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Anime North 20 Takes Over Toronto

By Mohsin Mohammad (@das_hat)

June 1st, 2016

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The weekend of May 27– 29 saw one of Canada's largest conventions celebrate its 20th year with record-breaking attendance numbers at the Toronto Congress Centre and International Plaza Hotel. Both guests and attendees from around the globe made the trek to the nation's preeminent anime convention to celebrate two decades of the event’s success. In 2015, Anime North officially became the second-largest convention of its kind in North America (based purely on attendee figures) and this year’s rendition witnessed the cause grow bigger than ever.

I’ve been attending this convention for the past several years and it’s important to note the distinction between Anime North and other major assemblages such as Fan Expo. Anime North started out as (and still remains) a purely fan-based affair. The larger companies within the anime and animation industries don't maintain vendor booths, but participants will still find artists and vendors throughout the site.

So, without corporate sponsorship, who are these people? Simply put, they are the passionate die-hards. Everyone at Anime North is there because they love what is on display and want to proudly trumpet their admiration for the shows and films that bring them such joy.

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[Photo credit: Mohsin Mohammad] 

The voice actors, artists and producers that attend the event reciprocate the love from the fans of the genre. To celebrate its anniversary, eight members of the original English Sailor Moon cast (Tracey Moore, Toby Proctor, Susan Roman, Ron Roman, Barbra Radecki, Jill Frappier, John Stocker, Katie Griffin and Linda Ballantyne) were present to meet and greet their fans. Joining them was Brian Drummond and Michael Dobson, English voice actors for the characters of ‘Vegeta’ and ‘Nappa’ of Dragon Ball Z.

Representing Japan this year were notable voice actors Akiko Hasegawa, Asami Shimoda and Chika Anzai, along with several performing acts and fashion designers. All told, no matter what aspect of anime, animation or gaming you might be a fan of, Anime North always provides something to tickle your fancy – the core of what makes the convention so special.

It's a community-driven event and, while its early years endured some controversy with the inclusion of Western animation and video gaming, has become a place to celebrate what you love with the likeminded and the passionate.