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New York Anime Festival 2008
Masquerade and Rie Takana Concert

by pinguino,

The lights dim, the crowds cheer, and before you know it, you're watching a giant robot dancing on a stage, or Naruto mugging Squall for his lunchbox. Chances are, you've probably scored yourself a seat at the wildly popular masquerade, one of the highlights for every convention. Cosplayers of all ages come out in their most elaborate costumes, perform a skit, and hope for a chance to win one of several coveted prizes, including best craftsmanship, best skit, best in show, and a host of others.

This event is different from a lot of other cosplay contests, though—New York Anime Festival hosts the US portion of the World Cosplay Summit, where the winning team is given the chance to represent the United States in Japan the following summer. Last year's US team was Sonnya Paz and Renee Gloger, who wowed the judges with their Magic Knight Rayearth costumes.

Although there were many extremely talented cosplayers this year, the judges eventually made their selection for this year's US team—India Davis, who was dressed as Himawari from xxxHOLiC, and Elizabeth Licata, who went as Yuko from xxxHOLiC. But instead of describing this year's masquerade to you, we'll let the photos speak for themselves.

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