I think I used this picture before. I’ll probably use it again. [vania600]
Late con posts aren’t all that bad, are they?
Anime North 2010 took place over the last weekend of May, and it happened to coincide with a few important real life events for me, like the end of my last year of high school. Suffice it to say that I had a great time and that it’s still one of my highlights of the year. Since the idea of writing a “real” con report puts me to sleep, this will pretty much just be a collection of my impressions of the various events I attended and on the con as a whole. The post is far longer than anyone should want to read, so the important names and events are bolded to make for easy skimming. There’s also a bit of meta at the end if you’re in the mood for it.
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I don’t believe spent much time talking about this online, but this was actually my first year getting a hotel room for the con. As I’m sure you already discovered, it’s worth it. Sleeping over at a con is a million times more fun than returning home every night, and it’s convenient when you have to wake up early for a 9:00 panel. A lot of people experience cons as an overnight trip because they live out of town, but I can say first-hand that it makes a difference even if you live within comfortable driving distance.
Anyway, Friday began with the Touhou Panel, which was great. Naturally, it was fun to attend an event with a bunch of like-minded bullet dodgers, and it helped that the panelists knew what they were talking about. They were all well versed in the franchise’s universe and storyline as well as the games themselves (and one of them is a pretty serious shmup gamer). Most of the cosplayers were there, too, and there was as much crossplay as you’d expect. It turns out that the event was planned by a few regulars from Maidens of the Kaleidoscope, so it wasn’t totally isolated from the internet. Who knew Toronto was on the map?
Since the panel was at the very beginning of the con, the first thing I did after that was rush to Hendane in the Dealer’s Room. Oh, Hendane… it just wouldn’t be an anime con without your proudly displayed dakimakura covers, your un-awkward conversations about the most awkward topics, your Yaoi Guy’s amusingly bad jokes. It’s an experience that every anime fan needs to have at least once.
Pretty much all of my purchases this year were from these guys (hooray for not being underage). I’m still not as up to date with the doujin scene as I should be, but I did get a couple CCC books as well as some miscellaneous Touhou and K-ON stuff. I also found one of that circle‘s delicious F/SN books. There was some FLIPFLOPs as well. Conveniently, I got a nice bag drawn by Ikegami Akane (Danbooru), which I used to hold everything for the rest of the day.
Oh, and I also bought a legit copy of ef. Success! I still need to find the second game somewhere, but this is satisfying enough for now. I mean, just look at the box. Even the startup manual looks good!
Incidentally, I passed by again on Saturday and got a free burned copy of Narcissu 2 in English. Apparently they know the translators and they were giving it out to anyone who knew what it was.
The only other notable event on Friday was the Symbolism of Alchemy in FMA panel, which was incredible. The panelist was a PhD student who basically gave a two-hour lecture on the mythological background of FMA’s alchemy, transmutation circles, etc., explaining their significance in the story. There’s no way I could paraphrase a lecture of that level, but effectively, each of the shapes used in the alchemic symbols represent something, and they’re designed to relate to the story (each character’s transmutation circle says something about their personality and motives, etc. Even the logo is made up of symbols that state something about the show).
In case you’re wondering, I did peek my head into the karaoke room on Friday night to see if anyone looking like the NNL crew was there, but I couldn’t find anyone of interest. There was also no standing room in the 4chan Panel within 5 minutes of its start so I decided to head back for the night.
Saturday is always the most important day of the con. I spent most of the morning on panels, although there wasn’t much that really jumped out at me. I did get some interesting info from Managing a University Anime Club though. Amusingly, one of the panelists – an attractive business major in a maid outfit – proudly said that she uses female cosplayers to draw in new members. Lesson learned: when it comes to club recruitment, anything goes.
Artist’s Alley was pretty cool. Is that still what they call it? Anyway, I got some decent prints – mostly typical bishoujo stuff, but I also got some of this guy‘s incredible backgrounds. Shilin is good, as always. There were also a couple of doujins this time: a magical girl one-shot by ocean and a K-ON collaboration by Homodachi, the latter of which was apparently founded by my future university’s anime club. I got $2 off!
The bad news is that I missed out on the Maid Cafe; the good news is that I missed out on it for the last time. This was the first year that one of my friends was interested in going so I didn’t know that we had to buy tickets in the morning, but next year I’ll be prepared. I mean, these girls are serious! They were handing out ads to passersby like real maids! How can anyone not blush in front a cute girl in a maid outfit? True men sacrifice $20 in the name of moe~~~
I didn’t do much else on Saturday afternoon, sadly. I realized this year that that’s the best time to hang around outside of the convention center while keeping an eye out for good cosplayers, so I’ll be sure to do that next year. Maybe next year will be the year that I finally start taking more than five cosplay pictures.
Saturday night was great. The BlazBlue Tournament was solid – it ended with a Taokaka vs Arakune matchup that was close for both players. It wasn’t recorded, sadly, but it was a spectacular event to watch. They actually managed to time out on a couple matches, despite Tao playing aggressively throughout. You know what fighting games are like; crazy pressure strings getting blocked flawlessly, a single whiffed attack getting punished with a combo removing ~33% of your health. The Arakune player got his opponent down to <10% a few times with curses and linking his combos together but he ended up losing in the end.
Oh, and there was a guy in a Little Busters COSPA shirt. I would have talked to him but he was busy playing, my arms were freezing from the air condition, and I haven’t even played LB.
Later that night was the shmup game room, which was run by one of the guys from the Touhou panel. It was pretty fun, although I came late for various reasons. I got to watch someone play through all of Ketsui, and I tried my hand at the last boss of Mushihimesama Futari ver 1.5 a few times. I would have tried to run through SA Extra but I couldn’t seem to find it on the laptop. I also got to chat about general Touhou stuff, which is nice, and I vowed to join MotK and start posting. The event wrapped up at midnight, and I concluded the day by playing one round of Melty Blood: Actress Again and getting utterly defeated. I’ll improve for next year….
Sunday was more or less plain, as usual. The most interesting thing was the Haibane Renmei/Lain Panel, which was aided by a doctor of something-or-the-other who does panels at various anime and sci-fi conventions. The panel was extremely useful for me because I never really analyzed ABe’s works to tie them together, so it got me thinking in the right direction. I’ll have to go through his stories again one day and write a post on them.
The rest of the day pretty much just involved hanging around and catching up. We left a few hours before the con ended.
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With another year of Anime North done, I’m reminded yet again that I love anime conventions. It’s easy to be cynical towards the majority of anime fandom, but the fact is that the type of fans that most people hate isn’t the “majority” at all. There are a ton of reasonable, experienced, mature fans at cons who know how to have fun without speaking in broken Japanese and arguing about the Naruto dub. In fact, in a lot of ways, I have more in common with the average con-goer than some fans on the internet – I’m always open about my fandom, and I love being with other people who feel the same way. I can’t relate to the shame and self-loathing of some self-proclaimed anime fans at all. Cons create an experience that you can’t really get elsewhere, even if all of your friends share your hobby.
The con also got me thinking about some things that I want to do next year, although there’s no telling how things will play out. I’d like to get involved with a panel, for one. That will depend pretty much entirely on whether or not I can convince friends from school to do it with me, but if all goes well, I’ll be doing something in public next year. I also need to brush up on my fighting games and stick around for Saturday’s overnight gaming. And I definitely need a silly Touhou hat!
At any rate, since this is already a real life post, I might as well say this now. As I mentioned before, high school is just about done for me, and I’m at the beginning of a summer that will hopefully let me do a ton of things that I didn’t have time to do before. The good news is that, unlike last year, I have almost no real life tasks to take care of, so I have most of the holidays to tackle the backlog and produce as many posts as I can. The bad news – for this blog at least – is that I’ll be starting university in September. I can almost guarantee that I’ll have to go on hiatus for a bit as I get adjusted to residence life, but if you know me, you know that I won’t be gone for long. Studies have shown that the transition from high school to university, much like the transition from university to the workforce, is one of the leading causes of Aniblogger Burnout. I’m determined to fight the disease.
Until then, let the summer begin! AN 2010 has shattered all lack of faith that I might have had toward anime fandom, and I’m even more pumped to keep up with these local events and go out of my way to meet new people. The next school year will introduce me to an anime club that I have very high hopes for, and it should help balance out my real-life anime social life with my internet one. I might be jinxing myself by saying this, but if all goes well, I might even make it to Otakon next year.