Press Pass Coverage
The Chibi Project's Sailor Chibimoon
Shiva (x2), Lionel Lum, AB Staff
2012 marked Anime Boston's 10th Anniversary, and 22,000 attendees showed up to help the community celebrate. The unoriginal "Post-Apocalyptic" theme barely made an appearance among all the anniversary hoopla; the Anime Boston museum displayed memorabilia from over the last decade such as program guides, staff shirts, and a baseball bat signed by the entire voice cast of Gundam Wing. Main events showed slide shows and video footage from the early years of the con at the Park Plaza Hotel, The Chibi Project offered a double-feature anniversary panel, and staff members often told impromptu stories of Anime Bostons past. Popular programming included a vocal performance by Kanako Ito, a runway fashion show held by Japanese fashion designer Mint, and a serious discussion about bullying hosted by voice actor Greg Ayres. "The Roadie" returned to host the masquerade with a new bag of gags and the show ran even more smoothly under his watch, and Sunday featured the best cosplay chess match the con has had in years. Despite competing with PAX East being held across town the same weekend, Anime Boston proved it is more relevant than ever.
Sketch and Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
We had bitten off a little more than we could chew for Anime Boston 2012, having planned a skit which included every Aeon from Final Fantasy X in celebration of both the game and AB's 10th anniversary. We'd spent months leading up to the con working on the insanely complex costumes and we figured we had about a 50/50 chance of actually pulling this off. When we finally arrived Thursday night we were greeted with a surprise that seemed to be a good omen: our room on the 27th floor of the Sheraton gave us access to the express elevator. One of our concerns had been how were we going to get these costumes up and down from the room, and that concern had now evaporated. Whew!
Friday morning we changed into our Lynx and Riddle costumes for the day and checked into Masquerade HQ, where we found out our group had one 10 minute slot for both judging AND rehearsal, which was absolutely insane. The staff waived off our concerns, but as we headed to opening ceremonies to film it for the podcast we were racking our brains trying to figure out how we could get 10 costumes judged, walk the entire massive group upstairs to main events, and run through everything in ten minutes. We tried not to worry too much as we met up with ExileFayt and her friend as Leena for a Chrono Cross photoshoot. We got some fantastic shots, and the Christian Science Center security guard on duty said we looked awesome and let us take photos, which was an nice surprise since they have been known to kick out cosplayers in the past. The reflecting pool had already been filled for the spring season, and we were able to use that area as well.
That evening we had a run-through of our skit, in which Yuna summons every Aeon from Final Fantasy X in honor of the game's 10th anniversary. The skit's concept was great but we were really worried about getting everyone to fit onto the smaller-than-usual stage in giant mascot costumes, and the difficulty in maneuvering in them. Both of us had to take a break from troubleshooting the skit for our evening engagements; Shiva was performing as Eternal Chibimoon for The Chibi Project's anniversary panel while Sketch was co-hosting the 18+ Dating Game as Jiraiya. Afterwards we headed back upstairs to put the finishing touches on Sketch's Bahamut costume, where a whole horde of friends and acquaintances had shown up to pitch in and help. Sketch was touched by all the people who picked up a paint brush and helped the dragon come to life. A big thank you goes out to you all!
Saturday morning we were all up at 7AM to get into costume; we were equally excited to see the group we had spent months on come together, but also nervous because everything felt very tenuous. It took until our judging time at 12:30PM to get everyone into everything and, as we anticipated, the tight time scheduling was not going well. It didn't help that the judges, whom are usually excellent at Anime Boston, were rude, not knowledgeable, and acted uninterested in examining our costumes. They asked odd questions like "What is craft foam?" and criticized Shiva's 30 lb wig because she used pre-made polystyrene rings and ridiculed Sketch's insanely detailed Bahamut head because the dragon's mouth didn't move. They then asked us to set up for photos which was challenging with such large costumes; after ten minutes of getting everyone organized a staffer told us to "get out" because they needed the room. We immediately started to disassemble Bahamut to fit him out the door when someone else told us to set back up for photos. What the HELL?!
By now, a rehearsal was out of the question and the negative attitude of the judges and the conflicting info from the staff was making everyone miserable. Added to all that was the fact we were already uncomfortable in the costumes and feeling like we couldn't even make it to the masquerade. We finally decided, as a group, to pull the skit and rework it for a later year rather than try to push this on stage when everything was pointing towards it being a disaster. The masquerade staff, who had treated us with such disdain thus far, suddenly were "devastated;" one even burst into tears. The outburst was equally touching and shocking since they had seemed so angry at us just minutes before. However the decision was a relief to our group and we knew we would have delayed the show trying to get everyone on and off stage. We needed to rethink some of the logistics before trying this again.
Less stressed than we'd been in months, we decided to show off our costumes in the hall for a bit and then get the hell out of them. We set up a pose out of the way at the end of a back hall and were bombarded by cameras; Lionel took some wonderful shots of the group and our individual costumes. After having such a negative experience all day, it felt good to have a positive reception for all of our hard work. We then changed and the whole crew went out to a much-deserved group dinner with cocktails all around. On the way back we caught the rest of the masquerade; they were barely halfway through the contestants and it just reaffirmed we had made the right decision.
Sunday morning Sketch had to report for Chess as Lynx while Shiva changed into Rise and taped several segments of the match for the podcast. The chess match was refreshingly funny, with nearly all the characters having a stellar attack. The "dead" characters were fed to JENOVA from Final Fantasy VII, allowing them to exit out her plastic tube, which was brilliant and hilarious. We both then headed to Greg Ayres' "It Gets Better" panel, which was a frank, meaningful discussion about bullying; it was a shame it hadn't been scheduled at a more convenient time as it was a talk that a lot more people would have done well to hear. Finally, we interviewed several con attendees with Ellystar and did a final round of the dealer's room before heading out. Here's to another great ten years, AB!