MoonieGirl Presents – Florida Anime Experience

Hello my fellow Moonies.  This is a MoonieGirl91 here to give you the pop scope on the latest Anime News. There were many conventions happening during the weekend of May 25-27th. The one I happen to have gone to was the Florida Anime Experience.  It was held in Orlando, Florida at the International Palms Resort.  Now usually for conventions they don’t have a theme but this year the theme was Sailor Moon.  You’re probably wondering why it was themed Sailor Moon, for one it’s the Sailor Moon anime’s 20th anniversary and the other being that the main guest was Miss Terri Hawkes, the dub voice of Sailor Moon/Serena (love this name for Sailor Moon) for most of season one, all of season two and all three Sailor Moon movies. There were other voice actors there as well like Darrel Guilbeau who plays the role of Mikado in Durarara! and Dan Woren who currently voices Byakuya Kuchiki in Bleach, but Terri was the most popular of them all. So now I am going to tell you my “experience” at the Florida Anime Experience.

Let’s start with one of the panels I went to.  It was called Anime Retro: Sailor Moon. Now being me, I was late of course (typical Serena thing to do). While I was not at the panel they were showing all the introductions of the Sailor Moon anime and the horrible, horrible live action Sailor Moon that Saban had thought of before DiC got the rights to the actual anime! Thank God they did, or we would have had Amy in a wheelchair, a lamer theme song that wasn’t even in the tune of the Japanese theme song and then not even looking the way they do now but Americanized. So see DiC isn’t so bad after all now is it? Yes a lot of the mistakes, scripts, cuts, and censoring they did was very bad but overall the voice actors were amazing, especially Terri (Sorry but I personally feel she is Sailor Moon)!  When I finally got there they were showing clips of the live action PGSM (Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon) and the Sailor Moon musicals.  They were asking questions after each clip and if you got the answer right you won a free poster. As the Sailor Moon musical clips were showing I was bringing up the fact, to be informative, that Anza played the role of Sailor Moon in the musical. Because I had already answered the question they were going to ask after the clip of who played Sailor Moon in the musical, I won the prize (Thanks Brady!)  The poster is a classic Sailor Moon poster with all the scouts on it and Serena is holding a plush bunny.  It’s so cute!!! After the clips they had a game where people on the stage had to name the villains in Sailor Moon but not repeat what villain they already named. Sadly I lost but I had a lot of fun.  This panel brought much joy for there were other fans of Sailor Moon there, we watched Sailor Moon and showed our love for Sailor Moon and it was like one big moon family.

The other panel I saw was called Girls Guide to Con -Going.  Now you would think by the title of the panel that this is only convention tips for girls. WRONG! It was for everybody. The only reason why they called it girls guide was because it was hosted by two girls, but the advice was for everyone. They gave fantastic tips. A few were to have food on you like snacks so you’re not starving, bring a set of regular clothing just in case you had enough cosplaying or something happens to your cosplay, and to have a sewing kit on you or in your hotel room to help other cosplayers and yourself should costumes rip or fall apart.  They also give tips about celebrities/guest who go to conventions.  They said treat them like humans for they are human just like you and don’t make them feel bad if they say no to something you ask for.  They want to make you happy but don’t put them in an awkward position for its not nice and they’re being nice to you.  The girls had some interesting stories from some voice actors that had to deal with attendees at the convention, like one voice actor was asked by the attendee if they could lick their face. DON’T ASK THIS…’s just creepy.  Of course the voice actor said no in a nice way and the attendee got upset. It’s not cool making people feel bad and being a creepy person.  One last subject they talked about was accommodating your shape and size of your cosplay to fit you nicely and to not look like a slut.  They were saying it not in a mean way nor in an un-encouraging way but sometime you can’t cosplay as a certain character because of your body size.  I don’t agree with them but I do believe you can mess it up if you don’t think about it clearly.  I’m a plus size cosplayer but I make sure I look good and not underdressed or tight looking. It was a very informative panel, entertaining at the same time and I actually learned tips for myself.

We have come to the best part, my meeting with Terri Hawkes.  First, she is a sweetheart and she has the purest heart I have ever seen. She has such a positive way on life and is very happy all the time. She was very grateful that people still loved the show and loved her as Sailor Moon/Serena and was very shocked on how popular she was.  She was very down-to-earth and very family oriented. She was fun, funny, sweet, kind, grateful, and just plain old cute. Her first signing, the line was so long I didn’t even get in and I was 15 minutes early.  Her Q&A was after her first signing, so that was the first time I saw her with my very own eyes and freaked out inside. The Q&A was very interesting and very heartwarming for she had very heart touching stories about the show and her personal life. I did ask her two questions at the Q&A and she couldn’t answer one of them for it was about the cuts in DiC so she wasn’t very knowledgeable about it and the other was just if she liked the name Serena and she said yes. After the Q&A I waited for the four o’clock signing and I got in. I was waiting inside the room where she was signing and I got closer and closer and then she was signing my poster. I couldn’t believe the one I looked up for the past 3 year (and for more people it’s even longer!) was signing something of mine and that she was talking to me. I’m surprised I didn’t cry, but there was a crier on Sunday and I just started crying with her.  It was very touching. Sadly I really didn’t get to talk to her personally it was very rushed because it was organized well (I’ll talk about it in a little bit) but I had to give her a picture that I colored for her because I forgot to give it to her while I was getting my stuff signed. Luckily the staff let me back in the room, and Miss Hawkes was very grateful that I dressed up for her and loved my costume. Before I left the Saturday signing I asked if I could please have a hug and she said of course.  I got to hug my idol and after the hug, because we had a rushed picture during the signing, she said let’s get a hug picture so I was very touched when she said that.

Sunday I had two more things to be signed that I bought on Saturday. I got up at seven in the morning, put my cosplay on and got in line at 8:30 and sat there for three hours, not fun.  I also got into the signing for Sunday but the staff made an announcement before the signing started that there would be no pictures with Terri allowed. I thought this was ridiculous, but they said they did it so that more people could have her signing their stuff. I’m glad I got my picture on Saturday or I would have been disappointed.  I felt bad for the other fans. As I was getting my stuff signed Sunday, Miss Hawkes remembered my name so she said “Hi MoonieGirl (though she said my real name)” and I was very filled with joy that she remembered my name and remember who I was.

Now the last thing to do was to get onto the ridiculously long line to see Terri’s Voice Acting 101 panel. It was wonderful for not only was it entertaining but very educational for the business and voice acting world. At the end of this panel Terri called on some people to practice how to read scripts and how to act it out. We would have to say one line and have a different emotion each time we said that one line. I participated with this and it was a lot of fun, but I was so nervous. I did pretty well if I do say so myself though.

The last time for the whole weekend that I saw her was at the closing ceremonies. She came up on stage, said her grateful thank you and how much fun she had this weekend, and that she was very honored to have been so welcomed by all of us. After that all three of the voice actors came up on stage and all of them did a line each from their show. Terri did “Moon Healing Activation!” for that is her favorite line to say and she said because it was a very healing weekend for her and us.  After all the voice actors were done, they all left the stage and exited the room saying goodbye to everyone. As soon as Terri left I started crying like a little girl and I couldn’t stop. I felt as if I was saying goodbye to my best friend, who I spent the whole weekend with.  I don’t know if this sounds silly but she’ll always be my best friend in my own heart and hey you never know we could really be friends one day if I become a voice actor. I would love to work with her. It was an “experience” that I will never forget and Terri if you’re reading this it was a pleasure meeting you and an honor and I hope we meet again “Sailor Moon says”.

The convention itself was fun, good and relaxing for the most part but I have my complaints but let’s start with the good things about it.

The dealer’s room was really small and it was a good thing for you didn’t have to think about what boots are better and not be overwhelmed to buy everything! They had a lot of nice stuff for each booth and a lot to choose from but not a sky full that you have a dealer’s room anxiety attack. The artist alley was even smaller and it wasn’t so good for the artist, but good for you because again you couldn’t go too crazy about what drawings you wanted. There were I believe two panel rooms, one Main Event room, one anime screening room, one library Manga room, the dealers room, the artist alley room and one video game room.

For the most part they had enough rooms, but that’s where it conflicts with the signings for each voice actor and each signing was only 45 minutes for all 3 of them, for they had other panels to do in that room.  It can’t be done like this for they should have given one specific room for all the signings. The staff was very friendly and they have become fellow friends of mine, but I believe they’re a little naive on the size of the crowd verse the size of the room.

Now here comes my complaining. The Terri Hawkes signing was too short! I was very fortunate to even get everything signed, but for others they didn’t even get a picture nor did they get her autograph.  It wasn’t planned out. You can’t get somebody as famous as Terri and have four signings at only 45 minutes apiece. I understand because a staff member said they did it so that she wouldn’t be crunched in a room but you could have spaced it out and had slightly longer signing or just added more signings to the schedule. It was sad that people didn’t get a picture with her nor get her autograph. Terri was taking her time with everybody and speaking to everybody individually and making them feel like they mattered and wasn’t rushing anybody.  She was catering to the fans, while the con was just trying to get the signings over with. At the closing ceremonies they also said that they weren’t expecting it to be this popular. Are you kidding me? Are you serious? Yeah… You just got the most famous voice actress who played Sailor Moon! One of the most popular anime in American and in JAPAN! Do your research next time people please! You call yourselves experts, but I didn’t see any proof at all.  If they become more understanding on how a convention should work with a famous voice actor or voice actress then it will be a successful convention, but to let you know it was only their second year. That is still no excuse for not knowing how to run your business.

Overall the Florida Anime Experience was quite nice and enjoyable!!!! Here’s the question, would I go again? Yes! It actually feels, in a way, more like a vacation than you going to a convention, for it does for the most part feel peaceful and laid back. They only real improvement is just dealing with guest popularity for the signings.  The “experience” this weekend for the Florida Anime Experience was worth the trip.


Mako-chan isn’t just a writer and co-host… She’s also the resident baker and chef of all things yummy. Mako-chan has been working behind the scenes helping out where she can for the Podcast. Officially joining the team in November of 2011, first as a writer and editor, and later as an on air personality for the show, and now Assistant Editor, Mako-chan embraces the five main sureties in life that make a person great; Beauty, Intelligence, Talent, Creativity, and Honesty. ^_~

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