For those who are unaware, IFFT is a new anime convention that ran for the first time this year (with a previous IFF event in Osaka) and completely upstaged Anime North as far as the more “hardcore” crowd goes. Now, I’ve never actually attended AN despite it being the local con… I went to offkais outside of it, but I’ve never purchased a pass or gone inside the actual venue, because there wasn’t enough incentive to. A few of the iM@S seiyuu guests were tempting, but still didn’t push me to drive alllll the way to the venue (which isn’t even in Toronto) and buy a pass for just one thing.
Meanwhile, IFFT’s Japanese guest list was: Kawasumi Ayako, Ueda Kana, Shitaya Noriko, Sugiyama Noriaki. TAM and Akai Ryuusei. DJ Kazu. Suzuki Konomi. NAKAJIMA MEGUMI!
I didn’t go to AX the year that Mamegu was there… so the moment they announced her, I knew I was going to do whatever it took to get those concert seats–and that ended up being the platinum pass at $400, which sounds like a lot at first, but it’s in CAD and it’s way cheaper than AX premier. It also ended up providing a LOT of value, but I’ll get into that later because I should probably talk about the actual events first.
Uh… I guess I will put the summary tag here lol, before I end up with a wall of text on the blog homepage.
- This day was pretty much empty. I live far from the venue so I didn’t want to wake up early just for the TAM and Ryuusei show (since they would be performing multiple times throughout the con anyway), and ended up not going to any of the con events this day.
- Instead, I met up with a bunch of people for some good ol’ Konjiki ramen. Toronto’s ramen scene is so great these days.
- After lunch, I headed down to the con to pick up my pass. I intended on taking the subway, but one of my friends insisted on driving despite our repeated suggestions not to. Downtown Toronto drivers + pedestrians + long weekend + heavy rain = yeah, no. But when he pissed off the driver behind us, got honked at, and responded by holding up the middle finger… that was when I realized he was OK with driving downtown because he was one of them 😱
- The rain was really bad on this day. April sucks.
- When I picked up my pass, apparently it was already marked as claimed in their system… but they gave it to me anyway, so that’s good. The platinum swag bag was pretty good and I like the art on the tote bag and clear files. There were also supposed to be a happi and t-shirt included, but due to shipping issues they were mailed to us afterwards. In separate packages for some reason. 🤔
- Checked out TAM and Akai Ryuusei’s dealer booth where they were playing random songs throughout the entire weekend. Bought a CD and got it signed 👍
- Ran out of things to do and ended up playing mahjong the rest of the day. For what it’s worth, lugging mahjong tiles around all day was definitely a mistake and my shoulder was sore for several days =_=
- This is where the real con began! Started off with Shitaya, Kana-sama, and Sugiyama autographs (I got Fate/Extra CCC and Realta Nua signed). Platinum badge made this really painless, but sadly I had to miss Kawasumi’s Q&A because of the conflict.
- Went over to Kana-sama’s Q&A which was good. She is very sweet and took requests for voiced lines; someone got her to do Saki’s “Kan! Tsumo! Rinshan kaihou!”, and someone else got her to ad-lib Rin failing at fighting games–which was absolutely hilarious and she really went all-in on it. Left the panel about 30 minutes in to grab Kawasumi’s autograph and then came back 15 minutes later to catch the end (bless that platinum privilege).
- Shitaya had a photo booth session! I feel like it’s pretty unheard of for seiyuu to allow you to take photos with them o_O That was certainly cool.
- Lost butterfly talk show (with all four Fate seiyuu) was good. All of the questions were pre-screened, so we didn’t have to worry about everyone asking obnoxious questions about that scene. It’s actually kind of funny that Kawasumi was there, since she barely has any lines in lost butterfly lol.
IFF Anisong Concert
- The lineup for the concert was extremely poorly managed, presumably because convention staff weren’t expecting the entire con to be trying to line up hours in advance. Telling people to leave and come back 20 minutes before doors open just doesn’t work, you know? Not when seats are first-come first-serve. If you want to avoid that fire hazard, seats need to be assigned. Anyway, by the power of line speculation and the good ol’ Dash™, I was able to get a front row seat 3 away from the center aisle.
- When we got in, TAM and Akai Ryuusei already started their pre-show, and I was pretty impressed by their set list. In addition to the anison medleys, they even did a FF medley and a Touhou medley! Not what I was expecting given the likely audience demographics, but I appreciated it very much.
- DJ Kazu’s set was lit as always. He even put on Tachiagare! ;__;
- After Kazu got us warmed up, it was time for Konomin! Her set list was as follows:
- join us
- Utaeba Soko ni Kimi ga Iru kara
- Weak and Brave
- DAYS of DASH
- AVENGE WORLD
- This game
- Konomin’s set list had a few surprises, namely join us and Weak and Brave–the latter of which was apparently written with the desire to perform it in a vast place like Canada one day. I also didn’t see DAYS of DASH coming at all because even AX didn’t get it… so I only brought my WUG blade which doesn’t have pink on it <_<; Anyway Konomin was absolutely great and I'm really glad I got to see her perform from up close.
- Closing out the concert was Mamegu! Her set list was:
- What ’bout my star?@Formo
- Saturday Night Question
- TRY UNITE!
- Bitter Sweet Harmony
- Watashi no Sekai
- Anata no Oto
- Houkago Overflow
- Seikan Hikou
- encore: Aimo (a capella)
- Being the die-hard Mamegu fan that I am, getting to see her from front row center was more than I could’ve ever hoped for. Her set list also had some surprises; I was really excited to hear TRY UNITE! and Houkago Overflow. Mamegu’s voice is just so lovely u_u
- After she finished Seikan Hikou and went off stage, the audience shouted もう一回! for a while (not that strongly though lol; there was no real expectation for an encore but we wanted to try anyway), the screen changed to the IFFT logo, audience went silent… and then nothing happened, so we shouted アンコーレ! for a while until Mamegu actually did come back out! She wasn’t sure what to do since they didn’t have any other instrumentals prepared, but we really wanted that encore, so she decided to sing Aimo for us a capella, much to the audience’s joy. It was pretty much the best improvisation possible, and the audience sung along with her. The next day in her Q&A, she said that she was really happy because she doesn’t get to sing Aimo that often ;_;
- I never would’ve dreamed of seeing such a concert in Toronto… I really, really hope this continues to be a thing.
- This day started off with the UBW live recording where the Fate seiyuu voiced some scenes for us live, and the sound director gave his critique and some insight into the dubbing process. It was pretty neat, and Kawasumi Ayako even did the iconic Saber introduction.
- Next was the Konomin Q&A. The questions were pretty good all around, and she seemed really happy to be in Canada. At the end, there was a watashikai where she handed us postcards, since there was no autograph session for her.
- Mamegu’s Q&A was next, and I somehow worked up the courage to go up and ask a question. I stumbled every other word, but it worked out in the end! Since Mamegu did a collab with WUG at Animax Musix last year, I asked what it was like working with them, and she said that the WUGs were super nervous around her at first (they saw her as a really high-up senpai that they respected a lot), but eventually they finally made eye contact with her lmao. Btw the interpreter for her was surprisingly knowledgeable. He was even familiar with her roles in Basquash and Precure! Definitely another plus for IFFT: competent interpreters.
- Next, I went over to see DJ Kazu’s set, since I’d missed the Saturday one. I hung around the back at first, since I was still recovering from the concert, but then he put on Shoujo Koukyoukyoku and I immediately ran up to join in with the calls… only to get completely worn out again after one song and slink back to where I was. Anyway, DJ Kazu is great and I hope he comes back!
- Next I went to the first half of Sugiyama’s Q&A, before sadly having to leave in order to catch Mamegu’s autograph. As I was in line, I overheard a gold badge worrying over whether he’d be able to make it in time to get Kawasumi’s autograph as well (the timeslots overlapped). Naturally, I decided to use my platinum privilege for good(?), waltzed over to the Kawasumi line with his artbook, got it signed, and immediately handed it back to him, all within the span of like 3 minutes lol.
- After that, I went back to the stage to catch the end of TAM and Akai Ryuusei’s show. Apparently they sold out most of their stuff, which is really great!
- The final event of the day for me was Shitaya’s Q&A, which was… uh… interesting. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t have many major roles outside of Fate, but the audience questions were of a much lower caliber than the other guests’ Q&As. Like, someone asked about the Sakurafish meme… and someone else asked something about Sakura’s yandere tendencies in F/HA, except he seemed to be reading off of Google Translate in an extremely bad accent. Anyway, it’s unfortunate that she had to deal with those questions orz.
- Well, that was supposed to be my final event, but I got dragged into ACT102’s tiger den because everyone I wanted to get food with was going. At this point I was ridiculously tired and I had a migraine, so I didn’t want to go in, but no one else was staying outside, so I had to… and as expected, it made my headache worse. Sigh. You know it’s bad when Tachiagare comes on and my friend immediately apologizes to me =_=
- IFFT was really interesting to me because it was a small, cozy con with S-tier guests. It was amazing seeing all of these people I knew from the US and beyond coming in for this, and it gives me hope for Toronto that AN never did. It definitely needs to grow more, and I really want to support this con.
- The dealer hall was very lacking, but I can kind of understand, since it’s probably hard to get major vendors to come to a first-time con that also overlapped with Sakuracon and Anime Boston. Personally hoping to see more gaming representation in the future, but anime-focused is OK for now too.
- Platinum was SO worth it if you wanted autographs. Not only did it guarantee all of the autographs for you, but it even took some of the sting off of all the panel/autograph overlaps, because you could still go to part of the panels and even enter halfway through (since premier seats are reserved regardless of if they’re filled or not). I felt like I definitely got my money’s worth, especially since the photo booth + concert were covered by the badge, so that’s $50 right there. I don’t know how much the happi and t-shirt cost to buy, but those were also included with the badge.
- Shoutout to the info booth guy, who had to deal with me like 5 times throughout the con lmao.
- Supposedly, IFFT will be in June next year. Hopefully the weather isn’t as bad next time.
Ok I am tired of writing now lol. TL;DR: Godly first-time con, PLEASE keep it up! See you again next June