Cosplay SM 2017
I want to make something clear before I begin: I see this event as a collaboration between NärCon Eventbyrå (CosplaySM), SVT, and The Nordic Museum. They have had different parts to play to bring this event to life, and in this report I will talk about my experience of the event as a whole. This means that critique does not only go to NärCon, but to SVT and the Museum as well.
Another thing I want to make clear: I have heard rumors about things behind the scenes. I will not address these because I cannot confirm them.
This year the Swedish Cosplay Championship (Cosplay SM) was held as its own event, separate from a "host convention". The venue was the beautiful Nordic Museum which is a renaissance castle, so the theme of the event was "Ball at the castle". The dress code was something like "Ball clothes or cosplay". The event had 18 years age limit, and they served alcohol.
The venue was really cool, but it really bothered me that they very quickly cut all the lights and made everything very dark. What's the point of having an event in a castle when you can't take any cool pictures due to non-existent light? We ended up taking pictures in the stairs down to the toilets, because that was the only place with good light.
There have already been a lot of debate about if it was a correct choice to serve alcohol at the event. I will not enter this discussion, but I will say that it felt like the organizers wasn't sure themselves if they wanted alcohol or not. You could buy drinks in the bar, but the welcome drink you got at the door (which looked like champagne) was just regular non-alcoholic apple cider. It gave it all a very indecisive and cheap feel. Go all out with real champagne at the door, or don't serve alcohol at all.
This was supposed to be a "ball at the castle", but for being a ball there was very little dancing. I'm disappointed. I blame the fact that they cut the lights so you couldn't see anything on the dancefloor, and that the music wasn't dance-friendly. Don't get me wrong, the music and songs were beautiful, but you couldn't dance to it. If you want people to dance at a ball, then you could at least play some waltz.
There were fewer people there than I thought it would be. Sure, it didn't feel completely empty, but I thought more people would attend. This was probably due to the 18 years age limit. The whole event felt like an exclusive party. I knew or had heard of over half of everyone there. It almost felt like "by the (cosplay) elite for the (cosplay) elite" (if that is the correct word in this context).
But what about the show itself?
Sure, but first let me tell you how happy I am that we got REAL FREAKING CHAIRS! It has been so long since I got to sit on a chair during a NärCon-organized cosplay competition.
Okay, the show. The show warmed up with Swedish Cosplay Community Award which celebrates members of the Swedish cosplay community that have done important things to strengthen the community. Cosplay is so much more than just the competitions, but it's only those who compete that get awarded for their work. I think the SCCA is a great initiative, and I'm so happy that Linnéa and Robin got the recognition they deserve.
The Museum had also organized a Folklore Creatures cosplay competition, and we got to see the finished work and they announced the winners during the show warmup.
Then the Swedish Cosplay Championship began. As usual the quality of the cosplay and the performances increase every year. I'm almost intimidated by the level of quality these cosplayers have. My favorite entries were Erik (Angel of Death) and Kakan (Apple White), because damn!
The intro and middle acts were slightly confusing, but Arijan's amazing performance and voice made up for it.
The show and production felt smaller than previous years, and it felt like there were more mistakes in the production than usual.
I am overall positive, this was definitely a unique experience, but I think there is a lot that needs to be improved.