Anime North 2012: Con Report Part 5 – The Closing Ceremonies

The improv performance by the 404s group was extended during the delay before the closing ceremonies officially got started. It seems fairly common to me that closing ceremonies at conventions don’t always start on time (for various reasons). However, instead of the audience sitting impatiently waiting for things to get started, at Anime North we had entertainment to pass the time. More conventions should do this too!

The last skit by the 404s had the theme of awkward anime love confessions. This included one of the improv actors pretending to be Tuxedo Mask saying “your friends are hotter,” presumably to Sailor Moon.

At the end of the performance by the 404s, the audience enthusiastically applauded and cheered.

The closing ceremonies officially began with a professional taiko drum performance by Nagata Shachu. For the first song, three of the performers played drums and one performer played the flute. During the second song, all four performers played the taiko drums. Their third and final song was called “Five Senses” and used some different drums as well as one performer playing cymbals. The group said that they loved performing at Anime North and that the audience was one of the most enthusiastic they’ve ever had.

Taiko Drummers #2

Nagata Shachu performing at Anime North

Next up we heard from featured guest Julie Czerneda, who called the attendees of Anime North “extraordinary” for taking what we love and “making more of it.”

And with that, our M.C. Irwin Tan continued the show, introducing various guests of the weekend, starting with the Japanese guests of honour.

Akira Sasanuma, with the aid of a translator, said that he had been worried about going to a convention overseas but everyone at Anime North was really nice and he was able to relax and enjoy it.

Yuu Asakawa also said she was nervous about coming to the convention. Although she had a translator to assist her, she also spoke partly in English (which is always nice for English speaking fans, and I’m sure everyone appreciated it!). She was happy to do her part to help raise money for SickKids Hospital (the beneficiary of the charity auction). She also said that was sad that this year’s Anime North was ending and that she hopes to come back in the future!

Carli Mosier said she had a great experience (note: this was her first time in Canada!). She also enthusiastically encouraged attendees to volunteer and help the convention run smoothly. As a side note, many conventions need lots of volunteers. Don’t be afraid to offer to help! Just check out the information on the convention’s website, or sign up in person at the show.

Chris Ayres was next, saying he loves this con and that conventions are like a brigadoon. He called the attendees of Anime North amazing and said they are the reason this convention is “magical.” Unfortunately, by this time in the weekend Chris had pretty much lost his voice and was speaking rather hoarsely. We hope he recovered quickly!

J. Michael Tatum was next, another actor at his first convention in Canada. He said he arrived on his birthday and had lots of people sing happy birthday to him over the weekend. (which prompted another singing of “Happy Birthday!”) He also said that he had heard great things about Anime North before — and all the stories were true!

Lee Tockar thanked everyone, including the guest liaisons.

Mac Christian Heywood and Ben Isreal were new to the experience of being actor guests, but both appeared to have enjoyed the convention.

Helen McCarthy said that she felt she learned a lot from the people who were at Anime North, and called the audience a mighty army of love! (sounds like a line form Sailor Moon) She ended her remarks with a shout of “Occupy Anime North!” Another side note: panelists this year had a ribbon attached to their badge that said “occupy panel rooms.”

Jim Felker had to unexpectedly go to the hospital on Friday, and some guests had to leave early or were stuck in the Dealers’ Room, but Irwin thanked them all for coming to this year’s Anime North.

Next up was a surprise announcement from YTV’s Martin Hsu, filming the audience’s reaction to the announcement that The Legend of Korra would soon start airing on YTV. The crowd was VERY happy about this news! Fans in Canada can catch the series on YTV on Saturday mornings. It was airing at 11am, but recently moved to 10:30am ET. Check your local listings to confirm times in your area.

The charity auction at Anime North raised $7000 for SickKids Hospital.

And just before the closing video, Irwin thanked everyone who makes the convention possible as well as attendees.

The closing video featured the song “I’m Glad You Came” by the Wanted, and included clips from: Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, Fight! Iczer-1, Ponyo, The Secret World of Arietty, Pokemon, Vision of Escaflowne, Trigun, and various other anime series. You could tell how popular a seres was by how many people cheered for specific clips! (this was kind of funny, but one of the fastest ways to tell what’s popular!)

Super Senshi Quartet #2

Super Senshi Quartet - Some of the best Sailor Moon cosplayers all weekend!

All in all, Anime North was a great convention this year, and I’m glad I was able to attend. However, the demand for Anime North has clearly gone up, so I hope that there will be consideration for a larger venue as soon as possible. Next year will be in the same location, again with an attendance cap. While I appreciate the attendance cap to help alleviate crowding issues, I think the convention has outgrown the area and needs to move to a bigger location so it can keep growing. I remember thinking when I first went to Sakura Con in 2010, that it reminded me very much of Anime North – only bigger. Here’s to seeing Anime Northbecome bigger and better in the years to come!

We hope you all enjoyed Anime North if you were able to attend, and encourage fans to purchase a ticket in advance for next year once they go on sale if interested in attending in 2013. This fan-run event has a wonderful friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and it is great to see an event that is so full of fun, laughter, and fans openly expressing their love of anime. I don’t know about you guys, but I want to see more!

We hope you enjoyed this convention coverage, and I apologize for the delays in posting about this convention. Unfortunately I was unusually busy after Anime North with quite a few things. Sorry that posting the convention coverage was delayed because of that. Hopefully next year won’t be quite so busy for me and I will be able to finish my report faster.

See you next year if you’re going!

Anime North 2012: Con Report Part 4 – Sailor Moon Discussion Panel

This was a generally unplanned discussion panel, and my fellow panelists were Shance and Mel-chan. Most of this panel revolved around questions asked by members of the audience.

Shance started off the panel by asking the audience who their favourite characters were in Sailor Moon. Sailors Jupiter and Saturn ranked highest among fans in the room.

Cosplay Battle Chess - The Good Guys

Familiar Faces from Sailor Moon and Others Who Sided with the Good Guys to Defend Sailor Moon (Taken at Cosplay Battle Chess)

There was a query about the gender of the starlights, which Shance initially answered in a way that could be easily misinterpreted. She said that in the anime, they were always women but posed as men when they came to earth. The more clear answer for the anime is actually that the characters were originally female, but when they came to earth they physically changed to men when not fighting, and physically changed back into women when fighting. The difference is that in the manga, they never physically changed genders, they only changed clothes. They were always female in the manga series, but wore men’s clothing and pretended to be men when they weren’t fighting. I hope that clears up the difference for fans unfamiliar with the starlights!

Other questions included:
Where can we find the new English language manga, and how much has been released?(in Canada)
At the time of the panel, volumes 1-5 were released. They are available in major book stores, comic shops, the Dealers’ room of many conventions, and online at retailers such as (while I’m aware of Rightstuf, this isn’t practical for Canadians unless they make a rather large purchase. Shipping fees to Canada start at $9 and you only get free shipping if you order over $150)

Where can the English DVDs, particularly with English subtitles, be purchased?
The English versions of the anime (sub and dub) are currently out of print, so finding legitimate copies is difficult and often expensive. I do not recommend bootlegs, but they are an option some people choose to consider. Do so at your own risk, with the understanding that you might receive a product that is potentially poor quality or even defective (I have heard stories of people buying bootlegs that did not work at all).

We here at Moon Chase always encourage fans to purchase legitimate releases when possible, to support the original creator(s) and staff of your favourite series.

Is it good to have more manga and merchandise available now, or would it be better if it were more rare?
I think the general consensus here was that it’s a good thing to see more of it. There are a lot of Sailor Moon fans who are very happy to be able to show that they are Sailor Moon fans again. The amount of Sailor Moon T-shirts I saw over the weekend was pretty awesome. I like seeing lots of Sailor Moon fans, myself! 🙂

What recent series is most like Sailor Moon?
Unsurprisingly, we mostly talked about Pretty Cure in response to this question. Considering the series has been effectively called the “new Sailor Moon” in Japan, there’s no question it would be on the list of series to talk about in response to this question.

Is there an official transformation sequence for Sailor Saturn?
No, there isn’t. She never transforms on screen in the anime. There are various fan-made transformation sequences you can find on Youtube to see what other fans have come up with as possibilities.

Cosplay Battle Chess - Mercury Versus the Negaverse

Mercury Versus the Negaverse! And Some Familiar Faces Who Joined the Dark Side. (Taken at Cosplay Battle Chess)

We also asked some trivia questions I and Moon Chase staff had prepared in advance for using at panels. Audience members who correctly answered trivia questions won small prizes (chibi Tuxedo Mask figurines) provided by Shance. This was fun, but it seemed as though some questions were too challenging. Sorry, fans! We hope you enjoyed it anyway and congrats to those who won a prize.

At the end of the panel, some fans came up to the front of the room to take a closer look at some of the merchandise I had brought with me — the raglan t-shirt I purchased at Hot Topic, the card case and belt by Buckle-Down, and volume 5 of the newly translated manga.

I even met a Moon Chase reader who said he loves the blog. Thanks for saying hi! 🙂

I talked with a few Sailor Moon fans after my presentation as well as after this panel, which was a fun part of the weekend for me! I’ll keep you all posted on where you can find me next if you want to chat about Sailor Moon!


Next up in my report: the closing ceremonies of Anime North 2012! We hope you’re enjoying the convention coverage. Last post coming soon!

Anime North 2012: Con Report Part 3 – General Interest Panels

This post will be a bit longer, because there are a few panels I’ll be mentioning. I thought there was a good variety this year, with different kinds of panels running to interest all kinds of convention attendees.

Feel free to skip ahead to the parts that interest you the most:

Mock Combat for Cosplay Workshops

There was a beginner version on Saturday afternoon, lead by Chris Ayres and Carli Mosier Faigen. This workshop includes instruction and demonstration of different combat type interactions that look dangerous, but are actually safe to perform. Partner based. An advanced workshop was also offered on Sunday, but you must take the beginner’s version first.

These workshops are a great way for cosplayers who want to do skits and short choreographed fights in cosplay, as there are lots of tips on how to make things look realistic but also be completely safe. Definitely a good way to add interest to a cosplay presentation!

You can read more about Mock combat for Cosplay workshops on Chris Ayres’s website.

Chris Ayres also has some pictures of his time at Anime North on his website.

Dead Senshi

You don't want to end up like this after a cosplay battle!

Numerology and Anime

This was one of the more unique panels at Anime North this year, but it seemed like the presenter had to change from what she had originally planned as her original presentation included the numerology analysis for characters that none of the audience were familiar with.

The presenter indicated that numerology is traditionally based on birth name and birth date. In the case of fictional characters, the date of appearance is used instead of birth date. The factors of a numerological analysis she was using included: life lesson, soul urge (inner personality/desires), outside personality, expression/path of destiny, and she also looked at the first challenge factor which covers up to age 28.

The presenter ended up doing a live numerology interpretation for Sailor Moon, using her original name and original manga appearance year. My comments in brackets.

Sailors Moon and Mercury - Musical Style #2

Musical style cosplayers - Sailors Moon and Mercury at Anime North 2012

Life Lesson: 3
This indicates that Usagi is best in intellectual (I can hear you fans snickering), creative, or artistic pursuits.

  • She likes beauty, fruitfulness, and luxury.
  • She is conscious of the law and a position of authority.
  • She should specialize in her career path, not generalize.
  • She will be successful in invented pursuits.
  • She also has a freedom-loving nature.

Soul Urge: 4 (this number is based on the vowels in her name)
Her inner personality/desires are to be loyal, balanced, and dependable (okay, we all know this wasn’t true at first!). She is also able to make her dreams come true.

Outer Personality: 9 (based on consonants in her name)
Usagi has a great breadth of understanding, is selfless, compassionate, forgives easily, is emotional, and is romantic.

Path of Destiny: 4 (this is based on the full name and indicates her aim in life)
Usagi is a builder of the world. She is organized, handles money well, is honest, is confident, and will engage in self-denial to fulfill her duties.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I noticed quite a few characteristics that ring true for Sailor Moon in there, although it doesn’t seem to be completely accurate in her case.

I think if this panel returns in future, it would be a good idea to prepare numerological analysis for popular anime characters in advance. Old or obscure characters won’t connect with the audience, and this type of panel appears to work much better when the audience is familiar with the characters being analyzed. Kudos to the presenter for doing some live analyses of characters suggested by the audience.

Dubs That Time Forgot

This was a surprisingly popular event, with every seat full in two adjoining rooms and plenty of congoers standing as well to watch the video clips and hear commentary.

The part I managed to catch was mostly focused on a show called Manx Mouse, which is about a character called Harrison Manx Mouse who, although he is a mouse, looks an awful lot like a rabbit. This series appeared to be intended for children yet included a disturbing subplot about Manx Mouse having to get eaten by a Manx cat! Somehow this didn’t seem to bother any of the characters in the show, including Manx Mouse.

Here’s a clip from Manx Mouse:

And for those interested, there are more “Dubs That Time Forgot” videos available on Anime News Network and Youtube.

Japanese Fashion History

This was a presentation and discussion led by Helen McCarthy on Japanese clothing throughout history, geared towards cosplayers who would like to use historically accurate kimono for costumes. The presentation included information about the differences in clothing for commoners as well as wealthy people for traditional clothing.

Helen also said that kimono are only fully cleaned about once every five years. The process is complex, involving a full deconstruction of the kimono (undoing the seams and all), washing, drying on a board, then reassembly in order to keep the fabric and embroidery intact.

Kimono were dominant among commoners until the end of World War II, but more well-off people, particularly businessmen, started wearing more western influenced clothing at this time.

In the 1950’s, there was a transition to kimonos as primarily formal wear, and they were no longer a part of modern life in Japan. This means that now, we could be seeing the end of kimonos.

I found this an interesting presentation, although the audience was small. Helen showed lots of pictures of different styles of kimono and provided an overview of hundreds of years in less than an hour. Wearing a kimono herself, she was engaging, good-spirited, and made lots of topical jokes to keep the audience interested. Definitely recommended for anyone who wants to learn more about accurately cosplaying characters who wear kimono.

Manga Style Characters

Manga style Sailor Moon cosplayers at Anime North 2012

Next up: The Sailor Moon discussion panel. Stay tuned for more Anime North 2012 convention coverage!