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.
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!
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.