Anime comes to life at Otakuthon

Robyn Fadden

Anime stars and fans come out to play at Montréal's Otakuthon, the second-biggest convention of its kind in Canada, celebrating the stories, characters and artistry of classic and cutting-edge Japanese anime, manga and games.

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Bold and bright style

Otakuthon transforms the Palais des congrès de Montréal into a colourful, fantastical cosmos of its own, August 3 to 5 this year. Similar to July’s Montréal Comiccon, Otakuthon features an exhibition space of colourful merchandise and artwork, a roster of talent ready to meet fans and a series of panels and workshops by artists and other experts. Yet at Otakuthon cosplay plays an even bigger part of the weekend, with thousands of fans bringing characters to life in ultra-detailed costume. Also meet cosplay YouTube stars and see the best costumes on stage at the Masquerade event on August 4 and the World Cosplay Summit competition on August 5.

High-energy shows

Along with all the incredible costumes, Otakuthon adds live performances. This year see Capcom Live with a rock band, vocalists and orchestra performing symphonic rock from the Capcom game, anime-inspired Japanese pop band fhána, anime and video game theme song singer Lia, Japanese pop rock singer Shiena Nishizawa and “maid café culture” pop group Maidreamin. And see local talents at Otakuthon in the unique and hilarious BurlesGeek Show and OtakuRock with J-rock band Ties&Ribbons and rock-metal band Tortuga.

See the stars

Dive deeper into the wide world of anime at talks and workshops by artists, actors, producers and fans. Guests this year include prolific anime, film and games voice actors such as Patricia Summersett (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild) and Erica Schroeder (YU-GI-OH), Erica Mendez (KILL la KILL), Kyle Hebert (Wreck-It Ralph) and Lauren Landa (Dead or Alive 5). Industry insiders come to talk shop too: see Danny Choo, creator of Smart Doll and director of TV show “Culture Japan,” former Studio Ghibli producer Hirokatsu Kihara and Hiroshi Matsuyama, President and Director of game company CyberConnect2.

Contests and parties

For pure, rollicking spectacle, don’t miss Otakuthon participants doing what they do best – on stage. Cosplayers are the chess pieces in Cosplay Chess while others show off their talents in singing contest Otakuthon Idol, the Cosplay RPG Battle, the Otakuthon AMV anime music video contest screening, the Gunpla Builders World Cup, a fashion show and more performative skill-testing contests that both impress and keep everyone laughing. Otakudance parties on Friday and Saturday night fill the dance floor. And throughout the weekend, watch all kinds of anime in the video rooms, play video games and board games, and relax in the manga library. Even the Otakuthon food stays on theme: choose from a Japanese menu and a variety of bubble tea at the Cosplay Café restaurant and terrace – where, naturally, you can sing karaoke too.

Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden, blogger

Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.

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