Hello everyone and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe and the first edition of a new section on here known as Convention Impossible! What do I mean by that? Well, in the past I normally say “Convention Accomplished” or “Convention Complete” in the idea of StarFox 64 terms when a mission is half complete and they use “Complete” and when it is fully complete “Accomplished” and that is what I am doing with the ideas of Mission Impossible and to start this off is of course MetroCon!
About the Convention: MetroCon is a big convention held in Tampa Bay, Florida at the Tampa Convention Center along the river side in the center of town and it is conveniently located in that part since there are a lot of hotels surrounding that area and don’t have to interfere with traffic coming out of the LiveNation Stadium and Busch Gardens theme park, which unlike Orlando where all the conventions are located along either International Drive where we have Universal, SeaWorld, Fun Spot, Pointe Orlando, and Wet N’ Wild where a lot of tourists tend to go or near Kissimmee where Disney World parks and Old Town, plus a Fun Spot near there.
What Got Us to Go?: Well, we heard about MetroCon for years from friends that went and heard so many good things about the con and we couldn’t go due to lack of funds and we already planned to go to Mega and AFO and since friends at UCF finally convinced us to go last year since AFO screwed us over for Blind EXP last year and wanted to expand the convention to a new scene. Plus, we noticed Mega AFO were not as great as they used to be. Plus, it gave me a chance to meet Scott McNeill after 7 years of not being back to Orlando. We couldn’t miss this year and it happened!
So What was in the Mix? Well, it was the first time for me to do press to get at least some writing experience. Apologies for no pics because we were tied up getting panels ready and trying to check out other things and of course interviewing two of the guests on top of that. We did have Blind EXP and True Tips and Tricks of Fan Fiction to appear at this convention, which was great and got to see cosplays we rarely get to see back home. Plus a photoshoot with Fairy Tail cosplayers on top of that. Yeah, we were busy during the convention! Still had fun here and there, especially around the town since we don’t get to go to the West Coast as often in Florida.
Convention Center: I thought it would appropriate to talk about the place that this convention that was inside. Unlike the Orange County Convention Center, the Tampa Center is one big building that had a bridge underneath to get to different parts of Tampa, which was pretty interesting and unique. It did have the multiple floors which made it more organized for the convention, which the panels, dealer room, and registration on the first floor, artists alley and main events on the floors above it! Mega 2008 did that with South ConCourse but during that weekend there were more than one convention going on unlike Metro, it was in the middle of the summer and no other cons to disturb it. And as said above, this place is conveniently located away from the stadium and Busch Gardens so not much traffic to go around. Plus, they do have really good parking garages surrounding the area that have payment amounts go by the hour versus the $8 we always have to pay for Mega. Plus, we have shorter walking distances between the garages and even the parking lot we did have to pay $10 for but still a nice walking distance from the convention. Smart building plans Tampa!
Dealer Room: Next is the dealer room, which all conventions have! I loved this one the most because it is more spacious than the AFO one and bigger than that, despite AFO was in a small hotel area, which is getting rebuilt right now, still a lot more vendors than what they had. As in more than one or two cosplay stands, a lot of anime merch from many anime dealers from all over Florida than just a small handful and getting one from way North like that Maryland dealer last year at AFO and the Georgia dealer during Florida Anime Experience, which they were the only DVD dealers those two times. I know it sounds a bit sad but there are times when a lot of people want to buy DVDs and not all stands have the same product at each stand and need to go to other stands to find what they are looking for and that is what Metro had! They catered to cosplayers, anime merch collectors, and DVD lovers! Trust me, it was really convenient with the cosplay stuff since I did get my Ginji wig mixed for my Haru wig and accidently brought that instead and bought an orange wig to do Kyo from Fruits Basket instead. Also, did have to get a new belt for my Lucy costume since the one I had didn’t exactly fit right due to how wide my waist has been and I rarely get belts. So glad there was a leather seller to provide me a nice, big belt and the right color too! Metro, get these people again because we love their stuff. Don’t worry everyone, I will be doing a full haul post next on here to talk about what I bought! Stay tuned for that!
Cosplay: Oh man, so much of it! Well, we didn’t have camera out for most of them but my fiance, who was my partner in crime for press due to me being blind and it would be hard doing some of the video taping and other things requiring sight, but there were cosplays we rarely catch in Orlando. For instance, we found a lot more Naruto cosplayers and some of them happened to be Killer B and the Rykage from Shippuden and done by guys who were African American. Some other cosplays we did find included a few Deadpools running around, such as Link version, one doing Bain from Batman, one in a prom dress, which was a lady Deadpool, and one in a French Maid’s outfit, guessing a joke towards maid cafes everywhere since he is Deadpool after all! We also found Soul Eater, the usual My Little Pony, and of course, Fiary Tail! I was doing Lucy since Blind Exp was having Fairy Tail and there was a group doing a panel…I will be talking about that during panels. The shoot was fun and I did surprise the people with my keys, why? I had all 15 keys! As in, the ones Lucy gets in the entire series, which I got in a set of 18 but they didn’t include Capricorn so had to get that one separately. Unfortunately Loki didn’t style his hair, Gray didn’t have the right hair color, which was a bit of a shame, but what was worse, there was supposed to be a Freed cosplayer and didn’t show up in costume, especially during the panel. Wigs people, they help so much! One cosplay that is getting a rise and it is from the new game Project X Zone which my fiance was doing Reiji from, well getting the base for it since his costume is hard to do a bit, but great thing is duct tape! Anyways, this game recently came to the US on the 3DS back in June and it was the game we pre-ordered along with Deadpool. It is basically a strategy RPG with fighting and crosses characters from Namco, Bandai, and Capcom! Of course, there were a few Sega ones in the mix but still an awesome game! We heard people were doing Dante from Devil May Cry, his partner Dimitri from Darkstalkers and Ryu from Street Fighter and even some of our friends did one of the teams from the game. Looks like this game is getting a lot of hype that people are doing the new and old from this game. Hell, my fiance wants me to do Saya, the fox/cat demon girl, from it. Not sure if I will yet, but need to get new things for Lucy first, like a new pouch and new boots possibly. (Yeah, the boots hurt my toe area!)
Panels: We only went to one game show, one panel, and did have to host two of them. First was the Wacky AAnime Game Show. It was a trivia game with a bit of Double Dare for a bit, but with food being eaten. There are two teams of three and they are picked through raffle tickets. Me, Tobi, nor his girlfriend were picked since the tickets were picked in the zero range but it was entertaining to watch. The problem was that the music seemed to drown out the host’s voice! We could hardly hear but the questions were based on categories and the answers were right due to the judges liking it. One question which should have a bit of research on the answer and that was the “Name top fave anime now!” Someone said Bleach and well, a known fact, it was kicked out of the top Shonen Jump three and replaced by Toriko and did explain that when he had to improvise the Blind EXP to Q&A. The physical challenge that would be fun to do is eating Froot Loops with chopsticks, a nice little finger cramp. What was funny how a guy ended up with a prize of a make up pallet.
The Fairy Tail panel was not as great because of how the group hosted it! I did mention how the Freed guy was not in costume, he was the main host of the panel! In our opinion, it felt as though the group didn’t read or watch their source material and normally hosting a panel like this tends to make it better by knowing the material you’re presenting on. For example, when we did “Tsubasa Talk” a few years back and had it as a debate panel, the audience and us had a better idea of what Tsubasa was about since season 1 finished releasing in the states and season 2 was on its way a few days after AFO. I wish I could’ve been in it because I had a familiararity with season 1 and some of the stuff that happned later on with what my fiance and Tobi read, which helped our Q&A out better. Not only that, they made the characters sound not at all as they were, which brings back the idea of “research.” Sorry, but not a great panel.
Blind Exp was a flop due to faulty equipment but we may redo this at Holiday Matsuri since we did get our hands on Fairy Tail Part 5. They should improve the panel hostings by inspecting equipment before the convention starts, which I will mention in the items that should be improved. But the Q&A did go well because people asked questions about the series and anime and that made it even more of a panel that deals with anime versus the Fairy Tail one we went before the shoot. Though True Tips and Tricks of Fan Fiction did go well since we did have tips that helped and people asked questions to make the tips sound clearer and we didn’t have a heckler this time around, which we made it clear to wait until after the tips to do so.
Even though we were running like chickens with their heads cut off for our panels, I did want to go to the Soul Eater panel earlier Saturday but didn’t get to the center til our first interview with Brittney Karbowski, which is next! But we will make to more panels and have better press coverage if I decide to do press again! (Normally, someone gets better after a second go around.) I also did want to go to the Human Chess Match, but as said before didn’t get to the center until after it happened but we did hear good things about it and wanted to see how better it was to Wasabi’s boring Human CHECKER Match, yes Checkers, there is always next year!
Voice Actor Interviews: Outside of the thoughts, we did interview two of the guests and it was fun! I thought it would be great to do classic meets new! So, I interviewed Brittney Karbowski, who played roles such as Black Star from Soul Eater , Wendy the Sky Dragon Slayer in Fairy Tail, and the first role I heard her as, Roya in Kiba. And a classic and always popular, Scott McNeill, who has been in Inu Yasha, Beast Wars, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Even though I wanted to do Janet Varny but I am more familiar with the works that Scott and Brittney have been in since being an anime fan for over 18 years! What are the highlights?
First Brittney Karbowski, I never got to meet her due to the first year of Florida Anime Experience being the weekend I had to go to Miami to get my eyes checked and how stable my condition was, but my fiance got my stuff signed by her in my place and she remembered him. I was glad to meet her and well kind of improve the questions due to my Braille Sense not saving them, which was weird, but I did remember some. Don’t worry, we will have the interviews up on WordPress.
With Scott, it was a fun interview since he is very talented and I haven’t seen him since Mega 2006, it was great hearing him do old voices such as Rat Trap, Waspinator, SilverBolt, and DinoBot. What made him sad that he mentioned during the interview that when Transformers Animated brought Waspinator in (since they did bring in Black Arachnia) they had Tom Kenny, voice of SpongeBob, voice him along with Star Scream but didn’t call Scott back for Waspinator. The interview will be seen soon! Before we left Scott, we did give him a gift of Pocky since he loves the little cookie sticks with chocolate. (Got it since someone lured him away back in 2006 with it when I got to his table!)
Needs for Improvement:
Well, now to the end, well close to it, like most movies, video games, and other things, there are things that need to be improved and Metro kind of needs it. Sorry for doing a critical view of this but not everything is always perfect and of course like what we said during True Tips and Tricks of Fan Fiction, Constructive Criticism = Good Criticism! So, what does it need to improve?
1. Guests: I think this needs aan improvement especially for next year. It was great meeting Brittney and Scott but it feels as though Metro is going down the route with non-anime related guests. Yes, I know they have fans but this is anime where there should be more anime related guests. Last year they had Crispin Freeman and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, then years before Johnny Yong Bosch and Greg Ayres were big names around but this year there were two anime guests and rest were Janet Varny, Phil Lamar, Dante Basco, and DC Douglas. I don’t have a problem with DC but it would be great to bring back Johnny, Greg, hell even Mary since she has been getting more work. Also should bring more new names that show up now such as Josh Grell (who was Kenichi), Micah Asoledad (Soul Eater Evans himself), or even Tia Ballard (Cat Planet Cuties), Newton Pittman (Fairy Tail) as good examples! Even mythiCon is getting a big guest line up for its first year and one of them include Liam O’Brian! What also kind of needs the improvement is that it wasn’t mentioned before is that Janet, phil, Dante, and DC were charging and normally we see that with Mega but these four were charging for signatures. I could see Dante doing it but with guests it would be different if they had their own postcards or pictures being charged like George Lowe, Peter Mayhew, and a few other people who does it and not charge someone for whatever they brought and not knowing about it. I know these people have fans but charging makes the convention meet n greet experience not as great unless they have something to charge than the item a fan brought. Still, I would like to see more anime guests and that needs to be improved.
2. Panels: I would say that panels need to be improved because it felt as though some of the equipment used for the rooms wasn’t inspected before panelists used it. I know we will bring our own equipment for now on especially before Holiday Matsuri if it happens but conventions should inspect the equipment before it gets used and doesn’t malfunction along the way during it. Trust me, I felt embarrassed when the voice track didn’t work in our Blind EXP panel and we still want to take it to Metro again next year. Another point of improvement, some people who host panels on certain series need to read and watch source material, as in research! I know we are all fans but what I saw from the Fairy Tail panel, it felt like fan fiction to us. I would be up there but they turned me down when I said if they need Lucy, I would do it.
Will We Return? YES! Despite Blind EXP being a flop, we want to come back! Why? MegaCon and AFO aren’t as interesting as this one and this convention has a simpler layout than Mega and it doesn’t feel so squeezed in as AFO and KnightroKon’s dealer room (yeah, the halves on both sides were so squeezed in, I felt claustrophobic and I am not clastrophobic~!) and the dealer room had everything for everyone in the anime community and that is what I want from a dealer room, to buy items to watch, plushies to squeeze, cosplay items, especially ones to get in a pinch that we can’t get at wig shops or in our local Hot Topics! Definitely we will be coming back! But not staying at the Courtyard again since we went through a fire alarm surprise early Sunday morning! So, the Waterside next year!
Verdict: Convention Complete! As in, we need to get the panels working full strength esp Blind EXP next year! Plus get pictures since we agree on if me and my fiance split up, he has the camera to take pics. At least we got a pic of Grue from Dispicable Me!
Well, that’s my weekend at MetroCon! What is up next on the Convention block? Why MythiCon of course! I will try and get the interviews with Scott and Brittney up here if we get the transcript out of it since it was video taped on our 3DS (yep, it does video press people) and will be doing my big haul! Stay tuned! Til next time!