After a gap year, I have returned to my home convention. I really wanted to check out Anime Boston in 2017 when they had the retro anime theme. However, due to life, I couldn’t afford flying out to Anime Boston. In an age where one day conventions keep popping up and disappearing, I feel that I have to fly out from California to enjoy the type of conventions I like. I like the all day, all weekend format. I like continuous programming. I like cosplay events that aren’t limited to just a cosplay contest. I like interaction between industry and fans. I like appreciation for both old and new formats of anime. I feel that Anime Boston encompasses all these things – this is why I recommend Anime Boston as an out of state con to check out to our west coast audience.
Compared to Anime Expo, at least at Anime Boston, you can get into the events you want to attend without paying an extra dime for concerts or masquerade. At least you’re waiting indoors. Security has improved since the implementation of metal detectors. We mainly used the Sheraton entrance; it made the most sense since we were staying at the hotel. I did the Prudential main entrance once and while it went faster than last year, they would separate the line letting those in the back in first and leaving those in front to wait a little longer. This lack of consistency confused a lot of people who were waiting in line.
Anime Boston’s theme this year was “To the Stars.” Each year, they go all out to decorate the convention center. I felt this year was lackluster compared to previous decorations and theming. While the theme did play into the cosplay events and I did like the starry main stage decorations. I’d like to see the starry stage as a mainstay for future Anime Bostons. I just felt that there could have been more immersive backdrops and sets throughout the convention. The previous years felt like you could interact and take some selfies with the sets, but this year, it was just simple backdrops without much. I did like the videos with A-chan and B-kun, but I also missed the thematic music video. I did like seeing random cosplayers dancing, but the thematic music videos were always fun to see. Hoping that Shogun and Samurai is going to deliver some amazing sets, plot points in events, etc.
Programming was a mixed bag this year. I liked what panels I attended, but there were a few that were lackluster. For example, one such panel had the presenter introduce themselves and claimed they had zero knowledge on the topic they were presenting. I immediately stepped out. There were a few panels listed on the guide that looked interesting, but I had a lot of schedule conflicts. Programming at Anime Boston keeps everyone busy – there’s always something to do. I also noticed a few new activities like the swap meet and late night Gunpla building. Concerts and main events were a ton of fun. I was surprised by Asaka. I wasn’t intending on checking out her concert, but now I’ve been rockin’ out to “Open Your Eyes” on my daily commute. Cosplay events were fun as usual – if you love being in character, I highly recommend entering in cosplay events.
I do like how cosplay meet up groups were organized this year. In previous years, there were always conflicts with what fandom claimed what spot. I liked that each meet up spot had a reservation system of what meet ups would take place. I also liked that the Hilton had two dedicated ballroom for cosplay photoshoots and performance spaces for idol groups.
The only major complaint I have about Anime Boston is the lack of quick grab and go food service in the Prudential. While we do stock up on food at Trader Joe’s, sometimes you just want a grab and go slice of pizza without paying convention center prices. I thought I would like Eataly and while I could afford eating at this fine dining food court, we were denied service on Day Zero and it’s very hard to find seating. I do like Au Bon Pain, but the line can get too long during peak times. If you are headed to Anime Boston, do plan to pack some food items and figure out what would be places in the area that would accommodate your food budget. While I don’t mind fine dining, I never thought I’d miss the Prudential food court.
Overall, Anime Boston was a really fun con. We’re looking forward to next year and we’re already planning what programming to contribute to and participate in. My new favorite event at Anime Boston would be Cosplay Lip Sync. While I only made it to the wait list, it was a treat to watch and see my peers do their thing. I haven’t done anything cosplay performance in the last few years. Watching masquerade and cosplay lip sync really motivated me to get back in the game. Overall, I still recommend Anime Boston as a first timer’s out of state con. While it is our excuse to have a New England vacation, Anime Boston is an enjoyable side quest that I enjoy coming back to time and again.