Heroes of Cosplay competition

By Elizabeth C. Bunce

Last week Syfy premiered its new reality series, Heroes of Cosplay, which follows a group of hardcore hobbyists on the convention and competition circuit.  borg.com readers will know that cosplay (costume play) is a branch of the costuming hobby that’s all about dressing up as your favorite genre characters, from fantasy, sci-fi, gaming and especially anime.  Frankly, we were a little skeptical—another reality competition series? And, will they make the costuming community look like buffoons?  But we were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed it.

As is the norm with reality series these days, the pilot featured a fair amount of drama, melodrama, psychodrama, and a little bit of cosplay.  Filmed at Wizard World in Portland, Oregon, this February, the episode offered tantalizing glimpses at a number of recognizable and wish-we-knew-what-that-was awesome hand-crafted character recreations.  The culmination of the episode was Wizard World’s first cosplay competition, featuring our intrepid stars and some unidentified cosplayers from the con, and their amazing and prize-worthy work.  The wonderful, giant My Neighbor Totoro costume (which made third in the competition) was not by one of the cast members but may just have to be added to the borg.com list of best ever cosplay costumes at a Con.

Judges and Merida on Heroes of Cosplay

The main cast is made up of a number of hobbyists and aspiring professionals, and helmed by famed professional cosplayer (yes, evidently there is such a thing!) Yaya Han.  The inclusion of Han, now a judge instead of a competitor, offers a much-needed stability and authority, and she seems to fill the role of unofficial series host.

Heroes of Cosplay cast members

As costumers and cosplay-dabblers ourselves, we hope future episodes give more insight into the creation of these amazing projects, from inspiration and design to execution.  All too often the camera flashed past a costume before we had a chance to fully appreciate it (or identify it!), and slowing down to show us more of fewer costumes would make the show even more enjoyable.  And speaking as someone who all too often sews on a deadline, we hope every episode does not focus on stressed-out costumers frantically trying to finish their pieces in time for competition.  It’s not as fun to watch as it might seem in the writer’s room.

Look for Heroes of Cosplay on SyFy and syfy.com, Tuesdays at 10/9c.  Bonus content on the website includes a Cast Gallery, episode guide, and how-to videos from the cosplayers themselves.

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