Okatuthon kicks it in high gear for 2014 and delivers an unmatched anime convention in Montreal
It’s always a delight to see local conventions grow in size. Considering I hadn’t attended Otakuthon for a handful of years, I was shocked to see not only the immensity of the crowd that flooded the convention hall at the Palais des Congrès, but also that the convention had managed to have the legendary Nobuo Uematsu – the composer for the majority of the music featured in Final Fantasy games – amongst its list of guests. Tailored specifically towards Japanese animation and comics (anime and manga, respectively), Otakuthon also brings out artists of all genres to share their love of the culture. Over the years though, the gathering has moved away from the (somewhat) niche genre it traces its roots from and has included events for all things geek.
The first highlight of my time at the convention was, of course, the enormous amount of people in cosplay – essentially a full costume representing a character from an anime or manga – and the attention to detail that went into some of their attire. Makeup, props, masks, swords, you name it. With an expected 14,000 attendees this year, you could literally spend an entire day taking pictures of impressively designed accessories, pieces of clothing and masks.
Even though cosplay was one the mainstays of the convention hall and its attendees, the World Cosplay Summit garnered only the cream of the crop, and the very best that cosplay has to offer. Rightfully so, as well; the winners of the competition will be flown off to Japan to participate in the finals, and represent Canada. Lucky enough, The Concordian managed to score front-row seats to the event and snagged plenty of great pictures.
Another momentous event at the convention was the Final Fantasy music concert. A New World: Intimate Music from Final Fantasy was performed live, in traditional chamber music fashion. In their first Canadian performance, the group was joined by Nobuo Uematsu himself, who played on stage for a full 90 minutes. Fans of the series’ emotionally charged music were in for a treat, bringing them on a journey that spanned all 25 years of Final Fantasy’s legacy. Suffice to say that the performance had something in store for everyone.
Even with these incredible events, Otakuthon offered plenty to do regardless of their stance on cosplay or video games. Board game rooms were set up and offered a place for fellow geeks to enjoy some time socializing. A cosplay café was available, serving both Japanese and local food to cater to the various tastes of those in attendance. Panels hosted by well-known voice actor Spike Spencer – who’s voiced hundreds of anime and video-game characters – were scattered on the schedule. Spencer often brought a mature level of comedy to the table, with panels like “What Happens at the Con stays at the Con” and “Don’t Kill Your Date”. One can get an almost foreboding sense of the discussions covered during these panels.
Truth be told, I would have needed several clones of myself to even skim the surface of all the panels, viewings, events and intrigues of the convention. Given its humble roots and the recollection I have of a small, few-thousand strong convention that traces its roots back to Concordia, Otakuthon has grown up to become a gargantuan beast of an event. The convention has grown every year since its first edition, and continues to attract attendees from all over the world. With this being said, it’s hard not to be stoked about the things we can expect for the convention’s 2015 edition.
Otakuthon ran from Aug. 22 to 24. You can get all the information about this year’s and all future editions on the conventions website at www.otakuthon.com. Don’t forget that Concordia also has an anime club! Check out its page at http://otaku.concordia.ca/
Photos by Jocelyn Beaudet