It's rare that I score a movie above 5/10, it's rarer still that I'd take the time to review such a movie, but this one deserves it.
I found the script fascinating, the dialogue and character progression was exceedingly fluid. In an age where CGI defines ratings it's refreshing to find a fantasy genre done with a focus on role-play and make-up/props.
In a way it reminded me of the storytelling found in titles like "The Princess Bride" or "Labyrinth", but softened by the Indie budget.
Without a doubt this movie would appeal to fantasy fans of the 80's & 90's, but as entertainment I'd recommend it to everyone.
Anyone with a fond spot for animal doco's may take issue with this series. While the CGI is excellent quality and well constructed, the show builds stories around filmed animal encounters that make it feel more like your watching a UFC/Boxing computer game with imaginary statistic cards on each animal included. While the camera work is excellent, the humanised fight commentary severely damages the shows credibility. To improve this area, animal specialists (we assume) are shown between the fight rounds to explain each creature's habits and ability. Even as it stand I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys the world's micro cosmos, except for one thing - the sound effects are appalling. They are so fake, so contrived, so unlike any sound which may emanate from an insect that I found the show more enjoyable muted. In fact the only time I un-muted was when the (again, I assume) scientists were describing an animal's traits. A spider/grasshopper/stick insect do not sound like pig's been slaughtered, it was just wrong! Without the nerve shattering sound effects, obviously contrived (and failing) to add atmosphere, I would have scored this about 6 or 7 - similar to David Attenborough's Micro Monsters.
So I watched all the episodes in the end, reluctantly at first. Acting was fantastic, absolutely great, not once could I find fault. The script ........ wasn't bad.
Either way, once I got past my scepticism about angels (them been lawyers more importantly) I mildly enjoyed more of the series. While the script isn't fantastic, a few flaws in the stories, it's regularly punctured by moments of genius which make up for the boring fluff and discrepancies.
As a person who's never experienced Cosplay before this series, and dislikes Reality TV (people with no lives watching others with no lives), I thought a more neutral view was required for other like minded souls.
Every great story starts with people who are driven, people who love their hobby so much it becomes something more. The computers of today were once the domain of geeks in garages trading capacitors and diodes, wrestling was a sport generally restricted to schools or drunken brawls, and anyone who played computer games was part of a curious minority group called "nerds" ...... who would have believed that hobbies would be worth millions in the future?
This story follows several people as they show their intense passion for a unique but growing form of entertainment called Cosplay. For those who are unsure, Cosplay (I assume is short for Costume Play) appears to be people competing in role playing a character from any fictional source where each person/group designed and created their own props. Some of these costumes and props can range from basic and economical to true works of art with a price tag to match.
Each episode revolves around a particular competition, most set at different locations. As the series follows these unique people through their lives, many of whom have their financial situations closely related to these Cosplay competitions, there is a strong sense of community. Seeing peoples dreams and aspirations, their success and their failure, it's hard not to feel empathy. Possibly it's easier if you've felt the addiction of competition but by then end of the six (6) episode you feel, on some level, bonded to each of the actors.
The only area of disappointment resides in the producers attempt (only a few scenes) to hyper inflate certain situations to imbue emotional reactions in the viewer, it cheapens the empathy a person feels.
By far the true value came from watching the props and costumes go from thought to production to completion. Some of these people have prodigious levels of talent, and as a team, they compliment each other perfectly. Jinyo and Victoria for example. At first they appear complete opposites, but within minutes we can see how well they suit each other. Jinyo is a skilled designer and helps keep Victoria grounded. Victoria has extraordinary flare as an actor and helps to bring some much needed chaos into Jinyo's life ..... after all, what's the point of existing if nothing changes.
If you haven't found interest within the first thirty (30) minutes then you likely won't enjoy the series, if you do then you'll probably watch all six (6) back-to-back like I did.