Thursday, May 30, 2013

Anime North 2013: Day 2

I arrived at the Double Tree in the afternoon and started to take shots while on my way to find friends.

When I met up with my friends, we started to play Guess Who? Anime. We had a few rounds of guessing before being asked to move by staff. A line up for an event needed the space.
The rounds of Guess Who? Anime were great test runs. I may have to make more considerations on what characters to include in the game.

I later walked around the entrance to the Toronto Congress Centre to find other friends.

It was very crowded on Saturdays, but then again, what pop culture convention isn't the busiest on a Saturday?

Now for a personal announcement: I do not plan to go to an anime related convention again until I find a job that will lead me to a career path. The next time I am at a pop culture convention will be when I have full-time work and after I have conducted enough research and materials to set-up tables at conventions to rally information on waste management in the realm of anime, comics, and gaming. Yes, I put manga in the same category as comics. :) For the next year, my time will be spent on side projects and jobs. I am still going to post on this blog and if I happen to be in the area of and during a convention, I will take pictures.

Thank you!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Anime North 2013: Day 1

Hello hello.

Friday at Anime North was chilly, but somehow, I still got a tan. The weather was beautiful!

This year, I asked people if they could/may do the yotsuba&! poses:

I brought along a print out of the image and showed people the poses. Here are the results:
(my apologies for the bad or awkward camera angles)

While walking around, I noticed some giant blue bins placed around the Toronto Congress Centre. Glad to see that they upgraded the waste management by two to four bins. Anime North needs more than that though: its waste management needs more bins in more places and with the different types of bins. My hopes of Anime North conventioneers placing their waste in the proper bin is extremely low, but I'd give them a chance to learn.

There was a Captain Jack Sparrow cosplayer chatting with an Assassins Creed cosplayer. It looked like they were having fun roleplaying.

I recognize one, but not the other. (Feel free to identify the cosplay.) A female Deadpool jumped behind the other cosplayer while people were taking pictures of her.

Him was claimed a corner and kept it for a good while. Haven't seen Him cosplay before.

On my way home, I saw this ad on the subway platform:

I wonder what my trip to and at Anime North tomorrow has in stall for me. I know what I have in stall for Anime North. Hint: it's a 2 player board game and you better guess right.

To access the photo album for larger versions of the photos in this post, click on the following:
Anime North 2013

Monday, May 20, 2013

Southern Ontario Earthquake

It's not THAT big of a deal compared to other places, but in Toronto, a magnitude beyond 2 or 3 is a big deal.

I didn't even feel the 4.1 aftershock last Friday. I was sleeping in that morning.

I wonder how people in Ottawa and Québec felt when they had the 5.2 magnitude.

With all these changes to landscapes, chemicals found in the environment, and climate change, my forecast: expect more earthquakes in the future, Toronto.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Why go to an Anime Convention?

I usually check what search words people use before accessing my blog; some words or phrases are surprising, but they essentially show what information people are looking for. Recently, there have been search words related to the question: is an anime convention worth going to? Since I am always in the same situation where I ask that question, I decided to make a post about why go to an anime convention for new and veteran anime convention goers.

Please note that this post shares some personal opinions and perspectives about anime conventions.

All anime conventions have similar factors to them. Friends, contests, special guests, and the dealers' room are examples of these factors. Compiled in the diagram below are the 13 factors to an anime convention and the last factor of "other special events."

If I've missed anything, please share.

1. Fashion
Fashion plays a hidden role in the atmosphere of a convention. Whether you're wearing a laid back fan look with a simple T-shirt and jeans or a Japanese inspired Akihabara outfit, the mix of what people wear to an anime convention makes the event feel more like a pop culture event. Some conventions like Anime North have sub-events that take the fashion portion of an anime convention up a notch with clothing swaps and panels.

2. Cosplay
A major feature to all anime conventions is cosplay. It is short for costume play, where people dress up as [usually] their favourite characters and have fun. There are cosplayers who like to make their own costumes and accessories and cosplyers who like to buy their cosplays. Some like to cosplay solo, others in a group. Sometimes a themed photoshoot is scheduled during a convention. A themed photoshoot is where a group of cosplayers and photographers take pictures together and hang out. Photoshoot themes are usually that of an anime, manga, or game. Whether you're a cosplayer or a spectator here to take photos, cosplay is always something to look forward to at an anime convention.

3. Reporting
Bloggers, vloggers, photographers, and journalists are a few examples of people who may have "reporting" under their to-do list at and after an anime convention. There are the passive type and the aggressive type (maybe more, but I'll leave it at that). The passive type tends to write, and take pictures and videos with or without people's permission without conversing too much with other con-goers. The aggressive type likes to engage themselves with people and tends to get others to participate in activities.

4. Panels/Workshops
Panels and workshops are held by hosts that cover specific topics. Many people look forward to these scheduled gatherings to share, talk, and learn more about their interests. Sometimes the attendees are looking to find new interests and skills from panels and workshops.

5. Arts & Crafts/Artists' Alley
There's more to an anime convention than the simple art of anime, manga, and games. Dolls, canvases, buttons, fan art, and doujinshi are examples of other art-related features to an anime convention. Being able to meet the artists is also something to look forward to. Artists may sell their products in the artists' alley, have meet-and-greet events, art galleries, and auctions. There are also art-related panels and workshops that promote a variety of arts and crafts.

6. Dealers' Room
The dealers' room is where vendors sell [hopefully] licensed or official products like DVDs and comics, and costumes and accessories. Sometimes there are a few blackmarket dealers selling unlicensed and unofficial anime, manga, cards, and game products. You will recognize the blackmarket dealers by the quality of their products if you ever encounter them. In recent years, a variety of fashion vendors have appeared at anime conventions. Lolita, victorian, gothic, and pirate fashion are examples of what these vendors sell. You can try haggling with some of the dealers, especially 5 minutes until closing on the last day of the convention. If you're lucky, you'll find great deals. Bring a suitcase along if you plan to buy a lot or big items.

7. Anime and Manga
Certain anime conventions have open walk-in anime showings and manga libraries. These are usually open to everyone with a convention badge. Anime and manga may also be available for sale in the dealers' room.

8. Video Games
Why limit a convention to only anime showings and manga libraries? Open game rooms with various types of arcade, computer, and console games may be found at pop culture conventions. The types of available games to play vary with each year and convention. The game rooms usually have more multiplayer games than single player ones. People are usually required to line up for their turn to play games.

9. Contests
Each convention features their own contests. If you wish to enter and prepare for the contests, you would need to get advance information from the convention website. Examples of contests or tournaments at pop culture conventions are cosplay, Magic the Gathering card game, Lego, multiplayer video games, and music videos. Sometimes the contests and tournaments require a badge and an extra contest registration cost, but that's because the prizes (and winning) are totally worth it.

10. Dances/Concerts
What's a convention without its social events? If you're heavily into the convention scene, you may already know about the dances, music concerts, and after parties. If you're new to pop culture conventions and would like to meet new people (or if you just like to party), the dances and concerts are one way to make new friends. Just make sure you don't party too hard and keep yourself hydrated at these shindigs. They can get wild.

11. Guests
If you're really into the technical aspects of a series and entertainment, you may be interested in meeting the skilled people who contributed to those aspects. Conventions usually have guests like professional or popular directors, actors, actresses, musicians, and more. Meeting these guests involve keeping tabs on event schedules and lining up hours to meet the guest before the line gets long. Meeting guests sometimes have an extra fare to it. The more famous the guest, the more likely you will need to pay extra to meet them.

12. Other Special Events
Anime conventions may have more factors and events to them than what was mentioned. Other special events may include maid cafes, small activities like a Lego station, game shows, mazes, etc. Know what I personally like?

13. Staff/Volunteer
Around an anime convention, it's hard to miss the staff and volunteers. Give a high five the next staff or volunteer you meet, because they (especially the staff) dedicate much of their time to the staffing, planning, preparation, and management of the convention. Many of the staff members are long-time anime convention veterans too, so they have a lot of convention war stories to share.

14. Friends
I know this factor is on the top of the anime convention web diagram, but I wanted to keep it last on the list. An anime convention isn't an anime convention without friends, because being able to spend time with friends make the whole event more worthwhile. You may even meet old friends and acquaintances you haven't seen in a long while.

When I first attended an anime convention with friends, everything else about an anime convention was also on the top of my list. Over the years, with most panels and dealers seemingly unchanged, anime conventions didn't feel as exciting to me anymore. The main reason I go to conventions is to meet friends, visit specific artists or guests, and to look for a specific product in the dealers' room.

Here's how each factor plays for me today in 2013:

The main reason I don't find anime conventions as exciting anymore is because I'm not heavily involved with the convention. I've mostly been a simple convention goer, not an artist displaying or selling my works, a dealer, panelist, staff, volunteer, cosplayer, competitor, nor an outgoing socialite. I don't want to get anymore involved either until I land a steady job. Well, we'll see.

To aspiring pop culture convention goers: I hope you find and stick with your anime convention factors and have fun!

To today's convention goers: why do you go to anime conventions? What does your anime convention web look like?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Loving this Weather

What's that? Climate change? Ain't expecting it here.

Well, it turns out people will have to expect it everywhere... on Earth, anyway.

Lately, Toronto has experienced some "moody" weather (as its citizens like to call it). In the span of three hours, there may be hail, a cloudy sky, heavy rain, then a clear sunny sky. It's so... beautiful. ಥ‿ಥ

The change in weather patterns being experienced by different regions around the world may finally push governments, businesses, and people in general to act on climate change and its linked environmental issues. I hope. You know what is depressing though? The fact that the world is experiencing climate changes means it is already too late to prevent or completely mitigate climate change. No, the human race is not doomed [for now]. We have the edge where we may easily adapt well to different environments at the expense of some of our fellow beings. I'm just... more worried about our resource supplies and services.

Now I wonder: what role will climate change play in the next Canadian federal elections? No wait, I don't need to wonder about that. The answer is already clear: not much.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Controllable Robotic Insects

If the world fully implements controllable or artificially intelligent RoboBees, there will be three major concerns:

1. The loss of all natural bees.

People generally hate or fear real bees anyway, so why not kill them all off (directly and indirectly) and replace them with these mechanical ones which we may control? North America's bee population is presently not doing so great, and it doesn't seem like governments, major business players, and the majority of society is willing to do anything about it.

2. Weaponized RobboBees.

Like one of the article's comments bring to light: RoboBees and its potential to become a tool for chemical warfare. Personally, I can imagine tiny blades on these things, making them similar to the killer alien insects from "The Day the Earth Stood Still," except they would cause a more painful and slow death. That or these bees may inject fatal poison of some sort. Seriously. Who is to say that no military super power or terrorist wouldn't want this technology? (Who is to say they don't already have this technology?)

3. Espionage.

If you were ever disturbed by one of those love songs about someone wanting to be a "fly on the wall" to watch you all day long, well, I don't blame you. I am sure no one wants to be monitored via a fly on the wall, but sadly, many people and entities WANT to monitor others. Well, there's one potential point to add to the list of "why I am glad I am not a celebrity." I get the feeling celebrities will be swatting flies often if these bees ever become a common technology, which if they do, you may have to forever lay low, be paranoid, and hope that things will turn out okay.

This post responds to this article: Flight of the RoboBee: Harvard scientists develop tiniest flying robots from The Globe and Mail.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Got my Anime North 2013 Cosplay

I think...

I still haven't decided yet: Jyu Viole Grace or Zatchbell?

The former is already half finished, but chances are that it will be too warm to wear. The Latter would be more suitable with the weather.

Guess I will go for the latter if I can find the right materials, otherwise I will just wear something to go undercover again. My priorities lie with landing jobs right now.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Toronto Comics Arts Festival 2013

I went to visit TCAF at the Toronto Reference Library with a few friends on Saturday. There were many great comics and artworks to pick up, but not enough funds. T_T

It seemed more crowded this year than last year (a common theme among every new year). The line up to get into the second floor exhibitor room was mighty longer than last year's line. I am thankful for the line, because otherwise I don't think people would be able to move around as easily inside the room. I almost bumped into kids here and there. The atrium was a little more crowded (and a lot more warm) but the whole event was totally worth visiting.

There were a few cosplayers there. I guess they like to cosplay very much (even with the perceived unspoken rule of no cosplay at this event). Just... no big props, please. The library doesn't have enough room already what with more than 1000 people on the first 2 floors (I don't even want to get into the basement and third floor).

It was hard to get pictures of the place without people getting into the frame or getting into other people's way while trying to take pictures. I only took one.

Looking forward to next year again.

P.S. Sorry we couldn't spend more time together Lorena, Megan, Stephanie, and Geoff.
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