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Holiday Matsuri 2022

Florida’s Best Anime Convention
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In the run-up to Holiday Matsuri, it looked like it was going to be a banner year. There was lots of chatter about it online - everyone wanted to go. COVID was almost completely gone, and it seemed like it would be the last big get-together of the year. And it was, with some minor setbacks.

A rainy day at the outdoor pool.
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A rainy day at the outdoor pool.

When you think of Florida you think of warm weather and sunshine. What we got was warm... ish. Compared to everywhere else in the country that was covered in snow, it was warm. But mid 60’s just isn’t the Florida we’re used to. We want 70’s and 80’s. In addition, it rained a little, which isn’t unusual I suppose. Overall, it could have been worse. A week later it was near freezing 🥶. Rain and cooler weather wasn’t enough to keep people out of the pool. It’s a heated pool, so it probably felt warmer than being outside of the pool. The Marriott remodeled the pool area during the pandemic and it’s in top form. There are plenty of lounge chairs and the nearby Falls restaurant sells food and beverages. My only complaint about the outdoor pool area is the tiny hot tub. In a resort this size, you would think they would have more than one hot tub which holds just 13 people .

A Holiday Playground

Holiday Matsuri has many 18+ events.
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Holiday Matsuri has many 18+ events.

Holiday Matsuri is a convention that isn’t afraid to have fun. I’ve said that before and it thankfully still holds true. The con runners give people fun events and they don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s okay to hang out at the pool all day, spend all your money in the vendor hall and artists alley, or attend panel after panel. There’s a lot to do and there’s no one to tell you how to do it. They aren't afraid of adult content and events, as evidenced by the involvement of Cosplay Deviants. In fact, the late night 18+ events are some of the most popular at the convention. My choice of activity is, of course, to walk around with heavy camera equipment recording video of cosplayers 😄. We all have our interests and mine is squarely centered around video. Whether you do video or photography, there is plenty to capture at Holiday Matsuri. The Orlando World Center Marriott is large, versatile and well-kept. The landscaping is fresh, the pools are sparkling, and when the sun is out, you’re guaranteed some great shots.
One of the aforementioned setbacks was the closure of the Hycube area. The Hycube is an on-site hydroponic garden where they grow some of the greens used in the hotel restaurants. They used these very purple colored lights to grow the veg and it makes for a cool shooting location at night. This year the patio around it was under construction – completely torn up. This was a pretty big bummer.
The Hycube at night, featuring @dazed_senpai as Jinx
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The Hycube at night, featuring @dazed_senpai as Jinx

The popular Hycube area was under construction during Holmat ’22.
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The popular Hycube area was under construction during Holmat ’22.

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The Orlando World Center Marriott (OWCM) had recently opened a new waterpark area, which triggered thoughts of this con becoming a Colossalcon south. It has some slides, a lazy river, and kids splash pads. It wasn’t anywhere near close to being Colossalcon though. The waterpark cost extra unless you bought a package tied to your room. It was pretty small compared to the Kalahari resort water parks. Also, the staff said there was absolutely no photography allowed. I didn’t even bother to question why. I just marked it off my list permanently. Sigh 😞.
The convention center main entrance lobby.
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The convention center main entrance lobby.

The convention center crowded with queues for late night panels.
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The convention center crowded with queues for late night panels.

The hotel lobby bar is usually busy with people socializing during Holmat.
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The hotel lobby bar is usually busy with people socializing during Holmat.

Rumors

There were rumors that the hotel had reached the final straw with Holmat attendees. Apparently there was some damage to the pool last year and some overcrowded room party that resulted in the sheriff kicking out some attendees. You could say we’ve worn out our welcome. Another rumor is there will be just one more Holmat held at the Orlando World Center Marriott. It would then move to the Orange County Convention Center. No, not that Orange County. Orange County Florida. It’s the same building where Megacon is held. A big, boring, ugly civic convention center 😭. If the rumors are true, then the 2023 event will truly be the last party at the OWCM resort. It might also be my last Holmat.
I really don’t like boring convention centers. Given the choice, I would choose a smaller and lesser-known convention held at an interesting location over a large one (Weebcon is a good example). I make pretty videos and I want the location to be pretty too. I don’t like having to go through metal detectors every time I enter the building. I don’t like being told I can’t set up my light stand by convention center staff. Plus, cons held at civic convention centers don’t have a night life. They have a very different feel compared to hotel cons. If you’ve ever been to Dragon Con you’ll understand why they squeeze 80,000 attendees into five hotels rather than use the nearby Georgia World Congress Center. It’s more fun. People stay up late and talk and party. They do things they probably shouldn’t, but that’s how memories are made. Take that away and it feels more like a school field trip with chaperones.
These are just rumors of course. I could verify them with my contacts, but does it matter? Things were going to change eventually. With the obvious rise in attendance, Holiday Matsuri is outgrowing the OWCM. Even with its 2,000 rooms and massive convention space, it’s just not large enough to hold Holmat much longer. If the convention wants to grow, it needs a larger space. I’m generally all for cons growing larger. It affords them greater options as far as guests and events. They can bring in more foreign guests, host premiere releases of anime and merchandise, put on large concerts, and so much more. It also feels better with lots of people in attendance. It’s full of life and energy, even if it’s at a boring convention center.

The Cosplayers

Thanks to everyone who recorded a video with me. I met a lot of new people and was able to spend some extra time shooting with some of them. It’s a great opportunity for me to improve my skills as well as for the cosplayers to gain experience making vidoes. Special thanks to @images_by_jc for letting me tag along on his photoshoots.
@vamplettes Denji w/ Pochita booty from Chainsaw Man
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@vamplettes Denji w/ Pochita booty from Chainsaw Man

@suteroozu Hilly Troll from Genshin Impact
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@suteroozu Hilly Troll from Genshin Impact

Darkstalkers
@purrblind Morrigan
@sharkpartyqq Lilith
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Darkstalkers @purrblind Morrigan @sharkpartyqq Lilith

@_caughtredheaded Nazuna from Call of the Night
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@_caughtredheaded Nazuna from Call of the Night

@dearwolverine Rebecca from Cyberpunk: Edgerunners
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@dearwolverine Rebecca from Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

@kpoptrashcosplay Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
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@kpoptrashcosplay Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

@_soul.cos Himiko Toga from My Hero Academia
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@_soul.cos Himiko Toga from My Hero Academia

@himehaki Perona from One Piece
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@himehaki Perona from One Piece

@hiyah.kitten Venti the red nosed reindeer from Genshin Impact
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@hiyah.kitten Venti the red nosed reindeer from Genshin Impact

@justciggy Portgas D. Ace from One Piece
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@justciggy Portgas D. Ace from One Piece

@sirahcos Yuriko Agape fit from Yuri on Ice
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@sirahcos Yuriko Agape fit from Yuri on Ice

Encanto
@alliedesantis Mirabel
@chris_penart Bruno
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Encanto @alliedesantis Mirabel @chris_penart Bruno

@grayoranges Makima from Chainsaw Man
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@grayoranges Makima from Chainsaw Man

@grayoranges Makima from Chainsaw Man
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@grayoranges Makima from Chainsaw Man

@giovannatcos Lisa Lisa from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency
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@giovannatcos Lisa Lisa from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency

@suteroozu Lamb from Cult of the Lamb game on Twitch
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@suteroozu Lamb from Cult of the Lamb game on Twitch

@masterjoelnathan Namor from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
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@masterjoelnathan Namor from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Sailor Moon
@sailorkayla Neo Queen Serenity
@crakercos Prince Endymion
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Sailor Moon @sailorkayla Neo Queen Serenity @crakercos Prince Endymion

@rosebluecos Tifa from Final Fantasy Crisis Core
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@rosebluecos Tifa from Final Fantasy Crisis Core

@alliedesantis Jasmine from Aladdin
Dress by @cinder.couture
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@alliedesantis Jasmine from Aladdin Dress by @cinder.couture

@nebulanekocosplay Yor from Spy x Family
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@nebulanekocosplay Yor from Spy x Family

@cheesecakepanda_cosplay Candy Cane Knight from a "Knights Before Christmas" group
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@cheesecakepanda_cosplay Candy Cane Knight from a "Knights Before Christmas" group

@kutiekittenxo Samus from Super Smash Bros
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@kutiekittenxo Samus from Super Smash Bros

@sylentcosplay Albedo from Overlord (mobile game version)
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@sylentcosplay Albedo from Overlord (mobile game version)

@cinder.couture Belle
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@cindrellacosplayValkyrie Mercy from Overwatch
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@cindrellacosplayValkyrie Mercy from Overwatch

@risa_art_official Slave Leia
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@risa_art_official Slave Leia

@risa_art_official Slave Leia
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@risa_art_official Slave Leia

@alexdrastal Stain from My Hero Academia
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@alexdrastal Stain from My Hero Academia

@_caughtredheaded Nami from One Piece
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@_caughtredheaded Nami from One Piece

@milkys.cos 2B from NieR:Automata
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@milkys.cos 2B from NieR:Automata

@kpoptrashcosplay Power from Chainsaw Man
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@kpoptrashcosplay Power from Chainsaw Man

@luxsteezcosplay Morrigan from Darkstalkers
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@luxsteezcosplay Morrigan from Darkstalkers

@doccosplay Jill Valentine from Resident Evil
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@doccosplay Jill Valentine from Resident Evil

@professor.paya Festival Sailor Jupiter
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@professor.paya Festival Sailor Jupiter

@thechocohoe Kaine from NieR:Automata
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@thechocohoe Kaine from NieR:Automata

@fusionflex4 Super Saiyan Goku from Dragonball AF (fan fiction)
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@fusionflex4 Super Saiyan Goku from Dragonball AF (fan fiction)

@gillianfoxglove Mrs Santa from a "Knights Before Christmas" group
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@gillianfoxglove Mrs Santa from a "Knights Before Christmas" group

@crashcandy_cosplay Gingerbread Knight from a "Knights Before Christmas" group
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@crashcandy_cosplay Gingerbread Knight from a "Knights Before Christmas" group

@crakercos Eijiro Kirishima from My Hero Academia
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@crakercos Eijiro Kirishima from My Hero Academia

@sailorkayla Bakugo from My Hero Academia
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@sailorkayla Bakugo from My Hero Academia

@siashicat Val’kyr from World of Warcraft
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@siashicat Val’kyr from World of Warcraft

@aesthetic_titan_cos Benimaru That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
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@aesthetic_titan_cos Benimaru That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

@alliecatcosplay The Grinch
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@alliecatcosplay The Grinch

@thevhenix Morrigan from Darkstalkers
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@thevhenix Morrigan from Darkstalkers

@sqoblin Bombshell Black Canary
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@sqoblin Bombshell Black Canary

@siashicat Blood Elf from World of Warcraft
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@siashicat Blood Elf from World of Warcraft

@daniella.claire.cosplay Marin from My Dress-up Darling
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@daniella.claire.cosplay Marin from My Dress-up Darling

@blodvy_sg Kobeni from Chainsaw Man
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@blodvy_sg Kobeni from Chainsaw Man

@dazed_senpai Amumu from League of Legends
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@dazed_senpai Amumu from League of Legends

@spoopyspaniard.cosplays bunny Marin from My Dress-up Darling
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@spoopyspaniard.cosplays bunny Marin from My Dress-up Darling

@mags_is_me_tv Moana from Genshin Impact
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@mags_is_me_tv Moana from Genshin Impact

@salted.sage Venti from Genshin Impact
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@salted.sage Venti from Genshin Impact

@roxieroadz Kokomi from Genshin Impact
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@roxieroadz Kokomi from Genshin Impact

@molleties Yae Miko from Genshin Impact
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@molleties Yae Miko from Genshin Impact

@emily._.kara.gozian siren from Jibaro (Netflix Love Death & Robots)
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@emily._.kara.gozian siren from Jibaro (Netflix Love Death & Robots)

@emily._.kara.gozian siren from Jibaro (Netflix Love Death & Robots)
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@emily._.kara.gozian siren from Jibaro (Netflix Love Death & Robots)

@soapydeity Felicia from Darkstalkers
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@soapydeity Felicia from Darkstalkers

@spoopyspaniard.cosplays Flare Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion
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@spoopyspaniard.cosplays Flare Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion

@thealexisroos Sailor Sally - Nightmare Before Christmas x Sailor Moon
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@thealexisroos Sailor Sally - Nightmare Before Christmas x Sailor Moon

@kutiekittenxo D.Va from Overwatch
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@kutiekittenxo D.Va from Overwatch

Bioshock	
@peachytsundere Little Sister
@paralllaxus Elizabeth
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Bioshock @peachytsundere Little Sister @paralllaxus Elizabeth

@tehtnica Tharja from Fire Emblem: Heroes
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@tehtnica Tharja from Fire Emblem: Heroes

@katerinawaifu Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell
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@katerinawaifu Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell

@katerinawaifu Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell
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@katerinawaifu Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell

@coyotecosplays Umbreon Pokémon
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@coyotecosplays Umbreon Pokémon

@daisybabybell Makima from Chainsaw Man
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@daisybabybell Makima from Chainsaw Man

@k8sarkissian Professor Sada from Pokémon
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@k8sarkissian Professor Sada from Pokémon

@samiryanne Kagome from Inuyasha
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@samiryanne Kagome from Inuyasha

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