This year's Masquerade theme was pirates, as the well recognized "stage ninjas," who simply are just stage crew members, were replaced, or rather "killed," by the "stage pirates." The host from previous years was also replaced. Following Fanime's tradition, the pre show consisted of a musical performance by Kevin Kmetz on the shimasen , Carl Schnaitter on the guitar, a singing performance by this year's Fanime Karaoke Contest Winner Nathalie Ferare, and a martial arts demonstration.
With the pre-show over, the actual Masquerade skits began. I'll let the photos in the gallery do the talking. We've tried to take pictures from every skit, and we do have most of them; however, halfway through the show, we had to return to the hotel to replace our battery. We apologize for missing a few skits.
While the judges were deliberating on the winners, we were introduced to Melanie O'Connor on stage. I'll admit I wasn't exactly thrilled to hear she was going to be doing an opera performance, but when she started, it was incredible. From the amount of cheering and clapping from the crowd, including a standing ovation, you can guess... she was good.
Ric Meyers came up onto stage afterwards as the judges still needed more time. He started listing out facts about ninjas, and eventually he got the audience involved by having them come up on stage and debate what anime or manga he should watch next. After a bit of horse playing, the judges were ready and the winners were announced.
As for highlights, this year's Best in Show winners goes to entry #18 Gomu Gomu no Cosplay and Sakura Mochi who has also won Best in Show back in 2005, congratulations!
This article ended up a lot long than I originally intended. After reading all that, if you haven't already, head on over to the Masquerade Gallery page!