Monday 27 May 2013

Anime North 2013!

Anime North 2013 has come and gone, and now we're filled with all the melancoly associated with coming off a caffeine high. We can't stress enough how much FUN we had this year. Amazing events, amazing people, and amazing cosplays every single day. It was an added pleasure to meet fellow blogger and dashing character, Chag of Hobby Hovel, who snapped a buttload of awesome photos for us. This year we went as a Magi group with our friends. Did you see us? Did you catch some pictures of us? (In which case, send 'em over, we love to stare at ourselves.)

Group cosplaying was a new experience for us. We've been going to Anime North since the beginning of time (for about 5 years), but this is the first time we decided to attempt a group cosplay. Con is a very different creature when you're in a group cosplay. Here's what we learned.

1. Travelling always takes longer than expected. Because you will get stopped for photos. On Saturday, moving from the Dealer's Room to a nearby Harveys, a trip that would normally take about 3 minutes, took over half an hour. But when you have all that love, who needs food? No one! That's who.

2. Mundanes are lifesavers. Mundane is a word we use fondly for people not in cosplay, and we love them with the fire of a thousand suns. They'll watch your bags when you're busy posing. Big thanks to our various friends for acting as our pack mules over the weekend, and sacrificing their own comforts for the sake of making our lives a little easier. A thousands kisses to every single one of you beautiful people.

3. Sometimes, you channel a character a little too hard. Jenn began unconsciously winking at passing ladies on Sunday, and didn't even realize it. Easy there, ladykiller. Are you Jenn, or are you Sinbad? (Jenn: I-I don't KNOW!) This rule however, does not apply to Suich because let's face it, Ja'far channels her, not the other way around.

Saturday we hosted our giveaway, and it was a resounding success! Huge, huge, huge shout outs to everyone who hunted us down! It was a blast meeting our readers, and we can't thank you enough for supporting us. Congratulations to Michael, who won our draw for a Strength Nendoroid!

Congrats, man. Congrats hard.
Though the giveaway was the highlight of Saturday, it was also a day of amazing events.

Anime Idol this year blew our minds. We have attended Anime Idol every year since it's conception, and this year was by far the best of them all. Damn, these people can sing.

Of course, then there was Totally Lame Anime After Dark, which never fails to deliver. Coupled with amazingly sarcastic commentary, we sat through clip after clip of devestatingly bad anime. They were so bad, they could only be hilarious. Which they were. We all dropped about 3 pounds laughing. It's even better if you bring a friend who has never seen nor heard of this event before. Their expressions of giddy horror give the occasional repeat/classic clip fresh hilarity. If you think any anime is bad these days, just watch one episode of Chargeman Ken. It'll throw your standards for a loop.

Then there are these depressing commercials for Suntory Beer.

Holy crap, that's some heavy stuff! What were they even trying to say about the beer? Life is hard, and nothing will make it better, so you might as well have a beer? Is that the fatalistic message they're sending? Does the penguin shed a single, world-weary tear in every commercial? Well, no. Sometimes it's his girlfriend instead.


Moving on. We can't go to Anime North without scoring some great deals! We paid to get in, so we might as well go home with some souvenirs. Unfortunately, it was disheartening to see some dealers trying to push fake figures. We found a booth selling an obviously fake Goddess Madoka (we didn't manage to get a picture, but here's a picture of the exact fake they had). Jenn was badly tempted to start some shit with the seller, but settled for warning potential buyers away whenever she had the chance. Always be careful at conventions, folks. Not all that glitters is gold.

But don't let a few bad apples scare you off. Sometimes, gold really is gold, and Jenn cheered up substantially after snagging herself Trunk Girl from one of the legit sellers there. Ash also managed to grab Kotobukiya's Shiki for an excellent price. Nevermind the buttons and prints and bookmarks available from all the brilliant artists in attendance.

We finished off the weekend by attending a Anime North Music Video Competition replay. A great event to end our Anime North 2013 adventures. One of our personal favourite videos? BaBOOM!!!! by LoneNinja11, because it reminds us of the first law in life: Everything explodes (and also because it was hilarious, etc).

And, of course, given our cosplays, how can we ignore this amazing AMV, "A Friend like Ugo" by nicolio1313?

As Anime North wound down, and members of our group cosplay retired, the Poke crew took some time to be our silly selves and recorded it on our economic point-and-shoot camera. Maybe you spotted us?

Sinbad, the Monkey King.
No, Ja'far, don't feed the troll!
Plush Sinbad stealing actual Sinbad's thunder.
Ja'far and Judar going at each other behind Sinbad's back.
Then pretending it never happened...
Judar: "LOVE ME, BAKA!" Sinbad: "N-NO!"
This year, we saw some amazing cosplays. We had our eyes open for the "big cosplay" that we seemed to get every year, but didn't spot anything quite as crazy as the Meowth Balloon cosplay from a few years ago, or Blue Eyes White Dragon from 2012. This year, it was all about Baby Avatar. Yes, Baby Avatar wins con. Because nothing beats baby cosplay.

We didn't take as many pictures of awesome cosplays this year, but Jenn did get to spend some time with Castiel from Supernatural and Kazuaki Nanaki from Hatoful Boyfriend (if you haven't played Hatoful, you must play Hatoful). Only her two favourite characters anywhere. She only spazzed a little bit, but we all know she had exploded inside. We could tell by the way the light left her eyes that a part of her soul stayed with both of them.

Pictured: Inner explosion in progress.
The fun thing about conventions, and any large gatherings of fans anywhere, is the potential for spontaneous moments of pure awesome. What were our favourite moments at Anime North that were purely fan-driven?

Jenn: On Friday night, while walking one of our darling mundane friends to the bus stop, a girl leaned out of a car (torso and all) and screamed "SINBAD" as she zipped by. That she recognized my character in the dark, and that she blatantly disregarded her own health by leaning out of a speeding vehicle, earns her a special place in my heart. I'm sorry my pathetic "WHOOO" paled in comparison to her loving serenade. It was all I could muster given our brief encounter. Kudos to you, random girl. Know that Sinbad would fall into depravity for you.

Suich: Seeing a couple of Hatoful Boyfriend cosplayers while standing in line to grab some burgers from Harvey's was a real treat for me.  A cosplayer with long, brown hair tied into a pony tail with a red ribbon came out the door.  I stared for a moment, wondering if it was Shuu from Hatoful Boyfriend.  She did have glasses on, but I was still a tad sceptical.  Then I saw a blond cosplayer (Nanaki) come out and I literally screamed, "HATOFUL!! You're cosplaying as characters from Hatoful, right?!"  I kind of felt bad for screaming when they were practically in front of me but I was incredibly excited that Hatoful was getting some love at Anime North this year! I only got to see them for a moment on Saturday, but they were awesome! You Hatoful cosplayers were fabulous!

By the way, Jenn moping about not seeing them was an added bonus for me!
(Jenn: Good to know some good came out of my heartbreak. Hatoful is only my one true love, after all.)

Ash: During idol, a girl sitting in the row in front of us noticed my TEAM KOUEN jersey and my twin sister's TEAM ALI BABA jersey (we were cosplaying as Judar and Aladdin respectively). The jerseys were my sister's brilliant solution to the inevitable ass freezing we experienced at this year's colder-than-usual AN. She burst out laughing upon spotting our attire (which happens to be my favourite reaction to just about anything) and then said that she's aligned with Ali Baba's team to which my sister enthusiastically exclaimed, "One more for the underdog!" and I responded with, "I'll claim your soul for the dark side someday, just you wait!". In true Canadian fashion, I just couldn't help adding a 'please' when I asked people to fall into depravity. I'm evil, not rude. Playing the villain was a lot of fun!

And that was how our Anime North went down. Sure, we don't get the big name celebrities, but there's a certain easygoing atmosphere at Anime North that sets it apart from larger, more well known conventions. Nevermind that it has an adorable, Canadian flair. Everyone asks politely to take your picture, then thanks you after. There was no shoving, no attitude, and a thousand apologies for accidentally whacking others with props. And there was hugging. Lots of hugging.

Sinbad's feeling the love. And the weight.
And the love.
That concludes our Anime North 2013 adventures. It was too much fun. So much fun it hurt. Between our group cosplay and the success of the giveaway, we're already looking forward to next year. Look for us in our Magi/Hatoful cosplays (disclaimer: probably).

Suich is already planning next year, because that's just how she rolls.
Thank you, and goodbye (for now),
Jenn, Suich, and Ash
Poke the Merch


  1. Behind every great cosplay is a sturdy mule--erm, I meant mundane. I had a lot of fun spending the day with you! I'll pass on the "fire of a thousand suns" though -- I prefer love in a slightly less incendiary format.

    I get a little too proud of my photos sometimes, but I REALLY like the second last photo. Even though it's a little blurry, you two look like you're having so much fun, which is not something one usually gets when asking people to pose for photos. Candid shots are the way to go -- just look at Protoman! I'm going to try going for a theme next year: tired cosplayers. There's no expression more real than the sheer exhaustion of walking all day in costume. It'll be some real modern art shit, I tell you.

    1. But...incendiary love is best love!

      At least your pride is backed by actual skill. We can spin that around and call it confidence. Better connotations that way. I love that picture of us "waltzing" too, especially since it was less of a waltz than an awkward stumble.

      Poor Protoman. I think I'm going to hunt down smoking cosplayers next year. Smoking Ash. Smoking Link. Smoking Edward Elric. Their lives were hard. Hear, hear.


  2. stumbled upon this through a search, just wanted to say that I am the mom of "baby Avatar" makes me so very happy that people loved my costume work.

    1. Oh my goodness! What a chance encounter over the net! Your cosplay blew the rest out of the water in terms of sheer adorability. We wanted to come up and say hi, but you were always swarmed with photographers (and rightfully so). Thanks for creating such an amazing group. It was a real treat seeing you guys.

      Jenn, Suich, and Ash

  3. While Im not the biggest cosplay fan, this is pretty cool ^^
    it's really remarkable to do a large group cosplay of a certain show, I would expect things like "no, I don't want to be Alibaba kun!" or the likes XD

    1. Cosplay is surprisingly fun, and even more surprisingly punishing on the body (I was sore for DAYS). There was some jostling over who would play whom, but it all worked out in the end, mostly. We have great appreciation for our Ali Baba, because, well...Ali Baba. ;]

      Stay awesome,

  4. That was me that screamed "Sinbad." I just about had a heart attack when I saw you POSTED ABOUT ME. AAAHHHH. LOVE YOU.

    1. Oh goodness, how could I NOT post about you? What a way to end my day! Were you at AN any other days? I wanted to give you a hug for making my Friday 200% more awesome!