It’s good to be able to have time to go to another anime convention. After missing the big 20th anniversary of Animethon last year, I was happy to be able to attend this year.
If you haven’t seen my previous posts on Animethon, here are some quick facts:
- It’s a 3-day convention held annually in Edmonton, Alberta.
- It’s the oldest anime convention in Canada that’s still going.
- It’s the largest anime convention in Western Canada.
One of the nice things about Animethon is that it’s probably the most over-looked anime convention by big companies, making it large while still maintaining a close-knit community feel. I think it’s largely due to Edmonton’s lack of global recognition compared to Calgary and Vancouver, but that’s not a discussion for this blog.
I don’t know how things went last year, but this Animethon is probably the smoothest I’ve ever seen. This year I worked as an official pin trader, trading collectable convention pins. Although I was upset that fewer than a dozen people came up to me to trade pins over the 2 days I was there, it was nice to see everyone enjoying themselves. The only complaint I heard while wandering the halls was about a plugged toilet.
Something new this year was access to a brand new building on the MacEwan campus. This gave the registration tables a lot more space and attendees didn’t have to cram into the halls or stairways like previous years to get a pass.
The Artist Alley was also placed in the new building, giving them a nice wide-open space with plenty of sunlight to showcase their works. These pics were taken early in the morning before the crowds came.
Unfortunately, the Vendor Hall was still located in the underground parkade, which I never really liked. This is the only place large enough for all the sellers, and while Animethon does what it can to make it not look like a dungeon, it still isn’t a nice-looking spot. A few years back it felt like a black market with unofficial and bootleg merchandise everywhere. Most of that stuff is gone now and I’m happy to see legitimate PVC figures and nendoroids for sale. I actually helped with a randomized merchandise inspection during the convention.
As for guests, Animethon brought in quite a few people this time:
- An Café (band)
- Satsuki Yukino (voice actress)
- Magistina Saga (band)
From North America:
- Cristina Vee (voice actress)
- Cherami Leigh (voice actress)
- Monica Rial (voice actress)
- Karen Strassman (voice actress)
- Vensy (cosplayer)
- The 404s (improv comedy)
- Theishter (pianist)
Maybe I’m just out of the loop nowadays, but the only name I recognized was Cristina Vee. Everyone seemed really excited about the guests though, with plenty of people lining up for autographs. Hopefully this news encourages more guests with greater popularity to come in the future.
Besides shopping and guests, there were also the usual viewing rooms, gaming rooms, concerts, and contests (AMV/cosplay). I was quite happy with the gaming options available. The video games room had a variety of console and arcade games set up, there was a board game room, a LAN gaming room, as well as a Microsoft room. If you get tired of convention-ing, you can also enjoy the beautiful weather outside.
A new event this year was the Moonlight Masquerade Ball. I missed it since I was working that day and was too tired to head to the event, but I hear it was a huge hit.
Of course, no anime convention would be complete without cosplay. Below is a sampling of some of the cosplayers at Animethon 21.
Tell me this Mako doesn’t look legit.
I’d vote Usagi and Mamoru for best couple.
Not sure who this character is, but he looked pretty cool.
The Hello Kitty Samurai returned this year, but he has switched sides and now fights for Pikachu!
I sure hope these people know what they signed up for.
This person’s hat actually had a rotating key-hat-thingy like Odelia does. It’s too bad she didn’t have the wings.
You feel much safer whenever Master Chief is around.
Another Titan killer.
I can’t identify the character, but this guy looked pretty cool.
Who loves Ghibli?
This takes skill.
I hope I’ll be able to take my kids to an anime convention one day.
Watch out for female assassins!
Rilakkuma also made an appearance at Animethon.
This is probably the best Animethon I’ve been to. It was nice to see people I hadn’t seen in a while, and being around a lot of happy people makes me happy too. If you helped out at Animethon this year, then you should give yourself a pat on the back, you deserve it. Hopefully I’ll be able to attend again next year.
If you want to learn more about Animethon or volunteer next year, check out the official website: http://www.animethon.org/