Anime North 2009 - An RPGamer Gone Wild


Anime North

Good old, Anime North. It's been my home convention for the past ten years, and I've seen it evolve from just a small event to a grand-scale international convention. Who knew that within twelve years that a small fan-run convention would become a place where people from all over the world could come and share such a special experience.

Anime North is held in Toronto, Ontario and it's been running since 1997. For myself, and many of my friends, it's been a special place for us. Since Toronto has two anime-specific conventions, Anime North has always been described as the "social convention". It is a place where most people feel safe to be themselves, and many new friendships are forged. For me, it is my special time of year where I get to see my friends from out of town for a weekend, and we get to geek out and catch up on each other's lives. This year was particularly special for me because my friend, Ada, from Scotland was able to come visit and participate in her first Anime North.

This special feature started with a discussion between Mikel, Billy and myself. I had joked with a few of the staff members that I was going to cosplay for the convention, something I haven't done in over four years. Oddly enough, considering my busy schedule I didn't actually think I would finish said cosplay, but I managed to complete my costume of Mitsuru Kijiro from Persona 3.

One thing that really separates Anime North from other conventions is the devotion to video game cosplay. More than 60% of the costumes are video game-related, and a good chunk of that is often RPG-related. From Final Fantasy to Kingdom Hearts to even Suikoden, there is a wide variety of RPG characters represented at the event. Some were twists on old favourites, and others came from the depths of obscurity. Either way, I was snapping my camera and stopping people every few minutes to get a picture. Some of my favourite costumers included a group of Shadow Hearts cosplayers, a Polywag from Pokemon, and a girl riding a chocobo. There was a lot of creative costumes.

There's a photo shoot for just about every fandom, and this editorial's curator had the opportunity to show-off a bit at the Persona shoot. If there was any group of cosplayers that shined all weekend, it was them. The amount of attention, detail and sheer enthusiasm from the group was absolutely commendable. They were also incredibly friendly people who showed how much they absolutely adored the series. With our guns pointed at our temples, we were in the spotlight, camera flashes flanking us from all angles. It was great to see so many fans come out and see us. It also felt fantastic to be a part of such a lively group. I also may or may not have been stalking a Teddie all weekend. Ada confirms that I was, but I couldn't help myself, Teddie was so cute!

As I walked around throughout the weekend there so much to see. From the fantastic artists such as Otakuyume, Noreen Rana and Maiji, to some of the crafters and button makers, there was a lot of unique arts and crafts showcased this year. The Dealer's room, as always, was crème de-la crap, but you could generally find what you were looking for. Actually, while I was in the Dealer's room, I managed to stop a Sackboy Sephiroth whom I shared a quick dance with. Ada and I also spent many hours catching wild Pokemon! We also got hugs from a young Cloud Strife and Ash Ketchem.

Also on the Friday evening, dressed in my Mitsuru costume, I had many people come up to my table at Nominoichi (Anime North's Garage Sale) to talk RPGs with me! It was so fantastic! I think I spent about an hour just blabbing about the Shin Megami Tensei series. This is a sign folks; a sign that I am a big nerd.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed my ramblings about what it's like to be at Anime North. I hope more and more fans come out as I go to this convention every year, and I love talking to people about games, fandoms and other nerdy things. Enjoy the photographs taken by myself and Ada. If you would like your picture removed, feel free to e-mail me. It was a blast, and I hope more people come out for Anime North 2010!

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