The 2013 METROCON, the state's largest anime convention, kicked off Friday morning at the Tampa Convention Center.
The event is expected to bring draw between 8,000 and 10,000 people, many in costumes, to the downtown area; they started arriving at the venue at about 5:30 a.m. to register.
"You don't have to defend your nerdiness," said Jordan Fryman, who drove from Kentucky with two friends to attend the event. "It's almost like acting. You don't have to be yourself, so you get to come here and you get to be different characters and act like it."
Anime is a Japanese-style animation used in comic books, movies and cartoons. Pokemon is one of the shows that helped popularize anime in the US.
METROCON, which lasts through Sunday, is in its 11th year and was originally held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, before outgrowing that venue and moving to the Convention Center for the first time in 2005.
This year's events include an Anime human chess match, a fantasy masquerade and live fire shows.
If the METROCON crowd reaches 10,000, organizers plan to add a fourth day next year.
For more information visit: http://www.metroconventions.com/
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