That's a lie Crunchyroll hasn't shown up at Anime for the past two years now. As much as they are a official sponsor they tend to go to a con in the states.
A special thanks to Crunchyroll's Nate Ming of Fanart Friday fame at http://www.crunchyroll.com/user/Anonymooo and http://www.crunchyroll.com/newsfeed/writer/Anonymooo for coming to Anime North this year to represent and be a part of various panels!
Anime North 2016 from May 27-30 in Toronto, ON at http://www.animenorth.com/live/ Post Convention Report
Anime North was held in a packed area of the Airport Strip, from the Toronto Congress Centre (TCC) to the many surrounding hotels like the Sheraton and International Plaza hosted about 17.500 weekend attendees, and over a 1000 staff, guests, dealers, artists and others on site.
There was a stacked roster of events this year. The 404s Improv Comedy Troupe hosted a whopping 6 events. It began with an opening Improvisation Classroom hosted by various teaching hosts, which occurred after a large Opening Ceremonies that had everything from Nagata Shachu Taiko drummers to AN Idol winning performances. For 100 plus rotating attendees, the fandom friendly cast held court with Objection to dubs vs. subs, helped sober people up with a singing Bartender, present many experts for Press Conferences on Rocket Boots and an Arms Expert on the study of cats washing the dishes. There was aside Objection some other new games introduced like Torture where the hostess constantly changed what the actors were doing or how they would act, and the fan submission of topics for Don’t Get Me Started to go on short 20 second rants on topics such as bad fan fictions, Zeroith world problems, Fursonas, Skype and all of the New Pokémon. Later on Friday night there was the Annual Big Fat Anime Quiz of the Year between 3 teams of improvisers who had to answer about last year’s anime, as well as pop culture topics and even some games of Charade. The packed room of over 100 attendees in the more intimate Plaza Ballroom Split Room came and laughed along with the antics while playing the home version with their own scores. One group won the best score and got to keep some of the props used from the show.
Saturday was as always the most packed day of the convention where just about everyone came whether it was for the entire weekend or the day. The morning kicked off with The 404s Improv Workshop for over 40 attendees wanting to see what the troupe does in practice, how to better one’s skills in acting and general improvising, and for a few showing their potential to perhaps get a call back to try out for the troupe. After that one of the many Crunchyroll http://www.crunchyroll.com panels occurred with the Industry panel that explained the Channel, the many divisions that come together to help get anime to the masses in various forms, and go over some of the top spring 2016 anime. From there it was time to get some food. There were plenty of choices from rice balls, octopus balls and meatballs from the Japanese restaurant inside the International Plaza Hotel, to many food trucks outside the TCC. I got to visit Gorilla Cheese at https://gorillacheese.wordpress.com/ once more to get my favourite Grilled Cheese sandwiches that were so big!
Then the ongoing Super Extreme Anime Wrestling shows of the weekend presented by GCW at www.gcwe.ca were the next thing to join in progress outside under a canopy in the TCC Parking Lot for about 100 fans sitting and more passing attendees going to the TCC, Food trucks that ranged from the aforementioned Gorilla Cheese to Beaver Tails, or to the other hotel locations on foot. Princess Peach was taking on a female Jason Voorhees and won with the Stratusfaction Bulldog. I got to see the Battle Royale to crown a new #1 contender to the Anime North Title held by long time champion Elmo. Mr. Saki won the match outlasting guys from formerly of the GOAT Brigade Shane Sabre to BEARicade, who were also signing autographs for their merchandise. After that there was an open challenge by Ace Ventura who took on “Greg”, a friend of wrestler Ricky James and Ace of course lost to the tall newcomer via chokeslam after many antics. Greg also helped Ricky get his shirt back that hung from the canopy’s mini-chandelier accidentally tossed there from a previous match. Goku then took on Amato of GCW who was a scary dude with chains and a wrench. It was a Hardcore Match that involved everything from trash cans to chairs to even a rental truck side! Goku almost won using a Spirit Bomb but Amato used that wrench to clock Goku then apply the Crippler Crossface for the submission win. Female Robin of the Teen Titans came to avenge being tossed out the Battle Royale by Amato. Amato accepted the match only if it was a Hardcore match as well, which it was. In the end Robin overcame the odds with a nice top rope crossbody pin. You can catch the main event below in video form that I filmed between the Champion Elmo and #1 contender Mr. Saki.
Anime North 2016 Saturday Main Event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mX_moP7fYI4
I got to be in a new cosplay photoshoot once the show was done for Yu-Gi-Oh! I came in my new comedic cosplay as Mako Tsunami from the original show but playing up more the Abridged Series version by Little Kuriboh (his videos can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/user/CardGamesFTW and http://forum.yugiohtheabridgedseries.com/ as well as part of Team 4 Star at http://teamfourstar.com/littlekuriboh/ for the character and more). The photoshoot had a ton of characters from every series to date, and even a giant Millennium Tablet on wheels!
From there it was time for The 404s League Show Improv Naisen again in the Plaza Ballroom! For an even more packed room of over 250 avid fans, they got to see 4 teams play in a mini tournament format to name the top Improv team! There was JAWs (our team with Sharks and Mako), a trio of Dashing Gents, Team Girl Squad and Big Men on Campus. Teams took turns or worked together to play out scenes given by the various referees in a set amount of time, then the fans got to vote with coloured cards for who won each round. The team with the most points won and moved onto the Finals to crown another championship team. There were a ton of fun scenes such as the debacle about is Sailor Uranus could stay a Sailor Scout after the Neil Degrasse Tyson controversy, the Hetalia cast at the UN summit, learning how to bend it like Aang the Last Airbender, and looking for the bare (or bear) necessities. Many things got involved in scenes too like the Spanish Announcers’ Table in games of hockey, the Lost Village and the Sushi Police. There was even the use of Fish Story of ramped up storytelling about being the very best Pokémon Trainer where Ash finally progressed if not age, and how to be the Strongest Hero in the world. Halftime also came up that was Cool, Cooler, Coolest! After the finale speed round, it was fun for everyone there in the end.
After a meal and rest, it was time for The 404s’ famous Late Night, Last Pants Standing, Improv Against Humanity Show! About 350-400 mature fans came to see the hilarious antics of this elimination game with many surprises. There was a Serenade for a lucky fan, Emotional moments like a Roller Coaster, and a Dating Game as well as Dating Videos with Props to show off all sorts of love in scenes. Someone was Late for Work but had some classmates help them out of a sticky situation with his boss over a peculiar rainy day incident. The show capped off with the always exciting Mousetraps scene finale.
On Sunday it was a more chill day to visit a few places, like Artist Alley, the Industry & Convention Tables, the Photography Alley to see friends from Cosplay for a Cure and Droo’s Photography, and the Gaming Room to peek for some board and card games while getting advice for some of my Collector Card Game decks like Magic the Gathering, Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! The Charity Auction did very well this year too during a pass by.
The weekend capped off with a Sunday 404s Roast for the outgoing founder of the group from full time road shows. 200 people came and that grew as the convention wound down and others including some of the guests came for the Closing Ceremonies that came after the show. The fans got to submit suggestions for Scenes from a Hat and Random Lines. One of the lines was a scene ending “Anime was a mistake.” Scene suggestions done by the cast included Anime Scenes done Like Broadway (which got a Vegeta song), the worst person to share a hotel room with, if your parents try to ban you from anime (the answers ranged from marrying your body pillow to saying it has a baby), what would Pikachu say if he could talk (most of it involved hating Ash and being stuck in a Pokeball), and one of the ongoing memes of the weekend, with when John Cena shows up in your favourite anime (the answer is Cena wins, even against Goku). One lucky attendee came up to help give some sound effects, while a couple came on to help with their own exotic location Slideshow vacation. Many of the games chosen were by the outgoing founder such as My Anime to pitch new shows in short trailer form, Freeze Tag where different positions made for new scenes, Change where the host got to change what the actors were saying, 3 Headed Expert for a trio of actors to talk in 1 voice on a topic, and Number of Words where the cast got limited to lines with a certain number of words.
There was also a pair of Long Format Missing Episodes. The fans got to vote and they chose One-Punch Man and Haven’t You Heard, I’m Sakamoto. The former featured a new foe in One Piece’s Luffy attacking with the help of Ash Ketchum...well until a poor Metapod got crushed by Saitama the One-Punch Man and the new foes got beaten by Saitama, Genos, Bang and Tatsumaki. The latter looked into the United Nations being run by Sakamoto, leading to much political intrigue that Sakamoto was able to thwart as the President of the United States.
To those who did make the convention, hopefully you had a wonderful time and to everyone reading this convention report, do consider coming next year! I’ll finish with a list of my finds on the weekend.
BOUNTY OF FINDS
From the Artist Alley:
*A Food Wars artwork with Megumi (my favourite of the show), Soma and Erina by Shirley Wong (@polyswirl on Twitter, @sharl0t on tumblr)
*A Totoro money purse for my mother made by Sacari Art at www.sacari.ca
* A Shokugeki no Soma: Food Wars Sticker set featuring Soma, Erina, Megumi, Satoshi, Yuki and Ikumi from Kaitlyn Lister at www.redbubble.com/people/kaitlynlister
*Haikyu postcard of Hinata and Tobia along with a Pikachu King of Diamonds bonus card from Jin Shim at jinyjin on Tumblr
*A bevy of items from Miko Puppyshaker at http://puppySHAKER.tumblr.com that includes a bookmark of Shiro and Sora from No Game, No Life, a Poison Ivy bookmark, a Moogle postcard, and 3 stickers of Genos, Tatsumaki and Saitama of One-Punch Man
From the Dealers Room:
*From Skyfox Games 2 Mahou Sensei Negima posters from the Mahora Festival Maid Cafe which includes on one Asuna, Misa, Misora, Madoka, and Chachamaru, while the other also has Asuna along with Konoka, Setsuna and Nodoka
*From Chop Shop Goods at http://www.chopshopgoods.com/Default.asp the latest One-Punch Man shirt in a line of a few made recently; I got the Saitama’s Training Club one
*From Navito World at www.navitoworld.com 2 of the Mahou Sensei Negima figures (both happen to be in the ongoing UQ Holder manga I read at http://www.crunchyroll.com/comics/manga ) in Chachamaru and Evangeline
From various giveaways and other miscellaneous sources:
*A special commission of 3 of my favourite characters done by Micaela Dawn Art at http://www.micaeladawn.com/ if 3 of my favourite anime ladies in Shizune of Naruto, Celty of Durarara and Sukuyo of Kill La Kill
*A poster pack for answering a survey by Funimation. The shows are Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, Free: Eternal Sunshine, Dragonball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ and Blazblue: Alter Memory (a series I have seen)
*The all new 404s T-shirt that can be bought at all shows!
*A signed pair of photos from the Anime Hardcore Pro Wrestling show. One I got signed by BEARicade to give to one of my friends, and I have the other of Shane Sabre at https://twitter.com/shanesabre He has been in tag teams but now is a singles competitor for various locale shows
*A nice fanart done for The 404s Scenes from a Hat game by Brianne
*Magic the Gathering Goblin Token cards from Hairy Tarantula at http://hairyt.com
*A Newtype magazine given to me by a friend
*A new Toronto Blue Jays cap obtained via a friend who went for part of the day to the Saturday game against the Red Sox (who they beat that day) before returning for the convention
*And finally a Crunchyroll Wristband with a nice deal for the site given via the Industry panel.
As always, I collect all videos of the Eastside 404s shows that can be found on the current ongoing Video Play Set at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLcYrT6RatU-0pmYTbGwaTYziAt6quFRQh on my channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/trigunkwan
Check out this regularly updated public photo album of my convention photos (the newest photos are at the end pages of the album) at: http://www.crunchyroll.com/showphotoalbum?id=10061028
The latest events and links to The 404s can be found as well at the main website at http://the404s.com/ as well as their many social media outlets like their Group Page at https://www.facebook.com/the404s and more YouTube videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/the404s
Enjoy! And thanks for reading the convention report!
Here, there, everywhere! Online in random spurts when I can be!