I’m still a bit wobbly, but I made it back alive from Anime North! This year I was kindly given media passes (thanks to the AN staff!), so I really stepped up my game and didn’t just throw money at people in the dealer’s room. I took more than twice the amount of photos, actually went to panels, saw the Masquerade for the first time, and even invested in a hotel room to make sure I wouldn’t miss a second of the action. From Friday to Sunday I ate, slept, and breathed nothing but anime. I’m exhausted because of it, but it was totally worth it!
What’s Anime North?
This is only one room
This is one of the largest anime conventions in North America, and the largest one in Canada. With over 22,000 attendees, it’s amazing that this thing is run by fans. But they make it happen! Although I honestly haven’t been to any other anime convention, I think this one is pretty unique. First of all, it takes place in the middle of nowhere by the airport. The main shopping and photoshoot opportunities take place in a huge building and its parking lot, but there’s too many events to confine it to one building. You’ll have to check out the hotel across the street or play a bit of Frogger and dodge traffic on the highway to get to the rest of it. It takes a lot of walking to find things, but it’s definitely an interesting experience to go hotel-hopping to see everything. The events range from the usual fare such as an artist’s alley, dealer’s room, concerts and cosplay photoshoots to the more…strange. Does your con have a corner where you can hold and take photos with pythons and geckos? Or circus performers and pro wrestlers in the middle of the artist’s alley? Maid and butler cafes? I’m pretty sure AN has just about everything to please every taste.
Swords ‘n snakes
It is verrrry easy to spend money here. On Friday there’s Nominoichi – the flea market – where you can buy used goods from anime fans. It’s only open for one night so it’s very crowded. The good thing about it is that you can haggle, get free stuff, and find some pretty unique merchandise. You can also buy brand-spanking new stuff from artists and jewellery/clothing makers at Artist’s Alley. Finally, you can buy official merch from stores and companies over in the Dealer’s Room. I think most people buy manga and figures, but I always buy clothes and handmade accessories. I sunk most of my funds on some lolita dresses and jewellery that looks like food. Let me tell you, AN has the food-related clothes market down pat and that is my ultimate weakness.
As a side note, this is also where all the weird, random stuff is located. The wrestling and reptile corner are here. So are miniature events like auctions, dance contests, and board game competitions (which I peeked in on but ultimately wasn’t too keen on). Unfortunately, I missed Daizystripper‘s concert here because it was at the same time as the Masquerade but that just goes to show how jam-packed your schedule can get!
Panels and Events
My favourite group in the Masquerade~
After seeing Totally Lame Anime After Dark a few years in a row, I decided to try the similarly-themed Anime Hell. The latter is a collection of random and ridiculous moments from anime, Japanese commercials and movie trailers. It’s hosted, so you get context for what the heck you’re watching. It was a hilarious way for us to spend our Friday night and you can bet I’m going back next year since it seems that they update it with new, relevant stuff each year.
There were also some great panels this year, with my favourite being the Pokemon Biology panel. It’s a panel where they hypothesized legitimate scientific explanations for how Pokemon breathe fire, fly with tiny wings and evolve. For example, they proposed that fire-type pokemon breathe fire using sacs that store chemicals for combustion-like reactions. When you go to a Pokemon Centre to restore PP for fire-type moves, you restore these chemicals back into their body. Neat stuff! It was like the Discovery Channel of the Pokeworld.
Finally, I attended the Masquerade, which is a cosplay competition where competitors have 1 minute to pose, act, dance, sing, or do whatever they want to win over the judges. It’s a huge event where you have to get wristbands to sign in beforehand and then stand in line for hours before the actual show. Thanks to my media passes, I got to just breeze by the line and sit near the front to score some great pictures! Which is really handy considering that all of the major events are on Saturday and I would have missed so much if I had to use up all my time twiddling my thumbs until it was show time. I still haven’t seen the results posted on the site yet so I don’t know who won, but here are some more of my favourites under the spoilers tag.
More Masquerade Photos: Show ▼
Even though I can’t sew, I love cosplaying for the pure fun of it. So I suppose photos of my cosplay contribution are required. My boyfriend I cosplayed as Emmy and Layton from the Professor Layton games, so we went on a hunt for anyone from the same series. We found a total of 2 Emmys, 1 Layton, and 1 Descole. Thanks to all the fellow puzzle-lovers who took photos with us!
A butt of titanic proportions
One of my favourite parts of AN is seeing all the amazing cosplayers. This year the cosplays were much more varied. In other words, I didn’t run into 50 Narutos in a row or get squished by a bunch of Mikus. As per usual, there were tons of great photo opportunities to be had by just stopping people randomly or by going to the scheduled photo shoots. You can check out some selected ones here, but I took almost 200 photos so I can’t put them all on this page or else I’d break Metanorn…
JoJo shoot. How they don’t break their backs, I’ll never know
Good to see so many Dangan Ronpa cosplayers this year!
SIE SIND DAS ESSEN UND WIR SIND DIE JEAGER
(yes, that is a live ferret)
Along the highway and sketchy bridge you have to cross to get around, I found Noragami!
I’m surprised there weren’t more Kancolle cosplayers
I love how even the heights are accurate haha
Brock never looked so moe
Until next year!