Boston,MA, USA. May 24 – 26, 2013.
Reporter(s): Kouichi Kimura
Alright anime fans… It’s time for another installment from Anime Boston! After a five-year hiatus, I decided it was about time to give the first con I had ever attended another chance. I’ll be straight with you all too. Despite A-kon being a wonderful convention, my butt could not possibly handle another 3,000 mile drive this year. So Anime Boston is was. Here we go!
For those of you who have never gone before, Anime Boston is set squarely in downtown Boston, a small subway’s ride from Fenway Park. The convention itself takes place in the Hynes Convention Center which is linked up with a sizable mall and the Sheraton Hotel. If you make your reservations early enough, the best news for you is that there is absolutely no walking outside to get from the Sheraton to the Hynes. The bad news? There really isn’t much, actually. Aside from the occasional congested elevator, for which the average wait time was anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, the only other discomfort you will feel is the bill for the valet parking. My advice to anyone considering going is to either plan ahead for an extra $200-$300 (for valet and maybe some room service), or self-park if you don’t plan on going anywhere.
Before I get into what happened at the con, I just need to say what a fantastic job the Press Liason – Jamison did for us at Anime Secrets this year. It was a vast, above and beyond improvement from 2008. Even though one of the panel interviews was canceled, the other was scheduled a few days in advance which had never happened before. I was hugely impressed by the way everything was handled. Without further ado, I will now get to the juicy tidbits from my adventures from Anime Boston 2013.
Firstly, the all important badge pick-up lines. *cue dramatic music* But seriously, I only have one thing to say about it this year. “What line?!”. That’s right. The line was literally so short, there was no line. With the addition of automatic badge kiosks where you scanned an e-mail printout to the at least a dozen manned windows, my wait time was pretty much zero. Despite this, I highly advise everyone to pre-register, and try to pick up your badges the day before the con to avoid that first day congestion. You will thank me for that.
At this point, I would have told you all about and linked you to our first panel interviewee, Chris Bevins. His works include One Piece, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Witchblade, just to name a few. Unfortunately for us, and the rest of the hopefuls, this interview did not take place due to a flight screw up that was most definitely beyond anyone’s control. That being said, I wanted to explore the rest of the con and see what was what before the second and final panel we were scheduled for.
First stop was the dealer’s room. A veritable treasure trove of anime goodness and rarities all crammed into one place. If you wanted it, odds are, they had it. DVDs, Manga, cosplay items, weapons, music, and much more. There was plenty of space to move around, and I didn’t hear the con staff complain once to me about stopping in certain places to pose for pictures. My mission at this point was to survey the area, find out where the good stuff was, and come back later after my work was over.
Next up, I had to make a brief stop in a Toku panel (panel for live action Japanese tv shows with considerable amounts of special effects). Not for a press interview, but rather one which I was a part of. A fellow “Gokaiger”, two Kamen Riders, and I were asked questions by a fairly decent sized audience for roughly an hour. Towards the end it got a little off-track, but I had a good time nonetheless. Another plus was that the interview with Stephanie Sheh, a voice actress and our only remaining interview, was literally one room over. I was kind of blind-sided after getting there and finding out they were not one-on-one interviews, so most of my questions were being asked by others in the room, but you can view what we got out of it once we post it!
I took the rest of the day to snap some nice pics, one of which had to be the most amazing Rita Replusa cosplay I have ever seen, of course take in some anime, and just sit and enjoy the Boston skyline. There was also plenty to do in the shopping center just off of the Hynes. There are book stores, a food court, and yes, a Cheesecake Factory too. Yum.
I’m not sure if they did this before, but when I was walking around in the dealer’s room on Saturday, I happened to hear an announcement over a P.A. System that went something like “Monica Rial, Chris Bevins, and two others will be signing autographs at the Funimation table in 15 minutes”. So keep that in mind. If you think you missed a chance to get that one autograph you had your heart set on getting, there’s always a second chance. Being that the announcement doesn’t go too far outside the dealer’s room, you may want to ask the Anime Boston booth if such an event is scheduled to happen. (Editor’s Note: These autograph sessions are run by the industry booths and announced by them; convention staff will usually not be aware of them, but the booth staff should have a schedule. If a guest is associated with a specific show the dealer is promoting, be sure to check with them for extra autograph sessions! There may be an extra condition, like buying a poster or a set of the show to get a ticket to the session, so definitely ask.) Be sure to also make time for the Formal Ball, the AMV Contest, Live Gaming, the many panels available, and any of the necessary cosplay workshops available to help you maintain those wonderful outfits.
To wrap it all up in a neat little package, I was glad to give Anime Boston 2013 a chance and was very impressed. As a convention, it has definitely evolved by leaps and bounds from when I first went there in 2005. The staff was accommodating to me when I needed help, and to anyone with a special needs individual as well . Seeing what I did, I would definitely keep an eye on this convention for years to come. They can only get better.