The “Heroes of Cosplay” Return: A Review of Episodes 1 and 2 by your friendly neighborhood Undiesofwondy!
On May 27th, 2014, Season 1, Part 2 of SyFy’s new reality show “Heroes of Cosplay”, aired. This show garnered a lot of attention, both positive and negative, from the cosplay community upon its debut last August. Many cosplayers considered the show to be an inaccurate depiction of what the cosplay community is like, and that there was too much of an emphasis on the competition aspect of cosplay. Some of the original “Heroes” returned for Season 1.5 however, cast members Monika Lee, Becky Young, and Victoria Schmidt did not.
In the premiere episode, the “Heroes” head to Stan Lee’s Comikaze. Some of the cosplays in this episode were really just amazing. Crabcat Industries’ Holly and Jessica team up alongside Chloe Dykstra to compete as a Pokemon group. Jessica’s Poke-trainer was absolutely adorable, as was Chloe’s Pokemon gijinka (basically, a burlesque version of the Pokemon Fennekin), but the real ‘wow factor’ for me was the work put into Holly’s Yveltal costume! It looked like the Pokemon had literally come to life on that stage. I was very surprised that this group did not place.
New to the show, Indra Rojas, or FantasyNinja as she is known to her followers, decides to cosplay as She-Ra. She-Ra is one of my favorite animated heroines, and Indra definitely captured the essence of She-Ra with her cosplay! She used LED gems to give her cosplay the extra ‘oomph’, which I definitely found impressive, but however, she didn’t win a prize for her cosplay either.
Jesse Lagers and his badass moustache have also returned to take the cosplay world by storm, this time, dressed as Megaman. I really enjoyed the fact that he altered a Bumblebee (Transformers) gun into an arm cannon for Megaman! Many people forget that cosplay props can be found anywhere, and can be made out of toys or things you have lying around your house—not everything needs to be ultra expensive. I also respected the fact that Jesse was able to think quickly on his feet when his cosplay was damaged en route to the convention, he made his armor look weathered and battle damaged because he could not find the proper paint to repair it. A huge part of costuming, theatre or cosplaying is being able to improvise, so it was nice to see this done on the show. However, I did think Jesse’s cosplay lacked that extra “wow factor”, and the judges seemed to agree with me, because Jesse did not place either.
The winner for best in show was actually a cosplayer who was not one of the “Heroes”, which I thought was impressive. Even more impressive was the actual costume, Skull Kid, from The Legend of Zelda games. I felt that this was such an excellently crafted cosplay, and surprisingly, the “Heroes” agreed and accepted their losses in a very graceful manner. I was really pleased to see that Indra and Jesse in particular even verbally complimented the other cosplays. To me, this is how the cosplay community SHOULD be pictured!
Other things that happened in this episode: Yaya went to Argentina and everyone loved her, as usual. Another strong point of this episode, for me, was Holly’s resistance to wearing a burlesque “Ladies of the Internet” cosplay. I could totally relate to the struggle Holly went through in donning an outfit that was more revealing than the cosplays she normally competes with. However, Holly really broke out of her shell, and looked fabulous doing so! Bonus awesome points for having Ivy Doomkitty, my girl crush, and Abby Darkstar, one of my favorite cosplayers in this episode!
Episode 1 of Season 1.5 was an immediate improvement over the first half of Season 1 for me, but would Episode 2 hold up? In Episode 2, the “Heroes” go international, to Ottawa Pop Expo! R1ddle, aka Riki Lacote returns again (yay! I was happy to see her…) , and she, Yaya and Indra are all having photos taken. Yaya goes on to say that she’s having Lasik eye surgery done, and she’ll need to wear glasses as part of the recovery. This concerns Yaya because all her cosplays need to be “screen accurate” (which honestly confuses me because she’s Asian and she portrays characters that are not Asian at times…it just doesn’t make sense, nor is it consistant. SIDENOTE: I think anyone can cosplay anything and make it look good as long as they put in the effort! It’s about fun, not about being better than anyone else. Race, weight, size, shape or glasses shouldn’t prevent you from cosplaying…) and by wearing glasses she will ruin this accuracy. Personally, I’m not sure if this was just reality TV editing work, or if Yaya actually does consider glasses to be such a travesty to cosplay. I’m a glasses wearer and I just take mine off for pictures…so it’s not a huge deal to me. But, I digress.
This week, Indra tackles the character Ahri from League of Legends. I don’t personally know anything about LoL but I LOVED THIS COSTUME! And not just because it was a fluffy animal she was cosplaying. I thought the work she put into the multiple tails was amazing. I felt bad that they didn’t stand up the way she wanted them to, but I think they looked just fine on the floor! Also, props to her boyfriend for being her human wig styling head! I don’t think I could pay my boyfriend enough to wear my wig in the name of styling purposes.
Jessica is competing on her own this time, and she brought my childhood nightmares to life with her amazing Skeksis cosplay, from Jim Henson’s “The Dark Crystal”. The craftsmanship on this cosplay was just simply amazing. I also really appreciated that she chose to incorporate her own design while making the Skeksis, rather than re-creating one from the film. While she did not win for this cosplay as best in show, Yaya Han stated on her Facebook page that Jessica did take home another prize for the sculpting of her Skeksis. (Thank goodness, because I would’ve been pissed on her behalf.)
Riki originally chose to cosplay Ashe from League of Legends, but couldn’t get the bow molded in time due to weather conditions. I felt bad for her here, because I know how it is for a cosplay plan to get nixed at the last minute due to ONE tiny thing. It sucks. A lot. But Riki soldiers on and is able to complete Elizabeth from the Persona games in order to remain in the competition. I loved the way the cosplay turned out! Although it was simple, the cosplay looked neat and I loved the extra detail of the levitating (magnetic) cards in the hollow book!
Jesse the King of Moustaches chose to cosplay The Mandarin from the third Iron Man film. I really liked this cosplay a lot more than his Megaman cosplay, which I felt could’ve been done by any cosplayer, really. For The Mandarin, Jesse casted the metal rings from pewter all by himself. This was totally unique from anything that anyone else did on the show, and I was totally impressed. I did kind of think it was weird that he had beard extensions, but the judges praised him for the natural look of the extensions. They kind of creeped me out, but that’s probably just because I’ve never heard of fake beard extensions. I was kind of surprised he didn’t win anything for this cosplay.
In the end, Indra takes home an award for best embroidery (which she did by hand—again, in the age of digital embroidery sewing machines, impressive!) , Riki takes home a judge’s award, and as I stated previously, Jessica apparently won an award, although not shown on the episode.
Bonus Stuff: You get to see Monika Lee in the audience at the Cosplay Competition, alongside Jessica Nigri (who I must be honest, I’m really not a fan of).
Again, I was happy to see that the drama of the first half of Season 1 was done away with, and that this cosplay experience seems a bit more genuine. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season has in store for us, and what the new “Heroes” will come across like on screen.
I’ll be reviewing this show weekly from now on, and you can catch Heroes of Cosplay weekly on SyFy, Tuesdays at 9pm EST.
-Undies of Wondy
Undiesofwondy is an up and coming plus sized cosplayer featured on sites such as EvilGeeks.com, ILikeComicsToo.com ,and Plus!Size Cosplay and has been featured in magazines such as Cosplay+ and We Rise Cosplay Mag. You can find her on Twitter @Undiesofwondy, Facebook, Tumblr, and join her on her site, undiesofwondy.com for more cosplay shenanigans and musings.
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Posted on June 13, 2014, in Cosplay, Geekology, Reviews, TV and tagged Chloe Dykstra, Crabcat Industries, Heroes of Cosplay, Holly Conrad, Indra Rojas, Jesse Lagers, Jessica Merizan, Syfy, Yaya Han. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.