Toronto Doll Meet 16.5: Anime North

I have to admit, I’m pretty disappointed with the photos I have from Anime North. Being as hot it was I didn’t have much energy to take photos outside, and Doll North ended up being the only place I went with decent air conditioning and things to photograph. And even still, as I write this post I notice I didn’t get some photos I thought I had!

This year marked the first time in about a decade that I attended an anime convention. I’d been to Fan Expo and Anime North in the past, once or twice as a normal visitor and once as a volunteer at Anime North working “Special Ops” as the badge read. But I guess I never really got it, and still I don’t think I really get the hype people give conventions. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy myself and that I wont be going next year, I probably will go, it’s just it didn’t seem I really did anything other than hangout with friends. Just in a different setting, a setting that cost money just to attend.

A lot of it just stems from the fact I don’t want to sit in a room full of strangers watching an anime I’ve already seen. Or in a panel that’s basically for beginners in a hobby I’m already a part of and have been for decades. I don’t know if there’s a way to fix that for me or what, but that aspect of the convention doesn’t really appeal to me. Adding to that, the dealers room was a shit show, lots of stuff for sale, and (almost) all of it could be had cheaper somewhere else, even if you include the shipping and duty.

I almost bought a figure there but the dealer wouldn’t budge on the price at all, like, didn’t even accept haggling as an option. I’d looked online for prices for that same figure, found some, added a nominal shipping charge and duty to that price (I almost never get charged duty), then rounded up, and their price was still higher and they made no effort to try and meet in between the two. I did manage to buy a couple things at Anime North though, two of which were cheaper there than online even ignoring shipping etc… And the other item probably was over priced but at least they haggled. Actually Googling it right now, I paid less than “retail” but more than what it actually goes for on Amazon, I’m ok with this.

The biggest change for Anime North for me between a decade ago and now was the cosplay. Yes there always was some, and there was always good cosplays, but now, the number of great cosplays is so high, there were just so many. I’m not sure if it’s just that the number of people who attend the convention increased, the materials are easier or more advanced than they were in the past, or if the Internet as a resource has grown so much that people are able to leapfrog learning the basics, or if I’m better able to appreciate the effort and dedication that goes into cosplay now, or all of the above I guess. But that part stood out to me the most, lots of good cosplays, lots of attractive cosplayers too. Also some creative activities to combine with characters and stories, like a Sword Art Online gymnastics performance.

One of the most random and coolest things that happened… I went to the washroom and when I came out someone dressed like Kylo Ren as Matt the radar technician from the SNL skit handed me this and said “Hey! I ran into Kylo in the bathroom he told me to give you this.” I wish I was more aware at the time it happened, it was so unexpected I didn’t get it quickly enough. But it was amazing all the same. I hope they come across this post and think “Hey, that’s me! I did that!” and know that I eventually got it and appreciated the humour.

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Doll North

This is where I took the majority (all?) of my photos at Anime North, Doll North. Held in the basement of the Sheridan Crown Plaza hotel just west of the main convention hall, it was air conditioned, it wasn’t tremendously busy, and it was just a nice place to hangout and take some photos.

The first group of photos here is a ramen shop made by some friends, I don’t think I’ve mentioned it on Tailgrab, but I’ve mentioned it elsewhere because it’s amazingly well done. It was one of the things I wanted to see most at the convention. The convention commissioned it from them and so the convention owns it, so I’ve never been able to see it in person. Photos don’t do it justice, so much work went into this set, I wish I had the space for stuff like this. And the money to buy it. More photos can be found on their blog.

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This bedroom set is another one of their works. This particular one actually went up for sale, more photos can be found on their Facebook page and you can contact them through it as well if you’re interested.

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Doll North also had some backdrops and lights setup for photos. I’ve never really used anything like this so I’m not super familiar how best to use them. I’m not entirely happy with my results, it’s difficult to make the doll fit in with the backdrop. Between shadows showing up that “shouldn’t” be there and the lighting provided not matching the tones in the backdrops, it was quite difficult.

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A keen observer might notice that there’s some weird coloration next to Sakura in the photo of her below. I used various tools in lightroom to brighten the shadow and try and colour match it with the rest of the backdrop. I only bothered to do it on this one photo because I wanted it to be good enough to send di_chan who made both Sakura’s outfits. I think they looked super awesome and I wanted the photo to match as best I could.

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Two of the things I purchased at Anime North were these Worms & Bones creatures. The grey Antlered Snek and the orange Tea Monster are mine. Many of the TADDMUG group bought and has bought some of these creatures. You might remember seeing Tallen’s Chester wrapped around Alice many times in the past. So when the opportunity to buy some of my own arose, I had to. And I couldn’t buy just one. One day we’ll have to get the whole collection of everyone’s Worms & Bones creatures together for a photo op, but until then here’s four of them as arranged by Agent Panda.

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I’ve decided to name them Einstein and Kopernikus. The grey guy’s fluff being all messed up around his head quite frequently just made me think “Einstein” and so I went with a theme and named the orange guy Kopernikus (German spelling of Copernicus). I’d compiled a whole list of names, asked for input from others, but in the end I went with the name that came to my head first a couple days later. It was literally the first thought in my head that day when I woke up, just the name by itself. Kopernikus. Seemed as fitting a way to name him as Einstein’s name came to my head just as whimsically. I like that the name sounds bigger than he is as well, that was a thought I’d had when trying to choose from the list of names I’d made. Archimedes was another one on the list I liked, but a friend reminded me that was the name of the owl in Sword in the Stone and that’s all I could think about afterwards.

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The other thing I bought at Anime North was this fox puppet. I was quickly wandering through on the last day and stopped to check this guy out. While I did, the group of friends I was with disappeared but no matter, I’d find them later. Probably. I picked up the puppet fox and looked at it real quick, then asked them what the price was, whatever it was he said I wasn’t interested in that price, so I put him back down and went to leave their booth. Quickly the guy offered a nice round number I happened to have in bills so I thought to myself, yeah, that’s still too expensive but why not. So I got him. I bought three fluffy tails at Anme North, a fox, and two fluffy tails with heads. Not a big haul, bit a very fitting haul.

All the fluffy things love Alice, including Horo.

-Aka

Comments

  1. starobots says:

    Minor correction: Doll North is held in The Crowne Plaza, not the Sheridan. 😀

    It’s too bad you didn’t get many photos! Lighting so many sets is hard, especially when one of the lights breaks on day one, lol.

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I like the SAO gymnastic video as am a great fan of sao and Asuna, but why did she throw her Hair away :-/
    Too bad you couldn`t make more photos/videos… Anyways thanks again for this.

    • Aka says:

      I suspect she was actually trying to hold it on, but the spinning was making it difficult. Then it started to come off and she couldn’t fix it so she threw it aside rather than let it hinder the performance.