Anime North 2015 and the Art of Not Murdering Each-Other

  • Written by Sofa
    Photographs by various folks and crediting them all would take too much effort

    The following is a chronicle of Anime North 2015 - intended to be the largest gathering of kigurumi cosplayers in North America - pieced together from what bits of my memory I can scrape from off the inside of my skull. Please bear with me as I leave out entire sections of the event or replace them with blatant misinformation.

    .......Late May had rolled around. For me, that meant final exams. Anxiety hung in the air around me like my permeating body-odor, and my classmates could smell both of them. They thought they understood: Finals are a stressful affair, in which many fancy numbers on official-looking documents hang in the balance. Yet I wasn't concerned with finals. As far as I could tell, I had that shit in the bag. In fact, my putrescent emissions of worry were directed at what would come afterward, on Memorial Day weekend in Toronto, Canada.

    It's like what a fictional character wiser than myself once said: As soon as God crapped out the third caveman, a conspiracy was hatched against one of them. There's going to be drama and petty contention in any given community, and a smaller community means it's all that concentrated into a smaller package. And kigurumi cosplay is a very, very small community. The origin to it all is labyrinthine at its clearest, but the origins didn't matter. What mattered is that if we weren't careful, the social mortar to this structure could give way, and create the trainwreck our favorite 4chan keyboard jockeys were prattling off about in anticipation. So, the job of those who set this all up was this: Get as many kigs as possible in one place and then keep them from strangling one-another.

    Day 0 - Thursday

    .......I landed sometime around midnight and was immediately spirited away to a safehouse in an unfamiliar location. Apparently, my Bay Area cohorts had done a photoshoot with the Europeans - Fuusen, FZent, and Sanyu - downtown, and something happened that I'm not allowed to disclose here. Therefore, we'd have to lay low for the night.

    As a side note, I sincerely hope we're not trusting kigs to prepare food now.

    We beat feet in the morning because my colleagues - Cici, Jesse, and Suki - were certain the place was haunted, even though I told them it was just my ritual to sit in the closet and scream all night. Long story short, we retrieved the Europeans and made it to the hotel we'd be using nearby the Toronto Congress Center. Which is an odd name, seeing as Canada doesn't have a congress, it's probably run by some kind of premier with a collage of medals he designed himself pinned to his chest. They probably hate freedom, too.

    Afternoon rolled around. Buffet food was consumed. Time was wasted. Finally, our entire group of twenty-something kigs out of costume convened below for briefing and introductions. I went out of my way to frequently interrupt it with attempted snark. The basic message conveyed at this gathering was this: Monday is coming. It'll be on us like shingles before we know it, and this event is not likely to happen again soon. There are effective ways to spend this time and drama isn't one of them.

    Stuff happened and then some other kigs and I went to hang out and terrorize the concierge.

    Pictures taken by Suki Namikawa

    Day 1 - Friday

    .......Settings up of the booth occurred. The summon circle was carved into the floor of the TCC and we had to sacrifice some of the staff.

    I however was not present for that, since I was too busy terrorizing the concierge again and also taking group shots out front.

    Day 2 - Saturday

    .......With my body temporarily reanimated by coffee, I manned the booth as the congress center opened. I was assigned with the task of informing the attendees of kigurumi cosplay, and our little corner of the community. Which is odd, because trusting me with pretty much anything sounds unwise.

    Above: Ichigo Kig, Mihifu Axan, Sanyu, and Ayezona Young distract local law enforcement while the rest escaped with the "equipment".

    Day 3 - Sunday

    .......Zero hour was upon us. The event may have already climaxed, but it'd still be going for one more day before ultimately collapsing and not even giving us a lift home in the morning. Therefore, we had to cram in as much content with our remaining time as possible.

    Sunday saw the debut of a new performer, Ahri Lee. Also she's gonna be doing some guest entries for this very blog, providing the perspective and opinions of a first-time kig.

    Above: Nozomi bargains with a young mother, offering eternal youth in exchange for her firstborn. Aforementioned firstborn is now on display on Nozomi's shelf.

    Above: Ichigo resigns from office whilst Chloe is sworn in.

    We attempted to get the entire group together for a shot in front of the booth, but failed due to falling short a few kigs.

    Zarathustra informed everyone over the intercom that the con was about to close. The group of course didn't listen, and the photographer was insistent on keeping at it. Finally, I had to barrel into the lounge and tell everyone we had to wrap it up and tear down.

    I finally persuaded them, and after much scrambling and yelling, the last of the kigs scattered, and as we carted out the fridge and box filled with spiders (so we could scare the communists away), we could call AN officially done.

    Day 4 - Monday

    .......As was warned on day zero, the dreaded Monday had come: Anime North convention was thereby over, but we weren't keen on parting ways just yet.

    Before that, we planned on making a stop at Niagara Falls for a beautiful collective demise. I missed the opportunity cuz Martians roofied my drink last night.

    Above: Fuusen engages in fisticuffs with a small child.

    Whilst en-route to the falls, our brave colleagues deployed to Southeast Asia in order to stem the spread of communism and also butterflies.

    With that out of the way, the gang finally makes it to the falls to marvel at a bunch of water going over some rocks.

    I woke up late and found Nozomi was still present. We then proceeded to once again annoy the hotel staff.

    Above: Just you try it, you. I will suplex you into the ground.
    (Addendum: She tried it. She succeeded. No suplexing ensued.)

    We'd gotten back out around the same time our Niagara counterparts returned. They had failed to end their existence and instead resorted to donning costumes made of materials that frankly look really uncomfortable.

    Day 5 - Tuesday

    .......The plan for Tuesday was to walk around downtown Toronto. That however sounded boring to literally everyone, so we instead oversaw Cici getting married to a fucking cat.

    Day 6 - Wednesday

    .......That was it. By the time the afternoon had rolled around, Toronto was left short twenty-something kigs, and with a few hotels filled with traumatized staff. This would be our legacy. Yet, somehow, we managed to pull it off with relatively few cases of fratricide (although with many casualties claimed by illness and starvation), and we would return home laden with the memories and also foreign germs.Thus concluded the largest publicized congregation of kigurumi cosplayers on this continent. In its aftermath, all that remained was the challenge of organizing our next meeting, and also how to go about documenting it two weeks after it had ended.

    I am not good at wrapping up entries.

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