Sorry I’m making this so long after the event but I’ve been busy with internships, work and art lessons the past two weeks. Anime North was amazing this year.
I went as Sanji on Friday, Luffy on Saturday and Ash Ketchum on Sunday. The opening ceremony was amazing. There was a local Toronto based Japanese band who performed a bunch of songs. Their music was really powerful.
Then the opening ceremonies began. It was great to see all the guests appear together on stage. J Michael Tatum got a huge reception as he always does (especially from the ladies). A lot of guys were super excited to see the voice actresses from Idol master attend the convention.
After the opening ceremonies I went to Wendy Powell and Cynthia Cruz’s panel. For those who don’t know Wendy was Envy in Fullmetal Alchemist. Cynthia is Chi Chi from DBZ and Paniya from Fullmetal Alchemist (The girl with the prosthetic limbs from Rush Valley). While at the Panel I learned that Wendy teaches Middle School Drama classes. She teaches in an area that she described to be a bit of a rough neighbourhood. Apparently she’s a really good teacher. Cynthia pointed out that many of the productions Wendy oversees have won state championships beating out the State’s art school. It was really interesting to learn about this. The thought that Envy helps adolescents become actors was really funny. Wendy also told us that Aaron Dismuke the original english Voice actor for Alphonse recently graduated from college. He’s just two years older than me but he’s already voiced one of the greatest anime characters ever, my life is empty. Finally we learned from Wendy that the author of FMA Hiromi Arakawa actually told Funimation she prefers the English dub of the anime over the Japanese dub of the anime. This isn’t to discredit the Japanese cast at all as its more of a compliment to the English cast, its also because FMA takes place in a European inspired setting so the author always envisioned the characters speaking english. I know this isn’t much but as a person who loves dubbed anime its nice to see the hard work from Funimation get recognized by the author.
After that I went to the dealers room to but some merch. I got a really awesome Soul Eater and Gurren Lagann poster.
Then I headed Back to the international hotel. While on the way I saw one of the best cosplays from the convention.
Then I caught up with my friends from college and went to the Pokemon Biology panel. It was a panel where you asked questions about Pokemon and the panelists would try to answer the question. Some questions included: What does Diglett’s feet look like, Why aren’t Marowaks extinct, and then finally my question was “What’s the deal with female Mr Mimes and male Jynxs. The response I got was “Arceus makes mistakes”. It was a fun panel. I might see if I can be a panelist for it next year cause I’m a Pokemon nut. If any of you guys know anything about where I’d sign up for that stuff please let me know. After that me and my friends went over to the Yuri 18+ panel. The only reason we went was because one the president of our college’s anime club was hosting the panel. Most of the people who attended were club members so it was less a panel about Yuri manga and more just us talking about the stuff we do in Sheridan’s anime club. We ended the night by going to the Friday night Rave. We only got to attend for a short while because we got there late but it was still a really fun time.
Saturday was the busiest day by far. The first part of that day I spent waiting in line to meet Chie Nakumura the Japanese voice actress for Sakura in Naruto. Naruto was my first anime so it has a special place in my heart, I was really excited to meet one of the cast members. I really enjoy both the Japanese and English casts for Naruto, I’ve listened to both so many times, personally I think both are great so I don’t prefer one over the other. I had to wait in line for an hour but it was totally worth it. I got her to sign Volume 28 of the Naruto manga (when Shippuden begins). The only thing is that the pen she used wasn’t very strong so her signature started to fade. I had to right over and try to copy her signature so now I’m stuck with this.
She also said I looked cute in my Luffy Cosplay… Sakura telling me I was cute made my day.
After that I went back to the International plaza to go attend a panel ( I forget which one). On the way I met my favourite youtube anime reviewer Arkada. It was really cool to see someone I’ve watched on the screen be right in front of me. We talked a lot about Fullmetal Alchemist. He’s playing to do a video where he will review the original anime, then a second video where he will review Brotherhood and then a third where he compares the two. What’s interesting is that both of us love the original FMA even though for some reason a lot of people who consider themselves hardcore FMA fans hate the original but that’s for another blog post.
After that I went back to dealers room. I got a DBZ key chain. They look really great with my car keys. Now I have Super saiyan Goku with me when I drive.
By that time it was time for the One Piece photo shoot. I really love this since I get to spend an hour with people who love One Piece while posing. As always the band was playing while we were posing so it was an awesome mix of costumes people and music. My favourite shoots this year were the Luffy group shot, The Drum island group shot and the ship group shot. The best cosplay from this group was Gear 4 Luffy. Considering that gear 4 Luffy just appeared this costumes was made last minute but looks amazing.
Once the photo shoot was over I went to the Hunter X Hunter panel which was also hosted by the president of my colleges anime club. I haven’t read or watched Hunter X Hunter, I went mostly to be with my friends who like the Yuri panel went to hang out and talk about club. I might start Hunter X Hunter soon since everyone in the panel told me its the best shonen out right now.
We grabbed Harvey’s afterwards since it was the only restaurant at that time not overflowing with people. While waiting in line we discussed why red onions are called red onions when they’re more of a purple colour.
Then we headed back to the International Plaza to take part in the JoJo pose school. They taught us how to pose like the characters from JoJo’s bizarre adventure. It was amazing.
Saturday ended off with the J-pop dance night. It was really fun. I’ve been to the Saturday rave before and while it is a lot of fun the music they play is kind of generic rave music especially western pop songs. Its fun but when I’m at an anime con I’d like to hear anime music not western pop songs I can hear everyday on the radio. The J-pop dance was way more fun with its anime music. It also had two water tanks which really helped. They took requests which was really nice. The best part was when they played the song I requested: Tank from Cowboy Bebop. Nothing beats dancing out to the best opening in all of anime. I made an AMV a few days ago for Bebop. It was a great time and I’ll be sure to come back next year.
Sunday was a slow day after all the partying on Sat. I attended Chie Nakumura’s Q&A panel. I asked her what her she though about the ending of Naruto, specifically what she though about Sakura marrying Sasuke. She had mixed feelings, she was happy for Sakura because it was Sakura’s goal from the start to be with Sasuke. However, Chie thought as I did that Sakura was going to end up with Naruto, so she was a bit disappointed that it didn’t happen. She also talked about how the day she read it was a difficult day for her emotionally. It was a hard day for fans like myself when Naruto ended so it was even harder for the cast. Chie along with the other voice actors have been playing these characters for over 10 years. While she gets along with all of the cast Chie said that she’s very good friends with Junko Takeuchi (Naruto) and Masako Katsuki (Tsunade). So for her she wasn’t just seeing the Naruto characters she was seeing her friends. Anyone who has been in a theatre production (such as myself) will tell you that you really bond with your fellow cast and crew. When the production is over and you all go your separate ways it can get really heart-breaking. The Naruto anime is still ongoing but it was still difficult for Chie. It didn’t help that when she got home that day Naruto fans actually sent her angry emails because they too thought Naruto should’ve ended up with Sakura.
Then I went to artist alley to get some more autographs. I got an autograph from Chris Carson (Gluttony FMA, Tien DBZ), Wendy Powell and Cynthia Cruz.
I couldn’t get an autograph from J Michael Tatum because his line was just too big.
At this point the con was almost over. I went out and just took pictures with cosplayers.
I went down to the closing ceremonies which were actually really well done. The CEO Irwin Tan whom I did a phone interview with last month said that Anime North will be celebrating its 20th anniversary next year. He promised to make it the best year they’ve ever had, after learning about how much work and enthusiasm the people who run the convention have I believe him.
And so Just like that Anime North ended but not before I got in one last picture. They say that cons are a great place to meet romantic partners. Fan expo had a wedding a few years back. This year One of us finally got a girl.