Helloooooo~ Anime Boston!
Once again, Anime Boston took place at the gorgeous Hynes Convention Center in the heart of downtown Boston. As a second time attendee of this long awaited event, I had my hopes set to experience another year of great guests, people and memories to be made. One main event from last year if people recalled, Nobou Imatsu along with the Video Game Orchestra conducted one of the most magical symphonic event any musical fan could hope for. But for this year though…? Let’s just say the best is yet to come. However before I start, I want to thank all the hard working staffs and volunteers for making this convention possible. Though only three days of convention, these people sacrificed their time to provide us with something we carry with us for years and beyond. So without further delay, I bring to you Anime Boston 2011!!
Line-Con? No, It’s Actually Registration!
You know those hideous lines that’s hated by the world whether you’re at a DMV or grocery store or say… an anime convention? Well, seems like this year Anime Boston relieved some of those fears with a well organized registration area for people to pick up and purchase their badges. Upon asking, most people spent literally less than half an hour to get that piece of validation in a shiny plastic pouch to sling around their neck. Call it what you may, the matter of the fact is if lines were what you dreaded at an anime convention, Anime Boston probably isn’t the best place to find it. And no, I didn’t end up bombing an exam this year like last year on day one of the convention for the sake of registration. That was one of those “memory I can live without.” Oh and one last thing, did I mention over 19,000 people registered?
Of the many attractions of Anime Boston, the dealer’s room certainly was a main one as thousands of people searched through the rubble of close to 100 dealers for that special little something. Whether they are figures, posters, t-shirts or whatever, the dealer’s room at Anime Boston mostly had them all. For me there wasn’t much to buy this year except a few Spice and Wolf posters and an Angel Beats (<3) towel. With that said however, I did find a few oddball “dealers” such as, oh I don't know... Verizon? Beats me but either way, I had a great time walking around in the dealers room and conversing with the dealers as well.
I know it's probably over done and over mentioned in the last half a dozen reports that I've done, but in this gloomy economy, I really appreciate dealers for coming to Anime Boston and keeping a part of the fandom alive by providing us with fun and unique merchandises. For us, supporting an anime industry is one thing but supporting an entire subculture that stems from anime and vice versa is quite different. I hope these dealers realize how happy they make fellow anime fans feel and I hope they will continue to be one themselves.
ONLY ONE WAS LEFT STANDING!…. FUNimation!
I walked into the dealers room and the first thing I saw, boom, there she was: Maria in all her hot-pink plug suit glory on possibly the biggest tapestry for a single anime character. I mean she might as well be an Eva herself. Ahem… that aside since the subject came up from how much I wanted that giant orgasmic piece of art, FUNimation came and they came prepared to showcase some of the awesome things that they had, such as, Baccano!, Evangelion 2.22, Eden of the East movie and many more. A few years back I remember telling myself FUNimation was going to be one of those anime distribution companies that was going to last. Up to date, they have licensed two of my top 5 anime: Solty Rei and Gunslinger Girl. Pretty good ratio I must say coming from someone who’s pretty darn picky. Either way they came, they impressed and they licensed. Keep up the good work FUNimation and also keep putting out those Blu-Rays * wink *
Maybe this is from someone who is too spoiled by FanimeCon’s massive football field size swap meet set-up, but this was one aspect I would really like to see some more investment and progression in. I’ve talked with a few staffers regarding the issue of people not being allowed to purchase the items from swap meet and it pretty much boiled down to not upsetting the dealers. That aside, swap meet took place in the same tiny and sweaty room where people were literally squeezed shoulder to shoulder at times just to pass each other. Though I’m not saying it should have been in Ballroom D or some other main event room, at least it should have been moved to a more formidable and a room closer to where more traffic was, rather than a secluded location at the end of the hallway around a corner.
I personally believe swap meet is an excellent opportunity for anime fans to socialize and discover some common interest that sparks from a simple conversation of an item being traded. I admit that this was only the second year that swap meet was put into motion, so I won’t say more about it than that from personal experience, swap meet can become a main event and if fine-tuned, can maintain a balance between the fans and the dealers where both sides are happy.
I swear, every year at every anime convention that I’ve been to, artists have been getting more and more creative with what they offer to people and wow, there were no exceptions at Anime Boston this year. In the past, a lot of artists focused on prints, pins and postcards of their art work. Nowadays, don’t be surprised to see custom made… well, I think the pictures will do more justice for them than words from me. All in all, artist alley will definitely remain one of my favorite attractions at Anime Boston. It’s one thing to be an anime fan, but it’s another to be inspired by it and apply dedication and hard work to that inspiration. Keep up the good work you promising artists and I hope to see what you guys will bring for us next year.
Masquerade… “I lift things up! And put them down! I AM A ROADIE!”
Over the years, one of the main events that I have come to love is masquerade. Though the nature of an anime is static no matter how many times it’s watched, masquerade brings out the creativity of those performers to create a new crossover that’s completely fun, entertaining and original. For example the first skit of masquerade was with Pokemon characters, the originality and fun-factor was within the actual cosplayers who carried out the skit. With that, I can safely say I had a great time watching performances which ranged from Magic Knight Rayearth to Persona 4 and so forth.
One skit which caught my attention and actually surprised me a bit was of Star Driver. The anime itself is fairly new and to see passionate fans perform based on it proved that Anime Boston did shelter those die hard anime fans. Although the acts and the people who performed were good, I would have liked to see a bit more diversity in the types of anime, as they served as the backbone for the skits. Given that, masquerade at Anime Boston this year, like last, was entertaining and amusing and overall something I encourage people to attend and experience.
In addition, what could be better than fun skits by fans dressed up in cosplays?… a MC who brought life to the crowd and kept people entertained even during masquerade skit intersessions. This year Anime Boston welcomed a new/substitute MC for masquerade due to circumstances of the original MC that should have been in charge. I have to admit though, this guy is by far the best MC I have ever seen. I mean Ric Meyers was awesome as MC in the past FanimeCons but wow, I think I enjoyed him almost as much as I enjoyed the skits. Finally if anyone was curious about the nature of the sentence in the title above, tune in to Anime Boston 2012 masquerade… IF he returns for round two.
Video Gaming Room
Aside from the sewer looking room that the video gaming took place in, the overall set up and games put out was very impressive and comparable to the E-Gaming room of FanimeCon and by far outclass the one at Anime Expo. The set up was pretty much like last year where each system was on a platform and to each its own, an LCD TV. Looking over the massive room and the overall set up, it was pretty obvious a lot of time and effort was put into making everything fun and presentable to the public. At the very back of the room were three projectors set up where people played and showed off the games in style. I did however noticed that the projectors were directly on the wall of the room rather than against a projector screen of some sort. Later on I think one of the three projectors got something like a white screen but still, it seemed a bit “ghetto.” Hopefully, next year there will be projection screens to make that area of the gaming room both attractive and more visible with regards to the games.
Aside from that, no complaints as people were able to request games they wanted to play, borrow controllers and so forth. The tournaments were well organized as I jumped in on the hype and watched parts of the Marvel vs Capcom 3 one. A big disappointment however was that there wasn’t a BlazBlue: Continuum Shift tournament, something that I would have been a part of myself. I mean, the game hasn’t even been out for a year and it was pretty much dead in a way. Maybe more people will be attracted to BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II the next time Anime Boston rolls around. Either way, the video gaming room this year was impressive and provided people with that extra kick of entertainment, whether one was stopping to take a rest or to simply challenge another in a battle to the e-deaaaaaath~
Like, excuse my next few unprofessional words but holy CRAP! People came, saw and head banged HARD. To introduce them, Girugamesh is a long time established visual kei band that plays metal as their genre and is fairly well received in Japan. They were a bit more popularized in the States a few years ago when Sakura-con announced them as the musical guests of honor, not to mention how Sakura-con’s promotional commercial turned Girugamesh into a popular online meme.
Putting that aside, I honestly did not realize what I was getting myself into before the concert. I mean, they haven’t done any anime theme songs. Heck, I don’t even think they’ve done anything even anime related. Just how good could they be or how much would I even enjoy them? Answer: after the concert.. A LOT. Lets put it this way: I remember a transition from a subtle and laxed sitting position in the front taking pictures to head banging and pumping my fist in the air as the concert progressed…*cough*. In addition, I think I felt miniature earthquakes during the entire course of the concert.. that or people were going nuts jumping up and down. Yeah, I think I’ll stick with the latter.
Overall, Girugamesh were simply amazing as they energized the entire crowd, drawing them into a world of it’s own. It was not only a sight to be seen but a transient feeling of something that couldn’t be explained and only felt during that time. Anime Boston, kudos for bringing Girugamesh this year. Next year, I can only expect the greatness to continue.
One of the best things Anime Boston can do is to give the opportunity for people to meet guests of honor who they know and appreciate for what they’ve contributed for the fandom. For me the rock band Stereopony and their featured song Namida no Muko, the opening of Gundam 00, was just that. I remembered back a year or two when I heard that song for the first time, I fell in love with it right away so naturally I was psyched when I found out that they were going to be at Anime Boston this year. Though Namida no Muko wasn’t the only song in their discography that I enjoyed, for me it certainly was the highlight.
After the pre-event hype, Stereopony light the whole room up with applause as they walked up to stage to the welcoming cheers of the passionate fans. The duration of the concert was filled with joy, grief and hope. They brought to us joy through their passion in music, grief as they shared their condolences with us in the recent earthquake of Japan and hope for the victims and family of the victims of that earthquake. There were so many different emotions flowing through that concert hall as they poured their hearts out with every song they played. Overall, Stereopony was amazing and I would love to see them perform again.
If there was ever something that would challenge an anime fan to go above and beyond than just being a passive fan, cosplaying would certainly be one of them. Hosting almost 20,000 attendees, the absence of them would certainly be something that wouldn’t cross anyone’s mind at Anime Boston. However, I was a bit more disappointed with the turn out than pleased. I should go back to my original statement about the lack of cosplayers. The big problem I saw was a lack of diverse cosplays.
There were plenty of Pokemon cosplayers and little bits of Haruhi, Code Geass, Gurren Lagaan and others sprinkled here and there. Aside from that, there were plenty of people dressed up as random and I mean really random stuff. In fact a lot had neko mimis (ears) on or a tail… or being a fur cosplayer. Where are the Madoka cosplayers? How about the Zakuro ones? I saw no Index or Railgun cosplayers and believe me, I searched hard for the three days I was there. In fact it was because of last year, I decided to spend a lot more time this year in search of cosplays I had hoped to see.
In the end though, I did find some and from those I picked out, five I absolutely loved for the anime character cosplayed, the quality of the cosplay and just.. pure awesomeness. To those who cosplayed, I want to acknowledge the hard work, effort and time put into it. I want to clarify that by no means am I putting other cosplayers down. I simply wish people to expand into new area of anime and characters they can fall in love with and cosplay as. With that said, here is my top five list. Thank you for being a vital part of this fandom and to everyone else who contributed to the diversity of the people of Anime Boston.
As a second time attendee of Anime Boston, I had a lot of mixed feelings compared to last year both positive and negative. To get it over with, one thing which bugged me was how eccentric the behavior of some of the fans were. Not saying they were crazy per se, but there were some behavioral problems, such as, people running around and people with random meme outbursts. I mean I understand the fact that major Eastern conventions like Anime Boston and Otakon would host a large amount of 4channers. Even the mascots of Anime Boston revolved around 4chan: A-chan and B-kun. But to stress this again, people in general were having fun and were well behaved. With every anime convention, things like this are expected so I’m just picky.
Also another thing which actually upset me a little were the mall cops. I mean, who in the world do they think they are? I don’t think I saw a single one smile during the entire 3 days I was there. Maybe I had to really stare at them and study that robotic facial expression? Not sure. All I know was that at times I got an attitude from them for no reason. Again, this had nothing to do with the staff members or volunteers as I had absolutely no issues with any of them. I think I even mentioned last year how laid back, helpful and awesome the staffs of Anime Boston were.
Another thing I would like to see improvement in would be swap meet as previously mentioned. Although a slow process, I hope down the line swap meet will expand and gain popularity. Again probably my personal biased devil speaking, but from how much I enjoyed swap meet at FanimeCon and how I’ve seen it expand exponentially, there isn’t a reason why Anime Boston can’t turn that around in the future years. Finally my biggest hope is to see more cosplayers and more cosplays from different anime new and old. Though no anime convention has that completely covered, even one extra person who decides to put a few extra hours to making a cosplay rather than slapping on a tail or ears or face paint or whatever, makes a difference in the long run. I saw so much potential this year it was unbelievable. I urge those people to push yourself one step further. While it’s true to love something you already cosplay as, venturing out and discovering new things can be great as well.
Now for the good stuff to boot, both the artist alley and dealer’s room were pretty decent. In this kind of economy with no relief in sight, dealers still made their trip and carried fairly good imports from mugs to figures to towels and so forth. It was good to see their continued support for the fandom and our cravings for all things anime and manga related. In addition, both Girugamesh and Stereopony were amazing and I hope Anime Boston will continue to invite amazing musical guests and other guests of honor in the future.
Overall, I would say I had a lot of fun at Anime Boston this year. This convention is growing on me as I am becoming more and more attached to it. Personally I think the location is amazing being at the heart of one of the best places in Boston. Anime Boston has already booked the next almost half a dozen years to be at the Hynes Convention Center. Since the creation of the convention, Anime Boston has been growing tremendously with an attendance of almost 20,000 this year. The future looks good for this anime convention but for now, have these words haunt you… “ I lift things up! And put them down! I AM A ROADIE!”. Until next year, so long Anime Boston~!