Sunday, 2 June 2013

BLOG -- Anime North 2013

Like my blog about attending Fan Expo last year, I'm going to blog about my experience at Anime North. Overall, it was a lot of the same, but still enjoyable.

Just like my blog about Fan Expo, I'll be covering each day of Anime North. It won't be as long as Fan Expo since I didn't do as much each day. I also didn't take that many pics of cosplayers so there won't be a dedicated section at the end.

And here comes my history with Anime North...

Me and Anime North
I think the first time I attended Anime North was in 2003. I was a huge anime fan back then and it was one of the few ways to get exposed to a lot of different series (at good quality). Also, it was really cool seeing people cosplay and express their fandom.

And then, just like with Fan Expo, I found myself among a group of people who helped out at Anime North. So from 2005-2009, I helped out as well. Then in 2010, I stopped attending since I felt like I wasn't contributing enough. This year, I went back to help out.

In the beginning, besides seeing all the cosplayers, Anime North was mainly about the Dealers Room, the AMVs, and the Masquerade (I still remember that one Naruto skit where one guy dressed as Sasuke pulled down his shorts and flashed his naked butt to the audience -- terrifying! [and will hopefully never happen again]). Then around 2007, it was more about the fan-run panels and specific anime exposures. This year, my focus was the same.

If I had done my homework, I would have known that Eriko Nakamura was attending, and would have been super-excited. She's the voice actress to Amami Haruka from the iDOLM@STER video game and anime series... and I LOVE iDOLM@STER (my first official blog was on iDOLM@STER 2). *sigh* If there is ever a next time, she is so signing my video game... and my Blu-Rays... and my CDs... and my figures... :P

The Little Details
Dates of Anime North: May 24 - May 26, 2013
Locations: Toronto Congress Centre (TCC) + Doubletree Hotel + Sheraton Hotel + Crowne Plaza Hotel + Radisson Suites
Ticket Price Total: Unsure (I had free admittance since I was helping out)

Time Arrived: 5-ish PM
Well, I got to Anime North from riding the bus from Lawrence West station. I could have gotten there earlier, but I did some morning shopping to get ready for the convention. I was staying at a hotel for the weekend, so I wanted to make sure I had everything.

When I got there, I picked up my staff badge and met up with my con event buddies. I haven't seen some of them since the last time I attended Anime North, so I was a little anxious. Thankfully, things were fine.

I didn't really do much on Friday. I just lounged around in the hotel room until I had to help out with the event. I do have to note that I never remembered Anime North holding events at 4 different hotels and at the TCC. It's a little surprising... and a bit inconvenient. :/

I also have to mention that Anime North's printed schedule book was not exactly user friendly. It was organized by time, location, and date. It sounds fine, but it was quite confusing. I couldn't tell right away if events I wanted to attend would overlap. There must have been a better way to organize it. Fortunately, one of my con buddies told me about the Guidebook Smartphone app where I could download Anime North's schedule, which was a straight morning to night listing. My one beef with the Guidebook app was that alarms for events I bookmarked would go off 12 hours after the specified time (what the heck?). 

A shot of Anime North from the hotel. 
(yeah, I also posted this pic in my end of month blog for May).

Time Active: 7-ish AM
Nothing much was happening at this time. I was trying not to wake up my con event buddies while taking a closer look at the schedule. I also thought about starting Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for the 3DS, but then decided against it in case playing that game would suck up all the battery life and I wouldn't be able do StreetPass for the day. I totally should have brought my regular DS Lite. :/

Avatar: The Last Airbender -- 11:00 AM
So I attended this showing with an ulterior motive: to get a better seat for the next showing. Sometimes when there's a panel or showing that I really want to attend, I go to the room an hour early and just sit there. While I do this, I'm just hoping that a volunteer doesn't come into the room and kick us all out at the end of the panel / showing.

I have to say, though, that watching episodes from Avatar: The Last Airbender for the next thing was a pleasant wait. They showed the Boiling Rock episodes that featured Sokka and Zuko.

Shinesman -- 12:00 PM
This anime is pretty old. I've always wanted to see it ever since I saw the trailer for it. It looks cheesy with a good amount of comedy. For some reason, I can't share the Youtube trailer, so here's a link to it instead:

Shinesman was shown in dub, which was exactly what I was hoping for. For an anime that pokes fun at itself, I figured that the English dubbing would take more liberties with that. It was enjoyable and I was glad I finally got to see it.


With plans to return to the hotel room around 5 PM, I left the Doubletree Hotel and made the trek to the Dealers Room at TCC. On the way, I saw a ton of cosplayers. I also had my 3DS in sleep mode so I could pick up people for StreetPass. In case you don't know, anime conventions are one of the best places to get StreetPass. I got my "get 100 StreetPasses in a day" achievement in the Dealers Room (yay!).

A random shot of Anime North -- outside the TCC.

I'm glad that I don't go to Anime North anymore for the Dealers Room. Product prices there have gone up ridiculously. Some products were priced competitively, but lots of other things were just expensive. This was mainly applied to everything but manga. I think if manga ever went up in price, there would be an uproar.

Afterwards, I checked out the Artist's Alley (I know it's called something different for Anime North, but I'm too lazy to check right now) briefly. There were a lot of cool artworks and styles, but I resisted and only bought three prints for $20.
Still inside the TCC, I wandered around and found myself at the Anime Wrestling event. I decided to watch for a bit (just so I could sit down and rest). There were a couple one-on-one matches, and then the finale: a three-on-three tag team. On one team was Wario, the Green Power Ranger, and Jason Voorhees. On the other team was Mario, L, and Elmo. It was pretty entertaining! I felt a little bad for any children in the audience -- Elmo was beat up so badly, and at one point Jason put his fake jacksaw up to Elmo's throat and "slit" it. It was kinda horrifying and could be a little traumatic :/

A shot of the three-on-three match. 
Elmo was last year's champion, hence his belt.

A brief video of the match. Elmo gets beat up a bit here.

Heaven's Memo Pad -- 7:00 PM
Just like earlier today, I was here just to ensure getting a decent seat for the next showing. Heaven's Memo Pad was an interesting anime series, though a bit weird. I'm currently not sure if I would want to watch the rest of it in the future.

Hatsune Miku Mikunopolis -- 8:00 PM
This was a DVD showing of Hatsune Miku's 2011 concert in Los Angeles. For those who don't know, I am a huge Hatsune Miku fan. Even though this was a DVD showing of a past concert, I had to see it. Often at times, I wanted to dance a bit and sing along. But I kept it in and just had a glowy, super-excited expression with gleaming eyes (I imagine I look like that anytime I'm experiencing something with great enjoyment). I want to cosplay as her one day.
A shot of Miku in her dress for the song SpiCa.
I love that song.

Misc. Photos for Saturday

A cosplayer. I feel like I should know who he is, but I don't.

Cosplayers in steampunk gear.

The most original outfit I saw. An attendee dressed up in Tim Hortons gear. 
Just amazing.

A clip of Iron Man and War Machine cosplayers dancing.

Time Active: 7-ish AM
Nothing much to say here. I got all my stuff ready so that when we check out of the hotel, it would just involve me grabbing my jacket and knapsack. This day was devoted to panels.

Anime Jeopardy -- 9:00 AM
I decided to check this out, 'cuz there was not much else to do. A lot of my con event buddies were still sleeping, and I had a panel to attend to at 10 AM. Unfortunately, the tech guys weren't awake yet, so the organization for this was done on the fly.

The setup of the game was pretty neat (all done in PowerPoint I think and structured just like Jeopardy), but I think testing all the panels beforehand would have been a good idea. Some of the panels went to the wrong question. :(

Video Game Name That Tune: RPG Edition -- 10:00 AM
This was okay, but I don't know. It felt like the music selections were done on the fly. And I think the host was playing the tunes off of Youtube. If the internet suddenly went down, what would happen then? I was hoping to get exposed to some really neat video game music clips. It didn't happen.

Horrible Anime Music -- 12:00 PM
I was a little late to this panel. Unfortunately the room was full, except for this one chair at the front of the room. The panel volunteers suggested I sit there, and I did... to major embarrassment! I was also eating a pizza at the time, so everybody had prime sight of watching me eat (ugggg....). The panel members continued on, every now and then eyeing me me quizzically (or was it territorially?).

This panel was okay. They were showing some clips of "horrible" anime music (often opening or ending themes) and then explaining why they're horrible. It was fun listening to some of the "horrible" anime music (Death's Note's second opening, and 100 Stories' opening made the cut), but I have to say: It's NOT a sound argument to say something is "horrible" because it is not "your kind of music". That was used a couple of times, and I strongly disagree. Just because impressionism isn't my kind of art doesn't make it horrible. Seriously, now...

Video Game Soundtracks -- 1:00 PM
Just like with Video Game Name That Tune, I was hoping to listen to some really nice video game music. Music was playing in the background, but very softly. I was imagining a brief discussion and then a showcasing of some really good music, but it was largely a discussion.

It was okay. The discussions weren't exactly structured but attendees got to ask questions and share as much as the panelists. The last question one panelist asked around the end of the panel was: do you have any guilty pleasure video game music?

I do...

I won't list them all here, but here are a couple video game music tracks I listen to for guilty pleasure. And "guilty pleasure" here is being defined as: "something I enjoy listening to, but wouldn't really want to express that enjoyment publicly". In all honesty, there isn't a huge list of "guilty pleasure" video game tracks for me -- if I like something, I often don't hide it or feel embarrassed / ashamed by it.

Magna Carta: Tears of Blood Intro.
I know it pales greatly in comparison to the Korean and Japanese versions, 
but I still like this as well. ^.^''

Black main theme. I mean, who admits to liking the theme to an FPS?
I'm just kidding there.

Overall Thoughts
Overall, Anime North was enjoyable. I missed the whole fan atmosphere of it all. And it was really nice seeing some of my old con event buddies. One thing that I kind of wish for are more panels I would like to attend to (hahaha...). There are a ton of panels at Anime North... but nothing really grabbing this year.

In 2007, I remember attending a panel about Fanthropology, and it was just spectacular. It was a discussion and look into the fan culture and behaviour, trying to address why fans do what they do. Like, why are fans willing to line up for hours for an autograph or a limited edition of whatever? It was very cool, and I wish a panel like that would come back.

Would I attend Anime North next year? It's a high chance of "yes". With all that's going on, and my constant uncertainty about the future, I can't say for sure what will take priority for me that weekend. But I hope it's this.

Well, thanks for reading (if you made it this far)! If you have any questions about anything I experienced at Anime North (except for what event I was helping out at since I'd like to keep that anonymous), or just comments and questions on anything, feel free to comment!

Have an awesome the week! :)


  1. Hi, I ran Anime Jeopardy on Sunday. I apologize for some of the panels acting up. The main organizers didn't have a game for Sunday, so it wasn't even supposed to happen. I volunteered to do it myself because it was on the schedule and I didn't want to see anyone disappointed.

    So I wrote 61 questions on Saturday, then worked on the game file at 2AM. I didn't finish until 6AM so I didn't have time to test the board. I forgot to reposition all the Daily Doubles.

    Hopefully you still had a good time. Pleas come out next year and watch Saturday's Anime Jeopardy, as that's the main event!

    Dave L.

    1. Hi Dave! Thanks for putting things into perspective for Anime Jeopardy on Sunday. It's really unfortunate that it was put together so quickly -- but for doing it with such tight timelines, I have to commend you!

      The game was really neat, and kinda educational, too. If I'm back at Anime North next year, I'll definitely make note of checking out the Saturday event. :)