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Masquerade Rules

Last Updated: Jun 23, 2017 04:15PM PDT

General Information and Requirements

  1. Each participant must have valid an Anime Expo badge.
  2. Each entry must submit the following prior to the June 11th deadline:
    • Audio  (Microphones will not be available onstage for contestants to use. More details can be found in Performance Rules & Guidelines)
    • Photos
      • We require at least 2 photos per costume from any angle of any size and at any stage of construction. This does not count as your construction portfolio during your construction judging. These photos are simply to prove that the cosplay exists or that work on it has begun.
    • Background Image/Video: New for 2016, contestants will be able to submit an image or video that will be shown on the screen behind them during their performance. This image/video must be high-resolution and contain original, non-copyrighted material (See performance guidelines for more information).
  3. Masquerade Department has three different entry lists:
    1. Primary Roster: Anyone who has shown interest and has provided information.
    2. Master Roster: Contestants who have turned in all of their necessary information and agreed to a costume judging time.
    3. ULTRA SUPER MASTER ROSTER! (USMR): Completed at-con by the Masquerade manager on the morning of Day 3 (July 3rd). After the mandatory meeting, contestants on the USMR roster are then guaranteed a slot in the Masquerade.
  4. At least one representative from each group must attend a mandatory at-con meeting at c the morning of Day 3 (July 3rd). Roll-call will be conducted at the beginning and end of the meeting. If there is not a representative from the group present, the group will not be eligible to compete. If there is a reason you cannot attend or will be late to the meeting, please contact the Masquerade Department as soon as possible.
  5. Each entry may only appear on stage one time. Each person may only participate in one entry.
  6. On stage rehearsals are not guaranteed. Please be prepared to adapt and perform without previous rehearsal time. If rehearsal time is granted please be on time or else you will forfeit your rehearsal time.
  7. Each entry is limited to a maximum of 10 cosplayers per group. Aids, escorts, and stage ninjas do not count towards the group maximum but should not outnumber the group entry. For special circumstances, please contact the Masquerade Office or email us at
  8. All group leaders of each entry must check-in at the Cosplay Office in person on Day 1 (July 1) to schedule judging appointments. Contestants who have pre-registered will have preassigned judging appointments for costuming on Day 1. Upon check-in, contestants will receive additional updates, or, updated submissions of late paperwork and media files.. You may only check-in on the first day of the convention. Spots are reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis. We reserve the right to terminate entrees that check-in late. If you must check in on Day 2, please notify the masquerade department ahead of time.
  9. Limited At-Con/Late registration will be available at the Masquerade Office if space permits on Day 1. We reserve the right to refuse additional entrees.
  10. A total of 35 entries will be allowed to compete. In case of dropouts, the waiting list will be limited to 10 entries.
  11. Current AX Volunteers, employees of the SPJA, and anyone who was an AX Volunteer within the past year are NOT eligible to compete in the masquerade. This does not include Attendee Volunteers.

Costume Rules and Guidelines

  1. Costumes must and can be from any anime, manga, comic, graphic novel, or video game. (Cross-overs and mixed genres are also permissible)
  2. Costumes based on fan-art, custom creations, or a design that deviates greatly from the original source should reach out to to be considered for eligibility for the competition. These will be handled on a case by case basis. The Masquerade department reserves the right to deny eligibility.
  3. All costumes and props must be made by at least one member of the group to qualify for craftsmanship judging. Commercially acquired costume sets are still eligible for performance awards, but are not eligible for craftsmanship awards. Found, salvaged, or altered costumes and props are still be eligible for craftsmanship judging.
  4. All props must conform to  Anime Expo®’s Weapons Policy & Code of Conduct. Limited exceptions can be provided in extreme cases such as large mechas, multi-person costumes, or excessively large props.
  5. Costumes should be self-contained and self-sufficient. Connections to electrical sockets will not be available. Please secure your own escort if you have a bulky costumes that might require an aid to move or see. We will do our best to make sure every contestant appears on stage. If the costume is bulky, please be aware that we may not be able to get the contestant on the stage, but we may still let them perform. Please be prepared to walk up 4-6 stairs in the event that a lift or ramp is not available.
  6. Costumes that have previously won awards from a major convention (50,000 attendees or more) or costume contest are discouraged from entering. Please contact the masquerade Department at for inquiries.

Performance Rules and Guidelines

Masquerade participants can choose to do a group performance (dance, skit, color guard, etc…) or do a solo performance (monologue, color guard, dance, skit, etc…). Both solo and group performances are expected to be entertaining, while displaying the costume(s) and embodying the character(s). Please be aware that tech rehearsals will not be guaranteed. As such, please be sure to check through our technical requirements and guidelines to make sure that your audio and video files will play properly.

  • Adhere to the 2 minute time limit.
    • MC introductions will not count towards the performance time.
  • Audio: Any sound necessary to express your performance (i.e. music, pre-recorded dialogue, sound effects).
    • Must be comparable to a PG rating– no profanity or offensive language. Bleeps or other forms of censoring are acceptable.
    • Should not exceed 2 minutes.
    • Must be MP3 format.
    • Must have minimum 192 bitrate.
    • Try to avoid audio quality defects (audible distortion, overdriven levels, low sample-rate/bitrate).
  • Background Image / Video
    • Must be one of following accepted file formats.
      • Video: MP4, MKV, AVI, MOV, MPG, or M2TS. (MP4 is suggested.
      • Image: PNG
    • Must have a resolution of at least 720p.
    • Can contain live-action footage, slides, or still images.
    • Must be original. CANNOT contain any copyrighted material. If you use a photo, you must have explicit permission to use the photo.

  1. All Masquerade contestants must follow the guidance and instruction of all AX volunteers.
  2. All Masquerade contestants must comply with the Anime Expo Code of Conduct, LA City ordinances, and comply with a PG rating.
  3. Any presentations with stunts, extreme or shocking performances must be approved by the department manager and assistant manager before the event. Failure to do so may result in disqualification and /or expulsion.
  4. The use of flash powder, fireworks, lasers, electrical flashes or smoke machines are STRICTLY prohibited unless cleared by the department manager and assistant manager.
  5. Any debris left on stage must be quickly cleaned by stage hands in less than 10 seconds. Interaction with the MC, judges, or the audience is prohibited while on stage.
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