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.
The theme for this year's convention was "Mad Science," featuring tech, gizmos, gadgets, and of course, time travel. Almost 18,000 fans came out to celebrate at Anime Boston during the course of the weekend as the theme's "cosplot" unfolded throughout the weekend at events such as the dating games, masquerade, cosplay chess and Starlight Ball, and in the convention center's hallways which were decorated with strange mechanical sculptures. The highlight of the weekend's programming was a performance by the talented and locally-based Video Game Orchestra who played to several standing ovations Friday night and were joined by Anime Boston headline guest and Final Fantasy composer, Nobuo Uematsu. This was Mr. Uematsu's first appearance at a North American convention and it was a thrill to watch the diminutive middle-aged composer rock out. The con's staff had clearly made efforts to further streamline the convention's attendee flow and I never felt the con's size despite the addition of almost 2,000 guests. Lines were shorter and occurred less often, the dealer's room was easier to navigate, and I waited less than two minutes to pick up my badge Thursday night. The masquerade also moved to a ticketing seating system this year, sparing the audience from wasting hours of their day waiting in line to watch the show. The show itself benefited from the return of emcee Uncle Yo and an excellent selection of skits which made it the most entertaining masquerade I've ever seen at Anime Boston.
Personal Thoughts: Sketch and I drove in to the Hilton Thursday night to drop off our stuff, pick up our badges, and eat dinner with roomies Bry-Chan and Katy, but we returned to his house and spent all night covering the expanding wings Sketch had built for our masquerade skit in stretchy, leather-like, impossible to sew fabric. We drove back to the con Friday morning, and I wandered around as Eternal Chibimoon and Steve joined me as Tuxedo Mask. As I walked through the Hynes, a fan gave me a beautiful drawing of Wicked Lady she had made! I loved it! That evening I went to the Video Game Orchestra Concert with EllyStar and Iceman. I love Nobuo Uematsu and Final Fantasy music so I was really excited to hear some of it performed live. The first half of the show was mostly nostalgic 8-bit tunes, but after intermission they brought on rock band musicians and a full choir and tore through difficult pieces from games like God of War and Final Fantasy VII. Exceptional performers included the first chair violinist dressed as Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service, who produced masterful solo segments and held the group solidly together as concert mistress. The lead flutist also had his own ovation after an exquisite featured performance in a piece from Chrono Trigger. At the end of the program, Mr. Nobuo Uematsu arrived for an encore performance of “One Winged Angel;" they nailed the iconic song and the audience leapt to its feet. It was absolutely mind-blowing. EllyStar cried. After the show I checked out Anime Unscripted before crashing for the night.
Saturday morning we rushed to get into our Chrono Crusade costumes in time for masquerade judging; the judges loved our costumes, and appreciated Steve's hand-dyed wig, Bry-Chan’s solar-powered staff, my necklace which actually kept time, and of course, the spring-loaded wings. It was too bad that the wings were covered in fabric so the judges couldn’t examine the complex aluminum frame and wire pulley/spring system Sketch had rigged up on the inside, but we showed them progress photos of the bare versions. After judging we wandered the con, took some cool photos by the Christian Science building and did a few last minute run-throughs of the dance before heading to the masquerade. The show was the best-run at AB thus far; it moved quickly and there was a distinct lack of technical glitches. Prior to the performances, all of the walk-on entries did a mini fashion show which warmed up the crowd, and the vast majority of the skits were really entertaining. My favorites included the Portal skit and the Umineko no Naku Koro ni performance, which had amazingly complex staging and pulled it off perfectly despite having large props and a lot of performers to keep track of. The matching "witches" outfits were also really cute. Our own performance went relatively smoothly; the audience loved Satella and Chrono’s slapstick, and, most importantly, the wings WORKED! It was anyone's best guess for who would win the awards; the judges had plenty of fantastic skits to choose from. Personally, our group thought the Umineko skit would take the top prize, so we were shocked when they got Best Overall Performance and we were awarded Best In Show for the second year in a row! After the show ended we were interviewed by Ernie Lueng for The Fan's POV again and were surprised to learn he had had seen our “Making Of Circus” video and had loved it, teasing us about practicing in parking lots and drinking out of our cup.
Afterward we changed and met up for a victory celebration dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Steve had made us all “Dead Moon Circus” T-shirts as a surprise, and we put them on and got the waiter to fill our trophy with margaritas. We laughed and ate and partied until we were so exhausted we were dead asleep before our heads hit our pillows. We were so exhausted we overslept on Sunday, and Sketch almost missed the start of Chess at 10AM. We quickly got him into his Vash costume and kicked him out the door with three minutes to spare. I got into my Advent Children Tifa costume and headed to the dealer’s room; as I was investigating art books, somebody grabbed my butt. “That BETTER have been someone I KNOW!” I yelled, and sure enough, Kurthy popped out from behind one of the displays, laughing. She and I were drooling over Steampunk goggles when Sketch found us and dragged me off to check out Gundams. I was supposed to talk him out of the purchase, but he'd been having such a stressful weekend I agreed to a little retail therapy. Afterwards we had an amazing lunch with our roommates at Wagamama; the waitress was hilarious, the food was delicious, and I had the best glass of wine I've ever had in my life. We did one last sweep of the con before changing into our swimsuits and taking a well-deserved soak in the Hilton hot tub, which was delightfully Otaku-free. That evening we hit up The Cheesecake Factory and brought back slices of Red Velvet cheesecake to devour in our PJs.
Monday morning we packed up the van and headed out to Boston Common, grabbed sandwiches at Dunkin’ Donuts across the street and found a sunny spot on the grass to sunbathe enjoy a small picnic brunch. After a long winter it was the first warm weekend of the year and it was nice to just bask in it for awhile. That afternoon we dropped Katy and Bry-Chan off at South Station before heading back to Sketch's house, where he finally asked me to be his girlfriend, officially, and I accepted. A fantastic weekend all around!