Well, here we are, episode 6, the finale of the first season of Heroes of Cosplay. We’ll talk a bit more about the season as a whole and some take away lessons at the end of this, but let’s get down to the episode’s overview:
Episode 6 picks up where we left off, at Kansas City's Planet Comicon, and gearing up for the cosplay group performance competition. Team California is comprised of Becky, Jessica, and Holly with their How to Train Your Dragon ensemble, and team Atlanta’s members are Monika, Rikki, and Yaya performing in costumes from Alice in Wonderland.
We start things off with a wonderful moment where Victoria and Jinyo are attending a Peter Mayhew/Star Wars panel, and Jinyo chooses that moment to propose to her. It is a delightfully touching moment, and you can tell they both adore and love each other. True geek love, complete with a Death Star ring box (it’s a normal ring on the inside).
We then have another fireside scene with everyone sitting around and catching up about their recent trials and tribulations. Holly calls Monika on the carpet for how she handled Becky’s invitation to team up for a competition and having derided Becky’s costuming abilities. Monika starts the scene normally, but we have a sudden jump cut to her wearing mirrored shades (indoors), apparently to hide some tears for being called to task in front of Yaya and the others. Holly reiterates the point that “cosplay is supported be about having fun.”
Yaya also wins the chutzpa award for the episode with her line of “I do not condone elitism in any way.” I wonder if she’s at all aware of how utterly disingenuous that phrase is coming from her? It’s like if Liberace were to have said, “I can’t stand people who are flamboyant.”
Both teams suffer health challenges – Becky falls asleep with her costume contacts and wakes up with severe eye irritation and winds up going to the emergency room (with the final diagnosis being chemical conjunctivitis resulting from the contacts). Rikki suffers an intense bout of con-crud (it rather looked an awful lot like food poisoning).
Already one team member down on both sides, the remaining team members race to complete their costumes and practice their performance routines as best they can.
Both Rikki and Becky are able to soldier on and return to their teams in time to go to the pre-judging round. The pre-judging entails going before the judges so that they can inspect the costumes close up and can ask questions without the time constraints of being on stage before an audience. Team Atlanta is shown to be repeatedly trying to coax the judges into inspecting their construction and seams. The judges ask a range of questions, but they don’t get up close and hands on to the costumes, which results in some tut-tutting by Yaya and Monika. “When I’m a judge, I always do x and y.” Again, it’s a time where they perhaps are trying to make a point, but only come across as feeling they’re the end all and be all in how to be a judge.
When the time comes for the performances themselves, there’s some smack talking between Team California and one of the other competitors (a set of gender-bent Dr. Who Doctors). The Doctors were extremely hostile to the Heroes of Cosplay individuals being part of the contest, and were heckling and booing during the performance.
Team Atlanta takes the stage first, and the routine goes well, but not with out a costume hiccup. Team California follows them, and their routine goes off without a hitch. Now it’s up to the judges to decide whom the champions of Kansas City will be. Yaya continues to narrate to us that she fears any loss of a contest would undermine her standing as a judge or costumer.
As with my prior reviews, you’ll have to watch for yourself to find out what happens.
And with the end of the episode, season one is over, and the cosplay community will continue ever onward. It’s been a whirlwind of drama from nearly the very beginning. People alternately gloat that they were approached to be a part of the series and they knew of the drama that would result so declined, and others pine that they would have loved to be a part of it.
There’s a lot of things the show could have done better – most notably to trust that there’d still be viewers if they were to have focused more on the costume conception and creation aspects.
That said, like it or not, there’s a great deal of truth to the series as well, and here’s just a few things to take away from it all:
- There’s drama in cosplay. Anyone who says otherwise needs look no further than any costumer forum, Facebook, or tumblr. It exists at conventions and in the real world.
- The biggest danger around cosplay is taking it (or yourself) too seriously. It’s supposed to be about the celebration of characters from television, movies, or books and having fun along the way.
- The best Ambassadors of Cosplay aren’t ones who have to convince others how good they are. The best ones are those who help and encourage others to join in the hobby. From the first time they buy something off the rack, to the first time they commission a costume, to the first time they make one themselves.
- There’s always times where you can come off like an utterly thoughtless ass, because you said something that wasn’t taken the way you meant it.
- No matter how good you think you are, there’s someone else that’s better than you, but that’s ok. Just use their achievements to inspire you do continue to learn and improve.
- Never assume there’s “plenty of time” to finish a costume, keep working on it until it’s done, then you can breathe easy.
Thanks to the various members of the featured cast of Heroes of Cosplay for the interviews, the last minute messages about “is this really what happened, and for their civility and patience, even when I wasn’t necessarily agreeing with something they might have said – Holly, Jessica, Chloe, Monika, Rikki, and Yaya.
In the end, that’s really the main point. There’s no one-way to go about cosplay, there’s no one “right” or “wrong” way. Be polite, be civil, have fun, and always be nice and welcoming to the newcomer, because they’re the real future of cosplay.
If you want to find out more about cosplay, how to create a costume, or just to meet new people, here's a few resources you might check out: