Adventures in Anime Boston 2016 (feat. Koko)

Anime Boston 2016

KOKO 1
Koko is ready to roll!

Anime Boston is without a doubt one of the year’s most anticipated events for fans throughout New England – with hundreds of visitors taking the Hynes Convention Center by storm from March 25-27th. With Anime Boston 2016 being my second convention ever, I admittedly didn’t get much sleep the night before. But I’ve since recovered and am thrilled to be sharing my highlights with you all. And helping me with coverage and reenactment is none other than Koko, a lovely Meowstic plushie I discovered at the convention.

So without further ado, let the good times roll!

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Rule #1 – Remember to bring an ID, cash, phone, phone charger, and plenty of water. Cosplay optional!
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Rule #2 – Plan ahead and keep a guidebook app/map handy. But don’t be afraid to be spontaneous!

Luckily, I learned from my first con experience that most of the fun stems from simply being surrounded by fellow geeks and geekettes. While several of the panels seemed interesting enough, I started my day by perusing Artist Alley and the Dealer’s Room as well as taking in all of the cosplayers for three hours. As returning con-goers already know all too well, setting a budget for yourself in both time and money is crucial.

Otherwise, I would have spent a fortune on “League of Legends” and Miraculous Ladybug merchandise alone.

Speaking of Miraculous Ladybug, Carrie Keranen – the voice behind Alya – was one of the actors to join in on the AB fun this year. It was so amazing to be able to speak to one of my favorite voiceover artists in person. But while I personally know Keranen as Lux from “League of Legends” and Lady Satsuki from Kill la Kill, she specifically came to the convention to promote the English dub of the romantic drama Your lie in April. A launch party took place on the 26th, featuring special guests Director Kyohei Ishiguro, Character Designer Yukiko Aikei, English ADR Script Writer and Director Patrick Seitz, Max Mittelman (English voice of Kousei Arima), Erica Lindbeck (English voice of Kaori Miyazono), and Carrie Keranen (English voice of Hiroko Seto). For those interested, the first half of the dub will be released to Blu-ray DVD on March 29th and the second, May 31st. Romantic drama isn’t my particular cup of tea, but I’ve heard many positive things about the series.

April + Carrie Keranen
Carrie Keranen – The voice behind Hiroko Seto of Your lie in April.

Among the other events I attended, the ones that stood out the most were “Judging Anime By Its Cover,” “My Waifu Isn’t Weird,” and the AMV contest. The hosts of “Judging Anime By Its Cover” provided humorous commentary on the “good” and the “bad” of upcoming anime. Needless to say, several jokes were made about card games and “guns” (AKA: fanservice). I have to say that my tastes aligned perfectly with the hosts. The series I’ll be looking out for this spring are:

The “My Waifu Isn’t Weird” panel led by Wicked Anime gave insight on something everyone goes through at some point in their lives: character crushes. In summary, our brains cannot distinguish a fictional crush from a real one. Our pursuit for perfection often translates into an attraction to the idealization and symmetry of anime and cartoon characters. If you’re interested in comical and honest reviews, be sure to check out the Fleming brothers on their YouTube channel.

And last but certainly not least is the Anime Boston 2016 AMV Contest. While not nearly as diverse as last year’s selection (I blame this development on the amazingness that is One Punch Man), there were still a few gems I recommend watching. These videos will be sure to get you to either laugh or start a solo dance party:

As a bonus, I’ll even include two of my favorites from a Disney AMV panel new to AB:

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Rule #3 – Browse through all merchandise before deciding to make a purchase. And as always, be on the lookout for deals!

By the end of the con, I’d deliberated between many a print before coming to a decision. Seeing as AB’s vendors vary each year, it was exciting to see both newcomers and returning artists present their different takes on popular anime and video game characters. As expected, “Undertale,” One Punch Man, and RWBY were the star players this year. I was also thrilled by the sudden influx of Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun and Miraculous Ladybug merchandise. If you haven’t already watched these shows, they’ve already ended. The former’s second season will be airing next year, leaving plenty of time to catch up on a feels trip or two.

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Rule #4 – Courtesy applies to BOTH cosplayers and non-cosplayers. Cosplay is not consent!

On a similar note, a great deal of this year’s cosplays were from “Undertale,” Pokemon, and RWBY. Keeping both the franchises’ popularity and Pokemon’s 20th Anniversary in mind, I was unsurprised by the sizable representation. And to my delight, many were done by couples (cue the gushing) and groups. I personally would have liked to see more “League of Legends” cosplays, but overall, there was a good variety of characters and clever personifications of “Headcanons” and “Husbando/Waifu Trash.” Here are but a few of the amazing cosplays I got a chance to see this weekend:

In comparing this year’s convention to last year, I have to say that Anime Boston 2015 felt better managed and definitely executed its theme of Mecha vs. Kaiju better. But that isn’t to say that the programming for 2016 was bad. I thoroughly enjoyed the energy crowds brought to events such as the AMV Contest. As I said before, the best part of a convention is experiencing it. Even the less than ideal moments have the potential to become hilarious stories or valuable lessons for future cons. Furthermore, those planning on returning next year – fellow writer/editor Brianna and myself included – should get a head-start on our budgets and cosplays as we look forward to Anime Boston 2017.

The theme? RETRO.

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Rule #5 – Have a good time!

I don’t know about you all, but I see a lot of Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon in our future.

Have your own favorite moments and/or predictions? Feel free to share them below.
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