Three-day anime convention begins in Ottawa

Organizers expect at least 8,000 people to attend over the weekend at the EY Centre.

Article content

Like big brother Ottawa Comicon, Anime Ottawa features cosplay, autograph tables, a merchandise room, costumed fans, and even Nerd-Lesque, a themed burlesque show for convention-goers 18 and older.

But the inaugural Anime Ottawa, which kicked off Friday and runs through Sunday at 6 p.m. at the EY Centre, also includes a cosplayer costume contest, karaoke and a dance party with Toronto anime DJs ANC3.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Article content

Anime Ottawa program coordinator Jenny Lau, who has attended anime conventions across Canada, believes there is an audience in Ottawa.

“The fascinating thing is that you see young anime fans,” Lau said Friday. “They grow up and have children, and their children like anime. “It’s something the whole family can enjoy.”

Kanji Yamanouchi Anime Ottawa Japanese Ambassador
Anime Ottawa’s opening ceremonies began Friday with a ribbon cutting by Kanji Yamanouchi, Japan’s ambassador to Canada. Photo by Ashley Fraser /POSTMEDIA

Animated films in Japan date back more than a century. But anime took off in Japan in the late 1950s with the introduction of Astro Boy. an android boy created by cartoonist Osamu Tezua who lived in a world where robots coexisted with humans. Astro Boy was a success and spread beyond Japan.

The anime is about heroes, adventures, cute creatures, and magical powers. In the 1980s, American audiences were introduced to Sailor Moon, a mini-skirted schoolgirl who befriended a talking cat. In the ’90s, kids were obsessed with Pokémon.

“I see it as a medium that can tell stories for more than just children. It’s for anyone,” said Lau, who grew up with Sailor Moon. She says the anime community is very inclusive.

“You can be whatever you want to be,” he said.

Taline Blouin Moonie Anime Ottawa
Taline Blouin, whose anime name is Moonie, was on the phone before Anime Ottawa’s opening ceremony on Friday. Photo by Ashley Fraser /POSTMEDIA

Anime conventions are growing, said Alyssia Duval-Nguon, a spokesperson for Anime Ottawa who grew up with Pokémon and Sailor Moon.

Advertisement 3

Article content

“Sailor Moon was a magical girl. She really spoke to me,” she said. “Sailor Moon was ambitious, powerful and cute.”

Japanese ambassador Kanji Yamanouchi opened Anime Ottawa by cutting a ribbon with giant scissors. Born in 1958, Yamanouchi grew up with Astro Boy and said he considered anime characters opened doors to Japanese culture.

“It creates mutual understanding, respect and friendship,” Yamanouchi said.

Los Angeles-based voice actor Chris Hackney dubs the anime from Japanese into English. He was signing prints at a booth in Ottawa. There’s something different about the way anime stories are told that draws people in, he said.

“It’s escapism.”

Anime conventions have become major draws around the world, Hackney said. The one in Los Angeles attracts about 100,000 people and occupies the center of the city.

Ottawa anime opening ceremony
Anime Ottawa 2024 began on Friday with opening ceremonies. Photo by Ashley Fraser /POSTMEDIA

Organizers in Ottawa expect at least 8,000 people to attend over the weekend, and numbers were already surpassing that by Friday afternoon. It’s a slightly younger audience than the one that appeared at the Comicons run by Capeflow Productions Inc.

Like comics, anime used to be a very niche industry. “The audience has gotten big enough to justify its own show,” Duval-Nguon said.

Ottawa anime opening ceremony
A photo from the first day of Anime Ottawa 2024. Photo by Ashley Fraser /POSTMEDIA
anime ottawa
A photo from the first day of Anime Ottawa 2024. Photo by Ashley Fraser /POSTMEDIA
anime ottawa
A photo from the first day of Anime Ottawa 2024. Photo by Ashley Fraser /POSTMEDIA

Our website is your destination for the latest news, so be sure to bookmark our homepage and Subscribe to our newsletters so we can keep you informed.

Article content

Leave a Comment