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Old 07-19-2013, 10:59 PM   #1
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[Canada] Anime North 2013

Hello 91.8, Shugu here! It seems that there is not much selection of con goers on the forums, or simply no one cares to write about them. Had I been signed up a few months earlier, I would have been able to review the con basically as it happened, but alas better late than never. I believe that it is difficult to "rate" a con, since its a very personal, unique experience but I will do my best to actually review the con and not just write a journal. Once more this is my take on this con, this time being my 6th Anime North and 24th con overall.

Anime North is held in Toronto, Canada every year on last weekend of every May. It is located near the cities main airport, which means access to lots of nearby hotels (which get fully booked 4 months before the con), plenty of restaurants and food franchises, as well as parking and easy bus access. The con is split between three main areas, the Toronto Congress Center, the Doubletree Hotel, and the Sheraton Hotel, all practically beside each other. Until very recently the con did not have a population cap, and had suffered 2 years of over crowded rooms, loud crowds, and complains from guests of nearby hotels, you can imagine. The last 2 years however have both held a cap fixing all this problems if nothing else for the short term. I feel where this con shines is the community and vibe. I have a lot of people tell me AN is the friendliest crowd. Their facebook page is open to anyone, always updates and is a great way for anime lovers to discuss their particular fetish: manga, figures, games, its all there.

This year their panel selection was wider than last times, meaning better organized subjects, however most these panels are lead by fans who sadly do not have all the knowledge or experienced required to engage the people. Its a common sight to see groups simply wonder from to room and always end up in one of the same three places: The hentai showing room, Anime AMV hell, and random topic panel in which people basically rant for 3 days and the funniest people gather.

The second highlight of the con is of course the cosplay. The creativity and diversity of cosplay never fails to amaze me every year. Last year there was a walking Blue Eyes White Dragon that was pretty close to full scale, this year Canada man made an appearance (I am sure only Canadians will understand xD). Some of the best cosplay is displayed during the friday night Masquerade, or saturday night ball, the aim of both these to show off the fanciest, most fashionable and dazzling cosplays. Speaking of events, the con features a good selection of games, be it video games, cards, board games, role playing, they have it all. Tournaments, free play, and cheering crowds are a constant in the gaming side of the con for 3 days straight.

A topic that is always caused arguments in the community is the two dances that occur late night both saturday and friday. The friday night dance is been dubbed the J-pop dance, while saturday is know as the J-rave. In the past both of them had stuck to their team, however their music choice had been deteriorating. In all truth i did not attend those two dances this year but indulged in what is always a good party, the Otakubaloo all night parking lot dance. True to the Toronto raving scene, and in perfect synch with the anime theme, it always makes for a great time.

The cons weakest point i feel is the market. This is a problem that has to do with a positive, Toronto is a very multicultural city and with a great portion of the population being Asian there is a great deal of shops that cater specifically to anime lovers, a great deal. Thus when AN opens its market, and most items can be already attained locally and for far cheaper, there is really no point other than the novelty for those who really dont know any better. This only affects official and licensed merchandise, the art market is far more interesting with not only original paintings and artwork but sculptures and many other goodies that you truly can't find elsewhere.

Another great problem this con suffers its the selection of its guests. There have been some big names every once in a while, but its pretty much the same people, doing the same thing every year. And I know they do it for the first con goers but don't expect to meet anyone too famous here.

Anime North '13 fixed a lot of the problems the last cons had, but it still falls short in its panels, a strong flaw as 30% of activities are panels. It is recommended to attend this con mostly for the cosplay and socializing and leave the panels and talk for the big boys like Fan Expo Canada 2013 (Which i will be reviewing after i go August 22). Anime north is great as a first con, cosplay hunting is best here as it has the most open space of the cons that occur here, and Otakubaloo is free which means you can always attend and have a blast without paying a cent.

I hope my review has given people some interest into the con, and maybe get others to write about their local cons. Overall I give this con 3.7 out of 5.

Shugu out!

AN website: http://www.animenorth.com/live/

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