Toxic North 2013

THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED AND ANIME NORTH HAS ALREADY HAPPENED.

Hello,

Anime North is happening this year!

Well, it happens every year, but par something going horribly wrong, it is happening this year to!

If you are going to Anime North and would like to meet up, leave me a reply or talk to me on Twitter. I have data on my phone so I should still be accessible. I will be there Friday evening (likely sometime after 4), all of Saturday and up to 4 or 5 PM on Sunday.

I am including this image because everyone else seems to have done the same.

I am including this image because everyone else seems to have done the same.

This post feels like a waste of time, but hopefully if I get the chance I will update it with pictures and stuff as the convention goes on.

[HOPEFULLY]

I DIDN’T GET TO UPDATE THIS THE WEEKEND OF, BUT THIS POST HAS NOW BEEN UPDATED!

p.s. Despite being called Anime North, Anime North happens in the Southern part of Canada.

{PlaceHolder! Please Don’t get mad at me if this stays here until the end of time…}

Sorry for not updating this post for so long.

Now, let us see if I can remember what I did this Anime North.

Yes, in case it wasn’t totally obvious, I can not provide you full coverage
of the convention, so I am just going to list what I did. I apologize for the diary like format but I kind of want to keep a record for my own use so yeah…

Anime North-11

Friday

I had class on Friday so I left for the convention around 12.30 (I still skipped one lecture…)
and only got there at like 3.30 or something.

After some aimless wandering about, I decided to go to the Opening Ceremonies.

Opening Ceremonies

DSC_5499

A large part of the Opening Ceremonies was for the most part just introductions to the various guests who would be here giving panels/autographs.

Folk that know me even a little will likely know that I am not very well knowledgeble about the people that create anime.
That is to say, I know nothing about voice acters/actresses, directors, writers, producers, etc, etc.

So, I didn’t find that rather large chunk of the opening ceremonies to be terribly interesting.

There were a few performances during the show though. I really liked the traditional Japanese drum group they had the beginning. Those folk could drum like no ones business.

The 404s

DSC_5502

After the opening ceremony ended, the 404s started in the same room. Since I wasn’t able to make any concrete plans with anyone yet, I deciced to stick around and watch for a bit.
The 404s is a Canadian inprov group.

Like most improv things, the skits are likely hit or miss depending on the topic brought up and your own personal preference.

I did not get to stay for the whole show, but I thought this group did it really well. They were quite funny at times. There was one skit where they sang about Pokemon in different musical styles (e.g. Broadway) and I could not help but laugh a good amount.

So, if you are going to Anime North next year, the 404s are likely worth checking out, but if you are a busy otaku, you might not have the luxury of scheduling an hour or so just to watch stage comedy.

Sometime during the middle of the 404s, I learned that Bob was in line for the dealers room. So, I left the 404s and tried to find him. I failed to do so, but I managed to meet up with Fnzna at Swiss Chalet instead.
We ate dinner and then rushed to the “Introduction to Precure” panel.

Introduction to Precure

I did not go to this panel because I like Precure (I don’t dislike it. I have just never seen much of it). I went to this panel because my friend Krizzly was the host of said panel!

I might be bias in saying this, but I thought Krizz did a phenomenol job. I knew very little about Precure, but I never felt lost and I left the panel feeling like I had learned a lot about the franchise.

So yeah, if you ever have the chance to attend a panel by Krizzly, you should definitely attend it.

The rest of Friday night is a blur. Me and Fnza met up with Kevo at the panel and then we tried to track down Eternal. Krizzly had another panel at 11 (on Satoshi Kon, I beleive), so he dropped us off at Sheraton.

As an aside, there are few things in life as amusing as a car ride with Krizzly and Kevo.

We couldn’t find anyone at Sheraton, so me and Fnza left. We encountered Bob next to the TCC, though he had to go so we didn’t hang out.
We then met up with Eternal, 7thwraith and Kurotsuki playing Mahjong in the Toronto Congress Centre.

I left shortly after as it was already pretty damn late.

People singing and dancing at some stage performance thing.

Saturday

We had a large Aniblogger group gathering at Boston Pizza. It took us a while to get a seat, but we somehow got seats (though we were split up). I had met quite a few of them the year before, but this was the first time I got to meet Yerocha, so that was quite cool.

After the lunch, me, Fnzna and Zinfrared went to the Voice Acting in games panel.

I am going to stop the diary like coverage here because for many people, there was really only one thing important at Anime North.

Eriko-Con

For many people this entire con was about Eriko, the actress behind Haruka.
As I alluded earlier, I don’t know much about voice actors, but I like im@s and I like Haruka so I ended up attending 2 of Eriko’s panels and her autograph session.

Video Game Voices

This panel was co-hosted by Chris Cason, John Swasey and Eriko Nakamura and they took questions on voice acting in video games.

I don’t quite remember everything that happened this panel, but it was a pretty good panel.

Some stand out moments :

One of the English VAs said that the only thing you have in the recording room with you is a glass of water. Then as an act of friendship, Erica poured him a glass of water.
After that point the panel involved lots of water exchanges as the VAs tried to outdo one another.

7th_video_panel

Chris, 7thwraith and a bunch of their friends coerced Exciel (he is Japanese) into asking a question in Japanese. Mr.Swasey immediately said “I will answer that…yes”.
Then Excel repeated the question in English and the VAs were all able to answer the question.

There was one point where the English VAs talked about translating anime. Swasey said something to the effect of: “While they have freedom to express themselves as they wish when voicing characters in new games, it is a lot different when it comes to dubbing anime. In dubs, they need to remain faithful to the original Japanese VAs and must do their utmost best to keep the character the Japanese VAs created.”
I thought that was a very sweet thing to say and I’d like to think that Erica (having voiced Haruka and Hamzou) was somewhat touched by that.

Maybe I am overthinking things and maybe I am just plain wrong (I have a very small sample set after all), but I think NA VAs speak in more practical terms while Japanese VAs are a bit more wishy wishy.
I don’t mean that in an offensive way at all. It is just an interesting difference I observed.
Here in NA, we kind of think of Voice Acting as another job, but to many Japanese, Voice Actors are ideals/idols and in some shape or form, they need to embody the spirit of hardwork, compassion and energy.

Having said that, Eriko had some great answers. You wouldn’t guess it upon first glance, but she is actually a very funny, bubbly and interesting person.

Idols in Anime

(This panel took place on Sunday.)

This was the 2nd and last of Eriko’s panels that I attended.

Once again, Eriko was quite interesting. She has a good sense of humour.

At one point in the panel while her translator was speaking, Eriko noticed someone in the front seat coughing so she paused the panel, went to her bag, found a cough drop and handed it to one lucky sap.

Some hardcore facts (I had to go trudge through the twitter histories of my peers to recall all this):

    • Her favorite character from Mahou Shoujo Madoka is Kyouko.
    • In terms of idol anime she likes, she likes Idol Densetsu Eriko and Creamy Mami.
    • She likes Timbits
    • While in Canada, she watched CP24.
    • She once caught her dad playing idolM@ster.
    • She likes Evangelion.

She has made at least the following observations about Canada:

    • Our Traffic Lights are vertical while the Japanese have horizontal ones.
    • Canadian washroom stalls have more visible space (e.g. the opening at the bottom of the door) than Japanese ones. Both designs are for security purposes.

For possible context and your enjoyment here is a picture of some tweets:

Autograph

I got Eriko’s autograph on Sunday along with Bob and Orange. I had nothing for her to sign so I just got her to sign my notebook.

That notebook is now my official autograph notebook since it also has Yuu Asakawa’s signature (from Anime North 2012).

(I handed a slip of paper with my real name on it to Eriko for the dedication part of the signature. She had a pretty difficult time reading my handwriting.)

Apparently you are supposed to Photoshop yourself as Producer-san in these pictures, but meh.

Apparently you are supposed to Photoshop yourself as Producer-san in these pictures, but Toxic Muffin and all that…..(I also could not find the P everyone else used…)

Eriko Fandom

This wasn’t an event or anything, but I found it interesting just how far some folk go for their idols.

Chris flew over from Montreal mostly for Erico. 7thwraith and some others drove from New Jersey (a 9 hour drive) just to meet her.
I really liked the dedication the two had for an idol they genuinely respected. (They are both great guys. If you ever get the chance, be sure to meet up with them!)

There were some other folk in their group who came all the way from Japan! This might seem quite bizarre at first, but there are quite a few people who follow their favorite bands everywhere (e.g. Some Iron Maiden fans go to every one of their concerts), so it is not that unusual to follow your favorite idol halfway across the planet. :)…I think.

There was one thing that upset my tummy a little though.

At the end of the Idols in Anime panel, shortly after Eriko and her translator had made an exit, some dude went up to the front and drunk from her cup of water.
(My head was turned so I didn’t see it, but Orange, Bob and some other folk did.)

Now I am all up for conservation of water, but I think that was just a taaaaaaad bit too far!

Cosplay

Creep Creep

Creep Creep

I really like going to Anime North and just observing/taking pictures of folk in cosplay. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take that many pictures this year because I was busy running around meeting/hanging out with people.

I am not trying to make excuses or anything, but taking good cosplay pictures during a convention is really quite difficult.

Not only do you need the gutso to keep going up to random people and asking them for a photo, but most of the time your photos will end up looking quite bad.

The lighting conditions are horrible.

Outside, the lighting varies by your position and you can’t always ask someone to stand at a different place. You can try to move and make sure the sun is behind you (the camera user), but such foresight is often hard when you are running around and short on time.

Inside, the lighting is even worse. What makes indoor photo taking especially bad is the roof height. You can’t bounce your flash and get an even distribution of light! I often had to resort to high ISOs because using the flash wasn’t an option but when you use a high ISO, you also introduce noise.

On top of all that, switching between indoor and outdoor photos requires a change in settings and no one has the time for that! (Okay, well, if you were smart, you’d have several pre-configured options mapped to the user setting modes or w/e they are called….unfortunately, I didn’t think of that…or you can stick to auto mode…..I should have done that).

Anyway, enough excuse making. Here are some interesting photos:

(If you want the full collection, go here.)

Anime North-2 Anime North-10 Anime North-17 Anime North-21 Anime North-29 Anime North-38 Anime North-41 Anime North-47 Anime North-48 Anime North-56 Anime North-60 Anime North-72 Anime North-78 Anime North-79 Anime North-82 Anime North-96 Anime North-109 Anime North-113 Anime North-120

IN CONCLUSION

Anime North 2013 was a lot of fun. In terms of hanging out with others, I felt much more comfortable this time around because I had actually met a good number of them before and I knew several more on twitter.

I hope AN 2014 (which I should hopefully be able to attend) is just as enjoyable if not more so.

If you were one of the folk that I met with, thanks for meeting up with me. If you did come to AN, but did not meet up with me, then I hope we can meet up some other day.

Appendix

(All of this is for my own reference.)

The Anime North 2013 Schedule

Other Posts on Anime North 2013:

Folk I met up with (I might be forgetting people though…):

Folk I sort of met up with (saw them but didn’t know them so I didn’t really talk to them):

  • Friends of Bob, Orange and the Japanese crew hanging out with 7th/Chris.

Folk I did not get the chance to meet but hopefully will next time:

  • Lostty
  • Neil
  • Overcooled (Cool blogger from Metanorn. I don’t know if she actually knows me though. :P)

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  1. Anime North 14 Day 2-3: I met Takane, bought more stuff and did nothing important. | Toxic Muffin

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