POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, October 6, 2013 Share
Shadocon is celebrating its fourth year and with it comes another Anime con to Tampa. I am so glad to see this happening. Throughout the 80ís and into the early 90ís, Anime fans had to go to Sci-Fi cons like Necronomicon and if you went to that one you had a miserable time. The Sci-Fi fans would trash talk just for liking any anime at all and if you read manga then you had to defend yourself against uber extreme Marvel and DC fans. The reason I got into manga was the lack of superheroes in tights and a wider range of interesting storylines. However, the worst thing about early 90ís Necronomicon was the fact that anime was sold at $5 a tape by some random guy who made a horrible looking copy from a laser disc. It was a great time for anime coming out in Japan but hard for Western fans to get it.
I remember having a conversation in 1992, when I was working for Home Shopping Network taking phone orders, and I asked my co-worker if he like Ranma Ĺ. The response I got was ďI hate big eyes. Why are the eyes big? People who watch that stuff are dumb.Ē
Enough of my ranting of the early days. Since 2003 Metrocon has been the Anime con to go to in Tampa. Metrocon is generally held in the Summer around June or July and I had recently returned from Japan so I was eager to see how Anime fandom was in Tampa. Now there are also addition cons such as Khaotic Kon, going on year 3 in 2014, and Tampa Anime Day, so there are a lot of fan options just in Tampa alone. If you expand that to Orlando you have more options with Megacon, Holiday Matsuri, Orlando Anime Day, Anime Festival Orlando, and many more.
Central Florida is slowly catching up with California with the number of Anime Cons happening, the attendance is less, however, it is growing and will continue to do so. With hit shows like Attack on Titans that is taking Japan and the US by storm, more and more fans will be created.
I prefer to think of Shadocon as a DJ remix of Metrocon. Even if you are still clinging onto your DC and Marvel comics and you are a die-hard fan of Western entertainment, you really need to experience a con like Shadocon. It is a relaxed, party atmosphere, and even if you are an older fan the younger generation will be cool with you, all you have to do is be patience and tolerant and be willing to have a good time. Also, if you how no interest at all in anime or Western entertainment then you should still go in support because it will look like Halloween to you. Shadocon was just like checking out costumes on Halloween with costumes ranging from the comedic to the horrific. In fact, this year I did more people watching and photography than attending panels or main events.
Here is how Shadocon was for me. I woke up early on Saturday and was on the road by 8am. I get there early to secure parking and check out the venue. This year Shadocon was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on Bayport Dr.
I stood in the small line that had already formed by 8:23. 20-minutes later, staff came walking by and said this was the line for people who have already registered. So I walked to the other line with several others to stand in a longer line. What helped me out was having cash. A lot of people who waiting to use their debit cards. I was able to move up quickly thanks to cash. Then I paid the entrance fee, went to the nearby table to pick up my convention guide and schedule.
I walked over to the lounge and sat on the sofa reading through the guide and planning what I wanted to do. I saw a couple of panels I was interested in on The History of Dubs and Anime Fandom: Then and Now. The panel on fandom traced Anime fandom in the US from the 1960ís when Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion were first released in the US on TV to today.
I also saw that Kimagure Orange Road, episodes 1-2, would be playing in the Video Room. I rarely go to the Video Room but I decided to change my tactics. A good friend of mine and someone I went to school with named, Trevor Menagh, highly recommended Kimagure Orange Road. One of his favorite series is Maison Ikkoku, which I am currently marathoning. It is a great romantic comedic series from the reigning Queen of Manga, Rumiko Takahashi, who later went on to create Ranma Ĺ.
Next I idled my time away until 10am when the dealer room opened. At 10 I hopped up off the sofa and walked outside to the tent were the dealers were. Outside I ran into fellow Tampa Otaku and the groupís co-founder, Nick. Nick and Ali had a booth selling makeup supplies and fake blood.
I entered the dealers tent and took a quick stroll around the whole area for the initial scope out. I saw lots of Kpop CDs, two vendors selling retro games, and lots of DVDs and Blu-rays from the local store Anime Fix and another store called Anime Pavilion that had lots of DVDs and manga. I got a shout out from the Japanese guy who was selling Japanese snacks. He loved my Fist of the North Star shirt. He was such a nice guy I ended up buying Matcha flavored Kit Kat from him.
He also had Ramune in the can. I was glad to see that because I have such a hard time getting the little ball inside the bottled drinks to pop down. I always ask the cashier to do it for me.
I wish I had saved my money better because I spotted a game I have wanted to pick up for a long time and that game is Final Fantasy VII for the PS1 with the casing and the manual. I have seen FF VII online but with no manual and with just the CD. I saw lots of retro games that I have wanted to play like Yakuza for the PS2, Chrono Trigger for the Super Nintendo (SNES) was going for $80 for just the cartridge. So many things are going on for this upcoming Halloween that I didnít break down and get anything. Besides, the dealers always bring their prices down on Sundays. However I am rarely at any given con on Sunday.
Next I went back inside the hotel to sit in the lounge and I met another Tampa Otaku member, Sinister. We talked for a while and then he left to get into his costume. I went upstairs to take a look around. Many good cosplayers were already out. I saw a girl dressed as Xena, a giant Sonic the Hedgehog wearing a Jeidi robe and holding a light saber. My favorite was the two girls with orange and light blue hair who were cosplaying as Asuka and Rei from my favorite series, Neon Genesis Evangelion.
I went to the panel on the History of Dubs and the panelist was 25-minutes late showing up due to some confusion. He was forced to rush through his panel. It was still interesting to hear in the brief version.
Next I waited for Kimagure Orange Road to start. The Video Room was being used for cosplay pre-judging. While waiting I met an interesting guy who was passionate about photography and gave me contact information for a group that stages events for photo shoots like Sci-Fi, Steampunk and other things that I find interesting.
I watched the first episode of Kimagure and liked what I saw. Some people were complaining it looked old but it came out in the 80ís so it is going to have that look to it. It was a great combo of romance, slapstick, and humor. The host in the Video Room didnít have time for Episode 2 because the cosplay pre-judging ran longer.
I bolted and ran into Sinister again. He was dressed up in chain mail that he made himself. He got lots of compliments throughout the day.
I got shout outs for my shirt. One guy mentioned that he used to watch Fist of the North Star with his older brother. That was cool to hear.
We hang out for a while. We went outside to get cosplay photos with the gorgeous Sun out.
Every con has one bad apple and I ran into my first and only one. He wanted a picture with him and a cosplayer and he was using a cheap Kodak camera. He kept getting mad because he wanted me zooming in on him. The zoom on his toy camera didnít work very well at all. He wanted the shot framed with a zoom for some reason, finally I got tired of his pushy attitude about it and quietly handed the camera back to him and walked away. About an hour later I saw him walking by me and I just pretended to look at my watch until he passed. I am more than happy to take photos for you. Iíll even show you the picture that I took and ask if you want another one, however I do have issues with people who take advantage by turning into demanding perfectionists with a dumb vision inside their heads that they cannot articulate.
I can take direction but when someone knows what they want and canít express it in words and because impatient and angry over something that really isnít a big deal it is time to walk away. I took several photos for people with no issues before and after this jerk.
I did hang out with a group of people cosplaying from Captain America. The guy who was in the Captain America suit was great and
after talking to him I discovered that he made the shield himself.
My favorite cosplayer was Hunter Thompson from Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas. He asked me to take a pic and I did with no complaints from Hunter, he was a cool guy. He would walk up to people and say something that you could hear but not quite make out. He wasnít afraid to joke around with the other attendees. That guy was great. I talked to him briefly but didnít understand Hunterís response. That might be for the best. He did look just like Johnny Depp in the movie.
At 6pm with skipping lunch and only drinking one small glass of water, I felt zombish and tired. It was time to take off.
I stopped by Taco Bell for my beloved Mexican Pizza and a Baha Blast. It was a great day.
If you didnít go this year then you really missed out. See you all at the next one and the Marvel and DC fans should come too.
"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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