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A day at Anime North

I went out to the airport to watch airplanes land today, low and close overhead, wheels outstretched for landing through the only-slightly-hazy skies. Every minute, another: whale-like double-deckers, small commuter planes. It's almost an annual tradition. Last year when I went out there to watch airplanes, the highlight was late at night one evening, with low hanging clouds, an enormous plane emerging out of the eclipse of mist, a beast of a creature coming down to roost in the Toronto airport. Except really, I wasn't there for the airplanes; I was there for Anime North.

After the long commute, the long lines, and lines which wanted me to come back in an hour to stand in them then, I did something relatively unusual at an anime convention: I watched anime. Indeed, that's the lure of a con like this for me, a chance to sample more series. Good costumes are a major added bonus. I spent an hour mid-afternoon watching DDR and para para dancing because watching groups of people doing perfectly coordinated steps with almost robotic accuracy is transfixing, at least for short periods of time. Famous voice actors? Panels? RPGs? I was there for the anime. And the masquerade.

Lyrical Nanohana: I caught the last episode of the 2 or 3 being shown; fairly generic magical girl anime.

Magical Canan: Slightly less generic shoujo anime. There are a few interesting things to the premise - namely, the way the creature transforms when the girl does; I really couldn't tell from the first few episodes how strong the plot arc might be though.

Rozen Maiden: More interesting than Magical Canan, but less appealing to me. It's about every day kids and animate dolls with a mysterious - and ancient - past. Cute, but not endearingly so. Still, the snob doll had neat hair.

Tsubasa Chronicles: Huge cast of characters! Enormous elaborately-constructed multi-world saga! Earth-shaking consequences! Pretty outfits! Amusing crossovers with other CLAMP properties! Suspenseful episode endings! And I'm deeply intrigued. I'd love to see more.

My Hime: Intriguing, even more for the complex human relationships than the plot. Honestly, I'm not sure I care about the nasty things that the magical powers will lead these girls into - but I do care about their dark pasts and the developments of their current friendships and potential relationships.

The masquerade was in a smaller venue this year than last, a good thing really, given how attending a masquerade in person is all about being able to actually see the costumes. The masquerade registration table gave out a limited number of wristbands to help with crowd control in advance, one of which I secured before they ran out early on Saturday afternoon. Also, the show was being broadcast within the hotel. I showed up an hour and a half before scheduled starting time and ended up helping to form the beginnings of the line. (Who needs dinner? I had an enormous lunch, knowing I'd need to overcompensate.)

A cosplayer stopped to ask Don, my conversationalist of that moment, where the line was, because of his badge. The cosplayer proved delightful company for the evening, feeding me MnMs and filling in my copious ignorance as to which games and shows many of the performers were recreating. And she was a good cosplayer, with properly hemmed and detailed garments, one who cared deeply when other cosplayers wore bright pink tennis shoes with otherwise well-coordinated outfits. Conveniently, she was cosplaying a character from the Tsubasa Chronicles (Princess Tomoyo) - just-in-time knowledge acquisition on my part. Thank you for the help and company, Bonnie, wherever you are!

The short story of the two of us obtaining seats is that we ended up in the second row center. (A coup! And the second time in as many years I've done that well at AN's masquerade!) The improv troupe pre-show was a very good idea: funny, distracting, competent. Sadly, it had to run for an hour and even then the masquerade wasn't ready to begin. Entirely too typical of large masquerades with complex logistics.

There were 83 entries, minus the ten or so which dropped out along the way. It ran expeditiously, with skits sharply curtailed, and managed to end on time despite the late beginning! There was more affection than fighting on stage, numerous dance numbers, a gorgeous Queen of Spades costume (yellow, don't know from what series), a phenomenally acrobatic group, lots and lots and lots of Final Fantasy groups, a Live Action Sailor Moon group, a really spiffy chocobo, and, to my delight, an Utena-Wicked (the musical) crossover musical number. Just to name a few of the many entries.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
retsuko
May. 29th, 2005 05:05 pm (UTC)
If you enjoyed the Tsubasa anime, make sure you check out the manga: the costumes are drawn with such loving attention to detail that I wonder if the entire purpose of creating the story in the first place was to showcase the costumes.

/end shameless plug. ;-)
owlfish
May. 29th, 2005 06:44 pm (UTC)
My masquerade-mate also pushed the manga heavily, although she didn't mention the pretty drawing style.

How unhelpful it is that the UK doesn't have a patch on the vibrant Toronto anime scene; it'll be much more difficult to get my fix of anything. Does London even have an anime club anywhere?
owlfish
Jun. 4th, 2005 07:53 pm (UTC)
I am weak of will. I've mail-orderd the first few volumes of the manga to pick up when I'm home next month.
saffronjan
May. 29th, 2005 05:10 pm (UTC)
Saw some conference-goers
I saw a few folks standing in the subway station with kimonos, cat ears, and brightly colored belts, headed for the Anime conference.
owlfish
May. 29th, 2005 06:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Saw some conference-goers
Yep, that was probably part of the horde. They and 8-10,000 other people. It's a gigantic con these days.
saffronjan
May. 29th, 2005 07:01 pm (UTC)
The conference-goers in question
... were all aged about 11 to 13, tops. They were soooooo little, and sooo cute! I'm sure they'd hate it if they heard me say that, but they were so ickle.

owlfish
May. 29th, 2005 07:06 pm (UTC)
Re: The conference-goers in question
It's a funny con - I'm ancient by the standards of the average age of attendees, the majority of whom are somewhere in their teens.

There's a chance they might have taken your cute-attack as a compliment.
setsuri
Jun. 3rd, 2005 09:06 pm (UTC)
Re: The conference-goers in question
outta curiousity, how was the improv? I had two classmates in it, but they'd be biased as to how they did. Laughs one came back on Mon. after the con with a giant bruise on his arm, said he fell off the stage or something.
Sounds like anime north was pretty cool, it sucks to have missed it.
owlfish
Jun. 4th, 2005 07:52 pm (UTC)
Re: The conference-goers in question
The improv was excellent. I was a bit worried at first, since they started with a hockey-themed piece, boding ill for anything related to the con. Happily, my first impressions were entirely wrong. They were varied, on-topic, and very funny. And they kept up their energy for the full hour they needed to fill before the masquerade could begin.

One of them flung himself off the stage at one point with great enthusiasm - it would have been really easy to come back bruised from that; still, a sacrifice made in the name of art, to great applause from the audience.

Hopefully you'll be able to come next year!

(Also, in case you don't otherwise see it, kaijugal has also left a comment on this post enthusing about the 404s.)
kaijugal
Jun. 4th, 2005 07:45 pm (UTC)

Hi Owlfish, I stumbled on your LJ by accident from another website, ( though ironically you'd think it would have been via Maura's journal as we both have her on our friends list.)

I'm glad you secured a good seat at the masquerade and seem to have enjoyed it. (Alot of people felt it was too short) :(

Managing such a large masqurade has been quite an uphill battle. (as you know if you were there for the 143 entry one). This was my first year as masquerade director, and alot of our masq staff was new. I think they did an incredible job.

Setsuri, the 404's rocked! Your friends do not exagerate. I'll be happy to have them back any time!! ^_^ *thumbs up(
owlfish
Jun. 4th, 2005 11:24 pm (UTC)
Hello! Maura introduced me to you and sarcasm_hime ever so briefly at last year's AN, but there's no reason why you'd remember that.

In terms of duration, yes, the masquerade felt slightly short, but at the same time, it was a relief it was over after sitting down for 3 and a half hours. My legs were badly in need of stretching by then. I think the masquerade would have felt more conclusively finished had there been a grande finale type finish, but you can hardly count on a cast-of-dozens number to finish with every year.

You did a very good job directing the event. Irwin and theengineer mentioned that the elevators were much of the source of delay for the masquerade, and that, of course, was entirely out of the hands of any con staff.
owlfish
Jun. 4th, 2005 11:27 pm (UTC)
You know, the more I think about it, the duration was just about perfect. And best of all, it ended on time, despite delays.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )