(Sorry for the delay in getting this up. September is the last month of “convention season” for myself and the Wasabi Anime team, so writing again should get much easier. Allegedly.)
In part one, I pointed out the awesomeness that was Dragon*Con 2010. My friends and I had a great time, met some new people, and even fit in some Man vs. Food meal location goodness.
Even the best events, though, have their shortcomings.
BACK STORY: In 2007, the girls from Wasabi Anime decided to take one of the numbers from our Wasabi Animusical and enter it into the Dragon*Con Masquerade. The Masquerade (read: multi-genre cosplay contest) has been a major draw at Dragon*Con for a number of years with some AMAZING costumes making appearances. The show is as much a tribute to great fan costumes as it is an entertaining stage show.
Or, at least, it used to be. I’ll get more into that in a moment.
In 2007, the girls entered on won Best of Show with this number:
In 2008, the ladies returned with a new number with new costumes and won Best of Show – Masters:
The first year was anime. The second was comic book characters. The year after that the girls did an American cartoon. In 2009 they presented a stage number in the style of the previous two featuring the Powerpuff Girls to “When I Grow Up” by the Pussycat Dolls.
The girls didn’t win… which happens. You win some and you lose some. Costumers and cosplayers who compete and win on a semi-regular basis look forward to be “dethroned” from time to time because that means someone came along and did something newer and even more original. The best cosplayers I know enjoy seeing great costumes and performances as much as they enjoy making and performing for themselves.
Thus, the loss shouldn’t have been a big deal… except for the fact that the winner wasn’t new or original.
Before I go on, I would like to note that I don’t bear the person who won ANY ill will. He is a competing costumer and has had success working within Dragon*Con’s Masquerade rules. It’s the rules that are to blame… and the staff that continues to fail and see that it is killing the originality of the show.
In 2005, an original costume called Dragon Rider made by a man named Brian Burke took Best of Show. Once you win Best of Show, you are forever restricted to the Masters category. Thus, when Brian entered again in 2009, he competed against the girls… and won again… with the same costume he used in 2005.
Sure, he made some adjustments to improve it, but it was the SAME COSTUME HE COMPETED WITH THE YEARS BEFORE.
This year he won the Masters category again… WITH THE SAME COSTUME. This time, he made a smaller version to have a child (his?) join him on stage to compete.
Which brings us to the failure of the Dragon*Con Masquerade: THERE IS NO RULE RESTRICTING THE USE OF THE SAME COSTUME OVER AND OVER AGAIN IN THE MASTERS CATEGORY.
If someone wins Best of Show it’s a safe bet that he/she/they are a creative bunch of folks that can contribute new and exciting things each year. The girls of Wasabi Anime did it for three years in a row. Previous to them, the fine folks from Making Mischief produced some amazing costumes that won each year: Wallace & Gromit, Where the Wild Things Are, and many others.
Making Mischief and Wasabi Anime both created NEW costumes to compete to keep the show ORIGINAL and ENTERTAINING. That is what makes for a great show. That greatness is something the Dragon*Con masquerade has lost.
So “the bad” of Dragon*Con? The moment I saw that a person competing with the same costume year after year won the Masquerade for a third time… and the producers of the contest just don’t seem to give a damn.