Anime North 2010 - No Place Like This


Anime North

Hello, RPGamers, and welcome back to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, home to one of the largest anime conventions in North America, Anime North. Last year, I did a feature, and considering all the positive feedback I received, I thought it would be great to once again revive this feature and talk about my experiences. Also, like last year, Ada, my friend from Scotland, once again makes her appearance as she helped take many of the photos you will see in this feature. Thanks Ada!

This year, the weather was probably the hottest it's ever been since I started going to this convention back in 2000. Hot weather made for semi-cranky con-goers, but somehow folks seemed to manage all right, despite long lines to get into the convention and its large Dealer's Room. Once again, I got myself into trouble, as I've been promising myself that I will stop buying new games until I complete some of my backlog, and I failed by picking up Alundra while wandering about the Dealer's Room alone. Lesson to those who hang out with me at conventions: don't let me wander away on my own, or else I end up buying video games. It happens all the time.

Friday evening, Anime North hosts Nominoichi, also known as the "Anime Flea Market." Here, anime fans have the opportunity to sell some of their old videos, DVDs, manga, video games, and other import items. It was also here that I picked up Xenogears for $25 bucks, which also happens to be my friend Elly's favourite RPG of all time. The amount of video games being sold at the event was unreal, as people were parting with massive collections. It made me kind of sad really as a collector myself, but people gotta do what they need to. At Nomi I was also able to spot some fantastic cosplayers, and I made a little scratch on the side. Also, I had RPGamer fans approach me while I was working the table, which was a real treat.

The costumers at Anime North really do get more amazing as the years go on. The amount of attention and detail that people put into their costume is astounding, and considering also how friendly they are makes the experience even more memorable. Once again I dressed up as Mitsuru Kirijo from Persona 3 and there was a photoshoot, and again these people who cosplay Persona every year continue to impress and thrill me with their work. It also helps that were some actual personas this time around, which included a Nekomata and a Thanatos. Lots of excellent workmanship here.

What also impressed me were the number of more obscure video game cosplay. I managed to find a few obscure costumes that included a Klonoa, Feena from Grandia, Riou from Suikoden II, Meis from Thousand Arms, and even a bunch of Disgaea cosplayers. The amount of obscure games represented was definitely a treat for me, as it was fun to guess as costumers walked past me. Also, poor Elly was dressed as Mullenkamp from Vagrant Story and folks kept asking her all weekend if she was dressed as Slave Leia from Star Wars. Poor Elly!

Artists Alley was also epic this year. There were tons of great artists and works on display. I ended up getting a commission of Mitsuru from Persona 3 from Noreen Rana, and she also did a commission for Ada titled "Ada's Three Favourite Things" which are Mr. Popo from Dragon Ball, Danielle Rouseeau from Lost, and Canada. I also met up with my lovely artist friend Maiji who did a beautiful commission of Lenneth Valkyrie for me, and a picture of Johnny from Tales of Destiny for a friend of ours. I always love getting art from folks I know, but also seeing a lot of new artists showed me that there's so much talent, and it's amazing that it all gathers in one spot for a weekend.

I also did my first professional panel with Gaming Excellence reviewer, Liana K. We had a great discussion, and a lot of positive feedback as we were able to constructively break down what it means to be a great game reviewer. As well as sharing some of our horror stories working in the industry, along with reviewers we despise and practices in the gaming industry that upset or disgust us. Good times were had by all. Oh, and did I mention that she's a television celebrity here in Toronto? Liana K is most famous for having worked on "The Ed the Sock Show." If you don't know what that is, Google it. Also, at the same time my panel was running, Saving Throw Columinist, Scott Wachter, was on a panel discussing the awesomeness of giant robots. I was sad that our panels were running at the same time or else I would have gone out to support him.

It's a shame Anime North is only a weekend. Every year I go, I have such an amazing time. From all the interesting cosplay, to the awkwardness of crossplay, to fun times at the ice cream truck, Anime North 2010 was easily the most fun I've had at a convention. I am eagerly looking forward to Anime North 2011, and hopefully next year I'll get my Suikoden cosplay group up and running. Until next time, I hope you guys had a blast reading this feature, and while your at it, check out the cosplay gallery for some of the costuming highlights from this year. Enjoy the photographs taken by myself and Ada. If you would like your picture removed, feel free to e-mail me. I look forward to seeing more RPGamers at Anime North 2011!

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