We may not have made it to Anime North this year, but FanExpo certainly made up for it!
You’ve likely heard of FanExpo, Toronto’s biggest convention for ALL geek culture, rather than just anime. As you can imagine, it was jam packed, even for a Friday, and despite being during the long weekend. Unfortunately, Umbreon had not been completed in time. And it still isn’t. Womp.
As I’ve already made a post about things learned at Anime North, it is only appropriate to recap things I learned from FanExpo. So sit back, enjoy, and hopefully take a few things away from the experience if you’re deciding to attend in the future.
FanExpo takes place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) located in the downtown core, near the CN Tower and Rogers centre. Not to be confused with the TCC, which is in the West End. If you live near the subway or GO train, it should be easy to find your way down. One rule I’ve learned about taking the TTC is, “as long as you can find your way to the subway, you’ll be fine.”
FanExpo was much easier to reach than Anime North. From Union Subway Station, just walk up to the main road and follow the crowd down Front Street. At first, I tried following a Deadpool and his dad, but they seemed lost as well. A trick to remember is, “find the main street, and then follow that toward the CN Tower.”
It’s even easier if you take the GO train, because you can just follow the covered path to the South Entrance. This was much easier than going to Anime North, which requires you to take another bus after getting off the subway. And it’s easy to access from the GO train, which makes it even easier for people who come from far away. Even though Umbreon didn’t have eyes, it enjoyed the journey, as well.
It only took an hour to get downtown by subway, if you initally take the Express bus. But it’s a good thing I got there right as the registration opened, because it gave enough time to look around Vendor’s Alley.
Consider this part 1 of the Alley visits. Here, you can buy prints, as well as receive autographs and photo ops with your favourite celebrities. Panels and autograph sessions don’t start until 11:00, so take your time looking around, and figuring out where things are; the escalator layout in the MTCC is quite bizzare.
Why be a Pika IN a bag, when you can be a Pika bag?
And Umbreon found itself.
Don’t worry, Umbreon. You’ll look just like this… eventually.
Although it was Stan Lee’s last year going, I didn’t get a chance to see him. But it’s okay, since autographs and photo ops with him ran up to $119! It must’ve been exhausting for him, since people were continuing to come up when he was trying to sit down and take a break. “With great power comes great responsibility,” I suppose? XP Really though, I hope Mr. Lee will be okay until the con is over. Can you believe he’s turning 94 this year?!
Vendor’s Alley is also where you can learn about new series, and obtain more information about shows and web series you already follow. This is where I found out about Super Geeked Up. For those who have heard of them, yes, Jeff Burns is a pretty cool guy in person. For those who haven’t, they’re basically a geeky comedy show, and later that day, they did an improv show reenacting classic movies in funny ways. Or so they said, I missed it. 😦
But yes, I have watched the first episode of Super Knocked Up. Honestly, I think I like it better as a comic, rather than the video format. It’s got a hilarious premise (super villain gets pregnant by super hero, hijinks ensue) but the first two episodes are very…slow. When reading a comic, you automatically assume that time is passing from panel to panel. But in the videos, they’ve recreated the scenes in real time. Maybe they were trying to get a laugh out of the awkward silences? I feel the first two episodes could’ve easily been squished into one. But the season finale was intriguing enough that I do want to keep watching, despite the Dumbledore they’ve pulled with Jessica Jones in season 2, so let’s see where this goes.
The best part of FanExpo is that people are allowed to dress up as Marvel/DC characters. Yet, I found myself drawn toward the video game/animation characters. And I didn’t get a proper picture of the Darth Vader lineup. Womp.
First, let’s enjoy this Katara done right. As well as Sokka, Momo, and Suki.
Know what we should do next year? Make a bunch of tiny mascot plushies, and get their cosplayers to pose with them. I saw a couple cosplaying Cosmo and Wanda, (Fairly OddParents) and thought it would be great to get a picture of them with Baby Poof. Or even this awesome Link and Sheik, with a Navi plushie. Wait, this is Twilight Princess Link, so it’d have to be Midna.
Sadly, I didn’t cosplay this year. I just wore my shirt with all the Doctors from New Who. (New Doctor Who) They did have a booth for Doctor Who Canada, and the people there looked exactly like the 10th, 11th, and 12th Doctors, River, and Clara. I wonder if they attended Alex Kingston’s panel?
FanExpo 2016 drinking game: drink every time you see a Harley Quinn cosplay. Take another drink if it’s the one from the comics, TV shows, or most media until now. If you’re playing the hardcore version, or just don’t care about your health, drink every time it’s the one from Suicide Squad. (By the way, you could totally hear Margo Robbie’s accent slipping. It wasn’t a bad thing, it was just one of those things you can’t help but notice)
Ahh, another great thing about FanExpo: the celebrity guests! I got to see Charles Martinet (voice actor for the one and only Super Mario) and Alex Kingston (River Song from Doctor Who) in person. Is it sad that you never imagine them as being real people, until you see them in person?
Sadly, Veronica Taylor (original voice of Ash from Pokemon) had a panel the day before. And I missed her autograph session. But it’s okay, not like I had an Umbreon for her to sign. In fact, it didn’t cross my mind to bring some of Peck Peck’s Mario games for Charles Martinet to sign. That would’ve made a good present, since I didn’t find anything for him.
I won’t talk much about the celebrity guests here, because I want to save that for future posts about the characters they’ve played.
What I learned: Bring memorabilia for your favourite guests to sign. Autograph prices are a lot cheaper if you bring your own material. And they make great presents for the nerd in your life who is hard to shop for.
Time for every crafty person’s favourite spot! This is where you do most of your walking, so be prepared if you’re cosplaying in heels. Or barefoot, as one brave Robin (Fire Emblem) cosplayer did. And expect traffic to be slow, when you’re weaving through stalls, stopping to browse, or trying to get past people who have stopped to browse. Here are some bows that were on sale at one of the front booths. I wonder where they get this printed fabric? It would make cute pyjamas:
I got Shoonie two bows. BUT WHAT KINDS COULD THEY BE? Are they featured above? Are they a different kind? You’ll have to wait and find out. 8D
I met a fellow crocheter named Maria. She ran a booth selling crochet cozies, gloves, and creative barettes. One barette was a gigantic donut! Maybe I should’ve gotten that for Baker Shoonie. Maria was also selling perler bead bows, some of which had a Pokeball in the middle. Sigh, here were much more creative bows, and for the same price as the ones from the first stall. I should’ve looked around, before buying the two from the stall up ahead. >.< Maria was cool about me just browsing for ideas, which was nice of her. There is a rule now: my close friends and family are not allowed to buy plushies from anyone but me. Hey, good things come with a price! Literally.
If Maria is reading this: Hi Maria! Good luck with your cutie crafts! 😀
Here are links to Maria’s shop, as well as other cards found around the alley:
Nerdifacts (Highly recommended for cuteness!)
Atomic Ami (More cute amis)
Cakes Cove (Crafty Bakery)
Imaginism Studios (Cool artwork, and a business card of a cute bunny)
Geek At Heart (Bronze work)
Grumpycakes (Cute, cartoony illustations)
While walking around, guess who else happened to be there? Kitty! He was with Amy, who is cute. Thanks to Amy, I got over my concerns of buying something for myself. Hey, this will look great laminated and hung up on the wall. Those InuYasha and Naruto posters were getting stale. I hope this time next year, the three of us can attend together again, alone with a fourth person. *River Song voice* Spoilers~ ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ
And it’s kinda neat to see a real life copy of a drawing you’ve only seen on deviantArt. I’d seen this artist’s work around dA before, and love her use of bright colours and lights. She also had a Zelda pic, but… it was NSFW. And I live with my parents, so. (Click image for original dA post)
What I learned: Look around before buying. You might find a cute plushie at one booth, but you might find something even better at another booth. And if possible, wait a day or two for prices to drop. If you’re meeting up with people, use the garbage bins around the cafeteria as landmarks, since they’re the easiest ones to find. Or better yet, arrange to meet up and walk around together before the con begins.
Even if it was only for a day, and I was alone most of the time, FanExpo was great. Although many people were not in cosplay, it still felt out of place to be in regular clothes. I’m not sure if they have scheduled photo shoots for each series/fandom like AN did, though I guess with all the different fandoms and genres present, it would be impossible to accomodate everyone.
It’s easy to have a journey of self-reflection when you’re alone. Oddly enough, it wasn’t until I started walking with Kitty and Amy, that my feet and legs started to hurt. Though aching legs usually only happen when….uh oh. ;w;
And this concludes our Sunday reading. Here, have an orange R2-D2. He was beeping and squeaking just like in the movies. It’s too bad you had to pay extra to see Mark Hamill; I wonder if he did a special skit with this R2.
Did you attend FanExpo? If so, which celebrity guests did you see? Which ones would you like to see? If you didn’t attend, have you attended in the past? Would you like to attend? Comment below!
Pika, so happy~