Two rookies win big at Anime Picnic 7.5 cosplay competition

From left: Xania Richards, Dana Gayle, Sebastian Thomas, Zavia Campbell and D’Andra Haynes partaking in the Anime Nerds of Jamaica Mascot cosplay competition.

Aza Auset and Xania Richards, both new to competitive cosplay, were the big winners at Anime Picnic 7.5: Chill Edition at Hope Gardens, St Andrew on December 15.

“It was cool to win, as this was my first time going all out to build a costume and actually enter a competition,” said Auset.

Japanese animation

Cosplaying as the character Edward Elric from the anime series Full Metal Alchemist, it took the crowd to pick her as the winner, as she was tied in the judges’ points against seasoned competitor Rhea Rampair. After her victory, Auset revealed she isn’t a big fan of Japanese animation but was introduced to Full Metal Alchemist by a friend and fell in love with the show. It was this affection that made her choose Elric.

“The costume took a week. I have a full-time job, so I had to find time to work on it,” she explained.

Tianna Powell, president of Anime Nerds of Jamaica, presents Aza Auset with her prize for winning the mini cosplay competition.

Bring costume to life

Elric of Full Metal Alchemist features a metallic right arm, which Auset found to be the most difficult element of her costume to bring to life.

“I had to put it together during the weekends when I had the most free time,” she said.

She wants to continue cosplaying in the future.

“Hopefully I’ll do more competitions next year, but cosplaying is a bit costly and time-consuming with my busy schedule,” she said.

There was many anime-themed merchandise to pick up from the event vendors.

Courage and inspiration

For Richards it was a similar situation, finally getting the courage and inspiration to enter her first cosplay competition, in this case, the ANJ Mascot cosplay competition. Entrants in this category were limited to costumes of the four ANJ Mascots – Keito, Gorudo, Shizen, and Hikari. The first two are male, the second two, female. Richards cosplayed as Hikari.

“I always come to these events, but never enter, just watch. My mother asked why do I keep going and not entering, so she helped me put together the costume,” said Richards.

With newfound confidence, Richards said she will be competing in more cosplay events in the coming year.

ANJ president, Tianna Powell, was happy with the club’s final show for the year.

“Patrons asked for this event after our successful staging of C.A.G.E. earlier this year. They wanted something a bit more relaxed to end the year. We weren’t planning anything after C.A.G.E. Our next event was supposed to be in April 2020, our Purge Party: Glow Masked Edition.”

Written by Nichola Beckford