THE DAY HAS FINALLY COME AND GONE.
THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF YEAR.
No, not Christmas, but you might as well have come in close.
Yes, I was referring to Anime North 2016, one of Canada’s biggest anime conventions, and I, along with fellow editor Allen, just finished attending it during the weekend of May 27-29.
And damn, what a weekend it was.
Now, in case you are not in the know, Anime North is a 3-day convention held at the Toronto Congress Center (as well as the nearby hotels, like the International plaza, Crowne Plaza, and the Sheraton), this year it was from May 27-29. As with a lot of anime conventions, it is a celebration of all things anime, and then some.
Panels, guests, cosplays, merchandises, and a whole bunch of other anime-themed events and festivities abound at this Canadian staple convention, and there was no shortage of things to do at the convention for all three days. But, for the sake of everyone here, here’s a run-down of some of the what normally goes on at AN.
First, let’s talk about the Toronto Congress Center.
Arguably the place where a lot of the action starts, the TCC is the biggest area of the convention where fans generally conglomerate. The first thing that you will notice upon arrival at this magical place is, of course, the HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of amazing cosplayers. Mostly found hanging around the area, strutting their stuff, there were also photoshoots over the course of the 3-day weekend for specific franchises and series that you want to see especially. Nonetheless, all of the cosplayers were creative, inspired, and really encapsulate the characters that they’re portraying through their craft.
And not just anime and manga either. Cosplayers representing their favorite video game, comic book, and TV characters also gladly graced us with their presence, showing us what fun and ingenuity there is to be had in their hobby.
But what about the inside of the TCC? Is there anything fun to do there?
Well, if your idea of fun is going around a MASSIVE hall containing tons of great artwork from independent artists, many different kinds of tabletop games and the like, A HUGE ROOM FILLED WITH MANY MANY MERCHANDISES AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE, and many other events that happen throughout the weekend-
-then yes, you will have TONS of fun.
Other events that occur in the TCC include staples such as the opening and closing ceremonies, an anime-style garage sale/flea market called the “Nominoichi”, and various special events and performances throughout, like an escape room, a mini-archery tag arena, and more.
With cosplayers, art, products you can empty your wallet to (and regret NOTHING), and many events that will surely interest you, the Toronto Congress Centre houses many staples of what makes Anime North so amazing.
However, as many as the TCC provides, there’s still a whole bunch of stuff going on that’s located at the other venues hosting the con.
And one of those venues is the International Plaza Hotel.
Home to the majority of the panels, among other events, the International Plaza housed a great deal of interesting panels this year, as it did every year. Whether it’s an educational discussion, engaging presentation, or fun versions of classic game shows (i.e. Anime Jeopardy, anyone?), panels are nice ways to discuss, express, laugh, and sometimes learn more about some interesting topics.
There was a panel about the goodness that is Kyoto Animation. There was one about the biology and scientific probabilities of Pokemon. There was one celebrating anime series we all know and love like Madoka Magica and Evangelion. Heck, there was one about the growing wonder that is Steven Universe. Anything you’re interested in, the International Plaza will definitely have a panel that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy with. If you’re a little bit tired of walking around the outdoors but want to waste no time experiencing all that AN has to offer, then panels are a perfect way to cool off and have fun.
Now, if you’re STILL a bit tired of endless walking and walking and walking, you finished the panels that you wanted to go to, and want to do something different, then how about VIDEO GAMES?
And the exact place for everything gaming can be found at the mighty Sheraton.
This is where the video-game magic happens. The Sheraton houses all of the gaming-related goodness that Anime North has to offer. From classics such as Super Smash Bros. Melee, Dance Dance Revolution, and Halo, to newer things like Pokken, League of Legends, Naruto, and Overwatch, there is no cutting corners with the amount of games you can play and players you can 1v1.
There’s a wide variety of things you can do as well, not just competitive stuff. Simple fun things like playing Just Dance with your friends, trying your hand at their wide expanse of rhythm games, sampling ingenious indie games, and watching players do mind-boggling speed-runs are also part of the wide expanse of events you can participate in if you’re just looking to have fun and relax. Countless hours of gaming fun abound the Sheraton, so much so that you will find it hard to be bored while you’re there.
To sum up, those were just the meat and potatoes of the event, but there are SOOOOOOO many more events and fun little side things you can participate in that you will almost never run out of anything to do at this convention. If you’re an anime fan, or even if you’re just a pop-culture fan in general, then I see no reason why you wouldn’t enjoy going to this event. There’s just so much to love about AN: the atmosphere is extremely homely and hospitable, the staff are helpful, the con-goers welcome you like a long-time friend, and basically it was like stepping into a different world. It is definitely like no other feeling in the world, and I am extremely ecstatic that I got to cover this event for the second-year running.
At the end of the weekend, you WILL feel exhausted. However, along with that exhausted feeling, you will come to the realization that it was all super worth it.
And then you experience what is called the “post-con blues”.
And then you just feel sad about going back to your daily life come Monday.
And you then start the long and harrowing wait until next year…………..
Anime North 2017 could not come any sooner.
Thanks again to Anime North and their media coordinators for the opportunity to represent the website during the event. You guys are awesome and I hope to be considered for this role again next year.
For a full list of all the photos we got from Anime North 2016, head on over to the site’s Facebook page and check out the album labeled “Anime North 2016”.
As per usual, leave a comment down below pertaining to your thoughts on this article, on the event discussed, or if you would like me to talk about anything. And, speaking of liking, give the article a thumbs-up if you enjoyed it and follow me on twitter @tbsken for updates and general shitposting if you feel like doing so.
Aaaaaaand, with that, I bid you all adieu. This has been Ken, and I’ll see you guys in the future-
hopefully at the next Anime North!