Otakuthon
Otakuthon logo.png
StatusActive
GenreAnime
VenuePalais des congrès de Montréal
Location(s)Montreal, Quebec
CountryCanada
Inaugurated2006
Most recentAugust 15–16, 2020[1]
Next eventAugust 20–22, 2021[2]
Attendance25,533 in 2019[3]
Organized by
  • Otaku Anime of Concordia University (2006–2007)
  • Quebec Anime Committee (2008–2013)[4]
  • Otakuthon Cultural Society (2014–present)
Filing statusNon-profit
Websiteotakuthon.com

Otakuthon is Quebec's largest anime convention promoting Japanese animation (anime), Japanese graphic novels (manga), related gaming and Japanese pop-culture (music, cinema, television).[5] It is held annually for 3 days in downtown Montreal during a weekend in August. It is a non-profit, fan-run anime convention that was initiated by Concordia University's anime club, named Otaku Anime of Concordia University (Otaku Anime for short).[6] The name "Otakuthon" is a portmanteau of the Japanese word "otaku" and "marathon". Otakuthon strives to be a bilingual (French and English) event, having programming, the masquerade and the program book in both official languages.[7] The first edition of Otakuthon was held in 2006 in mid-June, but later moved to early-mid August / late July from 2007 onward. Last year's edition, Otakuthon 2019, was held on August 16–18, 2019 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

Programming

As with most other anime conventions, Otakuthon offers a wide range of programming, exhibits, and other events. Otakuthon's programming consists of cosplay events, a masquerade, vendors, an Artists' Area, panels and workshops, game shows, anime video screenings, dances, karaoke and music concerts. New to 2008 were photo booths, a garage sale[8] and a manga library.[9]

History

View of the main hallway of the Palais des Congrès during Otakuthon 2011, with some attendees in cosplay
3 contestants perform a skit on stage during the Otakuthon 2011 Masquerade

Otakuthon evolved from the annual Animethon[11] anime marathon presented by Otaku Anime of Concordia University, held at the Henry F. Hall Building on the Sir George Williams campus. The anime marathon had over the years, used one or several screening rooms, over the course of one[12] or two[13] days, and had included ancillary events. In 2005, the 10th edition of Animethon was renamed Otakuthon.[14] In 2006, Otaku Anime joined with other local anime clubs and individuals to turn the annual anime marathon into a full blown convention.

While convention membership at the 2006 edition was free, admission fees were introduced from 2007 and onwards.[15] There was a pre-registration option for the paid memberships, and attendees who pre-registered could arrive on Friday afternoon to receive their membership badges in order to gain instant access to all convention events on the same day at opening time.[16] Admissions for the Masquerade and J-pop concert were included in the membership fee.[16]

The 2007 edition's outstanding success prompted Otakuthon to move its venue from Concordia University to the much larger Palais des congrès de Montréal convention center in summer 2008.[17] This allowed the convention to increase its capacity, concentrate the main attractions on a single floor instead of multiple floors at the university, as well as free itself from restrictions imposed upon by the institution. In the same year, Otaku Anime and the other anime clubs managing the convention formed the Quebec Anime Committee, Otakuthon's parent organization.[4]

With a great number of out-of-province Guests invited in 2009, Otakuthon was upgraded from a regional-level convention to a national-level one.[18] 2010 introduced a Thursday evening badge pickup option for pre-registered attendees, which alleviated the long lineups on Friday as well as provided them immediate access to the convention area when the doors opened on Friday afternoon. Year after year, Otakuthon has occupied more and more conference spaces and hallways of the convention center following an annual progressive growth; while in 2008 less than half of the 5th and 7th floors were booked, in 2010 nearly 80% of those floors plus the main exhibition hall of the 2nd floor (for Registration) were open for the convention. In 2017, Registration was moved to Level 1 to make space for expansion of the Exhibition Hall on the 2nd floor. Expansion of exhibit and conference space is expected to continue in the upcoming years as the convention continues to maintain a strong growth rate. In 2014, the Quebec Anime Committee became the Otakuthon Cultural Society and continues to manage the convention to this day.

In 2018, Otakuthon started offering VIP passes called Premium Badges. A badge mailout option was also introduced to attendees pre-registering for the convention.[19]

Otakuthon has a relatively significant economic impact on Montreal, compared to other similar-sized national-level conventions held at the same location. In 2011, the convention generated an estimated $2,137,157 in economic spinoffs in the city,[20] while in 2010 it generated an estimated $1,606,076.[18]

In 2020, Otakuthon was cancelled for the first time due to concerns over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

World Cosplay Summit Canadian Preliminaries

Contestants perform on stage at the 2014 Canadian Preliminaries
Contestants perform on stage at the 2014 Canadian Preliminaries

In 2014, the World Cosplay Summit (WCS) announced that Canada would join this international event as an Observer Nation in 2015. Otakuthon was selected as the convention to hold the Canadian Preliminaries for the WCS, starting in 2014.[10] Winners from the Preliminaries at Otakuthon 2014 traveled to Japan to participate in the WCS 2015 events, but not compete in the Cosplay Championship. This was the first time a Canadian cosplay delegation represented the country at this international event, which has been running yearly since 2003.

Since 2016, Canada was eligible to compete in the Championship and earn awards. The Preliminaries to select the team to represent Canada as a full-participating nation were held at Otakuthon 2015, almost a full year in advance. The World Cosplay Summit is generally held from late July to early August, with the 2016 edition held from Sat, Jul 30, 2016 to Sun, Aug 7, 2016.[21] In 2017, the Preliminaries at Otakuthon were moved from Friday evening to Sunday mid-day, and the show was livestreamed to Team Canada's quarters in Nagoya; also that year, the Cosplay Championship was livestreamed to Otakuthon attendees in a special screening room.

Event history

Dates Venue Location Attendance Guests Notes
June 10–11, 2006 Concordia University, Sir George Williams campus Montreal, Quebec 1,872 Boxed Rice Productions, Joany Dubé-Leblanc, Matt Hill, Irulanne, Gisele Lagace, Delphine Levesque Demers, Christopher Macdonald, Sara E. Mayhew, Claude J. Pelletier, Emru Townsend, Sukoshi Yoshi and Tamu Townsend.[22] First edition. Free admission.
August 4–5, 2007 Concordia University, Sir George Williams campus Montreal, Quebec 1,946 The 404s, Arashi Daiko, Boxed Rice Productions, Sirkowski, Irulanne, Christopher Macdonald, Les Major, Dawn "Kaijugal" McKechnie, Tim Park, Claude J. Pelletier, Scott Ramsoomair, Lucien Soulban, Mark Sprague, Mandy St. Jean, Sukoshi Yoshi, Venus Terzo.[23] Change of month from June to August. First year with paid admission.
July 26–27, 2008 Palais des congrès de Montréal Montreal, Quebec 3,250 The 404s, Maral "Sarcasm-hime" Agnerian, David Coacci, Disorder, Sirkowski, D.S. Gannon, Tiffany Grant, Matt Greenfield, Gisele Lagace, Delphine Levesque Demers, Les Major, Dawn "Kaijugal" McKechnie, Tim Park, Claude J. Pelletier, Lucien Soulban, Spike Spencer, Mark Sprague, Mandy St. Jean, the Ontario Anime Society.[24][25] Change of month from August to July. Change of venue from the university to the convention center.
July 31–August 2, 2009 Palais des congrès de Montréal Montreal, Quebec 5,500 Johnny Yong Bosch, Stephanie Sheh, Kevin McKeever, Pikmin Link, athenaWaltz, The 404s, Claude J. Pelletier, Dawn "Kaijugal" McKechnie, Sébastien "Sirkowski" Fréchette (Miss Dynamite), Maral "Sarcasm-hime" Agnerian.[26][27] Convention length increased from 2 days to 2.5 days.
August 13–15, 2010 Palais des congrès de Montréal Montreal, Quebec 7,310 The 404s, Maral "Sarcasm-hime" Agnerian, David Coacci, Lar DeSouza, Aaron Dismuke, Quinton Flynn, Sébastien "Sirkowski" Fréchette (Miss Dynamite), D.S. Gannon, Caitlin Glass, Jacob Grady, Mohammad "Hawk" Haque, HIMEKA, Irulanne, Kyowa Québec, Stu Levy, JoEllen "Lillyxandra" Elam, Sara E. Mayhew, Dawn "Kaijugal" McKechnie (canceled), Scott A. Melzer, Vic Mignogna, Ananth Panagariya, Claude J. Pelletier, A.E. Prevost, Ryan Sohmer, Mark Sprague, Yume Mirai.[28] Change of month from July to August. First year with Thursday evening badge pick-up for pre-registered Attendees.
August 12–14, 2011 Palais des congrès de Montréal Montreal, Quebec 9,520 Haruko Momoi, The 404s, Académie des chasseurs de prime, Maral "Sarcasm-hime" Agnerian, Eric Allard, David Coacci, Leet Street Boys, Lar DeSouza, Crispin Freeman, Maile Flanagan, Sébastien "Sirkowski" Fréchette (Miss Dynamite), Mel Gosselin, MUSEbasement, Jacob Grady, Yaya Han, Karl Kerschl, Dawn "Kaijugal" McKechnie, Scott Melzer, Yume Mirai, Dream Pod 9, Kyowa Quebec, Ryan Sohmer, Robin Sevakis, Mark Sprague.[29][30]
August 3–5, 2012 Palais des congrès de Montréal Montreal, Quebec 11,000 The 404s, Adella, Arashi Daiko, Mel Gosselin, Kyowa Québec, Yuri Lowenthal, Scott McNeil, Matthew Myers, Tara Platt, J. Michael Tatum (canceled), Tomoe Ohmi, Alodia Gosiengfiao, Eric Allard, Académie des chasseurs de prime (ACP), MUSEbasement, Ejen Chuang, Orchestre de jeux video (OJV), Komachi Montreal, Arashi Daiko, Daito Ryu Koryukan, Shidokan Kendo and Iaido Club, Feng Huang Wushu Club, Yokai Project, Tiriel, Daniel Proulx, Dream Pod 9, Hamlet Machine, Anasthasia, Belladonna, Frozen Wings, Morbidollz.[31] Attendance figures reach over 10,000.
August 16–18, 2013 Palais des congrès de Montréal Montreal, Quebec 13,357 The 404s, Anasthasia, Ryūsuke Hamamoto, Nadia "NadiaSK" Baiardi, Emirain, En Masse, D.S. Gannon, Benoit Godbout, Mel Gosselin, Jacob Grady, Kyowa Québec, L'orchestre de Jeux Vidéo, Michel Lacombe, Moon Stream, Matthew Myers, A.E. Prevost, Monica Rial, David Vincent (actor), J. Michael Tatum, Veronica Taylor, Yokai Project.[32]
August 22–24, 2014 Palais des congrès de Montréal Montreal, Quebec 17,661 The 404s, Shelley Calene-Black, Daito Ryu Koryukan, Feng Huang Wushu Club, Mel Gosselin, Jacob Grady, Yui Ishikawa, Komachi Montreal, Michel Lacombe, Masayuki Ozaki, Raj Ramayya, Arnie Roth, Shidokan Kendo and Iaido Club, Jeff Simpson, Spike Spencer, Nobuo Uematsu, Brett Weaver, E. K. Weaver, Yokai Project, A New World (music from Final Fantasy).[33][34] The World Cosplay Summit Canadian Preliminaries arrive at Otakuthon. Spike Spencer becomes the first major Guest to be re-invited to the convention.
August 7–9, 2015 Palais des congrès de Montréal Montreal, Quebec 20,210 FLOW, angela, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Patrick Delahanty, LeSean Thomas, Carole Thivolle, Elffi, Okageo, Nikita, Rikiya Koyama, Yosuke Okunari, Todd Haberkorn, Wendee Lee, Mel Gosselin, Jeff Simpson, Ben Lo, Jayd "Chira" Ait-Kaci, Christopher Macdonald, Tony Valente, Your Favorite Enemies, Orchestre de Jeux Vidéo, L'Orchestre portable de jeux vidéo (OPJV), The 404s, Komachi Montreal, Daito Ryu Koryukan, Shidokan Kendo and Iaido Club, Feng Huang Wushu Club, Inazuma Daiko, Crunchyroll, FUNimation Entertainment, Aniplex, VIZ Media, Notation, Thomas Lamarre, Martin Picard, Bernard Perron.[35] Convention length increased from 2.5 days to 3 full days. Thursday badge pick-up opens earlier. Attendance figures reach over 20,000.
August 5–7, 2016 Palais des congrès de Montréal Montreal, Quebec 21,315 BACK-ON, Atsuko Tanaka, Takeshi Obata, Arina Tanemura, Masanori Miyake, Takamitsu Inoue, Karen Strassman, Eric Stuart, Sam Vincent, Chris Cason, Virchan Puu, Jez, Mel Gosselin, Amya Chronicles, Jayd "Chira" Ait-Kaci, Johannes Helgeson, Joodlez, Ikko, Akidearest, The Anime Man, Misty Chronexia, Noble Lost Pause, The 404s, Arashi Daiko, Orchestre de Jeux Vidéo, L'Orchestre portable de jeux vidéo (OPJV), Pony Canyon, Crunchyroll, FUNimation Entertainment, Sekai Project, 1st PLACE / IA, Bandai Namco Entertainment America, Kiki Jenkins, Emily Willis, Ann Uland.[36] Otakuthon Idol and the World Cosplay Summit Canadian Preliminaries switch days, with the former now on Friday and the latter on Sunday.
August 4–6, 2017 Palais des congrès de Montréal Montreal, Quebec 22,065 Man With A Mission, 1st PLACE / IA, Arashi Daiko, L'orchestre de Jeux Vidéo (OJV), Misty Chronexia, The 404s, Kevin Connolly, Daito Ryu Koryukan, Dez, Kara Eberle, Mel Gosselin, Windofthestars, Ayako Kawasumi, Komachi Montreal, Cherami Leigh, Amanda C. Miller, A New World (music from Final Fantasy), Twin Cosplay.[37] Registration moved to the 1st floor. First year to have paid concerts on all 3 days.
August 3–5, 2018 Palais des congrès de Montréal Montreal, Quebec 23,226 The 404s, Capcom Live, fhána, Lia, Shiena Nishizawa, Maidreamin, Danny Choo, Jacob Grady, Kyle Hebert, Hirokatsu Kihara, Komachi Montreal, Lauren Landa, Erica Mendez, Erica Schroeder, Ian Sinclair.[38] Premium Badges now offered. Badge mailout option available for pre-registering attendees.
August 16–18, 2019 Palais des congrès de Montréal Montreal, Quebec 25,533 [39]
August 15–16, 2020 Online Montreal, Quebec N/A Moved online.[40] The event had originally been scheduled for 14–15 August 2020, in the Palais des congrès de Montréal. Moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic[41]
August 20–22, 2021 Online Montreal, Quebec N/A Moved online.[42] The event had originally been scheduled for 6–8 August 2021, in the Palais des congrès de Montréal. Moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic[41]

Sub-events

Year after year, Otakuthon hosts a number of sub-events, a series of programming and activities based around specific passions.

Other events

Attendees on the dancefloor at the 2011 Halloween Party
Attendees on the dancefloor at the 2011 Halloween Party

Otakuthon's staff and volunteers also organize events in Montreal other than the main annual convention. Most of the con's staff and volunteers are present at these events.

Additionally, they organize an annual trip Archived 2018-01-22 at the Wayback Machine each May to Anime North (AN) in Toronto, Canada's largest anime convention. The travel group is open to anyone, not just Otakuthon attendees. The Otakuthon staff and volunteers assigned to this trip, which act as brokers, receive trip signups and trip money from travelers, which is used to reserve chartered buses, book hotel rooms and make group registrations for the con. This travel group from Montreal is the largest, single group registration for Anime North, at about 50 people. Otakuthon's annual Anime North trip provides a cost-effective, centrally-managed opportunity for Montrealers to attend AN without the hassle of figuring out every detail of the trip, competing for hotel room bookings, getting together a group large enough to qualify for Anime North's group rate, and determining an itinerary from Montreal to the con's area, which is outside of downtown Toronto, requiring commuting or a taxi ride if the method of transport chosen is by bus or train, which have their terminals downtown. (Car travelers can drive directly to the con, while air travelers can land at Toronto Pearson International Airport, which is next to the con.) Signups for the trip usually open in January of each year.

Mascot

Yurika, Otakuthon's mascot
Yurika, Otakuthon's mascot

Yurika (pictured on the right), a fictional blue-haired teenage girl, serves as Otakuthon's mascot.[15] She appears under many forms on Otakuthon booklets, badges, website, clothing and other wearables. She was originally created for the convention by local artist Jessie Rong.[15] Yurika has been drawn by various artists over the years and a mascot contest was even once held.[50] Véronique Thibault, Yinyin Liu, Sharyl Chow and Meryem Bahnini were credited in the Otakuthon 2010 program booklet for different versions of the mascot. In 2011, Yurika was joined by her brother Yatsumi, her cousin Yuki, and her friend Yumi.[51]

Past anime conventions in Montreal

There has been 2 other anime conventions held in Montreal, in addition to Otakuthon. They were:

See also

References

  1. ^ "Otakuthon 2020 Information". AnimeCons.ca. Retrieved 2020-03-25.
  2. ^ "Otakuthon 2021 Information". AnimeCons.ca. Retrieved 2021-05-28.
  3. ^ "Thank you to the 25 533 participants for coming to Otakuthon 2019!".
  4. ^ a b "Otakuthon homepage". Archived from the original on 2010-04-09. Retrieved 2007-07-11. The Quebec Anime Committee is a joint committee composed of Otaku Anime and other anime clubs and individuals. Incorporated with the Quebec government in January 2008 as a non-profit organization, it has been formed shortly after the decision to change the convention venue from Concordia University to the Palais des congrès. The "Quebec Anime Committee" name can be seen at the bottom (footer) of every page of the Otakuthon website.
  5. ^ "Protoculture at Otakuthon". Protoculture News & Updates. 2006-05-30. Retrieved 2007-02-02.
  6. ^ "Otakuthon set for Hall Building". Concordia Journal. 2006-06-01. Retrieved 2007-02-02.
  7. ^ Otakuthon English Archived 2010-04-09 at the Wayback Machine & Otakuthon français Archived 2010-09-26 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Attractions – Otakuthon 2008
  9. ^ Manga Library – Otakuthon 2008
  10. ^ a b "Anime News Network". 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2014-05-22.
  11. ^ Not to be confused with Animethon, the Edmonton anime convention.
  12. ^ Animethon 1998 (Google Groups)
  13. ^ Animethon 1999 (Google Groups)
  14. ^ "Otakuthon 2005 webpage". Archived from the original on 2009-08-09. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  15. ^ a b c Otakuthon 2007 :: FAQ
  16. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-10-17. Retrieved 2008-07-14.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ http://www.otakuthon.com/2008/pdf/Otakuthon-PR-2008-01-29.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  18. ^ a b http://congresmtl.com/2010/05/le-palais-des-congres-conclut-des-ententes-pour-11-evenements-denvergure-qui-genereront-des-retombees-de-plus-de-23-millions-de-dollars-pour-montreal/
  19. ^ "Otakuthon 2018 - News - Otakuthon pre-registration is now open!".
  20. ^ http://congresmtl.com/2010/08/le-palais-des-congres-conclut-des-ententes-pour-12-evenements-denvergure-qui-genereront-des-retombees-de-pres-de-85-millions-de-dollars-pour-montreal/
  21. ^ https://www.facebook.com/WorldCosplaySummit/videos/1072833376060724/[user-generated source]
  22. ^ "Otakuthon 2006 Information". AnimeCons.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  23. ^ "Otakuthon 2007 Information". AnimeCons.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  24. ^ "Otakuthon 2008 Information". AnimeCons.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  25. ^ "Otakuthon Editions Information". TekNews.net. Retrieved 2008-11-03.
  26. ^ "Otakuthon 2009 Information". AnimeCons.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  27. ^ "First Round of Guests Announced!". Otakuthon 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
  28. ^ "Otakuthon 2010 Information". AnimeCons.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  29. ^ "Otakuthon 2011 Information". AnimeCons.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  30. ^ "Otakuthon 2011 Guests". Otakuthon 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-05.
  31. ^ "Otakuthon 2012 Information". AnimeCons.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  32. ^ "Otakuthon 2013 Information". AnimeCons.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  33. ^ "Otakuthon 2014 Information". AnimeCons.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  34. ^ "A New World: intimate music from FINAL FANTASY". ffnewworld.com. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
  35. ^ "Otakuthon 2015 Information". AnimeCons.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  36. ^ "Otakuthon 2016 Information". AnimeCons.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  37. ^ "Otakuthon 2017 Information". AnimeCons.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  38. ^ "Otakuthon 2018 Information". AnimeCons.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  39. ^ "Otakuthon 2019 Information". AnimeCons.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  40. ^ "Welcome".
  41. ^ a b https://www.facebook.com/OtakuthonMTL/[user-generated source]
  42. ^ "Welcome".
  43. ^ "Yaoithon - Otakuthon 2015".
  44. ^ "Yurithon - Otakuthon 2015".
  45. ^ "DollFest - Otakuthon 2015".
  46. ^ "Hakurei Shrine Festival - Otakuthon 2015".
  47. ^ "Pokéthon - Otakuthon 2014".
  48. ^ "News - Otakuthon 2015".
  49. ^ https://www.facebook.com/events/290993924271563/[user-generated source]
  50. ^ Otakuthon 2009 :: Mascot Contest
  51. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-09. Retrieved 2012-07-17.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  52. ^ "Montreal Anime Expo 2003 Information". AnimeCons.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  53. ^ "Daikon 2010 Information". AnimeCons.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-11.

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Coordinates: 45°30′18.69″N 73°33′35.24″W / 45.5051917°N 73.5597889°W / 45.5051917; -73.5597889