Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Anime North 2009: Chapter 1

Right now, as I sit on a couch in the Double Tree Hotel's lobby, a maid lies curled up beside me. No, she's not a hotel employee shucking her responsibilities, or taking full advantage of her fifteen minute break. No hotel offers such delicately laced trim and eloquent patterning on their uniforms; I dare not even mention how short the skirt is. This maid, tranquilly sleeping into Sunday afternoon, is simply an eighteen year old girl who chose to dress up for the weekend, participating in what is known at CosPlay here at the Double Tree and the Toronto Congress Centre for the three day, two night, event known as Anime North. She is not alone. A loud clap; an employee wakes her from her slumber, "we can't let you sleep on the couches here." This wasn’t a problem the night before.For her, and so many others, the dream has now ended.

Friday, five o'clock pm.

I exit the highway onto Dixon road hoping that I’m in the right place. My google maps directions have long since been lost under a mass of clothing, bottles, and bags – all required to sustain me for the next three days. Anime North in my destination: Toronto’s premier anime convention. AN also happens to be one of the largest Anime Conventions this side of the Pacific. People will show up from all over the continent to drop, shop, and gawk here.

I begin to worry I might have exited too early, or – worse – too late. Just as this fear starts to take hold, from over a small hill comes Alucard, hand in hand with Kite and Blackrose, followed by two unknown catgirls. As I jog right, I see not another pocket of five or six unreal beings brought to life, but an entire parking lot full of them. Clearly my directions were sound.

A line stretches around the congress centre, filled with people waiting to get inside to begin spending all their hard earned (or in the case of many of the people here – their parent’s hard earned) money. This line will take them three hours to get through. Once inside they will be queued into another hour long line. Finally they will be able to wait the five minute line into the dealer’s room. For them the next four hours will be torture. Torture interspersed with awkward conversations and even more uncomfortable flirting as convention friendships and relationships form.

Angering hundreds of uninformed fourteen to twenty year olds, I simply pulled my badge out of my pocket, picked up a day before when no line existed, and walked inside.

The halls were alive with the sound of the internet.

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