For 16 years, Anime North has had it’s ups and downs. For a while, things were great. Then things got too strict. Last year, I received the worst treatment from Anime North and once that weekend was over, I swore to NEVER go back to Anime North ever again.
After major convincing from my friends, I decided to attend, filled with apprehension about attending this volunteer run, charitable, convention. This year reminded me immediately of the old days of the convention, the ones that I remember.
For those of you who have never heard of Anime North, or have and just need some reminding. Anime North is one of the largest conventions in Canada, only behind FanExpo in its size. It’s fan run, and pretty much entirely by volunteers. This is Anime North’s 16th year in operation and it’s great reputation is well earned.
This year, they decided to implement an “Attendance Cap”. I know quite a few people were upset about at first. The attendance cap was put in place so the fire hazard limit would be upheld and that things could be a bit more controlled. It was set so that this year there would be 15 000 weekend passes sold, and 5000 daily passes sold for each separate day. At the beginning of May, all 15 000 weekend passes had been sold and only a small amount of daily passes remained.
There were actually a few things I was proud of this year with AN, both by the organizers and attendees.
1) Showcasing Canadian Talent; this is a shoutout to the Canadian Wrestling, Scott Rasoomair the creator of VGcats, and Christian Potenza, most known for his voice acting of Jude on the TELETOON show 6teen. Very rarely I have found over the years to be any showcasing of what Canadians can do. It was welcomed with SUCH open arms this year, I know for a fact, that Potenza had to close up shop early because he had sold out of all his merchandise. Yes, you read that correctly. He sold out of EVERYTHING. The way that people have accepted our great Canadian brethren is quite beautiful really.
2) The lines, for the most part, were tolerable. Instead of being shouted at every five minutes, I was told nicely, to go into the right line, pair up, make sure I have everything I needed. The only time I ever felt like I was being corralled into doing anything was waiting to meet J Michael Tatum. And that was “Pair up, don’t take too long as he only has an hour and we have a massive line, and no big awkward questions”. That was it. And then they sprayed bubbles on us. So major props to AN for stepping up on the “Let’s line them up like soldiers” vs actually being nice to Convention attendees.
3) Great Guests; Brina Palencia, J. Michael Tatum, Monica Rial are great big names to have to a con. So are Christopher Ayres, and Lee Tocker. But adding others, including veteran cosplay Dizzy Lizzy (We are of no relation, it’s just a nickname convenience! She’s dizzy, I’m just ditzy), Ben Israel, and Carli Mosier to list is what strengthens to group. And then there were of course the Japanese Guests of Honour, Yuu Asakawa (Sakaki in Azumanga Daioh) and Akira Sasanuma (Link in Twilight Princess) are just the cherry on top! Anime North has stepped up on the guest invite game.
4) The revival of cosplays from older Anime. In the past few times I have gone, there have been a massive amounts of Edward Elrics, Narutos, Host Club Members, and Vocaloids. While the number of Vocaloids hasn’t diminished by much, the numbers for “popular” cosplays have been dwindling. This year seemed to be “The Year of the Classics”. Within my first day, I saw a Skuld from Ah My Goddess, Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service, Evangelion cosplayers. Saturday, there was a Genjo Sanzo from Saiyuki. The list I could name would go on and on. With all these classics coming out of the woodwork, I’d like to dub this con the “Revival of the Classics”.
Yet what Anime North hath given, they hath taken away. They seemed to be lacking in room still. Many areas of the convention, especially the dealers room were cramped and crowded. And yet there were other areas of the con reserved for other events, which we get. Then there are OTHER areas, just blocked off all together. Where I lined up to meet Tatum, there was a giant ten -twenty foot curtain sectioning off a corner of the convention centre. Why would they section it off when you can easily have more room that way!?
Secondly, and this is more of a personal thing, is for the Vocaloid cosplayers. Yes, it’s wicked that Vocaloid is made using a computer generator. Yes, it’s cool that it’s popular. No that does not mean that over a thousand of you should dress up as Hatsune Miku, and over HALF of you have skirts less than an inch long. And a general thing to lady convention goers ever. In my opinion, if you’re going to have skin showing in the nether region, cover using the proper attire. The amount of behinds and “va-jay-jay”s that were showing, were so unclassy. Ladies, it’s okay to show off the bod and the goods, but do it in a way that makes it not seem so obvious.
Overall, from previous years where it seemed to be starting to show some sort of decline in treatment of guests and quality of panels, events, and products, Anime North has gone above and beyond my expectations this year, and has earned a spot back in my heart. As soon as tickets become available for next years, I shall be booking mine.
Want to see some photos of Ditzy Miss Lizzy’s adventure at AN? Click the link below!
More pictures for your eyes!
Liz is an Intern of This week in Geek and is typical found on the convention scene in southern Ontario. She does not suck and is fully endorsed by Birdman and will have a place at his side when the robots take over.