April 28th - May 1st, 2005
Boston, Massachusetts

Convention Stats:
Location: Hynes Convention Center
Event Year: Third
Reported Attendance: 7,500
Theme: Sports
Sketch's Costumes Worn:
Lynx, Chrono Cross
Vash the Stampede, Trigun
Shiva's Costumes Worn:
Rinoa Heartilly, Final Fantasy VIII
Ellone Loire, Final Fantasy VIII
Sketch's Performances:
Masquerade: Chrono Cross Skit
Cosplay Chess: Queen's Rook
Sketch's Awards:
Best Craftsmanship, Masquerade
Best Script & Acting, Masquerade
Convention Photos:

Photo Credits:
Lionel Lum (x2), Kevin Lillard (x3), Shiva (x5), AB Staff (x2)

Although only in it's third year, Anime Boston has managed to become one of the largest anime conventions in the United States, outgrowing its original location at Boston's beautiful, yet antiquated, Park Plaza Hotel during its inaugural event in 2003. After being forced to institute attendance caps in 2004, Anime Boston successfully moved to the Hynes Convention Center in Boston's Back Bay for this year's event. The move 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, only taking up a portion of the full center with the ability to expand in the future. With all the new room, Anime Boston expanded its events schedule, packing in plenty of industry and fan-run panels, screenings, and contests. Popular events this year included a concert performance by Japanese vocalist Yoko Ishida, known to fans for her work in the opening themes for Ah! My Goddess and Pretear, who kicked off her North American tour at Anime Boston. Highlighting the guest list were Chrono Crusade manga artist Daisuke Moriyama and the show's English voice actors Greg Ayres, Monica Rial, and Chris Patton. Accompanying the positive changes, however, was some significant disorganization; many of the convention 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. Large events also tended to overlap forcing attendees to plan accordingly. Hopefully, as Anime Boston settles into its new space, both the staff and attendees will become more adept at navigating this growing convention.

Sketch and Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
As Anime Boston 2005 approached, Sketch was working hard to prepare his sophomore cosplay effort after having a wildly successful debut the previous year. This time he was going all-in: staying at the convention hotel for the full weekend, staffing an Artist Alley table for the first time, playing Vash for the convention's debut of Cosplay Chess, and competing in the masquerade as Lynx from Chrono Cross, a new costume he's been slaving over. Shiva, meanwhile, had much smaller ambitions; after two years participating in the cosplay scene online, she was just excited to finally be going to her first convention. Not ready to commit to a full weekend, Shiva instead was only going for the day on Friday. Sketch arrived Thursday night, calling into PatrickD's Anime Boston internet radio show for fun.

Friday morning, Sketch was up extra early to get fully into Lynx, prosthetic makeup and all. Once ready, he headed to the Hynes to check into the Artist's Alley, which had been set up in the hallway of the convention center's first floor, just outside of Ballroom A which housed the dealer's room. Sharing the table with his business partner, Morlock, Sketch was encouraged to see they scored a table near the vendor exit which he hoped would get their table a lot of foot traffic. Shiva got into her Rinoa costume at her friend's apartment and they hopped on the MBTA; Shiva was a bit nervous about traveling on public transit in costume, but luckily they had missed the morning commuter rush and the Green Line train was full of people chatting about Anime Boston. They even saw their first cosplayer: Inugirl dressed as Lord Sesshomaru from InuYasha, whose mother was holding up the end of her fur train so it didn't drag on the ground. Once they arrived at the Hynes there was a bit of confusion as to where to go for registration as they were only buying day passes; even the security guards checking badges at the door didn't know. Shiva flagged down an attendee with a badge who said registration was on the second floor of the convention center that you needed badges to get in to, which made no sense. They finally found the registration room, and once there the process was painless; they only waited fifteen minutes in line to register on site with a computerized system and collect their passes.

After setting up the table, Sketch met up with his skit partner, SakiB, who was cosplaying Harle from Chrono Cross and they headed to masquerade judging. The judges were impressed with their costumes, especially Sketch's prothesis and scythe prop and Saki's headdress and embroidery work. Following judging, they wandered the halls for a while as a duo while Shiva headed to the dealer's room. The vendor hall was a huge area; despite the fact it was chalk full of con-goers, it did not feel the least bit crowded as cosplayers roamed freely in large costumes. Shiva met several excellent cosplayers while browsing, including Kourmori who was dressed as a fantastic Samurai Yuna from Final Fantasy X-2, and Sephygoth, Blue Sasarai, and Astro as Sephiroth, Vincent, and Aeris from Final Fantasy VII. There was even a guy running around as a giant can of Kung Fu! When leaving the dealer's room Shiva ran into Sketch, who had parted ways with Saki and returned to man his art table. Shiva was impressed with the costume and asked for a photo, to which he obliged.

Later that afternoon, Shiva met up with many other Final Fantasy cosplayers for a full series photoshoot, though there was a delay due to a lot of confusion as to the meeting spot. There had been a sign for it earlier in the day, but when the shoot time came around, the sign had disappeared! The staff was also confused, and it took them about a half hour to reorganize. While waiting, Shiva 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. Once things were straightened out, the photographer lined everyone 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. They crowded in, and the flashbulbs started going off for about 20 minutes straight! Once the shoot calmed down, Shiva attended a few anime screenings and checked out the art show and game room.

When the Artist's Alley closed down that evening, Sketch, Morlock, and the other artists were a bit at a loss as to what to do with their stuff; unlike being in a room where it would be locked for the night, everything was left in the hallway while the con was still open. As a result, the artists had no choice but to pack up everything and haul it back to their rooms to set up again the next morning. It was a huge pain in the neck, and took Sketch a while to get everything back to the hotel and finally change out of his costume. Finally able to relax, Sketch hit up the AMV contest and game room before turning in; Shiva headed home determined to do the full weekend at the convention the next year.

Saturday, Sketch manned his art table table until it was time to get back into Lynx, then wandered the halls until the masquerade. Main events at the Hynes was huge compared to the Park Plaza auditorium; rather than sit up in balconies, the contestants were seated backstage and could watch the show from the opposite side of the stage right projection screen. Sketch and SakiB's skit was in the middle of the lineup, and the performance went well, with the audience laughing at Lynx coughing up a hairball which was collected by Harle. The show ran smoothly, and at the end the winners were called onstage and interviewed by thr emcee as they received their awards. Sketch and Saki ended up winning both Best Script and Acting from the performance judges and Best Advanced Craftsmanship from the craftsmanship judges - another successful competition year achieved!

Sketch was up early Sunday morning and got into his Vash costume for Anime Boston's inaugural Cosplay Human Chess match. Cosplay Chess had started at Metrocon last year as a scripted stage show, and Anime Boston had adapted it to be an improv-based cosplay game using attendees who applied to be game pieces in advance. Sketch was picked to be a Queen's rook, and had fun riffing with his fellow board pieces as they mocked each other and engaged in stage combat. The show ran terribly long, however, as not only were the actions all improvised but the chess players were actually trying to play a chess game live, leading to long pauses between the action as they considered their next moves. The crowd really enjoyed it, however, so it will be interesting to see how the event evolves over time. After the game Sketch finished up the day in Artist's Alley before packing up the table and heading home...with plans for a webcomic.