Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Cosplay Melee TV Review

From the makers that brought us Heroes of Cosplay, Syfy is back again with another cosplay reality tv series called Cosplay Melee. Each week, four different highly skilled cosplayers will face off against each other in a battle that will test their creativity, crafting skills and quick thinking for a $10000 cash prize.

While Heroes of Cosplay might have been under various criticisms because of its rather controversial content, Cosplay Melee turned out to be surprisingly different. Unlike its predecessor, Cosplay Melee is more competition and lesser drama.

Every episode, the contestants are tasked to design and embody a character based on a theme and they will be judged by a panel of experts. The contest consists of two rounds. In the first round, they are given 8 hours to make a sample piece for their character. The best design will be granted an advantage for the next round and the last placer will be eliminated. For the second round, the remaining contestants are given 2 days (8 hours each) to complete their character which they will then wear and present to the judges. One winner will be selected and will take home $10000.

The episode starts with getting to know each contestant as they enter the work room and talk a little bit about themselves and their passion for cosplay. After the introductions, they are then given instructions and a theme with which they will then build their characters from. Contestants cannot recreate an existing character costume. While this can be a debate for another time about the extent of what exactly character cosplay is, I think it's fascinating to see the extent of what a cosplayer/costume-maker can do outside the limitation of an already given character.

"The decision to have the contestants create original characters was about pushing the cosplayers out of their creative comfort zones and pushing the creative envelope."
Ian Mallahan, Cosplay Melee Executive Producer (x)


As we watch the contestants build their costumes, they would also talk about what they are doing, the materials they are using and explain various methods and techniques that you can definitely pick up and learn if you're a cosplayer yourself. It's the perfect show to binge watch if you're also in the middle of crafting. Working alongside these cosplayers can also push you to try your best and keep up that motivation. 

Throughout the duration of the contest, the entire atmosphere was light and very friendly. Despite being a competition with a huge prize at stake, everyone was pretty chill and having fun. It's like a gathering of cosplayers working together on a con crunch instead of a competition. They would talk and help each other out, share crafting techniques and also compliment each other's works. From start to finish, everyone was a good sport.

The judges who will critique the works of these contestants also have a good balance in them. We have cosplay model LeeAnna Vamp, professional costume creator Christian Beckman and actress/(self-described) super-fangirl Yvette Nicole Brown. It's pretty interesting to hear inputs and opinions about cosplay craftsmanship in three different perspectives.


There's the cosplayer's point of view, who can relate closer to the contestants. Then there's the professional's input which is on a higher level and can be a bit challenging but will help greatly to a cosplayer's growth in craftsmanship. And finally from a fan's perspective which is like a view from the outside, who sees the final picture as it is. It's always entertaining to see Yvette's reaction whenever the contestants finally walk down the runway.

In the world of cosplay, we only often see the beauty of the finished products, the glamorous costumes and breathtaking craftsmanship. Cosplay Melee gives us a glimpse of not just the people behind the masks but also the nitty-gritty that goes behind every creation. Listening to the stories of these contestants shows us that cosplay is not just about the battles and the drama. It's fun, it's serious, you can make mistakes, everything can start off ugly, you learn, you work hard, you can be too young or too old, quit or try again... it is how you make it. 

Have you guys watched the show yet? 
What do you think?

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