Between the Panels – Animethon 19

Another year, another Animethon has passed and I thought I should do a brief recap for all of you who were unable to make it to this years event. So, what is Animethon? Animethon is Western-Canada’s longest running anime convention, held yearly at Grant MacEwan University’s City Center Campus in Edmonton, Alberta. What is anime? I guess that’s the important thing to know going into this isn’t it? Anime is a style of animation originating in Japan, characterized by colorful graphics and often featuring themes intended for an adult audience; common examples of anime would be Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, and Naruto. Most anime usually starts as a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly Japanese style comic called Manga and if they do well in manga form they typically get produced as an anime. Now that we have all of that out of the way it’s time for me to talk about this years Animethon.

I’ve been to 9 Animethons and they all pretty much follow the same pattern: Friday some anime is shown, there are a few panels with the celebrities guests, and the vendor’s hall is open in the parkade. Saturday is the big day, the crazy busy day, anime is showing all day long, there are panels with the guests, panels that just focus on interests like steampunk, improv, guide for con survival, and even a speed dating event, the AMV (Anime Music Video) competition begins, and Artists Alley opens and of course the dance. This day is crazy. Then Sunday comes, things quite down a bit, anime is still playing, there are a few panels, a few shows are put on and then the closing ceremonies where the AMV and cosplay winners are announced.

This year saw some incredible guests showing up, there were the voice actors: Todd Haberkorn from Fairy Tale, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and D. Grey Man just to name a few. Cathy Weseluck best known for her role as Spike in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and the man I was most excited to meet Johnny Yong Bosch best known, I think, for his role as Adam Park, the Black Power Ranger from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Johnny performed at the first ever dance on Friday night, usually the dance is only on the Saturday night, with his band Eyeshine. At the Saturday night dance the band DaizyStripper came all the way from Japan for their first Canadian show. And as always there were two great improv groups that got the whole con laughing at one of their many shows throughout the weekend, The 404s with their anime improv that has been at Animethon since day one, and Synaptic Chaos Theatre, a newer group formed in 2010 but the groups age does not affect their on stage chemistry.

The cosplay this year was some of the best I’ve ever seen in my 9 years coming to animethon, there were people dressed up as My Little Pony characters, a group of Chrono Cross characters, a guy dressed up as one of the many characters from Gears of War and much, much more. There were great AMV’s this year including this one which won the best comedy I believe called The Nightmagi Cometh, I can’t get the song in it out of my head! And another great one was made by my friend Soge Snake that won Best Made in Alberta: Dude Looks Like An Okama.

Sadly all good things must end and the closing ceremonies came, the winners of the cosplay contest and the AMV contest were announced and some sad, sad news was announced. Sadly the board had to announced that Animethon 19 may very well be the last Animethon due to lack of staff that is needed to run a convention. There have been so few people actually organizing the convention for the last few years that they can’t handle the stress that comes when only 6 or so people are doing the job of 30+. But if they can get people to get enough people who are legitimately passionate about making Animethon 20 happen to work for them then hopefully next year or the year after that Athon 20 will happen. I personally hope that this won’t be the last Animethon as it’s been part of my life for a long time and it will be sad to see it go. So here’s me hoping for Animethon 20.

I hope some of you were able to attend this year and if you are able to help out the board check out http://animethon.org/ and see what you can do to keep the con going. This was my favourite convention in a few years and I hope any of you who were able to attend enjoyed yourselves as much as I do. Hope to see you all next year!

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Follow Nathan on Twitter @Nait93.

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