Otakuthon 2008 Shares Montreal's Fascination with Anime

July 16, 2008 – Discover the world of a newer pop cross-culture phenomenon: Japanese animation and comics, also known as “anime” and “manga”. Otakuthon, Montreal's annual anime convention and Canada's only bilingual event of this kind, returns for a third year. July 26 and 27 will be Montreal's ultimate celebration of anime culture for 2008. Otakuthon promises to be bigger, better and more fun than ever.

Otakuthon moves to the Palais des Congres this year after two successful conventions at Concordia University. This entirely volunteer-run event surpassed expectations in 2006, with an attendance of over 1850 people. In 2007, the event was attended by nearly 2000 die-hard anime fans or “anime otaku” of all ages. Previously only constrained by venue, Otakuthon 2008 modestly projects its attendance at more than 2500 attendees ready to meet guests, watch anime as well as play role-playing games and video games. Anime fandom is an extremely participatory culture, and many are likely to attend panels on all aspects of anime and Japanese culture, share artwork, attend a Japanese rock (J-rock) concert and indulge in eye-catching costume play, known in anime fandom as “cosplay”, in a venue ready to accommodate legions of fans.

Otakuthon 2008's guest roster includes numerous industry leaders and talent, including:

Matt Greenfield, co-founder and Senior VP of ADV Films, North America's largest Anime distributor
Prolific voice actors Tiffany Grant and Spike Spencer
Montrealer Claude J. Pelletier, founder and editor-in-chief of Protoculture Addicts, North America's oldest anime magazine

Otakuthon is a product of a worldwide phenomenon, but also a part of Montreal's bilingual culture and thriving international pop culture scene. In North America, children in Quebec were already exposed to anime in the 70s with a host of shows, many in French, including the giant robot show Goldorak, the magical girl show Mini-Fee (Magical Witch Sally), Candi (which had a theme song redone in Quebec by Nathalie Simard), and Remi, both sentimental shows about orphaned children.

Since then, anime has grown from a childhood fancy, to an underground culture to a multimillion dollar industry. Encompassing more than Pokemon and Sailor Moon, the art form comprises every genre from Shakespearean romance to groundbreaking science-fiction. Its fans love it for its originality, superb story-telling, quirky humour and its signature aesthetics. It influenced some recent Hollywood productions including Kill Bill and The Matrix. Its growing mainstream acceptance has led to adaptation of anime into motion pictures, including the live-action Speed Racer, and the projects in development, including Imagi Entertainment's Astro Boy and Battle of the Planets 3D animated adaptations. One of Japan's beloved directors, animator Hayao Miyazaki, won over Japanese and Western audiences alike, and even movie critics, culminating in an Academy Award win for his film Spirited Away.

Otakuthon promises to be a colourful, enthusiastic, and sometimes outrageous display of Montreal's admiration for Japanese pop culture in a way that must be experienced to be believed!

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