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In a slightly more normal world, the Met Gala would have taken place on May 3, 2021 and we would all have spent the day gawking at the haute couture of the social elite. However, in our current global situation, the pandemic has delayed the Met Gala for the second year in a row. In its absence, the Overwatch League took the opportunity to host their own fashion showcase of sorts: the “Mei Gala.”

On May 13, this 90-minute streaming event showcased nine handcrafted Overwatch cosplays from around the world. The panel of commentators included League Analyst Soe Gschwind, Overwatch Character Artist Paul Warzecha, Drag Queen and Overwatch fan Jinkx Monsoon and Bustle Fashion Editor Jessica Andrews. Throughout the Mei Gala, the commentators gave feedback on the cosplays and chatted with the cosplayers about their shared passion for Overwatch.

NeverEnding_Dreamz’s Lúcio cosplay. | Provided by Overwatch League

The Mei Gala’s Overwatch cosplays were incredibly technical and well-crafted, closely resembling their game’s counterparts while including various personal touches. In addition, some even went beyond cosplay to create impressive feats of technology and engineering, in their own right. Cosplayer Neverending_Dreamz created Lúcio’s “Jazzy” skin, integrated with five speakers playing the music that the skin plays in-game.

Among the nine cosplayers featured, several were cosplaying Overwatch characters whom they typically wouldn’t resemble. For example, two male fans cosplayed female heroes, Tracer and Mercy. And, a female cosplayer portrayed lovable murder-robot Bastion. This was a reflection of the diversity of the Overwatch fanbase; the philosophy that the game has been trying to embody since the beginning.

Furthermore, with the Overwatch League on a week break, the Mei Gala reminded fans of the community’s love for the game. And what better way to do this than through the unique ingenuity that brings Overwatch into real life?

Zibartas’ Mercy cosplay at the 2021 Mei Gala. | Provided by Overwatch League

“I actually thought this was more interesting [than the Met Gala],” Andrews, who normally covers the Met Gala for Bustle, said of the Mei Gala. “There was so much time and effort and creativity put into each of these looks … I thought Mercy’s wings were brilliant, and Lúcio’s turntable … I think some celebrities could learn from cosplayers, actually!”