March 24th - 27th, 2016
Boston, Massachusetts

Convention Stats:
Location: Hynes Convention Center
Event Year: Fourteenth
Reported Attendance: 26,975
Theme: "Field Day"
Sketch's Costumes Worn:
Miroku, InuYasha
Link, Hyrule Warriors/Assassin's Creed
Godric Gryffindor, Harry Potter
Shiva's Costumes Worn:
Sango, InuYasha
Shiva, Final Fantasy X
Rainbow Brite, Rainbow Brite
Summoner Yuna, Final Fantasy X
Summoner Ginnem, Final Fantasy X
Summoner Belgemine, Final Fantasy X
Princess Zelda, Hyrule Warriors
Rowena Ravenclaw, Harry Potter
Our Special Activities:
Masquerade: Performance Judges
Convention Photos:

Photo Credits:
Amiephotos (x5), Shiva

Just under 27,000 people came out to celebrate Anime Boston's fourteenth year with the theme "Field Day." Getting into the spirit, mascots A-Chan and B-Kun led attendees in spontaneous workout sessions and team events throughout the weekend. Programing expanded outside of the Hynes into space in both the Sheraton and the Hilton hotels to accommodate a wide array of events, including concerts by Japanese musical acts Ali Project and nano.ripe. Aniplex also hosted a launch party for the English dub of Lie in April, with screenings and panels by both the Japanese and U.S. creative teams. The only major drawback to the weekend was the addition of near airport-level security screenings at the entrances to the Hynes in addition to the bag checks implemented after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Poor coordination between the Hynes and Anime Boston security teams led to long lines, disagreements over what was allowed in, and frustrations all around.

Shiva and Sketch's Weekend Breakdown:
Our Anime Boston weekend began Friday morning with an unusual conundrum: how to get into the Hynes. As the result of several assholes threatening to shoot up a Pokémon tournament at this same venue last year, Hynes security staff installed metal detectors and assigned bomb sniffing dogs to the main entrance, which was causing a huge bottleneck and wrecking havoc for cosplayers with large, non-removable metal costume pieces and all manner of prop weapons. We were hoping we could bypass the whole mess by using the back entrance, and sure enough we walked right in with just a normal bag check - a loophole which only reenforced the idea that drama playing out downstairs was security theater. Dressed in our InuYasha costumes we explored the dealer’s room and artist’s alley, and enjoying being "old school" anime cosplayers.

We grabbed a quick lunch before we returned to the room to get Shiva suited up and painted blue for her FFX Shiva photoshoot with Amie that afternoon. It was drizzling outside but luckily nothing major, and the overcast weather actually made the blues of the costume pop nicely. After the shoot we were able to re-enter the con at the back entrance again, a relief for both of us to avoid the metal detectors since Shiva's wig was held on by a giant steel plate under her bodysuit. She managed to be comfortable enough to stay in the costume until dinnertime, when we finally changed and met up with Scarlet, Ellystar, and Katy at Anime Unscripted. The show was hilarious, and we chatted with PatrickD and Jekka after it wrapped up before heading to the AMV contest. We wanted to stay for the whole thing, but only made it through the Romance section before leaving early to grab dinner.

Saturday morning Punzy, Scarlet and Shiva got into their summoner costumes and tried to enter the con; they weren’t letting anyone in through the back entrance today unless they had previously been through the front entrance for a prop check. We walked around to the front, only to find that the line to get in line wrapped around the entire building, and people had been waiting in it for over 40 minutes already. Instead we walked over to the Christian Science building to take some photos, after which we still couldn’t get into the building in any reasonable amount of time and had to admit defeat.

We returned to the hotel room and changed into our brand new Legend of Zelda costumes, hoping that after our photoshoot we could get inside in time to judge the masquerade! We finally got through the line after being harassed because Sketch’s chain mail set off all the detectors, only to find out that the poor masquerade staff was going nuts trying to deal with the security mess. Contestants had been missing their judging and rehearsal times all day because of the huge lines and the masquerade staff was forced to advocate for contestants whose props and costume pieces had been confiscated because although they met the con’s standards for safety, convention center security didn’t like them. We felt terrible for the convention staff who were doing their best in a bad situation and all the harried contestants; competing is stressful enough without this shitshow!

Last year had been a bit of a “B” year for masquerade skits, so we were expecting this year’s show to have some really good stuff and the show did not disappoint. The opening act came out and completely blew us away with exquisite Hyrule Warriors costumes, wonderful staging, and a clever, well-sung re-writing of the lyrics to a song from Galavant to reflect the Zelda, Link, and Gannon characters. It was simple, wildly entertaining, showcased performance talent, and the costumes were outstanding. They walked off stage with Best in Show and it was up to everyone else to try and knock them off the top shelf. In the end, nobody did, but there were so many acts that came close. One contender was a journeyman Pokémon skit of Jesse and James which was 100% in character, well-written and well-acted, and had us laughing hysterically, and we happily awarded them Best Performance. A Master division Zelda group had drop-dead gorgeous costumes and an involved skit that might have been better if it had been simplified a bit, but was still a very solid performance. With different acts to compete against they might have been a Best in Show contender but nothing could top the entertainment value of the Best in Show and Best Performance winners.

Shiva gave her judge’s award to a couple who did a contemporary dance; the girl had great technique, her partner kept up with her, and it was nice to see something serious pulled off well. A Songstress Yuna cosplayer did an amazing lip synch/dance to "Real Emotion" from Final Fantasy X-2 and she immediately earned Katy's Judge's Award. There weren't any bad entries at all; overall everyone did a fantastic job and we had a hard time choosing some of the down-ballot awards, which is just the kind of problem we want to have as judges - too many good things to pick from!

After an exciting Saturday, we took it easy Sunday as Godric Gryffindor and Rowena Ravenclaw for the day. We had planned to wear different costumes originally, but didn't have the chance to finish them so we just grabbed these out of our closet. We weren't sure how much people would care about seeing Harry Potter at an anime con, however we got a lot of positive responses! We had a morning shoot with Amie, and enjoyed the con for the afternoon before heading home.