Tuesday, July 16, 2019

MetroCon 2019: Maybe We Should Dance More

Most conventions I cover are physically and emotionally draining, because they're huge, crowded, and often filled with people annoyed by those things. MetroCon is different, though. For the third year now I've come back rested and refueled, happy, and only a little sleep-deprived. Because it's specifically an anime con, Metro has a smaller, younger crowd, and that seems to equal a happier crowd. There are no big name celebrities, so no one is griping about the cost of photo opps or autographs, and no one is rushing to go stand in line, either. It's much more relaxed, very social, very accepting, very fun.

 John and I drove up Friday afternoon to spend the last few hours that day shopping, because Metro has THE best vendor room when it comes to draining my bank account. The art! The giant plushies! The jewelry and charms and kawaii cuteness!

One of my favorite booths - and sellers! - Whimsy Kei.

  Saturday is the big cosplay day, so we spent that day roaming the perimeter of the floor with our flash rig, taking photos. There were so many beautiful cosplays... I can't wait to show you! 

Sunday was pretty sparse, cosplay-wise, so we took a break to play the Escape Room in the vendor room and shop a bit more. Along the way I also took pics & video with my phone, of course, so if you missed any of my Story updates over the weekend, here come the highlights:

(Watch your volume; about halfway through there's some loud music.)
That dance floor is my favorite thing at Metro, because - Awkward Confession Time - I don't dance. I don't know how, and the very thought of trying makes me lock up in terror. And yet, paradoxically, I love to watch people dance! It fills up my heart in a way nothing else can, and I get the biggest, goofiest grin when I watch from the sidelines. We never linger more than a minute or two, but I try to pass by the floor as often as possible, bopping my head to the music, often laughing out loud in delight from all the infectious JOY out there.

I wish every convention had a dance floor like this. Not hidden away in some ballroom, but right smack in the open areas as you walk in. I bet folks would be less grumpy after a long wait in the ticket line if they walked in to find all the Disney princesses (and several Deadpools, of course) dancing to Backstreet Boys. Ha!

 But wait, there's more.

I have a few more pretties I didn't post in my Story!

Always one of my favorites. Their makeup game is FLAWLESS.

This character comes in two sizes:

I found someone shorter than me, you guys!

This metallic Princess Peach had a holographic shine to her - it was mesmerizing in person.

We also took a photo of her with flash, and I'm really curious to see how it turns out.

Oh, that's another thing: at every other con the cosplayers have business cards - lots and lots of them. But not Metro. At Metro I didn't get a single card, not even from the most professional looking cosplayers. At one point a Nott from Critical Role reached into her pouch after I'd taken her photo, and I said, "Oh! A card! You're the first one this weekend." But it wasn't a card: it was a gift. Nott gave us each a little button. (Her character collects shiny buttons.)

That interaction really encapsulates MetroCon.

(Obviously there's nothing wrong with business cards, btw, and I dearly appreciate them when I'm trying to tag cosplayers! That's just an example of how much more low-key Metro is.)

 You'll notice I'm not even trying to name most of these characters, so feel free to help me out in the comments.

 Obviously it's mostly anime cosplay at Metro, but really there's a little of everything:
 Gorgeous Game of Thrones group.

And here's Hiccup & Astrid from How To Train Your Dragon!

Preeeetty sure this is Taako from The Adventure Zone:

If nothing else, these photos remind me how much I love our flash photography setup, since convention floor lighting is TERRIBLE, ha.
 She has a tray of milk and cookies! And her shoes look like skates!

 This Skull Kid had a speaker in his mask that played a rather disturbing laugh. o.0 And check out the floating fairy ball! It was lit up, and hanging from a thin line from Link's sword.

One last little happy thing, though I'm sorry I don't have a photo:

Metro is held in the Tampa Convention Center, the same building that also hosts Tampa Comic-Con & MegaCon Tampa every year, so we're in this building a lot. For each of those other conventions, every DAY of the convention, there's always a protester or two stationed right at the street corner, right where you have to pass by on the way in from the parking garage. 

These protesters are always the hateful sort, holding signs about judgement and how wearing costumes is a sin, glaring at everyone who walks by, and generally giving religion a bad name. (There are always several cops present, too, so we've never felt threatened. Just uncomfortable.) 

But at Metro, even here we were spared: there WAS a man on the corner holding a sign, but he wasn't yelling, he was dancing

Yep, this white-haired, almost stuffy-looking sort of fellow was out there straight up dad-dancing to his boombox - the kind of dancing that would make any middle-schooler cringe. He was blithely singing along to the music, his face lit up with a smile, and making no effort to stop us or catch our eye. I can't remember exactly what his sign said, but it was something about grace and love.

Whatever you think about religion, I think you'll agree that's a better example of it. And combined with the way I've watched our next generations embrace each other this past weekend, celebrate their differences, be respectful, and really TRY to just be better people, it makes me hopeful for our future. Maybe they won't have all the answers, but you know what? They're going to CARE. And that's enough of a start for me.

Keep dancing, my friends. I may be the one awkwardly bopping my head to the music over here on the sidelines, but I promise I'm also the one forever cheering you on.


Also stay tuned for my flash portraits!

Hey did you know you can send me a tip through Paypal, or even sign up to support me monthly? That's only if you have the means and are feeling super generous, though; I promise just your being here is enough for me. I love you all, thx for hanging out with me.


  1. Your very first picture in the post, they're cosplaying a group a from My Hero Academia, which is a fun superhero anime.

    Your character who comes in two size, I think is a card character from Yu-Gi-Oh - dark magician girl, I think?

    1. Yup the 2 sizes is Dark Magician Girl from Yu Gi Oh

  2. Ah, a Poppy Pipopapo cosplay! :D (the bright pastel girl dancing with the black mage in the video) I always love seeing fellow Kamen Rider cosplayers out in the wild~

    1. -Kermit flail- Poppy!! My husband and I were at a different convention that weekend (Anime Midwest in Chicago) and there was a Poppy there too, in her full armor! I went as Wizard and hubs went as Decade, though we were both in their civilian clothes. I <3 Kamen Rider so much. :D

  3. regarding "religious" protesters... I was recently at a Christian Music concert...and there was a "religious" protester across the street from the front entrance who was going on about how the headliner was not the right kind of Christian! We were all doomed because if we followed this group we were being led astray. OYE! I really think that there are just some people who like to hear their own blabber.
    I am really glad that you had a better experience for this con. One day I might go to our con...although I really want to save up my pennies and go to Costume College.

  4. The guy in the suit with the dripping ink head is Bendy from Bendy and the Ink Machine! It's an indie horror title that's about a 1920s/1930s cartoon studio. And the gal with the milk and cookies is cosplaying Megurine Luka in her "Senbonzakura" outfit. (She's a vocaloid so she has a bunch of different costumes)

  5. Wearing costumes is a sin? That's a new one! They're getting creative!

    1. I remember one had a huge list of "sins" - and I kid you not, it included the line "Yoga pants." I still giggle over that one.

    2. Well, in their defense, yoga pants are so dang comfy they FEEL sinful.

    3. Yup, I’ve seen that one. Terrorists, isolators, yoga pants.

  6. I swear that one of thee days, I'm going to this just so I can meet you and John. Tampa is only about a 30 minute drive for us. It never seems to work out that we can go during Con, but one of these days, Jupiter and Venus will align and there I'll be in my "regular non-con" clothes, just to meet you guys!

  7. The cosplayer in the blue dress and the straw hat is Sophie from Howl's Moving Castle! It's art_o_fia on instagram, her cosplays are lovely!

    I've heard really great things about Metro, especially that chill, friendly attitude you talked about here. I'll have to make my way down for it sometime!

    1. Aha! I knew that outfit was from a Ghibli film, but I couldn't quite remember which one.

    2. Ah, is that it? It made me think Anne of Green Gables! :)

  8. I strongly endorse just plain learning dancing! My favorite is swing dancing (a good mix of structure vs. improvisation for me), but if you want something more structured, square dancing or contra dancing can be fabulous. Communities are usually very welcoming, "trying to look cool", at least in beginner swing dance classes, is minimal or not a thing, and you get to move to music along with a bunch of other people also moving to music. And then, like crafting, the more you know how to do, the more you can do and combine and create; and once you have confidence swing dancing, you can do it to not-swing music in a surprisingly wide range of tempos and it looks reasonable.

    (and being petite is a bonus with dancing! and it goes so well with dapper-ing!)

  9. I'm that red robe Taako!! I remember you snapping a pic of me and I'm so glad to see it ♡ my instagram is @space.divers !!

  10. Whimsy Kei is now someone I need to study for booth organization!! That’s a fantastic setup!


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