Sunday, June 24, 2018
News Roundup

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 [email protected] or (813)226-3111.

Comments
Father dead, suspect in custody after hit-and-run driver plows into New Tampa family on bike ride

Father dead, suspect in custody after hit-and-run driver plows into New Tampa family on bike ride

A Tampa man is dead and his 3-year-old son is in serious condition after being struck by a hit-and-run driver as they went on a family bike ride Sunday afternoon.A male suspect is in custody and being interviewed by police but his name has not yet be...
Updated: 1 hour ago
A local hockey draftee? Mitchell grad Nathan Smith is just that

A local hockey draftee? Mitchell grad Nathan Smith is just that

TAMPA — Every year during draft season, players from the Tampa Bay area are selected in the NFL, MLB and even NBA drafts.But NHL?Sure enough, in the third round of Saturday's NHL draft, the Jets selected Nathan Smith, a forward who was born in ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Office building demolition at Midtown Tampa site proves tougher than expected

Office building demolition at Midtown Tampa site proves tougher than expected

TAMPA ó Stripped to the girders, the old Bromley office building looked about as substantial as fish bones on a dinner plate.But the 5-story structure proved Sunday it still had a surprising amount of fight left in it.A demolition team had planned to...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays season turning into good one

Rays season turning into good one

ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Rays are not the best team in baseball. They are not going to win the World Series this year. Heck, they probably won't even make the playoffs.But I tell you what. This team is a heck of a lot of fun to watch.And ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays beat Yankees in 12 innings on Jake Bauers homer

Rays beat Yankees in 12 innings on Jake Bauers homer

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays first baseman Jake Bauers sat at his locker after Sunday afternoon's 7-6, 12-inning win over the Yankees and thumbed through his text messages. There was no way he could get through them all. That's what happens when ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays journal: Yarbrough comes through, Venters to DL, support for Ramos

Rays journal: Yarbrough comes through, Venters to DL, support for Ramos

ST. PETERSBURG — Ryan Yarbrough was only supposed to throw on Sunday if it was an emergency. In the 12th inning with the score tied 6-6 and a runner on first, there was an emergency.Jonny Venters tweaked his right hamstring trying to cover firs...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Suspect dead, 2 injured in St. Petersburg home invasion-turned-shooting

Suspect dead, 2 injured in St. Petersburg home invasion-turned-shooting

ST. PETERSBURGSuspect dead, 2 injured in home invasion, shootingThree people forced their way into a St. Petersburg house before dawn Sunday before gunfire broke out, killing a suspect and injuring two residents, police said.About 5:30 a.m., the peop...
Updated: 4 hours ago
A jogger accidentally crossed into the US from Canada and was detained for two weeks

A jogger accidentally crossed into the US from Canada and was detained for two weeks

The coast of White Rock, British Columbia, in western Canada looks to be an ideal place for a run, with its sweeping views of the Semiahmoo Bay to the west and scores of waterfront homes and seafood restaurants to the east. Thatís what 19-year-old Ce...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Head-on crash kills Pasco teenager, injures three

Head-on crash kills Pasco teenager, injures three

NEW PORT RICHEY ó A 19-year-old driver died in a three-car crash on Moon Lake Road on Saturday afternoon, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.Jillian Faith Hitt, 19 and of New Port Richey, was driving north on the road in a 2008 Hyundai Accent, weari...
Updated: 9 hours ago
President Trumpís trade war threatens the US newspaper industry

President Trumpís trade war threatens the US newspaper industry

STERLING, Ill. - As a longtime editor of small-town newspapers, Jeff Rogers has seen his industry face the collapse of print advertising, the rise of the internet and more. Today, his 18 employees work in a newsroom here that puts out two daily newsp...
Updated: 9 hours ago