Monday, June 4, 2012

Anime North 2012 In 10 Pictures

I'm going to break up my short Toronto Maycation story into two parts, Anime North and out and about in Toronto.

Like with the D23 Expo post last year, I think I can summarize my weekend at Canada's largest anime convention in 10 pictures, especially since I didn't have time to catch any panels (exhibitors and artist alley were in the Toronto Congress Centre, panels and video rooms were in the nearby hotels...Kinda wished everything was in one place so I wouldn't have to deal with crossing the street every few hours...).


After arriving in Toronto and checking in early at the hotel so I could shower (really gotta rethink having an itinerary that involves three flights), I headed straight to the Toronto Congress Centre where I made a new friend while trying to get my bearings about the area.  I had a couple hours to kill before heading to the first place I was invited to before arriving, and the badge pickup line looked short, so I set out taking pictures of cosplayers...


My first invite was by a cosplayer who was interested in a photoshoot with my 3D rig before the start of the D. Gray Man cosplay gathering.  I brought v1.1 with me in case it didn't survive being in my checked luggage (my carry-on already had a netbook and two cameras, and I always want to have an extra shirt in my carry-on in case my checked luggage gets delayed)...What was interesting is that Anime North actively organizes cosplay gatherings (which Canadians apparently call photoshoots) to the point that there are signs...


The 3D photoshoot was a success, and I also used it for the D. Gray Man gathering where I learned that I might be able to take 3D video with the rig...

Before my new friend and I went to pick up our badges, we learned the dangers of having a con supervise a cosplay gathering.  A gathering has a claim to a spot for an entire hour, which would be fine if there was a group, but at the Air Gear gathering, only one cosplayer showed up, and he wasn't even the organizer.  However, once my new friend and I started taking pics of him, more people stopped by to take pictures...

Finally, we got to getting badges, only to realize that the line ballooned to a 3 hour wait...


After surviving the ordeal, my new friend and I only had a little bit of sitting time before getting autographs from Yuu Asakawa (Vocaloid's Luka).  While the convention center itself was mainly for vendors and artists, there was entertainment in the form of wrestling...


Fred Flintstone vs. Mario in a match rigged by Lex Luthor...

Amazing that they did autograph signings in the evening...I got Yuu Asakawa to sign my Mikunopolis L.A. concert program and voice of Zelda (Akira Sasanuma) to sign my Super Smash Bros. Brawl cover...

After the autograph signing, I looked for Photo Alley (apparently a new thing for Anime North, which I hope to see at Anime Expo one day) to meet the photographer who invited me to show him how I built my stereo photography rig...


My new photographer friend also has a blog, so check it out.

On the second day, the priority was to get autographs, but again, more lines.  I only had time to get Brina Palencia (Hideyoshi) to sign my Baka & Test blu-ray cover.  I really wanted Monica Rial (Renge) and J. Michael Tatum (Kyoya) to sign my Ouran High School Host Club DVD cover and Monica to also sign my Panty & Stocking wall scroll, but it looks like Ouran will have to wait, and I have to hope I can get both Monica and Jamie Marchi to sign the P&S wallscroll during Anime Expo...

But anyway, my other invite was to a kimono photoshoot...I didn't have room to pack any cosplays for Anime North, but I did bring the yukata I picked up at the ryokan I stayed at in Tokyo many, many years ago...


I suggested the cell phone pose as I was inspired by all those tech ads where you see a Buddhist monk listening to his MP3 player (oddly enough, on the last flight back to California, I sat next to a woman in Buddhist monk attire).

I was invited by the kimono photoshoot organizer to her panel called "Black Kids Like Anime, Too", but I would later miss it as the room filled up by the time I got there.

Took a bunch more pictures and checked out the Exhibit Hall, where I learned quickly prices were much higher than in California events, even before factoring in the exchange rate between US and Canadian dollars.  For example, Pocky was $3 CAD, and the Giant Pocky was about $25 CAD.  I know I can get regular (in the red box) for about $1.25 USD and giant for about $12 USD.

While it was hot in the daytime (and there were several ice cream trucks in the convention center parking lot to attest to it), the night was cool enough to have evening raves...


That evening of day 2, I also checked out something that was suggested to me when I asked on the Anime North Facebook page about whether there was any crossplay going on...Cafe Nocturne, where girls dress as butlers...definitely PG-13 material...



I came to this twist on a cosplay cafe for the experience...good thing I had Tim Hortons for dinner...I like getting donuts with my chicken wrap...

On the last day of Anime North, I missed my last chance to get Monica Rial's and J. Michael Tatum's autographs (there's always another con) I went around taking more pics and saying my goodbyes to the new friends I made....hmmm...One picture left...The only big thing I had planned was the My Little Pony photoshoot for the basic curiosity as to how people would cosplay these animals, and I still wonder if this cosplayer really knew the value of American money...


Well, that's my Anime North experience in 10 pictures.  I definitely took a lot more pics that you can find here.

Next up is the little Toronto sightseeing I was able to squeeze in during AN and in 10 pictures...

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