Editorial: “Heroes of Cosplay” Episode 1

I have heard many cosplayers take sides on this show, whether they feel that the show is an absolute lie or a somewhat

Cosplayer - unknown

Cosplayer – unknown

realistic take about the community.  The show is all about the masquerade contest portion of the cosplay community that has grown substantially in recent years.  From the need to outdo each other or maintain one’s reputation to the cash prizes that the show’s announcer always talks about, the masquerade is shown as a life or death struggle.  In the end, there is some truth to what goes on in this show at the various conventions, but the need to sell the show creates an undesired message overall.

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DISCLAIMER:

I am neither a cosplayer nor a TV show critic.  I am writing this as a cosplay photographer who has an opinion on this show.  I will avoid criticizing the individual cosplayers and instead focus on the show itself.

However, for this post, I am going to let my personal opinion come out because there are some points that I cannot make in good conscience on the review and claim to be impartial at the same time.

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I have seen cosplayers from many places, social classes, and levels of both skill and fame.  The one problem that almost all cosplayers have is time management.  The show definitely captures the feeling of what happens when a cosplayer overestimates the time needed for a project, the anger the flows from when equipment breaks or mistakes are made, and the last-minute decisions made to try and salvage a project.  No matter if they are Yaya Han or a cosplayer that is just starting out, when things go wrong, they panic.  It’s that same adrenaline rush that causes people to either make more mistakes, engineer creative ways to finish the project, or just quit altogether.  Many cosplayers want to make the best damned outfits possible to capture the look and movements of the character.  In that crucial aspect, the show is somewhat realistic.  However it is how the show chooses to draw on drama for ratings that gives the nay-sayers the openings needed in order to strike.
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The show was never supposed to be about realism and it shows.  A good amount of research is needed to sell the idea that this is Reality TV.  So while B-roll footage from conventions like Anime Expo being used as if the show was taking place at “Wizard World” is not very distracting, the fact that they hype up the convention’s importance to the community AND state that it is a first-time convention does show a lack in consistency.  However the biggest part that breaks the immersion is how much the cosplayers always have a dumbfounded expression and scream at their partners when things go badly.  These cosplayers are supposed to be veterans of the community with tens if not hundreds of projects in their portfolio.  So when they panic and fight like first-year cadets when things go badly, it breaks the illusion that these are “pros” we are watching.

I understand the mentality that drama sells television shows.  However it is the quality of the drama that keeps people coming back every week.  To me, there is not enough “realism” in this show for me to recommend someone outside of the community to watch in order to understand the cosplay community.  This show is purely about women being catty to women, and for that there are plenty of better shows out there.  For those who want to see people being creative, I would have to recommend Face/Off and Mythbusters; one for the creative designs people must build and the other because teams are building rigs and having fun doing it.  And for those of us who want lots of “do or die” situations, I would pick other Sci-Fi (or SyFy) shows like Stargate and Battlestar Galatica.

For now, “Heroes of Cosplay” has me watching.  However, I do not know if I am watching out of genuine interest or because I am a glutton for punishment, waiting for the next big thing to practice my writing on.

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~ by BlizzardTerrak on August 22, 2013.

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