On the weekend of May 26, 2012, Toronto played host to Anime North, one of North America’s biggest anime conventions. Round Stable writers DrDinosaur and Isaak took to the road with their fellow PMV authors to debut a working copy of the highly anticipated PONIES: The Anthology II. This is their story.
This article is about PONIES: The Anthology II… sort of. When I coordinated the first PONIES: The Anthology, I chose a few of my friends I talked with on a regular basis and we put the project together. When it came time for me to start coordinating the second Anthology, I decided to pick some other PMV editors, many of whom I had not really previously spoken to. Over the months we worked together, chatted, shared ideas and techniques, and became a closer knit group. When the project neared completion, I made the decision that we would premiere a sneak preview at Anime North in Toronto, Ontario.
I had been going to Anime North for many years, and for the last two I ran an Anime Music Video (AMV) room with the help of Vlad. I consider Anime North to be my home convention. I always had a good time there and thought I could use my video room to show PONIES: The Anthology II and give something back to the convention that treated me so well.
When I told some of the other members of our Anthology group that I’d be showing a sneak preview at Anime North they seemed fairly excited and wanted to join me in the experience. Ozone, Devo, and Otohiko all live in the area, so they were going to come and join me in presenting our project together. As I talked about this showing more, other Anthology PMV
Eventually we had seven different people who worked on this project coming to Anime North to see it presented for the first time in front of people. The first person I was going to meet up with was Isaak.
Hitting the Road
I woke up at seven in the morning because I was quite excited that I’d be picking up Isaak from the airport, getting the Anthology creator’s gathering underway. I met Isaak earlier that year during the Fan Expo in Vancouver and couldn’t wait to spend some more time hanging out with such a great guy. All of my anticipation drove me to leave extremely early for the airport, and I arrived about an hour before the plane was scheduled to land. I did not want to pay a bunch of extra money for airport parking so I did what any Canadian would do with some time to kill—I went to Tim Horton’s. I killed the time by sipping an Iced Cappuccino and playing with my pony coloured Rubik’s Cube. Though I was trying to distract myself, my anticipation kept building. Eventually it was finally time for me to drive back to the airport and pick up Isaak.
I always like sitting in the arrivals area at airports. The people surrounding me are anxiously awaiting friends and family. Nobody can ever sit still. People are constantly pacing back and forth, checking the flight board to see if there are delays. When a flight does land I watch several reunions, loved ones embracing with that excited relief that you only see when two people have not seen each other for a long time. I like watching these other people because I know exactly how they are feeling for I am experiencing the same emotions. While waiting for Isaak’s flight, I get a text message from J.Haller. He arrived safely in Toronto, made it to the hotel, and told me he’d seen a Fluttershy cosplayer a mere fifteen minutes after his arrival. This made me smile. I thought the arrival of that Fluttershy was a good sign that this Anthology showing would go really well. After about a half hour delay, Isaak’s plane landed. I saw him exit the gate into the baggage claim area and I waved, but he didn’t notice me. I walked up right behind him while he was patiently waiting for his luggage on the conveyor belt and still he did not notice I was there. When he finally retrieved his suitcase, he turned around, jumped back uttering a small gasp, and then the shock on his face quickly turned into a huge grin. After we exchanged mutual assurances that it was great to see one another once again, I grabbed one of his bags and we were off to my car to make the journey to Toronto to meet up with J.Haller.
I have a rule in my car: if there is a person in the passenger seat they become the DJ and must select all music to be played during the trip. Isaak seemed to enjoy going through my music collection and picking out a CD for us to listen to. He put in a CD and had a big grin on his face. I didn’t see what he had chosen but as soon as I heard the phrase “DJ Paul Elstak” I could not help smiling as well. He had put in the soundtrack to a Dutch movie called New Kids Turbo, a soundtrack filled with ridiculous happy hardcore. We drove down the highway with the windows rolled down singing along to a couple of the tracks. Isaak occasionally commented on how amazed he was that he was on the other side of Canada and how we were going to hang out with some of our colleagues. I’m very glad he shared my excitement.
We arrived at the hotel, I picked up my key, and we went up to our room. I opened the door and I saw J.Haller sitting at a desk, laptop open, working on something in After Effects. Although I had met J.Haller previously, this was the first time Isaak and J.Haller had met each other in person. J.Haller stood up, shook Isaak’s hand, a couple of “nice to meet you’s” were tossed back and forth, and instantly we just became three friends hanging out in a hotel room. Three friends who were hungry and wanted dinner. We ended up going to the Arizona Bar & Grill just down the street. It’s a pretty average Tex-Mex themed bar and grill with average fare. We ordered our food and some beer. Isaak got a Leffe, a Belgian import. J.Haller decided to get a Molson’s Canadian. I couldn’t understand why he would specifically choose a Molson’s Canadian. J.Haller said it was tradition:
“Everytime I come to Canada I have to have a Molson’s Canadian. It’s like Canada’s Miller Lite, but it tastes better than Miller Lite.”
I still couldn’t understand, but I also could not complain that much as I did not see the premium local craft brews on the left side of the menu and ended up ordering a Kokanee. Isaak wanted to try it as it was made in Vancouver. “Kokanee is awful” was all he had to say. Yes Isaak, yes it is. After dinner, both J.Haller and Isaak started to show their exhaustion. I learned that neither of them had gotten a whole lot of sleep in the last 48 hours and they were both extremely tired. Vlad, the guy who runs the AMV room with me left earlier that afternoon to attend a karate lesson. After dinner we needed to go pick him up. Despite his best efforts, Haller could not help but pass out in the back seat. We arrived a bit early and decided to wait for Vlad in a Tim Horton’s around the corner from his Dojo. We all decided to order frozen lemonades. They were quite good but very sweet. We met up with Vlad and an hour-long drive later we arrived back at the hotel room, wanting to just relax for a while. I had brought along a couple of movies that we could watch before the Anime North weekend officially began. The hotel room had a widescreen TV attached to an input panel set into the desk. We had a very simple plan to connect J.Haller’s laptop to the TV using a HDMI cable. The connection itself worked, but for some reason the Marriott had decided to deny guests the ability to switch TV inputs on the actual TV. Frustrations were building as time dragged on and all of our ideas to make this work were proven ineffective one by one we decided to just watch cable. We all got in bed, watched an episode or two of Storage Wars and fell asleep.
Continued on Page Two…