Sakura-Con is one of the largest anime conventions in the northwest and like all anime conventions, it has its usual events like the Masquerade and AMV contest. What made Sakura-Con stand out from the rest, was the Anime Swimsuit Contest Panel. This year’s Anime Swimsuit Contest was a lively, comedic affair with jokes thrown one after another. The Anime Swimsuit Contest is an unique event for an anime convention and is one of the more entertaining adult events that an otaku can go.
Swimsuit contestants all on stage
This year's contest was a mix of both male and female contestants. All of the contestants had to be age 18 and over in order to participate, so no little kids allowed. This wasn’t a problem because Sakura-Con hosted the event at 1 AM. Both contestants and guests had to get a special stamp in order to attend. The event isn’t so much for the swimsuits themselves, but more for the interaction between the audience and participants. There were a lot of inside jokes that flew back and forth between the contestants, guests, and hosts. Even the judges, who are just random fans in the audience, take place in the synagogues. One could say that the adult theme to this show isn’t so much the sexual nature to having a swimsuit contest, but the adult language that pin balls between the audience and everyone else.
The contest is basically broken up into three parts. The show starts off with introductions and posing; in this case they introduced their characters. Characters can range from anime to video games. The second stage is talents, with performances by the contestants. Some of the talents included singing, stand up comedy, and stripping, down to their swimsuit of course. The final stage of the contest is where the audience involvement was at its fullest, a Q and A session. Majority of the questions were unimportant such as “can I have your number?” and questions of that nature. So, people didn’t really learn anything about the brave cosplayers, some of whom were forced or dared into participating.
Jokes and jokes...
There was a lot of banter between the judges and audience. The judges didn't like personal attacks towards any of the contestants. If an audience member was out of line, the judges didn’t hesitate to mock that person until he or she shuts up or in some instances, starts crying. Interactions like these added to the overall attraction of the event, which was just good old-fashioned fun. This year’s winners of the contest were Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion, who won the Audience Award and Soi Fong from Bleach, who won the Judges' Award. Both winners received a cash prize of twenty dollars and a bunch of Pocky snacks.
Kamina, Soi Fong, Schoolgirl and Asuka having a good time
The contest really showed the fun side of Sakura-Con. It was so simple and down to Earth, yet everyone had a great time. Similar to the Last Comic Standing panel at Anime Expo, both events had exciting guests, an engaging audience, and amusing hosts. It's events like these that makes conventions worthwhile and without any of these interaction between the people, then what's the point of attending conventions?