Thursday, May 23, 2024

Anime North 2024


Another year has rolled around and before you know it, it's time to pack up and head out for Anime North! Since 1997, AN has been Toronto's number one anime fan convention, moving from collegiate institute space to interstate off-ramp motels to where they are now, filling the North and South buildings of the Toronto Congress Centre as well as all of the Delta Hotel Airport with thirty five thousand fans enjoying each other's company in the late spring/early summer Ontario sunshine.

It literally seems like yesterday, but the fact is it's been almost two decades since I first talked the Anime North people into letting me do panels. I guess I'm doing something right because they haven't told me to quit yet!  So what am I up to this year?

Friday night at 10 it's time for Anime Hell, my late night two-hour confabulation of clips, shorts, ads, fakes, and whatever else I can snag ninety seconds of that's about Japan or Hell or Anime or all three or sometimes neither. 

At 1:30pm Saturday afternoon Neil Nadelman and myself look at the pioneers who blazed the trail of anime localization in North America and brought us Astro Boy, Speed Racer, Kimba The White Lion, Prince Planet, Marine Boy, Gigantor, 8th Man, Amazing Three, and other groundbreaking works of cartoon entertainment. 


This year we dealt with the sudden loss of legendary mangaka Akira Toriyama, and we'll be looking back on his life and career Saturday at 4:30.

Saturday night means it's time for Neil Nadelman to bring the Totally Lame Anime to a packed house of fans ready to have their sensibilities offended by some of the least successful Japanese cartoons ever animated. 

All day Sunday Anime North turns the Paris room into the home of Old School Afternoon, six hours of classic anime, all currently unlicensed here and yet deserving of our attention and appreciation.


At noon Sunday I'll be joined by Neil Nadelman and Shaindle Minuk as we discuss the saga of Candace White Adley and her struggle through the tumultuous early decades of the 20th century while simultaneously entertaining an entire generation of 1970s fans worldwide.


Ninety minutes later anime expert Mike Toole and myself will wander through a forgotten graveyard where lie the corpses of anime dubs that once entertained millions and now lie neglected, disregarded by time and progress. Dub disasters or secret masterpieces? They'll all be uncovered by our shovels. 

It's been fifty years since Space Battleship Yamato premiered in Japan and that means it's time to take a 148,000 light year journey through the epic voyages of this iconic anime legend. Without Yamato there's a good chance none of us would be here talking about these Japanese cartoons, and a panel at 3pm on Sunday is literally the least we can do. 


And that's not all that's happening this weekend! Game shows, screenings, cosplay, improv, a vast vendors hall, a giant artists alley, a gunpla model kit exhibit, guest autographs, the yard-sale Nomonichi event, dances, musical performances, fashion shows, video and tabletop gaming, workshops, panels, and events of every description are happening at Anime North 2024. See you there! 


-Dave Merrill