Waking up at 10 am after a long night of visiting the Toronto Congress Centre, I am unsure where to begin. I guess starting with the statement “be gentle, it’s my first convention!”
Before I signed on travelling to Anime North, I knew anime culture was a trending undertone of the city. I remember the days of trading Pokemon cards and reading Japanese graphic novels. I have never been an active participate and I regret never being immersed into these worlds of fantasies and fascinations. After a brisk line up to receive my tickets, I went on to check out the booths. Marvelled by the products around the world, I was more fascinated with the fan art. I’ve seen artists do incredible things with a pen and paper, but there are things I’ve seen done in many mediums ranging from simple to complex, cute to magnificent. I’ve seem metalworking rivalling trinkets made for the same franchise by a large manufacturer. I’ve seen glass made into plump animals especially in pigs of various colours and sizes ranging from the side of a fingernail to something that fits in the palm of your hand.
From famous fandoms and things fading obscurity, the artist talent astounds me. There were a few things that stuck out for me which I wish I could have snapped a few pictures. While browsing the “Crafter’s Corner”, I was transfixed on a steampunk pocket watch and pouch. The engraved artwork over the over and the intricate overlaying gears atop the brown supple leather pouch, it was surprisingly subtle and detailed. Perusing the penmanship of various artists over the floor, some have a very tradition anime style while some have more western influences. I regard them for their amazing eye for the mixtures of colour in their medium. Best I could do is a stickman and a childish tree (and clouds; puffy round clouds). Next through these bay doors laid a bare room with dividers seperating a concert and what I would guess is a VIP hall. Here I strolled through the tabletops games, I realized they brought the main attraction of cards. Which doesn’t bode well in sharing and celebrating the gaming culture; I’m a gamer and I was expecting this place to be just as packed as the main hall. Beyond the Magic and Pokemon TCG’s, there were some much more obscure games as well as the popular offerings of Warhammer, Catan and vintage game cartridges.
Unfortunately I didn’t bring enough money to spend on all the things I wanted. No watch, no piggy, no Steampunk Palin (yes, this exists). So next year, I hope I have a job so I can at least splurge on a few things. Definitely I have an eye on neat trinkets if they haven’t sold them.
Though it was my first time going to a convention and for due reason in the past, I believe my exposure to crowds (and a proper breathing technique). The atmosphere was more like a festival than a classical convention. It was more to uplift fantasy into the real world and to solidify it as pop culture phenomenon. Beyond the cartoonish figures and artwork, there was a small presences of other pop culture niches like sic-fi and steampunk. Multiculturalists say we are the melting pot, then Anime North is a melting pot of youth pop culture. Connecting us from here to all over the world, it was an interesting experience I hope I can someday return to with the same friends.