Nagoya, Japan - A pair of cosplayers wearing samurai body-armour costumes from Australia took the crown of this year's World Cosplay Summit (WCS) held in the central Japanese city of Nagoya on Sunday.
"We've been so exhausted. We want to take off our costumes as soon as possible," a male member of Team Australia, said on the stage soon after the announcement of the top prize.
"It had taken us one year preparing for this championship. We very much appreciate the big support from our family members and friends," he said in Japanese at the 17th annual summit, one of the largest events of its kind in the world.
The pair had spent months producing the Azure Starlord armour made in leather from "Monster Hunter World," a female member named A K Wirru told reporters after the competition at Aichi Arts Centre.
"We wanted to put what we've been inspired by Japanese culture into our costumes," she said.
Both had represented Australia before with a different partner.
Coming to the summit, the two have come to get along with other cosplayers from different countries, the male half of the team said.
"We are just like a big family. We've been cooperating with each other," he said.
Team USA took second place and also captured the best make-up prize, while a pair of cosplayers from France, who played characters from the video game "Hyrule Warriors," came in third.
It took the US cosplayers about 3,000 hours making their costumes from "Bloodborne," they said.
Garnet Runestar, who played Good Hunter, lives in New York, while J Hart Design, who had the role of Yharnam, Pthumerian Queen, is in the state of Utah, but they still got together every three months to get ready for the competition.
A pair of cosplayers from Germany, Sharina Kimura and Maria Dick, both from Munich, won the best costume award.
Kimura, a university student majoring in interior architecture, played Kushana from "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind," the 1984 Japanese animation film directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
The two had spent "very hectic" weeks in the run-up to the summit as they had been doing final checks not only on their performance but also on the "small details" of their intricate costumes, Kimura told dpa on Saturday.
Their preparations paid off on Sunday in Japan.
"I really enjoy making costumes and giving performances on the stage," Kimura said.
Her partner Dick, who played the film's title character, said her job as a graphic designer had helped her draw designs for her cosplay costumes.
Participants from 24 countries and regions clad in elaborate hand-made costumes had gathered in Nagoya to compete at the WCS championship 2019 on Sunday.
Cosplayers from countries including Saudi Arabia, Sweden and Singapore represented characters from manga, animations, films, video games and TV programmes.
Contestants are judged by the quality of their costumes, the art direction and their overall performance on stage, organizers said.
Starting from a pool of 40 teams, eight of the finalists were selected in the Tokyo round last weekend, where the summit kicked off, while the other 16 teams were picked in a Saturday round in Nagoya.
The summit involves about 300,000 participants from around the world. The 40 teams won preliminaries in their countries and regions.
"So many have come from so many different countries and regions and gathered here in Nagoya," jury president Toru Furuya said at the end of the event.
"This is an amazing opportunity to connect with people. We hope that, through this summit, cosplayers, fans and creators can become even closer," said Furuya, a voice-over actor.
The event comes just weeks after the arson attack on a Kyoto Animation building, which took the lives of 35 artists.
Japanese cosplayers participating in public WCS events called for support for the famed studio.dpa