A convention is a meeting place, a calling to those that hold dear to their hearts all manner of things. It allows people to show off their collections, gives them a fun project to prepare for, and drains them of every last penny their hands could scrounge together. To this end, purveyors of all kinds of animation, literature, and other entertainment flocked to the Toronto Congress Centre last Friday for one of largest gatherings in Ontario.
Anime North, referring to the subject matter and the geographical location, ran from Friday, May 22nd to Sunday May 24th as it does every year, and drew in perhaps the largest crowd of attendees it has ever seen. Cosplayers, merchandisers, and fans came from all over to attend, gaping at magnificent cosplays and all but throwing their money at people selling all manner of hand-crafted articles. Panels, events, signings, and merchandise absolutely flew through the air in the three day scramble of anime, manga, movies, video games, western cartoons, and any other form of media one could think of, leaving those who were there flat out broke yet grinning with glee.
For those that don’t know, anime is the word one uses when referring to any kind of animation in the style of eastern animation, with popular examples being Naruto, Inuyasha, Pokémon, One Piece, and others. It has a wide following all over the world, influencing the comic and television markets of several countries, but the biggest supporters outside of the east are by far the US, Canada, and Australia. It seems that the sparkly eyes, fluid motions, and stunning effects have captured the hearts and minds of North America in its entirety.
Anime North runs every year on the same three days, the 22nd to the 24th. If one wishes to attend, tickets go on sale in January of the year its taking place; $45 for weekend pass or $35/$45/$35 for Fri/Sat/Sun respectively. When a certain point has been reached in ticket sales, prices go up to $60 for a weekend pass, although the single days stay the same. Tickets are printed out and brought to the Congress Centre, where attendees receive a laminated pass and a lanyard, on which they print their names, and this serves as their ticket to the Dealer’s Room, all the panels that happen in the surrounding hotels, and the large room artists peddle prints of their work commonly known as Artist’s Alley.
Expensive, yes. At an average of $200/night for a hotel in Toronto, $45 for a ticket, and untold amounts of moolah spent on merchandise, it will leave you with pockets emptier than the magnetic north pole.
Worth it? Also yes.