Cosplay Lip Sync Battle by Eri Kagami
My favorite cosplay event! This time around, our team was selected for Cosplay Lip Sync Battle. We had to rise and shine early in the morning for the 9:30AM call time. Cosplay Lip Sync Battle is so fierce that participants prepare well in advance for this show. The gamut of talent is diverse. This draws in Gen Z and Millennial cosplay participants from all anime fandoms. For us, we had picked our characters and their songs almost a year in advance to prepare. I was cosplaying as Maika (Blend S) and my songs were about food. J the Greek went as Giovanni (Pokemon) and his songs were all about taking over the world.
Competition is fierce, yet entertaining. It’s fun to see fellow contestants go up on stage and do their thing. Highlights this year included a 2B (Nier) cosplayer performing to “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman. Anime Boston’s friendly neighborhood L signing “How Bad I Can Be?” from the Lorax and “Die Young” by Ke$ha. Other highlights included Anthy (Utena) singing a heartfelt ballad by Ke$sha (“Praying”). However, the cake had to go to Grell (Black Butler) who did some fierce burlesque moves to Lady Gaga and Beyonce.
If you have the chance, Cosplay Lip Sync battle is a great way to start off your Saturday. Grab some coffee and donuts and enjoy the show!
Nazo! Puzzle games on the NES by Jared the Greek
This panel was filled with so many titles you had to bring a notepad if you had any chance of remembering them all. The panel looked at both lesser known games released in the US and some amazing Japan-only games as well. Some of the stand out games included The Adventures of Lolo, PuzSlot, Dudes With Attitudes, and Lunar Pool. This is a great panel with examples of gameplay and a host who really knows his stuff. More conventions could use panels like this because there are plenty of games out there that really need the boost.
Classic Anime Room (Arcadia of My Youth/Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket) by Jared the Greek
Sometimes during a busy convention a break is required. One of the nice things about Anime Boston is that they have several video rooms and often show classic anime series. This year they had the classic movie Arcadia of My Youth, a Harlock adventure with amazing music and tense drama. That was followed by the often underrated Gundam 0080, an OVA series that focuses on both Zeon pilots and the civilians trying to survive during wartime. It was nice watching these classics on a big screen as that isn’t an option with many classic anime. This is a great way to experience older titles and if you need a break during the convention nothing beats sitting back and watching a great anime series.
Frills and Bills: A Lolita Shopping Guide by Eri Kagami
This panel was a great refresher on navigating shopping services, Taobao, Closet Child, and whatever it takes to get your precious frills. The panel was hosted by the Boston Lolita Community. This group went through how to get dresses from popular brand names such as Angelic Pretty, Baby the Stars Shine Bright, etc. They also talked about Closet Child, a Japanese second hand store that does cater to the Lolita fashion princess. They mentioned bad experiences of shopping with them in real life, mostly alluded to the lack of customer service. The in’s and out’s of shopping at Rakuten, an online shopping service were also discussed. Navigating the Chinese ‘off brand’ dresses can by tricky. The panelists recommended looking at the listed price on Taobao as some third party buyers may mark up prices higher than they should. This was a useful panel and an awesome refresher into shopping for Lolita, I’m very happy that Anime Boston has given the Lolita community a programming track.
Kingdom Hearts Photoshoot by Eri Kagami
The Kingdom Hearts cosplayer meet up was held at the first floor of the Hynes just before the concert. Kingdom Hearts was one of the most popular fandoms represented at Anime Boston. With the release of Kingdom Hearts 3, there was bound to be an increase of Kingdom Hearts cosplayers. Not only the meet up had KH exclusive characters, but Disney characters also showed up to join in on the fun. The turnout was huge, but not overwhelming. There were plenty of Organization XIII cosplayers in the mix as well as the generations of the trios (Sea Salt, Destiny Islands, and Birth by Sleep). This meet up had magical vibes all around and a great lead up to the concert.
An Intimate Evening with Yoko Shimomura by Eri Kagami
The sold out concert happened in the later afternoon on Saturday. Tickets for a Yoko Shimomura concert can start at $85 for the cheapest seats. The at the door price for Anime Boston weekend badge is $80. As long as you had a badge and the ticket that was distributed (for free), you were good to go for the concert. This was a smaller scale concert compared to the likes of Kingdom Hearts Orchestra. No screen was playing out scenes from video games. It was a chamber orchestra covering the music of Yoko Shimoura. Ms. Shimomura’s body of work goes beyond Kingdom Hearts. We heart pieces from the Legend of Mana, Xenoblade, Street Fighter (a very well orchestra arranged version of Guile’s theme!), Mario RPG, Final Fantasy XV, and of course, Kingdom Hearts. The 90 minute concert was very peaceful and well attended. The highlight of the concert was Ms. Shimomura’s pianist doing a piano solo rendition of “Dearly Beloved” from Kingdom Hearts. The arrangement was very complex as if it utilized all 88 keys on the piano. Ms. Shimomura only entrusted this arrangement to very few musicians, this pianist included. Not only this epic arrangement was beautifully played, as a former pianist, looking at the handwork on the video monitor was impressive! I don’t think I could ever move my hands on the keyboard that fast even with an andante piece such as “Dearly Beloved.”
Masquerade by Eri Kagami
Anime Boston has some of the top tier cosplayers in the United States compete in their cosplay competition. I’m always left inspired and questioning why I stopped competing in these shows (answer: I have to compete in master’s tier now and I’m wicked afraid). The show started off with the cosplay host, Squeegee, finding out they had to take over for longtime MC, Roadie. As it turns out Roadie kinda got stuck in feudal Japan and was unable to make to the show. The show’s book end plot centered around Squeegee uncertain of them self hosting masquerade. Every now and then, we will get Facetime calls from Roadie to make sure Squeegee was doing their job. This was a cute running joke in between acts that kept the show fresh.
First, we had the masquerade organizers perform an exhibition skit. These skits aren’t being judged in the main competition. The organizers celebrated their 10 years working for Anime Boston by performing a Yuri on Ice skit set to “The Other Side” from The Greatest Showman. It was a very exciting and well done act. What followed was the walk on’s. There were some impressive cosplays during this cosplay catwalk.
Anime Boston always delivers with their masquerade skits. A few highlights included Sora (Kingdom Hearts) looking for their room key because his costume has way too many pockets, Majima (Yakuza) looking for recruits to help out in his legitimate business, a Sailor Moon group figuring out how to settle the score against a monster of the day, Aqua helping Ven (Kingdom Hearts) train, a ballroom dance routine done by two characters from Outlaw Star, and my personal favorite, getting Chrom (Fire Emblem) to be your husbando yet having most of the female cast turn on you. I didn’t stay too long for awards as time was cutting into dinner, but this was a strong show. I highly recommend checking out the cosplay contest to spend your Saturday night!
City Hunter Shinjuku Private Eyes Premiere and Discussion by Jared the Greek
It has been decades since the last City Hunter animated project and it was encouraging to see people fill up the seats. There was an introduction to the guests from Sunrise who worked on the movie, but when that ended the show began with a bang. The movie was great and seeing it on the big screen made the action that much more intense. The story was told in a way that gives some great Easter Eggs for long time fans, but it was easily accessible to new viewers. Everyone in the audience really enjoyed the throwback action style of the movie. From other the top battles against drones to silly comedy this movie has something for everyone. When the movie was over the guests talked about the project and their love of the franchise. There were plenty of questions from the audience and it was clear this movie had created new fans. This was the highlight of the day and I highly encourage anyone who has the chance to see this movie or pick it up when it becomes available on home media.
Wicked Anime Presents: Hardcore Anime! by Eri Kagami
I was looking for some late night shenanigans post-dinner. Anime Boston does have a handful of late night 18+ panels. I decided to support my friends at Wicked Anime. Wicked Anime was showing off clips from anime’s goriest and lewdest titles from the 80s and 90s. Some too hot to mention in great detail here, but let’s say it’s not for the faint of heart. There was some over the top ultra violence, sweet deserved vengeance against rapists, and more. The room wasn’t too full, but it was cool seeing some really grotesque scenes from obscure anime that doesn’t get talked about much these days. I recommended to the presenters to check out Midori, an anime movie that’s been banned in a few places.