Cosplay Melee is the new SyFy channel elimination show that premiered on March 21st where four cosplayers battle it out to see who can make the most creative cosplay to win the $10,000 prize. Hosted by the American actress, comedian, and self-proclaimed “fangirl” Yvette Nicole Brown, along with Christian Beckman (costume designer and makeup effects artist) and LeeAnna Vamp (world-renowned cosplayer), four experienced cosplayers are given a specific theme and need to make a cosplay to fit into the theme’s universe. In this episode, the theme was Space Opera.
Each episode will have a new set of contestants and a different theme, with one contestant being eliminated in the first round. In this pilot, the cosplayers had to make a helmet or headdress and present it to the judges. With the different designs being so diverse, judging even the first round seemed difficult, as the eliminated contestant was sent home for a minor flaw. After the first critique and elimination, the final three contestants go on to create the rest of their cosplay. They had to make a full body costume, along with a flying apparatus made from random materials, with the winner of the elimination round getting to choose first. After transforming themselves into their character on the runway, the judges choose a winner.
I’m sure by now you know how these types of shows work, so let’s get to my review.
In short, Cosplay Melee was fantastic. I was a bit scared as to how this show would play out. After all, the last cosplay show we got was Heroes of Cosplay, and we all know that the show did not go over so well with the cosplay community. Cosplay Melee actually shows how much time and effort go into making a full costume, with the cosplayers having to create their own, original character.
All of the contestants are interesting and likable, with each having a different background versus all of them being a full-time cosplayer, which would have seemed like the easy way out. Grace Herbert (Costumes by Zonbi), who is the only cosplaying cop in her unit, Alicia (Vertvixen), a costume maker and 3D designer, Justin “Fred” Reed (Fred & Elle Designs), who started cosplay at the age of forty-one, and Charles “Xavier” Conley (Ebony Warrior Studios), who showed us that representation in cosplay is important, are all easily relatable and show us that anyone can cosplay, no matter your age, race, or gender. To these cosplayers, cosplaying is more than a hobby, and you learn that from watching the pilot. Xavier explains that he was bullied when he was a kid and always wanted a superhero to protect him, so when he got older, he decided to become the superhero himself. Most of us can relate to that on some level, and I would be lying if I said my eyes didn’t water up just a little during the emotional ending of the pilot.
I loved the overall feel of the show. You get to know the cosplayers on a personal level and get to see how differently they work, with one cosplayer using an oven to shape foam, and another using Bondo filler, which is originally for cars. Viewers get to see the entire creative process from start to finish, and we slowly realize that cosplaying is no easy task. Cosplaying may simply look like a form of “dress up” for people outside of the community, but in the pilot, you can see how they literally transform into their character. Not only by their looks but their overall attitude, which is something I really loved about this show. You don’t only see their creations, but they get to model it themselves and show how proud they really are of their work. Cosplay Melee gives these cosplayers the credit and spotlight that they deserve and I can not wait to see what each cosplayer brings this season.
My rating: 5/5 Luma stars
What did you think of the show? Which cosplayer was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!
All images from Syfy