Look, it’s Princess Peach! Wait, is that a Power Ranger? Does that person have wings? It’s an annual event that takes over the International Plaza Hotel and the Toronto Congress Centre every year, and arguably has grown bigger and bigger each and every year.
Anime North is a convention celebrating anime and manga, but has much more than just that. With movies, television and other elements of pop culture thrown in as well the con brings out thousands of proud and self-proclaimed geeks to a central place where they can meet and mingle. In a culture where being different is often censured, Anime North is like a warm embrace.
Perhaps the most visible element of Anime North is the cosplay. Dressing up in costume has become synonymous with the event and is something that rivals in popularity to just about every other attraction at the con. There are panels, artists and the dealer’s room. There is a masquerade ball and other nocturnal events, but the cosplay itself, and the accompanied photography that goes with it, is a huge part of the draw.
From other convention goers and photographers alike.
I’ll be honest, it’s been a few years since I’ve attended the full convention, by which I mean booking a hotel and making the event into a weekend affair. While this is something that I hope to rectify for the 2016 event, the one thing that draws me to the event is the cosplay. As a photographer it’s great fun to shoot the wild, varied and imaginative costumes. And those who dress up love to be photographed. Nearly everyone who is dressed up is willing and even happy to stop and be photographed. It’s like a wild photo symbiosis.
I didn’t get as many photographs this year as I did in the past. As a photographer and a fan of the genre alike, taking photos of the various cosplayers reminds me of my fandom on Pokémon. One isn’t enough. I want to photograph them all. That’s hardly possible though with the thousands of cosplayers.
Of course there’s always next year.