Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Thousands expected for Metrocon, Tampa anime convention

TAMPA

The Joker roamed the hallways of the Tampa Convention Center in his purple suit and trademark green grin. No Batman was to be found. Pikachu ducked behind a post where Link, from Zelda, was talking with some friends. And in the middle of a sea of pink and purple wigs, fairy wings and knee-high boots stood Iron Man.

"We're just costumers," said Zachary Hurst, 38, the man in the Iron Man suit. "I was one of those kids who watched all the movies and would make the refrigerator box into a spaceship."

Hurst and his three daughters, each dressed as characters from Neil Patrick Harris' Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, attended the 10th anniversary of Metrocon. The three-day extravaganza of anime and role-playing at the convention center has grown by about 1,000 people every year, said Morgan Canaday, director of special guests. They expect to see about 10,000 people this weekend, just two months before politicians, reporters and Mitt Romney will stroll the same halls during the Republican National Convention.

"You walk into a place like this and everybody's smiling and they accept you for who are," said Hurst, who works as a property manager in Clearwater. "It's something very special."

Hurst spent 650 hours over 10 weeks constructing the costume. The total bill, with paint and accessories, rang in at about $600. That's a bargain, though, Hurst said. Similar suits can retail online for as much as $5,000. And the costume was definitely drawing a crowd.

"He looks just like him!" one girl called out as another asked to take a picture with the moving, walking Iron Man.

While craftsmanship and showing off artwork is a big part of the convention, in the end, it all comes down to a sense of community, Canaday said. The joy comes from converging with like-minded people who share a passion for anime and video games.

Events range from a fantasy masquerade and an interactive comedy show to raves and movie screenings. The schedule includes something for everyone, Canaday said.

"Here in America, when we think of animation we think of cartoons like on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network," Canaday said. "But over in Japan, animation is part of their community and traditions. They accept it."

Sarah Jean, 22, of Tampa fell in love with anime as a preteen in Missouri. For her third Metrocon, she looks forward to gathering with 149 other Pokemon fans, all dressed as different characters. She's donning a Venomoth costume that took two months and $150 to make. On Friday, she was decked out in a gothic grim reaper outfit, complete with white and black skull makeup, purple glittery eye shadow and a foam scythe decorated with flowers and skulls.

It's hard to explain just why exactly they love coming to conventions, said Heather Galvin, 21, of Wesley Chapel.

"We've just always been into anime," Galvin said. "I was born with anime in my blood."

Caitlin Johnston can be reached at cjohnston@tampabay.com or (813)226-3111.

Thousands expected for Metrocon, Tampa anime convention 06/15/12 [Last modified: Saturday, June 16, 2012 3:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics

    Elections

    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.