Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Cosplay: EuroCosplay Finals at the MCMexpo London

A few months ago I wrote and article for Den of Geek about the GB EuroCosplay qualifiers at May’s MCMexpo. Well this time I was lucky enough to get a ticket to the grand finale held at the October event (28th-30th of October 2011) and given the quality of the entrants, I really did feel privileged!

With competitors representing 23 European countries- 35 entrants were chosen from various conventions and events around Europe. Special EuroCosplay tickets were available across, presumably as demand for seats was so high- and to help provide a diverse audience.
If the glorious camp fun of The Eurovision Song Contest was not an inspiration to the organisers when setting up the show, it certainly seemed that way, from the Danish group sitting in front of us waving tiny flags to the vocal Dutch with their giant Netherlands banner. It was also great to see that so many members of the audience had made the effort to dress up for the show, with costumes as varied as furry cats, anime characters and Disney Princesses. Although running a little late the crowds were well warmed by the presenters and TokyoToys mascot, the Pocky Ninja, giving away prizes like a 3DS.

Competition judges were assembled from around the world; Pandy, from Brazil, former World Cosplay Champion. Sushi Monster from the USA a leading cosplay stylist and photoshoot veteran and finally Japanese Goldy- the master of the Mecha cosplay! Contestants were judged based on their costume detail, quality of construction, performance on-stage and characterisation. All entrants provided a music track to accompany their parade walk, and some even provided videos to go with the performance.
Judges are judging...

 I don’t have space to outline all of the entrants, but here are some if my favourites along with some lessons about cosplay I have learned from the show:

Cosplay is not just for Japan-o-philes (not that there’s anything wrong with that...)
Gianluca from Italy cosplayed as War Machine from Iron Man, as one of the few entrants from western culture this costume was a welcome change, amazingly executed with working lights etc. there was also a video showing clips from the movie and great moment when the guitar riff from AC/DC’s War Machine kicked in.
And feed your war... War Machine...

Choose your music wisely
John Kennedy, who represented Ireland, made a musical effort too with Jareth from Labyrinth dancing to David Bowie’s classic Magic Dance from the movie.

You remind me of the Babe!

Bring your own props
One of France’s two entries cosplaying as Lilith from Trinity Blood brought her own decorated garden furniture as part of her act, beginning in a white dress, then transforming magically on stage to a winged version before our very eyes- well with some careful prop placement.

Are those French flag colours a co-incidence?

My favourite use of props was a Danish entry portraying Sailor Moon’s Princess Serenity, featuring a very cheeky Tuxedo Kamen pillow! It was a very funny performance and perfectly brought the character to life.

For all those girls who wanted to see Mamo-chan naked...

A quick word of warning about props- While so called ‘prop ninjas’ did excellent jobs at handling the costume paraphernalia provided by the contestants, there were occasions where prop malfunctions occured- at one point the end of a lance flew off and hit the judges table, while another contestant's sword broke apart and hit an audience member! Thankfully no one was hurt, except perhaps the contestant's chances…

It’s all in the details
The polish entry Grenado Espada as the Elementalist was a delight, casting a spell in her cauldron and removing her cloak to reveal she had summoned wings. The beauty of this entry came with the reveal of the wings, as she shook the cloak free and revealed one wing, then the other- Gorgeous!

My what lovely wings you have!

And now for the winners:
In third place
Spanish entrant Estela with her portrayal of Pocco from Sweet Dreams; this entry was so cute! Her wings worked individually and provided a simple yet very effective twist on her costume. Her performance was lovely, going into a brief power down, only to wake again, wings independently of her body.

Subtle, yet beautiful...

Second Place
Went to Ronald Boom as Brother Matthaios from Trinity Blood it was very hard to get a good picture of the full costume because of the lighting, but the design of this costume was amazing, with full armour and shielding.

A simplified version for the prize giving

And the winner is
Great Britain! Doing the host nation proud was Xaerael as the Skeksil Chamberlin from Dark Crystal. I was lucky enough to see the qualifier that saw Xaerael through to the final of EuroCosplay, and seeing the costume again did not dampen the impact. The simple craftsmanship that went in the costume, along with the movement detailing in the working head/arms and blinking eyes was something that no-one else could really match. It seems the judges also agreed!
Xaereal was the luck winner of a trip to Japan, the home of Cosplay, and a place in the EuroCosplay history books.

A fine piece of craftmanship!

I think it is really important to emphasise at this point that all cosplay competition entrants are completely home made or built. Including all peripherals and props- with this in mind I think it is even more impressive just what the contestants here have achieved!

I for one don’t come close to this standard, but they certainly inspire to me to work harder at my costumes, and maybe to try different things. I’ll write soon about my fancy dress effort at the October MCMexpo.

Happy Dresscapades!

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