Anime Boston is a large-scale anime convention held annually in Boston, Massachusetts by the New England Anime Society. Since its humble beginnings in 2003, Anime Boston has quickly grown to become one of the largest anime conventions in the United States.
In the last two years since its debut in 2003, Anime Boston has attracted record numbers of attendees, rapidly outgrowing its original location at Boston's beautiful, yet antiquated Park Plaza Hotel. Overcrowding, attendance caps, and having a dealer's room located across the street caused major problems in 2004, and so for 2005, Anime Boston moved to the Hynes Convention Center in Boston's Back Bay. Its four large exhibition floors not only provided spacious surroundings for the weekend's events and the con's 7,500 attendees, but also showcased the potential for the convention's future growth. With all the new space, Anime Boston has plenty of room to expand its events schedule, packing in plenty of panels, events, screenings, and contests. Popular appearances this year included a performance by Japanese vocalist Yoko Ishida, who kicked off her North American tour at the con, Chrono Crusade manga artist
Daisuke Moriyama, and panels led by voice actors Greg Ayres, Melissa Fahn, Scott McNeil, Johnny Yong Bosch, Monica Rial and Chris Patton. However, accompanying the positive changes was some significant disorganization. Many of the con locations were not identified well, and many of the staff were, despite their willingness to help, unsure of where things were or when certain events were taking place. Hopefully, as Anime Boston settles into its new space at the Hynes, these issues will resolve themselves. Regardless, the cosplayers were out and in full force and the atmosphere was friendly, outgoing, and sociable.
After two years on the online cosplay scene, Anime Boston 2005 was finally going to my first convention! I'd wanted to attend since it began in 2003, but its timing had always conflicted with dance performances until this year. I was dragging along one of my best friends from college who had never played a video game or watched an anime, so we decided to only go for the day on Friday so I could get a taste of the convention without putting her through an entire weekend of it. She was a great sport and even cosplayed with me, borrowing my Ellone costume from Final Fantasy VIII to match my Rinoa outfit. We changed into our costumes at her apartment and took the T to the Hynes. I was a bit nervous about traveling on public transit in costume, but luckily we had missed the morning commuter rush and by the time we hit the Green Line, the train was full of people chatting about the convention. I even saw my first cosplayer, a girl dressed as Lord Sesshomaru from InuYasha, whose mother was holding up the end of her fur train on the subway.
Once we arrived at the Hynes there was a bit of confusion as to where to go to get the badges; even the security guards didn't know, even though they were the ones checking the badges. Finally, I flagged down someone with a badge, who said registration was on the second floor of the convention center you need a badge to get in to... makes sense, right? Once we found the line we only had to wait about fifteen minutes to register on site and get our badges. We then headed to the dealer's room, which was a huge area; despite the fact it was chalk full of con-goers, it did not feel the least bit crowded. There was even a guy running around as a giant can of Kung Fu! As we wandered, we got to meet some excellent cosplayers, including Kourmori who was dressed as a fantastic Samurai Yuna from Final Fantasy X-2, Sketch as an amazing Lynx from Chrono Cross, and Sephygoth, Blue Sasarai, and Astro as Sephiroth, Vincent, and Aeris from Final Fantasy VII. I also met a really cute pair of pre-teens dressed as Tidus and Rikku and talked for a while with Eternalglade and her sister Resha as Summoner and Songstress Yuna.
Later that afternoon, we were supposed to meet up with many other Final Fantasy cosplayers for a full series photo shoot, but there was a lot of confusion as to the meeting spot. I had passed a sign for it earlier, but when the shoot time came around, the sign had disappeared! The staff was also confused, and it took them about a half an hour to reorganize. Once things were straightened out, the photographer lined us all up in front of the elevators in the main hallway. There were some excellent costumes, including a Summoner Braska, a Shiva, and a Wedding Yuna. We crowded in, and the flashbulbs started going off for about 20 minutes straight! Once the shoot calmed down, my friend and I took in a few anime screenings and checked out the artwork gallery and game room before it was time to go home. The only drawback was that I didnít get to stay longer! Now that I have a taste of the convention atmosphere, I will definitely be back for the entire weekend next year, and I hope to get more involved!