Convention Report/Rundown
Anime North 2000 was held June 16-18 in Toronto, Canada
Report written June 25, 2000 by "Doc_Ido" of FBND

So why was Anime North 2000 dubbed " Donut-con" anyway?  Well, we'll get to that later.  Pardon my long windedness, I'm still new to this and I have no idea how to shut up..  <wry grin> 


The trip to the con was relatively uneventful, right up to when we got to the hotel..  Wait a minute.. Is this the right hotel?  The parking lot's empty!  There aren't any rabid fanboys outside the hotel smoking.  No cosplayers at 5 in the afternoon?  What's going on here? 

We could tell two things immediately..  The con wasn't nearly as big as it seemed from the advertising..  and things would definitely be different from what we Americans were used to.. 

Registration lines.. None.  Now, since this was a relatively small con, I'm going to stay relatively nice about my critiquing.  Badges were functional, albiet simple photocopies, and so were the program books.  Staff were nice and friendly, but even at 5pm, there didn't seem to be much of the hustle and bustle that one would associate with a con.  No cosplayers in sight. 

The hotel itself was strictly average.  Two major mistakes after my check-in and a nice adventure trying to find the ELEVATOR to our room, my group parked our bags in a nice upgraded room with a king sized bed and a couch.  Comparing the original room we would have had, well, suffice it to say I feel sorry for the other congoers.  There were also some ugly rumors of overbooking. 

Park the bags, run to opening ceremonies with my camera gear and my friends in tow, only to find they're 20 minutes behind sehedule.  No big deal, we'll hit the dealer's room, that'll occupy our time for a little while, right? 

Again, I admit I've been spoiled on the Northeast cons.  However, I have to say that this was pretty much the smallest dealers room I have EVER seen or heard of.  Its also one of the few times I managed to hit a con and find just about nothing to buy.   (Of course, I kept mistakenly thinking the prices were too high, since I forgot I was in CANADA...)  Others were disappointed in the total lack of actual Japanese CD's, everything was SM or Ever Anime (Taiwanese) brands.  There were even what we suspect were Hong Kong DVD's of Anime at one table. 

After taking the 5 minutes necessary to see the entire dealer's room, we decided to visit the opening ceremonies.  Again, relatively small con, so there wasn't too much done during the ceremonies.  About the only thing of note was the fact that ANorth was hosting G-North, a tribute to Japanese Monster Movies.  (nice little touch there.) 

I hate to say it, but it was pretty much uneventful and almost a letdown.  However, things picked up when we saw Steve Bennett and crew show up in the lobby around 7PM.  "Steve!  You've arrived!  NOW we've got a con!" 

I and the other's visited the Hentai Panel and warmed up the crowd while we waited for the brave soul hosting it to show up.  (HEY!  Nothing more than casual banter, you sickos..)  Unfortunately, we prompted a healthy amount of laughter, and the exodus of 5 or 6 people when one of us spouted the phrase, "Now everyone get in a circle and.." 

Ran to the Music Video Contest.  It was interesting to note that there were just as many Exhibition videos as there were actual contest winners.  Contest winners were also preselected.. I'm not sure how I feel about this, it took away most of the suspense.  The actual quality of the contest was okay, there weren't too many bad videos, and a good number of decent ones. 

On a small note, my friends noted something I didn't, the crowds started cheering my exhibition videos when the FBND logo came up, even before the titles of the songs came into view.  I don't know whether or not this is true, but the audience reaction was, of course, a nice bit of ego pandering.  ;)  Name Recognition! 

After the contest, there wasn't much else to do, other than putter around in the room playing some games.  One of us crashed, the other two wandered down to the lobby in search for people to chat with.  We found Steve Bennett of Ironcat, Ben Dunn from Antarctic, some staffers and a few table people from Anime Pavilion, so we quickly parked and joined their little chat group.  This occupied the remainder of Friday night, and I eventually staggered off to bed to catch a few hours of sleep before Saturday's festivities, a vague since of worry about whether there WOULD be any festivities.. 


<Yawn>  <blink blink>  OMG, its already 11??!  Augh!  Precious con time is going by!  With these words, I ran around the room like a headless chicken getting showered, dressed, and prepped for the day. 

Okay, maybe not.  Lets be honest, I pretty much had do drag myself out of the sofa-bed and into the bathroom. That's okay tho, I'm strong, I can make it.. 

We headed out to the lobby to see if anything interesting was going on.  Lo and behold..  COSPLAYERS!  Crowds!  Overnight a con had snuck up on us and appeared in our midsts.  There was a genuine spirit in the air that made us alot happier to be there, and we drunk it in deep.  <smile> 

Hung out with Steve at the Ironcat table for a little while, one of our merry band got sketched and convinced to consider a costume as the Ironcat Mascot.   Got shots of cosplayers, and in general it was a good afternoon.  Hit and saw the Card Captor Sakura movie.  I'd never seen CCS, but the movie was a nice introduction and alot of fun. 

I then headed out to the Music Video Panel. Meeting Tim Park of Doki Doki Productions was a nice little bit, but otherwise, I really couldn't find much to say about this panel other than...  Has anyone ever heard of PLANNING??! 

Now, if you're sensitive to flaming, please don't read the next few paragrahs..  The MV panel was a severe disappointment.  I've seen panels run by the seat of the pants, but this panel's plan was just to "show videos - and see if anyone wants to talk about it."  There was almost no panel when there were only two videos initially brought!  Not to mention, the "panelist" did almost nothing to encourage discussion initially.  Now, I admit, as a staffer of a con I know how easy it is to let something ride, but if there's going to be a panel or workshop, we should put some effort into it, or ask others to run the panel for you.. 

In fact, that's practically what happened. I normally would NEVER do this, but I felt the need to ask and encourage discussion myself among the crowd after showing my videos.  With the help of Tim, we flew by the seat of our pants and encouraged people to talk and ask questions, and hopefully we got a few points across to the MANY newbies at the workshop who wanted to try making a new video.  I could continue flaming the workshop more, but I'll just leave it at, "PLEASE, next time, either plan an actual agenda, or give it to people who can.." 

That aside, back to the con. ;)  I ran over to the Pinata bashing as quickly as possible to get that on film.  <WHAM!> And Jifflypuff takes a nasty blow to the.. Um..Well, I can't give a blow by blow because the darned thing is a GLOBE!!!  However, if you check out the photo coverage you'll see a gallery dedicated to the event.  What stunned me was the sheer voraciousness of the rat... I mean the people who went after Jigglypuff after it went down.  I felt like I was filming one of those wilderness documentaries, and I was witnessing a school of piranha hitting a cow.  Oh, the humanity!  How gruesome!... 


Anyway, we ran off to Toronto to get some dinner in Chinatown, and totally missed Cosplay.  <oops> 

After a good meal and a trip punctuated by lots of honking from cars on an ethnic parade, we had a realization.  (Warning, gross generalization coming.. 


Just like we have bagels here in the states, Canadians have donuts.  Ever corner there was a donut store of some sort, or a big sign proclaiming "DONUTS!".  Well, following along, we decided that we had to buy two dozen donuts and distribute them at the convetnion.  Stopping by a Tim Hortons (Home of the "Sandwich and a Donut" special meal) - we picked up two dozen, admittedly VERY good donuts, and headed back to the hotel. 

Spent some time helping a staffer set up some lights for the photo shoot that was scheduled to take place outside in the courtyard.  This in theory would have went well, and did in fact move along nicely for all of three groups, rigit up to the point that the fuse blew..  What followed was about fifteen minutes of comical stumbling, fumbling and groping in the dark until we were finally told to just go back inside.  YES!  Sardine packing while we try to all shoot photos!  This works!.. 

Thankfully, they got the wires plugged into another outlet soon enough, and we shot the remaining groups as quickly as possible.  (A good half of the cosplayers had already left at this time tho.) 

What follws was the Dance, and I have to say it. For a small con, this dance put alot of large con's dances to shame.  The floor was PACKED!  People were not shy about hitting the dance floor and making the floor shake.  There was excellent sound, good light systems, and an enthuiasm that made up for the smallness of the overall con. 

The ratio was also good of slow to fast music, as well as the male/female ratio.  Of particular note was the fact that the dance floor stayed packed even when the slow music came on, probably due to the iron grips the females displayed when their chosen partners tried to leave the floor. ;) 

Another note : The crowd on the dance floor was consistent throughout the dance night - there was no thinning out. 

I feel sorry for anyone who I bumped into while filming steadicam footage, but, as a bonus, anyone who stared or hammed it up for the camera got their photos put in the gallery.  I'm thinking about doing dance floor coverage for any con that actually has a crowded dance floor.  So if you see a big asian guy with a video camera or a small camera taking photos, dance it up for him!  (My dance partner *IS* my camera after all.) 

After generating a good sweat running around the dance floor and dodging dancers as I wove between the crowds, we dropped off equipment, and promptly grabbed a box of donuts to distribute..  Heard through the hallways as we skipped through the hotel... 

Sung to the tune of "Barbie Girl" by Aqua 
I'm the Donut Man, 
In the Donut stand, 
I'll give you donuts, 
with extra glazing, 
You can eat them whole, 
Or ask for just the holes, 
Just ask me nicely, 
I'll give you icing... 

No, I'm not on crack. 

After spreading our pastry goodness throughout the hotel, we camped out with Steve again for a while.  The rest of my group eventually staggered off to bed, and I tagged along with Steve to a room filled with artists from artists alley.  We all feasted on some fine art on the television, including some early 90's junk cinema, and cable soft porn.  (Don't ask me, I didn't have the remote.) 

Sleep called, so I crashed.  Thus Saturday came to a sudden, adrupt end. 


<Ugh>  <YAWN> .What?  Its 11?  Oh well, so much for catching that last little bit of anime..  Then again, who goes to anime conventions for anime these days? ;) 

Roll out of bed.  Pack.  Pack quickly.  Unfortunately, we have to make a quick exit today, so once we're checked out and the car packed, I grab my camera and run off to see if we can find Steve, buy some last minute manga and say our goodbyes.. 

Alas, after ten minutes of searching, it was not to be so.  I can't really comment on Sunday, but I did notice very few costumes.  Took some photos, did a quick rush of the dealer's room, and with that, we made a quiet exit from Anime North 2000. 


So, if you asked me to summarize the con, how would I do it? 
Well, to make a long story short.. (too late!) 

Canadians love donuts. 

"Its all good." - Steve Bennett 

Small con, definitely different from the American Northeast cons I'm used to.  They definitely do some things differently, and they're also fine with running a nice small con, so my hats off to that. 

The small con feel was nice, but I admit I'd probably have enjoyed it more if there was a little more population late night.  The congoers seemed to feel like there had to be organized events before they could congregate and hang out. 

Staff needed to be a little bit more organized in terms of panels and planning for emergencies.  Then again, most cons need that, so there isn't much one can do about it. 

For a small con, when the cosplayers actually came out of the woodwork, there were some very good costumes.  There's alot of potential in that regard. 

The dance was the highlight of the con, well produced, well deejay'ed, and well populated.  I probably enjoyed covering this event the most out of the con, since people's enjoyment of the dance was evident every step of the way. 

On a parting note, I think its always interesting to see how different crowds and regions handle different cons.  You never can tell what will tickle someone's fancy at the cons.  Even if there is such a thing as "a generic fan" that attends cons, with every con and every region, I'm finding a refreshing diversity in the crowds and people. 

Enjoy the rest of the year, and see you at the next con!  If you see me, don't be afraid to come up to me and chat with me and the camera!  And remeber..  I'm the Donut Man! 

Thats it.. You can go home now.  Or go see the photos. :) 

Small things hung for fun and profit!

Utena Salutes

Holding up a prized sketch.

Other Congoers snapping pics.

Other Congoers snapping pics.

Shiny Costumes in the light.

Herds of Cosplayers at nighttime.

People liked the size of the costumes.  Go figure.

mmm, bright light of the dance floor!

I've got my eye on you, donut-man..

Gojira was a popular costume.

Mysterious information left on boards...

One of the last cosplayers caught on Sunday.

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