Anime Boston Highlights

IMG_4373I attended Anime Boston 2015 last weekend. I had loads of fun and very little drama, despite being one of 26,000+ people cramming into the Hynes Convention Center. This was the year of giant robots and heinous monsters, where Marco Polo was deemed dead and The Beatles were alive. I got to interview Mona Marshall, catch up with friends, and I actually managed to attend a third of the events on my To Do List!  A new personal record!

Let’s get my Unpopular Opinion out of the way before we get to the really good stuff about this weekend. The traffic “problem” at this year’s con did not bother me. /Kanyeshrug.

If you’ve never been to AB, this might not make much sense to you. Basically, the con grows exponentially each year, presenting new traffic issues.

Gridlock1In 2013, following the events of the Patriots Day/Boston Marathon attack, the Hynes stepped up security measures and instituted bag checks. Totally understandable. But in terms of Anime Boston, no one expected how much that process was going to affect hallway traffic. Lines to enter the con stretched far into the Prudential Center, and I speak from experience when I say shoppers and attendees alike were gridlocked on multiple occasions. The area of highest traffic has been marked for you above.

This year, an obvious effort was made to alleviate that issue. During the the busiest hours of the day, any con attendees trying to return to the Hynes from one of the other Arcades of the Pru was rerouted. Instead of passing by the bottom of Prudential Tower and Dunkin Donuts, we were told to go down and around.

GridlockNoneWas it a little inconvenient? Of course: I showed up on Friday at one of these rerouting times, so I had to drag a suitcase down Huntinton Ave, down the escalator, outside, and walk partway ’round the building. But guess what? I would rather take 8 or 10 minutes of mild inconvenience than have to put up with 20 minutes of gridlocked foot traffic. But maybe that’s just me, seeing as how so many people complained that Anime Boston staff posted a response to it today.

 

Panels and Programs

For the first time in a while, AB actually had a lot of panels I wanted to attend! This year saw the start of a “Foundations of Anime” series on the fifth floor of the Sheraton: select panels were dedicated to the more scholastic analysis of anime, and I actually really regret not checking it out for myself.

Majority of the AMV Contest was quality this year, and the new ballot system was FAB-U-LOUS. The entries for the “Other” category were odd and difficult to vote for. If audience reaction were an accurate depiction of voting, this year’s Romance winner might’ve been a twisted love story put to the words of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space”. If you can stomach serious anime violence, you can watch “Bleeding Heart Effect” here. It didn’t take the category, but it did earn Best of Show.

Playlist of the AMV contestants.

Merchandise Spotlight

Obviously between the Dealer’s Room and Artist Alley, there were tons of booths with goodies to buy. I want to put the spotlight on The Ella Dress by Daily Therapy. It’s COSPLAY PLAYCLOTHES FOR YOUR NERDY OFFSPRING. Better yet, they’re all reversible: Kaylee Frye’s overalls-inspired dress turns into her pink dress from the Shindig episode of Firefly!

Cosplay

Among the popular cosplays this year were Five Nights at Freddy’s, Attack on Titan, Big Hero 6, and Steven Universe. This is in addition to the usual Homestucks, superheroes, Disney princesses, and Sailor Senshi, although the latter definitely had an increased presence thanks to Sailor Moon Crystal. Besides snapping photos in the hallways, I also attended two photoshoots for live action fandoms – Doctor Who, and then a general BBC-themed one.

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I also want to give a shout-out to the many awesome cosplays I saw but (for whatever reason) I did not manage to photograph: Punk!Sailor Senshi, female Marty McFly, Maid Marian from Disney’s Robin Hood – y’all rocked my socks.

See you around, con-goers!
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