May 25th - 28th, 2006
Boston, Massachusetts

Convention Stats:
Location: Hynes Convention Center
Event Year: Fourth
Reported Attendance: 9,354
Theme: "The American Revolution"
Sketch's Costumes Worn:
Vash the Stampede, Trigun
Shiva's Costumes Worn:
Rinoa Heartilly, Final Fantasy VIII
Sorceress Adel, Final Fantasy VIII
Rinoa Heartilly, Cosplay Swimsuits
Rinoa Heartilly, Amano Artwork
Rinoa Heartilly, Cosplay PJs
Ruby of Tantalus, Final Fantasy IX
Tifa Lockheart, Advent Children
Sketch's Performances:
Cosplay Chess: Special Attack
Shiva's Performances:
18+ Dating Game: Contestant
Staff Vote Contest: Sorceress Adel
Hall Cosplay Contest: Amano Rinoa
Masquerade: Final Fantasy Walk-on
Cosplay Chess: Special Attack
Shiva's Awards:
Judges' Award, Hall Cosplay Contest
Staff Vote Award, Sorceress Adel
Sketch's Special Activities:
Artist Alley: Guest Artist
Convention Photos:

Photo Credits:
Crazyflower (x5), Shiva (x12), AB Staff (x2), Kevin Lillard

2006 marked Anime Boston's fourth year, and the convention choose “American Revolution,” as its theme, playing off of Boston's historical significance in the United States' quest for independence. The theme didn't really play out at the convention much, however, and mostly consisted of mascots A-Chan and B-Kun running around in colonial-style costumes. The most anticipated guests included Kaiju Big Battel, cosplay band Bad Luck, and voice actors Sumi Shiamoto and Vic Mignogna, which generated a lot of buzz prior to the weekend. Panels included fan-run events such as The Chibi Project, as well as industry panels hosted by TokyoPop, Media Blasters, ADV, and FUNimation. This year, Anime Boston chose to adopt International Costumers Guild (ICG) categorization and judging guidelines for all its cosplay competitions, and split off a formal Hall Craftsmanship contest in addition to the masquerade. To ensure cosplayers could also be recognized more informally, AB also equipped staff members with hall award ribbons to give out at their discretion. Attendance soared to over 9,000 guests this year, yet the Hynes location remained spacious and the friendly staff gave the event the atmosphere of a smaller con. In addition, improved signage and well-trained volunteers made the convention simple to navigate and events ran smoothly despite the addition of several thousand people.

Sketch and Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
Shiva was excited to begin her first full convention weekend and had a packed schedule of events she was participating in, including both the masquerade and hall contest, Cosplay Chess, the 18+ Dating Game, and several photoshoots and meetups. She had been hard at work on several new costumes, and was bringing all of them for the weekend. Sketch, meanwhile, had been hoping to up his cosplay game for the third year in a row, and was frantically working on his latest big cosplay project: the robot Canti from FLCL. Wednesday night his weekend was off on the wrong foot when he had to admit that the costume would not be finished on time and he would have to drop out of competing in the masquerade. Discouraged, after arriving at the convention Thursday, he met up with friends and went out to see X-Men 3 on the Boston Common. Shiva arrived Thursday afternoon and headed to pre-registration; she thought she was early, but surprisingly the line was huge and it took over 45 minutes just to get her badge. Shiva checked into the Sheraton and met her roommates, Matt and Kitty, who had been recommended by AB staff and were thankfully really nice. Shiva then hit up the dinner meetup and it was nice to put real faces to screen names!

Friday morning Sketch set up his table in Artist's Alley; unlike last year where he shared a table with Morlock, this year he had his own art table selling prints and promoting his webcomic, Sketched Out Life. Shiva, meanwhile, spent a couple of hours transforming herself into Sorceress Adel from Final Fantasy VIII for masquerade judging. It was a bit annoying to be assigned a Friday morning judging slot for a full-makeup costume she wasn't planning to compete in until Saturday night, but Shiva decided to wear it for a couple of hours to make it worthwhile. As she headed to masquerade HQ she was a little nervous as this was the first costume she'd ever had judged and she had taught herself how to sew it mostly by trial and error. She was shocked that all of the judges were impressed with her hand sewing, and SakiB, who Shiva had seen in her amazing Harle costume from Chrono Cross last year, was especially enthusiastic. Shiva was amazed that a costumer she admired appreciated what Shiva considered to be amateurish-at-best effort. After judging, Shiva wandered the halls a bit with Crazyflower; they took photos of each other's costumes and Shiva collected enough staff ribbons to earn a Staff-Vote Award for Sorceress Adel before going back to her room to scrub off all the makeup.

For lunch, Shiva wore her Rinoa swimsuit to the Sheraton pool for the cosplay pool gathering; the sunroof had been opened and a summer breeze blew through the complex as cosplayers casually socialized, snacked, and swam in the bright afternoon sun. The day was unseasonably warm, and it felt fantastic to take a break from heavy costumes and makeup and float around. Shiva was worried her Angelwing inner tube wouldn't be allowed, but it wasn't crowded in the pool and the hotel staff gave it a pass. Overall, the gathering was a very relaxing way to spend lunchtime and recharge before heading back into the convention for the rest of the day. After the gathering, Shiva changed into her new Amano Rinoa costume for Hall Cosplay judging; she was proud of both the hand-beaded designs she had sewn on the duster and the handmade feather wings she had created, and was more confident going into this session than she had been with Adel. This session was with a different set of judges, and one of them liked her costume so much she chased Shiva down the hall after her session ended to grab a photo of the costume! After judging, she joined some acquaintances in the convention center courtyard and Crazyflower took photos of her costume by the fountain, which resembled Balumb Garden. Shiva got parts of the costume wet accidentally, but luckily the water didn't damage anything and it dried pretty quickly as she explored the convention for the rest of the afternoon.

That evening Sketch packed up his art table and met up with friends to grab dinner and catch his favorite convention event, the AMV contest. Shiva, meanwhile, was continuing to network and make friends at her first full con weekend, wearing her Rinoa PJs and bringing her handmade Squall plushie to the cosplay pajama party. She had a blast and met plenty of fun cosplayers; she was also so comfortable she regretted letting Ada convince her to help out with the 18+ Dating Game, which required another costume change. Shiva wanted to stay in PJs for the rest of the night but reluctantly got into her Advent Children Tifa costume, promising herself never to schedule a day with this many costumes ever again. At the Dating Game, Shiva and an Aeris cosplayer had been assigned to harass Sephygoth as Sephiroth, the bachelor competing in the all-male round. Once Sephiroth picked his date, Aeris marched up and started threatening him with his own Masamune while Shiva told her to forget about boys and their stupid big swords, and threw her gloves in Sephiroth's face. Aeris kissed her, the crowd cheered, and Shiva was ready to call it quits for the night after a long, crazy day.

Saturday morning Sketch returned to his art table while Shiva got into Ruby from Final Fantasy IX and wandered the con, snapping photos and checking out the dealer’s room. She took a few photos with fellow FF9 cosplayers in the convention's courtyard, including Eternalglade as Dagger, a fantastic mascot-style Vivi, and Misty Eyes as Amano Dagger. That afternoon Shiva got back into Tifa for the Advent Children gathering, where everyone started acting out scenes and running around with the JENOVA box that a Rufus cosplayer had brought. Shiva and a Cloud cosplayer fought Reno and Rude until Rude flung Shiva over his shoulder and started running around with her hanging upside down and beating his back with her fists after tossing Cloud the box. The whole thing was an absolute blast!

That evening Shiva had to get into Sorceress Adel AGAIN and finally met the other colorful Final Fantasy cosplayers who were assigned to her walk-on group by Ada. There was a pretty Rydia of Myst, a mascot suit Moogle, a beautifully detailed Lulu, and Inugirl as a fantastic FFX Shiva. Similar to the previous year, the contestants were set up in a cramped, curtained off area next to the stage, but could watch the show on the backside of the audience's video screen. Sketch and his friends got seating near the center of the auditorium to watch the show; while he was still disappointed not to be competing himself, he had friends who were that he planned to heckle/cheer for. After convention mascots A-Chan and B-Kun warmed up the crowd, the show kicked off with a Yuna cosplayer summoning a giant Bahamut, which contained a cosplayer on stilts. Other highlights from the show included a skit which pit a sewing machine cosplayer vs. a hand sewing cosplayer to the song "Dueling Banjos," a Paradise Kiss group who parodied Project Runway, and a group who cosplayed the Triforce with Link posing in front of it. One of the best skits of the night, however, was a Bleach group who did a really creative dance skit in which several characters mimed playing a fighting video game while the others acted it out to music. Not only did it have great dancing, but it told an entertaining story.

After the performances were finished, we got to see the AMV winners. The Best In Show winner, “Hold Me Now,” was to anime called Princess Tutu and blew everyone's mind. We'd never heard of the anime before, but it was about a bunch of ballerinas and the dancing was incredibly well-drawn. The AMV was so well-received, many AB attendees immediately downloaded the song and went to watch the anime after the convention was over, us included! After the videos came the cosplay awards; Shiva got a Judge's Award for her Amano Rinoa costume in the hall contest, and Cynthia and N1k1ta, the Moogle and Lulu cosplayers in Shiva's walk-on group, got well-deserved craftsmanship awards. After the show, Sketch went out to dinner with friends while Shiva and her roommate Matt hit up the Adult Swim panel with Matt dressed as Space Ghost. Shiva grabbed two seats up front while Matt hung back, entering after the panel started. He marched down the aisle in character, yelling, "Why did you cancel my show?!" and the Adult Swim panelists cracked up, as did most of the audience. Afterwards Shiva changed out of costume, raided the 7-11 food aisle with some acquaintances and had a group picnic dinner in the hotel lobby. Finally, Shiva headed to the rave to dance for the last hour; the first ten minutes she was there, some random guy challenged her to a dance-off and a circle opened up to make space for it. She defeated him quickly, "And she did it in flip-flops!" as another guy pointed out. The respect earned her free glow sticks from onlookers as she danced for the rest of the night.

Sunday Sketch was happy to finally have something to do in what was otherwise a quiet weekend for him; he got into Vash and prepared to spent the Cosplay Chess match doing improvised interruptions to keep the audience laughing as the chess players decided their next move. Shiva was also headed to Chess as Tifa, and she had been assigned to harass Cloud, played by Dymatrex, with cell phone calls before eventually being called up as his special attack. In the middle of all of his fights, Shiva used the mic to henpeck Cloud for being late to deliveries, forgetting to pick up the kids from school, ignoring her calls, etc. However, as the match went on, she wasn’t sure how to wrap the storyline up once she actually showed up on stage. . . until she thought “what if I ditched him for someone else?”

Meanwhile, Sketch was having a blast as Vash, harrassing Ed Elric for being short, teaming up with other red-coated characters to form the Anime Inquisition, spoofing Monty Python, and all around whipping up the crows with his antics. Shiva took notice; not only was he popular with the crowd, he also looked like he could physically handle carrying her offstage. Deciding he'd be the perfect candidate to wrap up her Cloud story, Shiva tapped Sketch on the shoulder, and was a little thrown when he turned around and she thought he was unexpectedly cute up close. "Do you think you can lift me?" she blurted out, before explaining her plan in more detail. Sketch liked it and agreed to help; it didn't hurt he thought Shiva was cute too. Shiva went onstage with Dymetrex completely unaware of the plan; as Cloud, he ad libbed that he’d rather have Aeris be his special attack, which was, unbeknownst to him, the perfect setup and got the crowd into it. Shiva responded by pretending to get a cell call and answered, "OH, hellooooo VASH..." and the crowd went nuts. At that, Sketch strut onstage, picked Shiva up in his arms, and carried her off as the crowd lost its mind. After loosing his battle, Dymetrex came backstage cracking up. “That was awesome!” he laughed. Following the chess match, Shiva and Dymetrex led a hoe-down to Cotton-Eyed Joe before hanging out with Sketch until everyone headed home, a fun-filled weekend all around.