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Animate! Miami: Five Must-See Events at This Weekend's Animation Con

This weekend marks the arrival of the Animate! Miami convention, a three-day celebration of all things animation, including anime, cartoons, and even video games. With gaming competitions, panels on cosplay, viewing rooms, and concerts, there are plenty of events to choose from.

After the jump, check out five events from this weekend that must be seen to be believed.

See also:
- Florida Supercon 2012: The Greatest Costumes
- Local Nerd Proposes at Florida Supercon: "I Love You More Than Star Trek " (Video)

5. Sirens of Animation Costume Competition
Friday, 9:45 p.m., MACC 2 Ballroom (17+)
This costume competition is all about the ladies (heroines and villains alike) of anime, cartoons, and video games. About 50 women will showcase either store-bought or handmade cosplay creations, with awards given out for such categories as Best Good Girl and Best Bad Girl. I'll put the over-under on Jessica Rabbits at 5.

4. Meet the Cast of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic!
Sunday, 11:30 a.m., Exhibition Room Stage
Out of all of the MLP-related events this weekend, this might be the best place to witness the unique fandoms of Bronies (male fans) and Pegasisters (female fans) in the flesh. Members of the cast of this cult phenomenon will take the stage together and discuss their experiences as voice actors working on, quite possibly, the most adult-beloved kids' cartoon of the Internet age.

3. Masquerade Costume & Performance Competition
Sunday, 7:00 p.m., MACC 1 Ballroom
Costume competitions take place on all days of Animate! Miami, but this competition ups the ante--it's not enough to have an amazing costume, but you need to also deliver a kick-ass cosplay performance along with it. Expect competitors' A-games to be brought on this final night of the convention--especially considering the $250 cash prize to the best competitor! This might be the time to resurrect your group Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle skits from the fourth grade.

2. Panel: "...How to Spot a Creeper and Ways to Safely Maim Them"
Friday, 5:15 p.m., Panel Room B (MACC210)
Convention survival means more than not eating from sketchy vendors and avoiding the con plague--it can also mean navigating around the socially-awkward hanger-on, lovingly known as the "creeper." This panel aims to help you navigate this treacherous territory, let creepers down gently (or not), and help you make the most of every convention-going experience--perfect if you were thinking of graduating from Miami-area conventions to the national circuit.

1. FSCW: Florida Supercon Championship Wrestling

Saturday, 5 p.m., Exhibition Room (West Wing)
It's not enough to show up to a convention and have people merely dressed as your favorite characters. At Animate! Miami, you get the chance to see your faves duke it out in the fabled squared circle of the wrestling ring. Fighters include Cobra Commander, Chun-Li, and defending champ The Joker---although my money's on Mike Tyson's Punch-Out's King Hippo (as long as no one goes for his belly).

The con runs from Friday, January 18, through Sunday, January 20, at the Doubletree Miami Airport & Convention Center (711 NW 72 Ave., Miami).  Events start at 2 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost from $20 for a Friday or Sunday pass to $45 for a three-day pass. While passes will be available at the door, online registration is recommended: Visit animatemiami.eventbee.com.

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