Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Anime North 2008: The Year We Screamed Defiantly, Hearts Ablaze, Spirits United...

Anime North 2008 Post Con Wrap Up

For the past few years I've been working ANIME NORTH with the BEGUILING, having previously attended as an "artist" with my friends. Frankly, the only way I can do AN anymore is as a retailer. I never quite felt comfortably in artist alley as the only guy without a comic or prints to sell, and a terribly unpopular style that netted me about $10 in commissions in my TOTAL AN experience (seriously... in the, what, 8 years I've been going to AN, I only ever made $10 off of my art), and I spend way to much money to justify my being there... there's just no logic in me paying 60 dollars so I can spend $200 in the dealers room (ha ha... I spent WAY more than that this year...).

I have to say, I do enjoy the AN retail experience. It's the one time a year I'm actually doing a job that I like; selling manga/anime/comics related merchandise. Even with the heavy lifting, even with the long hours, I love working AN. I get paid to hang out with all my friends, and talk up shit that I love to other people who are into the same thing... something I NEVER get to do, because no one is really into the same stuff as me. ^_^;;;

Of course it's not all sunshine and roses. AN can be... taxing at times. This year wasn't that bad though. Very few people grated on me, and I didn't leave with my usual level of resentment for humanity. Only two people REALLY pissed me off, aside from a few others that only irked me, because they all shared the same bad customer habits.

Here are some of this years highlights, followed by some pictures... this is all very stream of consciousness, as I'm still pretty tired, and didn't make any notes or anything, so I might not be remembering things correctly.


I arrived at the store around 5:45pm to help with the load in... this is significant in that it was already mostly done by the time I got there, and thus not nearly as back breaking for me personally as it could have been. I'm not one to shy away from hard work when it needs to be done, but neither am I a masochist. ^_^;;; What little there was left to be done was quick and painless, and then we went for drinks and food at the VICTORY CAFE, which is always good. I went to bed early to ensure I'd be up at 5:45 the next morning.


I think I got up at 5:15am actually... what the fuck is wrong with me? Rather than go back to bed, I just fucked around on the internet until 5:50am and then left for the subway. I think I got downtown at around 6:20am and took my time getting to the store, stopping by the TIM HORTONS for some breakfast and a very large coffee. I like to be early when I need to be some place, especially if it's work, and especially if it's in the morning, so I can wake up a bit and so that I'm sure not to be late.

Kayla showed up a little after I did, and then I can't really remember what happened... decisions were made, and we were off to the wilds of Mississauga for AN load out.

When we got there, Peter had already started unloading, and had procured a pretty sweet spot right next to the door. I don't think there was anything really significant about the load out... it went pretty smoothly, and there was a lot of going back and forth, which allowed me to look at some of the other tables and see who was carrying what, knowing I'd never had the oppurtunity to leave the table the first day, but not wanting to get fucked out of any potential purchases on the first day, like I was last year. Turns out the only table of interest to me other than Ryan from MIDDLE MAN's (great guy, who usually has the best selection of artbooks at any given show... I usually spend a lot of money at his table, and he's nice enough to get me a hookup, even if I don't ask for one. Fantastic guy) was the Hentai table. These guys didn't have a store or anything... it's just some guy that goes to Japan every few monthes, buys an assload of doujin and hentai takubon, marks them up, and sells them at North American conventions for a profit. I have no idea what he pays, but a lot of his doujin was from the most recent comiket, so he's not buying them at a discount. Overall while his prices aren't great, they are pretty reasonable for a product that's simply not available here, and he is the only game in town. Plus I like filthy filthy doujin... what can I say? I am a man, and a nerd, and a nerd-man. There's no real way for me to defend my hunger for filthy comics. NONE AT ALL.

Everything was going pretty good at this point... the load out was pretty quick, and the organizing and set-up was progressing at pace... we stood to be show reading without time to spare... until the overstock order arrived. A second truck with over 2000 some odd books! ALL UNSORTED. Unloading it didn't bother me at all... physical labor is pretty mindless and easy for me... but I did almost lose it a bit when I was told to sort, like, 20-25 boxes of Shonen Jump an hour before the doors opened. I really regret not just calmly rolling up my sleeves and digging in... I'm supposed to be solution oriented. Either way, Peter, Amanda, Kai, and I somehow managed to get it somewhat straighten out, literally moments before the show started, giving me about 10 minutes to run over to the Hentai table and make an impulse purchase... I wouldn't know until that night if I'd actually approve of my purchase, and I regret not having taken the time to actually look through everything and see what he had first... I could have done SO much better. >_<>_< style="font-style: italic;">AN TANGENT: PEOPLE THAT PISSED ME OFF ON SATURDAY*

The first guy that pissed me off was this older guy... I think Chris actually tried to engage him as well. I think he was in his late 30's early 40's or so, and obviously wasn't there with a child or anything like that... he was there for himself. The thing that pissed me off about this guy was that he came off as a snob... he acted like he was too good to be at AN, but let me tell you this... if you're AT ANIME NORTH, you're definately not to good for ANIME NORTH. He was looking at various books in my section, which was mostly artbooks of various types ranging form Import books, Art Instruction, and Art Appreciation (essays and the type). He'd been looking around aimlessly for awhile, flipping through various things, picking things up, building a pile, reconsidering, and putting things back, so I engaged him while he was looking at the Sketching Manga artbook and tried to give him a little information on it, which had, to this point, worked very well in selling the books, only to be met with, "I'm an experienced artist! I don't need this book. I have no interest in anime or manga other than the art, and I don't like any of the art you're suggesting to me!" WHAT... THE FUCK? If you don't need it, WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT IT? Also, even an experienced artist can benefit from a really good book on art instruction... that's why people STILL reference the ANIMATORS SURVIVAL GUIDE (which we also had, but seemed to be lost on this asshole). He then proceeded to shit all over anything he looked at, but still bought some stuff... I can't remember which. It didn't matter though, because now I hated this stuck up asshole (who would later return and buy MORE stuff).

The second person to piss me off was similarly a snob, but in a different way. Before the show even began some sort of Library people snuck into the dealers room and tried to buy a whole bunch of shit from us before we'd even finished unpacking. I didn't have to deal with them, but they seemed really pushy, made someone do a lot of work, and then told them to put everything back so they could look around at other tables because they didn't feel they were getting a good enough deal or something (I may be wrong about this though... someone correct me if I am). Anyways, these people ended up in the Anime section, and had a few DVD collections already, before asking me to make suggestions, and sell them on things... and then proceeded to shit all over every suggestion I made by saying, "I'd never watch that!" THEN WHY ASK ME TO MAKE SUGGESTIONS IF YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT YOU WANT!?! Even when I asked, "What would you LIKE to see?" they'd just say, "Oh, I don't know, anything, suggestion something." I just can't deal with that (to be fair, this happened with some people in the manga section as well, when I had to work that for a brief period... I don't know how everyone else dealt with that ALL FUCKING WEEKEND). If you don't WANT suggestions, don't ASK for them.

The third person to really piss me off was this one specific bitch that argued with me on the FRUITS postcard set, suggesting that out prices were outlandish because they exactly matched EVERYONE ELSE. Which I already knew was a lie. So I was all like, "If everyone else is selling this incredibly rare thing for the same price, then I have no competition, so why should I give it to you for the suggested FIVE DOLLARS you want to pay?" Seriously... she offered FIVE DOLLARS for it, and insisted that anything more was ridiculous. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!?! We were selling it for US cover, which was $15 even. And I KNOW that no one else had it, as people had been telling me that ALL DAY, so that was an outright lie. Long story short, my refusal to budge caused her to leave, and the thing was sold later on anyways, probably for the normal asking price. FUCK YOUR FIVE DOLLARS BITCH!

After what seemed like forever, the say finally ended, and we all returned to Markham and Bloor, and had a delicious dinner at ROCCO'S. I had the Linguine Paradise,which was... amazing, and drank a little to much Richard's Red. Jim Zubkavich was there, telling more of his seemingly endless hilarious stories of the industry, which always fascinates me.

After dinner and drinks, I was barely awake, and didn't really look forward to a 6:00am wakeup to take an long and early bus ride downtown, so Chris was nice enough to put me up. After having one of my favorite conversations EVER about Dr. Mindbender being akin to the GI JOE version of Freddy Mercury, I disappeared myself for awhile to Chris and Andrew clean up (sorry sorry... I hate being a burden ^_^;;;), and talked with Kendall at BMV, which is always fun.

I fell asleep as soon as I closed my eyes.


The final day of AN, started at about 7:15am, as I woke up, downed a huge glass of water, and otherwise prepared myself for the day. I snuck out around 7:30am, moving quietly, so as to not disturb Andrew, who didn't need to be up at all, and went to TIM HORTONS for the third morning in a row. I wasn't feeling that great, so I only got a small coffee and some orange juice that sort of tasted like vomit, and went to wait at the store. It was awhile before anyone showed up, so I did some sketching and made some notes on a story I want to try and do. People started showing up, so I helped Parrish and Joanna pack up some stuff, and witnessed the pretty common site of John being a bastard again, surprising no one. Then Chris showed up and it was once again off to AN.

When we arrived, Chris and I went to get food from the LAMEST SOBBEY's I've ever seen, and then returned to do some setup. I was starting to feel a lot better that this point, and after making one final sweep of the dealers room, found that there was nothing else that I wanted (this is when I discovered that the COLOR WALK book was gone. ;_;).

Nothing of much interest happened all day. I think the thing I was proudest of was moving over 230 dollars worth of hentai anime AFTER the show had closed. Man did I sell that filthy, filthy, pornography.

The load in was surprisingly painless despite Show Security fucking us out of a better parking spot. I didn't really have any complaints. The load out seemed rougher than it did last year, but I guess we had significantly less people.

Afterward we had dinner at INSOMNIA, which was pretty good... it's not really my favorite place, but that was a pretty good quesadilla. Finally, I excused myself, and went home, immediately falling asleep while watching the new HE-MAN DVD set I'd bought from the store.


I slept until 1:00 or so, when I got a phone call from Kiza asking if I'd like to go with see INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, which was alright. We then went for Sushi after at SAPPORO, which is, like, my favorite restaurant of all time.


Work was... so fucking BAD. I was still tired, so I decided to take Wednesday off, which is, like, the best idea I've ever had! Next year, I'm definately taking more time off after AN.


I wrote this shit, and plan on going to the store after. Pictures will be posted once I think of the best way to get pictures online (is Flickr.com available for public viewing, or do you need a Yahoo account?).

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