Heroes of Cosplay

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Heroes of Cosplay TV Poster Image
Pop-culture fans dress up for fun, fame, and money.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Creativity, competition, and business acumen are highlighted here.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Successful cosplayers must be creative, artistic, and good performers. Many of them are perfectionists thanks to the demand for accurate details.


Characters often carry weapons from primitive swords and bows and arrows to  laser guns and more advanced weaponry, most of which are fake. On rare occasions catty arguments break out between competitive contestants and stressed teammates.


Many costumes are revealing; there's lots of cleavage and partial buttocks visible.


Not much iffy language, but a few bleeped curses ("f--k").


Popular cosplayer-inspired brands like Yaya Han and businesses like Crabcat Industries are featured. Various costume shops throughout the country are shown.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking (hard liquor, shots, cocktails) at bars and other social venues.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Heroes of Cosplay is an inside look at a subculture where (mostly) adult fans design and wear elaborate costumes inspired by pop culture characters. Aside from the consumerism inherent in the comic, movie, and TV characters these folks are playing off, parents might take issue with the sometimes skimpy costumes as well as some of the violent imagery associated with some costumes. Adults are depicted competing for awards related to their costumes and sometimes blowing off steam with alcohol.

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What's the story?

HEROES OF COSPLAY is a documentary series that follows teams of cosplayers (folks who dress up in elaborate costumes in order to personify different comic book, TV, film, and gaming characters) as they design and build sophisticated costumes, and compete for cash and recognition at conventions across the country. Cosplayers like Victoria Schmidt, Chloe Dykstra, Riki LeCotey, and Jessi Lagers work hard to come up with new and innovative costumes that will impress judges, including renown cosplay hero and judge Yaya Han. Meanwhile, former heroes like Jessica Merizan and Holly Conrad use artistry, attention to detail, and their knowledge of the cosplay world to retake the cosplay world by storm. Whether newcomers or veterans, they all love what they do, but they also know that winning competitions and becoming heroes will lead to a growing fan base and potentially profitable business opportunities.

Is it any good?

Heroes of Cosplay underscores how cosplaying, which has evolved from a subculture into a part of popular culture over the past 30 years, requires participants to be artists, engineers, and actors, as they create elaborate costumes and convincingly personify the characters they are recreating. It also underscores how, thanks to this evolution, cosplaying has become less about the body of work they create, but the potential money that can be earned as a result of gaining recognition among cosplay fans and entertainment and gaming industry professionals.

Watching how cosplayers go about designing and constructing costumes, whether it's coloring wigs with magic markers to perfectly match Princess Merida's hair or creating casts of their own heads in order to create the perfect Dungeon & Dragons' character, is interesting. But what also makes this series fun are the moments during competitions when their masterpieces are revealed, and the various details that judges look at when determining the winners. Folks familiar with the cosplay culture will appreciate what is being shown here, and there's no doubt that folks unfamiliar with cosplaying will learn a lot about it here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about cosplaying. Why has it evolved from something viewed as an odd hobby to a more mainstream and popular activity? What role has the media played in this evolution?

  • Why do people get involved in cosplaying? Is it expensive? Do you need special skills?

TV details

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Themes & Topics

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