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 Anime Boston 2014 was "Magic and Mischief," celebrating everything from magical girls and mages to tricksters and dungeon masters. Attendance numbers topped out at just under 25,000 fans who visited the Hynes Convention Center over the course of the weekend enjoying panels, games shows, concerts, performances and dances. The highlight of the weekend's programming was two performances by the Japanese-based rock group JAM Project, the artists behind many popular show and series theme songs including One Piece, Soultaker, and Transformers.. A Friday night show to a packed auditorium highlighted the group's hits while a second performance on Saturday featured each band member's solo pieces. Funimation's big reveal of the English dub version of the madly popular series Attack on Titan also drew a large crowd on Saturday. Despite the convention's large numbers, the professionalism and organization of the convention's staff was impressive, and the professional-level production values for the entire event were unmatched. Even after twelve years, Anime Boston still proves itself to be a major player on the convention circuit.
After missing Anime Boston 2013 due to our wedding prep, Sketch and I were excited to return to our hometown convention! We were also returning to competing in the masquerade with a silly little Final Fantasy IX/pirate skit after sitting out since 2010, which was a little frightening. We arrived at the convention mid-afternoon on Friday and I wandered the Hynes a bit as Sango from . A lot of people were really excited to see a Sango and everyone loved my boomerang. Scarlett and I hit up EllyStar’s “Level Up Your Cosplay” panel, where there was an adorable Arriarty cosplayer a couple of rows in front of me from The Secret Life of Arriarty. I was hoping to grab her photo on the way out, but we missed her in the shuffle. EllyStar joined us after the panel and we checked out the dealer’s room and artist’s alley. That evening we rehearsed in the hallway outside of our hotel room; it was our first time rehearsing with everyone together, and given that it went pretty well!
Saturday we were up early to move our props into main events; I was concerned about getting them through the crowds and security, but security didn’t even OPEN the giant steamer trunk EllyStar and I were carrying. I don’t mind having the checkpoints, especially in light of the marathon bombings last year, but the fact that the guards rifled through my purse (which is barely large enough to carry a cell phone), but left a giant wooden crate untouched was just absurd. We got everything down without a problem and were on time for our rehearsal at 11am. Rehearsal itself was fine but tech was running behind and we didn't get to go onstage until almost noon. Because of the late start we had to scramble to get back to the room and into costume and make our 1PM judging slot. I got into Beatrix from Final Fantasy IX and then helped Sketch into his Steiner armor while everyone else raced downstairs. Luckily we won the elevator lottery and we ran into the judging room just as the judges called our group.
The masquerade staff was amazing, passing out water, snacks, and fruit cups backstage, and even going around with duct tape, needles, thread, scissors, pins and other supplies for cosplay emergencies. They pumped us up with how much fun we were gonna have and there was a great sense of camaraderie. It was awesome that they finally had placed a TV screen backstage so for the first time I could enjoy the show without having to read everything backwards! Both the Roadie and Mario were hosting this go-around, and did a wonderful job. I tried to enjoy the skits ahead of us, but I was nervous and it was hard to concentrate. Before long we were dragging our props onstage, and when they announced us as Dead Moon Circus Cosplay it warmed my heart to hear a decent amount of cheering from people who recognized the name. Our performance, called "The Snuggly Duckling," was about the stick-in-the-mud Steiner looking for his boss, General Beatrix, who was hiding from him and partying with the "ruffians" at Ruby's Bar, "The Snuggly Duckling" from Tangled. Steiner manages not to notice her the entire time until he's so drunk he passes out when he finds her. You can watch the entire thing HERE. When I revealed myself as Beatrix and started fiddling downstage with the crowd cheering, it reminded me of why I missed performing! The skit went great and the audience laughed in all the right places and roared with applause at the end. The staff loved it and gave us high fives as we made our way backstage - they even had water waiting!
Finally I could enjoy the show; there were a ton of dance skits that were miles above they were like when we decided to do Dead Moon Circus in 2009. Now it was all original and well-choreographed, but back then it was all awkward DDR moves or J-Pop videos rehashes. I said this to a random guy backstage who responded, “Well you guys set the bar on that,” which caught me off-guard and I was speechless at his kindness. Regardless, there was some amazing talent up there, including a Princess Krahe who performed the best pointe work I’d seen at a con. In the end we won Best Prop for the silver monkey and Best Performance Master’s Division, which we were very happy with. We found out later we were only four points away from Best In Show, and it felt good that the judges had enjoyed our work that much. The only downer was the awards; they lined everyone up ahead of time which took some of the surprise out of it, and then they announced the awards in a messy way that had everyone confused. For example we got announced for Best Prop but while we were up there they were like, “Oh by the way you got first place in your division, so take this too.” I had at least three people ask me if I’d heard what they’d won because they couldn’t figure it out, and I actually felt bad for the group that won Best In Show because they didn’t get to have that awesome moment where the emcees build up to the announcement and then everyone goes nuts. It was a shame considering how well everything was run otherwise. That night we went out for celebratory drinks; everyone was exhausted but happy, and most importantly, they had had FUN.
We were up at 7am Sunday to pack up the car; it's an AMAZING time to move things out of the Sheraton, making several trips to the garage in our PJs without an elevator wait. Later that morning Sketch and I performed in Cosplay Chess as Beatrix and Steiner. Although I was a pawn, I was on the front of the board and stuck around for most of the match; it was very similar to the spot I had as Tifa in 2007. I had a lot of fun messing around with my fellow pieces on the board and chatting with those around me who were super nice. That afternoon we met up with PatD for lunch at Wagamama before heading home with a successful weekend behind us!