What was up with all the commotion and crowds surrounding the Terrace Theater on Saturday? It was Masquerade Costume Contest fever and fan excitement swelling to immense proportions. Sword fighting, singing, dancing, magical powers, and comedy performances were all over the stage this year along with the largest cavalcade of impressive costumes, cool soundtracks, and astounding stage skits bravado. 

Anime Expo 2001
Masquerade Costume Contest Night

 Anxious and dedicated crowds of fans waited many hours outside before the evening festivities. Some of the truly dedicated waited since 5am before the Masquerade ticket booth opened at 9am that morning and the rest of thousands sacrificed comfy Saturday morning sleep to snatch up the rest of the tickets. It didn't take a psychic to know that this year's show was the most anticipated event of the year. 
 Lights, camera, action! With a seated sea of over 3000 Masquerade Night fans, numerous video cameras in the back, spotlights up, and Max and Masquerade emcee ready for contestant introductions, the show was on as thunderous applause rocked the Terrace Theater's corridors upon every popular cosplay skit performance. 
 With larger and more luxurious viewing arrangements for the audience, as well as significant increase in seating capacity compared to AX2000's Masquerade, this year's evening topped the events highlights with round after round of some of the most amazing costumes and hilarious cosplay skits ever conceived. Following is the list of Masquerade contestants in the order as they appeared on stage: Vice, Card Captor Sakura and Tomoyo and Mei-lin, Anna Zozina, Princess Mononoke, Magic Knights of Tokyo, Sera Myu Sailor Neptune and Sailor Venus, Linna Inverse and Naga, Pretty Sammy and Pixie Misa, Acme Boys Cosplay's "I Don't Wanna Be Your Canary" from Final Fantasy 9, Amiboshi's "He's Traded in his Flute for a Sword", Ulala and Evil Goddess Elfita, Ifurita from El Hazard, Fushigi Yugi and Fushigi Yugi Part 2, Clover, Unemployed Squaresoft characters from Final Fantasy 9, Witches Five Deathbusters from Sailor Moon, Crayon Shin-chan, Escaflowne, Cross Poke-bishounen, Gundam Wing-Zero, PhoeniX SeeD's "Lady Marmalade Boy", Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Mima from Perfect Blue, Cowboy BeBop doing the Cowboy Tango, Senshi Mysterious Cosplay, Rosetint Cosplay's "Mamoto Shogo Keitan", Digimon Change into Power, Clover #2, Anything Goes School of Masquerade Arts' "Sera Myu Redubbed", Cactaur vs. Mei-lin, Entry 666, Angel Sanctuary Cosplay's "Men in Black", Chichiri, Team Rocket, Gundam Wing Weakest Link, Ultimate Magic Knights, Basara and Rocket from Macross 7, Haruka and Michiru from Sera Myu Concert Attire, AX Sponsor Commercial Break featuring Reese's Pieces, NorCali Cosplay and Ah! My Cosplay's "How to Defeat a Bishoujo", Earth Federation's take on Jion: "Go Sieg Yourself Jion Scum", Sailor Lead Crow and Sailor Aluminum Siren, Nausicaa, Kawaii Digi Charat, Bakaretsu Hunters Manga Style, Moulin Rouge and Miyuki-chan in Wonderland, Elite Battalion of Dragon Slayers and Merle, and Team URAN 3.
 Sera Myu Sailor Neptune and Sailor Venus teased and tawdled the eager audience with passing glances and sultry sashays that lead up to the climactic cosmic kiss of the night.
 Acme Boys Cosplay's "I Don't Wanna Be Your Canary" from Final Fantasy 9 featured wild characters from the popular game causing hilarious fighting and commotion on stage.
 The evil Witches Five Deathbusters from Sailor Moon served up a hot musical cabaret number to spite all those goody-goody Sailor Moonies. Watch out Sailor Moon fans, before you fall to these bad girls from the dark side!
 PhoeniX SeeD's "Lady Marmalade Boy" nearly knocked down the walls as the audience laughed and rooted for skit member Irvinator's stage impression as Christina Aguilera along with his girl buddies Hi-chan, Sephie, AngelWingsRinoa, and ClutzGurl. 
 Senshi Mysterious Cosplay merged contemporary pop song "Mr. Wonderful" and colorful fashion with a Sailor Moon theme to spark the audience's attention.  Makes you wanna get out there and dance!
 It's Gitchi Gitchi Yaya! searching for love in all the wrong places with Moulin Rouge and Miyuki-chan in Wonderland combination performing an awesome musical ensemble complete with elaborately designed costumes, high leg kick dancing, and over the top risqué crowd-pleasing poses.
 Elite Battalion of Dragon Slayers and Merle joined the comedy scene, showing the audience a thing or two about how the little guy would always end up on top.
 Team URAN 3 tripled their Masquerade audience success rate with another quirky and very amusing golden stage introduction of characters from Saint Seiya and Five Star Stories. The universal word of the day was TRANSLATE.
Additional Masquerade skit highlights featured jaw-dropping hilarious martial arts fight scenes in Fushigi Yugi by the Sacramento State Martial Arts Club and Fushigi Yugi Part 2 by the Sacramento State Anime Club, a beautiful duo of angel winged Clovers, fabulously designed and intricately detailed costumes from Girl from Gaia for Escaflowne, the musical sensation Mima of Perfect Blue performing one of the coolest songs from her show, a totally awesome skit by Anything Goes School of Masquerade Arts featuring a play on Sera Myu mixed with Britney Spears, NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, and many other musical pop groups and a surprise guest appearance by Jack of Jack in the Box, a pair of catty Digi Charats-nyo performing extremely cute Digi Charat theme song-nyo, the youngest members of the cosplay community doing an adorable Card Captor Sakura musical dance skit, Cowboy BeBop's Cowboy Tango played to a perfect mix of grace and sadistical punishment with a song appropriately entitled "Masochism Tango", Team Rocket's sexy musical number for the evil anti-Pikachu fans, Bakuretsu Hunters Manga Style performing a cute silent show-style version of the show, and a fabulous mix of intricate goth costumes and fun Rayearth musical act by NorCali Cosplay and Ah! My Cosplay's How to Defeat a Bishoujo.
Additional performance highlights of the Masquerade evening included a concert given by one of the contestants singing the Escaflowne movie theme song and an absolutely stunning concert given by Guest of Honor Kikuko Inoue singing the opening theme song to the Ah! My Goddess anime.

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