"Video Games, Comic Books, Anime, Science Fiction, Fantasy Movies and Television have turned into a global multi-billion dollar phenomenon. Creating characters so beloved, some fans are actually compelled to become them. Welcome to the artistic, sexy and cut-throat world of cosplay……. International superstars are created….. And fandoms are brought to life right before your eyes. Now, convention centers around the world are being transformed into arenas where elaborate costume competitions take place. Testing the creativity, the talent, and will of their contestants. In the world of cosplay, the stakes are no mere fantasy. Thousands of dollars are up for grabs at every competition, and the potential for millions of new fans…. Winning a competition can lead to unlimited business opportunities. At the competitions, judges demand accuracy and perfection. The competitors are ruthless. It all comes down to the moment of truth when the cosplayers take the stage. Those who survive can call themselves The Heroes of Cosplay."
Within the first episode, Yaya Han says, "It’s no longer your body of work which defines you, it’s how many fans you have.”, "People hold me to a higher standard than other cosplayers. I have to make bigger, badder cosplays to appease my fans.”, "I’ve been called the queen of cosplay, but I prefer to call myself the ambassador of cosplay.", "I sell merchandise which features my face on it.", "I strive to stay on top. If I don’t come out with these great costumes, then my fanbase will shrink.”
Okay, so I’m about to go on a rant. None of these people are Heroes. You know who is a hero? The batman who goes to my local cons a fist bumps all the little kids. The Princesses who go to hospitals and visit sick little kids. The cosplayers who help bring up other people’s self esteem and skill. These are heroes. JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE AN AMAZING COSPLAYER DOESN’T MEAN YOU ARE A COSPLAY HERO. I’ve met several great cosplayers who are just plain snarky, rude, and mean. And we’ve seen how the girls in the show can treat their significant others and friends.
Now, I’ve been cosplaying for many, many years. At this point, almost half of my life, I’ve been cosplaying. I’ve had plenty of friends and cosplay partners who have helped me with my work. And, despite the fact I have bipolar disorder which causes me to snap easily, I don’t think I’ve ever shat on my friends and called them stupid. I’ve had a friend of mine sit for hours and PAINT LINES ON MY BUTT and I appreciated everything she did for me.
Now, I’ve seen Heroes of Cosplay. And all it seems to me is the same old thing you see all over the internet now-a-days: People trying to get more fans, likes, and attention. Yes, getting attention is a big part of cosplay. I would be lying if I said I didn’t love the reactions I get when I bust out in Asami, or when I cosplay from something super obscure that no one ever cosplays from and someone recognizes who I am. However, 90% of the people who follow my facebook page… I don’t consider them “fans” I actually try to get to know these people better because I prefer friends over “fans”.
The term “High level cosplayer” and “master level cosplayer” and “famous cosplayer” mean nothing to me. Why? Because they’re doing the same stuff I do. Their costumes are on par with many of my friends and other people in my local community. Fame comes from a) being hot and b) knowing how to social network.
Now, on the subject, Yaya Han is calling herself the “cosplay ambassador”. Back in my day, Yaya was a young woman who was flat chested, who loved really obscure stuff. Hell, she cosplayed SHARON APPLE. Do you know who that is? Didn’t think so. Now that cosplay has evolved into some sort of subculture for hot dorks getting attention, Yaya, and many other cosplayers, have steered from cosplaying characters they love to characters that will get them the most attention.
Is that what Heroes of Cosplay means? People who want to be popular and internet famous and want to be seen as sexy, hot, and better than everyone else? How are these girls, who create costumes, any different from the guy who taught me everything I know about sewing but gets ignored because no one believe he sews? Or the girl who spent forever making a perfect replica of a costume, but gets shunned because she’s fat? Or the mother who has a child who loves anime and makes their costumes, THEN cosplays WITH THEM just because they want to enjoy their kid’s childhood with them? Oh wait, those people I just listed are MY HEROES when it comes to cosplay.
Heroes of Cosplay makes us all look like we’re attention deprived people who want nothing more than to shake our titties in people’s faces and win some money (which is rarely a prize, and all the competitions that SyFy went to, they supplied the prize money, not the convention). The horror stories that have been submitted to us at NotBadCosplay about the cosplayers who SAW the filming, experienced what was going on, and were OUTRAGED are what makes me feel terrible about this show.
Here’s just a list of what I can remember off the top of my head:
- The producers asking a girl to give a cosplayer in a body suit a pad because “she had camel toe”
- Yaya Han coming to a convention to JUDGE, but then ENTERING the competition with stage props, lighting and a fog machine for HER skit, and WINNING.
- People being told they weren’t hot or pretty enough to be part of the filming
- An elite group of cosplayers being given their OWN contest which wasn’t a part of the main cosplay competition
When I say I dislike Heroes of Cosplay, it’s not just because I’m jealous. It’s not just because I’ve grown a distaste for Yaya Han (I used to love her). It’s not because I dislike competitions, which I don’t, because I regularly compete.
It’s because the show started destroying our community before it was even shown on TV.
Want to be a REAL cosplay Hero? Get off your butt and do something to make this community shine. Offer to take the Spiderman costume to a parade to light up a kid’s day. Volunteer with a group of other superheroes for a hospital. Help someone learn a new trick of the trade. Tell that teenager at the con whose costume is held together by hot glue and safety pins that she looks awesome and you can’t wait to see how she improves over the years. Talk to the teenage girl who is scared shitless to walk across the stage during the competition and remind her that this is for fun. Tell the bewildered parents walking around with their kids that they’re awesome parents for supporting their children’s hobbies. THOSE ARE HEROES. Not what is described in the first 2 minutes of “Heroes of Cosplay”.