From superheroes and villains to popular comic book and movie characters, the art of cosplay has something for everyone. Defined as the phenomenon of dressing up and roleplaying as your favourite character, cosplay has gained popularity in the recent years. Each year its followers, also known as cosplayers, gather and celebrate their common passion at Comic Cons. Held in multiple cities across the world, these conventions provide the perfect atmosphere to teens and young adults to show their love for cosplaying.

The lovers of cosplay take pride in their craft and work very hard to curate their looks. They choose their outfits, props, and makeup by putting in a lot of thought, time, effort and money. At comic cons, they walk around mimicking the behaviour and mannerisms of their chosen character, grabbing the attention of other participants. All of them make sure to take enough pictures of themselves to later upload on their social media accounts. Here they garner praise from their friends, family, and most importantly, their followers.

Heroes of Cosplay

Analysing Heroes of Cosplay

Unfortunately, not all attention is good. Cosplayers also face a great deal of scrutiny from the masses. Let’s take the example of Heroes of Cosplay. Released in the year 2013, the 12-episode television series was aired on SyFy. It features cosplayers who curate innovative costumes and take part in competitions held at different comic cons across the United States.

The show received mixed reviews from its audience. While some praised it enthusiastically, others bitterly condemned it. Some even claimed that Heroes of Cosplay badly misrepresented the genuine cosplayers and disrespected their love for cosplay.

Analysing

The show emphasized more on the competitive side of cosplay. Rather than portraying the original picture of cosplay, which is the expression of one’s creativity and imagination, Heroes of Cosplay merely reduced it to a competitive and contentious approach.

It also fortified the typical capitalist image of cosplay by introducing cash prizes into the show. This made viewers believe that cosplayers are simply driven by money and fame, rather than their passion for the craft.

Another point that led to outrage was that the show frequently portrayed men as being better at cosplay than women. Most cosplayers on the show were females – all highly adept with the tools and technicalities that are needed to curate detailed and intricate costumes. However, most scenes displayed their male partners as the true force behind their success. Thereby, the show created a false narrative that women are not as professional at this craft.

Although Heroes of Cosplay probably isn’t the best representation of cosplay, it’s an appreciable effort to make people understand the craft. Since it is undoubtedly the most visible depiction of cosplay on American TV, one cannot deny that it brought people together to think and talk about such an unusual topic. As far as its cast is concerned, we believe they have played a vital role in educating others.

The second season came out to be much better than its predecessor. With a focus on how cosplayers conceptualize their looks, work on the costumes and props, and participate at conventions, this season garnered more positive reviews from its viewers. The arrogance and snobbery showcased in the previous season was also dropped this time. Most importantly, cosplayers were seen having fun – finally showing why cosplay is their passion.

Why Do People Like Cosplay?

People Like Cosplay

When we look at the reasons as to why people love to engage in cosplay activities and attend conventions, there are one too many. Surveys involving thousands of cosplayers have been conducted over the years. They aim to find out who gets involved in cosplay and why, when it is such a costly and time-taking activity.

Results show that most are motivated to do cosplay simply because it is fun. You can’t argue with someone who says playing football or making music brings them enjoyment. Similarly, cosplaying can be a source of fun for many, even if others may not understand the attraction.

If you have been to a comic con, you would observe that people there are so energetic and full of life. They enjoy in such a way that the cons become exciting and interesting for others around them too. This is why we must appreciate these cosplayers and if we can’t support them, then at least we shouldn’t hate or disrespect them. We should try to let them have fun in peace.

When searching on social media platforms, we have come across a bunch of other reasons behind the love of cosplay. A few people simply say they like to dress up. Some say it lets them show the passion they hold towards their favourite fictional characters. Creatively crafting a costume and then dressing up and mimicking them for a day feels like they are blowing a soul into the character. Almost as if they are bringing them to life.

Some say it develops a sense of community and belonging when they attend comic cons with their friends. They even do not hesitate from befriending strangers there as they all have a mutual love for cosplaying. After all, they belong to the global cosplay community, if we use the proper term.

cosplayers right
An Analysis of Heroes of Cosplay: Why Do People Like or Dislike Cosplay? 5

A few others claim that they take part in cosplay and attend these conventions solely to compete. They only have their eyes on the prize, and the prospect of winning is what matters the most to them. They claim it adds an element of challenge in their life and the thrill they get from it is worth everything. Perhaps, the show, Heroes of Cosplay, did get the motivations of cosplayers right, as per some participants.

Another debatable yet intriguing reason that we have come across is that cosplay is used by some as a mechanism to identify their true selves. Because they identify or relate to their favourite character, they choose to express that via costuming up like them. It lets them explore and further develop their own personality.

While it cannot be denied that it may be true for some, this opinion is still debatable. From a psychological point of view, it is said that relating to a character may help find yourself to some extent. However, it can also stop you from doing so. It is possible that obsessing over a character for long periods can delude you into thinking that you possess the same traits as them. While in real and stressful situations, you may not behave or act like them.

Why Do People Dislike Cosplay?

There are thousands of people who love to cosplay, but there is another group who frowns upon it. Upon researching, we found out why some people do not like cosplayers and their craft. For one, people who dislike cosplay collectively agree that it is not productive. They question why cosplayers engage in such activities when they have no practical benefits. They even claim that cosplaying can be unhealthy. To support their argument, they name a few psychological issues that could result from cosplaying and role-playing.

They say that cosplayers may develop self-esteem issues – while glorifying the personality of their favourite fictional characters, they may find faults in themselves. This could lead them to have doubts about themselves, even feel ashamed of their true selves. In certain severe cases, they claim, such cosplayers may start to hate themselves.

Others who dislike cosplay claim that cosplayers use this activity as a source of escapism. They say that dressing up as someone else is not just a means of entertainment for the cosplayers. It is actually a diversion from the harsh or boring realities of their life. Critics claim it is impractical and unhealthy at many levels.

A few people who are against cosplay say that they disapprove of cosplay and the conventions because cosplayers get a lot of unwanted attention and inappropriate advances. They say that some attendees of such cons take pictures of cosplayers without asking for their permission and pass weird comments at them. In some cases, they are also verbally harassed and non-consensually touched. Perhaps Heroes of Cosplay’s sexist undertones are indeed founded in reality.

Conclusion

Just like every other thing, people have mixed views about cosplays and cosplayers. Some lovingly welcome this phenomenon while others refrain from it. But what should be understood is that even if one dislikes the craft, they should try not to be hostile towards the ones who love it. We may have our disagreements, but at least we can all agree that it is an opportunity for cosplayers to openly display their hard work and creativity.

Similarly, the show, Heroes of Cosplay and the reviews it has garnered must be taken with a pinch of salt. While some of the criticism may be true, one should not spew hate towards the show or its actors.