Menu Close

Cosplay Events

Mainstage Cosplay Masquerade 2024

Welcome to AnimeIowa’s Main Stage Cosplay Competition information page!
If you are new to Masquerade and have additional questions after reading, please contact AnimeIowa’s Cosplay Team at attention Cosplay Department.

  • Best in Show
  • Best Workmanship in Master Division
  • Best Workmanship in Journeyman Division
  • Best Workmanship in Novice Division
  • Best in Performance
  • Most Magical 
  • Up-And-Coming Cosplayer
  • Judge’s Choice (x3)

*Judges and Cosplay Staff may add awards at their discretion.

  • Novice: You may enter at this division if you have no more than 1 major award (Best in Division, Best in Show) at a previous Anime Iowa Masquerade or at any anime convention of equal-to or greater than previous year’s Anime Iowa size (official attendees count).*
  • Journeyman: You may enter the Journeyman division if you have won no more than 3 major awards at a previous Anime Iowa Convention, or a competition of equal size or greater than Anime Iowa.
  • Master: You may enter the Master division if you have won 4 or more major awards at previous Anime Iowa Masquerades or a convention of equal-to or greater size than AnimeIowa.*  Any contestant may elect to “compete up” and enter in the Master Division. Note: Professional costumers’ must enter in the Master Division. If people pay for your costume work, even if you have other jobs that pay “the bills”, you are considered a professional.
  • Your entry may be moved up to your appropriate division at the discretion of the judges or Cosplay Department Head.
    * 3,500 average attendees in 2023
  • Chibi Parade: This division is for children 13 YEARS OF AGE AND UNDER.  The child must walk across the stage to get a prize.  This division is not judged.  Children MUST BE ACCOMPANIED by a legal adult in the greenroom and across the stage.  The adult does NOT have to be in cosplay.
  • Exhibition: This is for those who just want to have fun on stage and not be judged.  If you didn’t make your cosplay but love to show off, this is the division for you!

  1. AnimeIowa Registration:
    You need to be registered for this year’s AnimeIowa to be eligible for Masquerade.
  2. Previous Costumes:
    • If your costume won in a previous AnimeIowa Masquerade, it is not eligible for this year.
    • If your costume is in this year’s Hall Cosplay Contest, it is not eligible for this year.
  3. Workmanship Judging:
    If you are participating in the workmanship category, you need to sign up for one of the judging times (times to be determined at a later date; you will receive an email with further instructions). You will be advised when workmanship signup times are available. It is advised to bring reference materials and progress photos to help you talk up your creation during workmanship judging. If you can print off three copies, then you can be sure all the judges spend an adequate amount of time reviewing your work. While it doesn’t hurt you to not also participate in the Performance category, many times contestants with entries in both categories are considered more highly than those that are not.*
  1. Using Cosplay Models:
    You may use cosplay models for your entry. But, you need to be present with your models during all Masquerade events. During workmanship judging you will be the one presenting your work and answering questions from the judges.
  2. Performance Judging and Submissions:
    You will be allowed no more than 2.5 minutes of walk-on, skit, short dance, or other kind of entertaining performance, including setup and clean up. This can be extended to 3 minutes with the Cosplay Department Head’s permission.
    A typical walk-on is a cosplayer walking to the center of the stage, holding first pose for 3 to 5 seconds, changing to second post for another 3 to 5 seconds, throwing in a third pose for 3 to 5 seconds, and walking off the stage to applause. This should be no more than 30 seconds total.
  3. Audio:
    Your audio needs to be pre-recorded and submitted as an MP3 file. Walk-ons will not be allowed their own audio starting in 2024.  Please have all audio titles with your entry name AND your name to prevent any confusion.
    Live microphones will not be available to contestants.
  4. Check in at Cosplay Central:
    On Friday of the convention weekend, check in at Cosplay Central to verify the accuracy of your entry for names, cues for MCs, and the audio file.  You will also receive any further instructions as required.  YOU MUST CHECK IN TO PARTICIPATE.
  5. Green Room: You (and everyone in the group if this is a group entry) should be checked into the Green Room by the specified time as directed by Cosplay staff on Friday.
    a. Each entry is allowed one handler upon request, but they must be registered with Cosplay staff before the opening of the Greenroom so we can make certain to have enough space.
    b. For group entries, up to two handlers may be requested. Handlers need to have their own AnimeIowa badge.  Cosplay staff,  in the effort to control crowding, may ask a handler to leave or stay in the hallway until showtime so as to keep the population in the Greenroom down to essential personnel.
  6. PG-13:
    Masquerade is rated PG-13; consider this to be family entertainment. No nudity, profanity, and please use your best discretion.
  7. The Boring “No” Rules for the Green Room and Main Stage:
    a. Live animal (other than pre-approved and licensed service animal)
    b. Aerosol spray, fog, uncontained liquid, loose glitter, and confetti.
    c. projectiles or pyrotechnics (including but NOT limited to fire, flash powder, explosives, smoke bombs, fireworks).
    d. Weapons not approved by convention’s weapon check desk.
    e. Anything that poses a damage risk to the venue and/or equipment.
    f. Anything that poses health risk to the contestant and other persons.
  8. Your costume needs to be self-contained and not have pieces falling off that, at the harmless end, pose extra cleanup effort, to the harmful end, pose safety risk.

Sandbagging is NOT allowed at this contest. Sandbagging is when a specific cosplay has won a Major award (“Best In” awards) and then you re-enter it at the same level or competition and/or without significant modifications.
False accusations of another contestant, judge, or otherwise staff of poor conduct, cheating, or “sandbagging” will result in (first offense) banned from entering the contest the following year and 2nd offense contestant will be permanently banned from competing in AnimeIowa’s cosplay contests.

If your entry is a group, this section is for you.
The most experienced person in the group determines the group’s division placement. Everyone in your group needs to be present during your group’s judging times. Your group will be judged, and if awarded, as one singular entry regardless of how many members in the group.