Hello! It’s Monday, C4 has ended, and I’d like to take some time to look back on it… but first, I do need to open up with a disclaimer. Some medical issues made me unable to attend as much of the event as I was hoping, so my experience is not as thorough as it normally is. As such, I won’t be able to comment much on the main cosplay contest or any of the Sunday content…
But I was able to attend the first cosplay contest – the ‘Masters’ event, which contained 6 or 7 cosplayers. You see, this year, C4 decided to separate the cosplay contest into 5 different sections. 1 on Friday, 1 on Saturday, and 3 on Sunday. Friday’s event had only a handful of contestants, but they were the best of the best so it was still a pretty awesome event. I would’ve liked to see it be treated more as a showcase than a contest if they’re going to devote 2 hours to 6 or 7 people. Give them a chance to speak about their costume, show off any special aspects they are particularly proud of, etc. It would’ve been really nice to see, and if you’re going to separate the ‘Masters’ into their own contest, take advantage of it. But the biggest downside was that they relegated all of the cosplay contests to the awkwardly laid out Pan Am room – with a tiny stage and flat seating, anyone not in the first few rows probably saw little other than headwear. The auditorium they used for it in previous years was absolutely perfect for it from a spectator point of view, as its layout meant no matter where you were sitting you had a good view.
On a more positive note, they finally made the decision – whatever the reason may be – to do themed panels in addition to individual q&a sessions. This is something I’ve been annoyed that hasn’t been done ever since the first year we attended… general q&a panels are all well and good, but if you have multiple guests with something in common, it’s always a good idea to try to do some themed stuff. They also had a few cosplay guests this year, which was amazing. They did do a cosplay panel, but it wasn’t quite what we were expecting. We were kind of hoping for something similar to the Blizzcon cosplay panel from last year, where they had about half the panel’s length in prepared presentations and then some q&a time. But what they did in stead was just straight up q&a – don’t get me wrong, it was very interesting, and the cosplay guests were hilarious. They told some great stories and gave some advice and we did very much enjoy ourselves… but my wife and I were both kind of hoping for a bit more of an informational thing.
Additionally, another really good decision they made was to formally separate the vendors from the artists. This worked extremely well. As you may remember, last year their main vendor room had most of the artists in it, but a few of them – as well as a few other groups – got relegated to a downstairs room that seemed kind of neglected and underwhelming. This year that same downstairs room felt lively and vibrant since nearly all of the artists were down there. It made that room feel like an attraction instead of a sideshow and it split up the crowds a bit meaning that the normally overwhelming crowds were more tolerable for the most part. It was a huge improvement, and one that I hope they keep for next year.
As usual, C4 showed a seeming lack of organization and preparation. Nobody seemed to know what was going on, and their schedule had at least one straight up factual error on it – which makes me feel bad for the panelist whose panel didn’t make the cut to be on the online schedule. They also didn’t seem to have any volume rules for individuals hosting panels and the panel before the cosplay contest was ear-blisteringly loud. I saw at least 3 different groups of people come in, sit down waiting for the contest to start, and then get up and leave as soon as the music from the previous panel started. It’s impossible to say if they were leaving directly because of the music volume, but it seems like the most likely situation given what happened.
The one place that they seemed to be more organized than usual was in handling the registration lineups. Last year I recall the line stretching past the Delta at multiple points… this year we didn’t see any major lineups at all and we went at pretty similar times as last year. So either there were far fewer people – which I don’t think is likely – or they did a much better job handling the lineup, which is commendable.
I didn’t watch the main cosplay contest this year, so I don’t know if there were more than one given… but they gave out a ‘Best in Show’ in addition to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes during the Master’s cosplay competition on Friday. This was awkward to me, since to me Best in Show is supposed to be an award given away after all have been judged to the person who was the best overall – regardless of category. It also seemed strange since it kind of invalidated the ‘1st place’ award, since it wasn’t really 1st, it was just 1st runner-up. Additionally, it meant that in a cosplay contest with only 6 or 7 contestants… 4 of them won prizes. Makes me feel kinda bad for the other two or three, personally.
One other point I would like to mention that was a bit strange… the C4 Girl contest is to determine who will be representing C4 over the next year. Basically, you’re going to be their mascot for a year. I would assume this would require you to sign some sort of contract… and yet, there is no requirement to be an adult for it. I’m not a legal expert, so maybe it’s all perfectly normal. I just can’t help but feel a little strange when I hear that a contest is for ‘females over the age of 13 only’ as the rule for a contest like this, with no mention of parent approval or anything if you’re not a legal adult.
Despite my personal issues, I did manage to get a fairly good number of great pictures. We’re still recovering, so the gallery may take some time to get processed but rest assured we will get it up as soon as we can. It may prove to be a bit smaller than some of my previous years’ galleries, but there were some amazing costumes and I was able to get some really good pictures so I hope you enjoy.