About 19,000 people came out to celebrate Anime Boston 's ninth year at the Hynes Convention Center. Fitting with the "music" theme, the con featured several musical acts including Japanese metal band Girugamesh, Japanese girl band Stereopony, Nerdcore hip-hop artist MC Frontalot, Tokyo band TEN, and Taiko drumming group Odaiko New England. The con's cosplot also culminated in a rock performance by various musical characters including FLCL and Vocaloid. The unseasonably cold, rainy weather made the growth in attendance impact the convention more than usual; almost everyone attempted to enter and exit the Hynes through its main entrance, forming huge bottlenecks until security starting directing traffic halfway through the weekend. The halls were packed with people who might otherwise have spent some of their time outside, and finding a seat during peak mealtimes was almost an impossible task. The masquerade was filled to capacity and was broadcast live into an adjoining panel room to hold the overflow audience. Two hours before curtain, emcee Uncle Yo had to be replaced, and an AB staff member, nicknamed "The Roadie," stepped up to the plate as the last minute fill-in. He did a fantastic job entertaining the crowd considering he only had about an hour's notice that he had been tapped for the role. Given the proper time to prepare, he has the potential to make an excellent emcee should he want to try hosting again.
Sketch and Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
We arrived at the Sheraton Thursday and at first were worried when our room was tiny and had only one bed with a connecting door that appeared locked. Luckily, we messed with it a bit and found out it opened into a whole other area, which meant our roommates, Ellystar, Christa, and Iceman, got their own connecting room with a pull-out double couch, TV, desk, window seat, dining table and chairs, a long counter for costume supplies, and a view of Fenway Park! We had so much room, we were even able to set up an "ironing area" for costumes. Whew!
Friday morning, we celebrated the fifth anniversary of our meeting at Cosplay Chess 2006 by wearing our Vash and Tifa costumes, and it was a crazy time warp to think back about how much things had changed in that time. Sketch had brought along a red bass guitar to wear with Vash to go with the con's theme, and was surrounded for photos. We made the rounds of Artists’ Alley and took photos of Gale and Ellystar in their gorgeous Fushigi Yugi costumes. That afternoon Shiva changed into Chibiusa for an Eternal Sailor Moon photoshoot; everyone looked fantastic and our entire group ran right into one of the Boston Duck Boat tours when crossing the street to take photos. They honked at us and we waved at all the tourists snapping pics while Sketch snapped a photo of the whole encounter.
We spent an hour taking photos at the Christian Science Plaza before wandering the con as a group; unfortunately Mercury and Jupiter were running late and by the time we found them three hours later, we had lost a few of the others. It was so frustrating to have the full group in the same building but not get all of them together! Sketch headed off to host the 18+ Dating Game while Shiva changed and got dinner; we both met up at the Sheraton bar along with the rest of the crew and some of the FUNimation folks. We had an enjoyable evening telling stores and sipping drinks late into the night.
Saturday we wandered the con in our Miku and Kaito costumes from Vocaloid, scouring the dealer’s room for a particular set of chibified Miku and Kaito figurines which we eventually found. We met up with PatrickD and Jekka for lunch, and spent the early afternoon interviewing convention attendees for the podcast. Shiva bumped into an old college roommate who was at Anime Boston chaperoning her library’s anime club, and we all hung out until we casually headed over to main events for the masquerade. After years upon years straight of competing, it was so relaxing NOT to be performing!
We were aware of what had happened with Uncle Yo, so we were curious about how the show was going to handle replacing him. “Roadie,” the fill-in emcee, did a stupendous job considering he was an 11th hour pick and had never hosted a large show before. We gave him major props for stepping up to the plate, and he was pretty good at it, with the potential to be excellent given some fair warning he'd be performing next time. The skits, however, fell a bit flat; nobody bombed, but nobody was a “wow” either, and even the most experienced group seemed to have brought their B-Game. We've noticed Anime Boston masquerades tend to run in cycles; after a really competitive year contestants seem to give up and bow out, then after a "so-so" year everyone jumps in to throw their hat in the ring, so after a couple of challenging years we weren't overly surprised a lot of contestants had, like us, burned out. After the show we changed to regular clothes and met up with the whole crew for dinner.
Sunday Sketch was up early to head to chess, with Shiva making it just before it started. Shiva filmed several segments for the podcast and the show moved along smoothly through its “rock concert” finale. Afterwards Shiva met up with Kurthy, Ellystar, Christa, and Gale for their Ah, My Goddess photoshoot with Benn Robbins. As we headed over to the Christian Science plaza, it felt amazing to be outside in 70-degree weather (FINALLY)! Since Skuld has water powers, Benn had Shiva climb into the fountain, which was fine until the wind picked up and sprayed a jet right into her face - luckily Benn caught the shot and it was hysterical! Afterwards we all filmed our review segment for the podcast before heading home.