Report on: Toronto AnimeCon (DTAC!)

It’s Toronto AnimeCon, but most people call it “D-tac” for short (although I have never heard it referred to as such in an official capacity). On the ninth of D-cember it finalized the year’s run of anime conventions in the north building of the familiar Metro Toronto Convention Centre. In a month with fewer conventions than most, it’s one more opportunity for people to do the whole convention dance, hang out with old friends and meet new ones.

Last year’s DTAC was one of the weaker events of 2011, with people corralled into a portion of the south building (I speculate the reason for the move was to control the number of non-paying attendees). The following spring event, MTAC, was much more compelling, having absorbed the spring comic convention for a better, larger experience that was considered FanExpo Jr. So I was surprised when I heard they wouldn’t repeat the success of the combined convention in the winter, instead holding DTAC separately from November’s comic convention (which I missed). Hobbystar representative James Armstrong explained that a combined convention was considered, but there were complications involving Toronto being host to the Grey Cup.

The dealer’s room was well-lit and had a diverse selection of prints, merchandise, and memorabilia. There were a few illustrators there but more of the artists vending goods were crafters selling things they’d knit together. To pass the time, DTAC  had a few small panels, and the one special guest was Sonny Strait, most known for his role on Dragonball Z as the main character of the show. While I like that Dragonball Z is still getting attention, I think anybody who collects autographs might have the whole cast’s by now.

Like any anime convention there were flocks and flocks of cosplayers dressed as their favourite characters from popular Shojo series, Pokemon, and a good number of people dressed as ponies and video-game character. Because of the convention’s proximity to the yuletide holidays, many attendees wore festive variations of their outfits with extra red and green and some additional bows and bells. The most entertaining cosplayers might have been the two in Minecraft attire who got into character and scampered around the convention like a scene from Scooby-Doo.

   

All these photos and more are in the gallery on TdotComic’s Facebook page. Feel free to tag yourself and friends.

A major portion of the attendees were dressed as Homestuck characters, taking their colourful looks from the hugely popular webcomic – I wouldn’t be surprised if DTAC had the entire cast wandering around. While I have no interest in interacting with the fanbase, I concede that at least most of the character designs are pretty cool. People are either huge fans of Homestuck, or unable to figure out what it’s about and not willing to invest the twelve hours it takes to find out. It will be interesting to see if Homestuck retains it’s cult-like popularity  or if it will eventually fade away while the cultists transition to some other brand (just like they moved on from Invader Zim and Death Note).

So this year’s DTAC was really what last year’s should have been, but it’s still closer to being just something to do with free time than something to make time for. The people I met were a bigger draw than anything the convention provided. DTAC hits the basic requirements for an anime convention, but I’m still hoping for another integrated convention. Hobbystar’s website makes the upcoming Comic-con look like a larger event than the winter mini-conventions. It doesn’t appear to have a designated anime element, but the Homestuck fans prove that in the modern convention world, anything goes.

For more events in the Toronto area, check out our events calendar.

-Michael Ryan, December 11, 2012

Seriously, the Homestuck contagion has overtaken the Hetalia epidemic and Brony outbreak. It’s officially Cosplague.

Related posts:

Anime North 2010
Report on Fan Expo 2012
Report on: Toronto Zombie Walk 2012
Report on Youmacon 2012