Anime North 2010
by Lissa Pattillo,
OPENING CEREMONIESAnime North's opening ceremonies started a little late with technology difficulties but the ballroom was fairly full by the time the event started at 4:30pm Friday afternoon. A photo-highlight video in dedication to the staff was shared first, an amusing look at the past fourteen years through glimpses of the volunteers who run it to the song Everything Louder Than This by Meatloaf.
Introductions were brief but everyone in attendance received a warm welcome and a rundown of the attending guests including actors, artists and wrestlers. Guests who were able to attend the opening ceremonies were then allowed a moment to introduce themselves and share some pre-convention thoughts.
Guests of Honor for the event were Japanese voice-actor Nobuyuki Hiyama, cosplayer Yaya Han, DJ Takuta Angel and costumer Ricky Dick who delivered the opening ceremony. The convention also welcomed a number of English voice actors, Greg Ayres, Christopher Ayres, Brittany Karbowski, John Swasey, Micah Solusod, and Vic Mignogna, most of whom were on-site to give their hellos to the audience as well.
Following guest introductions they played an anime music video with an assortment of series both new and old, from Lum to Hetalia. The video was high-energy, a fun introduction to the convention which boosts high fan enthusiasm such made more evident by the cheers that erupted from the audience during appearances from crowd-favourite series. The video was dedicated to the late Carl Macek who was a guest at the event in 2005.
Brief but to the point, the opening ceremonies kicked off weekend's events which had already seen hundreds of individuals through the registration process which opened a few hours before.
CLOSING CEREMONIESAnime North's closing ceremonies came on the tail-end of the final performance of the 404s – an improve comedy group who were also guests at this year's convention and very well received by the audience. Sporting great humour and a slew of pop-culture references to fuel them, they had the ballroom full and the laughs coming from start to finish before introducing the closing ceremonies to mark the end of this year's event.
The convention's con-chair, Irwin Tan, thanked everyone for their attendance at the event with best wishes everyone had a good time. He was able to share the news of Anime North 2010's attendance, a record 18 500 that saw a jump of 4000 since the previous year. The charity auction, which auctions off numerous items with all proceeds going to chosen charities, also sold every one of its items. Next year's event, Anime North 2011, will be the convention's 15th anniversary.
The guests still on-site, including the majority of the voice actors, shared their thanks and impressions of the convention which were overwhelmingly positive. They felt they received a warm welcome from Anime North, its attendees, Canada and of course, Tim Hortons. Nobuyuki Hiyama, who has now been to Anime North twice, continues to be impressed by the level of dedication for anime and gaming created in Japan and looks forward to telling all his fellow voice actors back in Japan about the good times he's had, as well as learn English so he can speak with his fans during his next trip (Nobuyuki Hiyama had a translator on-site).
John Swasey, another voice-actor guest, was also reported to be alright and seeing a doctor for a sprained ankle after a leap off the stage during the opening ceremonies left him exiting the room with a limp.
The closing ceremonies ended with another anime music video, this one full of scenes from numerous scenes in anime relating to farewells and goodbyes to the music of Belinda Carlisle's Leave a Light On. As with the opening ceremony, fan-favourite scenes elicited applause and cheers from the audience before a final note sing-along ended the event with a sigh of disappointment and an already eager anticipation for next year.