Anime North 2016 Pre-con Survey

Hey my freaky darlings! With Anime North 2016 only 6 days away (I am counting Friday as a day) it is time to create the annual Anime North Pre-Con Survey!

I ended up combining a few questions due to their similar topics.

What’s your name?

Katrina, this is also the name I place on my badge along with my last name. We pre-registered like usual and also decided to pay the wee fee to get them mailed out and after a mistake on Anime North’s part, ended up with our two badges but a few days a part. Long story short it will be nice to be able to write my badge in something other than the Anime North markers of messy doom.

What do you like to be called?

I usually go by Katrina but I will respond to Kat, Kitty, Technikitty, ‘hey you’ or I will respond to the names of whoever I am cosplaying.

 Where are you staying?

This will be my sixth year staying at the International by Hilton Hotel. Extra note, I absolutely LOVE the new owners of the hotel they are a thousand times more organized than those who ran the Doubletree and haven’t lost our reservation once!

 What day are you getting there?

It is my family tradition to leave home around 12:30 on Friday hit up a Timmies to get travel nom (sadly my potential noms for this year have been greatly diminished due me developing a Milk sensitivity), this year I am thinking a Strawberry Shortcake donut and a drink of sorts (I might pre-purchase a soy drink to bring with me).

Then we go barrelling down the 401 blaring the Pokemon Theme (Original and Johto) as well as ‘Everything is Awesome’, various Disney songs, and the ending song from ‘Wreck-it-Ralph’.

Usually we get caught in traffic but we are cheery folk who tend to take life from a half-full standpoint and enjoy the time we get to spend with each other chatting pre-con.

How long are you staying?

We tend to stay from around 1:30 on Friday to about 2 PM on Sunday. Usually by Sunday we are tired and ready for a non-hotel shower and a rest. Plus by Sunday we have done all of our shopping

Fun fact a lot of people say that the best deals are on Sunday but I tend to get deals all weekend by being sweet and having a large chest (I once got a Living Dead Doll originally set at $50 for $30 just because the vendor liked my smile).

Will you be cosplaying? What days? As whom?

To be honest I very rarely stick with a set plan for what day I wear my cosplays. For me my plans are usually based on the temperature of the day as well as when certain photoshoots are being held. This year I am not doing Cosplay Chess due to Anime North not organizing it in a timely enough manner so my only main event will be the Pokemon Photoshoot on both Friday and Saturday. I may see if my sister wants to go to the Smash Brothers shoot but we’ll see.Ribbet collage

This year I will likely be wearing my 50’s Jigglypuff Gijinka on Friday because I need to keep it ironed and putting the dress in my suitcase would kill it!

Saturday Morning I am leaning towards wearing my Star Wars Zabrak OC and then I will change just after lunch back to Jigglypuff for the Pokemon Photoshoot I am hosting.

Both nights I will likely change into Super Sonico as it is really more of a cooler temperature cosplay.

Sunday I have really not decided on yet so I will just go with whatever I feel like. Maybe I will wear a variant Sonico as I am bringing another dress I could wear for her.

Who will you hang out with at the con?

I always go to conventions with my sister though we may end up running into one (or two) of my sister’s friends or even my girl Hatter.

Fun fact, I refer to all of my friends as Batman villains to my sister to help her keep track of who I am talking about. Hatter is my fellow nerd friend who loves hats and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and I know she is going to AN this year so I may run into her at some point.

Extra fun fact my code name is Scarecrow.

Are you attending any panels?

Anime North has some pretty interesting Panels organized for this year. You have everything from the classic ‘let’s talk about our favorite series’ to neat new ideas such as ‘Anime vs. Science’. Last year a lot of people were very annoyed due to a large number of non-anime panels but this year their whining was ignored and we got panels for series like ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Orange is the New Black’. They also created a lot of lifestyle based panels such as ‘Otaku Health Goals’ and ‘Japan on a Budget’, so there really should be something for everyone this year.

So far we are leaning towards checking out ‘Unpopular Opinions’ at 11PM in the Plaza Ballroom because frankly I LOVE drama and ‘Most Embarrassing Behaviour: Lolita Pose Off’ at 9PM on Saturday.

Staying in the International is pretty great for attending panels as you can just grab the elevator downstairs, catch your panel, and schlub back to your room. The only ones the International does not host are the gaming ones and the Yaoi ones (but we all know how much I LOVE the Yaoi fandom).

Are you attending/participating in any public performances? (i.e Masquerade)?

As I stated, my sister and I have participated in Cosplay Chess on and off since 2009 but this year we will not be participating as. For those of you who have no idea

Will you be attending any raves / Will you be partying at the con / Do you drink at cons?

I chose to put these three questions together as I feel that they are all very similar in topic: Con partying!

Anime North raves are pretty infamous for being quite tame in comparison to a lot of other conventions and many even say that that was the reason Atomic Lollipop, aka the party con, was created. However, for me Raves are still a place of drunken annoyingness and a draw for the younger more immature crowd of AN. So that is a big N-O good buddy.

Life is just a big party for someone who lives life with a positive attitude but I will not be participating in any ‘classic’ style partying – though one year I did get invited to a party by a hyper Jiraiya who barged into my unlocked hotel room my very first year at AN and was scared off my con mates Mom who was quick to point out that we were underage before he was dragged off by his girlfriend who was cosplaying Tsunade. True story.

As for drinking … I don’t drink so that is a big no. I can’t even be a milkaholic this year due to my new milk sensitivity.

Can I talk to you/ Are you nice?

No you may not talk to me you dirty peasants! Can’t you see I am a big mean tsundere! In all seriousness of course you can, my sister and I are both very social people who love chatting with other nerdlings about various topics. Plus in all seriousness I am more of the dojikko or deredere type … the guys in my Anime Club referred to me as their ‘moe girl’.

As for ‘am I nice’ I have been told that I am quite a lovely person

How can I find you?

You won’t. I will find YOU! In all seriousness though there really is no way to actually find me at a con. I don’t constantly tweet or facebook my position since I do have a few stalkers I would prefer to avoid.

Can I buy you drinks/ Can I give you stuff/ Can I snuggle with you?

To be brutally honest I would prefer if you kept your money for yourself! But if you have cosplayer or blog cards you would like to give me I would be happy to take one!

As for hugs as long as you ask I am all for a hug for the most part but if you have bodypaint on I will likely refuse to protect my cosplays. No offense meant of course. The same goes for photos, as long as you ask I will be happy to pose either with or for you.

What/where will you be eating /Can I come with you for food/fun/etc?

Hmm well breakfast we always bring with us, though sometimes we do grab something from Starbucks. My sister and I always save a good chunk of money for AN so that we can not only buy stuff but food as well so we do tend to eat out most of the weekend.

As for ‘can you join us’ as long as my sister is okay with it that should be just fine. As little girls we were both excluded a lot from things or ended up as ‘third wheels’ to groups so we do tend to be very careful to ensure that when we add a third person that neither of us get left out of the conversation.

What are you looking to buy?Ribbet collage3

To be honest I really don’t have much of a set wish list for this year. Usually I do but this year I only have two things that I absolutely want to get and both are ironically of the same character! I want to pick up the new Joker Nendoroid and an Arkham-verse Joker funko. Other than that I know I want to visit my favorite store ‘The Littlest Gift Boutique’ and see what I can see there (the cat loafs are pretty damn cute).

What’s your goal(s) for the con this year?

Have fun of course! Maybe meet some new people but otherwise I just want to have a good time with my sister.

Are you ready for Anime North?

I would say that I am 70% ready for Anime North. I still need to finish my Jigglypuff ears, brush my Sonico wig out and get my dress shortened. But as I am a jobless loser at this point I have time to do these things so I am not stressed.

I am however stressed about my Jigglypuff wig as it ISN’T IN YET! I had purchased one wig online but when it arrived it was too short for me (aka my hair shows) so I had to order a new one and it was set to arrive the 24th at the latest. Yay for cutting it close.

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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.

Finally Fixed WordPress!

Hello my geeky darlings!

I am so sorry that I have been gone so long but WordPress has been being a total butt and absolutely refused to let me post anything I wrote.

It finally appears as though I finally fixed it however, though to be honest I really have no idea HOW I did so.

Ah well, never look a gift horse in the mouth my ducks!

Anyway, coming up in my blogverse is the continuation of the Anime challenge, why I do not cosplay to Fan Expo, Fan Expo vs. Anime North, and what to wear to a con when you don’t cosplay!

VoWeOMR

Anime North 2014

10358738_627666140654027_9118590229713997548_nSo two weeks ago I was at my 8th Anime North, the 4th largest anime convention in North America, as a cosplayer but mainly as an uncostumed patron due to the heat of the weekend. This year had proven shockingly stressful to prepare for due to low self-image impacting cosplay, an unexpected new roommate (who proved to be a real doll and has been invited for next year), and a lost hotel room (which was solved due to the awesomeness of my fellow congoers). I could write a truly massive post and talk about every little thing but I’d rather just hit the highlights and show some great photos!

Friday

My truly fabulous mother drove us to the con just after 12:30 but before we left I had to deal with an almost panic attack induced by the fact that my Mao cosplay was actually poorly fit and needs a few adjustments before it can be fully debuted at a con. Ultimately the costume was left behind, making way for my Scholar cosplay to be my lead cosplay.

Upon arriving at the con we chose to sign into the hotel, the International Plaza, first so then my Mom could head back home and not hit as much traffic. It took us an hour and a half to get all signed in but I think that was heavily impacted by the fact that the front desk did not open till 3!

After signing in, and me changing into a casual Batgirl inspired outfit we headed to get our badges. I was expecting it to take ages to get them but instead it only took around 10 minutes, maybe less.

At 6 I officially began the Western Comics and Movie Photoshoot, which was pretty popular, though not nearly as popular as many of the anime shoots (no shocker there). It ran incredibly smoothly except for a few overly excited preteens in closet cosplays breaking into the photos and screaming constantly, but that comes with the territory.
After the shoot we finally headed to the photoshoot where I came away with a Horror grab bag (my regretted purchase) and a new Arda Wig that I brought purely for its beauty ♥‿♥

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My favorite cosplay all weekend! Gangrel from Fire Emblem: Awakening. Sadly I have no idea who he is …

Saturday

Saturday was cosplay chess day! Which is insanely fun if you have never done it before. Both my sister and I signed up for the 10 a.m. Magic vs. Science game with my sister as Chiaki Nanami on the Science side and me on the magic side as a scholar, both as pawns. It was a LOT of fun but it felt like it took forever and ultimately my side, magic, all chose to sit down and relax till we were moved due to how long the chess players took. Much to everyones shock, it ended up as a tie.

After the game, my sister and I popped into the dealers room where I came away with an adorable Harley Quinn tank dress which I changed into upon returning to the hotel. It was incredibly hot Saturday with no breeze, so I really only ended up wearing my Scholar dress for cosplay chess and the new Harley dress most of the weekend. I was shocked though, I still ended up getting photos taken! I am guessing because of my big boobs …

The rest of the day was easy-osey, my sister went to the Dangan Ronpa shoot while our roommate and I sat in the shade, we headed back to the dealers room and I purchased the first omnibus edition of Empowered, a rather naughty western comic by Adam Warren. I took a break in the hotel and then we had dinner at the hotels Japanese restaurant.

Sunday

This is always a short day since we do have to get home and back to the real world, my Mom came to pick up our luggage at 11 AM and then my sister and I did one final sweep of the dealers room where I got the second Empowered omnibus.

After that we hung around till my Mom came back to get us. Then cue, post con sadness and planning for next year … I also ended up getting our hotel room as soon as I got home due to our hotel already opening up booking!

All in all it was another great year, though I did not get to cosplay as much as I would have liked due to the heat. It was totally my fault though, I need to learn to always consider the temperature of the month when choosing my cosplays.

Next up in the con world, Fan Expo 2014 where I will be cosplaying Hipster Harley Quinn.

How to Run a Photoshoot

Last year at Anime North the convention decided to offer an incredible incentive to ensure that the days would be packed full of awesome photoshoots.

What did they do?

They decided to hand out the con badges to people running photoshoots in the DoubleTree Hotel rather than make them wait in line and man did that seem to help encourage people to try and run a shoot of their own!

Running a photoshoot is a LOT of work though (I have run two personally with another coming up in Anime North 2014) so to help anyone who is considering running a shoot at any convention.

Choose a good location: Anime North is great for putting up a map that shows all of the possible locations so make sure that you take a good look at it before you choose a spot. If you know your photoshoot is going to be large (such as the yearly One Piece shoot) try to grab a larger area to ensure for optimum photo room.

Also consider:

  • Certain areas may have trees or poles and they could be great ‘props’ for certain series shoots (always ask before you start climbing though)
  • If you are interested in an indoor shoot make sure it is not going to be in the way

Bring a megaphone: This is especially important if you have a large group or if you have a naturally quiet voice. Trying to control a group of rowdy cosplayers and photogs can be quite difficult so having a megaphone to cut through the noise really helps.

When I ran the Western Comics and Movies photoshoot last year I made the mistake of not bringing one and man did my throat hurt afterwards!

Make sure the time works with everyone: Well maybe not everyone as it really is hard to keep everyone happy. But make sure to choose a time that does not coincide with a big events like the masquerade or with panels that your cosplayers may be interested in.

You should also remember the lighting conditions based on the time and style of cosplays. Silent Hill cosplays will not look as good at high noon as say a Naruto photoshoot.

Ask for help: Whether it be from a friend or a volunteer at the shoot, it is always nice to have multiple people running a photoshoot to help keep things running smoothly.

Plan out your poses: This can be done online via a con specific board or facebook group. Planning your poses can really help keep the shoot running smoothly and allow for everyone to share their ideas.

Popular poses include

  • Villians
  • Heroes
  • Famous character specific poses
  • Heroes versus villian
  • All girl
  • All guy
  • Rivals

Set Ground Rules (as suggested by Megan Notman on Facebook): If you have certain things you really don’t want to see during the photoshoot make sure people know right away. This can be anything from telling photographers what shots they can’t ask for to telling cosplayers no outright PDA.

A few random notes

  • Try to keep PDA to a minimum, doing public yaoi, yuri or even boy/girl is a quick way to get you in trouble
  • Let everyone have input in the pairings – not everyone likes just one pairing
  • Yell spoiler alert before taking plot specific shots such as character deaths
  • Cater, to an extent, to the photographers
  • Don’t let people bully each other out of shots
  • Time each pose so nobody’s legs or arms fall off (I find a 30sec max is good)
  • If you know that the shoot is going to be big, consider having two

Hope this helps!