It looks like many of us really enjoyed Cosplay Melee as it was a huge departure from Heroes of Cosplay.
The first episode showed us what could happen when you take the cattiness and drama out and focused on real costumers. Rather than write another review, I want to focus on some of what can make it better.
4 or 3 contestants?
There was one major thing that I didn’t like (and it has been echoed by other cosplayers) was that one person was eliminated so quickly. It didn’t make sense to start with four people to only cut one out so quickly and then allow others to finish. I understand that since this is a competition show, and that sometimes they need to add the drama of “who stays” and “who goes”. But I think the show’s producers need to tweak the formula. They can opt to start and finish with three people giving everyone a chance to complete their costume, start with four as the 1st episode did and let that 4th person finish or start with six and vote off 3. Either way, make it fair so that there are an equal amount of competitors singled out to stay or leave, and so that all can show off their finished builds.
Speed vs Quality
This may be where Cosplay Melee may have rankled some cosplay builders out there. A few have voiced concern that creating a costume is less about speed and more about the quality of work. But then, you have to talk to some procrastinators that are still working on costumes hours before a con. Of course, depending on the network’s budgetary allocations for this show, that may be the reason as to why there is a 24 hour turn around. However, a few viewers that I have talked to agreed that a 24 hr. period to build a costume may not exactly yield a quality product. As one builder, James Kelly, put it, “And that’s where I think [Cosplay Melee] missed the mark, cosplay/costuming isn’t about how fast you can crank out a costume, it’s about how good of a final product you can make.” Considering that you have items that may need to be painted and glued along with a host of other things that need time to set, speed should not be a factor. It does seem like Cosplay Melee’s first episode came down to a “I am running out of time” trope which in some ways heightened the drama. Granted, the first episode had impressive builds that were done in a day but some cosplayers may not relate to the focus of speedily crafting a costume, versus putting effort into the build. It’s also about fun, and it was good that there were many moments among the cosplayers where they seemed like they enjoyed each others’ company.
Is it con tested?
What I would really love to see is what happens when these creations hit the comic cons. The one small detail that I liked about Heroes of Cosplay would be that there were times that the finished product would be taken to a con and fans got a chance to see a costume and react. This is what many of us are looking forward to after so many hours of sweat, blood and tears of assembling a costume. How will it be received at a comic con? Will people “ooh” and “aahh” over it or will they completely ignore it? The biggest question is will it endure the rigors of being in that environment? There is hardly anyone who has cosplayed that can say that they have gone through an entire day with a complex build and nothing has gone wrong. Costume pieces have been known to break loose, gotten lost and more and that is how we learn from our mistakes. Another benefit would be that it gives us watching at home a chance to see – albeit briefly – what a few other cons across the country may look like, which may generate interest for some of these shows that we may want to attend.
Cosplay Melee has the potential to be the show that Heroes of Cosplay wanted to be. Because this show focuses more on crafting than drama, it’s a positive show that many of us could get into. It feels like there is enough here for everyone whether they are a beginner or advanced builder to take notes on and motivate us to create some really special costumes. All it needs are just a few minor tweaks to its formula to distinguish itself from other shows like Face/Off, and SyFy will have another hit on their hands.