Friday, June 6, 2014

Must Watch - SyFy's "Heroes of Cosplay"

I’m currently watching the second season of SyFy’s reality series “Heroes of Cosplay” and I gotta level with you guys, I actually really like this show.

I have never done cosplay, which for those that are not familiar, is when fans of any genre dress up as their favorite characters from books, video games, movies, tv, anime, cartoons, websites, you name it.  Most times you see cosplayers that either commission or make their own costumes, at conventions around the world. 

Even cat memes

I have a lot respect for cosplayers.  Unfortunately it’s something I probably wouldn’t do myself.  Hell we didn’t even pay full price for Halloween costumes as a kid, so costumes are not generally something I would invest time or money in.  However, one day I do see myself wearing a Wonder Woman or Applejack from MLP costume, but never mind that.

I do like seeing how fans interpret well known costumes but I hate going to conventions.  They have become so overpriced these days and I usually buy a bunch of crap just because it has some random anime character on it.  I hate that being a nerd these days means dollar signs for movie marketing execs and others.  So I do not attend conventions much but I still like seeing the costumes.  This show lets me do that from the comfort of my own house.

Now, I do want to warn you that this ABOVE ALL ELSE is a reality show, and thus ironically is scripted and many of the convention competitions are faked or altered.  Heavy editing makes drama out of the dumbest situations and makes everyone appear like an asshole.  All the hallmarks of reality TV are alive and present in this series.

This has given the Cosplaying Community bait at which to moan and bitch about, as evidenced by these articles, Seven Reasons Why Heroes of Cosplay Is Terrible and 5 Things I Learned From SyFy's "Heroes of Cosplay".  I get that this show is an unreal representation of actual cosplayers but you know what?  I don’t care.  I’m still not going to pay $60 and up to stand in line with a bunch of sweaty people in elaborate costumes just so I can gawk and then shell out another $50 for a picture with Nathan Fillion.  It ain’t worth it, mmmmkay?

Out of all the cosplayers on the show, my favorite is Jesse, who coincidentally, is the only male cosplayer in the cast of Season One.  Yes, as you can probably guess all the female cosplayers are thin and young, half of which sport impressive racks.  (Yes, those too are fake)  I like the fact that Jesse is quite laidback and dresses like a pirate to walk the streets of Portland with his girlfriend and their friends.  His segments are refreshing change of pace from all the cat-fighting and drama that occurs.


Source Heroes of Cosplay Confessions

And the cosplayers that the show follows aren’t even the best part.  The best parts is slowing down the B-roll footage to spot impressive costumes of your favorite characters worn by convention goers in the background.


Most of the drama, although entirely manufactured by the shows, stems from the tight deadlines the cosplayers set for themselves, like say making an elaborate costumes in just two weeks.  Obviously this plays off super fake but it is amusing to see the female cosplayers ring in their significant others into helping out.  The husbands and the boyfriend literally become super-competent sidekicks that end up making costume magic.  Despite seeing this inequity, these relationships are more functional and supportive than anything you usually see on reality tv.



The show also edits the footage in a way that paints some of the cosplayers as antagonists such as Yaya Han and Monika Lee.  I actually respect Yaya for putting so much effort and craft-making into her costumes.  The show makes her seem kind of an elistist, but the things she says aren’t wrong.  She participates as a cosplay judge in most of her segments, and tends to judge based on the craft-making aspect, such as hand-sewing, embroidery and custom fabrication of props.  She seems to be an accomplished seamstress and works long hours on all her costumes.  I respect her hustle and her business acumen.  Monika is somewhat her protégé and is much younger.  Monika says things that make her seem super bratty but I feel that is just a symptom of her age.  That being said, Monika is my least favorite.  



Ultimately what this show boils down for me, is nerds making costumes, and I love them all for it.  I don't doubt that in real life all the cosplayers are superchill and friendly people.  If you love cosplay and have aspirations for being a renowned cosplayer I would suggest that you avoid this show.  However, if you're like me and get giddy with excitement at spying someone doing a Avatar; The Last Airbender cosplay without clicking around the internet feeling vaguely like a perv, then this show is for you.


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