Anime North Wrap-up

So Sunday, as usual, was pretty laid back and low key. We got up, checked out and packed up the car. Jeremy and I had breakfast went to the dealer’s room. I bought a bunch of stuff, including the next five volumes of Nodame Cantabile and the Princess Tutu box. I usually get something reasonably macho to balance out the girliness when I get stuff like that, but I didn’t find anything that struck my fancy.

There were some decent deals to be had, but honestly, I have a whole tonne of crap at home that I haven’t read or watched yet. I have to start digging into that before I should do any serious buying.

I also got a couple random soundtrack CDs for Ellen. I just hope they don’t suck.

For lunch, Jeremy and I went up the street to Zet’s–a greek place slash greasy spoon diner. The pork souvlaki on a bun was really good, if incredibly huge.

We struggled to find something to fill the time Sunday afternoon. After another trip around the dealer’s room, we watched AMVs for a bit. Sadly, I can’t find any of the ones I liked on YouTube. C’mon people! I agree with Karl: combining Sailor Moon with Evil Dead: The Musical’s “All the Men In My Life Were Killed By Candarian Demons” was a masterstroke. I also liked using the Littlest Hobo theme with Junkers Come Here, but only because I really like The Littlest Hobo theme.

A bunch of us went out for the traditional post-con meal. After the usual people-wrangling, we ended up at Kelsey’s and mostly watched Elliot play with her new Artist Alley Avatar toys. Which was cute.

We made it back home after I got a bit lost in Mississauga, marking the end of another Anime North. The End.

Anime North Continued

I’m back spending the end of the day hanging out in the hotel room, writing up a brief con report post.

Saturday is now traditionally Photo Scunt day, and that’s pretty much all we did. We weren’t quite on the ball this year, so we ended up without any listings in the convention program and without any real place to set up. The latter was sorted out pretty quickly, though. John and Morag showed up with a whole bunch of computer equipment and we spend the latter part of the morning and early afternoon just getting set up.

Despite not having advertised we still managed to get as many groups as we could handle. It was fun, even though John erased the two best categories (Creative and “Wrong”). The groups struggled a bit with our (mostly John’s) sense of humour. The fact that two entries were worth zero points–“Goggles” because they do nothing and “The cake”, on the basis that it is a lie–didn’t go over so well.

After the scunt wrapped up, we went out to one of the Hakka Chinese places up on Derry Road. Asian Wok ‘n’ Roll. I kinda like that place.

We didn’t have a whole lot to do after we got back. We mostly hung around the Moonlight Ball setup stuff and helped a little bit. After that I just wandered around for a little while and ended up running into Jeremy and coming back here to do this.

So now you’re caught up.

Organic Restaurants

I’m on the lookout for local restaurants serving organic foods–meats especially. So I was impressed that the recent Networking column buried in the business section of the Record had two potential options.

One was the Exhibit Cafe, located in the Children’s Museum in downtown Kitchener. By the sound of it, they deal in light lunch fare, serving local and organic meals. They’re attached to a local company called Millbank Foods (with no website for the cafe that I could find). I think they had a booth at the Canada Day thing at UW.

The other is Village Creperie, which does have a website with a lovely PDF menu. The menu promises “We only use organic flours, fish, meats, vegetables, fruits, dairy,” which is nice. I’m not entirely sure what a “Galette” is, but some of them sound good.

Film Festival: Sukiyaki Western Django

I was supposed to see Dr Plonk with Tuesday night, but traffic was stupid and the two hours I gave myself to get downtown weren’t nearly enough. So instead, I wandered around Yonge St, got a chicken shawerma at one of the kebab places (pretty good… they put some weird sauerkraut-like stuff in it, which actually gave it a nice flavour. A little skimpy, though), bought an umbrella and sat out the ensuing thunderstorm in a McDonalds.

Sukiyaki Western Django trailer: You know spaghetti westerns? Well, this is a Sukiyaki Western. All (except one) Japanese actors, with dialog in English (with English subtitles). Throw together A Fistful of Dollars (which includes Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, which was its basis), the Tale of the Heike, Henry VI (I couldn’t tell you which part), and Quentin Tarantino, and you get Sukiyaki Western Django.

Yes, it’s that awesome. It’s not some crazy-ass farce, either. There are some comic relief characters, but it’s mostly played pretty straight (as much as a Takashi Miike movie can be played straight). This is a concept that doesn’t need hamming up. It comes off brilliantly.

When I say “throw in Quentin Tarantino”, I mean that literally. Quentin has a cameo in the movie. He talks very slowly, even matching the speech patterns of the Japanese actors. He loves his sukiyaki. And it his being there makes total sense, in a weird sort of way.

Takashi Miike (the director) is a bit of a fixture at the film festival. It doesn’t hurt that he churns out an incredible number of movies. Every year I’ve been to the festival, I’ve watched whatever movie he had to show. They’re all a bit weird, and they cover an incredible range–from kids movies to incomprehensibly weird homosexual thrillers. I think Sukiyaki Western Django was my favourite Miike movie yet.

I’d keep gushing about it, but I think it’s probably better if I just manage to procure a copy sometime in the future and make people watch it.

Film Festival: Vexille

Vexille (trailers): is a CG anime from the people who brought you (the 2004 CG version of) Appleseed (which I keep meaning to sit down and watch. Great visuals, cool mechs, big explosions… Vexille was pretty cool. For some reason, though, it didn’t do a whole lot for me. Am I getting old and jaded or something? I’m sure my 17-year-old self would’ve thought this was the best thing ever, but the plot stretched credulity and I didn’t end up caring all that much about the characters.

I think I had roughly the same feeling coming out of seeing Wonderful Days. Not that that (or this) was a bad movie. I was just… I dunno… unmoved.

I’d probably call it a rental. It’s worth watching (if you’re into CG mecha anime, of course). It’s something CTRL-A could show without controversy. Maybe it just didn’t meet my expectations (whatever those were).

Vexille was the Midnight Madness showing on Sunday. I stayed over at Rin and Kyle’s Sunday, and Kyle and I went to the Pacific Mall to kill time Sunday afternoon.

We stopped and had supper at the Great Khan Mongolian Grill in the parking lot there, making it a Ghengis Khan weekend. It doesn’t look like it’s affiliated with the Waterloo Mongolian Grill. Same general idea, although they had an additional buffet table, just in case you weren’t able to get your fill from the grill. I think I preferred the layout a bit over Waterloo, although the differences were pretty small. Not fantastic, but I certainly ate my fill (and perhaps a bit more than that as well).

I got home around 3:30 Monday morning. Staying awake for work on Monday wasn’t easy, but I managed to get stuff done. I only had to go back and fix some of it on Tuesday, too.