mood was contagious. It was a pity that our journey had finally got to the end. It’s weird, but actually I didn’t feel like crying myself. I felt really bad for the other teams, because they looked so helpless. Most of the people will never see each other again. Even though all those people hanged around for just two weeks, they created a kind of a bond between them. And even though they never see each other again, they’ll still have the memory and the bond from this trip. At the same time the Onsen day was the most fun and most awful day of the whole trip.

After the group picture everyone started crying again while saying goodbyes to each other. To me it felt so weird and empty that I was going to return to Finland and there would be no WCS preparing anymore. We went back to our room and discussed about Närcon and other stuff with Team Sweden. It was our last night in Japan for this year, at least I think so. 


WCS2015: The actual competition part 2

So now that I saw with my own eyes how the finals exactly work, I can write about it. I’ve heard a couple of different versions of the finals and here comes how I saw this competition. I’m not happy to say this, because I loved the WCS trip and it was nice to perform on a new stage, but as a serious cosplayer I can’t take this competition seriously. WCS is a nice trip and I think that is the point of this event: have fun with fellow cosplayers. But at the moment WCS as a competition is not a serious competition, it’s TV show and entertainment. I think it’s ok, but people who are taking part into this event should acknowledge this. That is the main point of this post, but I also write about how they could turn it into a serious competition. 

Picture Eetu Lampsijärvi

I made lots of notes, I won’t write here about everything, about the rules of this competition: some of the rules I didn’t internalize before the competition, some of the rules were unclear and some of the rules were written in a way that I wasn’t sure if people broke them? And here comes the nitpicking, and you can check all the rules WCS own pages:

[4] All large props set on stage before the Cosplay Championship performance begins are limited to a maximum weight of 10 kilograms. Prop dimensions are limited to 2100 millimeters in height, 2100 millimeters in width and 900 millimeters in depth.

So in other words you can make your props as big as you want as long as they are 2100x2100x900 when the staff brings them to the stage! But many cosplayers don’t realize the part “BEFORE the Cosplay Championship performance begins…”. So to the next teams I want to point out: you can make a bigger props as long as they are small before your show on the stage starts. If you want your show to be big and awesome do this, because in my point of view; size matters in WCS!

If there is any different between Japanese version and other translated version of this regulations, Japanese version is final.

If this is an international world class competition the official and final language should be the one everyone/most of the participants can understand and it’s definitely not Japanese. Even if Nagoya hosts the competition, and we’re grateful for that, the official language should be the one almost everyone can understand: English.

[9] The performance at the Championship can be the same as the performance given in the preliminary round, but if it is the same, your performance should be augmented to a level appropriate for the Championship.

How do you measure when the performance and costumes are upgraded to the championship level? 

[6] It is not permitted to directly copy original drawings, logos or graphic art to your equipment or props.

Do you mean that competitors can’t use, for example logos from animes/games on the props? Or do you mean actual logos/brands like McDonalds? At least the first one was broken.

[14] It is possible to scatter things onstage during your performance, but staining, marking or damaging the stage in any way is prohibited. Anything that takes time to clean up on stage is also not allowed. (See B-16 for what cannot be used)

[16] Special effects, etc. produced using the following materials are not allowed.
The following materials are prohibited:
Powder, small metallic confetti (Lamé)
Fire (smoke), water
Paper confetti smaller than 2cm (includes flower petals and feathers scattered on stage)
* Paper confetti larger than 2cm can be used. (Limited to a maximum of 100 pieces)

These two rules, [14] and [16], are contradicting each other! I’ve seen that in WCS people scatter things that are allowed, but at the same time staff don’t have time to clean the scattered things! In the rules they sayAnything that takes time to clean up on stage is also not allowed. So if we scatter things on the stages that are allowed, but there’s no time to clean them, does it mean we’re breaking the rules?

At the moment I’m confused because the rules are unclear to me and I’m not sure if they were broken in the finals or not. Because the rules were unclear, me and some other teams were thinking that some rules were broken. We were wondering with the other teams about these questions and I wish that these things will be more clear to the next representatives. Even though all representatives are smiling during the We are the world at the end of the competition it doesn’t mean we all were happy. It just means we want to represent our countries well and leave a proper impression of ourselves to the world. Behind the smiles and behind the scenes, some people were happy, some were sad, some were upset, angry, pissed off, some really depressed, some were relieved the competition was over.  

Also the next thing I want to point out: why aren’t the points of all the teams in the competition public information? Because they should be! I was told that some year the points were public and they didn’t use that system again because some cosplayers got upset or depressed about the results. You can’t be serious! In every serious competition people have the right to know how the representatives placed. It doesn’t matter which world championship is being contested, the result are usually public. If some people think that the points must be a big secret because otherwise WCS will become too competitive, or cosplayers get depressed about the results, I ask: why do we compete at all? Why don’t we just make a big World Cosplay Gathering, do the TV show and no prices, just the shows. Then everybody would be happy and there would not be pressure on anyone’s shoulders! 
Even though the points are not public it doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t get upset about something. If we are really talking about World cosplay championship I think every countries representative should have enough backbone to handle the result, no matter if they are good or bad. 

Points should be public so that the competitors and the audience could know how good each team really was. Like one of the Finnish cosplayers said (I’m not sure whether it was our previous representative Ilona (WCS2014) or Rimppu (WCS2012)): in cosplay competition you never really have a real world/european/nordic champion, because the result are made by certain judges and you can’t really measure whether or not all the best cosplayers are in the competition. 

In my opinion in cosplay there are so many factors that the judges can’t really measure costumes and performances 100% objectively, they are humans. For instance how do you measure which is better; amazing armor or embroidery? Both took hundreds of hours to make. How do you measure which is better the dramatic acting or big changing stage props on the skit? You can’t measure it because they are totally different things. This is where the subjective opinions and the judges preferences, or their own knowledge about those subjects, will surely impact their judging.  

However when you can see all the teams’ points, and you see what kind of performances and costumes they have done, you know what kind of costumes or performances do well in the competition and what kind of costumes or performances aren’t appreciated. This information helps you to do your best costume or performance that is suited towards this particular competition. When you have this information you can decide whether this is your kind of competition or not. Now the points are secret and we’re not allowed to tell them in public.

It feels that to some people competing is automatically a negative word. People are afraid that competing makes cosplay too serious and inhuman. I feel that some people, and I’m not only talking about WCS, I’m talking generally, think that competing makes people monsters who do not consider fellow cosplayers as possible friends but as worst enemies. I think that competing doesn’t mean that we representatives have to kill each other backstage, sabotage others costumes, be rude to each other and not borrow the tape for others stage props. Competing means that we can learn something from each other, do our best, be rivals in a good kind of way and really put ourselves out there and do a great show!

I think that the main point of competing is the opportunity to test our skills as a cosplayer!
I want to believe that this competition will improve every year and give us cosplayers a chance to compete fair and square. I believe the event will improve when every cosplayer and organizer can be open about the stuff what is happening in WCS! I know that it’s definitely not easy to do everything right in a competition this big. I’ve organized small local cosplay competitions and I always put cosplayers’ needs before mine and others and that’s how it should be. WCS took really good care about us during the whole trip with food, transport, lodgings and generally cared for us, but the competition itself doesn’t treat all the teams fairly in my opinion. The competition should be about the competitors. If you listen to feedback, even the harsh ones, you have the chance to make a better competition. So I ask; please listen to what the cosplayers have to say.