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St. Petersburg to get its first anime convention

The popular Japanese animation genre will get a two-day salute Sept. 17-18 at Anime St. Pete with cosplay contests both days.
Anime cosplayers, like this one from Tampa's Metrocon in July, will descend on St. Petersburg's first anime convention Sept. 17-18 at the Coliseum. In this picture, Eunique Durbin, 22, of Port Richey was at Metrocon dressed as Tengen Uzui of "Demon Slayer."
Anime cosplayers, like this one from Tampa's Metrocon in July, will descend on St. Petersburg's first anime convention Sept. 17-18 at the Coliseum. In this picture, Eunique Durbin, 22, of Port Richey was at Metrocon dressed as Tengen Uzui of "Demon Slayer." [ LAUREN WITTE | Times ]
Published Aug. 30|Updated Aug. 31

St. Petersburg is about to get its first anime convention, a two-day celebration of Japanese animated cartoons and comic books.

The convention is being organized by Dewey Caruthers, a St. Petersburg comic collector who brought the city its first comic con in January, also at the Coliseum. It drew nearly 3,500 people, organizers said, exceeding expectations.

Anime films and television shows comprise nearly two-thirds of the world’s animation-based entertainment.

The Sept. 17-18 event will feature prominent anime voice actors and cosplayers, more than 50 panel discussions and events like “Anime Jeopardy.” There will be two cosplay contests, a lip sync competition and a TikTok Film Festival.

Six popular anime voice actors are scheduled to appear at Anime St. Pete, including:

  • Aaron Dismuke, who voices characters in popular anime shows including “My Hero Academia,” “Fullmetal Alchemist” and “Dr. Stone.”
  • Bryson Baugus, who voices characters in ”Haikyu!!,” “Attack on Titan” and “Darling in the Franxx.”
  • Ryan Bartley, who does voice work on “Hunter x Hunter,” “Demon Slayer” and “Neon Genesis Evangelion.”
  • Chris Guerrero, who voice acts on “Overlord, “Sk8 the Infinity” and “Fairy Tail.”
  • Jill Harris, who voices popular characters on “Black Clover,” “The Disastrous Life of Saiki K” and “Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card.”
  • Dallas Reid, who provides voices on “Black Clover,” “Dragon Ball Super” and “Angels of Death.”

There will be cosplay contests each day, both held on the main stage in the Coliseum. Saturday’s cosplay contest is Craftsmanship, focusing on costume construction and prop building with $500 in prizes. Sunday’s contest is Runway, which welcomes all cosplayers with walk-up registration available and $200 in prizes.

Caruthers, who runs the Florida Comic Cons website, is also planning a holiday cosplay event Dec. 10-11 at the Tampa Convention Center.

If you go

Anime St. Pete: The first-time event will focus on the Japanese animation genre. $25 for a day pass, $40 for a weekend pass Sept. 17-18. St. Petersburg Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N. animestpete.floridacomiccons.com.

Anime cosplayers at Tampa's Metrocon in July included Chloe Palmer, 25, of Texas, dressed as Lisa Minci from "Genshin Impact." Anime St. Pete will have cosplay contests both days.
Anime cosplayers at Tampa's Metrocon in July included Chloe Palmer, 25, of Texas, dressed as Lisa Minci from "Genshin Impact." Anime St. Pete will have cosplay contests both days. [ LAUREN WITTE | Times ]
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