[Anime Boston: To the Stars] Dream On

“You Can’t Cosplay That!” by Eri Kagami

One of Sunday’s panels was a cosplay panel that discussed pet peeves within the cosplay community. Despite the title, the panel covered -isms that the cosplay community is tired of seeing. Size shaming, age shaming, etc were very much covered in this panel. The panel was made of a presentation by the panelists and then an audience discussion. The running theme was that cosplayers have lives outside of cosplay and cannot catch up to everything right away. I even shared my story about being shamed for experimenting with different fabrics in cosplay. Overall, the panel was very therapeutic. It’s good to discuss these topics with a live audience rather than the usual keyboards behind a screen.


Anime Boston Museum by Eri Kagami

For the first time, Anime Boston had a room dedicated to their long running history as an anime convention. Both Anime Expo and Otakon have had archival space. Comparatively so, Anime Boston had a much smaller collection in their archives. I could tell this was a work in progress. There were signs and pieces of decorations from last year’s retro theme. There were even signs and posters that had factoids throughout the years. While Anime Boston has about a good 15+ year history, I really felt that there could have been more added here – seeing more of A-chan and B-kun’s costumes, old posters and decorations decking the halls, etc. Hopefully Anime Boston could pick up more for their archives – it’s always interesting seeing how anime conventions have grown through the years.


Captains, Cyborgs, and Cowgirls: The Memorable Women of Sci-Fi Anime by Jared the Greek

There have been many popular anime heroines and this panel did a good job of discussing some of the most popular.  Series like Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell, The Dirty Pair, and Evangelion were discussed.  Thankfully there were also some choices that were not so common such as Appleseed, Terraformers, and Nasuicaa.  The panelists clearly knew their subject matter and it was much better than some panels that have been run with a similar theme that we’ve seen before.  Hopefully the panelists will be back to run more panels like this rather than some of the less prepared people that have tried their hand at this type of panel in the past.


Christianity in Japan: This time it’s Biblical by Jared the Greek

Since the 16th Century missionaries have come to Japan and the results have been mixed.  This panel covered the long and bloody history of Christianity in Japan and even tied things into anime titles that featured Christian characters.  You could tell that the host was prepared because there was a good flow of information while still making room for audience questions.  It was interesting to learn about how even today Japan only has 2% of its population as Christians, but the majority of people have church weddings.  This is the kind of panel any history nerd should attend as it gives some great insight into choices made by the Japanese government over the centuries.


Anime Directors: Names to Know by Jared the Greek

This panel was one of the better choices to wrap up the convention as it provided the audience with a list of some great (and mediocre) directors and their series/movies.  It was a good way to learn what titles you should check out because if you liked some of a director’s work then checking out other titles she or he worked on is a good way to expand your fandom.  It was also a good way to learn what series to avoid because if you don’t like one director’s work it is likely you will not enjoy other titles she or he worked on.  The host had some issues with stuttering, but everyone in the audience seemed to have a good time learning about some of the best (and worst) anime directors that are currently working.


AMV Award Winners by Eri Kagami

This year’s theme was “To The Stars” and of course, there were a few award winners that had the space thing going on. The award winners are usually played at closing ceremonies – not a single seat was empty. A few highlights included the 2017 Beauty and the Beast trailer done to The Ancient Magus’ Bride, a few Yuri on Ice!! videos set to both comedic and dramatic interpretations, a Pride, Prejudice and Zombies trailer set to Black Butler, a video honoring all of the beach themed episodes of recent anime, and the big best of show winner went to a dramatic video set to the anime short from 1999, She and Her Cat. For those who have not seen the short, it seems like a tear jerker for anyone who has ever bonded with a pet. However, the true context of the video was the cat was creeping onto their cat owner. Bravo for turning up the original mood to a heartfelt mood to mess with the audience’s heartstrings!


Closing Ceremonies by Eri Kagami

Closing Ceremonies was the very last thing to happen at Anime Boston, aside from the feedback session. Before closing ceremonies, all programming stopped, the dealers hall closed, and everyone funneled their way through the main auditorium. Closing ceremonies was running behind schedule. However, we were entertained by the pre-show entertainment with one final choose-your-own-adventure pop ups, adventures of A-chan and B-kun at the con, a video montage of random cosplayers set to old school Gundam openings in the background, etc. The con chairs said their farewells followed by the Japanese and American guests waving a ta-ta for now to the completely full auditorium. The closing credits played which credited every single staff member of the convention. Anime Boston is the only convention that has a closing credits sequence played at the end of the con. Finally, the theme of next year’s Anime Boston was revealed. As A-chan and B-kun were wandering through a mysterious planet, it turns out that they crash landed in ancient feudal Japan. Anime Boston 2019’s theme would be shogun and samurai. We’re already planning Fate cosplays for next year’s show.


Convention Feedback by Jared the Greek

This was the very last piece of programming for the entire event.  The room slowly filled with people as everyone worked their way out of closing ceremonies.  Most of the feedback was positive with only a very small amount of people that complained about minor issues they faced.  Some of the things could not be helped such as the font used by panelists and the lack of benches which were taken away by the convention staff to be replaced.  Other questions went into the lack of climate control in the building, ticketing policy, and shoplifting in the dealer hall.  The one thing that can be said about Anime Boston staff is that, unlike many cons, they listen to feedback and do their best to make next year a better year.

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