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Author Information

Josh Smith, AKA "Sm1tty Sm1t" is a Gaming/Tech Writer, podcast host, father, husband and heir to the Kardashian fortune. You can follow him on Twitter @Sm1ttySm1t or check out his podcast at PressAtoListen.com

True Heroes of Cosplay

As part of this silly dream I have of becoming a video game writer or journalist or whatever you want to call it, I’ve routinely covered gaming conventions. If I can’t be at one, I check in on people who are at them, reporting on them and, inevitably, there is some mention of cosplay. And for good reason, people love to cosplay. People love to see cosplay. It’s interesting and creates a bond between fans of the game instantly.

Cosplay is interesting and has always fascinated me, but it’s never something I’ve looked into doing, partly because of my body type and partly because I never quite understood why. After what happened this week, I think I finally “get it.”

My wife and I have started watching Cosplay Heroes, which is a big step for her because there’s little about what I do that fascinates her. She knows about the gaming tattoos I have (and have planned) and she loves those, but getting wrapped up with writing and podcasting is still foreign — although she supports this pursuit wholeheartedly. During a recent episode of Heroes of Cosplay, Rebecca Denise AKA Aktrez, was approached by a young fan who admired her. Now, Aktrez is a personal favorite because she was born and raised a stone’s throw from where my wife grew up and where we currently live, so we pay attention to her more than the others. Hometown pride. Anyway, Aktrez made a throwaway comment that “this is what cosplaying is about,” or something to that effect. It didn’t affect me until this week.

Firstday

Earlier this week my son started Pre-school and the above picture was taken. Being the proud daddy that I am, I put this up on Reddit under the /r/funny subreddit. I thought it was cute, but also got a good laugh at it myself.

The picture was seen by over 330,000 people.

One of those people just happened to be a moderator for group of Power Ranger Cosplayers. What happened next was simply amazing. This moderator, I’ll not use his name just in case, wanted me to email him with my son’s name. He then made THIS happen:

My son is still learning to read, but he recognizes his name easily. As each picture comes in (I’m still getting updates!) and he was greeted with Power Rangers — both those he knew, “THAT’S JAYDEN!” he’d scream, and those he was only just being introduced to —  the look on his face struck me profoundly.

This is what cosplaying is about.

So from the bottom of my heart, to the entire Ranger Community, thank you. You’ve affected not only a little boy, but also his father.

EDIT: I got word from my Power Ranger friends that it would be alright to share this amazing group with the world. It is a closed group, so you’ll need an invitation, but for any up-and-coming Rangers out there, these are the people you certainly want to associate yourself with! The Facebook Rangers are here.

EDIT 2: The pictures keep on coming! My son was away this weekend for a sleepover with his grandparents, but upon returning I surprised him with more pictures from his new friends. His response was, “There’s so many, daddy!”

EDIT 3: The pictures keep rolling in! On top of that, this story was picked up by The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and countless blogs. And to top it off, some of his other heroes have started lending their support!

kaleb SPIDER MAN

THERE’S ONE MORE UPDATE!

The fine folks behind the Power Rangers saw all of the attention that Kaleb has been getting and were genuinely moved by what they saw. While Kaleb still asks to see the Power Rangers pictures nearly every day, he was not expecting the two enormous packages that showed up last week. I need to post a hearty THANK YOU to Gretchen over at Burson-Marsteller (the PR Agency), Haim Saban and his team, and everybody from around the world who got together to make this happen. Because of all of you, you’ve made a little boy’s dream come true — he is a Power Ranger.

The Power Rangers (and co.) surprised him with his own Rangers Costume (who he readily identified as JAKE THE BLACK RANGER!), a Battle Buddy, his very first graphic novels (which we’ve now read 1/2 dozen times each), stickers and fake tattoos, and because every Ranger needs a mode of transportation — his own Power Rangers Scooter! (complete with helmet).

In addition to that, the lovely and talented Riki Lecotey (@Ridd1e) ran into Jason Faunt (Wes Collins, the Red Ranger from Power Rangers Time Force) and got him in on the action too.

So to wrap this all up — thank you. The internet has accomplished something that his mommy & daddy couldn’t do, and for that we’re eternally grateful.

Kaleb-3 Kaleb-1

Kaleb-2rangers

 

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56 Responses to “True Heroes of Cosplay”

  1. Jim P. #

    My eyes seem to be sweating. Excuse me for a moment.

    September 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm Reply
    • D Larkins #

      LOL mine too

      September 8, 2013 at 1:40 pm Reply
  2. Crystal S. #

    As the mother of this little boy and the wife of this man, I can only express the love that they both have for the gaming industry and how happy the Rangers have made them both. As I grow from a person who never thought about gaming to a person who is starting to understand terminology and characters from specific games, I am amazed at how simply fantastic people of the gaming world can be. I want to thank all of you who have made this possible for my family. <3

    September 6, 2013 at 2:54 pm Reply
    • Rachel #

      Although not morphed into a Ranger, I have a photo for Kaleb that I would love to send to you. Would this be okay?

      September 6, 2013 at 3:51 pm Reply
      • If you want to send something to Kaleb, I'm sure he'd be very appreciative. Feel free to use my "contact me" section at the top of the blog and I'll follow up! And thank you!

        September 8, 2013 at 10:39 pm Reply
    • Ally #

      It goes both ways, too. I'm sure from watching Heroes of Cosplay you've seen that it can be a really competitive atmosphere that sometimes takes the fun out of the whole thing. I know of several times personally where that side of the hobby has put a downer on my love for the craft, but it's always seeing things like this that brings it back. To see a kid light up at the sight of their favorite character, or a 'grown-up' fan just as excited, it's just really inspiring, and I hope it'll help him to grow up with a better understanding of cosplayers in general. Your husband, too, is helping to push this further already, and I can tell you that it's something the majority of us are very grateful for.

      So keep up the good work, and good luck to Kaleb on becoming a Power Ranger!

      September 7, 2013 at 6:16 pm Reply
    • I actually have a few toys and stuff from my collection that I need to part with. I don't have the room for it right now. I was going to sell it, but I'd be more than happy to send some things to Kaleb if you'd like to get in touch with me. Most are in mint condition, still in the box and sealed. I can be reached on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/x.justanallamericangirl….

      My stuff is mostly Mighty Morphin' and Samurai eras. Anyway, this story really touched my heart, and I wish Kaleb nothing but the best. I too have a dream of becoming a Power Ranger, even now at 26.

      To Kaleb, dreams are powerful things. And if you set your mind to something you can do ANYTHING! Never give up! May the Power Protect You!

      –A Fellow Future Ranger,
      Chantel

      September 8, 2013 at 6:34 am Reply
      • CindyKay #

        How sweet!

        September 8, 2013 at 4:55 pm Reply
  3. Levi #

    This is the kind of thing that restores one's faith in humanity. What an epic story.

    September 6, 2013 at 4:03 pm Reply
  4. Eric #

    I am glad to be a part of this! This IS what cosplaying is about!! Not competitions, or fame, or publicity, it's putting a smile on a person's face and making their day that much brighter!

    – Eric
    aka Mighty Morphin' Red Ranger

    September 6, 2013 at 4:23 pm Reply
  5. Tiffany #

    I'm so honoured to be a part of a group of people who make it their mission to lift others up. You should be receiving my photo soon if you haven't already from the gentleman who has been sending you all our photos. Keep rockin', Kaleb and family, and may the Power protect you always. #rangerlove

    September 6, 2013 at 6:06 pm Reply
  6. James B #

    I'm honored to have been a part of the show. To see that stories I wrote have made such an impression on Kaleb, really made my day.

    September 6, 2013 at 11:00 pm Reply
  7. Matt S #

    Hey I’m so honored for my Jayden costume could put a smile on your son. The message I sent him was from a song title “You got to go” by Above & Beyond. YouTube it sometime it’s an Inspirational song :)

    September 7, 2013 at 2:15 am Reply
  8. Tim Wraith #

    dino thunder black ranger is always open to lending a hand to make some ones day a little brighter

    September 7, 2013 at 12:33 pm Reply
  9. The Kamen Rider W made my eyes a little moist.

    September 7, 2013 at 3:57 pm Reply
    • Tatoba #

      Kamen Rider W always mayes my eyes a little moist.
      Especially toward the end.
      Oh my god.

      September 10, 2013 at 1:50 am Reply
  10. Roughkiss #

    I wish there was a way for those of us who do characters that children would recognize to do this for kids. I would love to participate in something like this!

    September 7, 2013 at 6:51 pm Reply
    • Mia C #

      Not exactly the same, but have you thought of contacting your local childrens hospital (or regular hospital's children's ward)? When my daughter was in the hospital some folks came through that really brightened her day, and it meant the world to all of us.

      September 8, 2013 at 11:28 pm Reply
  11. Rick Soto #

    I was touched by this article that it reminded me of the time I dressed as the Mighty Morphin' Red Ranger during my stay in Akihabara, Japan. One reason is because it's the 20th anniversary of Power Rangers, Akihabara is known for having people cosplaying, and because my motto "If I'm in a place where everyone is dressed like a weirdo then I'm gonna dress like a weirdo too if it means blending in" actually pays off.

    People kept asking to have a picture of me taken with them, I've been high-fived twice, and I was interviewed for "Tokyo Graffiti Magazine" (which reminds me I should pick up the issue when it gets to the Book Store in Japantown, San Francisco) Funny thing is my best friend thinks I'm gonna be embarrassing and get laughed at, last I checked I don't think being high-fived is a new form of insult nor being interviewed for a magazine… so who's laughing now? So Kaleb's parents if you are reading this then you would know by now that being a fan is AWESOME! And if this dream came true for me in Akihabara then dreams should come true for your Kaleb!

    The strange thing is I was hoping the people of Akihabara would think I'm dressed as one of the "Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger" but they kept calling me "Power Ranger"… almost as if they forgot about the sentai series Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers originated from 21 years ago.

    The picture of me in the costume is on my facebook account!

    September 8, 2013 at 2:53 am Reply
  12. Hi! I'm a member of FBR, but I thought I'd post my response here too!
    https://sphotos-b-sjc.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/1

    May the Power Protect You, Kaleb!
    RJ

    September 8, 2013 at 3:39 am Reply
  13. Justin Harless #

    I hope you don't mind, but I sent a link to this site on over to Jason David Frank (Tommy, the original Green Ranger), and asked if he may stop by and show his support. I had the pleasure of meeting Jason recently, and he was so awesome, and loves Rangers-in-training.

    Kaleb, you keep dreaming big, dude. Just remember that the bad guys want to crush your dreams, so that you aren't as mighty as you could be. Don't let them win!!

    September 8, 2013 at 4:54 am Reply
  14. Charlton Heston #

    I am crying liquid pride aaaah this is amazing

    September 8, 2013 at 7:52 am Reply
  15. Zack and Erin #

    Hi! We're the Green Ranger and the Samurai Gold ranger couple!

    Kaleb, keep going for whatever it is you want (which right now is obviously the most amazing dream in the world!). When I (green) was your age I loved the Power Rangers and everything about them! Now because of that, I'm on my way to becoming a martial arts instructor in two different arts! :)

    My girlfriend (gold) also was a huge fan of the Power Rangers as a kid and was told she couldn't be the Yellow one! Well now we're working on making her the next Yellow ranger and making her dreams come true just like yours little buddy! :)

    Don't ever give up, don't ever get discouraged, and if things get rough, we're all here for you! Because at one point or another we were just like you, and still mostly are! (We're just old now! Ha ha ha!)

    September 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm Reply
  16. Mike p #

    Hi there
    I am a ranger cosplayer, and LOVE this story!!
    I would really like to send kaleb a picture. Is there anyway I could get the email to do do?

    Thank you

    September 8, 2013 at 4:31 pm Reply
    • Hi Mike, thanks for writing in! There's absolutely a way — my email is BangorSmitty at Gmail.com — and thanks for your support. This went far bigger than I expected!

      September 8, 2013 at 11:01 pm Reply
  17. Zack and Erin #

    Awwww…..Our picture is gone! Oh well!

    September 8, 2013 at 10:13 pm Reply
    • Tiffany #

      So is mine :(

      September 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm Reply
      • Gone?! No way, I should have them all up there! There are two pages — the gallery plugin I use is a little wonky. Which were you? I definitely want to make sure ANYBODY who sends in a picture is added.

        September 9, 2013 at 9:56 am Reply
        • Rachel #

          I had the same issue but I think it was where I was browsing from as I'm back! I also see Tiffany's photo! Thank you, Smitty, for posting this! My photo made it up and thank you for including those of us who may not have full costumes. I've got something planned in the upcoming weeks for Kaleb and I can't wait to get it for you.

          September 10, 2013 at 4:00 pm Reply
          • Tiffany #

            Yes, I now see the 2 pages. Glad it was a computer glitch! Thank you for being an awesome daddy!!!

            September 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm
  18. Mikey #

    I'm not mad that the Nossan cosplayer didn't include a Dad Pun in his note. Just disappointed.

    But seriously, this is completely awesome. It's nice to get a reminder once in a while that these kinds of people are part of the adult PR fandom.

    September 8, 2013 at 11:48 pm Reply
  19. Kyou Red #

    It's because we're sentai,that we care. Now Kaleb The ZyuDen Sentai Kyouryuuger tell you this. Be strong follow your dreams, and BRAVELY grab for the future.

    September 9, 2013 at 8:37 am Reply
  20. Satsu110 #

    And I just can't contain all the feels after reading this as my friends also sent their "photo of encouragement"

    September 9, 2013 at 10:23 am Reply
  21. Innaria #

    Dem feels make my allergies act up. *tear* :*)

    I’m going to forward this to some Power Ranger friends of mine. See if we can get some more replies for Kaleb. Such an awesome little guy.

    September 9, 2013 at 10:50 am Reply
  22. Betsy Woodin #

    My 25 yr old son loved The Power Rangers too. BTW Tommy the Green/White ranger is JASON DAVID FRANK – Official Fan Page on Facebook. He interacts with fans online and does a lot of conventions all over the world. In fact, I met Robert Axelrod, the voice of Lord Zedd at Senshi-Con a small convention at our local college in Anchorage, Alaska!

    September 9, 2013 at 3:08 pm Reply
  23. Mike p #

    Awesome!! I sent you a few pics via email!
    Thanks again

    September 9, 2013 at 4:59 pm Reply
  24. Renne #

    Someone should send this to Johnny Yong Bosch (Adam, the first Black Ranger) too. I know he'd love to see this.

    September 11, 2013 at 1:33 pm Reply
    • Dekabright #

      Done.

      October 5, 2013 at 10:20 am Reply
  25. saburton38 #

    These people are REAL Heroes of Cosplay, far and away! If the idiots at SyFy had done it this way, the show would've been far better. WTG to all these cosplayers for making a child's wish a reality. This proves no matter how outlandish a dream can be, it's NEVER outlandish in a child's eyes.

    October 3, 2013 at 1:33 am Reply
  26. Thannia #

    Ooohh my… I'm crying, for real.
    I'm a young mom and this story is completely amazing. The dreams of a child are one of the most important and fragile things in the world and to see this really make me think that people can make dreams come true. Cosplay is a great tool to keep dreams alive.
    I'm very happy for your son!

    October 28, 2013 at 9:33 pm Reply
  27. anders #

    kudos to you mate. you're fantastic, and so is all the wonderful support from all these might morphin' strangers xox

    December 29, 2013 at 1:53 am Reply
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