Convention Impossible: MetroCon 2014

Hello everyone and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe and another installment of Convention Impossible! As you know, so far this year I have been to Omni Expo and enjoyed it with its first year as a new convention in Orlando! This past weekend I went out of town for another convention and of course for my second year in a row of it, MetroCon in Tampa! Even though last year was a “Convention Complete” with all that has happened from the hotel all the way down to the horrible panel that Fairy Tail cosplayers put on, this year was better than the last in my opinion, how so you may ask let’s take a look!


Before I start, disclaimer! This review is based on opinion and observation! As in, what I see and hear and say in this review is based on what I thought exactly and honest with it! If you don’t like it then don’t read it! I already had one comment that complained about what I said about their panel, you know who you are, please don’t bash me for it!

Hotel: This year we decided to stay somewhere else and stayed with Tobi, his wife Vivi, and Mr. Nerdy Shirts, which he has never been to Metro until we told him about it and convinced him to go! We stayed at the Residence West Shore this time around instead of the Crappy Courtyard in Downtown Tampa. We know that there is the Residence behind the Courtyard but our reservation was made for a double suite and somehow the Downtown location wdidn’t have any vacancies at the time by what I remembered, but at least it turned out really well and a lot better, as in comfy bed and pillows, working T.v.s which we didn’t have one at the Courtyard and this time a kitchen that was somewhat stocked but we made it work and didn’t have to go to watch out for food poisoning like many other parts of Orlando and Kissimmee. Still, it was great and hoping we stay there again next year. I know it sounded like a long drive but we don’t get bad traffic like last year in the airport area on the way and of course the warnings, don’t have to walk. So folks, looking for a place, definitely recommend this location!


Convention Layout: Unlike last year, this year’s layout has changed for how everything took place. The first floor was where special events, panels, and autographs took place along with the usual registration and weapons check and I can see how that was convenient since the guest list was a star studded one this year, which I will go into detail next! Artists Alley on the second floor which was the same floor as last year and it felt a little smaller with what I saw but hey at least it was easier to walk around despite the enormous crowds going around. Third floor was where the dealer’s room was and I thought it was pretty convenient this eay because last year with it being on the first floor it was hard walking around the doors and finding your way to it when so many people are getting their swag. Plus, the aisles were wider and didn’t take up so much room and didn’t have the autographs take place in the same room, which last year the aisles were narrow due to that due to the blocked off area for signings. At least with the bigger dealer’s room, you had more vendors, which there were more than last year, plus it allowed panelists to host in the stage area towards the back, and the Pokemon Photoshoot to have their own area with the Pika Bug, which will talk about later with cosplays! I liked it better than last year since I don’t feel so closed in and can have breathing room while shopping for stuff! Even though the layout feels like the South Concourse back at the Convention Center here in Orlando but it is not as annoying to park since there are parking areas nearby the convention center and its parking garage. At least it is not as bad as what a lot of places along International did during MegaCon this year and that is not allowing anyone park and if they did there would be towing involved which sound bad. At least here in Tampa, not as bad and a lot more parking options to do. Still, I like this layout since it allows better walking even though there were a lot of crowds on the first and third floors but it gave better leeway to allow more rooms used for panels and signings rather than just having one big space for dealers take up when it was in a much bigger room upstairs.


Panels: I know I was going to mention guests next but I thought it would be easier for panels since I did mention how the first floor was all for them this year rather than spreading them out like many other conventions tend to do. This was also more convenient because it allowed more choices for panel rooms to host in. They did change up some of the rooms such as Room 19 being an open classroom without chairs, the media set up in Room 16 and Main Events, and allowed one room to be used for Guest Track Panels, which I did attend the Ghost In the Shell panel on Sunday since I did forget to give one of the guests a gift. Anyways, we didn’t do Blind Experience this year but decided to do something else and play with the theme of “Old School Vs. New School” with a version of Old Vs. New but with anime since Nostalgia Critic does it on the old versions and new ones of movies, Gondras did the first version on the original anime and the two first movies of Rebuild of Evangelion and Neon Genesis Evangelion! He thought it was jumbled mess but I thought it was pretty good despite how I mentioned cast changes but how he talked about it was pretty good despite Tobi had to look through the movies and the show for clips to match. At least I was there to help with the movies since I seen them enough times. Another panel that was tried out for an experiment was Vivi’s LARP panel, which was done in the open room, 19, and it was pretty well done. Even though we were late, well me and Gondras since I was getting my costume on and the dress for the most part (yeah, you can tell that I am not a dress wearer especially when I was going to do Lolita, which you can still read the last post on that!) but we were on time for the intro since we had a two hour slot. People did participate in a mystery type LARP which the story deals with a prized family jewel gets stolen before one of the daughters of the manor, one biological and the other adopted, gets handed to and the crowd needs to solve the mystery, which they were separated into law enforcement, merchants, peasants, and nobles! Plus, we also had Gondras as the Tom Baker doctor from Dr. Who to make it even more interesting! Still it was great and fun and it does make convention going more interesting when you have the crowd involved in your panel. Hoping with next year we will have something up our sleeves to make it more fun! And of course, Tobi did have a panel on dubbing and how dubs are portrayed. I did help with that with the discussion since there were sound difficulties in the room, decided to fill in with the “What was the worst dub?” etc. We did have a nice discussion on dubbing, especially with cultural contexts in dubbing since when companies here tend to change the translation to make the jokes be easily recognized, not in the sense of Gravitation if you know what I mean! So, will we host panels? Knowing for sure we will be helping with the LARP one again since that was a fun one to do.


The best panel I had to point out done by the panelists would have to be the Hellsing Happy Hour! It is done by people cosplaying as the cast from Hellsing and they answer questions about the anime in a funny manner! They did this panel on Friday right after Tobi’s panel and then again on Sunday for anyone who missed it Friday night, which I had to miss it due to thinking that I would be a part of the Twilight Brigade photoshoot but it didn’t happen because of the photographer not being around and also I did notice not many cosplayers, trust me I was pissed since I wore my costume ALL DAY due to distance from the hotel and didn’t have anything else that day except was supposed to go to the masquerade but didn’t. Anyways, this Hellsing panel is an example of anime based panels done right! If you read my many complaints about the really, really, REALLY bad Fairy Tail panel from last year, that was the worst one and perfect example of anime based panels done wrong! This one, with the jokes and cosplays, it was done right because everyone was in cosplay, they did the accents right, especially Tobi with his Anderson impersonation which he wants to do the cosplay for next year if this thing happens again, and even the mute guy took it one step further by having his words put up on the screen! Funniest panel ever! If you find the panel on YouTube, watch it because someone was taping it. I also did go to one event and that was Troy Baker’s acoustic session and man it was great, which guests are next!


Guests: This year’s guests was also based on the “Old vs. New” theme, as in older actors who have been in the industry for many and many years such as Scott McNeill, Richard Epcar, and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn meet the newer stars in the industry like Hynden Walsh and Brittney Karbowski. What I like about this year is that it brought better variety and made me go to the signings more, plus it did make it easier with the signing room this time around and not in the dealer room like last year! I did like how they split the lines with ropes to make each line different for each table versus the one row that AFO does every year since 2009 by what I remembered! What I found out that I didn’t know until after the first signing was press passes also equaled VIP, which I will mention that in Needs for Improvement down below!


It made me happy that I brought something special for Brittney Karbowski since I didn’t have part 5 of Fairy Tail last year, I did bring it to her for her to sign this year. What I did bring for her was my extra Carla plushie. I think I mentioned this somewhere here in my blogosphere is that back in January I ordered a Carla and Panther Lily plushie to go with Happy and weird thing was that I received Lily and found out Carla went missing. This was like my Capricorn key incident last summer but this was different. Apparently the tracking didn’t update because my postal service said it went missing and had to contact the seller and she sent me a new one. I got that in the mail and a month or two later, I got the second one, well the missing one arrived first and the free one. I didn’t want to ship it back since I would feel bad for what I did and when I saw that Brittney was coming back for this year’s convention a lightbulb went on and decided to give it to her since she is Wendy! When I gave it to her, I was glomped even with the twin blade props I was wearing! Even Mr. Nerdy Shirts had to warn her about me being blind when I got the glomp. Now she is complete with her Carla and knowing later on with her commentaries if she has any for Fairy Tail she will be having that and recording sessions with it in her lap. It made me happy that she loved it! I did enjoy meeting Nolen North though since I did help with getting my friend’s badge signed by him and knowing Gondras would be by later with his copy of Saints Row 4 to get signed, he noticed my twin blades on my belt and he commented with “Nice blades!” And I was surprised with that and realized “Oh yeah! You’re Dead Pool!” And he started doing the voice. I did get a pic with him and that is with Vivi and Tobi! I did ffeel happy that I finally get to meet Mary Elizabeth McGlynn since I love her voice and man I felt starstruck throughout my interview with her and felt embarrassed when I accidentally knocked my camera out of the volunteer’s hand after the Ghost In the Shell panel. A nice story to tell for panels or if I decide to write it, my convention story book.


Don’t worry, you will see my interviews with her, Richard Epcar, Troy Baker, and Dante Basco here and speaking of Troy Baker…we saw him perform a live acoustic show that also included Mary for some of the songs since he was doing the Silent Hill, well two of the songs for this performance. He did do a nice rendition of “Creep” and I had a standing ovation for that since it not only got covered so many times but he did it very well! If you haven’t heard him sing, I would suggest playing Saints Row 3 and 4 since he sings in those games, I should’ve played Sublime right after Gondras had him sing Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” during the VIP signing afterward. And in case if you can’t get those games, you can also catch him singing Excalibur’s song in Soul Eater. A head’s up, if you couldn’t come out to meet Troy, you can find him at AFO at the end of this month since he is also a guest there this year!


Stay tuned for my interviews!


Verdict: CONVENTION ACCOMPLISHED! Yes, this year gets an “Accomplished!” I prefer this year’s convention since there were things that I felt that were accomplished such as the panels we helped and did and of course getting to meet more guests this year. Plus, the interviews worked out better than last year since I was using my digital recorder rather the 3DS like last year. Sorry again for getting those up after so long and the recorder was better. Not only that, the dealer’s room felt roomier and of course did bump into Scott out of nowhere, which was fun! I will be doing my haul post next! Well done Metro 2014!


Needs for Improvement: Not all conventions and their years are perfect and I feel as though there are some needs to be improved here! First is that volunteers should be known what is going on and what they should be doing! How is that? Well, throughout the weekend, especially Sunday, it felt as though that some of the volunteers didn’t get the entire information in their duties with things they need to do, especially with the signing room, one good example is Friday night after Troy’s show with emptying out the room, the volunteer managing it didn’t know that there was a signing for VIP badge holders. And then Sunday for the 10 AM and 11 AM signings, the volunteers were confused by what I got with Tobi and Vivi’s accounts of the Hynden Walsh’s signing, which she left after 11 and when we got there the room was “Full to Capacity” when there were only a few amount of people, which they could let in more like with J. Michael Tatum’s signing during Holiday Matsuri. So, yeah volunteers should get more information with what they are doing, I remembered working for JACOn back in 2008 and 2009 where I got the entire information with what I need to do and it worked! I know there are a lot of people working this thing, but getting information out with positions for volunteers would help, even with texting, which everyone does!


Second, VIP perks should be mentioned extensively to press badges! I didn’t know about my perks as well with my little press badge until after the first signing. Apparently, my badge is the same as a VIP badge since I have to go everywhere including the interview room and did get to skip the lines for autographs and get to sit with VIP, etc. Same with Gondras since he was my press-partner-in-crime! It would’ve helped if I knew this after signing up for the badges in the first place because as a press pass holder you don’t know what you are allowed or not allowed to do since there are times when a badge might be an attendee status or not. It would be easy to mention these beforehand since not all information is finalized until the day of the convention or volunteers won’t get the entire information , like the first NFI I mentioned.


Third, anyone holding a photoshoot on day 1, try doing it early in the day! I know I was a part of PikaBelleChu’s Pokemon shoot, that was done at a reasonable time during the day in the dealer’s room and a lot of people came for it, but the Twilight Brigade thing was not until 11 at night when everyone is tired and went back to their rooms after the masquerade or stuck around for the Friday Night Rave, or even for late night panels, or the fire show outside, which that is a lot of stuff going on. Trust me, as said above, was really mad since I wore my costume all day and was waiting for this event but it got cancelled after I met the person doing it and found out the photographer wasn’t there either. I feel that the time slot was not the best time and I didn’t see many cosplayers since people tend to be out of cosplay late at night as well. I know I will get “Why didn’t you change out?” I assumed that there was a photoshoot going on. Anyways, it would be best that all shoots should be held during the day versus late at night and if it’s in a panel room, could mix it in in as a panel to show what everyone has done for their costumes. Such as I can talk about the OC idea I came up with and show off the props! Hoping if this Twilight Brigade thing happens again, hoping it’s during the day even if it was a nice debate in the mix. And yes, I did get my silver markings off my body since it didn’t budge at all.


Finally, anyone choosing time slots, remember it’s first come first serve and at least hold the panel you’re doing! This happened a month after Gondras wanted me to put his panel for 8 PM Saturday and Fantasy Soft wanted the slot to do their panel and needed the equipment and ended up changing the slot to 9 PM and the panels after him had to be moved to other rooms. Here was the thing, a different panel took place and it was on how fan subs held the anime industry and how to spot merch authenticity. It was interesting but at the same time I felt let down that my fiance’s panel got pushed back due to a panel that was supposed to happen and didn’t happen. So, anyone who wants to get their slots change, don’t ask us if we do anything again because these slots are first come and first serve, no if’s and’s or buts! It’s not fair for anyone who has to give up their slots to make room even if it is an important one, I would say choose your slots once the time slots are ready after your panel has been chosen for the convention.


Well, that is it for this review! I know it was a bit long but a lot of things took place! Yes, we will be going to MetroCon 2015 and heard it will be four days versus three! And of course, will be going for press again! What is next for the conventions? We will be going back to Orlando for MythiCon Year 2!


What is next? MetroCon Haul 2014!

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