At anime conventions, one of the main highlights is the cosplay competition. It is an opportunity for cosplayers to perform favorite scenes from the shows, perform original skits or partake in 'fashion shows' to the delight of the fans. One such international cosplay event is the Madman National Cosplay Competition which takes place in Australia annually.
Judges, or sometimes fans, are responsible for choosing winners based on creativity and originality. For the cosplayers who have spent time and effort in creating their costumes and perfecting their roles, being recognized by their peers for a job well done is an honor unlike any other. Winners, sometimes, end up becoming celebrities of sorts, and are quick to be spotted or noticed in conventions on a global scale; thanks to the influence of the internet and especially YouTube.
An example of one such famous cosplayer is Li or as he's more commonly known 'Pimlink'; a young man who recognized for his impeccable portrayal of Zelda from 'The Legend of the Zelda' series. Another famous cosplayer is CJ Collins, whose role as Refka from the Final Fantasy VI series, has earned him legions of fans across the world. Cosplayers like Li and CJ embody their characters and allow the fans, and even those who are not fans of such shows and games, to become more interested and intrigued about their stories.
In Western culture - where cartoon series are regarded mostly as children's entertainment - cosplayers take on such famous roles like Batman, Superman, Spiderman, and any other famous superhero from popular comic books or T.V series. It is not uncommon to see these characters at conventions, yet imports from the East seep their way into the Western consciousness and are now taking a hold on what children watch today. For instance, the popular anime show, Naruto, is a favorite all over the world, but it would surprise many to know that the voice behind the most famous male anime character actually belongs to a female.
Junko Takeuchi is easily one of the most popular and famous voice actresses in Japan today. Her ability to embody the intonations and mannerisms of a teenage boy might surprise many, but it is a trend that's common in anime. Women are well- known for taking on the roles of the male especially in their childhood or teenage years; a trend that's now being adopted in Western culture.