Ganbatte Returns for Second Year
By Ezekiel McAdams
July 20 2017
Saskatoon's Ganbatte Convention returns for a second year, July 22nd-23rd. The convention, which specializes in anime and Japanese culture is being organized for the second year, by Annie Shadden, a professional cosplayer.
Shadden, who loves both anime and the Japanese culture, was inspired by other anime cons such as Animethon in Edmonton and Otafest in Calgary. While there was a previous anime con in Saskatoon, called Blitz, Shadden had wanted one that just anime and Japanese centric, instead of trying to encompass many other genres, like many other cons do. "Like, driving like six hours to an anime convention, is kinda the worst. Or a flight! And since we had gone to a lot of conventions, and we all know what should be there." Shadden said.
It was the difference between an anime Con and the traditional comic con that drove her to create Ganbatte. "Both of them are needed in the city. An anime convention is more aimed at Japanese culture. It's a non-profit. By the nerds, for the nerds." she said.
For Shadden, it is the community that draws her in as well as the anime subculture but also a struggle for getting her interests more accepted. "It [Saskatoon], has a huge anime fan base but with Saskatoon's small town mentality, some people just agree with people liking such different things. But Saskatoon in general, is not very accepting of the weirdness of people liking anime culture and cosplay. It's been a struggle and having a community that turns it into a mainstream thing and people aren't getting made fun of cosplay now. It makes it more accepting for everyone. Hopefully Ganbatte will help with that weirdness."
Movies like the films Marvel Cinematic Universe and sitcoms such as The Big Bang Theory have certainly popularized the geek community and subculture but Shadden believes, people want to be to be part of a community. "Say that you like a video game, finding someone to play that video game with is super fun and that's what Comic Con is." she said.
Something that surprised Shadden was the legalities and the behind the scenes issues. "There were so many contracts, and accounting and business that just adds up really quick. Managing staff is more difficult then I had thought." she said.
Running a con, for Shadden, has become a full time job. The response for the first year was better than Shadden expected but she'd like to surpass it for the second year as well as beyond. "Everyone said it went amazing. For a first year, they got five hundred people and first year conventions get on average, like thirty to hundred. We blew it out of the park. I'm hoping to get a thousand each day. We have capacity for seventeen hundred." she said.
This year, Shadden, is feeling less pressure as she has become less of doing every job and being more of an organizer due to the numerous volunteers. " I was almost doing it by myself, doing like, every single department. This year, we have someone in each department and now I just have to check up." she said.
Shadden is really excited for the second year which has a special announcements at the opening ceremonies, which she wants to keep as a surprise. Ganbatte will go from 10-AM-10PM both days, will have an Anime room, a dance with a DJ, including sixteen guests including two power rangers, as well as many local guests from Saskatchewan. They have thirty two tables and seven booths in the vendor hall. There will be a screening of Spirited Away, previewing before the con, July 21 2017.
Shadden is looking forward to the future, has set up a board of directors and has big plans for year three."We'd love to get a big musical guest as well as a voice actor and some sponsorships. With the exchange rate right now we can't afford, American guests. Guests are very expensive and takes up most of our budget." she said.
Ganbatte will run July 22-23rd at TCU Place from 10 AM and 10 PM.
"There's going to be something for everyone at Ganbatte this year. Even if you don't like nerdy stuff, give it a try. Anime has so many genres, like movies, saying if you hate dislike stuff because you probably haven't checked it out yet."