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 pulled an all-nighter Wednesday night and were sewing most of Thursday before driving into Boston Thursday night to drop off our stuff at the Hilton, pick up our badges, and eat dinner with roommates Majodere and Katy. That night, however, we returned to Sketch's house to finish crunching on 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 and had to be fitted just right in order not to interfere with the wing mechanics. We slaved over them all night, and by morning, Sketch had finished tweaking the springing mechanism and Shiva had finished camouflaging the "backpacks" so they would match both Aion and Chrono's costumes.
Exhausted but accomplished, we drove back to the con Friday morning and jump-started our systems with coffee and hot showers before getting into costume to enjoy the day. Sketch got into Kamina for Anime Squares and headed out for the afternoon while Shiva got into Eternal Chibimoon and she and Majodere went to take photos at Christian Science Plaza before wandering the convention. As Shiva walked through the Hynes, a fan gave her a beautiful drawing of Wicked Lady, which really made her day! We met back up at the hotel in the late afternoon for a power nap before grabbing dinner and hitting up the Video Game Orchestra Concert with Ellystar. We were excited to see Nobuo Uematsu in person and hear his beautiful music performed live. The first half of the show was mostly nostalgic 8-bit orchestral tunes played masterfully by the Video Game Orchestra, several in costume. After intermission, however, the orchestra was joined onstage by a rock band and a full church choir, packing the stage and tearing through difficult pieces from games like God of War and Final Fantasy VII. The sound was thrilling and the audience was electric; 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 Cross.
At the end of the program, the crowd lept to its feet as the performers took their bows, and started demanding an encore. We weren't sure at first if we'd get one as the lights faded, but when the opening strains of "One Winged Angel" started in the darkness the the crowd started screaming in excitement. When the lights came up, Mr. Nobuo Uematsu himself rolled onstage with his keyboard to shred the famous piece, and the audience, already on its feet, exploded. It was a thrill to watch the diminutive middle-aged composer rock out and the orchestra nailed the iconic song as the audience yelled "SEPHIROTH!" along with the choir. It was absolutely mind-blowing, and Ellystar was in tears she was so overwhelmed. That night Sketch went to host the 18+ Dating Game as Jiraiya while Shiva and Ellystar hit up Anime Unscripted. Both shows were hilarious, and once back at the room, we finished up some last minute costume work for Saturday 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 tired that we overslept Sunday, and Sketch almost missed the start of chess. We quickly got him into his Vash costume and kicked him out the door with three minutes to spare. Shiva got into her Tifa costume and headed to the dealer’s room where she met up with Kurthy; they were drooling over steampunk goggles when Sketch found them and dragged Shiva off to check out Gundams. Afterwards we all had an amazing late lunch/early dinner at Wagamama before changing into our swimsuits and taking a well-deserved soak in the Hilton hot tub. We spent the evening eating slices of red velvet cheesecake in our PJs before crashing hard - staying until Monday had been a brilliant idea! Monday morning we packed up the car and headed to Boston Common to sunbathe and enjoy a small picnic brunch. 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, where Sketch finally asked Shiva to be his girlfriend, officially. It was a whirlwind weekend of highs and lows, but we had a good time. Hopefully next year will be a bit more relaxing!