Hey guys! MegaCon is long over and there are two more anime conventions in Central Florida to get excited about. They are both in the summer so you have time to save your money!
MetroCon is in Tampa, Florida and will be taking place from July 23rd - 25th at the Tampa Convention Center. There is an official hotel that connects to the convention center and while it is expensive, it is a pretty nice suite.
Notable guests this year are Scott McNeil, Richard Ian Cox, and Kirby Morrow. They are all Ocean Group voice actors so you have heard them in something at some point on Cartoon Network. It's safe to say that there will probably be an Inu Yasha voice actor panel at the convention. July is far away and it is likely more guests will be added. Real guests that worked on anime and not cosplayers or people in the artist alley.
MetroCon's greatest strength are their main events. I highly recommend seeing their Chess Match(the Sunday version is better since they already did it on Saturday), their Fire Shows, and their dances. I haven't been to the Fantasy Masquerade but I've heard good things. Problem is that they have an additional charge beyond the weekend pass, which is why I don't go. They tend to have an enjoyable video game room with lots of dance games and fighting games(they charge for their game tournaments, with half the entry fee going to the cash prize pot).
Anime Festival Orlando will be at the Wyndham Orlando Resort on International Drive and Sandlake Road during August 6th - 8th. It's hard to say this without bias, but AFO is the best anime convention in Central Florida. Every year, the schedule is packed with excellent game shows, anime and live-action showings, some exciting panels, and great guests. Being a convention at a hotel is a wonderful convenience and the convention pass includes all activities and events at the convention.
In addition to all of that, they have an interactive game you can play all weekend at the convention. This year's will be Skies of Orlandia, a sky-pirate/steampunked themed adventure where players will team up and compete in challenges and quests to gain experience and level up to help their side win the great battle going on throughout the weekend! The game is still in planning phases(guess what local anime club is involved) and there will be more details in the future.
The guest list so far has Jason David Frank, Travis Willingham, Tony Oliver, and Rueben Langdon returning, and new to AFO will be Laura Bailey! I can say that more guests will be added in the future so stay tuned. I highly recommend attending Jason David Frank's martial arts class(if he is doing it again). The novelty of learning fighting moves from the Green Ranger is one you cannot pass up!
Both conventions are fun and both do things the other does not. The problem is, both are scheduled two weeks apart this year. This may make it difficult to make a choice between the two. Many of us in the club would recommend AFO without hesitation. It's fun all weekend while MetroCon is only fun in spurts. There is more to do at AFO and if you are an adult, there is also plenty of partying to be had after hours. There are also +18 events at AFO(with I.D. check at the door).
Pre-registration is available for both and if you plan on going to either, do it soon while the prices are as low as they are. They will rise over time. Either way, make sure you show up with cash, deodorant, a toothbrush, swim wear, and most important - your dignity.