February 24, 2016

Cosplay Contest

Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune
Anime characters act out a play onstage at the Nihon Matsuri Japan Festival, Saturday, April 28, 2012.

For years, the cosplay community of Utah has come together to share their talent through the Nihon Matsuri, and we are continuing that tradition with our Cosplay Contest!  The goal of the contest is to explore Japanese culture through anime and other forms of entertainment popular in Japan, so we will continue our format of providing an introduction that explains a bit about the series and characters being represented on stage.

In addition to the thrill of participating in this one-of-a-kind contest, there are several prizes and awards you can receive for your craft, performance, and presence! 

This years prizes are donated to us by

The Nihon Matsuri Committee:


Introducing our 2018 Judges:

Renna Mira

Renna has been cosplaying for five years, and has won master level awards for performance and craftsmanship all across the western United States. Her cosplay motto is “learn new things, share with others, and have fun doing it!” Nihon Matsuri is one of her absolute favorite local events, and she is thrilled to be judging this year!

See more of her work at:
FB: https://www.facebook.com/RennaCosplay/
IG: https://www.instagram.com/rennacosplay/

Photo by CourteX Studios

Stacie Pitt

Stacie began cosplaying in 2006 after she discovered the cosplay community the year previous. She started out competing with friends in skits, and slowly transitioned over to primarily competing in craftsmanship. With each costume, she strives to learn a new skill and never become content with her knowledge. She takes joy in figuring out how to bring fiction to life and greatly enjoys helping others out along the way.

Along-side cosplay, Stacie is also an illustrator focusing mainly on fantasy. And sometimes, when time permits, she helps build her own fantasy world inside the webcomic, Trinity Crest.

You can see more of her work at www.staciepitt.com

Photo by Harland Productions

The Pannonator’s Pan-Tastic Cosplays!

The Pannonator’s Pan-Tastic Cosplays (just call her Pannon!) has been cosplaying since 2001. Over the past 17 years, she’s refined her craft and competed all over the United States and abroad! Pannon has won over 60 awards nationwide. She and her cosplay-partner, Garnet Runestar won the title of Team USA in 2014 as part of the World Cosplay Summit, and got to represent the US again in June 2017 as Team USA in The Netherlands’ C4 competition.

Though she still competes in the international circuit, Pannon has also judged for over 30 contests, returning as an Alumni Judge for the World Cosplay Summit, as well as several national cosplay contests. She continues her craft professionally in the field of costuming and fashion. Pannon worked as Lead Designer and Seamstress for a professional sports mascot company, where she built mascots for the Utah Jazz, the Denver Broncos, Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Hornets, and many more. She is currently a designer, seamstress, illustrator, and pattern-maker for a local dress-making company that specializes in fanciful gowns for photographers and fashion shoots and runs her own brand of fashionable bags and accessories on the side.

You can check out her work below:

on Instagram @pannon

For fashionable bags and accessories, check out:

Photo by ShutterCrazy

Vermilion Fire Cosplay

VFire Cosplay was introduced to cosplay in 2008 and has been addicted to recreating her favorite characters ever since. Her skills sets have expanded from using old sheets to custom designing and printing her own fabric designs, leather crafting, armor creation, prop design and more. She enjoys the hobby so much she started the blog “Cosplay Stitch and Seam” to share her love of the hobby with the world. Pannon and VFire both are authors of the blog now and look forward to expanding and making more content to share. VFire also writes the cosplay tip for UGeek Magazine and is always willing to offer aid to beginners and masters alike. Her motto is to “Create the Impossible every day!”

Follow her work at:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/VFireCosplay/
Instagram: @vfirecosplay
Website – http://www.cosplaystitchandseam.com/

Photo by Kioku Photography

Meet the Cosplay Contest coordinator:

Turtlebunnies Cosplay

TurtlebunniesTurtlebunnies Cosplay has been working behind the scenes of the contest since it began. She loves managing the spreadsheets and schedules that keep the show running, and having the opportunity to meet and work with so many talented and creative people.

Check out her cosplay page!

Photo by Kioku Photography


If you are interested in competing in this year’s contest, please read the ALL following information carefully!




  1.  All costumes source material must be of Japanese origin – the goal of this contest is to explore Japanese culture through anime and other forms of entertainment popular in Japan. That means entries from anime, manga, Japanese video games, J-pop/rock, Takarazuka, Super Sentai, J-drama’s, Japanese movies, and Japanese Mythology are all acceptable. Any non-Japanese source (i.e. Avatar: the Last Airbender, American comic books, American video games, or American T.V. shows) will not be accepted into the contest. Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis – for example, an original design of Batman in feudal japanese armor would be acceptable as it pertains to Japanese Culture. If you have any questions on whether your costume is within these guidelines, please feel free to e-mail us at nihonmatsuricosplay@gmail.com .


  1. All walk-ons must be rated PG.  This festival is hosted by the Japanese Church of Christ, so we would like to keep everything family friendly. The festival is open to people of all ages, including small children.


  1.  Please try to keep your performance as accessible as possible.  Many people who will be viewing the contest might not know the anime or manga that you are portraying, so try to plan for that when picking what you would like to do with your time on stage!


  1.  This is a Walk-On only contest, which means no skits, or dialogue in your audio. Please contact us if you have any questions about whether your audio will be acceptible!


  1.  Please be sure to give us an accurate description of what you will do on stage ahead of time.  A written summary is all we need. We understand that sometimes plans change – just be sure to let us know before the day of the festival please, so that we can approve the performance and update our paperwork.


  1. Contestants that are 12 years or under must be accompanied by an adult.


  1.  If you bring it on stage, you take it with you when you leave.  That means no feathers, confetti, or anything that will be difficult to collect quickly as you exit.  We share this stage with many other cultural performances, and we need it to remain as safe and clean as possible.




Contest Sign-Ups are Online Only. All registration will take place before the con, via the form provided below.

While we are working through the logistics of on-site sign ups for future contests, we are not able to accomodate them at this time.


Last Day for Sign-Ups: April 25th

Last Day for Audio: April 26th


Contestants may enter as an individual or as part of a group. Groups can contain no more than 6 contestants. Entries of any age are welcome! However, any contestant under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.


If you want to compete, please complete the Google Form linked here:



If you have any issues with the form, you can also copy and paste the form below and e-mail it to NihonMatsuriCosplay@gmail.com


— Form Starts Here —


Contestant Stage/Cosplay Name(s):

Real Name(s) and ages: example – Jane Doe (16)

Group Name (optional):

Contact email address:

Phone number:

Series Name (must be of Japanese origin):

Character Name(s):

Do you want to sign up for craftsmanship judging?:

  • (this is optional, but can dramatically increase your chances of winning an award.)

Beginner (no more than 2 individual craftsmanship wins) or Master Class:

Please give a detailed description of what you plan to do on stage:

  • Please remember, this is not an anime convention, and not all things that would be appropriate at an anime convention will be appropriate here. We are ambassadors of cosplay to a public that does not know what cosplay and anime are, and may not necessarily be familiar with the source material.
  • Please keep everything rated PG, and please refrain from any gratuitous fanservice.  
  • Be aware that if you do something different than you described, you may be disqualified. If your plans change after you send this form in, please e-mail us and let us know before the festival! 🙂

Questions and/or Comments:

Please attach a picture of your character(s) in jpg format, for craftsmanship judging.  

If you want audio, please attach audio file in mp3 format to this e-mail.


—Form Ends Here, but keep reading! —-



  • MP3 format only
  • File clearly labelled with Group or Contestant Name
  • Track can be as short as you want it to be, but it CANNOT exceed 1 minute. (If you need an exception, contact the contest staff via e-mail – we will handle these on a case by case basis.)
  • Track must NOT have dialogue. This is a Walk On contest. (If you have concerns about this please contact us – we will tell you if your track is appropriate.)
  • If you don’t send us an audio track, we will provide a generic one for you.  It will not be personalized, and you will not be able to hear it until the contest itself, so we highly suggest sending in audio if you can.


Slots for Craftsmanship Judging will be 5 minutes long. If you have a large group and are worried about time, please e-mail us and we will make arrangements with you.

Slots for Craftsmanship judging will be opened for reservation on April 21st.

There are two classes for craftsmanship in this contest: Beginner and  Master. A Beginner has won no more than 2 individual craftsmanship or craft related awards for cosplay. Everyone else is considered a Master! If you have any questions about what class you or your group should be in, please feel free to e-mail us.

Progress pictures are not required, but are more than welcome, if you’d like to bring them to your judging time.  One copy is enough, our judges don’t mind sharing!

We will contact contestants judging location and other details when the festival gets closer.