Event Reports

Event Report: Anime North: Stay At Home Edition 2021

Due to the ongoing pandemic, most (if not all) physical conventions are unable to welcome the willing anime-loving hordes into their golden halls, so for the 2nd year in a row, Anime North’s all digital convention, Anime North: Stay at Home Edition 2021, graced fans’ screens once again!

Held last May 28th-May 30th, this Anime North: Stay at Home Edition provided viewers with 3 days worth of various content.

Day 1

The first day of the event started with a montage of Anime North’s past, a nice throwback to better times when we all could freely travel to conventions to meet fellow enthusiasts.

For budding fashionistas or for those that are intrigued by the colorful world of J-fashion, the next panel, “A Short Guide to JFashion Styles,” brought into focus 6 iconic Japanese styles. First discussed was Decora, which is characterized by its poppy colors emphasizing heavy accessorization and minimal makeup to emphasize the innocent look.  The next style was heavily associated with the Japanese rock scene, Visual Kei, which combines various darker-themed styles like gothic and punk. Next up was Shironuri, a style characterized by white face makeup and alternative outfits. One of the most popular elements of said style would be colored contacts and false lashes, which add to the stylistic choice of those who go for Shironuri.  Steampunk is a retro-futuristic style that combines 19th-century aesthetics and steam-powered machinery. The panel also talked about the Kimono and how it evolved from traditional wear to something much more fitting with modern times. Lolita, one of the most popular J-fashion styles worldwide, incorporates cute into Victorian-style clothing, which lends to very distinctive silhouettes.

The next panel, “Keep it Weird: YTV and Anime in Canada,” talked about Youth TV, a channel dedicated to children’s entertainment with content from countries all around the globe, which of course showed anime such as Pokemon, Digimon, and Beyblade.  YTV brought anime to the attention of the youth of Canada from the late ’90s to the early 2000s, with its unique blend of Canadian culture and English-dubbed anime.

Lots of laughs were had as the 404s performed anime-inspired improv skits. The groups competed against each other to garner the audience’s chuckles.

Chinese media has recently gained a huge boom thanks to Genshin Impact, a game that has become a worldwide hit. For fans of Chinese content, the next panel talked about Donghua, which are animations produced in China, and how these have impacted Japanese animation. The panel entitled “An Otaku’s Guide to Donghua” talked about the history of Chinese animation, which started with the Wan Brothers, who produced the first feature-length animation in China, Princess Iron Fan (1941), and the first sound cartoon, Camel’s Dance (1935). The panel also showed some noteworthy donghua, such as Beryl and Sapphire, a slice of life show where two guys get to act out in various scenarios, and Link Click (2021), a show about photographers dabbling in the supernatural to enhance their clients’ photographs.

Day 1 ended with Anime Hell, a 1-hour panel filled with random anime scenes. It’s hard to describe, but once you go through the whole experience, it is indeed one hell of a ride.

 

Day 2

Day 2 started with a panel that gave us tips on beating the summer heat with tea! In the panel “Tea Workshop with Momo Tea,” Momo, a tea sommelier, showed us her favorite green tea steeping methods. She mentioned that one of the easiest methods would be to let green tea leaves (cold brew tea) steep overnight in cold water. It results in a tea that is definitely sweeter and has less caffeine compared to ones that are steeped in hot water. She also showed a method where she put tea leaves on a shallow dish and placed it with some ice; this way, as the ice melts, it combines with the leaves, and it lets out an umami flavor. She definitely showed us that we could have good tea even with just the equipment we have at home.

We all know that a considerable part of the anime fandom is into games, video games, and tabletop. Japanime Games gave a preview of the current games they have for tabletop gaming fans in the panel “Tabletop Gaming in Japan.”

We all know that a considerable part of the anime fandom is into games, video games, and tabletop. Japanime Games gave a preview of the current games they have for tabletop gaming fans in the panel “Tabletop Gaming in Japan.”

For the crafty fans who’d like to dabble on Japanese-related craftsmanship and don’t want to spend too much on equipment, the panel “Origami for Beginners” was a good way to start a new hobby. Folded on cheap origami paper, the demonstrator showed that art, in this case, can be made even with materials that can be considered as garbage.  Alyssa Mackie walked audiences through making an origami crane, which is one of the universal favorites when it comes to origami.

Are you a fan of those fancy-looking costumes in certain movies, and did you ever wish that you could make them? The panel, “Production to Cosplay with Christina Carr & Martin Hunger,” showcased various props and costumes that Christina and Martin have the world on and taught the audience how to simplify the production of those so that they can make those props at home.

The next panel, “HAKKEYOI – Sumo 101”, introduced the full-contact wrestling sport, Sumo. The panel talked about its Heian origins. They also discussed how sumo wrestlers are represented in modern media with the Rikishi  (disciplined, stoic, brave) stereotype and showed us some clips of more recent sumo matches.

Kimono has always been one of the most fascinating things about Japanese culture, as part of what the Japanese call wafuku (Japanese fashion). The panel, “Introduction to Kimono,” talked about its Nara-era roots and how styles and patterns have varied over time, but the shape of the kimono is still mostly constant. The panel introduced various kimono styles, ranging from the more formal (Uchikake and Furisode) to the type of kimonos you can wear from day to day (Komon and Yukata). The panel also gave tips on how to wear kimonos and how to measure kimono fit correctly. Of course, for people who would want to pose for some pictures in a kimono, one of the tips given was if you want to make your kimono look a tad nicer, you can always use the pigeon-toe placement of the feet.

The next panel was Manga Planet’s industry panel, with Gladys Angala, Emma Hanashiro, and Hyoe Narita. They introduced the Manga Planet service, an online manga service that is also part of the Anti-piracy drive, which encourages manga fans to go and read the originals by allowing them easier legal access to manga. They seek to address accessibility since a lot of content is region-locked, and not all regions get to access manga easily. It also pointed out that the smaller/medium-sized manga publishers get to bear the brunt of people pirating content.  

Since BUZZER BEATER is going to be released in June under Manga Planet, Mr. Narita talked about his experience with Viz Media where he got to meet the author, Takehiko Inoue, to negotiate about publishing Slam Dunk in English and how talks about spreading manga to worldwide lead to Manga Planet publishing Inoue’s Buzzer Beater. The highlight of the panel was Inoue’s message to his readers, which read:

“ I am very happy to have the opportunity to have my manga be read on Manga Planet. The world may be going through a period of turmoil, but manga is a pastime that allows us all to connect through our hearts. I hope you all enjoy it.“

The next one was a game panel, where contestants guessed which anime it is, Wheel of Fortune style. Four contestants scrambled to guess that anime, letter by letter.

The next panel, “Gatekeeping in Anime,” talked about the ever-present problem of excluding newer fans from joining a certain fandom.  The panelists talked about their experiences from joining a club where they had to sign a form to join a club where you get to send out blank tapes and get recorded tapes of anime, as you couldn’t watch anime anywhere else, to the more recent phenomenon where people do not interact with other people in fandom spaces as they feel that these people are not good enough to join the fandom. There’s this mentality from some fans that, since they went through hoops to get to be a part of a certain fandom, newer fans also suffer from being a part of that fandom. 

The next panel talked about anime-related fashion. From sneakers to shirts and masks, anime is now so mainstream that it can be a part of everyone’s daily fashion. Ranging from subtle nods to the anime to glaring references, fans get to have more choices in their anime-related apparel nowadays.

“Anime 1981” is a panel focused on the year 1981 and what anime-related content was released during the said period.  From King of Beasts Golion, which didn’t make a splash in its native Japan but ended up as a big hit in Western shores as Voltron, to the wacky comedy anime involving terrestrials, Rumiko Takahashi’s Urusei Yatsura.

The next panel was a live tabletop session with D20, where the crew did an entire campaign during this panel.

The last panel for the day was a podcast panel entitled “Anime Roundtable Podcast: Live.” They talked about various topics such as Kentaro Miura’s (of Berserk fame) passing and the impact that this has had on some companies that produce goods related to Berserk. For example, PrimeOne, a company that has made Berserk-related figures in the past, has released a statement that they will not be releasing any Berserk figures soon as a sign of respect.

 

Day 3

Day 3 started with a panel to help cosplayers improve their stage presence, “Performing on Stage in Cosplay.” The Vespertine dancers gave tips on stage performing, from planning the audio to customizing and optimizing one’s costumes for the best possible performance.

The next panel, “Game Design Panel with Japanime Games,” Japanime Games gave viewers a glimpse of how the tabletop game development process works.

Gotta Catch ‘em All! The next panel talked about all things Pokemon. They tackled video games, like the recently released Pokemon Snap for the Nintendo Switch. The current state of the Pokemon fandom was also discussed as they talked about the seeming dip in quality; there have been several questionable choices made in the recent games, such as the removal of the National Dex. They also talked about the Pokemon’s 25th anniversary, which covered much ground and even had performances from mainstream musical icons like Katy Perry.

The next panel, “Anything can be a weapon with Christina Carr & Martin Hunger,” started with a news segment about the infamous Phoenix Comicon incident, where a con-goer carrying various guns planned to kill Jason David Frank.  Due to incidents like this one, conventions are now much stricter when it comes to prop weapons. Christina and Martin showed us how to make prop weapons more con-friendly without losing the visual impact of said prop.

“Self Care Extraordinaire” was a panel led by an occupational therapist who talked about some less traditional self-care options. The first topic was motivation since all of us have struggled to do things. It starts with coalition, actively choosing to finish a task, leading to developing a routine that will become part of a habit. There were also tips for self-care for neurodivergent people, such as taking a few minutes for yourself and taking sensory breaks. For cosplayers, that cosplay should only be competitive when you’re joining a competition and that the hobby should be fun for all other instances.

The next panel was futekiya’s Industry Panel with Gladys Angala and Emma Hanashiro, where they introduced the Boys’ Love online manga service to the audience. One of the most notable things about this panel was the announcement that futekiya would be licensing 4 works by Kazuki Natsume from TOKYOMANGASHA, a new publisher they are woking with.

The next panel was an interactive panel that tested the audience’s knowledge of anime and Anime North-related material.

The last panel for the whole event was “Anime Tourism in Japan,” hosted by Andrew Massy, Independent Japan Travel Specialist, where he talked about Japan Travel Basics. For first-timers to Japan, he recommends what was dubbed the “Golden Route,” which starts from Tokyo and ends with Hiroshima. He also talked about some iconic locations that have been featured in anime, such as the Sekizenkan Shima Onsen in Gunma, which was the inspiration for Aburaya from Spirited Away.

All in all, it was a pretty good event for Anime North’s second foray into digital conventions, and we’re glad to see that Anime North is providing such an event for those who are clamoring for conventions.

 

About Manga Planet: Read manga, support artists

In 2012, Manga Planet started as a joint project between Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. and FANTASISTA, INC. to research and explore the ways manga is read throughout the world. Aiming to bring new manga to fans worldwide and support artists and the industry, Manga Planet pushes for affordability and access to manga through a subscription-based service.

Readers who subscribe to Manga Planet and pay a flat monthly fee of $6.99 will have access to our expanding library of English-language manga. To subscribe, please go to read.mangaplanet.com and create an account. More information is in our Guide.

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