Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Anime North Online

Well, right now we're past the hundred day mark of COVID-19 and its assault upon the health, sanity, pocketbook, and general good order of Planet Earth. If you're an anime fan- and if you aren't then why are you reading this? - you've watched anime convention after anime convention fall by the wayside, felled by the force of force majeure and the good sense of organizers and attendees unwilling to cram themselves into densely packed groups with poor social skills and sketchy hygiene. 

Right around March they started to fall: Kigacon, Naka-Con, Fubukicon, Keikencon, Animatic Con, Colorado Anime Fest, Triad Anime Con, Zenkaikon, Toracon, Anime Japan 2020, Tekko, Anime Detour, Anime Boston, MTAC, Sakuracon, Anime St. Louis, Castle Point Anime Convention, Anime Frontier, Anime Central, Kawaii Kon, A-Kon, Animazement, Anime North, AniMinneapolis, Fanime, Mizucon, Anime NEXT, Anime Festival Orlando, Animaritime, Anime Festival Wichita, JAFAX, Anime Expo, Anime Midwest, Anime Matsuri, something called Animanga in Pomona CA, Anime-zing!, Anime Iowa, Otakon, Animethon, Otakuthon, Animefest, the Crunchyroll Expo and San Japan are just SOME of the anime conventions in North America that have postponed or cancelled. One thing is clear. There were a LOT of anime conventions happening this year. There are still a lot on the schedule, but let's face facts. More cancellations are coming. 

In the meantime, conventions are working to keep themselves busy and keep their fans entertained by moving into the online space and hosting "virtual conventions" on streaming platforms like Twitch. One of the first of these, Anime Lockdown, attracted hundreds to its streaming panels and was generally viewed as a success, and others have invariably followed, like this weekend's Kurocon

Right now I'm spending my COVID lockdown free time - which I really haven't had that much of since I've been working in an essential industry this whole time - I've been spending my time getting ready for Anime North's virtual convention, which is titled Momiji's Online Experience after Anime North's mascot Hoppouno Momiji. The MOE happens July 24-26 and features cosplay, a fashion show, game shows, tournaments, panels, appearances by special guests, and pretty much everything else that can survive the transmogrification from a live convention held in a convention event room to being captured on camera and streamed across the internets. I'm working on three events myself! 

ANIME NORTH: THE HISTORY OF A CONVENTION is a deep dive into the first two decades of Anime North, from its early years at the Michener Institute to hotels at varying locations and of varying degrees of sketchy, from a few hundred fans to the thirty thousand Anime North attendees that make it the convention it is today, or at least the convention it would have been had the world's infectious diseases not interrupted things.

ANIME 1980 turns the clock back forty years for a look at what Japanese anime was up to - and what it was up to was anime, and lots of it. Cyborgs, wandering children, interstellar ESPers, Space Firebirds, fly fishermen, and Warp Dimensions were the order of the day as the anime medium rode the SF boom out of the 1970s and into the 80s. 

ANIME HELL'S HALF HOUR is a very special thirty minute version of Anime Hell designed to deliver the maximum impact in the shortest possible time. Don't blink or you'll miss exciting short features, confusing advertisements, helpful public education films, amateur movies, and edited highlights of some of Japanese animation's weirdest and wildest. 

It's all happening July 24-26 at a computer near you, so plan your weekend around a good wi-fi signal and get ready for what will either be a vague approximation of an anime convention - or perhaps the start of an entirely new breed of event! 

And as always, I hope everybody is washing their hands! Wearing a mask outside! Staying six feet away from other people! Avoiding unnecessary travel! This thing isn't done with us yet. Let's stay safe and get through this. 

-Dave M