For many years now, I had been thinking about attending Anime North again. My history with Anime North is quite similar to my history with Fan Expo. I attended a couple years as an attendee. Then I spent 4-5 years helping out at events. Then I went back to being a regular attendee. Only difference is that I still consistently attend Fan Expo (though I missed a couple years after I stopped helping at events), whereas my attendance to Anime North has been nearly non-existent.
My biggest barrier to attending Anime North regularly is the hotel cost. Aside from my old convention buddies who still help out at Anime North, almost none of my friends go to Anime North anymore, meaning that if I went, I’d be attending by myself and staying at a hotel by myself. Frankly speaking… unless something AMAZING was happening there… that would be wayyyy too costly. Also… I am not a fan of the convention events being split into five different locations.
This year I decided to attend because one of my co-worker friends wanted to go. Or — maybe I suggested it one time and she said yes enthusiastically. I actually don’t remember exactly how it happened. She told me I was her first anime friend, so I thought: If I am her first anime friend, then maybe she hasn’t attended an anime convention before. Let’s get her more exposed to anime fandom.
For my full history of Anime North — and my re-counting of the last time I attended Anime North (back in 2013) — feel free to check out my old blog entry: here.
From this point on, unless I specify, any mentions of “we” would refer to myself and my co-worker friend. I just don’t want to keep saying “my co-worker friend and I” throughout the blog, hahaha. Also, “Anime North” will be shortened to “AN”.
We stayed at the DoubleTree by Hilton Toronto Airport at 925 Dixon Road. It was the closest hotel that still had space when I got around to booking a hotel, which was around early February. So… if you want to book a hotel close to AN, book earlier than February! The hotel we stayed at was kinda convenient to get to AN (1 bus ride or 25 mins of walking), but personally, was too far for my liking. For two nights, the hotel stay was $400 total after tax.
There was only one thing I wanted to check out during AN: Anime Jeopardy. I attended that show the last time I went to AN, and I wanted to see it again. After flipping through the schedule, I was also curious about Video Game Name That Tune, Mettaton’s Gameshow, Music of Anime Openings, Mythology and Folklore, Tarot Card Reading, AMV Replay, and a few other panels. Some things I didn’t consider at all, knowing that they’d be happening too late for my comfort.
Just like the last time I attended AN, I took issue with the schedule’s layout. It was split into various time blocks for each day, and then was split out by each location, printed on multiple pages. Why can’t we just get a huuuuuuge master timetable — one table for each day, with the columns being the various rooms (grouped by location), and the rows being the time in 30 minute slots? I think it would be much easier to read and plot out the day. There was a Guidebook app available, but I didn’t check it out.
As for the guests, I looked at the list briefly but decided to not go for any autographs. I figured that with all I wanted to do, there wouldn’t be time to get any.
Just to warn you (as I always do with my convention blogs): this blog will be quite long (not as long as my Fan Expo blogs nor my IFFT blog, but still long). I’ll be covering each day of Anime North — what I did, what panels I attended, and any thoughts. That’s three days’ worth of blogging. I’ve lumped all my pics of cosplayers into one section. If you want to see just that, search for “Photos of Cosplayers”. For the section of what I’ve bought, search for “My Convention Purchases”. 🙂
Dates of Anime North: May 24th – May 26th, 2019
Location: Toronto Congress Centre (TCC) + Delta Toronto Airport Hotel (I believe this used to be called DoubleTree) + Sheraton Hotel + Crowne Plaza Hotel + Radisson Suites (Etobicoke, Ontario)
Ticket Price Total: $63.99 (Weekend admission)
Time Arrived: 2:15 PM – 11:00 PM
Just to get to the convention area, I left the house around noon. Getting to AN was always… the most time-sucking part of the convention journey. And since I was getting there by myself this time — the most boring. I took my usual route: Subway West to Bloor / Yonge station; Subway North to Lawrence station; the 52 A, B,or D bus West to City View Drive (or in my case to check into the hotel, to Carlingview Drive). I nodded off multiple times while on that long, long bus ride.
When I reached the DoubleTree hotel, I waited in the lobby for a while, because check-in time was at 3 PM. But then around 2:45 PM, I asked if I could check-in earlier and they allowed it.
The hotel room itself was really nice and spacious. I unpacked and lazed about while waiting for my co-worker friend to arrive. When she did arrive, we both lazed about and discussed what to do during the whole AN weekend.
First thing on our list was Wheel of Fortune at 5 PM. So we left the hotel around 4:15 PM, and walked to the TCC. I was curious if the walk would really take 25 minutes. It did.
When we got to the badge registration area (around 4:50 PM), there was a huge lineup. Thankfully, there were multiple registration tables and it probably took about 10 minutes to go through the whole process.
Then we rushed to Delta hotel. We passed a table selling Japanese treats, making a note to check it out afterwards.
We arrived a bit late, but thankfully there were a lot of empty seats (people were probably still picking up their badge or getting to the convention).
Overall, it was pretty fun. There was a mini wheel contestants would spin, and everything played out pretty much like a Wheel of Fortune game.
My co-worker friend got to be a contestant for one of the rounds. She was encouraging me to be a contestant, too, but I was too shy, hahaha.
After Wheel of Fortune, we went to the food table and got some Japanese treats! I got some tori-dango and taiyaki. We went to one of the nearby viewing rooms and watched some of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid in English dubbing while eating our food. It looked pretty neat from what I saw.
Then we went to Sushi-Ya for some sushi dinner. My co-worker friend asked if I wanted to share a bottle of hot sake, and I said okay. I’m actually not a big fan of sake (it’s too strong!), but figured it should be okay from time to time. That hot sake… blahhhhhhhh, so strong and bitter!!! @______@
When we were done, we went to check out Video Game Name That Tune. I was a bit confused by the format (we got there a bit late). There weren’t any contestants buzzing in. The host would play a tune and audience members would put up their hand. Initially, I thought this was a way to choose contestants, but it kept going on like this. Later I would find out that the entire audience were the contestants — that this was the hosts’ style.
About 40 minutes in, my co-worker friend wanted to go back to our hotel. So we left and waited for the 52 A/B/D bus while I told her I’d stick around the Delta hotel to catch Mettaton’s Gameshow. I was also contemplating meeting up with a friend briefly around 10 PM, and then possibly meeting up with some old convention buddies in the Survival Horror Picture Show after that. Haha — lots to do still.
When the bus finally came (after what felt like 20 minutes), I rushed back to Video Game Name That Tune. I was about to go back inside… when I noticed a huge lineup closeby. I asked what the lineup was for. It was for Mettaton’s Gameshow. I promptly got in line.
Mettaton’s Gameshow was broken into three parts. The first part was a multiple choice trivia game with three contestants. It actually started out similar to the gameshow scene in Undertale. Then it went into actual trivia questions about Undertale, like how long it took Toby Fox to create Undertale.
The second part involved Papyrus, who was sitting in the audience all that time. It became a dating show with three new contestants. Papyrus asked a question and each contestant would answer. One contestant, who was cosplayed as one of the Doctors from Doctor Who, was very forward and expressive for his love to Papyrus. At the end of the dating show, it fell on the audience to vote who won. It was the Doctor Who cosplayer.
Then it was revealed that Alphys was writing fanfiction about Mettaton and Papyrus, but Alphys needed help finishing it. That led to the third part of the gameshow, which wasn’t really a game — an audience-wide Mad Libs! Alphys asked for nouns, adjectives, etc. and the audience would supply them. Then, once it was all done, Alphys read it while Mettaton and Papyrus tried acting it out! It was sooooooooooooo fun and funny! XD
Below were the words asked for and what was supplied (to the best of what I could hear anyway):
SCHOOL SUBJECT: Art
BODY PART (PREFERABLY FOUND ON METTATON): Legs
BODY PART: Finger
BODY PART: Arm
GIFT: Pizza roll
BODY PART: Foot
BODY PART / PIECE OF CLOTHING FOUND ON PAPYRUS: Biceps
BODY PART: Nose
BODY PART: **It sounded like “Balancing”, which doesn’t make sense**
ACTION / VERB: Punch
“YES” OR “NO”: “Yes”
After Mettaton’s Gameshow, I went to Lot41 to try meeting up with a friend. After 18 minutes of waiting, I went to Survival Horror Picture Show.
This was handled by the same person who did Video Game Name That Tune. So the quizzing format was the same. The host would show a picture and then audience members would put their hands up. A couple of my old convention buddies were there in the front row… and they were just killing everybody else, shooting their hand up almost immediately for many of the pictures.
From what I saw, Survival Horror Picture Show was pretty interesting. And creepy. Some images — like that screenshot from Michigan (I’m NOT hunting it down to show you!) — will forever be burned in my soul… (and get added onto my “to-play” list if I can access them).
At some point, the volunteer overseeing this room spoke with another volunteer and said something along these lines: “I’ve seen far worse s**t here than the 2 years I spent surfing the Dark Web.” Then the volunteer clasped his hands and prayed. It was slightly amusing.
When it got to 11 PM, I started nodding off hard and said bye to my old convention buddies. One of them had offered to drive me back to the hotel if I stuck through the whole show, but… I really couldn’t stay awake. Hahaha, I’m getting old…
I ran into a couple more old convention buddies on my way out.
I waited like 20 minutes for the bus. When I got back to the hotel, I chatted with my co-worker friend, did phone game stuffs, some messagings, and then crashed at 1:15 AM.
The line-up for the badge registration.
The taiyaki I had. It was quite yummy!
A group of attendees taking a picture of a cosplayer being held by another cosplayer.
Of course I’d be that person who’d take a picture of this. 😉
The hotel we stayed at. I ended up sleeping on both those pillows.
Was too lazy to move one.
Time Active: Noon – 5:00 PM
Despite sleeping at 1:15 AM last night, I woke up at 6:15 AM. I was glad I woke up so early. There was a live stream from Active NEETs I just had to catch at 7:30 AM. Thankfully none of that woke up my co-worker friend, who was still asleep.
I lazed around the hotel, eating granola bars and mini meat squares until 11:15 AM. Since today was Saturday, I knew there would be a lot more attendees, which could possibly mean longer lineups. The first thing on my schedule was Anime Jeopardy and I intended to start lining up around noon.
I got to Delta hotel around 11:30 AM. My co-worker friend was still asleep in our hotel (we had agreed last night that I would not wake her up).
Thinking there was some time, I bought some takoyaki from that table of Japanese treats. Then I got a text from my sister’s hubby, who was also at AN with his co-worker friend. We met up and chatted briefly.
When noon rolled around, I started lining up. A few minutes later, some attendees lined up after me.
Randomly, an old anime club friend said hi to me. I was super surprised, as I was not expecting at all to see him! I also did not recognize him because in the anime club his hair was really long (he had really short hair at AN). I was surprised he recognized me, hahaha.
The thing I just had to see since the last time I attended AN… and it was just okay. The setup took about 20 minutes, which meant only 40 minutes for the contestants to play. There were also some technical issues, like the buzzers working a little strangely (the host stressed for the contestants to not buzz in until after he finished reading the question. When somebody did buzz in in the middle of a question, the host had to do some things and had to ask that same contestant to press the buzzer again). One question also mentioned a “music theme provided”, but no music theme was provided, so the question was thrown out. It was asked to the audience instead, for a small prize.
Regarding the topics, some were pretty interesting. Lots of them I had no clue about, though, hahahaha. If I was a contestant, I’d have either 0 or negative points.
One of the saddest things (well, very sad for me) was that none of the contestants answered the Final Jeopardy question correctly. Am I just getting too old…?
After Anime Jeopardy, I wanted to line up for The Music of Anime Openings panel, but the line was already cut off. Unsure of what to do, I wandered around aimlessly for about 20 minutes, taking pictures of cosplayers. Then I ended up in line for Anime North Family Feud. My co-worker friend soon joined me in the line.
Nothing really happened after that, but I was fairly amused with the two attendees in front of us who were trying to prank their friend who was sleeping while standing up.
Well… there were a couple funny moments in Family Feud. Overall, though, I was pretty disappointed. One of the teams was already chosen while everybody was filing in (was this a common thing for AN Family Feud?). Similar to Anime Jeopardy, some technical issues happened.
The answers to the questions were also a little strange. For example, for the question “Name an anime series with a very bloody first episode”, one of the contestants said “Goblin Slayer“, but that answer was rejected. The audience went into an uproar, some of them shouting “Nani?!” [translating to “What?!“]. And then at Fast Money, for the question “Name an anime series that’s past its prime and should be retired”, the top answer was Naruto (“…Nani? Isn’t Naruto done now?“).
This moment was funny, though (paraphrased to the best of my recollection):
Ken (host): “Name an anime stereotype –“
*contestant buzzes* Since she buzzed partway through, she had to give an answer without hearing the full question.
*Ken and audience reacted accordingly*
Ken: “Show me boobs!”
Ken: “Let me say the full question… Name an anime stereotype for characters in the yakuza…”
After AN Family Feud, my co-worker friend wanted to eat at Boston Pizza. She hadn’t eaten anything except for some egg snacks I had brought to our hotel. In the back of my mind, I had this inkling that if we did eat at Boston Pizza, we would likely miss the Kumihimo workshop, a workshop for Japanese braiding. We each had paid $11.49 for it, and it was starting at 7 PM, so we had less than two hours to get seated, look through the menu, order, wait for our food, and eat.
There was a thunderstorm warning for today. As soon as we stepped inside Boston Pizza, it was pouring like crazy! I was a little disheartened. With the rain pouring so horribly, I was inclined to skip the rest of the convention and stay in our hotel.
When we were done eating, it was just past 7 PM. We were late for the workshop but decided to skip it and go back to our hotel and watch anime. We took turns showing each other an episode of some series we enjoyed. My co-worker friend showed me Psycho-Pass and Kiss Him, Not Me (we watched two episodes of this). I showed her Peach Girl, Genshiken, and The High School Life of a Fudanshi.
We ended up crashing at 11:45 PM.
Time Active: 10:30 AM – 4:00 PM
I did not set any alarms and I still woke up at 6:30 AM. I tried waking up my co-worker friend at 7:30 AM (she requested that last night), but she didn’t wake up until around 8-ish.
We had one main thing on our schedule today: check out the Vendors’ Hall (i.e. Dealers room) and Comic Market (i.e. Artist Alley). I was also debating between the Live Action Danganronpa panel, AMV Replay, and the Tarot Card Reading (they were all happening around the same time).
Around 10:15 AM, we checked out of the hotel and bussed to TCC. We went through the gaming area first (and my co-worker friend ended up signing up for a D&D session), explored some of the Comic Market, then walked around the Vendors’ Hall, then back to the Comic Market.
Then my co-worker friend had her D&D session. I walked through the Comic Market once more, spending a bit more time at each booth that caught my eye. Some goods were exchanged :3
Around 1 PM, I trekked to the Delta hotel to line up for Live Action Danganronpa. 1:30 PM came and went. Then 1:40 PM. Around 1:50 PM, one of the volunteers announced that the Live Action Danganronpa was cancelled because the panelist didn’t show up. *sigh*
I met up with my co-worker friend after her D&D session. We walked around briefly in the Vendors’ Hall, and then went to Delta hotel to line up for the Tarot Card Reading… only to find out the line was already cut off. *sigh*
We went home after that.
Pastel Toronto dancing.
AN had its fun moments, but also bleh moments. It was nice seeing some of my old convention buddies, and it was nice seeing all the lovely cosplay.
The absolute highlight for me was Mettaton’s Gameshow. Unfortunately, they announced that this was their final year at AN. *sniffle* So I was glad I got to attend it!
Anime Jeopardy and Anime North Family Feud needed some polishing to hopefully avoid the technical errors next time, and whatever other issues they were having.
Between IFFT, Fan Expo, and AN, I don’t really see myself attending AN again unless a similar situation happened, where I was attending it with somebody else so that hotel costs would be more affordable. Or — unless they had a guest that I just could NOT say no to, hahaha. For IFFT and Fan Expo, though, I don’t particularly mind being the loner attendee I usually am. I can commute to those conventions okay and don’t have to stay in a hotel.
Of course — maybe my impression of AN would be different if I got to attend all the things I wanted to attend (The Music of Anime Openings, the panels I skipped because of the thunderstorm, Live-Action Danganronpa, Tarot Card Reading, etc.).
So… overall, AN is not a must-attend convention for me, but I’d be willing to attend again given the right circumstances.
As mentioned earlier, here are some photos of cosplayers. I was pleased to see a lot of Jokers and other Persona 5 characters! XDDD <3 <3
From left to right: Sojiro, Joker, Shido, and Ryuji from Persona 5!
When I saw Sojiro and recognized him, I’m sure Sojiro
knew I was going to ask to take a photo! Hahaha.
I think this is 2B from Nier: Automata.
When I saw this cosplayer on Friday, I really wanted to take
his / her picture, but we were walking in opposite directions.
Then I didn’t run into him / her on Saturday.
I’m so glad I ran into him / her on Sunday!
The moving bush in motion.
Please don’t mind my voice, lol.
Cosplay I wanted to take a pic of, but missed my chance
-Miss Kobayashi from Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. I was able to recognize her just from her pink hair (I was walking behind and she was wearing a jacket). I think that indicates just how good her cosplay was, hahaha.
-Haru from Persona 5, in her Phantom Thief outfit.
I didn’t really know what to expect so I didn’t have a set budget for AN. I was actually quite curious how the vendors differed from AN and Fan Expo, if they did differ at all.
So as I say in every convention blog, when buying fan stuff, I often have this frame of mind:
1. Does the art style align with my tastes?
2. Does this work express the kind of fandom that expresses me? (like, if I saw a poster of Zuko and Katara holding hands and gently smiling, I might get it, because it expresses how I feel about their relationship — a sense of deep understanding for each other)
3. Is this a piece of work that will evoke something in me every time I see it?
At AN, I bought a few things from the Vendors’ Hall, and then the rest from the Comic Market. I was happy to see some vendors I would see in Fan Expo (yayyyyy, I can support them more!). It was also interesting to see other vendors, and get exposure to new, cool artwork.
For what I’ve bought that I haven’t yet watched / experienced the series for, I’ll note it like this: (*)
Here is what I bought:
Cute food-themed prints.
From top to bottom: Totoro from My Neighbour Totoro,
and Haku from Spirited Away.
A close-up of the toilet keychain.
This is illustrating “evolution”, from no-ply, to 3-ply, to 10-ply!
Random seven postcards.
This was a blind buy, so I had no idea what to expect.
I really enjoy the pancake, onigiri, and Pokemon postcards!
Two penlights and a funny, cute T-shirt.
Now I’ll be ready for any concerts that come my way!
Now just to get the courage to wave them around, hah… @_@”
Mini prints, based on the characters from the novel “A Tale of Genji”.
The artist (Maiji) was so passionate about “A Tale of Genji” that
I’ll likely try reading it sometime!
So, to calculate the “damage” to my wallet:
2 prints (Totoro, Spirited Away) from Veetasoy: $30 (I got a 3rd for free but gave it to my co-worker friend)
Pig, Pig, and Pig print + 2 toilet keychains from inomnom: $30
7 postcards from eggumu: $20
2 penlights: $85
Miso T-shirt: $22.60
Tale of Genji mini prints from Maiji: $34
2 mini books from Koyamori: $40
Total “Damage” This Year: $261.60
Total “Damage” in 2013: $20.00
Thanks for reading (if you made it this far)! If you have any questions about anything I experienced at AN, or just comments and questions on anything, feel free to comment!
Now… I need to curl up into a ball and get some rest! The next few blogs might be short entries, as I really need to focus on getting some darn rest and doing other things, hahaha.
Thank you again for reading and have a great rest of the weekend! 🙂
And now… the answer to that Wheel of Fortune pic:
Ryan Reynolds as Detective Pikachu.