The Cosplay Masquerade at the year's Amecon was probably the biggest the UK has ever seen, running at around two hours long and being watched by several hundred people!  For the first time at an anime event we had someone behind the scenes, as our write Ami-Chan was taking part in the Masquerade.  Here's her report on the experience...

"Amecon 2008 hosted the first masquerade that me and my friend Ovii-Sama have entered, and we dressed up as the Amecon mascots Ame-chan and General Error.  So what was involved?  At 3pm we all sat in the Lounge and were given our instructions.  We were told where to walk, the pose points (big yellow crosses hard to miss) and where to sit after we

Ami and Ovii as Ame-Chan & General Error

 had finished.  I have to admit it was difficult to take it all in, especially as what it looks like in a presentation is different from what it is actually like.  I found myself trying to compare it to last year's layout and working out whether it was the same.

"At 5pm (1 hour before the start) we all gathered in the concourse ready to begin.  The first port of call is to find out your position in the event.  We were very excited to find out that we were actually first!  After finding out our positions we headed to the male changing room where the first group of cosplayers were.  The room was quite relaxed and everyone

waited for their instructions.  A big thank you should go out to the Gophers as they really did put the cosplayers first.  They did this by ensuring that nearly everyone in fur suits went first and by providing water and air conditioning.

"When it came to the time of going on stage disaster struck for us.  Unfortunately, we ran to the stage area when we heard our Gopher saying that we had to move.  However, when we arrived we heard our names and our cosplays being announced.  We thought the masquerade had begun and as there was no one to ask we made the choice to go on stage.  In hindsight this was the wrong decision and I apologise to anyone we threw off because of this.  Anyways, enough said, it was a nerve wracking experience walking the route!  However, I was glad that we had considered our poses before going in front of everyone!

"One of the huge advantages of going first is that you are able to enjoy the rest of the Masquerade, and the quality of the cosplay was high.  Special mention goes to the Kimari cosplayer, whose costume had such attention to details that I could not tell the difference from the real character!  It was this attention to detail that earned her the 1st prize in the cosplay competition.  What I particularly enjoyed about the Masquerade compared to others that I have watched is that there was a balance of different anime series involved.

"Overall, I really enjoyed the Masquerade.  I believe that (voice actress) Kari Wahlgren

Cosplayers chill after the Masquerade

provided a great voice for Ame-chan and helped to gel the whole show together.  The only feedback I could possible give is that the animated Ame-chan with her giant pieces of paper with messages were over used.  This was a great new addition to her, however, for us in the final room it made it difficult for us to see the cosplayers.  I close this section to say thanks to all the committee, gophers and cosplayers involved who made it such a special event."