Update, April 4th, 2018 – **Thank you to all those who applied to compete in the ASTL Cosplay Contest! At this time, online registration for the CRAFTSMANSHIP COMPETITION is full and has been closed.

If you missed online registration, there will be twenty (20) walk-on slots available for registration at the convention, offered on a first-come-first-serve basis. On-site registration for craftsmanship will be located at the Cosplay Contest HQ across from Programming Ops, taking place on Friday of the convention between 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM.

Online registration for SKIT APPLICATIONS is still open for those who wish to compete in performance! Please note that skit applications (with or without craftsmanship judging) are limited, and there will be NO additional skit entry sign-up at the convention. If you wish to compete with a skit, make sure you submit your application no later than April 10th.**


Main Stage Cosplay Contest Guidelines

Entries open March 5th, 2018 at 12:00 PM. Waitlisting begins once we fill up. Submissions close April 2nd at 11:59 PM. Please add astlcosplaycontest@gmail.com to your contacts to help us avoid junk mail! Upon submission, we will email you within a week to confirm your registration.


  • Best Craftsmanship (Youth, Novice, Journeyman, Master)

  • Best Skit (Overall)

  • Best Fan Design (Overall)

  • Best In Show (Includes Skit & Craftsmanship)

  • Judge’s Choice (1 per judge)

  • Crowd Favorite (1 per show)

General Competition Rules & Guidelines

  • For the sake of clarity, the terms used below are defined:

    • Skit – A short act involving music and/or script with pre-existing characters and/or stage ninjas putting on a performance longer than a simple walk-on.

    • Walk-On – Cosplayer(s) walk on to the stage to show their cosplays to a crowd, pose and walk off stage to music provided by the convention.

    • Entry/Entrant – 1-8 person group entering as a entity to be judged together. If you wish to be judged in craftsmanship by yourself, you must enter as a separate entry. Even if you enter as a separate entrant for judging, you may do a walk-on with your group.

  • Costumes from all genres of media will be allowed — Allowed genres include: Anime; Video Games; Movies; Animated Features and Cartoons; Live-Action Shows; Comic Books and Graphic Novels; Art Books and Official Promotional Artwork. Series crossovers and mixed media are also acceptable.

    • Acceptable genres are not limited to Japanese-origin or Japanese-influenced media.

  • If equipment or crew errors interfere with a contestant’s performance, they will be given the opportunity to re-run their performance with corrected technical aspects.

  • Participants may only appear on the stage once. They can not appear in more than one entry for any reason. They may not wear more than one cosplay unless it is a “cosplay change” that pertains to the stage time. (Example being, a cosplay turning into something else or a character changing for a skit.) No exceptions.

    • Each cosplayer is allowed to cross the stage once. If you are in a skit, you cannot also do a ‘walk on’ entry, and vice versa.

  • Entries / Stage Performances can not go beyond (8) warm bodies including stage ninjas.

  • Nothing may leave the stage! This includes yourself, warm bodies, props, glitter, confetti, etc. Failure to comply will result in immediate disqualification.

  • Awards are given by ENTRY, not per person. If you apply as a team of three (3) and get judged as a entire entry, one award will be given to the entire team.

    • Awards will be given directly to the Entry Leader on-stage and/or in the Green Room immediately following the Live Show. It is not Anime St. Louis responsibility to evenly distribute awards amongst the participants within the entry.

  • Once online sign-ups fill up, we will allow for a waitlist. Waitlisted applications will be notified as soon as they are taken off of the waitlist. This only applies to online applications. On May 4th, if an entry cancels it’ll be added to the at-con registration space. On May 4th, waitlisted entries will no longer be contacted and are welcome to apply for a at-con entry.

  • Skits entries are not required to do Craftsmanship judging.

  • All performance content must adhere to a “PG-13” rating, as there will be children and minors in the audience. No swearing, sexually-explicit actions or references, or inappropriate gestures are permitted. Drug references and alcohol use will not be allowed.

    • Any performance that violates these content rules will be automatically disqualified, removed from the cosplay contest premises, and contestants will be potentially banned from competing at future Anime St. Louis events.

  • When planning to wear a risqué costume, keep in mind that there are children in the audience. Furthermore, the competition will be recorded and later shared on the internet; keep that in mind when considering potential “costume malfunctions.”

    • If your costume is deemed too inappropriate for children audience members, you will be requested to cover up as necessary. Failure to comply will result in your disqualification.

  • Unfortunately, due to time constraints we no longer have an Exhibition division or entries that are just walk-ons without any judging.

  • The Anime St. Louis Cosplay Guidelines must still be followed (meaning no live steel may be present.

  • Stage dimensions are: ___ ft. deep by ___ ft. wide. TBA.

  • Update Clarification 3/6/2018: Entries under 13 whose guardians (parent, relative, other adult caretaker) created their cosplay must have their judging session with these guardians even if their guardians are also competing in the competition. This means the guardians’ appointment and child’s appointment will be treated as ONE (1) entry, even if they are cosplaying from different series.

    • This is to ensure guardians and children are not acquiring too much time for numerous cosplays as separate entries.

  • Update Clarification 3/6/2018: You may enter ONE (1) cosplay per competition per creator — not per body. You can’t compete with more than one cosplay worn by different people for better chances of winning.

    • Group effort cosplays are okay; as long as everyone generally helped out with the cosplays together.

    • The only exception to this rule is children under 13 and guardians competing wearing their adultcreated costume. We want to encourage family cosplay! However, the rule still applies that costumes created by competing guardians worn by children under 13 must enter as one entry and share a judging session.

    • The child may compete and have a separate craftsmanship appointment as Juniors if they completed 75% of their costume themselves.


Skill Divisions


The following categories are based on an interpretation of the International Costuming Guild’s guidelines for fair competition.


  • The skill division of a group entry is determined by the highest skill level within that group.

    • A group with two Novices and a Journeyman will be entered into the Journeyman division.

    • A group with four Journeymen and a Master will be entered into the Master division.

    • Contestants are allowed to compete at a higher-level division if they should wish. They are not allowed to compete in a lower-level division.

    • Judges are allowed to “bump” a contestant into a higher category, should they feel it better allows for fair competition to all contestants.

  • Skits are judged at the same level of skill.

  • Fan Designs will be judged at the same level of skill.

    • Fan Designs can not qualify for Junior Award, Journeyman, Novice, Master & Best in Show.


Fan Design

  • Original Characters, Gijinka (Humanized Designs) & Fan Designs can only be judged per the Best Fan Design and are not eligible for Best in Show nor Craftsmanship Awards. Their Craftsmanship will be judged and applied to the Best Fan Design award.

    • Embellishments and adding creative touches to existing, canon designs is allowed and not considered “Fan Designs.” When in doubt, email us at astlcosplaycontest@gmail.com

    • Artbook designs by official creators of a series are not considered “Fan Designs” and qualify for Craftsmanship & Best in Show.

    • Due to the popularity, Sakizou Original Designs are not considered “Fan Designs/Original Characters” and will qualify for Best in Show & Craftsmanship.

    • If you are competing with a costume that you did not design, you must receive permission from the artist that you were allowed to enter. You must send us a screenshot or e-mail from the creator with permission to the check-in or ahead of time to our email, astlcosplaycontest@gmail.com.

  • Fan Design categorization is not optional.



  • Contestants under the age of 13 who made their costume themselves.

  • Children wearing a costume created by an adult should be entered at the adult’s level of skill.



  • Contestants who have never before competed.

  • Contestants who have won less than 3 awards.

  • Professional costumers and cosplayers cannot enter the Novice division.

  • A contestant who has previously won an award at a level higher than Novice (i.e. Journeyman, Intermediate, Master, Experienced, etc.) may not enter the Novice division.

  • A contestant who has won more than 2 awards at other costume competitions may not enter in the Novice division.



  • Contestants who have won 3-8 awards at other costume competitions.

  • Professional costumers and cosplayers cannot enter the Journeyman division.

  • A contestant who has previously won an award at a level higher than Journeyman (i.e. Master, Experienced, etc.) may not enter the Journeyman division.

  • A contestant who has previously won a Best In Show award at a major competition (20,000+ attendees) may not enter the Journeyman division.

  • A contestant who has won more than 8 awards at other Costume Competitions may not enter the Journeyman division.



  • Contestants who have won more than 9 awards at other Costume Competitions.

  • Professional costumers and cosplayers may enter the Master division.

    • For contestants whose professions entail sewing; prop-making; wig-styling; and other forms of costume creation.


  • Costumes that have won major awards at larger costume competitions will not be allowed to enter. This is referred to as “sandbagging” and it is not permitted.

    • To clarify:

      • A costume that hasn’t won a major award in competition may be entered.

      • A costume that has won a major award at a smaller competition may be entered.

      • A costume that has won a major award at a similarly-sized competition may be entered with permission of the masquerade director.


Craftsmanship Guidelines & Rules


  • Unless you are part of a Skit, Craftsmanship entries participate as a “Walk-On” in the Cosplay Contest Live Show. Walk-Ons receive 30 seconds on stage to pose three (3) times for the crowd and photographers.

  • Craftsmanship Appointments are assigned on a first come, first service basis. Appointments run from 10:15 AM – 3:40 PM on Saturday of the convention. To be judged separately for Craftsmanship, cosplayers should apply separately as different entries. However, they are welcome to go on stage together for walk-ons and skits. If a team worked on a group cosplay together and wish to be judged together, certain rules apply:

    • 1-3 member qualifies for (5) minute appointment

    • 4-8 member team qualifies for (10) minute appointment.

    • However, all members must be present for judging. If a team member does not show, they cannot be judged separately later and the participant within the entry is disqualified.

  • Should a contestant show up late or otherwise miss their Craftsmanship judging or rehearsal appointment, they will forfeit their opportunity to be judged for Craftsmanship (unless another time slot is available). Contestants are encouraged to show up 10 minutes early for their judging & rehearsal. If you do not get a rehearsal & Craftsmanship judging, you can not compete. You must receive both (unless you are doing a Skit without Craftsmanship judging.)

  • All contestants are required to bring clear reference images of their costume’s source material to their Craftsmanship judging session. References must be PRINTED. Contestants are encouraged to bring examples of their works-in-progress, but it is not required. Failure to provide reference images will have a negative impact on the contestant’s craftsmanship score.

  • Be prepared! We highly recommend practicing speaking about how you made your costume, your favorite parts of it, etc. . You’ll only have (5-10) minutes to shine in front of the Craftsmanship judges, use your time wisely!

  • All costumes and props entered into Craftsmanship judging must be made by at least one member of the group or the individual competing. (“Made” is defined as “80% of the finished costume was constructed by the competitor.” Bought or found pieces are allowed as long as they have been heavily-altered by the contestant.) Commissioned, purchased, or borrowed costumes are not eligible.

  • Repeat costume entries may be given the option to compete if they are willing to enter in a higher-level skill division.


Skit Guidelines & Rules


  • Skits that have previously been performed at Anime St. Louis will not be allowed to perform in any following years’ competitions.

  • We will not be providing microphones for any performances. All skit audio must be pre-recorded.

  • Skit-only Entries are not required to do Craftsmanship judging.

  • All performance content must equate to a PG-13 rating, as there will be children and
    minors in the audience. No swearing, sexually-explicit actions or references, or
    inappropriate gestures are permitted. Drug references and alcohol use will not be allowed.

    • Any performance that violates these content rules will be automatically disqualified, removed from the cosplay contest premises, and contestants will be potentially banned from competing at future Anime St. Louis events.

  • Skit entries must adhere to the following time limitations:

    • 1-2 People: No longer than 90 seconds (1 minute, 30 seconds)

    • 3-6 People: No longer than 150 seconds (2 minutes, 30 seconds)

    • 7-8 People: No longer than 180 seconds (3 minutes)

  • The “timer” starts when the performance begins. A maximum of 1 minute will be permitted for presetting the stage, as will be established during tech rehearsal.

    • Failure to comply at-con with the time limitations will result in disqualification.

  • Any props, set pieces, costume pieces, and debris must be cleaned up from the stage within 15 seconds after the conclusion of your performance. Intentionally leaving anything on the stage afterwards that requires the crew to clean up after you will result in automatic disqualification.

  • One month prior to Anime St. Louis (April 6th, 2018), skit entries must submit a rough draft of their script to astlcosplaycontest@gmail.com so that it can be determined if the skit meets all content requirements. If content violations are found, contestants will be given one opportunity to revise their script.

    • Should they refuse to remove the content violations, contestants will be disqualified and no longer allowed to perform.

  • Skit audio must be delivered IN PERSON during check-in via USB drive. You are welcome and encouraged to send it with your rough draft to check for time length however we can not be held responsible for having the file at-con. The file must be WAV or MP3.

  • Storage for Stage Props/Sets will be provided but is TBA location. This will be available starting 5:00 PM Friday and will be in a secure location. Stage Props/Sets must be cleared out of storage by 8:00 PM Saturday or they will be put in Lost & Found and ASTL can not be held responsible for their condition after.

  • Currently, we can only guarantee lighting cues can be provided. Other technical needs will be reviewed as they come in based on capabilities.

  • Nothing may leave the stage! This includes yourself, warm bodies, props, glitter, confetti, etc. Failure to comply will result in immediate disqualification.

  • Skits that are doing Craftsmanship may show their Stage Props to the Craftsmanship judges. However, it doesn’t give them the upper hand for Skit awards, as Skit Awards are decided by separate judges that only watch the skits.

Registration Procedure

To ensure every entry receives the time and dedication needed, we are limiting entries (not individuals) to fifty (50) walk-ons & eight (8) skits. From 2018 onwards, Anime St. Louis will implement online registration & at-con registration for entrants. This is to allow those unable to attend Friday of Anime St. Louis or waiting in Registration lines the ability to register. Thirty (30) slots are available for walk-ons via online registration, and twenty (20) slots will be available for walk-ons at-con. If there are leftover slots from online registration, they will be carried over into in person registration slots. Skit registration can only be done via ONLINE REGISTRATION.

  • There are two separate forms; Craftsmanship & Skit. If you’re doing both, please fill out both and follow the prompts.

  • April 22nd-24th all online registration entries will receive an email stating important information pertinent to your entry and competition schedule If you do not receive an email by April 25th, please reach out to astlcosplaycontest@gmail.com. The email will, most importantly, contain your assigned Craftsmanship Judging Appointment time and length (based on entry size).

  • Twenty (20) walk-on entries will be accepted at-con on a first come, first serve basis. This is a strict cut off. This number may increase if there are left over online registration spots. At-con registration will only be available Friday, 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM at the Cosplay Contest HQ.

    • At-con walk-on entries will be assigned their Craftsmanship Judgement Appointment time based on remaining availabilities.

  • Participants must have a Saturday Badge or Weekend Badge for Anime St. Louis.


Check-in & Tech Rehearsal

  • All cosplay contest entries are required to check in at the Cosplay Contest HQ before the actual competition. The Cosplay Contest HQ is located at the St. Charles Convention Center upper level, across from Programming Ops. Check in is open on Friday, 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM and Saturday, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM. Any entries that are unable to check in before Saturday, 12:00 PM will be disqualified.

  • Tech rehearsal slots are assigned on a first come, first serve basis during check-in by the entry leader on Friday & Saturday at the Cosplay Contest HQ. The leader is the only one who can check in the entry. The entire entry does not have to be present for check in. Tech rehearsal times are assigned on a first come, first serve basis.

    • We will not schedule your Craftsmanship Appointment & Tech Rehearsal at the same time.

  • During Check-In, you will be assigned your roll-call number for your entry. This will be used for what order you will go on stage.

  • Badges will be checked at Tech Rehearsals & Check-In. You will not be allowed to rehearse without them.

  • Tech Rehearsals do not have to be done in costume. However, we recommend including any large props or costume pieces in your rehearsal.

  • Skit music or audio must be delivered to Cosplay Contest Staff during check-in on Friday evening. Please provide this using a CD or USB drive. We suggest you preview and double-check your audio before the convention to ensure it functions. We also suggest bringing multiple copies just to be safe. All CDs and USB drives will be returned during tech rehearsal after the audio has been downloaded by the Tech crew.

  • Tech Rehearsals are required to ensure all contestants’ needs are documented and met for the live show. All participants must be present for their entry rehearsal. You can not rehearse without your entire entry being present. If you miss your rehearsal block, your entry will be put on standby. If there is additional time at the end of rehearsals, standby entries will be able to rehearse if it does not put the show off schedule. We can no longer guarantee your entry will participate in the show if you miss your rehearsal. It is your responsibility to arrive in a timely manner to your rehearsal block.

  • Walk-On Rehearsals are done in group blocks of 30 minutes from 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM. Skit Rehearsals are 15 minutes, and done from 1:15 PM – 3:15 PM.

    • Walk-On Rehearsals will walk entries through staging, posing, timing, and allow for questions.

    • Skit Rehearsals include (2) full run throughs, unless a technical issue is had that is the staff equipment is at fault. After your rehearsal, further changes will not be permitted.

Green Room

  • The Green Room is available to the entries starting on 10:00 AM Saturday. The Green Room is located upstairs at the St. Charles Convention Center, next to Grand Ballroom D behind the black pipe & drape.

  • All entrants are to arrive at the Green Room by 3:00 pm, an hour before the beginning of the Cosplay Conte

  • We cannot guarantee belongings will be watched at all times so please do not leave your belongings laying around. We are not responsible for your belongings.

  • Entries are not required to stay in the Green Room all day! We recommend arriving early before your Tech Rehearsal and Craftsmanship appointments.

  • The Green Room will be equipped to assist with cosplay emergencies to the best of its abilities. There will also be “Green Room Caretakers” in red staff shirts to assist with needs and concerns of all entries. If you need help, please ask them! They are there to help.

  • We request that only the participants are in the Green Room to save space. Those who are not with an entry will be asked to leave.

  • A gender-neutral bathroom with 13 stalls is available for exclusively the Green Room for the entrants’ convenience.

  • Food & drinks are allowed, but please be considerate of your fellow entries. Any drinks besides water glasses must have a lid or they will be asked to be put away/disposed.

Cosplay Contest Live Show

  • The Cosplay Contest is from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM.

  • Entries should arrive by 3:00 PM at the latest. Stage managers in red staff shirts will be assisting with roll call. Roll call begins at 3:30 PM followed by line up of the first contestants. Your entry name and group leader name will be called when it is your time to line up.

  • Stage Managers will announce a FINAL WARNING to those who have not shown up to their roll call and stage lineup. Final Warnings are done right before they move the next portion of the line behind stage. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to arrive by 3:00 PM to avoid this! If you miss your final roll call, you will not be permitted to participate and are disqualified from the Cosplay Contest.

  • When the show begins at 4:00 PM, we ask that you not leave the Green Room unless it is an emergency.

  • After your stage time, you’ll be led by a Stage Manager back to the Green Room behind stage. During this time, relax! You’re done! You’re expected to stay in the Green Room to wait for awards at the end of the show (roughly 6:15-6:30 PM.) If you receive an award, you will walk back on stage to receive it during the ceremony.

  • If you have to leave after your stage time and can’t return for judging, please tell a Stage Manager or Caretaker. You can still receive a award and it can be picked up later at the Programming Ops Saturday night or Sunday (as Cosplay Contest HQ closes at 8:00 PM.)


You ready to apply?

Entries open March 5th, 2018 at 5:00 PM. Waitlisting begins once we fill up. Submissions close April 2nd at 11:59 PM. Please add ASTLcosplaycontest@gmail.com to your contacts to help us avoid junk mail! Upon submission, we will email you within a week to confirm your registration.


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