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Japanese pop culture parade

Anime enthusiasts may want to stay in Tampathis weekend. The state’s largest anime convention, Metrocon, will be held this Friday through Sunday in the Tampa Convention Center.

Now in its fifth year, Metrocon is a weekend-long celebration of all that encompasses Japanese pop culture. Comics, pop and rock music, costume design and video games from the country are among the types of entertainment to be featured.

The convention is presented by and is the first of its kind in Tampa.

The celebration will kick off on Friday at 12:30 p.m. with opening ceremonies. At 3:30 p.m., patrons can compete in a song/dance competition to win “Anime Idol.” A masquerade ball will be held later that evening, followed by the Club Metro Dance in the ballroom at midnight.

Local performers dressed as various anime characters will take part in a scripted combat chess match at noon on Saturday. Dubbed “The Original Anime Human Chess Match,” the live stage-show has been among the most popular attractions in the convention.

There will be various contests held throughout Saturday, including a costume contest and an anime music video contest.

Saturday night brings another party to the ballroom, this time at 10 p.m. Patrons are encouraged to wear costumes, and glow sticks will be passed out. Retro, pop, remix and Japanese music will be played. A rave will be held afterward.

Metrocon badges are required for admission into all parties. For those not attending the convention, wristbands will be available for the masquerade ball.

On Sunday at 2 p.m., Metrocon will host a film festival highlighting some of the most well-known film-makers in the anime community.

Closing ceremonies will be held at 6 p.m. A preview of what’s to come at next year’s Metrocon will be shown to patrons who have a VIP pass or who wear a Metrocon 2007 shirt.

Pre-registration for Metrocon is closed, but tickets may be purchased at the door. A weekend pass for adults is $50, and a one-day pass for adults is $25. Payment is accepted in cash or check only.