Monday, May 28, 2007

Anime Invades T.O.

I attended a trade show last week that was taking place in the same venue as an Anime convention, and I must say, I got a little freaked out when I drove up to see swarms of people in colourful and strange costumes. Did I enter the Twilight Zone? I swore I took the right highway exit. Has October 31st come already?

I must admit I’m only vaguely familiar with what Anime actually is: according to Wikipedia, it’s an abbreviation of the word “animation” and involves cartoon-like characters from Japan. Several sources say the exact definition is debatable, but if you think Sailor Moon, you’re on the right track.

It was obvious a lot of work went into their elaborate costumes, as each person dressed as their favourite, er, character. Watching them prance around the venue, up and down the streets, and flood the lobby of a local hotel, I couldn’t help but wonder what their convention was all about.

Naturally, I “Googled” it to find out that it was called Anime North, and drew 14,000 attendees for a number of activities and events, including a panel discussion, screening of the 2006 anime series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and, I should have guessed, a party complete with costume contest.

Is this a case of life imitating art? Or are these kids stuck in a virtual reality that has made life become nothing more than a fantasy? Who am I to judge, I guess. Either way, it was interesting to observe, and it was a humorous contradiction to the eye-glass wearing, notebook clutching, custom A/V guys that were there for the CE show. Come to think of it, maybe the two groups aren't so different after all...
But as a sidenote, if security inquired which conference you were there to attend, I'd take another look at your wardrobe choices.

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