The theme for this year's Anime Boston was "Mad Science," featuring tech, gizmos, gadgets, and of course, time travel. Almost 18,000 fans came out to celebrate during the course of the weekend, walking hallways decorated with strange mechanical sculptures. The highlight of the weekend's programming was a performance by the locally-based Video Game Orchestra, who were joined by headline guest and Final Fantasy composer, Nobuo Uematsu. This was Mr. Uematsu's first appearance at a North American convention, and he and the VGO played to several standing ovations Friday night. The con's staff had clearly made efforts to further streamline the convention's attendee flow; lines were shorter and occurred less often, the dealer's room was easier to navigate, and pre-reg badge pickup Thursday night had no wait time. The masquerade also moved to a ticketing seating system this year, sparing the audience from wasting hours of their day waiting in line to watch the show. The masquerade itself benefited from the return of emcee Uncle Yo and an excellent selection of skits, making it one of the most enjoyable shows at Anime Boston.
Sketch and Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
We drove to the Hilton Thursday night to drop off our stuff, pick up our badges, and eat dinner with roommates Majodere and Katy, but returned to Sketch's house to finish the expanding wings Sketch had built for himself and Steve for our masquerade skit. The wing frames were complete but needed to be covered in textured lycra fabric that was nearly impossible to sew. After a long night of fighting with the machine, the wings were done and we drove back to the con Friday morning. Sketch worked on the finishing touches for his costume while Shiva wandered the con as Eternal Chibimoon. As she walked through the Hynes, a fan gave her a beautiful handmade drawing of Wicked Lady, which was such a lovely surprise!
That evening we went to the Video Game Orchestra Concert with Ellystar, excited to see Nobuo Uematsu and hear Final Fantasy music performed live. The first half of the show was mostly nostalgic 8-bit orchestral tunes, but after intermission they brought out rock band musicians and a full choir and tore through difficult pieces from games like God of War and Final Fantasy VII. Exceptional performers included the first chair violinist dressed as Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service, who produced masterful solo segments and held the group solidly together as concert mistress. The lead flutist also had his own ovation after an exquisite featured performance in a piece from Chrono Trigger. At the end of the program, Mr. Nobuo Uematsu himself arrived for an encore performance of “One Winged Angel." It was a thrill to watch the diminutive middle-aged composer rock out and the orchestra nailed the iconic song; at the end, the audience leapt to its feet and Ellystar cried. It was absolutely mind-blowing! After the show we checked out Anime Unscripted before crashing for the night.
Saturday morning we rushed to get into our Chrono Crusade costumes in time for masquerade judging; the judges loved our costumes, and appreciated Steve's hand-dyed wig, Majodere’s solar-powered staff, Shiva's watch necklace which actually had a functioning reverse watch embedded inside, and of course, Sketch's spring-loaded wings. Since the wings were covered in fabric we showed off photos of their construction so the judges could examine the complex aluminum frame and wire pulley/spring system Sketch had rigged up on the inside. After judging we took some cool photos outside and did a few last minute runs of the dance before heading to main events.
The masquerade itself was the best-run show at Anime Boston thus far; it moved along quickly and there was a distinct lack of technical glitches. Prior to the performances, all of the walk-on entries did a mini fashion show which warmed up the crowd, and the vast majority of the skits were very entertaining. Our favorites included the Portal skit and the Umineko no Naku Koro ni performance, which had amazingly complex staging and pulled it off perfectly despite having large props and a lot of performers to keep track of. The matching "witches" outfits were also really cute. Our own performance went mostly smoothly and most importantly, the wings worked on cue! It was anyone's best guess for who would win the awards; the judges had plenty of fantastic skits to choose from. Our group thought the Umineko skit would take the top prize, so we were shocked when they got Best Overall Performance and we were awarded Best In Show!
After the masquerade ended we were interviewed by Ernie Lueng for The Fan's POV and were surprised to learn he had had seen Shiva's “Making Of Circus” video and had loved it, teasing us about practicing in parking lots and drinking out of our cup. After the interview we changed and met up for a victory celebration dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Steve had made us all “Dead Moon Circus” T-shirts as a surprise, and we put them on and got the waiter to fill our trophy with margaritas. We laughed and partied until we were so exhausted we were dead asleep before our heads hit our pillows.
We were so exhausted we overslept on Sunday, and Sketch almost missed the start of Chess at 10AM. We quickly got him into his Vash costume and kicked him out the door with three minutes to spare. Shiva got into her Advent Children Tifa costume and headed to the dealer’s room; as she was investigating art books, somebody grabbed her butt. “That BETTER have been someone I KNOW!” she yelled, and sure enough, Kurthy popped out from behind one of the displays, laughing. They were drooling over steampunk goggles when Sketch found them and dragged them off to check out Gundams. Afterwards we all had an amazing lunch at Wagamama before doing one last sweep of the con, changing into our swimsuits and taking a well-deserved soak in the Hilton pool before eating slices of red velvet cheesecake in our PJs. Planning to stay until Monday had been a brilliant idea!
Monday morning we packed up the van and headed out to Boston Common to sunbathe and enjoy a small picnic brunch. After a long winter it was the first warm weekend of the year and it was nice to just bask in it for awhile. That afternoon we dropped Katy and Majodere off at South Station before heading home, when Sketch finally asked Shiva to be his girlfriend, officially, and she accepted. A fantastic weekend all around!