Friday, 31 March 2017

Anime North 2016: II

This is a continuation of “Anime North 2016”, the 20th Anime North, now with more talk of art. Click here if you missed part one.


I left the kinks panel early (see, you should’ve read part one!) to have time to glance in the Manga Library before meeting my wife at the anime “Fresh From Japan” by 3pm. I forget what I checked out. The closest I have to a clue is a cryptic note about how 3/11 is the Japanese 9/11, because March 11, 2011 was the date of the big earthquake and tsunami (phones went down, ‘net was up). Guess the manga wasn’t that memorable.

Reaching “Fresh”, they had already played some “Fairy Tail Zero” (a prequel to ‘Fairy Tail’) and “Divine Gate”. I saw an episode of “Assassination Classroom” which, ehhh, not for me, but watchable. Then “Dimension W”. Okay, THAT was interesting. (Checking in the here and now of 2017, apparently picked up by Funimation.)

Expona by Ruuari
(Second commission)
Verging on 4pm, went back to the Convention Centre, I think to pick up my artwork (of note, one was going to be mailed/posted to me, first time for that option). I liked the Alijda so much (see prior post) I commissioned the artist a second time. Also bought stuff (pretty sure it was at this point, not earlier?). Some dealer was selling wall scrolls for cheap, and I found a bunch of “Nanoha” ones, so yoink on those five (young Nanoha, young Fate, swimsuit Nanoha, two StrikerS Nanoha). Also bought regular outfit Nanoha and Fate figmas from the same guy as last year's purchase. Then food/dinner at 5:30pm (hopefully before the rush?).

After food, I’m pretty sure I dropped items off back at the hotel (can’t be certain, but 22,420 steps on the day implies the trip). Spun back by artists shortly before Dealer’s closed at 8pm to get second commission (see above). Saw a pretty amazing cosplay of Fate Testarossa on the way out, and got pictures. Alas, the 8pm panel on “Anime vs Science” was FULL. So I wandered by the video rooms. Saw at least an episode of “Witchblade” (interesting but big on action, not looking it up now), and some of “Waiting in the Summer” (same director as “Ano Hana”, just spent more time looking at that one). 

A little before 10pm I went to “Fannish Music 101”, which was right after the Kari Maaren and Kraken concerts, so I got to say “hi” (and bought the CD of Kari that I didn’t have yet, the one with “Being Watson”). The filk panel was headed by Peggy Lalonde and Sally Hedford, the term defined as “the folk music of people who like speculative fiction and fantasy”.

Having been to variations on this panel through the years, I didn’t take many notes. There was talk of how communities these days are more online, posting music, not knowing about physical gatherings. Also “symphony orchestras are cover bands for the 1800s” and FAWM (February Album Writing Month). At 11pm things shifted to “Open Mic”. What the heck, I had my laptop, I performed “Polar Plot” which got some laughs, and a number of other people sang as well.

I left around midnight, checking the video rooms again en route. One room was doing a Marathon AMV Special, spent some time there. Another was showing “Library Wars” an anime which, well, at least warranted me making a note. Then there was the “Cream Lemon” retrospective, good for a bit of a laugh. I’m not sure exactly when I left, but (much like Friday) I was back in my hotel room for 1:30am (and it’s not a short walk).


As often happens when I’m in the area, I met up with my parents for breakfast. Got back to the Convention after 10am. I remember having an interest in the “Precure Movie” but either the room was full or something else was going on, because I ended up in “Sugar Buzz Theater” instead. (Same difference?)

They were playing “Minky Momo in Tabidachi no Eki” (an OAV sequel with Momo) about people meeting on a bridge, which was okay I guess. Then a “Viva Happy” short (Hatsune Miku), a promo(?) for some anime where microphones become light sabres (and that search has led me to "AKB0048", an anime where idols fight because they are outlawed, now you must watch the OP/EDs because that’s somehow a thing), and then “Sugar*Soldier”. Also, “Jewel Pet” (with Laura in France?).

Around 11:30am there was a “Comic Artist Roundtable”, so a bit after the start I went to where I thought that was (Plaza C), but it turned out to be “Voice Acting, Behind the Scenes”? Neither volunteer seemed to know what the room change was about. I listened briefly to the “Voice Acting” thing, because they were talking about voice libraries.

Actors need to do “grunts and groans” every time that’s in the script, but things that may be trying on the voice (eg. evil laughs) are done once, and archived. Particularly useful if it becomes a character quirk. Then they had some volunteers to demonstrate “short” (half sec), “medium” and “long” laughs. I headed back out.

I went back over to the Dealer’s Area, and had a look at the “Shojo Anime Poster Exhibition”, which included a handout identifying the various “Heroine Typology”. It breaks down the common traits for everything from Magical Girls to Gun Bunnies to Harem Girls to Female Bishonen (including examples). Also, my second commission from Shirochya was ready. 

Sine by Tannistha
(Mailed out, arrived in June)
Also, I ended up back in the Dealer’s City. Do I really need a transformed Fate figma? I bought so much stuff yesterday. But it’s marked down below $100, and would be a nice counterpoint to the Nanoha I have. As I’m debating, the guy notices my interest and takes another $10 off. Sale. >.<

At 1pm, I was aiming for “Railgun S, Season 2”; I own Season 1 and have read the manga for this part of the story, and wanted to see if it was worth a purchase. Turned out to be English dub, but that was fine... and it impressed me enough that I bought the first part from HMV during their “going out of business sale” last week.


I then went to a rehash of sorts from 2015 - Loomis Heads with Kent Burles. Except in 2015 I’d been considering turning personified math into a webcomic. In 2016 I was actually DOING it, and figured that would give a fresh perspective. I mentioned back in the 2015 recap then how the trick is to have a delicate touch; still the case. “Line quality is your first line of defence.”

Pencil types came up again. “H” (light) pencils promote bad drawing. “B” (soft) pencils make marks more easily - you can always press harder once you have something you like. DON’T use mechanical pencils, they produce a dead weight line. “Draw from the inside out” was said again (as if things are made of glass), start with simple shapes, not detail. “The more mistakes you make, the better you get - the more problems you can identify, and it frees you.”

From there, into the Andrew Loomis heads. (No oval heads!) Sphere with midline (brow line), vary the spacing to make less generic. Wherever the torso goes, the rest follows from that. Avoid schematic or Egyptian eyes; large pupils for friendly, small pupils for evil. Avoid the field of grass syndrome for hair; eyebrows are thicker at the end (bridge of nose), taper inwards. The further away you are, the more impressionistic; hair is a block, maybe hairs at end if thinning versus darker (heavier) brows.

From there, into hour two, “Comic Book Basics”. Before looking at the subject matter, people will look at your lines. Working roughly with a 9 by 6; printed page is SMALLER. Your first conception is your worst conception. Work as small as you comfortably can (thumbnail). Have an active mobile camera (not always same angle), shouting through goblet-vision, etc. May be transitional or splash pages.

A grid takes some decisions out of your hands. Good! Many decisions exist already. (Also, modified grid, like a six panel array but two of them combine.) Design from the dominant panel, ask yourself “what is the point of this page?”. It’s not about putting pretty pictures together, it’s about storytelling. Visual variety, visual rhythm, a moving journey. (Avoid the domino approach wasn’t written down here, but I’ll toss it in too.) Design the page first, the costume later. Again a mention of the different views, noting that the long shot is ‘Where’, the midrange is ‘Who’ and the close-up is the ‘Why’.

Kent then gave an exercise to try (like last year) but different scenario. Five panels: A magical character; on the battlements of a castle; looking out over a vast desert plain (flying item in distance); a dragon now almost on top of structure; gout of fire sent out. (So it wasn’t a person waking up surrounded by hooked figures, as in 2015.) I did a couple thumbnails, like last year, and stayed around to talk to him, like last year, though I waited until the end (due to last year), meaning it was closer to 4:30pm when I went to find Anne-Lise.

Final thoughts by Kent on my work: I have good ideas, but execution issues. Don’t do a “hanging L” (big panel cut in corner), better to add a strip underneath. Consider having your character central, but offset by structure (a taller rampart one side) rather than making your character less central. He’d shown gridlines at one point, so I tried it in a panel, and he noted they shouldn’t go past/above the horizon line choice. Then have your path (river, whatever) flow along the grid... leading the eye into the next panel (rather than into horizon). Track your vanishing point (where grid comes together), may give more horizon space. Consider Scott McCloud’s book “Making Comics” -- and if I’m back next year, remind him to pick a different 5-panel comic yet again. :)

Karl Z and Me (from Friday)
My wife mentioned to me that “One Week Friends” might be an anime for me to check out, and we swung by the 404s Anime Improv (all the way in the North Ballroom) for a quick look before 5pm. They were trying a new game at one point, “Objection!”. It’s a 2 min 30 sec scene, where one person is making an argument until they’re interrupted with “Objection!” and if the objection is valid, the interruptor gets to speak instead. The winner is the one speaking when time is up. So obviously interruptions are more frequent towards the end. (I only recall at one point the “Objection! I can’t read!” being followed up with the person saying the objector has a book.)

Then, yes, departing before 6pm for the long drive back, with the teaching happening on the next day.


I’ve only been to 20 of these "Anime North" conventions. LITERALLY half my life. I can quit any time I want to. I can! Actually, really, I can; it’s fun, and I still get something out of it (seeing old friends, tips for my hobbies, fingering the pulse of popular anime for the school club) but there isn’t a level of anticipation to it these days. Even if I did get more merchandise in 2016 than I think I did the prior couple years combined. >.<

I registered for AN2017 this past week (mental note: book hotel), but that’s partially due to the fact that it’s taking place on the same weekend as the 50th Anniversary of my middle school, which is in the area, so I can make it a two-for-one. There’s also the chance I’ll have to back out, depending on medical things outside my control. We’ll see!

I’m glad I went in 2016 though. And I’m glad you read this post! Hope you found something of use within the recap. Feel free to comment if you have your own thoughts.


  1. Hi! Wow, what a summary! Would you happen to have pictures of the Fate Testarossa cosplayer? :D

    1. Thanks! I like to think these are interesting to people other than myself. ^^ Yay for Nanoha/Fate! Found one of the pics, but of course I can't seem to attach to a comment... we'll see if this "Google Photos" link works? If not, maybe I'll have to figure out permissions or something... >.<

    2. Or, hey, here's a thought, this is my post. I could just append the picture to the bottom. Derp. It should not have taken me 48 hours to figure that out. Anyway, thanks for commenting!