Bobby Henshin’s Time At Anime North 2014

Posted on Jul 12 2014

Bobby Henshin's Time At Anime North

Anime North is said to be one of the biggest cons in the great white north. I’m quoting actual Canadians on this one. Chock full of guests from both America, Canada, and even Japan. With video games (and even pro wrestling?!), these Canadians know how to party. But now that I’ve got your attention, let me tell you how my experience went.

Now you have probably heard tales of extremely long registration lines to get into cons. The building the con was being held in was the size of a shopping mall if not smaller. The line was wrapped around to the back of the building! This had to be the biggest line I have ever seen. Staff said they had a total of 15,000 attendees this year. Luckily I didn’t have to be in that line. It would’ve taken my entire Thursday.

001Cut to Friday! As soon as I get there, the parking lot is packed to with cars. At least the left side and back half. The other side was filled with nothing but people, cosplayers, food trucks and even a large outdoor stage where they were setting up for DJs and raves. I walked a good 2 steps before I was asked to have my picture taken. I was in my signature Jiraiya Cosplay. There were so many good cosplays around my head was spinning. But you’ll see them in the photo gallery later.

Heading into the convention center, we find large lines leading into the Dealers Room and Artist’s Alley. I’m not surprised. But there was a line leading to the line to the halls. That was a first for me. And a nice little addition was that, along the line, they had cosplay green rooms where, if you had a problem with your cosplay, you could have a rest and fix your cosplay while someone held your spot in line so you wouldn’t lose your spot. That was an amazing idea I think more cons should have. And right outside the dealers room line they had a wrestling ring where they held their signature event called Anime Wrestling, where famous Canadian Wrestlers fight your favorite anime characters. So it was fun watching Ray Olubowale, former Canadian heavyweight boxing champion and actor who played Axeman in the Resident Evil movies, wrestling Kid Muscle from Ultimate Muscle.

002Now I told you how big this building was, but only half of it was in use. It felt like all of it was in use, because the dealers room had so many booths I couldn’t keep track. There was so much merchandise that my wallet was crying. Now, I did notice there were only one or two booths which sold video games. You usually see a lot more at cons. Actually, they had an entire hotel’s bottom floor dedicated to gaming merchants.

I headed into the Sheraton, which is a large, three-star hotel, housing a large variety of gaming merchants and game rooms, alongside all of the video game related panels. The gamer’s room was not the best, though, in my opinion. There were only a few tables with a couple of consoles that were always full of players that would hog the game for hours. I had to wait a good hour before I was able to even touch a controller. They had a separate room that held all the music based games like Step Mania and DDR. These games had good circulation, so you were able to get to it fast if you wanted to play. In the end, the gaming room was a bit of a dud for me.

003The guest list had a lot of big names in the anime and animation industries, including the voice actresses for Sailor Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus from Sailor Moon, along with Tuxedo Mask’s voice actor. There were surprise guests Jeffrey Parazzo and Kevin Duhaney who played the blue and white Dino Rangers, Ethan and Trent, from Power Ranger DinoThunder. Japanese guests included Yumi Hara, voice actress famous for her role as Takane Shijo from Idolmaster, and Mai Goto with an impressive list of roles under her belt, including some in K-ON!, Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and Zatch Bell. Thing was, though… we had no idea where any of the guests were. The guide didn’t really tell us where they were or what times their autographs were. Every time I tried asking someone, they would have trouble figuring out where they were, too. Even the staff members I asked had no idea. Turns out that they all had separate tables outside the artist alley where they sat down and did autographs. So if you caught the guest, you were lucky.

So all in all, it was a fun experience. Actually, it was probably one of the most fun cons I’ve ever been to. Hopefully they can improve a bit for next year! If you are looking for a good con to go to in Canada, I would suggest Anime North. Hope to bring you more tales of con trips in the future. Now I must ride off into the sunset on my motorcycle… Just realized I don’t know how to ride a motorcycle. Goodbye!

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