March 20th - 23rd, 2014
Boston, Massachusetts

Convention Stats:
Location: Hynes Convention Center
Event Year: Twelfth
Reported Attendance: 24,798
Theme: "Magic and Mischief"
Sketch's Costumes Worn:
Jiraiya, Naruto
Captain Steiner, Final Fantasy IX
Shiva's Costumes Worn:
Sango, InuYasha
General Beatrix, Final Fantasy IX
Ruby of Tantalus, Final Fantasy IX
Sketch's Performances:
18+ Dating Game: Co-Host
Cosplay Chess: Player
Masquerade: "The Snuggly Duckling"
Shiva's Performances:
Cosplay Chess: Queen's Pawn
Masquerade: "The Snuggly Duckling"
Snuggly Duckling Skit:
Our Awards:
Best Master Performance, Masquerade
Best Prop: Silver Monkey, Masquerade
Convention Photos:

Photo Credits:
AB Staff (x2), Shiva, AB Staff
The theme for Anime Boston 2014 was "Magic and Mischief," celebrating everything from magical girls and mages to tricksters and dungeon masters. Attendance numbers topped out at just under 25,000 fans who visited over the course of the weekend enjoying panels, games shows, concerts, performances and dances. The highlight of the weekend's programming was two performances by the Japanese-based rock group JAM Project, the artists behind many popular show and series theme songs including One Piece, Soultaker, and Transformers. The Friday night show played to a packed auditorium and highlighted the group's hits while a second performance on Saturday featured each band member's solo pieces. Funimation's big reveal of the English dub version of the madly popular series Attack on Titan also drew a large crowd on Saturday. Despite the convention's large numbers, the professionalism and organization of the convention's staff was impressive, and the professional-level production values for the entire event were unmatched.

Sketch and Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
After missing out on Anime Boston 2013 while busy prepping for our wedding, we were excited to return to our hometown con for 2014! We were also returning to competing in the masquerade after sitting out since 2010, which was a little intimidating. Due to last minute skit prep, we didn't arrive at the con until mid-afternoon on Friday; Sketch was putting the finishing touches on his Steiner costume while Shiva changed into Sango and wandered the con for a bit with Scarlet. A lot of people were really excited to see a Sango and everyone loved the boomerang Sketch had made. We hit up Ellystar’s “Level Up Your Cosplay” panel, where there was an adorable Arriarty cosplayer a couple of rows in front of us from The Secret Life of Arriarty. Ellystar joined us after the panel and we all checked out the dealer’s room and artist’s alley. That evening we rehearsed our skit in the hallway outside of our hotel room; it was our first time rehearsing with everyone together, and given that it went pretty well!

Saturday we were up early to move our props into main events; we were concerned about getting a giant steamer trunk through the crowds and security, but security didn’t even OPEN the trunk we were carrying. We don’t mind having the checkpoints, especially in light of the marathon bombings last year, but the fact that the guards rifled through Shiva's purse which is barely large enough to carry a cell phone, but left a giant wooden crate untouched, was just absurd. We got everything to main events without a problem and were on time for our rehearsal at 11am. Rehearsal itself was fine but tech was running behind and we didn't get to go onstage until almost noon. Because of the late start, we had to scramble to get back to the room and into costume in time to make our 1PM judging slot. We quickly got everyone dressed and raced downstairs; luckily we won the elevator lottery and made it into the judging room just in time as the judges called our group.

After judging we grabbed something to eat before reporting to main events for the show itself. The masquerade staff was amazing, passing out water, snacks, and fruit cups backstage, and even going around with duct tape, needles, thread, scissors, pins and other supplies for cosplay emergencies. They pumped us up with how much fun we were going to have and there was a great sense of camaraderie, which was such a change in atmosphere from the last time we had competed several years before. They also had finally placed a TV screen backstage so we could enjoy the show without having to read everything backwards on the giant screen for the audience! Both the Roadie and Mario were co-hosting this go-around, and did a wonderful job. We tried to enjoy the skits ahead of us, but it was hard to concentrate. Before long we were dragging our props onstage, and when they announced us as Dead Moon Circus Cosplay it was nice to hear a decent amount of cheering from people who recognized the name. Our skit was about the stick-in-the-mud Steiner looking for his boss, General Beatrix, who was hiding from him and partying with the "ruffians" at Ruby's bar. Steiner manages not to notice her the entire time until he's so drunk he passes out when he finds her. When the crowd started cheering as Beatrix started fiddling, it reminded us of why we missed performing! The skit went great and the audience laughed in all the right places and roared with applause at the end.

Our performance out of the way, we could sit back and enjoy the rest of the show; there were a ton of dance skits that were miles above what dance skits were like when Shiva decided to do Dead Moon Circus in 2009. Now all of the skits were original and well-choreographed, but back then it was all awkward DDR moves or J-Pop music video rehashes. Shiva mentioned how good dance skits were now to a random guy backstage who responded, “Well you guys set the bar for that,” which caught her off-guard and she was rendered speechless at his kindness. Regardless, there was some amazing talent up there, including a Princess Krahae who performed the best pointe work Shiva had seen yet at a con. In the end we won Best Prop for the silver monkey and Best Performance: Master’s Division, which we were very happy with. We found out later we were only four points away from Best In Show, and it felt good that the judges had enjoyed our performance that much.

The only downer to the masquerade was how the awards were given out; in the interest of moving things along they lined all of the winners up ahead of time which took some of the surprise out of it, and then the awards were announced in a messy way that had everyone confused. We got announced for Best Prop but while we were up there they were like, “Oh by the way you got first place in your division, so take this too.” We had at least three other groups ask us if we’d heard what they’d won because they couldn’t figure it out, and we felt bad for the group that won Best In Show because they didn’t get to have that awesome moment where the emcees make the announcement and then everyone goes nuts. It was a shame considering how well everything was run otherwise. That night we went out for drinks; everyone was exhausted but happy and most importantly, we had had fun.

Sunday morning we performed in Cosplay Chess' "Order vs. Chaos" as Beatrix and Steiner; Sketch was one of the chess players while Shiva was a pawn on the board, both on the "Order" side for obvious reasons. Although Shiva was a pawn she was on the front of the downstage part of the board and survived for most of the match, so she had plenty fun messing around with her fellow pieces and harassing Sketch as the easily flappable buffoon, Steiner. That afternoon we met up with PatrickD for lunch before heading home with a successful weekend behind us!