18+ Dating Game: Co-Host
The Dating Game: Contestant
Masquerade: Cosplot Cast
Cosplay Chess: Player
Masquerade: "Dead Moon Circus"
Dead Moon Circus Skit:
Best In Show, Masquerade
Sketch's Special Activities::
Artist Alley: Guest Artist
Panelist: Props and Sh*t
Ryan, Lousy Itachi, Crazyflower, Steve, PatrickD, Dave Wujick, Shiloh, Shiva (x2), Dave Wujick, Sketch, PatrickD
Taking on a slightly darker tone for its seventh year, Anime Boston chose the theme "Detective Mystery" and featured a murder storyline starring the con's mascots, A-Chan and B-Kun. The plot was set in motion weeks prior to the convention through comic strips posted on the Anime Boston website, and continued to unfold throughout the weekend at events such as the Black Orchid Ball and Cosplay Chess match. After 2008's management fiasco stranded thousands of attendees in lines for hours for everything from registration to panels and earned AB 2008 the nickname "LineCon," organizers knew they had to implement major changes in 2009 or face alienating its attendees. They rose to the challenge and worked diligently to solve capacity issues and hired an outside company to streamline its registration process. The result was a smooth registration and fewer, shorter lines throughout the con despite the addition of almost 2,000 guests. Also, after a few years of using only the top two floors of the convention center, Anime Boston returned to making use of all three stories of the Hynes. The con's largest event, the masquerade, was also restructured behind the scenes; they started the event several hours earlier in the evening and the new emcee, Uncle Yo, brought a refreshing change of atmosphere with his witty, professional, and quick-moving commentary. As if following his lead, the performances ran more quickly and smoothly than any previous masquerade at Anime Boston. While all conventions make mistakes, its refreshing to see an event quickly work to recognize and rectify them, ensuring the same issues don't happen two years in a row rather than making excuses.
Sketch and Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
We were both very busy in the months leading up to Anime Boston 2009, with Shiva working to put the finishing touches on her Dead Moon Circus masquerade skit and Sketch finishing his full-scale replica TARDIS from Doctor Who which was slated to live in main events all weekend. Given how much there was to do, we were both grateful that Anime Boston was held in late May this year rather than around Easter as is more common. When the weekend finally arrived, we were ready to go and both excited and nervous to see our hard work pay off! We arrived Thursday afternoon and Sketch, with the TARDIS in tow, had a whole new convention experience learning how to find the loading docks and get a large prop into the Hynes and up to main events. Unlike subsequent conventions in which we all became adept at helping to move the TARDIS in pieces and assemble it in about 20 minutes on location, it arrived at Anime Boston fully assembled and dealers setting up early in the vendor hall were treated to the scene of a giant TARDIS rolling through the convention center on its way upstairs.
Once the TARDIS was secured in main events Sketch unloaded and set up his table in Artist Alley before meeting up with Shiva in the room; we got Shiva into her Red XIII swimsuit from Final Fantasy VII and headed down to the pool to meet up with Starlightslk as Tifa for the annual pool party. Though previous Thursday cosplay pool parties had been a blast, especially 2007's, this one was sparsely attended, so after taking a few photos and hanging out socializing for a bit we returned to the room to change into regular clothes and take a walk to pick up some supplies for the weekend, including drink mixers for the evening. After grabbing some food we got back to the room, set up the bar, and invited several friends over for a Thursday night room party, which was a great way to kick off the weekend!
Friday morning we were up early; we got Shiva iinto her new Sango costume and meet up with her InuYasha group while Sketch went to go set up the electrical on the TARDIS so it would be ready for opening ceremonies. Shiva met up with Andrew as InuYasha, Gale as Kagome, Crystal Clover as Kikyo and CrazyFlower as Kaede for a fantastic photoshoot in the Prudential courtyard before wandering the convention. Lots of people surprisingly said, “It’s great to see old-school stuff, nobody does InuYasha anymore!” which made the group feel old as hell but they were glad they got such an enthusiastic reception. Sketch caught up with them once he was finished in main events, showing off pictures of the TARDIS fully illuminated and looking very snazzy before manning his art table for the day.
That afternoon Shiva changed into Mrs. Peacock for a full Clue group and had a blast roaming around the convention improvising murder mystery scenes in-character to fit in with Anime Boston's "detective" theme. In each crowded area we’d disperse, Mr. Green would drop a “dead body” dummy, and one of the other characters would discover it and make a scene. Colonel Mustard would then show up with the "Confidential Folder" saying he knew the murderer, and pull out the photo only to discover it was of himself. "DAMN!" he'd say, and stalk off. Some people didn't get it, while others thought it was hilarious and burst out into applause. The group also found nine locations to represent the rooms on the game board and take photos, substituting the bathroom for the kitchen. That evening Sketch got into Jiraiya and assisted PatrickD with Anime Unscripted in main events, where they had Patrick make his grand entrance from the TARDIS for the show. Afterwards, Sketch co-hosted the 18+ Dating Game before returning to the room to put together another party. Shiva wanted to party again but instead headed over to the Marriott to help her skit group finish up wig styling until almost 3AM.
Saturday morning we were both exhausted; Sketch started his day hosting his prop panel while Shiva dashed down 18 flights of stairs in her JunJun costume to make it to craftsmanship judging with one minute to spare. The judges loved their wigs, making the late night the night before more than worth it. They also liked the hand beading on Shiva's JunJun costume, the LEDs in their poi balls and the sheet metal in Tuxedo Mask's top hat. After judging the group was swamped by cameras; they ended up stuck in the main hallway for about forty minutes as flashbulbs went off. In between photo barrages, Shiva managed to get photos of costumes she really liked who stopped by, including a gorgeous Mermaid and Basilisk duo from Pet Shop of Horrors. Sketch, meanwhile, changed into Kamina and went to participate in the regular Dating Game as a contestant before meeting up with Shiva's group backstage at the masquerade, where he was helping out as part of the Cosplot cast.
Shiva was nervous but excited to finally do the skit her group had worked so hard on for months, and Sketch and Ryan pumped them up ahead of the show while Uncle Yo offered to tell a joke and not leave the stage until he was sure they had everything set up and were ready to go. The performance ended up going really well; the crowd cheered and clapped along to the song, nobody dropped a prop or lost their wig, and Steve's prediction that the audience would forget he had walked out on stage as Tuxedo Mask came true when he appeared and the audience went nuts in surprise. Shiva was relieved they pulled it off, and, since they had kept the actual skit content a secret from Sketch and all of their other friends, they were just as surprised as the rest of the audience. When the group came down the steps following their performance, they were mobbed by people congratulating them, not for any award but just for pulling off the skit itself! Sketch was waiting at the bottom of the stairs with hugs, Sephygoth came running over to their seats with water which was gratefully accepted, Natalie and Ellystar were texting from the audience and Ryan was jumping up and down.
We were all so caught up by the aftermath of the performance that we all missed quite a bit of the show immediately following Shiva's skit. Once things settled down backstage, however, we loved Ambrosia’s Beatmania group, the Romeo X Juliet performance with excellent live singing, and Kiarrens' FMA skit, which was hilarious. The Tetris Ninjas entry, however, was surprisingly disappointing compared to their past years' performances; their Tetris and Duck Hunt ones were so good, however, we could imagine it was getting challenging to try and outdo themselves. During the awards, we all were seated together in the audience, and figured Shiva's group would win something, but had no idea what. As the awards went on and on and they didn't receive any they started to wonder if maybe they had won the top spot, even though they in no way had that goal in mind when they set out to put together the skit. They were completely shocked when they were announced as Best in Show!
They ran up onstage and were thrilled the judges and Uncle Yo were genuinely excited, and backstage they were met by a wall of people giving them hugs and congratulating them. They never expected a reception like that and it made their night to see everyone's reaction to the performance way more than winning an award did. It was almost impossible for Shiva's group to move following the show as they were intercepted by well-wishers and grabbed for interviews by podcasts and press, including Ernie Lueng from The Fan's POV before they finally managed to break apart and get back to their rooms to change. The elevators were so packed we had to climb the 18 flights of stairs back up to the room, where Shiva pulled out the hair combs of her wig to find her head was bleeding and she had a giant welt where the wig had been hanging on. Hoping it would feel better with the wig removed, she changed, washed out the silver cup they had received as a trophy, and headed out with her group to have dinner and fill their cup with margaritas while Sketch went out with his friends. Fantastic night!
Sunday Sketch was up early to get into Vash for cosplay chess, where he was one of the board players for the match. Shiva, meanwhile, changed into Princess Lenna to meet up with Natalie as Faris for a Final Fantasy V shoot. Shiva unwisely got into costume before lugging her suitcase out to her car in three-inch heels and armor. On her way back to the Sheraton she ended up in the stairwell of the wrong tower, with exit doors leading to construction sites. The other doors were locked, and as she descended the lights disappeared and it got unbearably hot as she realized she was in the hotel’s boiler room. I'm locked in a dark stairwell sweating my brains out in the bowels of a Boston skyscraper with no cell phone and nobody knows I’m here, she thought, starting to panic. Just then she heard voices and found two guys who were similarly trapped. As a group, they decided to go through the boiler room and found an emergency exit, not caring if the alarm sounded. Luckily it did not, and they emerged to fresh air and sunshine a block down the street from the hotel. WTF?!
After freshening up at the Hynes, Shiva finally met up with Natalie and her friend Lousy Itachi and got some amazing pics in the courtyard; they even climbed into one of the fountains that looked like the game’s water shrine! Afterwards we both changed back into regular clothes and met up with the crew at the Cheesecake Factory; Sketch left to disassemble the TARDIS while Shiva and the rest of the group had an enjoyable group lunch. Shiva said her goodbyes and headed home that afternoon, while Sketch stuck around for the Dead Dog staff party that night and had a blast. A great weekend and another successful Anime Boston all around!