Bri’s Observations on Anime Boston 2016

Linecon 2.0? Son of Linecon? Linecon 2: Electric Boogaloo? Whatever you’re calling it, there’s no denying Anime Boston continues to be an impactful event every year for the Hynes Convention Center. I didn’t have much interest in the Sports Day theme, and the lines this year were daunting, but I didn’t let that get in the way of my favorite convention.

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I must have lucked out with my arrival time. Thank you, early morning train times! On the second floor of the Sheraton, I tagged on to the end of a Preregistration line that was in motion. Although the Badge Pick-Up room felt incredibly chaotic, I was in and out in less than eight minutes. I later learned the ExpressPass system had gone down for a period of time, which explained why the in-person pick-up booths were in such high demand when I was there. Thankfully, the booths were equipped with flashing lights to indicate if they had a full queue of people. I think this was a new feature, and I definitely applaud AB Staff for its innovation.

Then came the tricky part, which was actually getting in to the convention itself. Although Anime Boston posted a What To Expect article days beforehand, there are always unanticipated hiccups. After a few years of bag checks, the MCCA decided to institute metal detectors at the entrances as well. A bottleneck formed on the first day due to the detectors the main Hynes entrance connected to the Pru. This caused a long line out the entrance which had to be redirected outside to the hall between the Sheraton and the Pru. Between the line of folks trying to get into the Hynes and the security guards trying to guide people, there was no discernible route for people trying to enter the mall from the Sheraton side. You had to wade through the flow of con-goers being redirected outside, and explain “No, I’m going to the mall/trying to get food/find a bathroom” if a guard singled you out because they noticed your con badge.

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When I finally entered the Hynes on Friday, it wasn’t too bad, even though I used the Pru entrance. However, this is likely because I waited until 2:00p.m. The bag check line had three or four metal detectors at its disposal, so that line actually moved significantly faster than its counterpart: the single line for Vendors/Staff/Attendees without bags. Saturday was tougher, even though I purposely arrived around 9:00a.m. The line moved relatively fast, but security was a lot sterner this time around. As an attendee, I was more concerned to hear first-person accounts of inconsistent security measures. For example: props that were given a sticker and okayed on Friday were deemed inadmissible and confiscated on Saturday. Stickers falling off also seemed fairly common.

I’ve acknowledged on more than one occasion that “con growing pains” are inevitable. If a convention is going to last, it has to grow: that includes increases in attendee size and security changes to accommodate. But as someone who’s attended since 2005, I honestly think Anime Boston is beginning to outgrow its home location of the Hynes. Live Gaming moved into a space in the nearby Hilton hotel, a handful of panels were relegated to the Sheraton Fifth Floor, and a new entrance on Dalton Street opened halfway through the weekend to meet the traffic demands.

Logistics aside, there was plenty of fun to be had! My interest in anime has lessened in recent years, but I continue to attend AB for the people and the atmosphere.  Fan-organized photoshoots were everywhere, both in and out of the convention center.  Photographing cosplayers is a big part of how I enjoy the con, so a big thanks to the Boston Whovians for letting me partake in their BBC photoshoot on Saturday afternoon. Popular cosplays this year included: One Punch Man, Miraculous Ladybug, Undertale, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Getting in to panels and Main Events requires forethought and good time management, which I tend to lack, which is why the AMV contest was the only major event I got to see.  While waiting for the show to begin, audience members were treated to some pre-show entertainment. Undertale-styled conversation ensued with many a skeleton pun, followed by Choose Your Own Adventure scenarios and a few rounds of Win, Lose, Banana.  This year’s videos were high quality, and my colleague Hope already touched on a handful of them in her article of adventures.

I spent most of my time wandering the Artist Alley and Dealer’s Room. Among the more unique crafts on display, I saw Beanie Babies cleverly repurposed as mock taxidermy  decor. Why get a moose head for your wall when you could get a platypus? And after years of admiring Funko Pop dolls and occasionally gifting one to a friend, I finally caved and bought one for myself: River Song. Pro-tip: if spotting a product makes you audibly gasp, you probably want to buy it.

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Anime Boston offers a lot for its attendees – what memorable events did I miss? Share in the comments below!

 

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