4441 Collins Avenue
305-538-2000 Hordes of imagination-fired freaks and geeks took over a landmark Miami Beach hotel in late December to celebrate the colorful and expanding world of anime. The three-day gathering was overrun by people, young and old, who find an especially animated pleasure in pretending to be cartoon characters with oversize eyes, mouths, and personality disorders. At OtakuCon, which translates to "hyper-fan convention," anime cultists had a chance to live out their fantasies. Leggy women with waist-length hair paraded around in skimpy homemade costumes, bringing to life their favorite anime pin-up girls. Boys of all ages bopped around in ninja and samurai getups. When they were not busy attending seminars about how to pick up dates or how to destroy Majin Buu (a bubble-gum pink warrior from Dragon Ball Z), OtakuConventioneers took part in "cosplaying," which is the art of playing scenes with other anime characters. Unreal? Surreal? Real cool.