Editorial: Heroes of Cosplay: Episode 2

The show continues to spark heated “discussion” on the cosplay scene.  Some enjoy the show for what it is.  Others have less than optimistic views about the show’s premise.  The second episode touched on two very volatile topics in cosplay:  sexuality and body types.  I want to take a step back and talk about them since both of them have been blown out of proportions before, but it is a good idea to talk about them since that is how problems can be solved.



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.


How Much Is Too Sexy?

I’ve talked about this one in a previous article “Cosplay Drama: The False Apocalypse”,

Link: https://blizzardterrakphotography.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/cosplay-drama-the-imminent-lack-of-a-cosplay-apocalypse/

I wrote out my thoughts on how sexuality in cosplay should not be a big deal.  Instead, let’s ask ourselves why this topic was even mentioned.

Again, let’s use the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, with Yaya as Obi-Wan, Jessica Nigiri as Palpatine, and Monika as Anakin Skywalker.  Apologies for the spoilers, but in the movies, Anakin was discovered and then mentored by Jedi Knight Kenobi in the ways of the Jedi Knight, the supposed defenders of peace in the galaxy using the power of the Force.  Along comes Jessica Nigiri, a powerful man, excuse me woman, in power over a vast number of individuals and befriends Anakin during his, I mean Monika’s, power in using the Force.  The two mentors have differing opinions on how this power should be used but both have the same goal: stability in the galaxy.  As many Star Wars fans would remember, the story did not have a satisfying conclusion in the movies, and it worked just as well in the show, not just due to the lack of fight choreography and special effects.

Instead of Dark Side and Light Side like in Star Wars, Yaya and Nigiri were supposed to represent two sides of a common argument in cosplay: how much sexualization in cosplay is too much?  Many would say Jessica sexualizes all her cosplays on purpose just for the sake of fanservice.  Of course many will be quick to point out that many of Yaya’s cosplays are also very sexually attractive so it would be hypocritical of her to fight Jessica Nigiri over this topic.  Fact is, both women use sexuality in their cosplays and are very obvious about it, turning what should appear to be a feud between cosplay royalties into something of a bad parody of an epic movie.

In truth, both Yaya Han and Jessica Nigiri are involved in “Cosplay for a Cause”, selling merchandise with their proceeds going to the American Red Cross.  In fact, as far as the author is aware, they are actually good friends with each other.  As an introduction to the evils of Sexualizing Cosplay, “Heroes of Cosplay” is just using it as a lazy attempt to garner ratings.  If anything, that scene should be a lesson as to never take anything at face value.


I’m Not Supposed to Loose!  Let me see the script!

Probably the bigger source of criticism for the show’s cast members was the rather infamous scene the night before the masquerade contest in Seattle.  During the night, the topic of “cosplay pet peeves” was thrown out there and for some reason, one of the queens of cosplay decides that a 300 lb. man cannot be Superman.  In effect, the audience gets the message that “people of certain body types should not cosplay certain characters”.  Their reasoning is that the fat guy would not be able to handle the internet trolls who would make fun of that man for being fat in skin-tight spandex.  This opens up the newbie Chloe to defend the notion that “anyone can cosplay whoever or whatever they want”.  Of course, this leads to the cuts of the others giving her the stink eye along with the Ambassador commenting on the naivete of that opinion.  In the end, the message is received:  “Cosplay only those you look like”.

To those new to the cosplay scene, this show just put out the image that many long-time cosplayers will discriminate by the look and shape of a person’s body.  The so-called “Heroes” just stated that anyone who does not match the characters they are dressing as perfectly should never be allowed to even attempt it.  In effect, most of the show’s cast have justified elitism in cosplay.  How can the show justify the title of “heroes” when these cosplay royalties are portrayed as shallow and infallible.

The show totes their cast as “Heroes” or “Ambassadors” but the audience sees little heroic attributes or seeing them take their ambassadorial roles in any form.  Heroics usually imply courage in the face of adversity but many of them are always swearing and panicking at the first failure.  Rather than calmly analyzing and fixing their problems, they instead berate their partner while they are attempting to assist them.  These so-called heroes are also constantly fearful of being deemed insufficient by their fans and the contest judges.  The role of Ambassador is to be the representative of their community.  If these people are supposed to be the ambassadors then they do not show a very good image of cosplay.  Using the excuse that this is a Reality TV show is bad cop out.  The words are there and it is rather hard to not take those sentences out of context.  It may be scripted, but it is a rather poor reason for the words to be spoken.  I realize that they signed the dotted line to be the main characters on a TV show.  I just hope it was worth all the would-be fans who are now turned off by those words.

The show is overblown, but it is hard to excuse.


You Provide the Pictures, I’ll Provide the War

I honestly felt that both of these scenes in this episode should not have had the attention that they have received by the cosplay social media.  The show did spend more time showing the cosplayers trying to organize themselves into very cool spectacles on the masquerade stage and it is good to see them design, build, and talk about their costumes on the show.  Honestly if the show did away with these contrived attempts at creating drama through hot-button topics in cosplay, the show would be somewhat average.

Of course, in attempting to garner ratings, the show’s producers and editors decided to add those two scenes to appeal to the lowest common denominator in the audience.  While it was successful in getting people to talk about the show (and forced some of us to watch more of this show) it only succeeded in lowering my overall opinion of the show.  While the first episode had a lot of dialogue that implied a lot interpersonal drama, the second episode did so by attacking current and future cosplayers by telling the audience that they felt that anyone who didn’t look the part should not be allowed to participate.

As of this posting, several of the cast members have been doing damage control for some of the things their fellow cast members of said on screen, stating that they are obligated or were told to say things they they, official, do not endorse, stating that the edits made the scene more dramatic than it really was and that this was only a small part of a 2+ hours of dinner.  I am trying to give these cosplayers the benefit of the doubt.  However, there isn’t a lot of wiggle room with the language used.  Perhaps these cosplayers were ordered to use those words to add drama.  However, the words are on screen.

That’s the problem with “Reality TV” is that it is hard where reality ends and fantasy begins.  Point is, they did sign the dotted line on the contract.  Maybe it was worth it for them in the end.  It’s not really my word to say.  All I can say is that I am glad I will never have to choose between fame or fun.  I do not think I would like myself when all is said and done.


~ by BlizzardTerrak on September 5, 2013.

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