Gimme a Glomp, Sweetie

Imagination carries you just as far as cute and sexy at the Anime Super Con

I looked at him blankly.

"Master Shake... from Aqua Teen Hunger Force," he said, as if emphasis would clue me in. Since my interest in cartoons ended in the Scooby-Doo era, the blank look must have remained.

I finally got a hint from a stack of movie posters with an animated shake, an order of fries, and a meatball, all brandishing weapons in an end-of-the-world sort of scenario, complete with monsters and erupting volcanoes. Oh, yeah, that oddball animated movie that's making the rounds after the Adult Swim series got it rolling.

Tony Gleeson

"And that's Jay Wade Edwards, the editor and producer," Broder continued, indicating the gray-haired guy with the mutton-chop sideburns.

Editor? Producer? These were things I understood.

"Let's get one more picture," Broder suggested, sending me up to the photo staging area.

"Prom shot!" Master Shake declared as I stood between the two, and they took my left hand in each of theirs and leaned in close.

Lately, Jay has been screening "a beach party, rock 'n' roll monster movie" he'd written, edited, and produced: Stomp! Scream! Shout! And it was included in the day's events.

"It's like a real movie," he claimed, wondering aloud how it would go over. "I may not be in my element here, but everyone is so fucking happy."

The guys headed out to dinner, and I beelined it to the hotel bar, where Japanese culture continued to reign — this time in the form of karaoke, a regular Saturday-night occurrence at the Long Green Lounge (remember, we're at a golf and tennis resort!). The same pastime had been offered earlier in the convention's main room, but the space had been ripe with adolescent armpit stank.

"We call that 'fan funk,'" explained a guy with a goatee and shaved head who had claimed the stool next to mine when I complained of the smell.

The guy, a 30-something, claimed to be an organizer of a similar convention, but he didn't want to give me his name.

"Call me Dick Fitzwell," he suggested.

Half serious, I asked if he was a pedophile.

"It's funny you should ask that," Dick said, unfazed. "These things do attract them. But the community makes sure they are removed. It's a close group."

Dick estimated the number of fans over 18 years old at 25 to 30 percent. His estimate seemed high, but with the costumes and makeup, who could be sure?

"We're normally a bunch of social introverts, but when we are together, it's like three days of sleep-away camp," Dick explained.

"What happens at Con stays at Con," interjected his friend, a 32-year-old Orlando hotel employee.

"It does have Vegas atmosphere," Dick confirmed.

Good to know, but I had to excuse myself so I could go listen to Zombies! Organize!! take some musical jabs at consumer culture. I reached into my purse for my business card and pulled out a wad of note-laden cocktail napkins.

"Don't laugh. That's how Ninja Turtles started," Dick reassured me as I finally produced a business card, "on cocktail napkins at a pizza place. The waiter was fat and slow as a turtle."

Of course, my own brainstorming would probably yield a different sort of super hero: a bombshell sexpot with the powers of night vision, fast-talking and possessing a disarming wit, who stomped out evil in her Mary Janes. Sound familiar, Night Rider fans? The rest of the details could be worked out while I rocked to zombie rap.

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