Photoshoots can be fun!!
As with some things in life it helps to be patient and give it a 2nd chance. So how well was the 2nd episode? Well, it was more of a mixed bag once you had an idea of what was going on and where this was going but in my eyes, not as much of a train wreck as episode one was. So in this episode, Victoria and Jin Yo return as Victoria hopes to recover from ep. 1’s disaster with an elaborate Tron light up dress, Jesse comes back with a steam punk Storm trooper armor and aspirations to make cosplaying, prop and armor making and his profession with the Emerald City , his way of getting his product out in front of the public, Chloe, a cosplay newcomer, wants to reach back to the 80s as Lydia Deez from Beetlejuice complete with a puppet prop, Riki as Hellgirl and Monika as Poison Ivy who is given the choice to go with craftsmanship vs sexy.
This episode was slightly better in that they focused on a few more things that cosplayers go through in trying to prepare themselves for a show but at the same time some of the things emphasized as positive still showed some negativity.
One of the first things I noted early on was how Chloe expressed sometimes how ‘bummed out’ one can be when not at a con and I thought it was a good attitude to have as many of us look forward in going to a show and meeting up with old friends as well as new ones. And if you have any friends on Facebook planning on doing to DragonCon there is a lot of this going on as people are in anticipation and then there are those of us who wish we could go…sigh. Another theme in this show that re-occurred was showing one’s body off and the message that it sends. Early on We see Monkia’s mother and Yaya Han express their concern about what path Monika would take as she designed her costume for the con and how it would be taken. While I did enjoy the fact that Monika’s mom showed concern for her daughter, I was a bit turned off with Yaya Han’s advice. Not that it wasn’t genuine or misplaced, but it was tinged with a bit of hypocrisy. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black, Here we have a cosplayer who has had costumes that emphasized her body and sexuality, while yet well crafted, try to tell someone to work more on craftsmanship vs emphasize your sexuality. Really? You have to be kidding me!!!! For me, that was a head scratcher moment. A few other things I did like was a little more emphasis on the creative process of coming up with a unique idea, such as Jesse’s steamtrooper and steampunk (even going out in public to garner attention) in general as you don’t get to see a lot of that at cons. I also really did like watching Victoria and Jin Yo as they came up with the design on Victoria’s dress and lights.
There seem to be a little more emphasis on the cost of procuring materials needed for costumes as well as consulting others for help when stuck which goes to show that it’s not always an easy process but some fun can be had in creating something. Lastly, I did enjoy how the cast members told about how they connected with their characters and that’s some were always comic geeks and that’s how they were inspired to create their costumes.
Where the show took a weird turn and almost everyone who is a cosplayer picked up on this was when Chloe hung out with the others at a little get together prior to the competition and expressed her opinion on what cosplay means to her and nearly everyone went in on her for being so naïve. The example of “if a 300 guy loves and wants to play superman, what’s the issue?” Nearly everyone dissents to saying that ‘No, you need to stay in your body type’ with Chloe saying this and in my eyes hammering the point of cosplaying home, “Isn’t this supposed to be about fun?” Another comment brought up was cosplay what you want but be prepared if the internet doesn’t like it.” What, what? So, I should be concerned about a whole bunch of faceless entities, who I may never meet and who also probably won’t cosplay, will think of me? Get the heck outta here with that BS. If that is the case, I have seen just as many so called ‘pretty people’ get bashed just as much as anyone else. This is NOT the message we, as cosplayers want to send anyone that want to do this and it was even said elsewhere, if you have nothing nice to say, sometimes it’s best to keep it to yourself. And that moment on the show proved it. Big props to Chloe, newbie or otherwise for remembering that this is all about fun!
There was still and emphasis on becoming a ‘pro cosplayer’ and I am just resigned to the fact that yes, there may be some that want to do this for a living and this show seems to want to emphasize on that without ever warning many that very few are ever truly successful, but I think smart people can figure that out on their own. There was still also a big emphasis on the competition aspect and ‘staying on top’ regardless on if you are competing or judging the show and I think one point that was glossed over was logistics. You want some real drama, talk to cosplayers who have elaborate costumes and how they have to try and figure out how to get their materials from home to the hotel, breakages that happen, lost luggage in airports, or best yet…simply packing them. It’s time and money; something that the average cosplayer does not have to waste when going to shows across the country.
As far as the actual competition segment, it was really interesting and to a point it was educational.
Chloe after winging it and having people show up to help her with her prop, I thought looked as if she had a lot of fun with her costume and the prop. I would like to see something like that here in Baltimore or NYCC. Jesse had his turn at being last minute as he was a late show with his trooper and it was very impressive. Victoria and the failed lighting in her Tron dress best emphasized the risks and dangers of overly ambitious costumes with Murphy’s Law clearly in mind. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Thankfully with Jin Yo’s help, her dress worked as intended. Riki’s Hellgirl costume was cool and I thought the idea of a red body suit was a cool idea because let’s face it, applying (and having to stay in) body paint for a con is an arduous procedure and again for me, in MY opinion, it’s the personification of the character that should matter. And Monika, while she went for the ‘sexy’ look, clearly showed she was out of her league as she showed that she had no handle on her character. Just goes to show, you can be sexy all you want, but people can tell when you don’t know your character!
And in the end, none of the cast won nor placed in the competition but I am sure that many more lessons were learned this time around on what to do the next time.
While this episode was a step up from the first episode, there clearly was an opportunity to emphasize on not to worry about what others think of you and be who you want to be that was totally missed for the sake of creating drama. Again it may be the shoddy editing and how it was packaged but truth be told, I really wished that we could get to see how that whole conversation played out and better yet, really see if cast members take up for Chloe rather than either talk against her or be silent on the subject because I am willing to bet that the whole conversation that we didn’t see was probably a lot better than the parts we are allowed to see.
3 out of 5 stars
and ain’t it a kick in the pants, that I am just realizing that I saw Chloe in NYCC back in 2011 and I snapped this photo and didn’t realize who she was. I know the gent in the armor and that was the reason for this pic.