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Cosplay Universe documentary review – Legends of the Cosplay World

Some of you might have been hearing about a certain film for a few months now, and with its premier at Anime Expo. It’s been what everyone is talking about, Cosplay Universe. A documentary that covers six years of hard work, diving deep into the history of cosplay and the community it has grown into. 

Cosplay Universe is a documentary about the world revolving around cosplay, from the history, to the making of the cosplays. Also, following different cosplayers and learning of their backstory and struggles, we are also treated to a view of the World Cosplay Summit.

I have so many things to talk about for this film, it has to be hands down the best documentary I have seen (not that there are many I watch, but…). As someone who has cosplayed for a while and is just getting into the thick of it with making my own cosplays for the first time, I really related to the film. It’s no wonder why, because the film focuses a lot on identity. Because you’re not really you when you are in cosplay, but taking on the character’s identity (who you might idolize and not have the flaws you feel you have). Cosplay can also help you to discover new parts of yourself in a clearer light and understand who you want to be going forward.

There are so many things in the film that I loved, but I would have to say that the biggest is how women in cosplay are portrayed. They are the ones who brought with them the surge of younger cosplayers to cons and social media, they are also the ones who struggle the most (even among other cosplayers). There is a lot of backlash when they genderbend a male character or dress as a male character, and even get questioned about being a real fan. Then there is the bigger part of it with people in the cosplay community who hate on women when they dress in sexy cosplays, sometimes they are just portraying the character accurately. More times, they are feeling confident in their bodies (which everyone should) and are giving new twists to stand out creatively among the masses. As a side note, one of such cosplays was shown and I loved it! The Avenger Victoria Secret Angels was what was shown, it was the most creative twist for a cosplay I’ve seen so far and it was absolutely amazing. Anyway back to the matter at hand, Cosplay Universe digs into this by talking with Yaya Han, who is extremely well known in the cosplay world, and has struggled with receiving hate from others by bringing in the sexified cosplays (mainly the most well known for such). This does not take away from her talent and it is earning her even more respect among cosplayers of today, within the community and the younger cosplayers. 

Learning about the World Cosplay Summit was insane and nail biting within the film, even knowing so little about the cosplayers participating in the summit shown in the film. I was rooting for all of them and in absolute awe at their commitment to their cosplays and being able to see all their hard work into said cosplays. I won’t spoil anything, but understanding how much they all wanted their performance to go (and my heart going out to them over their inspecting everything that went wrong) and was blown away by all of their performances. 

There is still so much more to say about Cosplay Universe, such as the in-depth look into the cast of cosplayers shown and again the amazing multiple other cosplayers shown with their works and talent. I’ll have to let you all see it for yourself, that way I won’t be going on for another million pages. In the end, I loved this film, learned so much from it and it has inspired me to go farther in my own cosplay pursuits. I highly encourage, no scratch, that I’m basically yelling at you all to see this film as soon as you are able. I for one, can’t wait to see this film again and have my friends see it too!

The film is now streaming on TVOD platforms such as Amazon, Apple TV, Microsoft/Xbox, Google Play, VUDU and more!

For more information you can go here to the official Cosplay Universe for more information!

Here’s also a few more links to check out the cosplayers shown within the film for you all to check out their amazing cosplay and resources!

Yaya Han

Svetlana Quindt

Thomas DePertrillo

Also check out my interview with the co-directors of the movie Jordan Rennert and Jonathan McHugh here: INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTORS OF FANDOM FILM COSPLAY UNIVERSE

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Ali Raphael
Ali Raphael
Ali is a professional workaholic but likes to add more to her plate by reviewing comics/books/ tv shows/movies and anime. In every other waking moment, she breathes books, manga and anything Marvel. Every day she wishes she was a Part-Time Avenger, instead of a full-time Target employee.

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