Cosplay competition

The cosplay competition will take place on Sunday, the 21st of July. Exact time to be announced!


Just like every year, this AniMatsuri will also feature a cosplay competition! To register, fill in the application HERE and submit it no later than 7th of July 2024 (23:59 (GMT+3)).

Note: The deadline is 2 weeks before the event. Please take the deadline seriously, later applications will not be accepted!

In addition to the application, it is important to add the selected background music as an MP3 file and provide a video of your performance.

  • We ask you to edit your background sounds (music and/or dialogue) to the form and length suited for you, save it as a single MP3 file, and add it to a Google Drive media folder (see the application). It is not possible to use microphones on stage.
  • We ask you to upload the video of your performance either to Youtube (as a private video) or to a cloud service (Dropbox, Google Drive etc). In case you don’t have the video done by the time you apply or you don’t have a Google account to modify the application later, please send us a link to your video no later than 10th of July 2024 (23:59 GMT+3) to As the subject of the email please put “AniMatsuri 2024 cosplay competition video – yourstagename and in the email please mention your full name, stage name and the name of the performance.The quality of the video does not matter and you don’t need to be in full costume for the video. If you have props, our cosplay team would really appreciate it if you could involve them in your video, that way we can support you better on stage!). Please also note that the video does not have to be the latest version of what you are about to do on stage unless there is a drastic change (in which case you have to inform our cosplay team the latest by 10th of July at 23:59 (GMT+3)).

We love early registration! This way you will have time for improving your ideas and costumes. If you register before the deadline but can only show a work-in-progress costume and a lot of enthusiasm, that’s wonderful! Experienced cosplayers among the organisers and winners of the festival are happy to give you advice. What’s important is that everything is more or less ready by the deadline. Everyone polishes their performance till the last moment, after all. Every year we have festival visitors who do not dare to take part in the competition but walk around, clad in fantastic costumes. Gather up your courage and register – in reality, you have done a great job and your costume is epic!


You can cosplay any characters from a published source of entertainment. You can cosplay from any official entertainment source: anime, manga, movies, TV series, cartoons, celebrities, etc. A character can also be an original character or an original design of an existing character. All good!

The only restriction: NCC prequalification contestants must be from an official and widely known source – fan fiction and original characters are not eligible (including gijinka/human versions of the characters or genderbend versions).

In the case of original characters, it is necessary to provide a comprehensive description and a picture (e.g. fan art) of the character (if possible, add the description to the folder with the picture). You should also submit a suitable image that could be shown on the screen during the stage performance. The image of the character that goes into the prejudging should be sufficiently detailed (so a photo of the finished costume or a simple sketch drawn with a pencil is not suitable – you can always ask the organizing team if your photos are suitable). The better the description and picture of the character, the easier it is for the judges to evaluate your work.

Bought costumes are only allowed to compete in stage performance category. Only costumes that are self-made or heavily modified will be pre-judged.

If you are not sure if your character is suitable for our competition, or if you have any questions about the costume guidelines, feel free to contact us at

  1. All persons within the festival venue must follow a dress style that is appropriate for a public place.
  2. Consider that visitors include underage children so the clothing cannot be too revealing. Your clothes must cover at least your groin, buttocks, and the chest region.
  3. The most minimal apparel is the top part of bikinis and shorts/short skirt. If you have a really short skirt, we ask you to wear safety pants (shorts) underneath (the stage is higher than the viewers, this is for your own wellbeing). We often have children at our event, so make sure you don’t go overboard.
  4. Visual guide:

If your planned costume happens to be more revealing than allowed by the festival rules, we ask you to find a way to cover the parts in question for the duration of your presence on stage. The judges will be informed about this and will take it into account when assessing the accuracy of the costume.

Stage performance
  1. It is forbidden to use obscenity, profanities, gestures encouraging violence, and pornography. Performances going against cultural and/or social norms will not be let on stage. Please make sure your performances are ethical and aesthetic.
  2. If there are major/important changes in your performance after submitting the video, the cosplay staff must be informed by 10th of July at 23:59 (GMT+3). The video is necessary for us to see the idea of the performance. There is no need to wear a finished cosplay in the video.
On stage
  1. On stage it is forbidden to use glitter, liquids, or other substances hard to remove (anything that takes more than 1 minute to clean and cannot be swept with a brush). If you want to throw something into the audience, you must be careful. Things that break easily and pyrotechnics are not allowed.
  2. All props used on stage must be safe and cannot be used to cause bodily harm (blunt blades and plastic marking on weapons*). Additionally, all organisers reserve the right to confiscate any knives, knife-like objects and other cutting utensils that can cause bodily harm.

* Weapons are all items that are regulated by the Republic of Estonia Weapons Act (firearms, gas weapons, pneumatic weapons, throwing weapons, cut-and-thrust weapons, and electroshock weapons).

Regardless of the size of the group, every performer and group can bring 1 assistant to backstage. If needed, the cosplay staff can also help you. As organisers we reserve the right to restrict the number of performances. We are aiming for up to 50 performances in total. If the number of submissions is much higher than this, we reserve the right to use the information in your submissions (especially your work-in-progress photos and video) to choose who gets to go on stage. However, AniMatsuri still prides itself on letting cosplayers of all experience levels participate and we will only use this option as a last resort! This year, we have our traditional cosplay categories, but also some new and really exciting ones!

Category nameMostly about…Maximum peopleMaximum lengthOpen to non-Estonian residents?Open to AniMatsuri volunteers and crew?
Défilé (1st, 2nd, 3rd place)Costume quality1-670 secondsYesYes
Stage show (1st, 2nd, 3rd place)Choreography and your original creativity1-8150 secondsYesYes
The Nordic Cosplay Championship (NCC)Both costume quality and choreography190-150 secondsNoYes*
AniMatsuri Travel Prize (ATP)Leaving one hell of an impression1Whatever category you entered inYes*No
Audience FavouriteFanservice! (But keep it within the festival rules)1-6Whatever category you entered inYesYes
Best novice cosplayerFor recognising those who are just starting off1Whatever category you entered inYesYes

* Detailed info below 

Note: In general, AniMatsuri’s Cosplay Competition likes to have as many winners as we can. This means that you cannot win in two categories. (But you can win one category and take 3rd place in another!) For example, you cannot win both Stage show and Défilé, but you can win Défilé and place 3rd in Stage Show.

Our international guest panel will judge all categories except the audience favourite one. The judges will also have the opportunity to award special prizes at their own discretion.

  1. Défilé: This is mainly about your costume and your ability to present it on stage as well as you can within approximately 1 minute. The performance must be between 50-70 seconds. The category is mostly meant for solos and duos, but if it’s your choice then up to 6 people can take part.
  • Accuracy (40%) and craftsmanship (40%) are the most important in the category. The cosplay performance only forms 20% of the total score.
  1. Stage show: This is about your choreography and/or the story you tell on stage, but don’t forget your costume! Here you can use your imagination and creativity to craft a short performance or a dance routine based on your fandom. You can perform either alone or with someone and the whole performance must be no more than 2 minutes 30 seconds.
  • Cosplay performance is the most important in the Stage show category. The total score consists of 80% for cosplay performance and 20% for accuracy (5%) and craftsmanship (15%).
  1. The Nordic Cosplay Championship (NCC): You will be judged both based on your costume and performance. The winner will represent Estonia at the Nordic Cosplay Championship in Sweden during NärCon 2025.
  • The costume and all props must be self-made (not purchased from a store), the exception being wigs, footwear and tights, underwear, electronics (it can be a completed kit, you don’t have to program and assemble it yourself). The contestant must be prepared to give an overview of how the various parts of their cosplay were made.
  • The costume must be based on an official source (no original characters or costumes based on fanart allowed).
  • Both the costume and the stage performance will be judged.
  • The costume may have participated in other costume competitions (except previous NCC).
  • The contestant must be a citizen or permanent resident of Estonia (have an Estonian ID and personal identification code), must be of legal age by AniMatsuri 2024 (21st of July 2024), and must be able and ready to go to Sweden on the last week of July 2025 (5 days total).
  • The contestant can be a member of the staff of AniMatsuri but cannot be associated with organising the cosplay competition (organiser or volunteer).
  1. AniMatsuri Travel Prize: this is a special prize rather than a special category. The judges will select one cosplayer who stood out and wowed them – from any performance – to receive AniMatsuri’s travel prize. The winner will be travelling to YuniCon in Austria, Vienna, on  31. Oct. – 3. Nov. 2024!
  • The competitor must be a citizen of Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania.
  • The competitor must be of legal age by AniMatsuri 2024 (21st of July 2024).
  • For costumes, standard AniMatsuri costume rules apply (read more HERE).
  • The exact date of the prize trip will be decided alongside the winner but the trip must cover the dates of 31. Oct. – 3. Nov. 2024 so the winner must be available to travel on these dates.
  • The prize includes a two-way plane ticket from Tallinn/Riga/Vilnius + accommodation, and tickets for the event.
  • The organisation of the prize trip is in cooperation with Estravel travel agency between the winner of the prize and travel agency.
  • If the performers belong to a cosplay group (two or more people), it is possible to state which members of the group wish to compete for AniMatsuri Travel Prize.
  • The competitor cannot be a staff member of AniMatsuri or UniCon.
  1. Additionally, there will be an audience favourite special prize which will be selected by the festival’s visitors through a secret vote. The audience favourite’s voting is not divided by categories. Note: as of 2017, the one-win-only rule does not apply to Audience Favourite! The winner will be the one with the most votes, even if they’ve already won something else. An exception will be made in case of a tie.
  2. The Novice Cosplayer Award is to recognize those who are just starting their cosplay journey. To participate in the category, a cosplayer must have been cosplaying for less than 2 and a half years and has not won any awards in competitions. Cosplayer must have participated in less than five competitions (including cosbands).

Competing in multiple categories is allowed, but the winner of a more high-profile category (ATP, NCC) cannot win in any other category.


The criteria consists of 3 main parts: accuracy, craftsmanship and performance. For the beginner cosplayer award there is also a fourth part: effort.

Accuracy (40%) and craftsmanship (40%) are the most important in the Défilé category. The cosplay performance only forms 20% of their total score.

Cosplay performance is the most important in the Stage show category. The total score consists of 80% for cosplay performance and 20% for accuracy (5%) and craftsmanship (15%).

The top 5 is formed based on the points scores, the judges have the right to move the places in the discussion after the performances, if it seems that there were mistakes in the preliminary assessment.

  • Are the details the right size (dimensions)?
  • Materials fitting the reference images (fabric colour/texture, other materials). In some cases the materials can seem historically inaccurate (for example using spandex for a character from the 15th century). Is the paint job accurate?
  • The overall resemblance – does it portray the character or not?
  • Makeup (e.g. bodypaint) and wig will be judged as a normal part of the overall appeal.

If there seems to be something not quite right, ask the cosplayer why they chose to make it that way (e.g. the person might have an allergy to a particular material (e.g contact lenses, silicone, silver), or the cosplayer might have changed the proportions to fit their body type). 

Cosplayers will not be judged for things such as race, gender, medical aids, age, weight, gender identity, etc.

AniMatsuri has dress codes for performing cosplayers. If a cosplayer has a revealing cosplay and they need to use other clothing items (for example modesty pants, ice-skating stockings) or alter the design to cover up the revealing parts, the costume will not be scored lower for it.

The quality

For sewing: stitching and finish of the fabric (minus for loose threads, improper stitches, fraying edges, clothes don’t sit/fit well, lining can be important for some clothes, etc). Don’t be afraid to check the seams (important for Défilé, NCC).
For armors: Execution of techniques used for foam/worbla etc, painting quality (minus for visible glue, cracking paint/flaking etc).

  • Attention to small details

Examples of this part of the category:

  • The quality of the wigs, different wig-styling techniques.
  • Prop (weapons, armor, books etc.) making techniques.
  • Shoe crafting and customisation.
The techniques
  • The choice of structural materials such as foam, worbla, PLA, wood or cardboard and the way they were treated. For 3D prints it might be good to ask if they have bought the OG file or made them themselves, as well as whether they printed and prepped the props for painting themselves.
  • The detail put into crafting the decorations and trimmings.
  • The complex and amount of different techniques used.

Ask what was bought and what was self-made. A costume with multiple store bought items will mark lower than a fully handmade costume. Deduct points if the costume is visibly falling apart during the prejudging.


Most important for Défilé: The goal of this kind of cosplay performance is to portray the cosplay character as much as possible, this includes body motions, poses, and phrases the character might say. *Parodies are allowed, but they need to be connected to the source material. 

Most important for Stage show: Entertainment value. 

Most important for NCC: They value both the likeness of the character to the original source while they also enjoy seeing a nice parody or two. 

Applies to all categories:

  • How much is the stage used (e.g. the movement on the stage)? Did the viewers get a good look at the costume? Animation and expressions.
  • Does it look like it was well-rehearsed and thought through?

If an entry is replayed due to technical problems or crew error, try to disregard the first appearance.


*Only applies to best novice cosplayer award  How hard the person had to work to complete his/her costume, did the person have to learn anything new, did they search for the ideal fabric for a long time/had to repaint the fabric/redo pieces of the costume etc. Ask the cosplayer how long they worked on their costume and which details required effort to complete.


What we count as your private data: your name, email, phone number, citizenship/place of residence and age as well as photos and videos of you. 

Data provided during registration
  • The only people with the access to your private data are the Head Organisers and cosplay competition organisers (“Organisers” from now on).
  • Categories for which your private data will not be provided to a third party: défilé, stage show, public favourite and judges favourites.
  • Categories for which your private data will be shared to third parties: Nordic Cosplay Competition (NCC) and AniMatsuri Travel Prize.
    • For NCC the travel will be organised by AniMatsuri, however the winner’s name and contact information will be provided to the organisers of NCC.
    • Travel arrangements (travel and accommodation) for AniMatsuri Travel Prize will be managed by a travel company so we will be providing them with your name, contact information and citizenship/place of residence.
  • Private data (as well as your stage name) provided in the application will be held for a maximum of 10 years after which it will be deleted.
  • The data you provide will be used only for the cosplay competition this year, however during the time we have the information you might be contacted in regards to other events or promotion. Only the Organisers will be contacting you and your data will not be shared with a third party without your consent.
During and after the festival
  • Either while walking around the festival or being on stage, you might be captured in a photo or video in regards to AniMatsuri by a private person, a company, or the festival itself.
  • The official photos and videos from AniMatsuri will be uploaded to the festival’s social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), Youtube and photo gallery (Flickr).
  • Official photos will also be used on AniMatsuri’s website and social media to introduce what is going on at the festival.
  • Official photos and videos might also be used for advertisement/promotion (social media, the press, television etc).
    • In the registration form you will have the chance to opt out from your photo/video being used in advertisements/promotion. Please note however that this will only apply to you on your own or you with a small group of people in the shot. This does not count for general festival crowd shots. If you leave the field blank, we will take it as confirmation that you are OK with us using photos or videos of you.

In case you have any questions, you can email