Anime North (abbreviated to AN) is one of the largest anime conventions, or cons, in North America, held the weekend after the Victoria Day weekend at the Toronto Congress centre. This massive fan -run effort is a three day spectacle now bringing in over twenty thousand fans in its 17th year.
Even though the convention has just wrapped up, it’s never too late to start preparing! If you love anime, you should definitely check this convention out out. Here are just a few reasons why to love Anime North.
6. There are so many things to see and do!
Anime North is all about packing as much fun as possible into three days. There are hundreds of things to do, split into five broad categories: panels, special events, ongoing events, photoshoots and shopping.
Panels make up the majority of the action, and they are extremely diverse themselves. They usually run between one and two hours and take place in the hotels’ party rooms. These panels are really where you get to delve deep into a particular interest with other like minded people. They range from general discussions about fandoms to games to workshops. There are so many to choose from you’ll definitely find one you like there!
Special events consist of the biggest affairs at the convention. Often you need to buy a separate ticket to get into them, and some are contests including prizes like fully paid stays at hotels in the area. Special events include the opening and closing ceremonies, the Moonlight Ball, the Masquerade, the rave, and more!
Ongoing events are events that happen all weekend long, such as the maid cafe, the outdoor concert, watching different anime, a manga library and games. There’s even a kid’s area, so the younger fans can enjoy the con as well. These are great to check out on your downtime when you don’t have anything planned.
Photoshoots are when people dressed as characters (cosplayers) from a particular fandom get together to take photos. They’re fun to see your favourite characters all together doing crazy things, and they show off the cosplayer’s hard work!
Finally, you can shop at Anime North. The shopping at AN is separated between sellers of commercial merchandise and sellers of beautiful handmade items and artwork.
With all this, you’ll find yourself with a fun and busy weekend! Even if you only stay for a day, you’d probably be able to check everything out!
5. You can meet some of the famous people in the business!
Anime North brings in special guests every year, ranging from famous Japanese and English voice actors, professional cosplayers, famous writers, performers, artists, and even wrestlers! The lineup changes every year, so keep coming back to see new faces!
The guests often run panels, or perform on the convention grounds, so you’ll have the opportunity to talk with them and learn things about them that you’d never be able to find in interviews (because how often do professional interviews ask “which characters that you have voiced would make the best couple?”). Some may even have full autograph sessions, and you’ll get the opportunity to chat with them a bit more there!
4. You WILL see your favourite fandom!
Trust me on this one. With thousands of people at the convention, you will most definitely find something pertaining to your favourite fandom, be it popular or obscure. It may not be in every one of the aforementioned categories, but you should see it in at least one of them!
Anime North often does not only include anime. Other popular forms of animation, such as American cartoons, and even cartoon movies are dispersed throughout the con, such as The Legend of Korra, and even Disney! You can find other popular fandoms not related to animation, such as Doctor Who, BBC Sherlock, and Supernatural to name a few. Comic and webcomic fandoms from Marvel and DC to Homestuck and VG Cats can be found as well. If you like gaming, there’s a whole section of the convention completely dedicated to it! You can play hundreds of video games, and even watch video game tournaments! Bring your 3DS and you can streetpass hundreds of con-goers to exchange puzzle pieces and play games! There’s something for all fans here!
3. You’ll see your favourite characters come to life!
Most of the attendees roam the convention in cosplays that they have put a lot of time and effort in, some cases planning a whole year in advance. Anime North is the best place to show off their hard work, and spotting your favourite character in the crowd is always a treat. It’s like they walked out of their world and into ours. As long as they aren’t busy (like eating, for example) they’ll be glad to answer a request for a photograph! By the end of the weekend, you’ll probably have snapped a hundred or so photos of stunning outfits. Cosplayers often have the personality of the characters they’re playing, and this really comes out in panels and photoshoots. Interaction between two cosplayers from the same fandom is always fun to watch unfold.
2. You can BE your favourite characters!
The only thing better than seeing your favourite characters is actually being them! It can actually be quite fun picking out a character, planning the outfit, getting the supplies, and finally putting it together. When you get spotted at the convention and are asked for photos, you feel like a celebrity. You get to participate in the antics at photoshoots , and seeing the photos the next day is always exciting! If you want to dress up, there’s no reason to feel nervous, since no one will judge you for your outfit. It’s a great way to participate in the convention.
1. You’ll meet some of the friendliest people there!
Everyone at AN is so friendly! I’ve never met a nicer group of strangers anywhere. You can easily strike up a conversation with almost anyone at the con, and they’ll be more than happy to talk with you! In the end, you may end up with a few new friends (and if you go to Geeky Speed Dating, maybe a date)! Going to a big crowded convention for the first time can be intimidating for many, but going in with this knowledge can be quite relieving, and help even the shyest of people to start talking. When you’re talking about common interests, it makes it even easier, and at AN it can be pretty easy to spot people who share similar interests, based on the panels you may be waiting in line for, who they’re dressed as, what they’re buying, or what items they’re wearing! I probably wouldn’t have returned myself if I didn’t feel welcomed by the people I met. When it comes to Anime North, you come for all the things to do, but you stay because of all the nice people you meet and all the memories you make.
Even though this year’s Anime North has already come and gone, it’s never too early to start getting ready for next year!