J-ZONE4 Cosplay Competition Rules


J-Zone4 will take place on 22nd and 23rd of April, 2023 at the Creative Hub (Kultuurikatel) venue in Tallinn, Estonia. This time the cosplay competition will take place on both days. If you have any questions about the competition, please contact our cosplay coordinator at cosplay@animefest.eu.


To register for cosplay competition, please fill an application form and submit it no later than the 2nd of April, 2023. Please make sure that you are using a working e-mail address. We are not responsible for any lost information due to incorrect or faulty addresses. Incomplete registration forms will not be accepted.

Please create a GoogleDrive, Dropbox, OneDrive or any other cloud service folder where you will upload:

  • An MP3 file with your background music. Please name it “yourstagename_defile” or “yourstagename_stageshow”. We only accept MP3 files (no YouTube or any other links). You can use free software such as Audacity (https://www.audacityteam.org/) to edit your music.
  • 1 reference picture of your character that will be printed out and handed to the judges in JPG or PNG format. If you have multiple pictures, please combine them into one before sending to us. The higher quality and resolution – the better. Please name it “yourstagename_reference”.
  • 1 stage screen picture of your character that will be shown on a big screen during your performance in JPG or PNG format. The higher quality and resolution – the better. Please name it “yourstagename_stage”.
  • A video rehearsal of your performance. When filming your rehearsal, please use the same music file you are using during your performance. You don’t have to wear your costume in this video. You can use free software such as DaVinci Resolve (https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve) to edit your video.
  • Progress photos of you making your costume. This is mandatory for the défilé category, self made and heavily modified costume submissions. When registering yourself, have at least 3 photos uploaded from the start. You can keep updating this folder until the registration deadline.

Example of a GoogleDrive (or any other) folder:

Do not forget to change permissions so we could access your files.

You can also bring your own printed in-progress material to show it to the judges during the prejudging stage.


You can cosplay any characters from an official published source of entertainment. Manga, games, comics, anime etc. Original characters (character that you have created yourself, not based on any official source) are also welcome if adequate references are provided.

Costume and props:

  • If you have a revealing costume (e.g. a bunny girl costume or a very short skirt), please wear opaque tights, leggings or shorts under it. For side- and underboob please wear a sport top or a bra.
  • All props used on stage must be safe and cannot be used to cause bodily harm (blunt/soft blades and other weapons*). When making props, use safe materials such as foam, styrofoam, wood, etc. Avoid using knives and swords made from metal. Additionally, all organizers reserve the right to confiscate any knives, knife-like objects and other cutting utensils that can cause bodily harm.
  • Realistic-looking weapons (including fantasy weapons) may be allowed in your on-stage performance, but cannot be carried in the halls of the venue among the general public as part of your costume. The decision on whether a prop/weapon is allowed will be made by the cosplay stage crew, and can be appealed to the cosplay event manager, whose decision is final.

* Weapons are all items that are regulated by the Republic of Estonia Weapons Act (firearms, gas weapons, pneumatic weapons, throwing weapons, cut-and-thrust weapons, and electroshock weapons).

Stage performance:

  • It is forbidden to use obscenity, profanities, gestures encouraging violence, and pornography.
  • Performances going against cultural and/or social norms will not be let on stage.
  • Please make sure your performances are ethically and aesthetically appropriate for a young audience.
  • Things that break easily and pyrotechnics are not allowed.
  • On stage it is forbidden to use glitter, liquids, or other substances that are difficult to remove (anything that takes more than 1 minute to clean and cannot be swept with a brush).
  • It is forbidden to throw anything into the audience or judges.



  • Craftsmanship category where your costume is the most important part. Construction and costume quality come first. The costume has to be fully self made with exception of footwear, wigs and undergarments.
  • 1-3 people
  • Max time 1 min 15 sec
  • Day 1 and 2
  • Must register online and provide progress photos and a video rehearsal.

Stage Show

  • Category where both costume and performance play an important role. You can participate with a bought or a heavily modified costume, but your performance must have an interesting narrative or a story. Engaging and well staged choreography is also accepted.
  • 1-8 people
  • Max time 3 min
  • Day 1 and 2
  • Must register online and provide progress photos (for self made costumes) and a video rehearsal.


  • Category for everyone who can’t or don’t want to take part in the competition. Just go on stage and strike a pose! Every costume is allowed.
  • 1-8 people
  • Max time 15 sec
  • Day 2 only
  • Registration during event days. Contact the ticket desk to register yourself.

All our categories are available for Non-Estonian residents as well.


In our cosplay competition we allow bought, heavily modified and self made cosplay costumes.

A bought costume is a ready made character costume you got from Dokidoki, Uwowo or any other website; a costume that is put together from ready made clothing bought from any clothing store.

A heavily modified costume is a bought costume or clothes where more than 50% parts are remade, recolored, resewn and etc.

A self made costume is a costume that you made yourself from scratch with exception of footwear, wigs and underwear.

Cosplayers who bought their costumes will not go to pre-judging and will be scored based on stage performance only. Heavily modified and self made costumes will go to pre-judging.


You can perform 3 times with the same costume – once in Défilé, once in Stage Show and once in Masquerade if the total number of applications allows it. We will inform you if we have to limit the number of your performances.

We are happy to accept costumes and performances of any levels, but if there are too many applications, we might have to limit the number of performances. When making our choice, we will take into consideration costume’s look and similarity with its reference, progress photos and video rehearsal’s entertainment value. We will try our best to give every applicant an opportunity to shine on our stage!

If, for some reason, you cannot participate anymore, please let us know as soon as possible at cosplay@animefest.eu.


1st, 2nd, 3rd place in Défilé
1st, 2nd, 3rd place in Stage Show
1st, 2nd, 3rd place in Masquerade
1st place in Audience Favorite
1st place in best Debut
1st place in best Original Character
3 Judges’ choices

  • Audience Favorite – voted directly by the audience via an online form.
  • Best Debut – our judges will select the best performance by a cosplayer/s who have never before performed on stage at a major convention (e.g. J-Zone, AniMatsuri. UniCon/WinterCon, GameOn/ComicCon Baltics). In duo and group performances all participants must be debutants.

Our international guest jury will judge all categories except the Audience Favorite. The judges will also have the opportunity to award special prizes at their own discretion.

One costume is not eligible for more than one prize (except Audience Favorite).


Stage competitors must purchase a 2-day ticket to the event (subject to their own applicable discounts for age, etc.) with a special 50% discount, which will be available on www.piletilevi.ee or at the venue before the event. Discount only applies to the défilé and stage show categories.

If you have an assistant, they must purchase the same 2-day ticket with a special 50% discount.

Before purchasing a ticket, please wait until your cosplay registration is accepted by our cosplay coordinator.


What we count as your private data: your name, email, phone number, citizenship/place of residence and age) as well as photos and videos of you.

Data provided during registration. The only people with the access to your private data are the Head Organizers and Cosplay Competition Organizers .

During and after the festival. Either while walking around the venue or being on stage, you may be captured in a photo or video by a private person, a company or the festival itself. The official photos and videos from JAFF/J-Zone will be uploaded to the festival’s social media channels. Official photos will also be used on JAFF/J-Zone website and social media to introduce what is going on at the festival. Official photos and videos can also be used for advertisement/promotion (social media, the press, television etc).


Cheating, breaking and/or ignoring the rules will get you disqualified from our future JAFF / J-Zone events. Please be considerate of other participating cosplayers.

Also, if you are harassed or threatened by any event guests, contact the staff or security immediately.