Toronto was like, the dark evil twin universe of The West Side. There were just too many odd things that happened outside the con-chasing chain of events while we were there. It started out when my friend told me that his two WoW guildies, natives to the locale and playing our tour guides, share names with myself and our third in the party.
I guess this is the second time I’ve been to Toronto ever, and it was pretty close to what I remembered a long time ago. Things has changed for the better in a lot of ways but I just went to different places this time. I could’ve spent a couple more days there, for sure. Maybe we’ll save that for a future visit. AN alone was more than enough, and plus what outings we did it was actually a packed day-and-a-half.
Going to try to do this con report slightly differently–hey, like a Character-Driven Narrative? I think that makes more sense this time around, partly because the three main characters (in this story) all had different agendas. Maybe I’ll toss it up like an anime website. Plus some fictionalization, yay!
Anime North is this growing convention up in Toronto annually. It used to be this pissant little thing (like most cons) but where can the sizable Toronto population get their convention fix? Most East Coast cons are way down by VA or below and what little offering in the NY Metro area has been lackluster at best, leaving those Canucks in the cold. Toronto is a pretty nice city in its own right and the huge Asian population there demands some kind of anime festivity.
But why am I, an American, going to AN? Plus two others no less? We’re about to find out.
The main character in the story; in a lot of ways only because his disposition is neutral. Friends with Omo and Ming for a long time IRL. Somewhat of a new anime fan, as well, making that POV even more sympathetic?
The lead antagonist/female interest in the story. Concert musician from Japan. Has a posse.
The fearless ranger and master of Canadian Lore. No “About” or “Eh” escapes his well-trained ears. Plays a raid-happy rogue in World of Warcraft in his second life. Well-connected with Canadians.
The mastermind behind the plot, yours truely. KOTOKO fan and scores high on anime convention lore, at least he thinks so if such things exists.
- Lord of All Evil
The Inside Man. Little is known about this mysterious character.
The Resident Comic Relief Maid Boy.
Plays the straight guy for Comic Relief, RL friend of Sinbios.
Silent yet infamous clutch comedian. Master of screen cap blogging and free porn game fans.
Clutch translator of stereotypical proportions.
- The Random Security Guy
Nice con volunteer. A true fan. Bilingual and wants to get on in with LOAE.
- Ex-Military Ops
Ex-Military people. Communicates with hand signals. Comes with sunglasses.
- The Geneon Guy
Fan at heart but now a corporate interest. Master of rock paper & scissors.
- The Crazy Fangirl Party
This group of 4 fangirls, ages 16-18, is inseparable entity of MSN handle stalking glompers.
- Go Nagai
Old school anime con guest. Pimp.
- DJ Izumi
DJ and Master spinner of anime video/audio. Evil Man Maid.
- The Good Twins et al.
Ming’s guildmates and our tourguides.
Story & Episode Synopsis
Episode 1: KOTOKO’s harbringers came by and foretold of great fun and fortune and excitement. Like all good intelligent people, Ming and Zekmyr are skeptics of all harbringers, let alone this one. Omo tried hard to make it work–but most of the episode flashes back to a shared experience between Zekmyr and Omo a year ago with KOTOKO. Just what it was is unknown…
Episode 2: After some off-the-screen shuffle Ming mysteriously becomes pro-trip and Zekmyr joins the power of three on this journey. With mild panic at the national border all was well. Most of this episode features dreary landscape of western Pennsylvania.
Episode 3: Down but not out, the trio makes landing at the appointed hotel at the appointed time. Toronto is the land of free wifi and Omo makes contact with the Inside Man. Secrets and money were exchanged. The party ends the night at the inn with a shocking reappearence of KOTOKO, but she did not notice(?)
Episode 4: The new day was indeed new. Inside Man botched (but not his fault) so the party expended some of the local currencies in pursuit of underaged (yet legal) booties and badges. Lines were to be waited, free Full Throttle kept things upbeat and security guards confused. The episode ends as a cliffhanger: special KOTOKO tokens were needed to obtain entry to the Concert; will Hayama pull out something to help the gang when Sinbios and SS failed?
Episode 5: Plenty excitement is to be had when the three secure three of the last thirty Concert tokens. To that end, we split up and did the usual convention thing: dealer’s room. Advance reports from Hayama indicated a poor offering, and it was so. However expectations varied and Ming and Zekmyr nonetheless scored good loot. Omo grows wary, however, and tension is to be had. The group was brought together under the magic of clay dragons.
Episode 6: Lore of the Con says that lines are to be waited, so Omo split off in anticipation of KOTOKO’s coming. Zekmyr and Ming continued to chase underaged booties. Sinbios and SS meet with Omo. After a time Hayama returns to swap info with Omo, but resulting a partial mission failure as line waiting got slightly botched.
Episode 7: The line. Yep. Lots of pics but mostly line. Just line. A line. Inside man swapped more info. Anticipation. Line. At the end of the episode we slowly build up to the start of the concert. Inside Man guaranteed us front row seating. The Crazy Fangirl Party makes their debut.
Episode 8: Lots of jumping, pumping in the air, screaming, chanting, and adoring KOTOKO. And a lot of KOTOKO, too. A chat with The Random Security Guy kicks off the show with some honest to goodness words about fandom. Ex-Military Ops makes a showing too, just to expend budget. There was also glomping, tickling, being called names and not able to recognize people’s faces. Shouts to sit or stand? Glowsticks? So much in the climax episode.
Episode 9: Managing to lose the Crazy Fangirls at the post-concert exedus, the trio also managed to lose a chance to get KOTOKO swag. There were a lot of waiting but we scored autographs!
Episode 10: Recoperated and relocated–Inside Man goes to get drunk post-concert. We aim to not get outdone. Ming returns triumphant, as he usually does; Zekmyr and myself took it safe. The Good Twins et al. are great locals, and even offering us the meat market scene with their guidence. The food was good, girls hot, costs were sensible, and LOAE is a funny drunk.
Episode 11: Things come to an end. There were exchanges of thankfulness and hopefulness. More nice Chinese food was had. KOTOKO makes her last appearence at the panel; Zekmyr and Omo both won hoodies! Alas, goodbye Canada. Thanks for all the Hikkikomori encouragement!
Episode 12: The way home was much like Lando & Chewie in Episode Six. Except they just have to go very fast where as we have to go very fast and slow down when we see cops. We made record time, nonetheless, and had more fancy foods.
Episode 13: Happy end–the three celebrates the end of their vacation with a movie and meeting more friends in the local area.
Now Printing? Whatever. Check this website periodically for updates.
Samurai Champloo Hoodie (free!)
About a bijillion KOTOKO concert flyers (except I don’t have them anymore) (free!)
Yes, I didn’t buy a single merchandise at this con. First ever.
Links & Props
Big thanks to AN itself: its staffers and organization. To LOAE I owe my …something. I guess a future IOU if he needs legal advice or something. A <3 to KOTOKO and the guys who made it possible. A \o/ to the fans. Zekmyr and Ming both deserves lots of prop for good sports that are willing to spend more than 24 hours out of a long weekend on the road.