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The Asian ApertureMetrocon 2013: Con Report
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, July 28, 2013    Share



I was wide awake at 3am, something that usually happens to me before any big event in my life, and I slowly took my time getting around. I left to go to Metrocon at 7:55am to make it to the parking lots and garages before the eventual fill up.

I ended up parking at the Event parking area near the Tampa Bay Storm building. From that point I was close to the entrance to the Tampa Convention Center.

I walked inside and took a causal stroll around the Artist Alley, looking for the Registration line. It was hard to find this year, however eventually I stumbled on it. Now it was time to wait until 9am for Registration to begin. That will teach me to just take a short 4 day vacation and preregister; months in advance.

Standing in line I met a woman who was looking after three young girls. She asked me if this con was about cartoon characters and I said yes. She was wondering what Metrocon would be like. We discussed how nerd culture has made the switch away from Sci Fi, including Star Trek and Star Wars, and towards anime, particularly among young fans.

After registering and putting on my wristband, I found an empty table, easy to do at 9:20am and harder later on. I picked up this yearís Convention Guidebook and took a quick read through to pinpoint the main things I wanted to do. I studied Saturdayís schedule and decided on one Main Event and a couple of panels. This yearís guidebook was nice with glossy pages and a better layout than my previous ones.

Next, I took a brief walking trip to scope out the area and find where things were. It was a larger layout then I remember from a few years ago.

I stood in line, waiting for the Vendor Room to open and one person walked by and complemented me on my new Godzilla shirt.

When the doors finally opened, sometime just after 10, I took a quick walk through to see what was available. I donít usually buy anything because a lot of time the prices are inflated. It is better to wait until Sunday to see if the dealerís will give you a discount.
Sometimes I find good deals but nothing this time. There were the usual stuff for sell such as wall scrolls, posters, Jpop and Kpop CDs, anime DVDs and Blu-rays and of course manga. I did see retro games and was glad to see one guy selling old Atari 2600 games. I also saw Samurai swords, beautiful kimono, and Goth Lolita fashion. I spotted an 8 bit Nintendo, still in the box with the gun. I didnít purchase anything to be able to afford lunch.

Then I spent some time just looking at all the interesting cosplay. I was hoping to run into people I knew from Tampa Otaku, Kakkoii-Otaku Clan, and Tampa Japanese Meetup but I didnít see anyone during the morning. So I sat down and watched people wandering around. I glanced at my watch and saw that it was 11:30, the Anime Human Chess Match would be starting at 12. I ran upstairs, thinking that I was already too late. I found the Main Events room and then the end of the line. The line was long at 11:40. I notice a group dressed up as angels with wings that could spread out from Supernatural. Metrocon had a good sized crowd by 11:45 and this would increase throughout the day.

Finally after what seemed an eternity the doors opened and the line moved. The staff did do a good job keeping people entertained while waiting in lines. Soon I was inside the West Hall and it was a rock concert setup with large speakers, lots of lights, two giant projection screens, and an adequate stage.

A woman and her family sat down next to me and someone jumped up, ran over, and asked to take a photo. I thought I was sitting next to a celebrity. So I asked and she told me she was on American Ninja Warrior.

The lights dimmed and the set up story played on the two giant screens. Then the actors came out and I recognized various characters from Assassinís Creed, Lord Zedd from Power Rangers, Storm Shadow, Ryu from Street Fighter II, and a true crowd pleaser, Samurai Jack.

The lead actors would talk smack and then the chess game began with characters fighting it out when one piece takes another. It was visually appealing with lasers, lights, cool martial art movements combined with gymnastics and well-choreographed weapons combat. I only had one minor complaint; the sound wasnít as loud as it could have been.

The event ended at 2pm and I really needed lunch. I found a small cafť and ordered the Tropical Manga Curry Chicken salad. There was no place to sit so I stood near a door to the side of the cafť. This was a bad idea because employees were constantly coming in and out with garbage and I had to move out of the way while eating. . There really was nowhere else to go. The chicken salad was good but there just wasnít enough of it and I drank my Coke quickly, the cup wasnít very big. A larger cup and a bigger portion of food would have been better. Later on I saw the buffet and I really should have gone there instead.

I attended my first panel at 4pm called Oh Japan What Have You Done?, which was various clips from strange, weird, and amusing Japanese commercials, TV shows, anime, and movies. It was good but some of the videos I had seen before on Youtube.

Afterward, I took another wandering tour and someone yelled out Godzilla, and then I met up with Austin from Kakkoii. Then I found Esther and some of the members from Tampa Otaku. We discussed this yearís con, sitting near one of the panel rooms, and I was talking with Nathan and he told me that last yearís was more of a party atmosphere.

I spent the reminder of the evening with Esther. We went to my second panel called Panel on Panels about how to create and host your own panel. This is something I have wanted to do and I might prepare something for the next Metrocon.

It is always fun hanging out with Esther; we went on a mad quest to find the coolest, funniest, and strangest cosplayers.

Sometime around 9pm it was time to head home. I said goodbye to Esther and walked back to my car. So for me it was an over 12 hour day.

Metrocon was a blast this year. There were lots of good panels that I couldnít catch because I went to a Main Event. I wanted to see Japanese Street Fashion. If you are not totally fanatical about anime, there was also a Sci Fi/Fantasy track with panels on Doctor Who, fan fiction, Marvel movies, and Sherlock. The one panel missing was anything on kaiju movies and that would have been a great tie-in with del Toroís Pacific Rim.

This year I had a hard time identifying cosplayers from newer anime series. I had to ask the cosplayer about a few of them. However I did learn a lot about what the younger generation is watching. Some of the cool cosplay I saw was from Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, Attack on Titan,and, Homestuck.

That will end this report and I am looking forward to what Tampa and the rest of Florida has for Japanese pop culture throughout the rest of the year. I hope to see everyone next year.



"The Asian Aperture" is ©2013 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2013 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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