Toronto's Anime North 2012 Convention Report
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Posted 6/4/12
Welcome to another Anime North convention report, this one for 2012! I hope everyone had a blast this year in Toronto as thousands of fans, guests, and hard working staff/volunteers congregated on the Airport strip in a record number of locations to have a fun weekend. I’ll go over the activities and events I was either involved with or simply attended each day so do enjoy!

FRIDAY
The day started with some work at the Charity Auction Display area in the middle of the Dealer’s room. From there it was off to the sound check and practice before the Opening Ceremonies and even then some early attendees came to watch! The Opening Ceremonies featured the Taiko Drummers, the introductions of guests and some of the events, finishing off the annual “Henshin” and opening video. About 100 plus attendees stayed to see the first of The 404s Improv Comedy shows of the weekend. There was a lot of good kickoff scenes like an instructional scene on how to use cats and swords to clean stains from underwear, telling of buying ice cream in a set number of words for each actor, the calling of the slow motion action in zorbing (rolling down a hill in a giant plastic ball), a halftime advertisement of various items from cheese to fast food chains, to ending on the world’s worst ideas for various things like Pokemon. The hilarity of scenes ranged from the telling of taking on planking zombies at the Statue of Liberty both forwards and in reverse to a panning scene that had pickles, taxidermy, and vampires.

Later at night was the League Format where 4 teams fought first in a semi final round then fusing into 2 teams for a final round. Fans voted each scene with coloured cards for each team: Sexxxy Gals, Asian Persuasion, The 3 Mikes and the YES squad. That “Yes” chant, which at times became also a “Si” chant for the Mexican scenes that came up involving the Spanish Announcers’ Table during a Soccer Game (I learned NEVER to be the table everyone piled up on ever again...on the Saturday show it came up again for teaching how to do the Sombrero Dance with a Chihuahua and many brands of Taco Makers), stems from the growing popularity of Daniel Bryan, a favourite wrestler of some of the cast while everyone else found the chant simple to say and get into the positive cheering.

The action was fast and furious as the hosting referees kept the game flowing while a scoreboard also kept the crowd updated. The room of 200 plus fans got to see scenes like a re-telling of the Avengers movie (Hulk still working out emotional issues in therapy if you need to know!), a re-imagining of Yakitate Japan about the story of a bread maker who now has an ancient Sensei on a mountain to fight off his former sensei chef who turned evil, fish stories telling of how family reunions become zombie and monster resurrections & feastings of others, a normal guy wanting to get out of a Final Fantasy RPG where he killed a Moogle and fought the multiple phased boss, a Cthulhu who wants to be just a normal student, and even a gangland battle between Navi and Link from the Legend of Zelda against the chicken gang. And near the end of one round the patriotic crowd suddenly broke into singing as a whole the National anthem of “Oh Canada.” The hockey inspired League Improv proved to be a roaring success once done, yes!

SATURDAY
I woke up pretty refreshed even after playing some card games the previous night after the shows with friends both new and old. This was my cosplay day as I donned my gray shorts and shirt with my Totoro hat given to me last year by a good friend to play up the role that seemed to catch on last year. I peeked again into the Saturday Morning Cartoon and Anime video room and caught some Kinnikuman, the wrestling anime. I loved how over the top antics kept people entertained from Kid Muscle using ring ropes to springboard to a nearby tower to save a hostage, to Kid doing his Muscle Buster on this one horned enemy (I came in mid-episode so I didn’t catch everything) from the sky to finish him off and save the day.

I moved onto the Brunch with the Guests to have a nice breakfast while mingling with them and doing work for the Charity Auction. I particularly enjoyed meeting writer Helen McCarthy and Chris Ayres whom I met last year, while meeting new faces was grand too like Monica Rial, Brian Palencia, Lee Tockar, J. Michael Tatum, Carli Mosier, Akira Sasmuna, Yuu Asakawa and the hostess for the Momiji Award ceremony for Kevin Lillard in Julie Czerneda who did a wonderful job. Julie and Yuu was one of my favourite pictures taken as Yuu even wanted to wear my Totoro hat! I got to be taken in a photo too for the Find the 404s contest done for the fans.

From there it was more working at the Charity Auction display area but once I got it done I was able to go over to the GCW Anime Pro Wrestling show to get the shirts they donated signed (they also gave some DVDs). The talent was really good both in ring and backstage when asked for the autographs and just talk about the show. I got to see an old friend in Sexxxy Eddy whom I’ve seen now at various shows and have been following his career in Quebec and overseas (he had just returned from a stint in Japan he loved). Some of the local talent are great too from Christopher Bishop to Steve Brown who has done a ton of these shows now for Anime North.

The show itself had a bevy of characters. You had the tag team of Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion and Kitana, the latter becoming the new Intergender champion during the show before Lex Luthor cheated his way to win it. Other characters there included Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Mask, Spider-man, Mr. Saki, Mucha Lucha, Mario, Vegeta, Deathstroke from DC Comics, Johnny Cage & Nightwolf of Mortal Kombat, Kinnikuman, Ken Masters of Street Fighter and Scarecrow mixed in with talent at the show like Shocker, Trevista, Torrent, DeAndre Jackson, David “Darkstone” Ross and more.

The main event this show, after seeing Miranda Tempest do her Aerial act as Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop, was a tag team match between the GCW Champion & star on YTV’s Splatalot RJ City and Light Yagami (yes he’s alive again) versus L also of Death Note and the GCW Anime Champion Elmo. There was a lot of “Elmo” chants as he came out with his Yaoi paddle while the fangirls shrieked quite often for anything involving the Death Note cast.
Early on RJ attacked Elmo who “Hulked up” but missed the Leg Drop of Doom which RJ used to hit a devastating back breaker. Elmo came back with a DDT and both participants tagged in the Death Note rivals who went into a slap-fest. The fight broke into 2 separate brawls: on the outside into the crowd and then in ring that involved everything from an apron Lou Thesz press by L, to dirty low blows by Light. Light and RJ found the chain from last year’s match to tie down L and attack Elmo. L got free and smashed Pocky onto Light then collared him too as Elmo fought back with a corner splash onto RJ. L was in control until he got taken outside again as Light gave him a suplex on the cement.

RJ and Light worked L over with Light hitting a springboard Splash, RJ giving L his own suplex, Light using a Miz corner clothesline followed by vicious jumping bronco busters. They did some nice tag work doing a double back elbow combo. L finally fought back with a jawbreaker on RJ but Light tagged into to do the Alex Shelley facebuster. L kept fighting back, trapping Light in the Tarantula on the ropes. Light got free and hit a fall-away suplex pin for 2. RJ came back in to be put in a backslide but he countered with a neckbreaker. L and Light got back at it but they clothesline each other. L finally got the hot tag to Elmo who hit both foes one after another with clotheslines and big boot. Elmo hits RJ with a Stunner into a Rock Bottom finished off with the People’s Elbow. Elmo was going to the top rope when Light cut him off, but for his troubles he ate a top rope Canadian Destroyer! RJ somehow got the microphone to sing to the crowd, but L had recovered and found the Death Note to write his name into it to take him out. Light got one more Destroyer from L after a Yaoi kiss then got his name added too. He was paddled then died so the winners were L and Elmo! For good measure they took Lex Luthor out too with the Death Note. It was very fun with about 500 people seated to see the match and others throughout the weekend, with 100s stopping when passing by to also see the crazy action.

From there it was a night of 404s shows. The first one was a regular show in the Mississauga Room. The line up alone was shocking, as it went down the halls, and out the doors. The room filled to capacity of about 250-300 seated with still another 100 who had to wait to later shows. This show featured some great scenes like a party with Dead Bodies, a Film Noir in a bouncy bank, a giant 13 actor story told one word at a time, a press conference for Portal’s GLADOS’ announcing her pregnancy, a murder told in mime by phone (that included maybe the best Donald Duck impression ever) that somehow occurred at the Montreal student protests, and scenes from a hat from fan suggestions.

Then it got to the amazing Late Night Last Pants Standing show. The Plaza Ballroom had a line up before the Masquerade ended for over 3 hours that went from the Hall, down the staircase, along the stores/pool area...and out to the parking lot! There are some amazingly dedicated fans out there for The 404s! Before the show began I got to see some of the Masquerade backstage and some of the wonderful contestants who had some of the most elaborate costumes like a group of the Princes with a Katamari, The Cheshire Cat, Final Fantasy 10 summoner Yuna with her summon Valefor, a Blue Eyes White Dragon (who I happen to run into its wings on me crossing the street earlier that day, he was enormous!) and 2 full body cat furries dancing to the “Catstreet Boys” song “I Want it That Way.” Once the show began and the room filled it was a blast of a show, started by a crowd shot to ending on the infamous Mousetraps game. It was an incredible feeling hearing chants from over 1200 fans there and another 150 plus in the Green Room seeing on the screen there that ranged from the “YES” chants to simply a “404s” chant.

SUNDAY
This was the Charity Auction day. The Auction brought in over $7700 to thanks to all of those who donated to get some amazing items! Working with another auctioneer and the incoming guests mentioned before from the Brunch was a treat as it was spaced out nicely while allowing the fans to get to bid for all the items they wanted. From a signed Yoshi figure from The 404s to items brought in by the guests like postcards with art from Lee Tockar to some Vocaloid items and other Japanese items from Yuu and Akira, everything went for a good cause in the Hospital for Sick Kids.

The weekend concluded with the Musical 404s show and the closing ceremonies. This was the first Musical show with a keyboardist to help with the songs and sounds on stage. Over 200 came to see a Dating Game, a Bartender sing to help solve issues like self-admiration and using Internet Explorer at work, seeing how many times the word “Sin” can be said in a minute, and a hoedown about Anime North. After one final bow the Closing Ceremonies had everyone say their goodbyes or more appropriately their “see you next time” wishes as one more video sent everyone off. Thanks have to go to everyone again for making this an awesome event that showed as many noted a place where people do amazing things passionately.

Yargh! Here’s my bounty from this year’s convention me matey:
*Several FUNIMATION giveaways like postcards from Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt and Hetalia Axis Powers, and posters from Rosario + Vampire
*A GCW WILD (Their women’s pro wrestling division) tournament show that had the likes of Jamie D (Sirelda in TNA), my friend from Quebec who handles Femmes Fatales there in Lufisto, Indy stars Portia Perez, Deanna Conda and many more!
*The new Pokémon CCG Black and White Dark Explorers Raiders Starter Deck
*A Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Premium Collection tin and a few singles I was looking for my Ocean Deck along with a few singles I was looking for as well
*A new Totoro cell phone keychain (OH HO HO HO HO!)
*A 3 pack of plushies of Sailor Jupiter from Sailor Moon (the main reason I bid for it during the auction since I love the show), Mai from Kanon (a series I heard of but yet to see), and Miaka Yuki from Fushigi Yugi (an older anime my friends were into and I know some of)
*From the Artist Alley I got a new Legend of Korra with the scene where Korra and Mako kiss (go see it already-in Canada it starts on YTV on June 9 at 11AM like in the USA but a bit behind episodes wise) and a Sailor Mercury mini keychain put on my bag
*And finally I found a copy of Disgaea 2 for the PS2 I was hunting for a long time for since I missed out when it was new to get it...and now I will say goodbye to many free hours when I have them as 99% of them now go into this awesome SRPG like when I played the first one. At least Laharl’s laugh makes me smile still.

Here is some fan submitted stuff from the shows and more at the convention!
First from our Facebook page check the video out of Hoedown at https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151800577115647 (and if you can’t see it...why not join the group while there!)
Some fun from the Anime Pro Wrestling show like Elmo and L vs. RJ City and Light:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHiCL4XIxlo AND
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHPGb9VEZFw
A little bit filmed for the opening ceremonies show practice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dM3RgJb8-mI
A few fan posted videos are up from our Sunday Musical show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2YkQz6f24E&feature=youtu.be ANDhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0lKwuaVEag&feature=youtu.be
And there’s tons more saved into my con videos playlist at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE273FEAC695D7A72&feature=mh_lolz
While the latest 404s videos from Eastside shows can also be found in a collection at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA0B3C6356020E27B&feature=mh_lolz
Also I got my photo album of photos from this convention and others at http://www.crunchyroll.com/showphotoalbum?id=10061028

Thanks for reading the extensive report! Do follow other 404s shows at more conventions (meaning more reports to come) at http://the404s.com for dates and times.
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