Anime North vs. Fan Expo: Why I attend them both

Hello denizens of the interweb! Once again I apologize for my failure too keep up with my blog. I have just gotten a new job and I have been finishing getting ready for my new program aka filling out hundreds of forms and taking a first aid/CPR course.

Back onto the topic of nerdiness though. Awhile back I received a Tumblr message asking why I attend both Anime North AND Fan Expo. Though I did reply privately to the anon I figured that my reasoning is worthy of a longer blog post.

Long story short the reason I attend both is because they are both VERY different conventions.

Now into the long version.

JUST A WARNING THIS IS ALL MY OWN OPINION, PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL OF THIS!

Anime North was my original cons. I first attended it at the age of 13 back in 2007 when I was still a Grade 10 weeaboo in love with Kingdom Hearts and attempting to sew. Fan Expo, on the other hand, I only began attending last year but even from that one year I can see a huge difference between the two cons.

The first thing I noticed is the difference in how they are run. Anime North is a con by the fans for the fans and that means that everything there is something a FAN would want too see making it more about the fans enjoyment and less about the money. Fan Expo is a convention created by the big corporations making it more about the money and less about the fans. Yes fans will see what they want to see but it will be at a higher cost. Now I am not saying that this is a terrible thing. Out of the two cons, Fan Expo tends to have way better guests and better run panels and that is because they can afford to do so, so even though the ticket prices tend to be higher you do get better run panels and guests (Robert Englund biyatches). Anime North does not have the budget too bring in big names and if you really want to see a certain kind of panel YOU have to sign up and run it yourself.

Secondly, Anime North is a much less mature con. The fans tend to be younger and because of that things tend to get louder and sometimes more annoying. Fan Expo has a much more mature feel despite the huge range in the age of attendees and I think, personally, that is because. The issue in maturity does have negatives and pluses for both sides though. As I said Anime North can sometimes seem more annoying but at the same time it has more of a fun vacation kind of atmosphere. On the other hand, Fan Expo can seem a little stuffy at times with all of the events being catered towards a more serious crowd.

The cosplaying crowd at the cons is also very different. For the most part you tend too see some insanely well made costumes at Fan Expo taht often look like they came straight off of a movie set. They are often not as large as one you can see at Anime North simply because of the venue size. At the same time Fan Expo also has a lot of Halloween costumes and closet cosplays which can be seen as either good or bad. There really is no in between quality at Fan Expo, in my PERSONAL opinion the costumes are either awesome or just plain lazy and bad.

On the other hand, Anime North’s cosplay scene is a perfect mix of the elaborate costumes made by hardcore costumers and the the simpler “I just cosplay for fun” costumes. Due to the con not being held within city limits I think a lot of people just feel more comfortable cosplaying without being judged as hard by the ‘normies’. At the same time though, you DO tend too see a lot more pointlessly slutty costumes and once again I think that goes back to the maturity level of the attendees.

Both cons have amazing dealers room (Fan Expo’s is larger due to the budget they have in getting a larger venue) but the Cosplay contests are very different. There are two cosplay events at Anime North, the masquerade where contestants are judged purely based on their cosplays and the Skit Contest where the judging is based more on the skit itself then the cosplay. Fan Expo has only one cosplay event and that is the masquerade and like the rest of the con this event is serious business. The cospayers who enter the Fan Expo masq are top tier costume makers making the event more like a costume fashion show.

To sum it up in a plus and minus chart:

Fan Expo

+ Insanely high quality cosplays for the most part

+ Merchandise that more closely appeals to my interests

+ Everything is very contained

+/- More mature Crowd

– Cha ching

-Downtown Toronto

– More serious vibe

Anime North

+ All of my friends attend this con (Talia, Tanya, Kail, Jessica etc)

+ I feel more comfortable cosplaying here

+ A lot more ‘fun’ events

+ Outdoor events

– Often uninteresting guests

– Lower quality panels

– More immature

Would I say that one con is better than the other? No I would not because they are both so different. If someone was to ask me which one they should go to I would ask them “Are you looking for a party vibe or a more formal one” because that is frankly what it comes down to. If you want to go to a con to hangout and party with friends go to Anime North but it if you would prefer a more calm affair where you are getting great celebrity appearances and panels I would say Fan Expo.

Of course the two cons also have very different target demographics with Fan Expo appealing to western media fans with a bit of anime and Anime North being more Asian media oriented and that also may affect your choice.

Ultimately I love both cons. Anime North is at the end of the school year and it is a great way to unwind and celebrate being a young nerd while Fan Expo is a calmer affair where I pay big money too get more choices in swag and see great people.

Really it all a matter of opinion.

Easy Convention Outfit Ideas

With Fan Expo fast approaching I have geek fashion on my mind!

I never cosplay to Fan Expo, the reason of which I will be explaining in a later post, so instead I like to put together a really geeky outfit and that is the topic of today’s post: How to put together a great geeky outfit for a convention.

You can, of course, wear whatever you want to a convention but in my humble opinion there is a time and a place for every kind of outfit and a convention is not the place to wear something, for say, work or going to a downtown club.

Whether geeks like to admit it or not we are really actually quite snooty about what other people wear to a convention. We see a girl in a really ‘normal’ outfit and we assume that she was dragged there by her girlfriend. A guy in a club-esque wear or not having a hint of geeky swag on him, he is only here to hit on ‘easy geeky girls’.

Is it fair? No. Is it true? Hell yes.

So to make things a little easier I have created a list of different style of outfits you could put together for going to a convention and all of them require item that you likely already own!

Do’s in a con outfit

Show off your fandom: Comic books, video games, TV shows, whatever you love can be easily shown in a geeky outfit for a con. Pair a great geeky shirt with a great skirt and boom geeky outfit! Just completely wear your fandom on your sleeve with an outfit entirely based around whatever you love!

Superman Outfit

Make an outfit based on your favorite character: Disney bounding has become wickedly popular at Disneyland and is even starting to spill over into everyday life and the basic idea of it can be easily applied to a convention outfit. Consider the basics of the character like how DC’s Penguin wears a lot of black and white and Marvel’s Emma Frost wears all white.Untitled #17

Wear an average outfit with epic makeup: This is actually what I plan on doing for Fan Expo. Basically I am wearing a pinup girl style dress and doing either spider or creepy doll themed makeup. This version of an outfit is really awesome if you do not necessarily own any geeky apparel and would rather wear something you already own. Check out Pinterest or Tumblr for great makeup ideas.

Wear an average outfit with geeky accessories: This one is kind of a combination of the first one and the third. Basically you can wear whatever you want but then add some great geeky accessories like a necklace and earrings or great geeky hair accessories like a bow, hair band or hair clip.

Using geeky accessories helps you fit in by showing off your fandom but also gives you the opportunity to start a conversation! You would be amazed by the amount of friendships made from “Hey I love your Batman necklace”.

Con Outfit Warnings

Think about shoes: Conventions involve a LOT of walking and standing so pay attention

Don’t force your outfit on people: This is especially important for the outfits based on characters. This is not a cosplay, it is just an outfit so do not expect people to treat you like a cosplayer while wearing it.

Be careful with showing too much skin: A lot of cons have dress codes and these codes apply to both cosplayers AND normal congoers. You may be asked to change or cover up if a con staff sees something wrong with your outfit. Is it fair. No not really considering what some people get away with in costume. But will it happen? Very likely.

Pay attention to the weather: Conventions are pretty much always warm. There are a lot of people in a small space and that means things get warm! Consider that when putting together an outfit. For winter cons, layering is always a good idea since it may be cold outside but it will be hot inside!

You don’t have to cosplay at a convention to have fun but dressing in at least a geeky manner will help you feel like

30 Day Challenge: Very first anime you watched

So today is the first official day of my 30 day anime challenge and

Not surprisingly my first anime was …

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I used to watch this show every singly morning growing up! For my, I think it was 8th, birthday party I even had a Sailor Moon cake and all of my presents ended up being Sailor Moon themed.

I had all the dolls, all the wands, the backpack, hell I even had the long hair that I wore in constant pigtails!

Looking back at it, I shouldn’t be shocked that I ended up as a total anime fan. There was just so much I liked about the show at that age. I like the colours, the overly exaggerated emotions, the idea that a total normal girl was actually this superhero-princess-thing.

I was always obsessing over gaining powers just like Sailor Moon and using them to fight off my hated bullies who called me fat and a crybaby. Everything about Sailor Moon was just a nice escape from my world – of course at that point in my life I didn’t even know that Sailor Moon WAS anime or even from Japan!

Instead I learned to cope by writing fanfic … that’s right I was writing fanfic by the time I was 8.

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Anime North 2014 Lineup!

Anime North is officially 5 weeks and 5 days away and I am officially starting to get excited!

Earlier this year I was really considering dropping out of the cosplay and Anime scene due to all of the drama I was seeing (along with my own poor self-image). Oddly enough though over the past two months I have actually met some amazing people DUE to geek drama and I am working on my self-image so I am back in the game!

This year I am bringing my Scholar from the once incredibly popular MMORPG Ragnarok Online AND Maou-sama (aka the Demon King) from Maoyuu Maou Yuusha.
Ribbet collage
I have no idea what the temperature is going to be like (or what material Maou is getting made in since it has not arrived yet) but I am assuming that Maou may get a tad warm.

As for the Scholar, I still have to finish my magic book weapon and choose my wig but that is the great part about cosplaying customizable characters, you can wear any wig you want!

So far I am leaning towards this schedule:

Friday: Maou (though I may go casual for the Western Media photoshoot I am running)
Saturday: Half and Half (when depends on Cosplay chess)
Sunday: Scholar

I am also running the Western Media Photoshoot on Friday which should be epically chaotic as well as planning to take part in Cosplay Chess, though my spot in the Chess is not yet official (bummer).

Political Correctness in Cosplay

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Dude you are not cosplaying … http://2gamerz.com/?webcomic_post=cosplay

Hello my dear readers!

I apologize for not being around much lately, the final semester of school is really crazy! But I am just about done now so that means more posts (plus AN is coming so that means an Anime North blog, likely a two partner)!

Anyway, so onto todays topic. WARNING – THIS IS AN OPINION HEAVY POST BASED ON SOMETHING I PERSONALLY HAVE BEEN NOTICING! ALSO SWEARING!

Political correctness is really on the mind of a lot of people now a days and it is even starting to spill over into the cosplay world.

I am talking about issues such as people refusing to critique ANYTHING or ANYONE out of fear of being considered a jerk.

I do not consider a Hot Topic red and black corset and a black tutu a Harley Quinn cosplay but if I say anything about it, I get accused of being an uppity cosplay bitch who should let people wear what they want.

Now I would never just walk up to a cosplayer and say “Hey your cosplay is so not canon! You suck!” but if someone asks me what I think about a picture or costume, I am going to be honest and that has gotten me and many others in trouble.

When I first started cosplaying back in 2009, people tended to feel the way I felt. Cosplay involved buying or sewing a costume based on an official design or fan art of a character and anything else was ‘Closet cosplay’ or not cosplaying at all.

However the need to be ‘nice all of the time’ has kind of put a stop to that and now you see the effect of it all the time at cons. People buy a blue prom dress and blonde wig and BAM they are an Elsa cosplayer and HAVE to be treated with the same respect as the girl who spent two months creating the full dress.

Put on a Batman shirt and you can go to the DC Photoshoot claiming to be casual Barbara Gordon and HAVE to recieve as much attention as the girl who took forever to find the perfect comic accurate Barbara Gordon outfit.

Are these type of people still fans? Of course! But do they deserve the same costume based admiration as the guy who spent hours on his Doctor Doom mask? No.

And if someone says anything, no matter how politely, they are being a cosplay elitist.

The same goes for girls (I say girls because usually you find girls doing this) who create overly slutty versions of characters. If you say that is nothing like the character you are a fat jealous bitch.

If someone asks for cosplay critique and you say anything but pure praise, you are a bitch.

I get it. People have been asses in the past and we are trying to make up for it by being nice all the time.

There needs to be a limit to the amount of niceness.

Now I am not saying that people need to start forcing criticism on everyone and cruelly pointing out every flaw, but I am saying that people need to relax a little with the jerk accusations.

ONCE AGAIN THIS IS JUST MY OPINION, IF YOU DON’T AGREE THAT’S FINE.

 

Belated Con-G Review

Hello my readers!1974985_582089051878403_1707104324_n

Sorry I have not been blogging much, school has been driving me mad with how busy I am! Ah the joy of trying to survive my graduating year.

Anyway, here is my seriously belated Con-G review!

Background of Con-G

Sunday Feb. 23, marked the final day of the non-profit fan-run convention Con-G, of which the dragon Kon was the mascot. Fans, volunteers and vendors alike climbed back out of the rabbit hole and into the real world after a final weekend filled with as much colour as the wildest parade and the warmth of the closest of family gatherings.

Con-G was initially created to be Japanese comics and cartoons, known as manga and anime, convention but it ended up expanding to include almost all forms of nerd culture.

Along with its genre change, Con-G has also moved three times since its first weekend in Feb. 2009. The first weekend was held at the Ramada Conference Centre in Guelph but it ended up moving three more times since 2009, with its final year taking place at the Delta Guelph Hotel and Conference Center which proved to be a much more solid location for the growing crowd.

My Review

Con-G is a very lazy sort of con for me, meaning I do very little stressing and a lot of simply wandering about. For the final year my mom and dad got my sister and I a hotel room at the Delta for the finale of the event.

Friday was pretty easy-osey and we went and watched the AMV contest thing as well as the opening ceremony, which was pretty dull for lack of a better term.

1780917_582093328544642_1953045628_nWe did some spastic romping about (aka nothing noteworthy) had dinner and then I participated in Geek Speed Dating which was yawn-worthy as hell.

I participate more so to meet new people, not to find a boyfriend but this year I was lucky enough to end up instead with a stalker, yay me.

Memo to my nerdlings: if they act creepy, they are.

I ended up sleeping very poorly that night so on Saturday I actually took a three hour nap during the day. After that I romped some more and then my sister and I went and watched the masquerade aka ‘How Many Frozen Cosplays can Get Into One Event?’

Time for a complaint: My sister and I lined up early to get good seats but instead we ended up in the middle of the seat aisles while people who lined up later got front row! Totally unfair!

Cue a party in the hotel room, aka we watched Just for Laughs and Simpsons, and then Sunday which was very easy-osey and we left by noon.

Final Review

Overall the finale of Con-G was okay. I think this con proved the importance of loving your cosplay to me as I chose to not wear a more elaborate costume and therefore did not enjoy the usual cosplay craziness.

Will I miss the con now that it is gone? Yes. It was a nice wee con that proved to be a good distraction in the cold, con-less months. I will miss having a con like that.

 

 

Geek Speed Dating

Finding love is hard for anyone but finding love when you are a geek? Now that adds a whole new level of awkward.

Trying to date outside the geek circle, aka trying to date a normie, can be hard and often frustration. It can be really hard to explain to someone why you love what you love, especially for nerds who often have hobbies and intrests that could be considered ‘childish’.

I’m not saying dating someone outside the geek circle is impossible, it can just be harder.

A growing trend at cons is the introduction of Geek Speed Dating.

The event first became popular at large American cons like Comic Con but the events were made even more popular after TLC aired the show ‘Geek Love’, which followed the experiences of one nerd per episode as they tried to find love at New York Comic Con. The show helped make Geek Speed Dating a popular event at many cons including Toronto Fan Expo, Anime North and Con-G.

Basically Speed Dating involves people sitting across from one another and engaging in 3 to 8 minute mini dates, which are basically just conversations. Throughout the event both parties write down who they like and if it’s a match you receive the other persons email address!

Most of the times Speed Dating is an 18+ event so you don’t have to worry about flirting with an underage geekling.

Geek Speed Dating is basically the same as any other form of speed dating except for the fact that everyone present are geeks!

But enough about what the event is. Now I am going to give some advice on what to do and not to do at Geek Speed Dating.

  • Dress Appropriately: Now is not the time to break out your t shirt with inappropriate imagery or slogans. Yes it can sometimes be a conversation starter but it may scare some people off or send out the wrong message. I’m not saying you need to wear a tux or an evening gown but look presentable. Make sure you are well groomed and
  • Keep the twins at home: I’m not saying you have to wear a turtleneck but ladies, wearing a low cut v-neck may make some guys nervous or other guys may prove to not really be interested in you for what you have to say when the twins are also on the date. Now is really not the time to break out your sexiest duds. Leave somethings to the imagination. This goes for guys as well. Showing up in a topless cosplay will get you attention but it may not be the attention you want.
  • Don’t tell them your life story: These are very quick dates so the other person really doesn’t need to know that you had a cat named Spot when you were 6. Only share the basics so then the other person has time to talk as well
  • Try not to interrupt: If you interrupt the other person too often, you may make them feel like what they are saying isn’t important or interesting. It’s okay to interrupt occasionally with comments like “Oh I like that too” or “Who is your favorite character” or even to ask questions but don’t interrupt to start your own story.
  • Don’t corner people later: Basically this means do not corner people later at the con to ask who they wrote on their sheet. It comes off as pushy.
  • Don’t question why someone likes what they like: This is just a general nerd rule, but it is especially important during speed dating
  • Be positive: If you go in there thinking its going to be a hopeless failure it will be. Go in with an open mind and know that not everyone will fall head over heels for you.
  • Understand that not everyone will like what you like: If you meet a guy or girl who doesn’t like what you like, don’t get too insulted or completely brush them off. You may have other things in common and you never know, you may convince them to go to the dark side.
  • Decent handshake: Kind of like an interview, a decent handshake is important. No one likes a limp-noodle handshake but no one likes getting their hand crushed either. At the same time, not everyone will offer you a handshake, but don’t take it as an insult.

If you at least try to follow my guidelines your bound to have a good time. You won’t always meet your soul mate but you will meet some great people!

Have fun my geeky darlings!