Anime North 2016 Coverage

2016-05-28 21.30.48

Let’s Nico Nico Nii all night long!

This year was Anime North’s 20th anniversary! This completely fan-run convention has come a long way and I’m constantly amazed at how there’s new sights to take in each and every year. Well over 17,500 guests attended the 3-day convention just a stone’s throw away from the Pearson Airport in Ontario, Canada. I’m honoured to have received media passes once again in order to make my life that much easier. Trust me – with this many events happening at the same time, anything that saves time is extremely appreciated.

***Check out the full album of the best photos we took at the con on Metanorn’s Facebook page! Also don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@Overcooled) for more live coverage next year!***

Since I’ve been attending Anime North for a while, I think it’s about time I shared my wisdom about how to come out the other end of a con alive (or at least moderately in one piece). Most of them can broadly apply to any con, but Anime North has some very…unique…fixtures that you’d have to actually be here to appreciate.

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WELCOME TO THE BUSINESS PLAYGROUND

Tip Number 1: Buy your passes early and line up early. The passes sell out before you can blink so it’s very important you write down in your agenda to buy them at the very beginning of 2017. Likewise, lining up early will save you a lot of suffering.

After getting my badge, I usually start heading over to begin my shopping expedition inside the Toronto Congress Centre. Just walking from one place to another means you’ll be bombarded by a million different characters you want to take photos of. Some of you may have no problem stopping cosplayers and asking for photos, but it’s not as easy for everyone. My special Tip Number 2: If you see someone taking a photo of a cosplayer, just jump in and take a photo as well. This is my secret to never having to engage in conversation with other people because I’m a big shy baby, and asking cosplayers for a photo can be intimidating. Just make sure you jump in quickly, otherwise you’ll end up making the poor cosplayer hold their pose a lot longer than they anticipated when they only initially agreed for one photo.

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Ah yes, a cosplayer who can’t even move…the perfect photo target!

If you’re less shy, I suggest Tip Number 3: Talk to People. Everyone there is ridiculously friendly. Sometimes too friendly. Sometimes they ask for your number and you panic and give them your actual number. ANYWAYS, everyone is happy to talk to you so this is a great chance to make new friends. I find a lot of people end up bonding at the outdoor night rave, since literally every single one of my friends attends it in huge groups.

On Friday I like to attend Nominoichi, the flea market where you can buy used merchandise from fans and have the freedom to haggle as much as you want. Which brings me to Tip Number 4: HAGGLE! Everyone in Nominoichi is secretly (sometimes not-so-secretly) desperate to get rid of their shit, and they want to pawn it off as soon as possible so they can turn around and drop all their hard-earned cash on even more anime merch. Most of them aren’t in it for profit at this point, so they will meekly accept whatever offer you throw at them. All I had to do was silently pick up a pair of tights and set it down again and the table owner already told me she’d reduce the price for me by 40%. Just go for it – even if you think you suck at negotiation. However, keep in mind that haggling is not commonplace in the artist’s alley or dealer’s room, so you won’t get the same kind of deals. I’ve seen some crafty people get away with knocking a couple of bucks off something though, so it’s worth a shot!

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Having a good time with your loved ones is always free though

While you’re trying to get a good deal, don’t forget to also 5: Inspect what you’re buying beforehand. At Artist’s Alley/Craft Corner, most of the stuff is lovingly hand-crafted and can be rather delicate. Especially be wary of rings and hair clips where the only thing holding it together might be glue. Most of the stuff is great though, so I’ll often find a small flaw I honestly don’t care about and just pretend that it’s an issue so I can get a discount. ….I feel like I’m teaching you all to try and rip people off now, so I’m going to stop with these money-grubbing tips.

For Nominoichi especially, follow Tip Number 6: Stay cool. There is no air conditioning in the flea market, which makes it nigh unbearable to survive given the temperature this past weekend. Bring a fan (it goes with the weeb vibes), drink lots of water (they have stations to fill up water bottles), wear sunscreen, and take lots of breaks if you feel heatstroke coming on. No one wants to faint in the middle of the con. That’s why I also recommend Tip Number 7: Bring food. Braving the line-ups and price mark-ups at nearby restaurants is a huge sink. I literally brought a tupperware of grilled steak from home so I wouldn’t have to line up for an eternity at Sushi Dragon.

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Be like Hana from Prison School…bring a bottle

While inside the TCC, I recommend Tip Number 8: Keep your eyes open for new events you didn’t plan on seeing and just go with the flow. I usually make a list of things I want to see beforehand, but every year Anime North has some surprise events that I end up checking out. A maid cafe called Uncle Tetsu’s Angel Cafe recently opened up in Toronto (I’ve been and it’s quite good!) so they were dancing on stage around the artist’s alley. It made for a good place to sit and rest while enjoying a show. I also stumbled upon an archery tag section (shoot your friends with padded arrows while running around and screaming), night ping pong, a cosplay chess battle, a neon jazz band playing at night, plus the usual snake-holding section and aerial acrobatics show. I’m still so happy AN has a place where you can just chill with live snakes.

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Battle chess!

In terms of events I try to plan for, I love the Masquerade. My media pass lets me avoid the hassle of lining up like 2 hours in advance for decent seats and wasting all my time sitting around. There’s also a skit contest, but I would say Tip Number 9: Masquerade > Skit Contest. The skit contest, by definition, is more about the skit itself than the costume craftsmanship. You’ll be much more impressed by the Masquerade because they have jaw-dropping costumes, and their little performances are actually incredibly good. I also prefer the shorter performance length of the Masquerade because it prevents you from getting bored. If you don’t know the anime being presented during a lengthy Skit Contest skit, you’re stuck waiting for all the inside jokes to end for what feels like eons. With the Masquerade, it’s rapidfire fun. This is down to personal taste though, but I’d at least suggest picking one and going to it since going to both in one year is a little redundant.

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My final Tip, Number 10: Stay as late as you can. Anime North takes on an entirely different vibe at night. This is where all the costumes with complex lighting systems come out to play, making for some amazing photo-op chances. There are also a lot of all-night anime viewing sessions, as well as late-night favourites such as Totally Lame Anime After Dark. There’s always, always something to do (especially on Saturday night) so don’t just leave after the dealer’s room closes! Just make sure you get home safely.

That’s it! 10 tips for surviving AN while additionally explaining everything I did at the con this year! I will admit that this year’s Anime North tested my resolve and love for the con. I had to squeeze it in with an academic conference and a day-long dragonboat race I had scheduled for the weekend. I had to commute directly from the race to Anime North on Saturday, smelling like a lake and running on 2 hours of sleep. Despite these setbacks, I did everything in my power to spend as much time as humanly possible at Anime North and it was worth it. I’m already excited for next year!

Bonus Cosplay:Show ▼

More highlights of AN2016 for me include:
-taking a photo with Rilakkuma!!!
-my friend getting tipsy and momentarily forgetting that anime exists (while at the convention).
-Meeting a guy with a ferret named Sven. He didn’t even buy passes, he was just there to chill with his ferret
-Rave security guard checking my bag for drugs and alcohol and just finding a huge container of steak
-The overwhelming cuteness of the PuniMelt booth. Go buy their clothes and we can match!
-a guy telling us he doesn’t like anime and then asking if he could e-mail me his evangelion theories to post on Metanorn

About

A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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8 Responses to “Anime North 2016 Coverage”

  1. Kentford says:

    Dat Umarun behind you tho~

    By the way how was the sparkling costumes work? They bring some kind of battery every where?

    • Overcooled says:

      Haha yes, I saw lots of cute Umarus at the con (even some male ones).

      I have no idea how some of these light-up costumes worked. They must have battery packs or portable chargers on them to stay lit up.

      • Highway says:

        You can get pretty huge capacity rechargeable USB battery packs now that don’t take a lot of space.

      • Highway says:

        They also might have used something like this (there are other ones with more colors as well).

        BTW, I recommend this for anyone. Bias lighting behind your monitor and TV shining on the wall can let you darken the room to watch or use the computer without the extreme eyestrain from the only light source being the screen. It’s cheap, easy to install, and works great.

  2. akagami says:

    Sounds like you had a lot of fun!

    Decided to try a anime con since I’ve never really been to one, and Anime North was my first ever. By the time I decided to go, Saturday tickets were already sold out, so I got one for Sunday. Btw Sunday panels suck, for the most part. Saturday’s were so much better (at least on paper).

    I found out last minute that Hasegawa Akiko (Miki from [email protected]) and Shimoda Asami (the Futami twins from IdolM[email protected]) were going to be there for autographs and photographs~~~ but I got into the building too late and all the tickets were gone =/

    I wasn’t very impressed with the art from the Artist’s Alley/Craft Corner (well at least nothing that I wanted to pay for) and the Dealer’s room was just overpriced. I did find some specials on artbooks but I had to buy four and only wanted two, the rest of them were Capcom books.

    I think the highlight for me was hanging out front of the Congress Center and taking pictures of the cosplayers. There were some pretty nice costumes! There was a whole Tales shoot outside, and likewise I saw lots of Umarus~~~ ^^

    Surprisingly I didn’t recognize a lot of the characters =\ (and I thought I was pretty knowledgeable about anime). And there were a lot of game-ish characters who I think were from LoL, but since I’ve never played it I have no idea.

    I did get some good pics of Noragami (Bishamon and Yato), a nicely done Yuna and Vanille (FFX and FFXIII), a bunch of pretty authentic looking Mako + Satsuki’s outside the normal battle suits (Kill la Kill), and Sora + Jibril (omgomgomg). I also saw one Madoka with super huge expandable wings. There was an awesome Kusuruiri (Mononoke) cosplayer, but sadly I didn’t get a photo because she was fixing her costume and didn’t want to bother her.

    I think if I go again, I’ll definitely do Saturday and stay for the late night stuff. And maybe try my hand at cosplaying, but I suck at costumes. My halloween ones are just sad. So sad.

    I did mean to ask around if anyone was going, but forgot. So I mostly flew solo~~~ It would have been nice to meet some others, because I don’t really know anyone who watches anime IRL.

    I think I got trolled though… some guy with his friends came up to me and was like “awesome costume, can I get a picture with you”? I’m like… “uhhh, ok? (I’m not cosplaying but I’ll play along)”… (・・。)ゞ And did a selfie with me. And then disappeared and left me all confused.

    • Overcooled says:

      Yeah, it’s pretty quiet on Sunday…But definitely good for getting some deals since everyone wants to get rid of everything! I’m sorry you didn’t find anything you wanted from the Artist Alley/Crafter’s Corner though! I was pretty happy with my purchases.

      I spent a lot of time taking photos too, everyone looked so amazing! Lots of Umarus too lol. I noticed a big surge of LoL cosplays since last year as well, and video games in general. They’re always the best ones too so I end up taking photos even though only my boyfriend knows who they are.

      Oh wow, that sounds great! I have the photo of the expandable wing Madoka in the main album (she lit up at night!) and that was definitely amazing. I’m sad I missed the Kusuriuri costume too ahh…

      I can’t sew, I just do whatever is fun (I happened to own everything for a Gatchaman Hajime costume so that worked out well) so yes, go for cosplaying! It’s fun!

      If you ever want to meet up at AN for lunch or something just let me know! It would be nice to have a Metanorn meet-up at AN but I don’t know if we have many readers from Toronto. Ah well. Glad you had fun though!

      Guess he was hitting on you? lol he forgot to ask your number though, must’ve been too shy

      • akagami says:

        I’m sad I missed the Kusuriuri costume too ahh…

        Me as well! (|||❛︵❛.) She had the ears and the make-up done well, and event had the matching medicine wooden box~~~

  3. akagami says:

    Spammy =(

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