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The fanboy and fangirl masses descended upon the city of Boston in a flurry of hotel booking, bus traveling and extremely odd costume dressing (cosplay) this past weekend. Not only were most of the major hotels at full capacity but the likely spike in cabby traffic probably brought a smile to the Taxi and Bus Drivers.
An anime fans dream weekend, ‘Anime Boston’ is a large anime convention in the New England area located at the Hynes Convention Center. Smaller than the Boston convention center where PAX East was held, ‘Anime Boston’ felt like a giant slumber party for anime geeks to unite. With panels and events that ran as late as 2 am for the 18+ age crowd, there was plenty of hilarity to ensue.
Several hotels closest to the convention centers remarked being booked solid the entire weekend and regret having to turn away potential walk-in clients looking for a place to stay. Overnight it seemed that No Vacancy Signs replaced The Batman Bat Signal as the most popular sign in this major metropolitan city.
This was all worth it though, as Anime fans rejoiced in having a large convention in which to frolic and escape. Families of all sizes and from all walks of life were seen together, though very few parents cosplayed. With the feeling of a giant slumber party, the last panels of the evening lasted well into dinner time, with some attendee’s returning after dessert had been served at whichever restaurant they choose.
Of course, Friday’s lines were long for the opening of the convention as cabs swarmed the area dropping off guests that had high hopes of getting a good spot in line. All was neat and orderly so that by 1 p.m., most of the major lines to get into the convention were a thing of the past. In general, fans waited patiently as a dedicated full-time staff and rotating volunteer staff did an excellent job running the convention.
As Anime Boston has regularly been held at the Hynes Convention Center, many of the staff members were friendly and knowledgeable. There were rarely technical problems in any of the panels that took place and the issues that did arise, were quickly solved.
On the dealer room floor, deals for manga, video games, imported items, as well as costumes and toys were being sold. Additionally, postures, DVD’s and steam punk items were being sold while blunt cosplay weapons of any kind did not seem to make the cut as they were a rarity at many retail booths. Rare items included classic video games from Super Nintendo, Atari, Nintendo 64 and Playstation gaming consoles were sold at steep discounts. A dealer room deals has been published to follow up in greater detail here.
The start of the artist alley on Friday was a rousing success for many who showcased their art for sale. Conventions of this kind attract many of the finest digital and pencil artists around and it’s easy to see that the quality of artwork gets better each and every year. While there were actually a small number of artists in the dealer room selling their art, the majority of the talent could be found inside the Artist Alley.
It almost goes without saying that the Anime Boston Convention features some of the best cosplay on a consistent basis. Rarely are there poorly dressed cosplayers while most of them feature elaborate cloth and plastic designs that seem almost like licensed products. It is possible some of them wore manufactured costumes rather than home made one’s but only the wearer knows fact from fiction. The only downside to that you may ask?
Stopping to take pictures in an already crowded walkway, stair case, panel room or exhibition hall. Other locations for crowded picture taking were the Sheraton Hotel area’s as well as the Prudential Center courtyards, despite the stipulation in the rules that no photos be taken in already crowded areas like dealer rooms and exhibition halls . This was a problem when a large majority of convention goers were dressed in cosplay, leading to some crowding issues despite the enjoyment.
The exhibition halls and panel rooms were some of the other highlights of the convention, with industry panels on Friday including Funimation, J-Rock and Mecha Software.
Many of these panels were quick to fill up and fans that arrived late were stopped at the door. A lucky few however, managed standing room at the back of these exciting panels as seats filled up faster than expected, leading many to believe that more industry panels would be welcomed next year. Additionally, an entire exhibition hall was devoted to the gaming room with more on this to follow.
One of the features at Anime Boston that was not many expected was the inclusion of several 18+ ID required panels. Some of the other 18+ panels that took place were just before the Phoenix Ball Formal Dance at 6 pm, a black tie event that benefited Central New England chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
One adult panel that took place, specifically about Gurren Lagann, was a shock to everyone in attendance when its content was less about a particular anime and more about the philosophy of adult anime. This panel in particular was alternatively serious as it talked about adult oriented anime and all the philosophy that goes into the production and design of anime hentai while at the same time being hilarious in some of its jokes about adult anime as well.
With events like these at Anime Boston, it is no wonder anime fans flocked to this convention, one of the most popular on the East Coast. Friday was the kick-start to what was sure to be an amazing weekend for Anime fans in the New England Area. Coverage will continue for Day 2 and Day 3 of Anime Boston so keep an eye out for the follow-up articles.
Image Courtesy of FirstPerson Shooter