By the grace of the Gods, I have managed to return to my home in one piece after the Chaotic, crazy, and splendiferous anime-and-fandom drenched weekend known as Anime North. It would be my first time travelling to the massive convention – quite possibly the biggest in Canada – and my first time travelling to a convention on the east side of the country. While I was lucky to travel with talented cosplayer Batty, I was still quite nervous, not knowing what to expect.
Fun Fact: I managed to fit two cosplays, four days worth of outfits, a pair of boot and a cosmetic bag in a Hyba athletic bag to avoid paying a checked luggage fee. I wouldn’t recommend it.
Batty and I had purchased our badges in advance and had them mailed out to us, so we didn’t have to fiddle with going to pre-registration Thursday night (we were too tired for that anyway). And even though I had to pick up my media pass (because I do run this nifty site!), it wasn’t an absolute priority.
I’m glad I got rest because despite thoughts to the contrary, I was NOT ready for Anime North!
If I am to be completely honest, my intentions for travelling to Toronto were completely cemented in the desire to show off my sweet cosplays (though I was fully prepared to show them off), I was actually there to collaborate with Charles Dunbar, expert panelist extraordinaire. What started as an initial “Hi, I’m a fan, please don’t think I’m weird” has turned into a year-long friendship collaboration of epic proportions. I would be presenting along side him for his “Road to Becoming a Magical Girl” panel – and I don’t think I need to tell you why.
But, before that epic meeting took place, Batty and I had a photo shoot with the talented Tyrone islington Photography. It was the first time I shot with someone other than my go-to photographer, and I was not disappointed. Tyrone was professional, kind, and an all-around pleasure to shoot with. If and when I return to Toronto, I’ll be touching base with him again!
Anime North is unlike any convention I’ve ever been to – and that’s saying something after the crazy, chaotic time I had at Emerald City Comic Con earlier this year. First of all, events were sprawled all over four distinct venues – The Congress Centre (a convention space of massive proportions), the International Plaza Hotel (where most of the viewings and panels were held), the Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel, the Crowne Plaza Hotel, and the Holiday Inn Toronto International Airport. Most of my adventures were centred at the Congress Centre and International Plaza – but for me, having a con at five venues is unheard of. Furthermore, if you have to have a con at five venues, then that’s saying something about your total attendee count.
Let me put it to you this way – while I’m sure it’s a much more dramatic scenario, I have a faint idea about what it’s like to tackle the infamous Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, Japan. Bodies, bodies everywhere!
To put it in perspective, my local con, Tsukino-Con, has over two thousand attendees a year. Even though Emerald City Comic Con logged in about 80,000 attendees in 2016 (and it felt that way this year as well), it’s location in Downtown Seattle made it feel less cramped. Furthermore, the Convention space across the street, which hosted most panels, wasn’t as crowded. Between the food trucks (so many food trucks, it was impossible to go hungry), the outdoor stage, and outdoor vendors, bodies were everywhere. Lines for registration, pre-registration, heck, even the dealers room – costumed and non-costumed bodies were located in all lines of sight. Batty and I were not ready.
But that’s not to say we didn’t enjoy ourselves. I’m usually not the type to take photos at cons – I’m too busy just taking it all in – but man, Anime North was teeming with awesome cosplays. I whipped out my camera so fast, and I couldn’t stop snapping! It warmed my magical girl-researching heart to see so many fabulous maho shojo cosplays (and a ton of other cosplays as well)!
The staff at Anime North ran the convention like a well-oiled machine. They knew what they were doing, I never got the impression that the crowds overwhelmed them and someone was always there to answer my questions. This was the first con I attended as media (ooo, so official), and there was always someone to help me out as I navigated the event. I never felt like I was left to the wolves. The attendees were the bees knees as well. Even if it was a massive event, there was always someone around to help!
In the next entry, it’ll be time to finally meet my panelist idol, as well as others that I wasn’t expecting to me but I’m quite glad that I did. I hope you all are ready because I have tons more to show you from Anime North 2017!
NOTE: All photos were taken by me or someone else on my smartphone.