Cosplay Melee – A Look Back

Back in 2013, SyFy gave us a show called Heroes of Cosplay.  Its purpose (or so we thought) was to give an insight to what was going on with cosplayers, going to conventions, friends, and making costumes.  What we got was twelve episodes of that, plus drama, scripted rivalries, fights, and whatnot.  Granted, reality shows are scripted to a certain extent, but I don’t think this is what we expected.  Since then, we haven’t got much in the way of cosplay shows.  There is Call to Cosplay, but it was only limited to Crunchyroll and a couple of other sites, but not everyone subscribes to it.  Then SyFy brings us Cosplay Melee, done in the style of Face-Off.  And you know what?  It’s good, so good!

The basic run down is that each episode has a theme.  And then you have eight hours to make an accessory that goes with your original character you’re making.  If you win, you get first dibs at extra parts for your cosplay, swap parts, or swap an alliance, alignment, based on the theme.  From this point three people advance to the actual cosplay making.  From there, you have two days to make your cosplay.  On the second day, you will get some advice and suggestion from the judges, Leanna Vamp and Christian Beckman.  Then it’s show time!  You show off your completed cosplay and accessory to the judges and the show host, Yvette Nicole Brown.  And if you win, you get a cool $10,000.00!

Admittedly, I did watch the show just to see if there was going to be any cattiness or if there was a need for a drinking game.  But ten minutes into the show I was hooked, there wasn’t a need for a drinking game.  I really enjoyed how they explained the different materials on the show, and how each cosplayer used it to their own style.  And I did have my favorites on each show, not all of them won.  There were some upsets in my opinion.  Two episodes had cosplayers from New York City, got a little pride up in there.

Truthfully, I would have loved to see all four contestants in the final round, but I know it wasn’t designed like that.  I do hope that maybe there will be a set of second chance episodes in the future.  Now one thing though… Don’t hold this against me, but I felt the episodes were too armor heavy.  But remember, most of my conventions are anime cons, and I do not see a lot of armor cosplays.  Now I get that you can make armor out of materials besides worbla and use fabric, and that’s probably what I’ve seen.  This does not take away from the show at all, far from it.  I’m not sure if I said it earlier, but I truly enjoyed the end results and how the armor looked.

I do want to see more themes and whatnot.  Supervillains, old school video games, mecha, classic cartoons, just to name a few.  Hell, I’d love to see a team up episode!  I do know that scouting for season two has started, and I know cosplayers have sent in their entries.  From these six episodes, I can tell that you should be a jack of all trades.  You don’t have to be an expert in all materials, but have basic knowledge of what they are and how to use them.

Now two things bothered me on this show.  One is the term professional cosplayer.  You’ll see it on Cosplay Melee’s wiki page, and mentioned by a couple of contestants.  I know you’re going to argue me on this.  I won’t argue you, but hear me out.  You can be a professional seamstress, prop maker, costume designer, and even costume maker.  Of course, the term cosplay / professional cosplayer can encompass those other titles.  But I still see cosplay as a hobby, something one does for fun.  But it doesn’t pay the bills, those other titles do.  But as cosplay becomes more and more mainstream, it seems that the term Professional Cosplayer is a lot more recognizable and holds more weight than the other titles I mentioned.

The other thing is the two days in the workshop.  Real talk here, we all know that a majority of cosplayers would not have left their workbench.  You would see air mattresses, sleeping bags, music players, tablet’s and whatnot.  Sleep right there for the next 6 – 8 hours, then wake up and hop right back to business.  The two days are pretty much and example of a con crunch, for reals.

In the end, Cosplay Melee is a fun, fast paced show.  You can learn something here, whether you’re a novice or a master.  You’ll find a tip or trick here you may not have known.  I want to see teams, a second chance episodes, and a hell of a lot more creativity.  Cosplay Melee is the show that we have needed for so long in the cosplay community.  See you all for season two!

DJ Ranma S

DJ Ranma S is cosplay veteran. He has won numerous performance awards with his friends over the years. He has staffed conventions in the past, ran panels, judged a couple of masquerades, a jack of all trades. He's worked dealer's room too! Running this site is his way of giving back to the cosplay community. He feels that it's his turn to give a future cosplayer their fifteen minutes of fame.

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