For those of you unfamiliar with anime, it is best characterized as japanese animation or comics. Please realize that is only the most broad explanation. There are many different sub-categories that make up the anime genre and it is not strictly created in Japan.
I have seen enough anime to know I enjoy it. I appreciate it as an art form. However, I would hardly consider myself a fan. Many friends have encouraged me to explore the genre over the years. What better way to educate myself than to spend three days immersed at a convention? As luck would have it, Anime Boston was in town.
Taking over the Hynes Convention Center and Sheraton Boston Hotel April 2-4, more than 17,000 people lined up to attended panels, cosplay or watch anime. While Anime Boston organizers claim the majority of attendees tend to fall within the ages of 16-24, walking around the convention hall you will see fans of all ages. I found myself surprised by the variety of different people in attendance – age, sex, race, and geek status were irrelevant.
Anime Boston is a fantastic convention! One of the things they do well is providing a wonderful selection of events. Of course this convention is full of panels. Panels such as Modern Mythology: Anime and Video Games or Androgyny/Homosexuality in Japan appeal to the more intellectual fans who enjoy anime for its thematic elements. Perhaps you are an artist or writer. You can attend panels like Web Comics to Publishing or How not to write Fiction, fan and otherwise for ideas on sharpening your skills. Conversations with Tom Wayland and similar panels give you an opportunity to hear firsthand from successful industry guests.
This is an anime convention, so maybe you would like to see some anime. There are viewings aplenty. Attend one of the humorous clip panels such as You DON’T Survive the Anime Apocalypse, where panelists will show a selection of clips from anime television series or movies to drive home the point. For the record, the panelists are right. If you prefer to watch your anime without commentary, visit one of the many video rooms where you can settle into the dark and watch all day . . . all three days. While I did not spend a lot of time in the video rooms, they are one of the aspects of the convention I truly appreciated. At every convention, there is a point when attendees have time to kill – you did not make it into the panel you wanted to attend, or you are waiting for friends. Pop into one of the video rooms and catch up on a series you enjoy or expose yourself to a new franchise.
Let us suppose you attend conventions to participate. The most prevalent expression is cosplay. So don that costume and come on down. Knowing how passionate fans are, Anime Boston rewards cosplayers with events especially for them. Panels such a Cosplay on a Dime and Lolita Fashion: Style for the Frilly Masses serve as a how-to experience. Join other cosplayers for a game of Anime Squares or Cosplay Chess. You may even meet your mate at the Cosplay Dating Game. Dances? Oh yes, there were dances. You can even take center stage in the Karaoke room. The main event was the Masquerade held on Saturday. Cosplayers came with prepared skits or choreography and entertained the crowd. The craftmanship of the costumes was inspiring and the skits were great fun. Here are a couple of the performances from the Masquerade. You can find more performances on my YouTube channel.
Anime Boston is a wonderful convention. Whether you are a die-hard fan or someone just testing the waters, attend this convention. The video rooms alone are worth it. However, I encourage your to attend a few panels, see some performances and generally admire the impressive quality of the costumes.
On a personal note, Anime Boston has definitely sparked my interest in anime and I excited to see more. If there is a particular show, movie or comic you feel I need to check out, be sure to leave me a comment. Tell me a little about the anime you are suggesting and what you enjoy about it.