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!
Cosplay Contest Judges
Vermilion Fire, who also goes by Mercedes, is always looking to level up her skills in just about anything. She carves wood into swords and shields, makes bows out of PVC pipes, leather-crafts armor, metal-works details, and more. She has won many craftsmanship and performance awards across the Western United States and judged at various conventions and events.
VFire founded the Cosplay Stitch and Seam Podcast and Blog to share her love of the culture and creativity in cosplay. Cosplay has been a huge part of her life for making new friends and trying new things. The hobby has helped her become more confident in herself and she seeks out others to help them find their inner strengths through crafting
Garnet Runestar is a Utah based cosplayer that hoards fabric like a dragon, collects sushi earrings, wears too many sparkly bobbles at once, and loves Zelda more than some people love their families. With over ten years of cosplay experience, she has earned twenty Best in Show awards; and was a part of Team USA 2014 for the World Cosplay Summit in Nagoya Japan and Team USA 2017 for the Clara Cow Cosplay Cup in the Netherlands.
When she's not making ball gowns, she works for a fashion brand which creates gowns aimed towards photography. Working to be an active voice for Cosplay Positivity, she aims to share her professional experiences, musings, and techniques to ALL who are interested. Garnet loves meeting new people, learning new sewing techniques, and is an awkward (and loveable) llama 98% of the time.
Unroyalty has been the driving force behind the Nihon Matsuri cosplay contest since its inception, and is excited to be part of something that helps festival-goers experience Japanese culture through cosplay and popular media. She has been cosplaying for almost ten years, and is exhilarated by each new challenge the hobby presents to her. She has won several performance and craftsmanship awards, and cherishes the friendships she has made along the way!
When she isn’t in front of a sewing machine, you can find her behind a camera as part of photography duo Kioku Photography. Her experience as both a photographer and a cosplayer give her a unique perspective on her craft, with an emphasis on composition, structure, and detail.
If you are interested in competing, 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 .
2. All walk-ons must be rated PG. We would like to keep everything family friendly. The festival is open to people of all ages, including small children.
3. 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!
4. 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!
5. 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.
6. Contestants that are 12 years or under must be accompanied by an adult.
7. 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 24th
Last Day for Audio: April 25th
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
--- Form Starts Here ---
Contestant Stage/Cosplay Name(s):
Real Name(s) and ages: example - Jane Doe (16)
Group Name (optional):
Contact email address:
Series Name (must be of Japanese origin):
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 20th.
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.