Every July in Miami, Super Conventions presents Florida Supercon, a four-day comics convention that celebrates comic books, sci-fi, fantasy, cosplay, anime, animation, and pop culture galore. What’s even better is how they offer many LGBT friendly celebrities and panels — one example is George Takei who is scheduled to appear at Florida Supercon 2013.
But Super Conventions has created a new event — one with a definite LGBT fan base — Animate! Miami. This convention focuses only on anime, animation and cosplay, and will take place on January 18-20, 2013 at the Miami Airport Convention Center.
“We used to run an event called Anime Supercon which we put on hold in 2010,” explained founder and organizer of Super Conventions, Mike Broder. “[Animate! Miami] is Anime Supercon, just under a new name.”
Instead of “the comic book vendors, artists, [and] Sci-Fi guests” that abound at Florida Supercon, Animate! Miami features “top name guests from anime and animation,” as well as “killer costuming and cosplay events.”
Broder also shared that this new convention allows them to “bring in guests that are not available for Supercon.”
For example, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has become one of the most popular animated shows since its debut in 2010. Twice, Broder tried to arrange for the voice actors to appear at Florida Supercon, but there were scheduling conflicts. Animate! Miami will finally present the voice actors of My Little Pony to a South Florida audience.
Cast members from the anime High School of the Dead and Soul Eater will also be there as well as voice actors from Ouran High School Host Club and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
For those unfamiliar with anime, Broder elaborated on the genre: “Anime is essentially just a cartoon from Japan. So like all cartoons, there are good and bad, adult and non-adult … but there are a lot of high quality, well-written anime films and series. Same as there are well-written American cartoons and animated films. It just takes a minor leap to adjust to the Japanese art style. Also, there are dubbed audio versions and sub-titled versions.”
Broder discussed possible reasons for anime’s connection with LGBT audiences, “There tends to be a lot more openness in anime than in western cartoons…they're more likely to have openly gay characters in the stories and treat these characters in more realistic way. There is [also] a huge segment of Yaoi and Yuri, which is anime (and manga comics) dealing explicitly with gay and lesbian relationships.”
The current schedule of programs at Animate! Miami does not list anything LGBT-specific. However, Broder emphasized events that could reach out to the LGBT audience, particularly anyone who does cosplay, i.e., dressing up as a character from anime or an animated series: “The Saturday night costume competition or the Sunday night Masquerade Costume and Performance Competition, the raves, karaoke.”
Other presentations that may be of LGBT interest are those by Urban Ronin, a stunt combat/ cosplay group, and Cheesy On the Outside, a performance group that will stage shadow casts of Dr. Horrible’s Sing A Long Blog and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
As always at events such as these, particularly when LGBT youth are present, the concern may be safety — can an LGBT person freely express themselves?
“We have a very open community, where everyone is welcome to express themselves. In the seven years since we've started these events we've never had any issues,” stated Broder. “Our only rules are that costumes have to be PG-13 during the daytime until the exhibition room closes.
“We're a little bit more relaxed for the evening events, but it still has to be in the bounds of keeping it legal. But as far as expression goes, we have a zero tolerance towards intolerance. We're all one big community and these events are where geeks of all shapes/sizes/sex/orientation/religion, etc. are welcome. I don't want anyone at our events that would make someone feel unwelcome because of some perceived difference.”
Four thousand attendees are expected at the event, but Broder anticipated that number could increase.
To view a complete schedule of programs for Animate! Miami, visit http://animatemiami2013.sched.org/.
To purchase tickets, visit http://www.animatemiami.com and click on Buy Tickets
If you go to Animate! Miami:
January 18, 19 & 20, 2013
Convention Event Hours / Exhibition Room Hours
Friday, 2 p.m to 3 a.m. / 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. / 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. / 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Airport Convention Center
711 NW 72nd Ave
Hotel Phone: 305-261-3800
3 Day Event Ticket $45
Friday, Single Day Ticket $20
Saturday, Single Day Ticket $25
Sunday, Single Day Ticket $20
VIP Pass $150