Review: “Heroes of Cosplay” Episode 2: Emerald City

I thought I would be done with this show after the first episode. I guess it was because I wrote a more favorable review of the episode than what most people published online, pointing out it’s flaws but otherwise acknowledging that, when the brain are heard are turned off, the show can be entertaining at times. Or maybe it is because I’m a glutton for punishment and you readers love to see me suffer.

Either way, I will be risking my professionalism to go round 2 with the show.  Did the show improve or did the show sink further?



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.  Nevertheless, I will try and maintain professionalism about the show in question and the cosplayers who are starring in it.  I will avoid criticizing the individual cosplayers and instead focus on the show itself.

Having said that, the topic of editing words spoken on screen is still fair game.  You have been warned.


Same Show, Different Day

The drama continues in the second episode.  With a new show comes a new convention as the backdrop, the Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) in Seattle Washington.  For this convention, new characters like Monica and Chloe are introduced while series mainstays such as Yaya Han, Victoria, and Jesse continue to try and outdo one another on the stage as well as on the television screen.  With this new episode, new cosplayers Riki, Monika, and Chloe are introduced, each with their own back stories and reasons for competing in the various contests.

Once again, each cosplayer has small clips of them making their cosplays, either the purchase phase or the design phases.  Jesse gets a little more screen time with his “Steamtrooper” armor.  Of course, the problems crop up on cue.  The others like Veronica also suffered from malfunctioning electronics and of course Chloe miscalculates the actual cost of the cosplay materials.  Very convenient.  In case situational drama isn’t for you, there is a lot of banter between the ladies about “who should cosplay”, with a heavy emphasis on cutting and editing to make the conversation sound a lot more intense than it probably was.  Still, we the audience are meant to believe that most of the these cosplayers, with Chloe as the naive outsider in the conversation, are very bitter and very opinionated.

In the end, the contestants gathered at the end of the show, with the judge of course staying out of the group.  Some of them have a pyrrhic victory, but many of them considered this convention a failure.


New Challengers Appear

The new cast members are both a boon as well as fodder for the show.

Chloe, already mentioned as having a popular Youtube show about cosplay, is new to the competitive cosplay scene and her “naivete” shows, bringing a lot of fresh air to the show.  Monika is the young girl who is trying to make a name for herself as a cosplayer under the shadows of Yaya Han, her previous mentor.  However there is some friction do to her choice in friends like Jessica Nigiri and there is concern that this could be a negative influence in her cosplay life.  And finally, Riki is trying to turn from cosplay as a hobby to a professional prop maker in the industry.  She is motivated by her hero Jose Fernandez of Ironhead Studios to add that “extra 10%” she will need to break into Hollywood.  The cast is now more diversified, but each are in the show to win.

They will have stiff competition from the previous heavy hitters of the show, however.  Time will tell whether or not these girls have what it takes to survive the “make or die” mentality the show pushed on the audience in the premier.  This is the episode’s highlights as the new characters have different motivations as to why they are competing, from trying it out to proving to their heroes or mentors they have the chops to make it big.


You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.

-Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight

Of course, the show needs drama, and this is where many people, particularly cosplayers, had the most to gripe about.  The topics of “sexuality in cosplay” and “body types in cosplay” was a big let down in the show as the cosplay cast members voiced rather strong opinions about others in the community.  Of particular note is Jessica Nigiri, a cosplayer famous for “sexualizing” cosplays.  This was used in the “master and former apprentice” relationship between Yaya Han and Monica, taking the roles of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, with Jessica Nigiri as Chancellor Palpatine.  Because sexuality is a hot topic on the cosplay forums and social media, of course they would have the cosplayers take sides on this, even though the audience members are told how “sexy” cosplay is “supposed” to be from the show’s narrator.  In the end, Monica chooses the “Dark Side”, much to the sadness of Obi-Yaya Kenobi on the planet Mustafar, I mean Emerald City Comic Con.

However, the biggest show stopper was clearly the dinner between the “Cosplay Royalty” and the newcomer Chloe.  During that night before the contest, the topic of “cosplay pet peeves” is brought up.  Now this is where the show returns to the least common denominator in the audience when a cosplayer mentions how “if a 300 lb. guy wears Superman and they puts themselves out there and then it gets on the net, how is that going to help”.  Of course the newbie will make the “naive” comment on how anyone can do anything, much to everyone else’s (supposed) chagrin.  Of course, the “Royal Court” give the usual (and most likely scripted) comments on how cosplay is “serious business” to the uninitiated.

This is where the realism of the show clearly broke for me compared to the supposed war between Jessica “Dark Side” Nigiri and Yaya “Light Side” Han.  Cosplay feuds (while not evident outside of the show) is not uncommon and the show’s characters have already “proven” to be more vicious than their real life counterparts.  However a bunch of attractive, famous women talking about a 300 lb. Superman and how he and others of that body type should not cosplay?  I have a difficult time believing that this topic just naturally came up.  And using internet bullies as an reason for why chubby people should not cosplay is not as interesting a topic as believable a conversation topic as boys making fun of how much skin exposure a cosplayer has.  It is a case of so much drama, the show is once again, unbelievable.


Dammit. Who typed a question mark on the Teleprompter?

The show is still the same high-octane, low content drama people have come to expect from it and it still does not disappoint in that aspect.  The characters introduced are a rather welcome addition to the show with their own reasons to join the “cutthroat” world of cosplay.  Chloe was clearly the shining beacon of cosplay, with her viewpoints of cosplay as a hobby rather than as the serious business the others like to claim.  I am still sad the Jesse (aka, the lone male) is still separated from the group though and I would personally love it to see how he would interact with the others during the social dinners.   There is less “do or die” and more interactions with the characters as well as some of the their thoughts on how and why a cosplay should be done very well before it is debuted at conventions, which is a better message than “failure is not an option.”

If you are a cosplayer who doesn’t like the “serious business” the majority of the cast is broadcasting, I would say stay away.  Again, there are much better documentaries and tutorials for those who want to know what the hobby is really like (competitive or casual).  For those who enjoy seeing their hobby exaggerated, it is the only game in town .   Just remember that the  show is not meant to be informative and will fall into traditional Reality TV formulas that are common these days.


2 out of 5 (average)


~ by BlizzardTerrak on September 4, 2013.

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