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 show at AB.
Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
I got to the Sheraton Thursday afternoon; Sketch came over and helped me get changed into my Red XIII swimsuit from Final Fantasy VII and we headed down to the pool to meet up with Starlightslk. Though previous Thursday cosplay pool meetups had been a blast, this one was sparsely attended, so after taking a few photos we changed and Sketch and I headed out for a walk to pick up drink mixers. When we got back we set up the bar in his room and invited over a bunch of friends - Thursday night room party! I made it back to my room Friday morning and got into Sango for our InuYasha group with Andrew, Gale, Crystal Clover and CrazyFlower. We got some fantastic photos in the courtyard and wandered the con; lots of people surprisingly said, “It’s great to see old-school stuff, nobody does InuYasha anymore!” which made me feel old as hell. Sketch caught up with us to show off pictures of the full-sized TARDIS he had just finished building, assembled and illuminated in the main event hall.
That evening I changed into Mrs. Peacock for our full Clue group and we had a blast roaming around the con improvising in-character. In each crowded area we’d disperse, Mr. Green would drop the “dead body” dummy, and one of us would then discover it and make a scene. Then Colonel Mustard would 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 the funniest thing and burst out into applause. That night Sketch asked me to come party but we had a partial dress rehearsal for our skit instead.
Saturday I dashed down 18 flights of stairs in my Jun Jun costume from Sailor Moon and made it to judging with one minute to spare. The judges loved our wigs, the hand beading on my Jun Jun costume, the LEDs in our poi balls and the sheet metal in Tuxedo Mask's top hat. Afterwards we were swamped by cameras; we ended up stuck in the main hallway for about forty minutes as flashbulbs went off. In between I managed to get my own photos of costumes I really liked, including a gorgeous Mermaid and Basilisk duo from Pet Shop of Horrors. Soon it was time for the masquerade; the stage had awesome new lighting and they had ditched the podium for wireless mikes. Sketch and Ryan came over to wish us luck and Uncle Yo offered to tell a joke and not leave the stage until we had set up.
Our performance went really well; the crowd cheered and clapped along to the song, nobody dropped a prop or lost their wig, and when Tuxedo Mask appeared the audience went nuts. I was relieved we pulled it off and our friends were really supportive; Sketch was waiting with hugs, Sephygoth came running with water, Natalie and Ellystar were texting from the audience and Ryan was jumping up and down. A lot of people we didn't know congratulated us as well and we were so busy talking with them we missed quite a bit of the show after our performance. However, I loved Ambrosia’s Beatmania group, the Romeo X Juliet performance had excellent live singing, and Kiarrens' FMA skit was hilarious. The Tetris Ninjas entry, however, was surprisingly disappointing compared to their past skits. During the awards, we were shocked when they announced us for Best of Show! We ran up onstage and were thrilled the judges and Uncle Yo were genuinely excited, and backstage we were met by a wall of people giving us hugs and congratulating us which was amazing. Thank you guys; we never expected a reception like that and it made our night more than winning! On our way out we were interviewed by Ernie Layug from The Fan's POV before changing, washing out our trophy - a giant silver cup - and heading to dinner where we ordered margaritas and drank them out of our cup. Fantastic night!
Sunday I got up early and changed into Princess Reina to meet up with Natalie for our Final Fantasy V shoot. In hindsight I should have moved my stuff to the car BEFORE changing into costume, but I made it to the parking garage in three inch heels and armor and shoved everything into the car. On my way back, I ended up in the wrong tower and tried to take the stairs, but this tower was under construction and the stairs led onto construction sites and partially-renovated hallways with asbestos warnings. The other doors were locked, and as I descended the lights disappeared and it got unbearably HOT and the air filled with steam and I realized I was in the hotel’s boiler room. I started to panic a bit. "Here I am, with no phone, locked in a dark stairwell sweating my brains out in the bowels of a Boston skyscraper and nobody knows I’m here." Just when I thought about pounding and screaming on a door I heard voices and found two guys who were similarly lost. We decided to go through the boiler room itself and found an emergency exit and took it; luckily the alarm didn't sound. We ended up down the street from the hotel - WTF?!
After a stop in the restroom to freshen up my costume, I eventually met up with Natalie and her friend Lousy Itachi got some amazing pics of the two of us outside in the courtyard. We even climbed into one of the fountains that looked like the game’s water shrine! Afterwards I changed back into regular clothes and went to the Cheesecake Factory with the crew for a big group lunch. We didn’t have to wait too long and we had a blast eating yummy food! When it was finally time to go, I said my goodbyes to everyone and headed home. Thank you for a fantastic weekend everybody!