I promised a big report from Comic Con Baltics. I was sooo excited to go, and I spent so much time in the days leading up to preparing for the event. This was a convention that was planned for 2020, then got changed to 2021, then moved a third time to this year. So I’ve been planning it for 2 years and was super excited.
And what happened?
The moment our plane landed, my throat started feeling a bit scratchy…
By Friday – the first day of convention – it was a full-blown sore throat. Sucks, but bearable. Saturday came along, and I put on my cosplay, but I was freezing all day (yay fever). I hadn’t had much appetite, but thought it was just the sore throat – wrong. When I finally did eat something, it didn’t stay down. As it turns out, I caught some kind of stomach bug (not corona, at least). So the rest of that day and sunday was spent without cosplay. And also mostly in the Judge’s private room, because I was just too sick to walk much around. Sadly, that means I mostly didn’t see much of it and can’t tell as much about it as I would like to. But let me still try to talk about it, because what I DID see was just absolutely amazing.
Friday I had the most energy. We didn’t have any judging duties this day, so there was plenty of time to see the convention with all the booths and activities going on. I mostly took photos of my friends and posted videos on my insta story – I wasn’t feeling too picture perfect myself. There were 2 halls of booths with a good mix of different kinds of merch for all kinds of fandoms, exhibitions and activities. There was a big booth for the Lithuanian military, Nato and the USA embassy. At first that might not sound interesting, but they really did a good job entertaining visitors. They had a bomb removal robot with them that anyone could try controlling (pretty sweet tbh.). They also brought a medieval armor for people to try on, complete with chainmail and weapons, and also had guns ranging from small hand guns to big launchers (apologies, I don’t know much about guns) that they let people try to hold and showed how to actually use correctly (ofc without any bullets or anything, but checking safety etc). The embassy had their own Captain America and Marvel, which was kinda fun, but I think they would have been a bit more impressive if they had hired cosplayers rather than bought some halloween-tier costumes (sorry guys, no offence, all love for the attempt, but at an event with so many talented costumers, you need to up your game) .
There was an outdoor area as well with a German tank that people could take photos with as well and could climb onto. The outside area also had food trucks and my impression is the food was pretty affordable – but ofc I didn’t really have much of an appetite.
Also outside was a huge, 1:1 reproduction of the doll-thingy from Squid Game. The one from the first challenge that shoots people. With sound and animation and everything (I don’t think it actually shot people, though!). That was really impressive and a nice prop – it was a pity there was rain some of the days, so people were less outside.
Saturday and sunday were the big cosplay days. There were more than 100 participants in the cosplay contest and on top of that, there was also a masquerade where people just went on stage, posed and walked off again.
I’ve never judged such a huge contest before, and it was a challenge – the pre-judging was divided into 3 rounds – 2 on Saturday and 1 on Sunday. The show was also divided into the same number of blocks, with pre-judgings happening in the morning/noon and shows happening in the evening.
It would have been impossible to judge so many people and remember all of them if it hadn’t been for the cool software the convention had for just this purpose. Each judge got a computer to note down from 1-10 in various categories – for example amount of details, colour accuracy, craftsmanship quality, entertainment of show etc. It then calculated an average for each cosplayer and we used these numbers to compare. We were 5 very different kinds of cosplayers judging with different backgrounds and from different countries, so I feel like it was a fair and unbiased judging for the participants.
There were a decent number of prices, but even so, there were many people I wish I could’ve given prices to as well. It’s always really demotivating to participate in a contest and feel like you did your best – and then go home without a prize to show for it. I just hope no one lost motivation to try again.
The shows were actually really entertaining. I’ll be first to admit that in the past, I have felt some shows dragged out and were too long, and with over 100 participants, I was worried I’d get bored before the end. But the presenters did a great job filling in the gaps between acts and the cosplayers really did an amazing job with their performances. Even the ones who chose to do a mostly posing or dance skit without much of a story did so with good choices of soundtrack and without dragging it out too long that it still was actually fun to watch.
All in all, Comic Con Baltics was a very well-run event. The organisers really did a good job planning everything, the schedule was on point and it felt like a well-oiled machine. I am honoured and proud to have been part of the event and that I was trusted to judge the contest. Thank you to the organisers for the opportunity!
Below are the very few photos I have from the event. It ain’t much, but thankfully, I know there were loads of photographers at the event and a lot of photos already posted on their Facebook page, so have a look there!