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World Cosplay Summit 2012 Championship



Text by Gary Menzel

Photos by Achim Runnebaum

On a Japanese mid-summer’s day, 20 of the world’s countries gathered in Nagoya to compete in the World Cosplay Championships 2012.  While I have never been to an event like this, not even in my home country of Australia who were one of the competitors, I was lucky enough to be able to navigate the tricky ticketing system and get a seat for the Championship event.

For those who are not familiar with Cosplay it is a short version of “costume play” and refers to dressing up and pretending to be characters from sources such as anime, sci-fi, comics/manga etc.

The event marked the 10 year anniversary and continues to evolve in popularity as well as in format.  This year the paying audience were able to contribute to the voting through the use of cards held up which were counted by staff members and added to the scores at the end of the judging.  This provided plenty of excitement and tension as the jockeying for first prize (travel expenses to the value of 1 million Japanese Yen – around $12,000) was very close between the top 6 or so teams.

The acts are scored against performance, costume and faithfulness to the original characters and scene they are portraying.  The audience popularity vote contributed to 25% of the total score.  The style of the performances often means that a pre-recorded backing track is used to provide the mood and often dialogue.  Some of the lip-syncing still needed work in some cases but the veteran performers demonstrated the hard work they had put in by being very accurate and convincing.

Another evolution this year was televising the event live.  This made for some strange breaks to fit in with the television schedule but didn’t detract from the party atmosphere where young and old cheered for all the contestants as they conducted their performances.

There was a particularly lively Japanese family a couple of seats in front of me from the youngest of ages (probably around 2 years old) all the way up to a grandmother (who happily waved around glow sticks when lively music played).

The evening culminated with the arrival of a member from a popular Cosplay-style band to award the prize to the winner.  And, with all the fanfare of an Olympic medal ceremony, the lively family in front of me cheered the loudest as their own relatives took First Prize as Japan was announced as the winner.




Second and third prizes went to Singapore and Indonesia respectively.

If you are ever in Japan around the middle of summer, I recommend you make the effort to take a trip to Nagoya to experience this unique piece of Japanese culture with a truly international appeal.


The Photo Gallery

Check out the complete photo gallery of World Cosplay Summit 2012.


The WCS 2012 Championship Final Scores

Text by Katz Ueno

The following list is the scores of the judges. The 5 judges judged the points by the performance (10 points each), costume (10 points each) and story accuracy (5 points).

The scores by the judges

Team Singapore and Thailand scored the top followed by Indonesia, Brazil, and Japan.


During the championship, the 500 audiences were given yellow "Like" flag. After the each performance, the audince displayed the flag to the championship staff if they liked the performance. 0.1 point was given to each audience which total 50 points.

The final score

The following is the final result of the championship. The judge (125 max. points) plus audience (50 max. points)



Interviews of the cosplayers from all 20 participating countries

Video by Katz Ueno

Photos by Achim Runnebaum

Right before the championship, we interviewed the 39 cosplayers from all 20 participating countries to talk about their cosplay lives.

Click each photo to watch the interview, or watch the rest of interviews.


Top 3 Cosplayers of 2012 Championship

Team Japan [ Watch ]



Team Singapore [ Watch ]



Team Indonesia [ Watch ]


Watch the rest of interviews.


Interview Photo Gallery

Photos by Achim Runnebaum

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Gary Menzel
My daytime job is as a architect in Information Technology systems buy my hobbies cover Music, Theatre and Art. I am a native Australian but spent time in Japan (Osaka) several times and travel there often. Read more »