A Not Very Informative But Hopefully Entetaining Post On Anime North 2009

by eternal on May 25, 2009


Spring has sprung and con season has begun, but unfortunately for some of us, it has already come to a close. Canada’s biggest anime convention, Anime North, has been a tradition for me since my early days of fandom in junior high, and it has once more left me with a bottomless pit of bittersweet memories. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but anime cons are a great occasion for fans to get together, geek out, buy questionable merchandise, take pictures of attractive goth-loli cosplayers, eat overpriced Pocky, and avoid contracting the Narutard virus.

Strange as these things may sound, however, they all come together quite nicely when you’re with friends, and even if you’re not, there’s some kind of aura present at conventions that allows for the impossible. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a hotel room and I don’t have a car so I didn’t spend 100% of the weekend at the event, and I was too busy lazy to take many pictures, so think of this as a general impressions post rather than real coverage.

anime-north-2009Would have been more awesome if he were standing in the middle.

To make things simpler (for me), let’s go in chronological order. Friday is always my shopping day. Why? Because I find it nearly impossible to resist the allure of the Dealer’s Room, and because I never like to take the risk of letting the good stuff disappear. Besides, shopping for otaku goodies always gives me the equivalent of a sugar rush, and it’s a nice follow-up to the general hype that builds up to and climaxes at the moment you walk through the doors and into the vast space of the TCC.

As for my purchases, I wound up spending a decent amount ($300+), though I didn’t buy a single figure. Most of my loot consisted of artbooks and miscellaneous manga/light novels that I could have gotten off Amazon but was too lazy to do so. About half of this stuff was from The Labyrinth, which is a great otaku bookstore located near University of Toronto. Loot pic is forthcoming.


It looks pretty nice when it’s all laid out like that. I’ve been wanting to take a picture like this since I started blogging.

Anyway, as you can see, my purchases are almost entirely Dead Tree Format (incidentally, The Animanachronism is the second Google search result for the term). Starting from the bottom, we have some sort of bishoujo picture collection by a variety of well-known artists, less than half of which had names that I could actually read; a Serial Experiments Lain artbook in the middle, which looks great but I have yet to open; and a Pita-Ten book, which I bought for shallow reasons and has subsequently convinced me to watch the series for equally shallow reasons.

Above, we have a collection of manga and light novels with titles/covers that you can read for yourselves; notable purchases include Pluto by Naoki Urasawa, mangaka of Monster and 20th Century Boys, and Strawberry Panic, just because I can. I think I also have some more yuri fodder in there. The Zelda book looks quite interesting – it’s this one, about the philosophy in the series – and it looks like it might make a good read for the Super Fanicom folks. I don’t think I’d tackle it just yet, but it’s obviously a worthy purchase for any fan of the series. I later picked up some doujins from Twinbells Doujinshi and a Type-Moon Complex from Hen Da Ne (link not working at the moment). Needless to say, the store owners did a good job of keeping me and my friend occupied while we thumbed through the boxes of porn erotic Japanese art (and, ironically enough, TM Complex isn’t even hentai).

Finally, I got some great prints from what I will continue to call the Artist Alley, and I have Mou-s and Aka-Shiro to thank for that. I will never cease to be impressed by fanart that looks like it belongs in a professional anime or visual novel. I would have gotten some Kaze-Hime prints if I didn’t already have a few from last year, though I think I’m already regretting that decision. The con has really opened my eyes to the world of good fanart, much to the benefit of my otaku spirit and the detriment of my wallet.

Last but not least, I got a couple VHSs from the Nominoichi – a Golgo 13 OVA and the Ghost in the Shell movie. Why? Because I could, and because their combined cost was less than KFC on a Tuesday.

anime-north-2009-3I heard there were a couple more Mio cosplayers but I only got one. Moe moe kyun~

I concluded Friday by attending a live recording of the Anime Roundtable Podcast, which was fairly entertaining. They took a while to setup, but it was interesting once it started moving, and one of the listeners did a good job of reminding the audience that quality high school anime clubs really do exist. It’s just that they’re about as common as a shiny Pokemon.

Fast forward through an adrenaline-filled car ride home, a sore right shoulder, and a surprisingly decent night’s rest that led me to 9:00 am the next day: Saturday was panel day for me, and it was far more enlightening than I expected.

Writer’s Gene? (Saturday 11:00 am)
Not spectacular, but not bad either. One of the panelists is a sci-fi author with a few published books and short stories, and the others had positions in various places in the industry. They all talked about the dangers and reality of selling out and reminded me of why I’d hesitate to take up creative writing as a means of putting food on the table. The publishing industry can be harsh, and potential is often never discovered unless by chance. That said, their message was not entirely discouraging, and was nice to see them take a realistic approach to the art of writing.

Anime Soundtracks (Saturday 12:00 am)
The panel was pretty empty and I didn’t have much to contribute since I hadn’t put much thought into anime music until recently, but suffice to say it was great. The panelists knew what they were talking about and they didn’t seem to be too old nor did they try to be professional – it’s like what I’d imagine an anime music panel run by lelangir and zzeroparticle to sound like. I get the feeling they’ve been doing the panel for a while, and I’ll definitely go next year.

Fan to Pro (Saturday 1:00 pm)
What was I just saying about younger panelists being more approachable? Fan to Pro was run by a man in IT, old enough to be my father, and it was great. With age comes experience, as they say, and his professional, seminar-like presentation was as entertaining as it was informative. He explained a lot of what I had already realized, focusing on the skills we gain in fandom without even realizing it, but he articulated the concept far more clearly than I had ever done. I wouldn’t go again since the information will more than likely be repeated, but I’d recommend going if he does it again next year.

Mythology in Anime (Saturday 2:00 pm)
This one was a bit trickier since the room was full when I got there – there’s very little buffer time between panels – and the questions were very scattered. The downside was that the panelists hadn’t seen a lot of anime that they probably should have seen, rendering them unable to discuss things like Mushishi and Ergo Proxy, but they seemed to be educated enough in the field of mythology. Not a bad panel, but a bit too Q&A oriented to be truly informative.

Being Cool AND a Geek (Saturday 10:00 pm)
It’s applicable to about 75% of con attendees, and it’s something we’ve all thought about at some point. Unfortunately, nothing of value was gained, though I blame the lackluster questions and responses of the audience for that. At least one of the panelists seemed to know what she was talking about and touched on the cold truth of the social hierarchy, but there was too much otaku circle-jerking for anyone to have left the panel with a higher chance of not failing at life. Fortunately, the event was at least thought-provoking and there were a few key comments that reinforced my own theories, but in many ways it was just a recycling of information that your elementary school teachers tell you about self-confidence and uniqueness.

All in all, I was very pleased by the panels, and all except the last one left me with at least a fragment of new information. After that, I met up with some friends and passed the rest of the day hanging out – the very crux of the con experience in my opinion, save for a good concert or video game tournament. I passed on gaming in favor of having fun – and fun was certainly had, especially since I was with people that I rarely get to see outside of AN weekend – and I very much enjoyed sleeping in on Sunday. I didn’t bother going back for the last day since there’s never anything much to do, but the experience from a full two days was more than fulfilling, and like always, it’s left me with the burning desire to continue to delve into the depths of otaku culture as fast as humanly possible.

anime-north-2009-5Totally forgot to mention that I found this in the Nominoichi. Fake? Maybe. Worth it? Definitely.

To summarize, the weekend of Anime North was great, and it gave me a slightly better picture of how to further enjoy the con scene next year. Of course, a convention wouldn’t be a convention if there weren’t at least a few lessons learned – the most notable one being that it’s arguably more fun to shop for porn than to read it – and I know that I gained a lot from the experience. Here’s to many more years of anime convention goodness, a limitless supply of the noobs and elitists that maintain the balance in the community, an Artist Alley filled with yaoi and a doujin shop filled with hentai, fat Konatas and petite Soras, and maybe even a crossdressing Sailor Moon or a Shiori; but most importantly, here’s to you, and me, and everyone else that partakes in the enjoyment of anime and the con experience. Until next year!


{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

7 May 25, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Looks very fun. I am at least able to use this post as a heads-up guide on what to expect from a convention, despite the fact that every con is different. I have yet to attend my first convention next month; and while I am excited, I also can’t help but feel overwhelmed.

Shopping at a convention? I never even considered the thought! I guess I’ll take this post as a reminder to milk my wallet dry that weekend ^_^.

7s last blog post..Oz Bezarius is one of my idols…


lelangir May 25, 2009 at 8:44 pm

….you know how cool that’d be? To run an animusic panel with zzero. O_o

lelangirs last blog post..The Sims 3 Soundtrack: It Doesn’t Surprise Much, But It Sure Goes Down Smooth (Review)


omo May 25, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Sounds like good panels. Wonder if there are write-up of that fan-to-pro one and the soundtrack one…

omos last blog post..Anime Boston 2009 Wrap


Fishphibian May 25, 2009 at 8:49 pm

Hey, I mentioned this on twitter, but I wanted to say on behalf of Mike that I am happy you enjoyed the podcast on Friday. You luckily(?) missed a lot of Adam’s perversion and unique… although he was there a bit so you got some of his intelligence and humor. As was said, good high school anime clubs are rare, heck, even good anime clubs are rare. With internet’s rise, the “need” for clubs has unfortunately died down, but it is my hope as a future University club president myself that they can still be a cool place to be.

Anyways, thanks again for stopping by, I am positive Mike appreciates it as normally his audience is significantly smaller. Do listen to any of the old episodes that may interest you; there’s some good stuff in there if you dig. Take care, and a very nice overview of the con. You’re pretty well versed and traveled as an otaku for someone so young.


zzeroparticle May 25, 2009 at 9:09 pm

….you know how cool that’d be? To run an animusic panel with zzero. O_o


I’m actually really curious as to what sort of material they covered at that animusic panel since it’s obviously very relevant to my interests :3 Should I ever hold one with lelangir, that can only signal at some massive win and awesome.

zzeroparticles last blog post..K-ON! Insert Song – “Fuwa Fuwa Time” – Review


blkmage May 25, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Huh, maybe I should check out AN again now that I have more of an idea of interesting things to look out for and a greater propensity to spend monies. That and maybe find the right people to go with.

blkmages last blog post..Anime that no one thought actually existed: The return of Suzumiya Haruhi


Minnie May 25, 2009 at 11:59 pm

One of our bloggers also went to Anime North and she’s writing a post on it right now. I better remember your post and send it to her. ^^ So many pretty pictures. *_*

Minnies last blog post..The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Episode 8… no, Wait… The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya Episode 1… WHATEVER THE HELL IT IS… IT’S FINALLY HERE!


animekritik May 26, 2009 at 1:04 am

why haven’t you opened the lain book yet?? (that’s what i want to know..)

animekritiks last blog post..Deconstructing Gunbuster


phossil May 26, 2009 at 12:18 pm

cool collection of manga you got!!
Zelda has a manga too??

phossils last blog post..Looking for a car


Rin May 26, 2009 at 5:18 pm

I was at AN too…tired to call you but you didn’t answer…
Nice cosplay photos…
Nice loot too!!!!!!
Maybe we can meet up at the next convention…

Rins last blog post..Anime North 2009 Loot


moritheil May 28, 2009 at 7:13 am

Ah, the loot. Very nice coverage!

I’m most amused by your comments on “Being cool and being a geek.”


GNdynames May 29, 2009 at 8:51 pm

The first and only convention I’ve attended was AN 08, I wasn’t the otaku I am now so I’ve pretty much missed everything (including shopping, since I went on Saturday, still got something though).


Shin May 30, 2009 at 2:47 am

On the whole, this convention is a lot more activity based than what I’m used to back home, since we rely on their turn up more than anything else. The Mio cosplayer killed it.


Shin May 30, 2009 at 11:44 am

I meant to say turn up of cosplayers~


ETERNAL May 30, 2009 at 6:53 pm

@ omo: I haven’t seen any formal reports, but it would be nice if someone decided to do one. Maybe we can try and get the Anime Diet guys to come visit :P

@ Fishphibian: Thanks! Are you affiliated with the podcast? You sound like you know them pretty well. Either way, I’m hoping that the anime club at the university I plan on going to works out for the better, since they really do function well as a means of meeting people with similar interests.

@ zzeroparticle: They pretty much just talked about different composers and soundtracks, mostly from shows that people would recognize. There were quite a few mentions of video game composers as well, particularly the ones who worked on popular JRPGs. It was more of an open discussion than a real seminar.

@ animekritik: That’s actually not a bad question. If it means anything, I opened it now :P

@ phossil: No, it’s actually just a spinoff book that talks about philosophy in the series (which is arguably more interesting than a basic adaptation).

@ Rin: Strange, I don’t think I got anything…then again, it’s usually easy to miss calls when you’re busy. Incidentally, it appears as if I don’t have your number; we should probably sort that out some time :P

@ moritheil: I guess it would be amusing from a third person perspective. The thing is, I still think I was right. I’m not particularly upset since panels like that are always hit or miss, but it was a little disappointing to see a potentially helpful panel go to waste because a bunch of anime nerds decided that they would tell each other that “coolness” comes from within and that you can succeed in life just by being yourself. Even I’m not that naive, and I liked TomoyaxNagisa in the second season of Clannad :P

@ GNdynames: That happened to me the first time I went too, though that was years ago. I find that I’m able to do something new each year since I always grow in some way through the course of the year.


Lee June 1, 2009 at 12:12 am

Great coverage, you should be a reporter! Impressive. I can’t imagine that kind of trip.


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