Monday, August 29, 2011

FAN EXPO 2011:

You really have to give it the TTC. They keep raising the fares here in Toronto but I guess I shouldn't complain. Most subways take you across your city, ours takes you to another dimension: A strange land populated by game warrirors come to life

 and kick ass schoolgirls

and monsters

and superheroes

... or it just takes you to downtown Toronto to this year's Fan Expo.

I do go to the fan expo to find some deals on books, comics, gams, movies etc but definitely a big part of the fun are the costumes. All the usual inspirations were in attendance, from anime
from TV

from movies
from comics
and from gaming

Last year Steam Punk was the "new thing" at the convention. A visual style influenced by writers like Bruce Stirling, it posits a technological society from a Victorian sensibility

This year the convention "offically" welcome loli, a street fashion originating in Japan (where else) where girls wear exaggerated frilly dresses, umbrellas and usually huge blond wigs. Now, there have always been loli girls (the term stems from lolita, and is often called Goth Loli though that variant of course focuses and darker clothes) but this year there were even more of them. What does one call a group of loli girls? Perhaps a parasol of lolis ...
Besides buying crap that I don't need and that I want (and let's face fact, when you're talking about a Japanese movie about the legendary blind swordsman Zatoichi done a musical, the line between need and want quickly blurs) and gawking at kids in costumes, what else does the Fan Expo have to offer?

One of my favorite areas at the convention is Artist Alley where you can actually converse with artists, look at their products, talking about past and future projects and sometimes land some good deals. This year I picked up a couple of prints from a young Japanese artist, barely two years out of art school and perhaps this could be one of those "I knew him when" moments ... or I'll promptly forget who the guy is. At any rate, I picked up some lovely art at a good price.

The gaming area was much better this year, there were more new games being demoed and you could go play some of them in a tournament style setting. No, I did not participate. It's tough enough when a computer keeps slaying me in a game, I can't bear the thought of a 12 yr kid kicking my ass as hundreds watched.

The other draw at the expo are the celebs who show up. I'm happy to saw that comic book and anime creators got as much if not more buzz than the Hollywood types. The year Stan Lee came the place went nuts but having said that, William Shatner was back this year and proved to be the most popular in terms of ticket sales for his autograph .... that being over 80 bucks. As much as I love Bill (and we all know that I do) the man is all over TV .. he don't need my money that badly.

I won't pay for anyone's autograph but the two people who I would have considered was Michael Biehn, who I missed and Eliza Dushku who I did see. Some may know this actress as Faith from the TV version of Buffy but for me, she is Rubi Malone, the foul mouth mercenary from the video game Wet. Seriously, she was too cute and too charming to be so rough and tumble.
Another relatively new event at the convention, or at least one I had not before seen, was the dancing .. there was dancing at the Let's Dance video game booth (no surprise there) and apparantly spontaneous dancing from the costumed kids that I believe is called J Pop. I'm not sure exactly what this is, but it was both funny and frightening .. check out the video to see why.
Obviously, there is a lot of commercialisim involved in a function such as this. People are there to sell you shit; fair enough, I'm there to sell shit. Problem is, I'm not sure exactly what people are trying to sell, as evidence by the next few pics ... I'm pretty sure as a happily enspoused man, I'm not allowed to buy whatever is being sold here.

So that was my Fan Expo experience this year. In the coming months I'll be reviewing some of my purchases. Enjoy the video below and here's just a few more pics to give you that warm fuzzy "oooh weirdo's in costume" feeling.

So stop your gawking, this isn't that kind of post .... here's the video

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