Monday, September 9, 2013


Heroes of Cosplay earned “jeers” from TV Guide in that magazine’s
September 9-15 edition.  Under the heading “Facebook Jeer” and with
a factoid claiming “56% of fans jeer it,” the magazine published a
Facebook quote from a Kirsten Catie:

It’s one of the worst shows.  It disgusts me as a cosplayer.  It’s
a misrepresentation, and these cosplayers need to get their egos in
check.  The show is nothing like how cosplay really works.  It’s

Though I remain interested in the six-episode series, I find myself
watching the show and wondering why its producers haven’t seen the
screaming flaws I’ve been seeing.  The main problem is that there
is too much - hopefully phony - reality show crap woven into every
new episode. 

The fourth episode took place at Anime Matsuri in Houston, Texas.
Monika, the young cosplayer who, in her previous appearance, went
with sex over substance, teams with Victoria to compete as a team.
Monika came off as an arrogant bitch and Victoria came off as just
plain needy, wanting to impress Monika while still being unable to
budget her and boyfriend Jinyo’s time to complete her own costume
in a successful and timely manner.  Part of Victoria’s costume fell
off during pre-judging. 

But the Monika nastiness that left a lingering bad vibe came when
Becky, the cosplayer who portrayed Merida from Pixar’s Brave in the
show’s first episode, visited Monika and Victoria’s hotel room to
ask about teaming up for Planet Comicon.  From the episode summary
on the SyFy website...

Monika's response: they're not friends and Becky's "the last
person" she would think to pair up with. Becky mouths the same
"wow" we do as Monika goes on that she doesn't think much of
Becky's craftsmanship, so what would Becky contribute? Becky leaves
in tears, as Victoria shrugs that Becky's being a baby.    

I don’t recall Victoria saying that, but I couldn’t bring myself to
watch the scene again to confirm it.  It was a hateful moment and
I’d really like to believe Monika was performing at the behest of
a director.  If the show was looking for a villain, it found one.

Online fans seem to be responding to this series with the churlish
and personal insults that are far too typical of fan interaction on
the Internet.  They crap on the cosplayers and they crap on those
cosplayers whose body types aren’t exact matches for the characters
they portray.  Even on the show’s Facebook page, the commentary is
ugly.  No one is covering themselves in glory...with the possible
exception of Becky and cosplaying partners Holly and Jessica.  I’d
watch these three ladies anytime.

What I like about Holly and Jessica is their strong friendship and
a dedication to their craft that doesn’t rule out having fun doing
what they do.  YaYa Han might talk about her own brand and how she
makes a living from cosplaying, but these two women did a monster
for Pacific Rim.  To me, that trumps anything the other cosplayers
have accomplished by a factor of one million.

Additionally, and maybe I’m falling for reality show manipulation,
it warmed my heart to see Holly and Jessica being so supportive of
Becky and, in doing so, expressing both the fun and camaraderie of
cosplaying.  The professional aspects of cosplaying are intriguing,
but the heart of the hobby doesn’t lie with them.

YaYa disturbs me more with each episode.  It was painful to watch
her squeeze into a too-tight corset for her calendar shoot.  That
was insanity, though, to be fair, Holly wearing a material she was
allergic to, was equally insane.

In YaYa’s case, and at the risk of sounding as nasty as some of the
commentators I decried earlier, her too-tight Jessica Rabbit outfit
and her action figure shoot of the previous week sadly emphasized
that her breasts aren’t original issue.  They look grotesque to me. 
YaYa comes off as less genuine each week.

If I were called upon to do so, I would give Heroes of Cosplay low
marks overall.  The reality show aspects are a major turn-off for
me.  I don’t want to think any of the regulars are as unpleasant as
they have been portrayed.

Male cosplayers are crazy under-represented on the show.  We have
the largely absent Jesse, the weary Jinyo and various boyfriends,
husbands, and roommates.  I think more balance would be beneficial
to the series.

Where are the cosplayers who do this for fun and not because they
want to advance their careers by winning prizes?  I want to see a
lot more floor costumes.  I want to see interviews with cosplayers
who might not be body doubles for Captain America or Zatanna, but
are just enjoying themselves dressing up like beloved characters.
I want to see the pleasure non-cosplayers like me get seeing these
representations of such characters.  To me, these omissions are Heroes
of Cosplay
’s biggest failure.

Tomorrow, SyFy airs the first part of Heroes of Cosplay’s two-week
finale.  It takes place at Planet Comicon in Kansas City.  Look for
my comments on week five of the series later this week.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.  
© 2013 Tony Isabella


  1. I enjoy the show, but I take it all with a bog grain of salt. The producers are trying to gin up drama. And you can edit footage to almost any end that you want, when that's what you're trying to do.

    (That said: Don't know how Monika's comments could have been taken out of context. That was just nasty. She's a guest at a con here in February so I'll be curious what she has to say about it.)

    Still, I like most of the characters and I like seeing the costumes. I would like to see more of the actual design/fabrication/building part of it.

    As far as interviewing average cosplayers -- yeah, if this were a one-off documentary. But I don't see a storyline in that. And I imagine that would get rather repetative. Not everyone is a "personality."

    My biggest gripe is the artificial time factors these people are working under. "Oh, we have a week -- let's start a whole new costume while working on our careers and everything else!" And then they lose to someone who's been working nine months on one suit. (And I suspect they're in part losing because the judges hear "I did this in a week" versus someone in an equal or better costume who took month to achieve theirs.)

    I can't help but note that none of the "heroes" has won one of these competitions yet.

    But overall, I enjoy it and hope it comes back.

  2. Let's not forget Chloe! She's been one of the nicer people in this group.

  3. I started watching this after reading Tony's first review of the show. I enjoy it, but like Julio, am taking it with a grain or two of salt. Like most 'reality' shows you know the producers are playing with things and asking the participants to play certain roles (no puns intended).

    While I've never been in costume other than at Halloween and in a couple of 'variety shows' in high school, I certainly admire those folks who do so at conventions. I found it interesting in the segment where Chloe had dinner with the other cos-players. I think I was as surprised as she was by the negative things they all had to say about folks they considered 'non-pros' in the circuit. They seem to have the same regard for those who don't look physically like the character they are portraying as many folks online.

    Like Tony, I think it would be nice if in each segment they gave a few minutes to a non-regular, just to hear why they do what they do.

  4. On one hand, I am tempted to say "so-and-so isn't really like that in real life! She's actually wonderful/terrible person! (depending on about whom I'm talking)" if it were legally permissible. But on the other hand, for most viewers, the only interaction they will have with these people is as a TV character. And in a way, I think it detracts from their enjoyment of the TV show if I say "this character who evokes an emotional reaction from you is a falsehood." A TV show is an entertainment, and disliking characters can be just as important a part of being entertained as finding characters with whom you relate.

    I'm a bit torn, because a viewer of a scripted show already knows their favorite character is a fabrication (however averse they may be to having it bluntly pointed out). But a "reality" show trades upon the representation that it is actually a reflection of reality, and not a fictionalized narrative that bears as much resemblance to real life as does a "ripped from the headlines" episode of Law & Order. One who believes that Ian McDiarmid can really shoot Force Lightning from his fingertips is regarded as mentally deficient, but one who believes that the artists on Face Off do 100% of the work on their own is considered quite normal, and even applauded for their lack of cynicism.

    In the end, what I say depends on my mood and the circumstances. But in general, my stance is: if you only know them as a TV character, then enjoy the TV character. If you interact with them in real life, then let your interaction inform your judgment of them.

    If you are going to Wizard World's Ohio Comic Con this month, then you will probably meet Victoria, who will be hard at work. And you can decide for yourself if the TV character resembles the human being.

  5. Unfortunately, I had to cancel my plan to attend Wizard World Ohio. I would have liked to have met Victoria and, of course, if you were with her, you. Hopefully, our paths will cross sometime next year.

  6. I am not a Cosplayer and really had never heard of it before. My daughter loves it and talked me into watching this show. I admire the extreme talent some of these people have in fabricating these crazy costumes. I have to admit I find myself disliking Monika intensely. What she said about Becki was not manipulated, as she reiterated her nasty comments at least twice more later on. Also, I find Yaya very disingenuous in her comments about that other Cosplayer "influencing" Monika. She clearly depends on sex appeal for her success. Overall, I am pretty disgusted with Yaya, Monika, Victoria and Riki. Holly, Jessica, Becki, Chloe and Jesse seem pretty cool. I agree with the person above who said males are sorely under represented on this show.

  7. Since the Scouting Legion is constantly on the front line, fighting Titans, its high fatality, low success rate (if at all) discourages most people from joining the legion. Thus, the legion suffers an all-time personnel shortage and the only soldiers who enter the Scouting Legion are dedicated to the cause of humanity usually at the cost of their own lives! This is the Eren Jaeger cosplay costume for Recon Corps (Scouting Legion) in Attack on Titan!

  8. You've got to remember, dude. The only true reality show on TV is the evening news! Everything else, from SURVIVORS on down, is just half-game show/half-soap opera. Nothing more; nothing less. And, yes; such a hybrid is undeniably a bad thing!