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.
2012 marked Anime Boston's 10th Anniversary, and a whopping 22,000 attendees showed up to help the community celebrate. The transformation the convention has gone through across the past decade was on display at the Anime Boston museum, which was chock full of memorabilia such as program guides, staff shirts, a baseball bat signed by the entire voice cast of Gundam Wing, and a mock map of the Boston subway system with the stops named after convention locations. Main events showed slide shows and video footage from the early years of the con at the Park Plaza Hotel, and staff members often told impromptu stories of Anime Bostons past. Panelists also took it upon themselves to offer up something special for Anime Boston's milestone, such as The Chibi Project's double-feature anniversary panel. Regular programming was exceptionally good and included a vocal performance by Kanako Ito, a runway fashion show held by Japanese fashion designer Mint, a serious discussion about bullying hosted by voice actor Greg Ayres entitled "It Gets Better," and one of the best Cosplay Chess matches the convention has hosted in several years. "The Roadie" returned to host the masquerade with a new bag of gags and the show ran even more smoothly under his watch. Although Anime Boston somewhat copped out with its unoriginal "Post-Apocalyptic" theme for 2012's predicted Armageddon, the theme barely made an appearance among all the anniversary hoopla. Despite being ten years old and having to compete with PAX East being held across town the same weekend, Anime Boston proved it is more relevant than ever.
When Sketch and I finally arrived at the Sheraton Thursday and picked up our press badges, we discovered that our room on the 27th floor gave us access to the express elevator - BEST THING EVER! Not once did we or our roommates have to wait for more than a minute to catch the lift, a big plus since we had big costumes. Friday morning, Sketch and I checked into masq HQ where we found out our group had one 10 minute slot for both judging and "official" photos, and then were supposed to run to main events for rehearsal, which seemed insane to me. I tried not to worry too much as we went to tape Opening Ceremonies for the podcast before getting into our new Lynx and Riddel Viper costumes from Chrono Cross. That afternoon, we met up with ExileFayt as Serge and her friend as Leena for a Chrono Cross photoshoot. We got some fantastic shots, and the Christian Science Center security guard said we looked awesome and let us take photos, which was an nice surprise since they have been known to kick out cosplayers taking photos there in the past. The reflecting pool had already been filled for the spring season, and we were able to use that area as well.
That evening we had a run-through of our skit, in which Yuna summons every Aeon from Final Fantasy X in honor of the game's 10th anniversary. The skit was really great, but I was apprehensive about getting everyone to fit onto the smaller-than-usual stage in giant mascot costumes. Pushing my concerns aside, I changed into Eternal Chibimoon for The Chibi Project panel. PatrickD had planned a little skit of me, as Chibimoon, finally get revenge for all the years of torture the Project's members had inflicted on Chibiusa over the years. Afterwards EllyStar took some photos of me and Bry as my alter-ego, Black Lady, from Sailor Moon R. We then headed upstairs to help Sketch put the finishing touches on Bahamut from Final Fantasy X, where a whole horde of friends and acquaintances had shown up to pitch in and help. Sketch was touched by all the people who picked up a paint brush and helped the dragon come to life. A big thank you goes out to you all!
Saturday we were all up at 7AM to get into costume; I was excited as we had spent months on the costumes. It took until our judging time at 12:30PM to get everyone into everything and as I anticipated, scheduling photos and judging for the same 10 minute slot was not going well. It didn't help that the judges, whom are usually excellent at Anime Boston, were rude, not knowledgeable, and acted uninterested in examining our costumes. They asked worrisome questions like "what is craftfoam?" and criticized my 30 lb Shiva wig because I used pre-made polystyrene rings and ridiculed Sketch's insanely detailed Bahamut head because the dragon's mouth didn't move. After we got everyone set up for photos, a staffer told us to "get out" because there was no time. We got everyone halfway taken apart to fit out the door when someone else told us to set back up for photos. ARGH! By now, a rehearsal was out of the question and the negative attitude of the judges and the conflicting info from the staff was making everyone miserable. Added to all that was the fact we were already uncomfortable in the costumes and feeling like we couldn't even make it to the masquerade and decided to pull the skit. The masq staff were "devastated;" one even cried which was equally touching and shocking since they had seemed so angry at us just minutes before. However the decision was a relief and we knew we would have messed up the show trying to get everyone on and off stage. We needed to rethink some of the logistics before trying this again. Less stressed than we'd been in months, we set up a pose at the end of the hall and were bombarded by cameras, and Lionel took some wonderful shots of the group and my Shiva costume. We then changed, went out to a much deserved and wonderful group dinner, and caught the rest of the masquerade on the way back. Looking at what number they were on and what time it was, we reaffirmed we had made the right decision.
Sunday morning Sketch had to report for Chess as Lynx while I changed into my Rise costume from Persona 4. I headed to chess to tape segments for the podcast, but was so entertained by the show I ended up staying until almost the end. The chess match was refreshingly funny, with nearly all the characters having a stellar attack and the brilliant idea to have the "dead" characters fed to JENOVA from Final Fantasy VII, allowing them to exit out her plastic tube. I had to run out when I realized I was late for Greg Ayres' "It Gets Better" panel, which was a frank, meaningful discussion about bullying that I wished had been scheduled at a more convenient time as it was a talk that a lot more people would have done well to hear. Finally, I interviewed some con attendees with EllyStar and met up with Bry and Sketch to do a final round of the dealer's room before heading out. Here's to another great ten years, AB!