Event Recap: Anime North 2013
“I’m among my people” exclaimed an excited girl who passed me by in the dealer’s room. This quote well enough defined my experience at Anime North. For everything anime related this is the place to go. For those who don’t know yet, Anime North is an event held at the Toronto Congress Centre, and five other hotel venues. Each among walking distance from each other and available shuttle busses is available to connect the venues. Anime North is non-profit, fan-run anime convention that is held every year in Toronto, Canada. It’s major attractions, activities, and events include the Masquerade, the dealer’s room, guest of honor presentations, an artist’s alley, panel discussions, contests, video presentations, gaming tournaments, and dances. Each year the attendance count would rise, drawing in more people each year. In this regard it is the largest anime convention in Toronto. Since last year Anime North enacted an attendance cap of 20,000 attendees daily cap to address the overcrowding. This years Anime North was no different, there was a lot of people and tons of fun. I would say that after each and every year, Anime North gets better and better.
My experience there was quite energetic and enthusiastic. I am well accustomed to these conventions, being no stranger to the weird and wacky things that are displayed. Seeing many people in cosplay is nothing new, if anything it feels familiar to go to these events and hang out with others with very similar interests. Having gone to Anime North for many years is always an invigorating experience. Friday was the start of Anime North and the most important. The initial buzz to enter the dealer’s room was exciting. To run in, find whatever you were planning to buy and purchase them before it gets sold out; most of these products being imported all the way from Japan. The benefit over buying online is that you can physically examine the product in person, perhaps for precision detailing and also the ability to skim over items that may catch your attention. Aside from the dealer’s room there was Nominichi, a place where anyone can sell their own products, think of it as multiple mini garage sales all happening in one area. You can expect to see many anime themed items range such as DVD’s, card games, manga, video games, and plushies for really low prices.
A plus for these types of conventions is for those who brought their Nintendo 3DS system. Quite often as you make your way around the convention you’ll see many 3DS owners walking around Anime North with their console on hand. This can be extremely helpful in acquiring large amounts of Street-passes over the weekend. I scored around more than 250 street-passes on Saturday alone. It was rewarding to finish up those puzzle panels.
Maneuvering around the convention was simple and navigable. At anytime I didn’t feel that I was crammed. The large open space of the Toronto Congress Centre allowed for tons of room, especially the large parking lot. Many were outside to enjoy the perfect weather and to mingle with others, photograph cosplayers, and listen to the band up on stage. Saturday at Anime North is usually the busiest. The Masquerade and guest of honor panels highlighted the Saturday as a feature presentation. As such there were more attendees there than Friday and Sunday.
The Masquerade got cosplayers to perform up on stage with their created skit. The acts they performed was quite entertaining and fun to watch. You would listen to the crowd react in joy, laughter, and excitement over their favorite anime series. The rest of my Anime North weekend was spent visiting panels, going into the dealers room for more purchases, gaming with others, and just hanging out.
All in all Anime North can be summed up with one word, awesome. For those who haven’t gone already I suggest you go there to experience the Japanese Otaku culture. For those who have gone and enjoyed their time there, I bet you’ll want to go again next year.
Photo Credit: Marc Levy