Where: Sakura Stage
When: Saturday, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Anime NYC’s Masquerade is THE can’t-miss event of the weekend! Watch incredible performers take the stage in their biggest and brightest anime-themed cosplay. Be dazzled and amazed as they move to the music and entertain you with their wackiest and most spot-on impressions and poses! Our contestants will be competing for fabulous prizes and awards, and of course fame, honor, and glory!

This year’s event will be hosted by ToastyMarshellow with voiceover support by Jonah Scott. Plus don’t miss music by DJ Taylor Senpai and a halftime performance by Yosakoi Dance Project 10tecomai. See incredible Cosplay Judges Hey Lizard Leigh, Philip Odango, and Maeviary who have the difficult task of determining which cosplayers will win our amazing awards and prizes. This year, our Best in Show trophy is a masterpiece being designed by Hoku Props. Thanks to our sponsors, Big Z Fabric, Assist Wig and more. Who will win it all? Don’t miss it!

Special Guests

Halftime Show

“Yosakoi Dance Project – 10tecomai” is a Dance Team from New York City that performs the Japanese Dance style of YOSAKOI (A Fusion of traditional Japanese dance with movement/music from other cultures) Since their creation in 2005, 10tecomai’s continuing goal has been to perform and spread knowledge of Yosakoi dance across the United States. Please enjoy their energy as they dance Yosakoi for you today!  (Photos courtesy of Kaiwen)

Sponsors & Partners

Masquerade Rules

Last updated: Dec 1, 2023

The Anime NYC Masquerade will take place during the weekend of Anime NYC on our Sakura Stage. The Masquerade is on Saturday – with prejudging happening earlier in the day. ALL MASQUERADE ENTRANTS MUST APPLY IN ADVANCE TO COMPETE.

Costumes spanning the worlds of anime, manga, video games, musicals, books, and even comics and movies are all eligible for entry (original characters, too), but please note costumes must comply with Anime NYC’s Cosplay and Weapons Policies.

Applications are considered in a jury process after the application period ends, NOT first-come, first-served. We won’t review any applications until after the deadline and there’s no advantage to applying early. Likewise, there’s no disadvantage to applying on the day of the deadline. Take your time to submit as complete an application as possible, with as many pictures/videos and details as you can share. Applications considered incomplete will not be selected.

You will apply with an entry type and a competition level. The entry type is how you will be judged and the competition level determines who you’ll be judged against. This ensures that you’ll be competing against other cosplayers at a similar experience level.


Entry type determines how you will compete and what you will be judged on. There are three ways to compete. Please review the rules below this section for your desired entry type.

  • Craftsmanship Only: You make 75%+ of your cosplay and do ~3 poses on the stage to our pre-selected music. You attend required Craftsmanship judging and are eligible for judges awards, craftsmanship awards, and Best in Show.
  • Performance Only: You make 0%+ of your cosplay and do a performance to your own music and/or video. You do not attend Craftsmanship judging and are eligible for judges awards, performance awards, and Best in Show.
  • Craftsmanship & Performance: You make 75%+ of your cosplay and do a performance to your own music and/or video. You attend required Craftsmanship judging and are eligible for judges awards, craftsmanship awards, performance awards, and Best in Show.

For even more information, please see our Cosplay Contest FAQ.


The competition is split into four experience based levels in addition to your entry type. This determines the category of competitors who you will be judged against.

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Kids – Competitors must be 11-15 years of age to compete in this category. We do not accept competitors younger than 11 years of age.

Professional costume makers may only compete at the Advanced level. If entering as a group, your category is determined by the most experienced member of your group. Competitors 16+ years of age may not enter a group in the Kids category; however, kids may enter with adults in a group in another category if they wish, but this means they will be judged for that group’s skill category.

Please see our Cosplay Contest FAQ for more information on categories and choosing yours.

If you still have questions or concerns about what category you should enter, feel free to email us at [email protected].

      • Costume Requirements:
        • Your costume must be 75% handmade by you/your group, which means no store bought cosplays in this category.
        • You must be at least 50% done with your cosplay at the time of your application to be considered.
        • You must share at least one full-body shot of you or a dress-form wearing your entire cosplay in as complete of a form as you have. It’s okay if it’s only 50% done, but you must show us everything in at least one picture.
      • Prejudging: You will attend a required prejudging session with the judges earlier in the day (or sometimes the day before) to explain the making of your cosplay.
        • A build book will be required as a part of Craftsmanship judging.
  • You must bring swatches that are at least 1”x1” whether you submit a digital or physical copy of your build book as proof of work. If you are unable to bring this to judging, you must present a reason why and have a very detailed build book.
      • Time slots will be shared in advance of the convention for competitors to pick their prejudging time.
      • Prejudging time slots will be ~3 minutes in length.
      • Groups of 3 or more will be given extended prejudging session times.
      • If you have further questions, please review the Cosplay Contest FAQ.
    • Stage Show: If competing as a Craftsmanship only competitor, you will go on stage individually or in your group, exhibit two to three poses as our emcee reads your costume description, and then exit.
    • Awards: If competing in a group, awards will be given to the group, not individuals. 
    • Costume Requirements: None! If you have a store bought costume but still want to compete, this is the category for you, you can compete using a cosplay of any make and model.
    • Stage Show: We accept all kinds of performances including but not limited to idol dances, skits, slam poetry, songs, classic dance performances, ribbon twirling, flag spinning, etc. The sky’s the limit in terms of what you’d like to perform.
      • A performance must have some kind of choreography or narrative structure, meaning we will not accept entries planning to walk on stage in a store bought cosplay, strike a few poses, and leave the stage. This does not qualify as a performance in this contest and will not be selected to compete.
    • Awards: If competing in a group, awards will be given to the group, not individuals. 
    • Costume & Performance Requirements: When competing in both Craftsmanship & Performance you must follow all the requirements for Craftsmanship judging including attending prejudging and requirements for Performances listed above.
      • If you are in a performance group, but you are the only person competing in craftsmanship that is a-ok. Just let us know on your application. If you win a performance award, it will be awarded to your whole group. If you win a craftsmanship award it will be only for the group members who attended prejudging.


For even more information, please see our Cosplay Contest FAQ.

  • General:
    • Applicants must be 11 years of age or older to compete.
    • All Cosplay Competition competitors must be AnimeNYC attendees, and badges will be checked when entering the convention center. Competitors accepted into the Masquerade will receive a comp 3-day badge to AnimeNYC. More info on this at the bottom of the page.
    • You are responsible for all expenses incurred in order to compete in AnimeNYC’s Masquerade.
  • Application & Entry:
    • You must read our Contest Competitor Guidelines to compete. If you don’t read the guidelines and accidentally break a rule, you will still be held accountable. You also agree that you’ve read the rules in your application.
    • You must apply by the deadline and  be accepted in order to compete and applications are not accepted after the deadline under any circumstances.
      • We may sometimes offer at-con registration which will be laid out on this page and social media if we are doing it.
    • Groups only need to fill out ONE entry form for the entire group.
    • If the cosplay you are entering has previously won in competition at AnimeNYC’s Masquerade or a major award in another cosplay or costume contest, it cannot be re-entered. Please see our Cosplay Contest FAQ for more information about this topic.
    • You can apply as many times as you would like with as many costumes as you would like, but please note that only one costume can be accepted into the competition per person.
    • If selected to participate in the Anime NYC’s Masquerade, you agree to allow us to share photos you provide for marketing purposes and promotion as well as future events and will be asked to sign a release form if your application is accepted.
    • Winning a major award at Anime NYC or any of our other competitions/masquerades does not guarantee you entry into the Masquerade in future years. We consider every single application on the merit of its contents alone in our decision making process and will accept the ones we believe are the most competitive with this years’ pool of competitors.
    • We reserve the right to edit stage description material for time and content.
    • Any applications without any photos of the cosplay will not be considered.
    • A full color reference photo will be required as a part of the application.
  • Safety:
    • Competitors must review and adhere to the Cosplay Contest Competitor Guidelines.
    • Cosplays and performers must also comply with AnimeNYC’s Policies, including the Anti Harassment Policy. This means no profanity, hate speech, religious, political, or otherwise inflammatory messages are allowed.
    • Don’t jump off the stage. The audience is also not allowed to approach the stage.
    • No projectiles are to be thrown on to the stage and don’t throw anything from the stage.
    • There is no adult-related content allowed on stage. Keep all performances respectful and appropriate for general audiences.
    • You must be able to walk on/off stage and maneuver freely in your costume without assistance unless you require medical accommodations.
    • All props, setups, and scenery must be taken down after your performance. Do not leave any items behind that can hinder the competitors after you. Don’t make a mess.
  • Rehearsal Requirements:
    • Attending the rehearsal is required for all competitors unless otherwise stated.
    • Rehearsal typically takes place right before the stage show, though this is dependent on convention room needs for other panels.
    • Generally, full costumes are not needed for the rehearsal, but if you have a very large costume that restricts mobility, please wear it to ensure you can enter and exit the stage.
    • There may also not be time between rehearsal and the stage show to change, so keep this in mind when planning your day.


The below prizes will be awarded at the end of the stage portion of the Masquerade. Awards are based on both entry type and competition level, but Best in Show can be awarded from any entry type and any competition level.

Best Awards Runners Up Minor Awards
Best in Show Advanced Craftsmanship/Performance Runner Up Judge’s Choice
Best Advanced Craftsmanship/Performance Intermediate Craftsmanship/Performance Runner Up Superlatives, if given
Best Intermediate Craftsmanship/Performance Beginner Craftsmanship/Performance Runner Up
Best Beginner Craftsmanship/Performance
Best Kids Cosplay


Anime NYC provides complimentary Pro badges to all cosplayers participating in our Masquerade! If you are accepted into the Anime NYC Masquerade, you will be issued a Pro badge as a thank you for your time and effort on stage. (You must be accepted into the Masquerade in order to qualify for a complimentary Pro Badge, not just having applied.)  Previously purchased fan badges are not eligible for a refund. All Masquerade participants must have badges to Anime NYC.