Anime Boston was back at the end of March, and it’s taken me this long to summarize just how much I like this convention. I always have a great time, but this year felt especially stellar. I was able to narrow down my favorite parts of the convention to three things: the panels, the AMVs, and the merch booths.
The great thing about Anime Boston is that it has a mix of industry panels and fan led panels. I usually enjoy both equally, but this year the fan panels stole the show. Representation was a big thing this year, so I was eager to attend the Female Anime Directors Panel. I learned that a ton of major anime productions, such as Yuri!!!! On Ice and A Silent Voice were female-led projects. Given that a panel I had attended at Arisia noted that there were few female directors in the industry, it was cool to see so many ladies given the spotlight.
This year had a focus on overlooked anime as well, which included the good and the bad. The highlight of this was the panel Bad, Anime, Bad!! This event featured several particularly heinous anime, with hilarious commentary from the panelist. While I was only able to check out the first one, which was Defenders of Space, it was more than enough for me to understand the point of the panel.
Defenders of Space came out during that period of dubbing where characters were given Westernized names instead of their original names. This is how the anime ends up with characters like Fred, Mary, General Mike, and Emperor Nicholas. Iit only gets worse from there. The audio is atrocious and I couldn’t decide what was worse: the characters reading the script in monotone, or the lag in between lines. The animation is no better and features state of the art techniques such as rotating the frame to simulate a ship shaking. The plot is all over the place and switches from a space adventure to a fantasy anime, and finally to a mech anime, with no exposition. After the anime ended all I could do was appreciate how far anime has come in terms of quality.
One of my favorite things about anime is watching AMVs. I love seeing the fans express their love for a show in creative and moving ways. One of the best things about Anime Boston is they have an entire panel room devoted to airing AMVs the entire weekend of the convention. This is amazing because it not only allows tons of fans to showcase their work, but it provides endless opportunities for attendees to drop in and see it. Out of all the AMVs I watched that weekend, my favorite were the ones shown in the Disney Through AMVs block. There’s just something about seeing Kyubey and Madoka Magica set to “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin that feels so right.
If there’s one con that I know I’m going to go broke at, it’s Anime Boston. From the exhibition room to the artist alley, there’s always something I see that I have to have. The convention floor is the perfect place for me to snag discounted manga, and I bought so much this year I could open my own manga library if I wanted to. The exhibition floor is also a great place to find obscure or hard to find anime and manga. This year I was lucky to find Helter Skelter, an older thriller manga that I had heard about at an Anime Boston panel a couple of years ago.
While the exhibition floor is great for finding obscure licensed items, the artist alley is the perfect place to find obscure fan made works. A big thing this year was memes, and creators supplied more meme memorabilia than I knew what to do with. As a big fan of Vines (R.I.P.) I was overjoyed to find a booth selling pins with Vine and Tumblr references. The booth also had a deal on buttons, so my need to let the world know how weird I am didn’t even break the bank!
I honestly have no complaints about my attendance at Anime Boston. They seem to have really taken the feedback from last year to heart. Everything was clearly labeled and relatively easy to find. There were tons of staff and volunteers around to ask for assistance, and they all were knowledgeable about the convention and layout. The wait time to get in wasn’t bad this year either. I think the most time I spent in line was about twenty-five minutes, and that was to get through the bag check line. It seemed that people without bags got into the con even faster.
All in all, I highly recommend everyone attend Anime Boston. The friendly atmosphere and communal energy of the con is just wonderful to experience. Attending panels and watching AMVs, and even walking the artist alley floor, you can feel the passion people have for the things they enjoy. It’s a really cool, positive experience and I look forward to attending future Anime Boston conventions.