This year I once again attended MetroCon 2016 for two out of the four days. While the convention has grown to include four days of events, the actual foot traffic did seem to be significantly reduced. This makes sense when you realize that this year was the very first year since its start of operations that this anime convention had restrictions to keep those without purchasing a ticket out of the halls. This was a double-edged sword. On the one hand, sales picked up for the convention and numbers were larger than ever before (at least in terms of ticket sales) but on the other hand, there were less cosplayers, less happening in the halls and Sunday was almost a ghost town even into mid-afternoon (though the ticket price was not significantly reduced enough to entice people).
The convention could also learn a lot from Tampa Bay Comic Con on how to organize lines. There is something to be said about the fast paced lines Sunday of TBCC versus the super slow lines during MetroCon on Saturday, despite both days having significant attendance for both conventions. Having the lines wrap around the outside and everyone stream inside upstairs through quick cashiers versus having a long winding carrel with slow cashiers definitely… Would make everyone a lot happier. Not only that, but the bag check and weapons check at Tampa Bay Comic Con was so quick and something you had to go through on the way inside that it literally took five seconds! I believe we waited for tickets for almost an hour at Metro.
Most of the time, I attend MetroCon for the main events and the cosplayers. This year I did not manage to see any of the main events but heard fantastic things about their production. Not surprisingly the actual side panels run by attendees were not that impressive. We attended a panel on “Who’s That Pokemon” but it was really just a rapid fire guessing game that left those without intimidate knowledge of all of the generations of Pokemon to just sit and listen to the crowd shouting out random names. Though the pictures were interesting, for sure. I only attended the one panel, however, so I can’t jump to many conclusions. Mostly I’m saying that I’ve never actually been to an impressive panel at MetroCon in any of the years I’ve attended that wasn’t a Main Event such as the Human Chess Match.
The saving grace for the convention for me were the amazing cosplayers that were in attendance. There were many amazing costumes to look at and a lot of people went all out on their cosplays!
In addition, the artisan alley seemed larger than in years past and more spaced out, allowing for more opportunity to walk back and forth between their booths without being trampled (although many vendors did poorly in sales compared to years past, I’ve been told). That being said, I purchased a significant amount more of merchandise myself than ever before.
Poster Via Lisaveee on Instagram
Then we get to my meetup for Miraculous LadyBug and, of course, this was the absolute highlight of the convention for me. I was so excited to see so many great cosplayers from Miraculous LadyBug come and join us for a photoshoot. Everyone was so sweet and so amazing! It makes me utterly proud to be part of this fantastic fandom.
Overall, MetroCon is definitely the largest Anime Convention in Florida. It could still learn from its mistakes and the changes that were made this year and move forward. I’m sure that the ticket restriction was a necessary evil, but it could have been executed better. The cosplayers and amazing people in attendance made this convention fantastic and the main events are always impressive. Looking forward to next year~