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Photographer Paul Jacques on the 7th Cosplay Corner Competition.

Manga Entertainment’s bi-annual Cosplay Corner Photo Competition seeks to encourage genre fans to deploy the best of what they have secreted in their anime, manga, or gaming chiffonier and pitch it against their peers in friendly competition.

Now in its 4th year and 7th contest, the competition has become a permanent fixture at the London MCM Expo, with many a costumer making a bee-line for the photo booth upon hall entry. Although we’ve always tried to keep the stress levels as low as possible for the cosplayers, there is still an element of high tension that inevitably follows – the judging.

Pity the poor souls who have to plough through hundreds of photographs, just to pick out a few Best of the Best. Far from being a glamorous life, a judge’s lot is not a happy one. The breadth and standard of modern cosplay is jaw-dropping. As such, I imagine some heated debates swirl around the judging table over this cosplayer’s make-up or that cosplayer’s sword. And all the time the judges know, in the back of their minds, that they too are being judged, as people will invariably disagree with the final results.

The judges only see the cosplay photos, as I never tell them names or characters of people involved (keeps things impartial). They most certainly can’t tell which cosplay was made or bought. Also this competition has never been biased towards itself, that is Manga Entertainment never choose their own characters over others – everyone is equal. Thus, it’s quite normal to see a ‘Lolita’ next to a ‘World of Warcraft’ next to ‘Gundam’ next to ‘Vampire Knight’ next to generic ‘Steampunk’. It’s not easy for anyone to pick the winner from such an eclectic line-up.

Connor MacLeod (from the Clan MacLeod) was often heard to say, “There can be only one.” In our case we like several, and several will win “the prize”. Of course not every great cosplay gets to win, but everyone who makes the effort to celebrate their love of cosplay at a public event is already a winner. So whether you win or not, celebrate your passion — Viva Cosplay!

Stephanie, Carla, Tanya & Rachel as Kai, Tyson, Max & Ray

To check out images of all the Winners, Runners-up and Honourable Mentions from the recent Cosplay Corner competition, check out Paul’s Flickr folder here.

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