Cosplay Melee: Episode 1 Review (A Night at the Space Opera)

Cosplay Melee is a brand new show brought to you by the SyFy channel. Each episode features four talented cosplayers around the United States, using their creativity and skills to craft a cosplay in a limited amount of time, in a subject field that the judges randomly decide. The judges are LeeAnna Vamp, pro-cosplayer and model; Christian Beckman, expert costume designer and make-up effects pro in Hollywood; and Yvette Nicole Brown, actress and fan-girl (Shirley from Community!).

The first episode introduces us to the schematic of the show. The ingredients:
1. Four cosplayers (reduced to 3 after one elimination challenge)
2. Three judges
3. Three days
4. One complete cosplay, including random addition to their cosplay by judges

The first episode featured the four incredibly awesome cosplayers: Alicia/VertVixen, Fred/Fred and Elle Designs, Grace/Costumes by Zonbi, Xavier/Ebony Warrior Studios. The theme given to them was randomly chosen for this episode it was “A Night at the Space Opera” or simply said: Sci-Fi!

In the first round they were given 6 hours to craft a headpiece. Each cosplayer chose a movie from the Sci-Fi world to have their character be inspired by. Alicia chose Chronicles of Riddick (which is her style armor), and created a warrior headpiece. Fred chose Star Trek, in which he is a huge fan and created a headpiece with a respirator and visor design. Grace chose Guardians of the Galaxy and created a full helmet, with a one eye goggle and respirator. Xavier chose Star Wars (rightfully so with his Star Wars) and created a Mandalorian style helmet crossed with an X-wing fighter pilot helmet.

After this first round, we saw the cosplayers put a great amount of detail into these headpieces. Some went for super details, some went for “the more the merrier”, and some went into perfection.

Alicia’s headpiece was perfection. It looks like metal, the paint job was perfect, it was a headpiece that needed no more help except for maybe an alternate attachment method (which is definitely optional). Fred’s helmet had LEDs, which was impressive, and a visor he can see through but the top part of his helmet was rushed and looked incomplete. He did attach piping which was interesting and looked great, his cross cut design was perfection. Grace’s helmet was good, simplistic in design. Had great detail and good coloring technique. Xavier’s helmet was perfect, again still simple with nothing incredibly special, but was done perfectly and needed more detail for it to stand out.

After the first round, the judges eliminated Alicia. In my opinion, the person that should have went home is Fred. His looked like it was falling apart and definitely needed more work. Alicia presented perfect work. The places I would have given this is:

#1 Xavier
#2 Alicia
#3 Grace

After the first round, the judges informed the contestants that not only do they have two days to create their costume, but they also have to incorporate a “flight” method. Which means the cosplayers got either had to choose a jet pack, pipes, or some other device to help them fly.

Two days of EVA foam, spray paint, and seeing who can construct the bigger, better weapon prop, the cosplayers emerge. We are able to see the magic behind these cosplayers creations. The paint job, the weathering, how to add tiny details, the sanding, the mishaps, and so much more.

Out emerge the cosplayers! They walk down the aisle, and pose, and we see a bad-ass edit of how they would look in their respective role along with who they are in it. (It was so good I watched this part twice. Not kidding).

Fred emerges first as Martin Cromwell, the militant dictator and enemy of Starfleet. The good things: The fur on the cape, the helmet’s LEDs, the make-up and prosthetic, pauldron design. The negatives: one-toned, helmet cannot detach, the cape was not weathered, too big/simple leg props. Placement: 3rd.

Grace is second, and arrives as Polaris, good guy bounty hunter in the Guardians universe. Her wig reminiscent of Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn), and her paint job was FANTASTIC. Her face paint was impressive, her details were awesome, and her huge Rocket Raccoon like gun was out of this world. Cape was very weathered, very good. Only criticism is gun needed more detail. Placement: 1st.

Xavier walks out last, and I swear I got goosebumps. This guy looked like he definitely walked out of the Star Wars world, 100%. His armor looked great, detail was awesome. Weapon was good. Chest piece needed work. Weapon was also a little simple. Also, back attachments of armor was poor, but altogether nicely put together. Placement: 2nd.

At the end, Xavier won first. He came out with Syresh Voos, an outer rim crime lord from Star Wars. He did a fantastic job, but in comparison to Grace, his design was more simplistic. I believe because Star Wars is more popular and more known, it was easier to place Xavier in his world. Grace had greater details in her cosplay, and not sure if wig styling counts, but it was great seeing that and matching that to the universe.

Other criticisms I have is that I would have loved to see Alicia still come out with a costume, especially seeing her line of work. I feel eliminating a cosplayer so early on based on headpiece that, by the way, the other cosplayers altered afterwards, is very harsh and a bit unfair. Lots of people do simple headpieces but way crazy and intense armor. In my opinion, maybe granting a helper or extra time as a reward instead of eliminating someone would be better! (Alicia’s Lich King from Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, in which she placed at Blizzcon!)

In any case, I am totally addicted to this show. It’s a great way of showcasing cosplayers in its true craft and nature. I learned a lot watching and felt very inspired! I cannot wait to see more episodes and more challenges. Good luck all future cosplayers! Here’s the link to the episode here: http://www.syfy.com/cosplaymelee/videos/101-a-night-at-the-space-opera.

Leave a Reply