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Anime North Goes Digital For The Kids in 2020

The spread of COVID-19 poses a threat to people meeting in large gatherings across the world. That has meant fan conventions both large and small have halted their physical meet-ups. However, organizations with enough warning have been able to make the leap into hosting digital events for fans to experience slates of special guests, fan presentations, cosplay competitions, and more. The upcoming Anime North presents Momiji’s Online Experience has managed to create a wonderful show for anime fans while sticking to their tradition of raising money for Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children through Extra Life.

Anime North usually takes place in Toronto’s Congress Centre and The Delta Toronto Airport Hotel. This year, however, the convention will be going digital over their Twitch channel, July 24-26th. The show will feature both cosplay and j-fashion catwalk challenges (#JFQatwalk) where con-goers will have their video submissions judged for potential prizes. Additionally, since the announcement of the digital event, the showrunners have been collecting submissions for fan panels and presentations on anime subjects, meaning that the show will be full of colorful, intriguing, and niche information on anime, manga, music, and games. Throw in a masquerade social and a slew of special guest appearances, the show will be one to watch.

Speaking of guests, Anime North has announced some big names for their event. Veteran animator, manga publicist, and public speaker Steve Bennett will be present to talk about the inner workings of the anime and manga industries. Cricket Leigh, the voice actress behind Mai in Avatar: The Last Airbender among many other roles in video games and animation, will be on hand to talk about her experiences bringing those iconic characters to life. Ellen McLain and John Patrick Lowrie, a married pair of voice actors, will be on hand to talk about their respective roles. McLain is perhaps best known for her performance as GLaDOS in Valve’s Portal series. Lowrie has made a name for himself in bit roles across the Halo franchise as well as voicing the Sniper from Team Fortress 2.

Perhaps the most famous guest attending Anime North presents Momiji’s Online Experience has to be Veronica Taylor. Many fans will be familiar with her from almost a decade spent voicing Ash Ketchum and May from the Pokémon anime. Her work can best be described as prolific, appearing in Saturday morning cartoons, anime dubs, and video games for multiple generations of children and adults. One of her most recent jobs had Taylor voicing Manuela in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, one of the best-selling games on Nintendo Switch.

One of the biggest traditions of Anime North has been fundraising for SickKids, raising tens of thousands of dollars over the years for the children there. They have traditionally raised money via the All-Star Charity Auction section of their show. However, a physical auction won’t fly during a pandemic. To that end, the showrunners have decided to tie their digital experience into their fundraising tradition for SickKids!

You can support Anime North’s fundraising efforts by joining their team and fundraising along with them over the weekend or by donating to their Extra Life page. Follow along this weekend on their Twitch channel and on social using #ANOnline.

Don’t forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!