Monday, June 8, 2009

Anime North 2009: Chapter 6

Where does Super Mario make out with Princess Zelda, before being punched in the face by Naruto? Where does a big blue tiger from Monster Rancher cross swords with Sepiroth? Where does Sonic the Hedgehog – well lets not get ahead of ourselves, no one really likes Sonic the Hedgehog… and to be honest, the fewer furries, the better.

So where is it that all these things can be seen? Why at Anime North’s Masquerade! Yes the masquerade is where people who enjoy the fine art of Cosplay can show off all their hard work, and enact a dramatic scene as well.

Seventy six entries: that’s how many scenes there were at Anime North’s 2009 costume masquerade. Each entry was about one minute in length, but there was also a minute between each entry for set up, and introductions. At the end of it all, the even probably ran three hours.

Three hours in a dark full room smelling of Otaku. Now, far be it for me to complain – I slept in a car. And now that I really think about it, when I was on the grey hound for three days straight from Vancouver to Toronto back in 2006, how good could I have possibly smelled then? But – that was different – it didn’t bother me!

By the fifth or sixth act, I knew I was in for the long haul, and I knew that it was probably going to get a lot worse before it got any better. At this point there was only one thing left to do: pictochat!

The free software that accompanies the Nintendo DS is, for the most part, completely useless. Where would you ever find yourself with other people who have their own Nintendo DS ready to pictochat? Nowhere – save for nerd conventions such as Anime North. Within seconds the Masquerade took on a different tone, as the chatroom started to flood full of people, each also bored, but with nowhere better to go.

Was the skit on stage terrible? Well you better be sure that people on pictochat were complaining about it, mocking it, or trying to support it against all odds. It was no different than any other internet chatroom. And at one point, some people grew bold slinging traditional insults and personal attacks that would be found on any message board. There is, however, one big difference between pictochat and truly anonymous chat servers, and the difference is this: When I really want to, I can look around the room, and start to identify who is whom.

Ahh – that person insulting my mother? That’s the boy in the back in the green shirt. And that guy insulting the girl up from for being bisexual, he’s over there in the yellow. As I started to point out who specific people were, it was amazing how quickly the tone of the room changed.

Pictochat: It’s like the magical world we’ve always dreamed of – a chat room, where you really can walk over and punch the person in the face when they become, shall we say, off colour.

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