Japanese Pro Wrestling: NJPW by Jared the Greek
One of the fandoms that seems to be growing out of nowhere is US fans of Japanese pro wrestling. This panel looked at the ups and downs of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s long history. It was interesting learning how huge American/European wrestlers are in Japan even back in the 70s. The panel covered up to the modern era where the organization is owned by Bushyroad and the Japanese stars coming over to the US for matches. The panelists also showed two clips of some amazing matches. One was a bit older and the other more recent, but they were both new to most of the audience. It was a really interesting panel and it got the audience hyped to watch more of the over the top action NJPW offers.
Kimono Making and Kimono Style Changes from the 19th to 20th Century by Jared the Greek
This was an interesting mix of a fashion panel and a history panel. The panel looked at how kimonos went from being for the very rich into a more common garment as the twentieth century dawned. As technology developed weaving became easier and more colors became available and as fashion tastes changed people had new styles and looks for those attempting to be fashion forward. The host also showed off samples of different weaves and explained the process of making each one. This was an information heavy panel with a host that really knows the subject. If you have interest in fashion or want a greater understanding of Japanese culture this a a must attend panel.
Asaka Concert by Eri Kagami
Not quite j-pop, not quite anisong, but everything an idol should be! Asaka is up and coming idol from Japan. She has lived in the United States for some time and actually spoke English to the audience between sets. Asaka’s music has been featured in visual novels such as Occult;Nine and A Centuar’s Life. The teen j-pop idol was very happy to make her anime convention debut at Anime Boston.
Asaka opened up the show with the ending theme to Occult;Nine, “Open Your Eyes.” If you’ve seen the PV, she’s very demure and soft. However, her live version of the song is very fierce. She had a lot of energy on stage as otage waved their light pens in excitement. Asaka’s style is more on the pop side – some fierce sounding and some bubblegum sounding. She sang “Shiny Days” which is more upbeat and cheery. She also sang “Play the Game” which also got the audience hyped. Normally, Anime Boston gets veteran singers and performers for their concert line up, however, I can’t complain if I have a new musical discovery. I’m glad that Anime Boston took a chance on a newcomer to the scene – hoping we will hear more of her in the anisong world!
Masquerade by Eri Kagami
Masquerade kicked off with Roadie and his new assistant. In previous years, Roadie would team up with beloved anime industry personality, Mario Bueno. Roadie’s new assistant played off to being the “new guy.” While the reviews were mixed, I do believe the new guy has potential and playing up to anxiety of being the new kid on the blocked really worked for the genki character. The opening acts included a masquerade staff exhibition skit where the staff cosplayed as classic anime gents and danced to Backstreet Boys’ “Larger than Life.” The next exhibition act was done by the AMV staff; it consisted of Little Mac going up against various video game characters on screen – including the stupid dog from Duck Hunt. Both were entertaining and it got the audience riled for the cosplay contest.
The contest began with the walk-ons. Walk-ons consisted of entries that only went for craftsmanship judging. They walked on to the stage and performed poses to preset music. The skit portion followed after. We had close to 30 skits on stage. A few highlights were a Pokemon rap battle between Red and Giovanni, a few Fire Emblem skits, a skit about the hardships of Gatcha, a Love Live act set to “My MAI Tonight,” Light in a Hollywood pitch for a Death Note series, Persona 5 set to Heathers, Vash vs. Spike, etc. Anime Boston always delivers a solid cosplay show of talented costume makers from all levels. I’ve been to many cons; Anime Boston is one of the few major cons left that showcase traditional masquerade style costume contests.
Swap Meet by Eri Kagami
Later in the evening, Anime Boston opened up their late night swap meet. The swap meet occurs only on Saturday night. Attendees can sell old anime merchandise at their table or they can “swap” with other people’s goods. In other words, a true swap meet. One of the larger panel rooms was cleared to have rows of tables laid out for people to sell and discuss swaps. I liked there there were a variety of generational anime merchandise to swap. Because of the nature of the swap meet, this is a cash only swap meet. Paypal and e-transactions were prohibited.