Every year, tens of thousands of anime fans visit Downtown Los Angeles to attend Anime Expo. This year, 110,000 fans of Japanese pop-culture descended upon the Los Angeles Convention Center to experience Anime Expo (AX), the largest celebration of anime pop culture in North America. Produced by The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA), Anime Expo drew fans from more than 70 countries between July 4th and July 8th. And everyone in Downtown knows it’s that time again. How do they know? Why, because the area is taken over by elaborate, colorful, intricate, beautiful, clever, and all around amazing costumes, of course! And the Masquerade is where all the big contenders are.
The Masquerade is a cosplay and performance competition with one of the largest cash prizes in the country. Each year dozens of cosplayers participate either in teams or individually in hopes to win the recognition of their senpai and status as award-winning cosplayers.
Group entries tend to perform something, either a skit, a song, a reenactment, or a choreographed battle; while individual entries mostly cross the stage or otherwise flow through poses. Both styles are always entertaining and impressive.
The Masquerade has been a part of Anime Expo from the very beginning and to some, it wouldn’t be AX without it. Not to mention, it has now for a few years been the host of the USA World Cosplay Summit competition. So attendees also get to see the best of country’s best cosplay groups, including the act that will represent the US in Nagoya later in the summer!
Anime Expo Masquerade Logo Reveal
The hosts this year were very entertaining, picking an audience member to “check in with” to see how the audience was doing and giving her the nickname “Lemonade” (she had a Pokemon Go Team Instinct cosplay on). The teasing got out of hand and within 20 minutes the hosts had lost control of the audience, who were all Team Lemonade and showed their support with their concert lights turned to yellow, while many others even downloaded an app to get in on the action.
At the end, while the judges deliberated, we were treated to a dance performance of all the most memorable Fullmetal Alchemist scenes put to great music and amazing choreography by The Corps Dance Crew, who never fail to put on an exciting performance. After that, we found out the winners!
There were a lot of cosplay teams, so here are just a few of the shots we got from our seats at the show.
If you’ve never attended Anime Expo or its Masquerade, you have been missing out. At least once in your life, you should experience what is one of the biggest -if not the biggest- cosplay contest in the USA. And it only gets more amazing each year! Have you ever participated? If you did, what would you cosplay as?