Reviewed by Movie Moxie’s Alicia Glass
Website: Heroes of Cosplay
So SyFy came out with this new show that they’ve been touting everywhere recently, Heroes of Cosplay. The Heroes seem somewhat interchangeable, though there seem to be a core group of about 6 or so, lorded (or ladied) over by Yaya Han, self proclaimed as the Ambassadress of Cosplay. And the show follows them around the Convention circuit, of which there were a lot more than I admittedly thought, where they display their home-made costumes, breathlessly enter the costume contest, and all seem to have dreams of making their hobby of Cosplay into some kind of business for themselves. Han usually judges at these various Convention contests, always displaying a new costume for the hordes of fans and shutterbugs, but not competing herself. So follow them on their adventures as our Heroes traverse the Cosplay-verse and let their imaginations run wild!
…Or it would be, if it weren’t for the fact that any and all, even potential, aspects of fun have been surgically removed from this show. Yes, Yaya Han looks great in her costumes, and so do the other Heroes. Yet the very first show had Han complaining about how she hates to paint. The second show had Han warning one of her protégés away from the trappings of the “sexy” Cosplay, given that that is the modus operandi of one of Han’s rivals. There was seriously actual talk from the Heroes of Cosplay “veterans” to a newbie, about how she was being naïve saying that Cosplay was for everyone, no matter what they weighed or looked like. And that, dear friends, is a big NO-NO. Cosplay is for everyone, as any true Cosplayer will tell you. Each and every Hero obsesses to the point of madness over their costume and it’s accessories, and it’s interesting to me that there seems to be all of one main male Cosplay Hero. Yet when one of the Heroes (of a team) declares if she’s not having fun there is no point and exits stage right, the show makes it seem as though it’s a huge deal and she’s wrong for doing that.
Then there’s the wasted opportunities of the Costumes themselves. Each costume the given Hero is going to do is given a lovely sketch, sometimes with color, and the Hero will excitedly burble the name of the character and where it’s from, but that’s it. No obsessive squeeing over Harley Quinn and her giant hammer, no mention about why C.C. from Code Geass wears that amazing butterfly outfit, they even touch lightly on the Steampunk phenomenon, but that’s it. Wouldn’t you like to know details about these things? I would! There was a Hero in the first show who spoke about obsessing over whatever character she’s Cosplaying, down to learning things like proper archery stance for when she was Disney’s Merina from Brave, and that’s much more appropriate to my way of thinking, but she was the only one who did that. The hair, the bow, she even affected the accent and mannerisms of the character and delightedly squeed whenever they panned back to her Merina. It may be obsessive, but at least she’s having fun.
I know people who Cosplay, quite a few of them. I’ve tried it myself a few times. And while it can be loads of fun, there is a major aspect of Cosplay that the show is skirting thus far that also needs to seriously be addressed: the cost. Doing this Cosplay funnery can be incredibly expensive, as the newbie to the convention Cosplay circuit found out when she went to make a foam Beetlejuice snake and ended up shelling out $200+ just to make that prop. That wasn’t even approaching the cost of her Lydia costume itself. Most of the Heroes have dreams of making their Cosplay world into an actual business like Yaya Han apparently has: she sells handmade cat ears and other Cosplay accessories at the conventions and appears to do a fair business at it. But unless you’re recognizable as Han, or have some other unique aspect to your would-be Cosplay business, it’s going to cost you a ton of money for something that is unlikely to ever actually happen. And it’s unkind of Syfy to dangle that kind of career, removing any fun from it too, as an actual job option for creative people.
Basically the show boils down to a single aspect of Cosplay that can be, and is, enjoyed by anyone and everyone: checking out the badass costumes these people make. The rest, the obsessing, the complaining, the sheer stress these people voluntarily subject themselves to, should be the stuff being glossed over, not the actual fun aspects of Cosplay. And, if you’re the trivia type, it can be fun to try and name every costume they display without the show giving it to you; mute the tv and play name that costume!
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