If you have attended a rAge Expo, you should be very familiar with the term “Cosplay”. The Cosplay presence started very intimate and gained more traction each year. This year was no different, and was by far the largest gathering and social environment from a Cosplay perspective. It was impossible to turn a corner without seeing a Cosplayer personifying one of their favorite personalities or characters from either a Movie, TV Series, Game, Anime or Comic, and that is what I think changed the dynamic so drastically this year at the rAge Expo.
Each year, these Cosplayers have a choice to either just enjoy the fame and socialize with fans of the same genre, while posing for photographs every 5 minutes, or to enter their Cosplay into the Official rAge Cosplay Competition, where they are interviewed by a panel of experienced judges. The judging usually starts early on day 2 of rAge, continues over onto day 3 of the Expo, and then culminates into a Live Main Stage Event where the bravest of the brave entertain hundreds of rAge attendees with a planned skit, whether it be song, dance or a dialogue routine, and then ends with a final Prize Giving section where the Cosplayers scores are all tallied up, averaged out and then compared to rank each Cosplayer.
This year the judge panel consisted of Baka Sakura (South African Cosplayer), Yamaki Yama (South African Cosplayer) and Mariska Reinecke de Bruin (Performer of Arts and GES-SA Founder). These judges were so amazing this year, even though they had such a huge responsibility, they still took the time to interact with their communities, fans, pose for pictures with the public and attend interviews. They took the loooooooooong and tiring weekend in their stride like a bunch of champions, plus managed to stay in character, while judging, and cracking a smile often while making jokes to keep the atmosphere easy and “fluffy”, when there were so many opportunities for it to get tense. They possess a very rare trait, “Staying cool under pressure”.
It is very easy for others to get upset or judge the judging panel when thing don’t turn out quite as expected, so we interviewed the panel, had a chat with them to gain some insight into what they were looking to see, what would influence their scores and at the same time show everyone that just like you and me, they are “regular” people too. Well done to the judges for handling the competition so well this year, in my opinion, it was a great success and I for one, am looking forward to rAge 2016 to see how we get exposed to an even higher standard of Cosplay to what we witnessed this year.