Here are some key points from the Otakuthon weapons policy.
4. All weapons must be holstered, sheathed or slung in an approved fashion
5. Weapons will not be drawn or displayed outside of convention function space (except in the privacy of a hotel room), or in any public or crowded area except for specific photo ops areas.
7. All weapons or large props must be checked and authorized by the Weapons Masters at the Weapons Registration tables on arrival. Upon approval, the weapon(s) will be marked and your convention badge marked accordingly. You cannot tamper with the mark on either your badge or weapon.
Otakuthon is Montreal’s anime festival/convention. It bears similarity to Comiccon and tends to attract a similar crowd. The focus, though, is Japanese. Fans though are sure to be delighted by what is on offer: guest appearances by voice actors, performances by musicians, special events such as a masquerade, musical guests, and of course, an exhibition hall with goodies to drool over.
Here are a few of the highlights.
Keep Your Ear Out For…
Musical guests come from Japan and North America and include composers and performers. Arnie Roth and Nobuo Uematsu wrote the music for Final Fantasy and subsequent titles. His music will be performed at an intimate concert entitled Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy. Other concerts and performances include Komachi Montreal (a dance group), Feng Huang Wushu Club (acrobatic martial arts), Sebastian 3000, vocalist Raj Ramayya, Benjamin Nuss, and the Yokai Project (A J-Rock cover band from Montreal and their own Touhou Project series composition). Of course there is karaoke!
Voice actors and actresses figure prominently at the festival. Japanese actress and voice actress, Yui Ishikawa (known as the voice of Mikasa Ackerman from Attack on the Titan, among others) is making her first appearance at a Canadian convention. Spike Spencer provided voice to over hundreds of anime titles as well as video games. Shelley Calene-Black, a babe of anime, most recently won her award for her performance of Hamyuts Meseta in The Book of Bantorra.
Writers and animators are in the house too. Look for Savannah, Andrew, and Rebecca who created the webcom Amya. Jacob Grady will be around. He’s known for his website Fakku of English hentai (look hentai up if you don’t know what it is). Cute web star VenusAngelic “the living doll” will be around.
Harajuku style! What is Harajuku style? Some people think it means fluffy animal hats and others Gothic-Lolita. Actually, it’s just a free-style mixing with an emphasis on fun, childlike, and colorful so long as it expresses one’s individuality. It includes Lolita style, punk style, cosplay (dressing up like cartoon or anime characters), kawaii (cute style), and wamono (mixing traditional Japanese and western styles).
Expect lots of Japanese Lolita style clothing (dressing like a young girl with lace, pink, eyelet, and fluff) and Goth Lolita (add black and silver). In particular, the brand Baby, The Stars Shine Bright will be selling pretty, cute, frilly dresses. Midori-chan, a model who specializes in modeling Lolita Gothic Harajuku-style clothing will be around. Keep an eye out for her and other models during the Fashion show. Renowned cosplayer Kaname comes from Japan to represent the male cosplayers.
The Masquerade is the chance to see everyone’s amazing costume. Participants cross the stage, alone or in groups. Some perform short skits, while others just parade themselves. Up to 80 groups will cross the stage. Judges select the best to win awards in groups such as Artisan Division, Journeyman Division, and even Junior Self-Made Division. The Masquerate takes place Saturday Aug 23. 7 – 10 p.m. Main Events Room.
Montreal is hosting the first World Cosplay Summit in Canada. 30 pairs of cosplayers come on stage for up to 2 and a half minutes to deliver a presentation — it can be a ninja fight, a dance, a song, or something completely unexpected. Judges assess the pair on their performance, their costume, and their fidelity to the character presented. Other Cosplay events include Cosplay RPG Battle and the Cosplay Chess Magic vs. Technology where you can see a dying Zelda say “Well excuuuuuuuuuse me, Princess,” while being carried from the board.
The dance parties reign supreme. DJ 401 will provide the music at Friday Night’s Otadance where anime songs and classic video game themes are given their proper mix. Saturday night’s dance party is another not-miss. With DJs on the decks, everyone comes out in costume to dance. Who knew that you could snuggle up to so many dangerous ninjas???
No convention is complete without a place to vend wares. A garage sale lets collectors and anyone with something lying around to sell their goods. It’s done commission style, so the convention collects 15% on the sale. There is also an art area where original works of art can be displayed and sold. Sure there’s merchandise galore and dealers of all sorts.
This short list scratches the surface of events at the Otakuthon. For those who are already in the know, this event is a chance to connect with the community that shares in your passion. For those who’ve never gone, all you need to do is show up and enjoy the freedom that self-expression can take.
Check out Otakuthon at Palais de Congres, August 22 to 24. Tickets are $50/weekend; Single day admission is $30 for Friday or Sunday and $40 for Saturday.