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.

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