Pop Culture Mania in Miami Beach (Florida SuperCon)

Today, I went to SuperCon at the Miami Beach Convention Center with my brother with the intention of showing him that my anime/cartoon/gaming world is not as childish as he and my stepdad claim it to be. I was afraid that my brother wasn’t going to like at first, but guess what? He enjoyed it! He had just as grand of a time as I did looking around for anime and video game memorabilia and seeing some celebrities.

Speaking of celebrities, I wanted to meet J. Michael Tatum, the voice of Sebastian in Black Butler, and Roger Craig Smith, the 3rd-generation voice actor for Sonic the Hedgehog since Sonic Colors, but it was a disaster on the timing front. First, I was trying to find Tatum’s booth pretty much since I arrived at the convention, but he was nowhere to be found. All I wanted was to ask him when the English dub of Black Butler: Book of Circus will be released because I watched the English sub last summer and FUNimation hasn’t said anything about the English dub being in production. Not even once. Then, I look for Roger Craig Smith so that he could sign his autograph on a Sonic fan art poster I bought earlier only to find out that the line for his booth was full and that he wouldn’t return for another two hours or so. When I came back to Smith’s booth at 3:00pm (I heard he would come back at 3:30), a kid in front of me and my brother said that J. Michael Tatum was two booths down, which elated me. So, I went down there and squealed “I FOUND MY BASSY!”–I was cosplaying Grell Sutcliff, a grim reaper who has a giant crush on Sebastian, so of course I had to get into character. I said it to someone who I thought was another fan of Tatum’s work in Black Butler and other anime (including the recent Free!–Eternal Summer, which I would like to see), but turned out to be a convention employee who said, “The line is closed, but J. Michael Tatum will be back at 5:30.” The problem was, my brother wanted to leave by 4:30, which also turned out to be the ACTUAL time Roger Craig Smith would retreat to his booth. Being denied the opportunity to meet the two voice actors I know in the anime/gaming industry got me a little bit discouraged. However, every gray cloud has a silver lining. That silver lining came in the form of the incomparable Tom Kenny, the voice actor for SpongeBob SquarePants (and Ice King for all you Adventure Time fans out there). Despite that I was wearing a long red wig, Kenny said that I was beautiful in his SpongeBob voice, which flattered me. I asked him if he voiced the Mayor and Professor Utonium in The PowerPuff Girls, and he said while he did voice the Mayor and the narrator (“And so, once again, the day is saved thanks to the PowerPuff Girls!” Remember that line?), Professor Utonium was voiced by Tom Kane. No wonder I confused Kane for Kenny–their last names sound almost the same! Although I got no picture taken with him nor his autograph, meeting the legendary Tom Kenny satisfied me just enough. I was also surprised to discover that Kenny also voiced Spyro the Dragon in the following Spyro games: Ripto’s Rage, Year of the Dragon, and Enter the Dragonfly. I played the second game mentioned when I was 8.

The video game arcade room was very crowded. I came in hearing “For True Story” from Sonic Adventure 2, thinking somebody might be playing the game, but it was actually coming from a cover band…or something else…I couldn’t tell exactly. The gaming stations were so full, even the PS4 and Xbox One consoles that were available had their controllers missing and no games running at all. The only game I was able to play, however, was kinda like Dance Dance Revolution but had a different name. I danced to 3OH3’s “Don’t Trust Me” missing some steps on the dance pad, which had a center button in the shape of a circle. As much as I love Dance Dance Revolution–and other games like it–my red coat hindering my dance moves discouraged me from dancing to another song.

Now, let’s talk about some of the memorabilia I bought, shall we? Although everything from Pokémon to Kingdom Hearts to even Sword Art Online overstimulated my senses, I only got the cheap stuff. The Sonic fan art poster I bought for the Roger Craig Smith autograph that I never received cost me $10. Then I bought two clip-on bottle cap hair bows with Sonic and a Poké Ball on them for $7 a pop–I’m starting to regret that purchase a little bit. Finally, I got an Olaf decal for my mom and a Sonic decal for when I get my own car for $5 a pop.

As for my Grell cosplay, a bunch of people were so in awe of my modeling in it they came up to me and asked for pictures, which I gladly agreed to.

Despite some major setbacks, it was a lovely day for a pop culture convention like SuperCon. All I need to do now is get red wig fixed–it’s frizzy and knotty.

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Never Judge a Person By Their Shirt

Never Judge a Person By Their Shirt

Until very recently, I never had any problems with someone giving me harsh judgment for wearing a T-shirt embedded with one of my favorite cartoon/video game characters (except maybe in 6th Grade, but that’s another story). Precisely one month ago, I was going to my World Geography class wearing a pink Classic Sonic shirt and denim jean shorts–it was already too hot for me to wear pants of any sort in South Florida. My stepdad looked at my attire for the day and said that I looked like I was going to kindergarten instead of a college class. I couldn’t tell whether he was telling the truth or joking about it, but I didn’t give a shit regardless. The next day was worse. I planned on going to another campus wearing my Black Butler tank top, black shorts, and Ed Hardy converse shoes. Cute, right? Not to my stepdad, who still had the audacity to tell me that what I was wearing was “not age-appropriate for college,” even though the Black Butler shirt was women’s medium and I bought it from Hot Topic. I cried almost the entire time I was in my Western Civilization class, barely writing down the notes about Ancient Rome that my professor wrote on the whiteboard as he was lecturing. I asked my classmates and the professor if they deem me immature for wearing such attire–they said no.

Yesterday, I told my mother that my bathing suit–a two piece that’s designed to look like Ciel Phantomhive’s green outfit–was ready for pickup at Hot Topic. My older brother asked me what kind of bathing suit it was, and when I told him “Black Butler” he groaned. To make matters even worse, my mom said that someone asked her how old I was the day before simply because I was wearing a red Hello Kitty shirt (which I bought from the juniors department at Wal-Mart, by the way). I got extremely pissed off at hearing that someone thought I was 12, not 21. I was even more enraged when my own mother and brother mocked me for wearing clothes that featured my favorite video games and cartoons/anime.

So I beg the question: Why the hell is my family judging me for wearing clothes based on my interests in video games and cartoons/anime? It may have a lot to do with how society views people in the gaming community: man-children who would rather spend every waking hour of every day playing video games and watching cartoons/anime in lieu of attending school and/or holding down a job. I find this to be an extremely vicious stereotype, and I can’t believe that this is coming from some family members who claim that my teachers will downgrade me for exhibiting my interests in such popular forms of entertainment despite the fact that I take my schoolwork very seriously and that people will take advantage of me for doing so–both of which I never had to deal with.

I firmly believe in the basic human right to freedom of speech and expression, and if I want to wear my Classic Sonic shirt, my Black Butler tank top, or a My Little Pony T-shirt, that is my right. I shouldn’t let anyone tell me otherwise.