Video Gaming by Jared
One of the staples of anime conventions is the video game room.  The video game room was very large with a few arcade games along the left wall and big screens on the back and right walls.  They had a group of systems in a LAN for shooting games.  Several systems had fighting games and the arcade had a good mix of rhythm games.  There were also a few other games like Toho, Duck Tales, and various other smaller games that give much needed variety to the room.  There was good vibe to the room and everyone had fun playing with lines that aren’t too long.

Sailor Moon Voice Actors by Scarlet
For the first time in forever, the North American and Japanese voice cast shared the same table in an audience of Moonies. Yuko Minaguchi, Linda Ballantyne, Toby Proctor, and John Stocker shared the same space to field questions by Sailor Moon fans. It was an emotional experience for many attendees. The panel was done Q&A style - fans slowly went up to the microphone to ask questions about what it was like behind the scenes. Some highlights included Linda talking about the recording process - the production was done on such a budget and on a tight schedule that scenes were done out of order and if she was asked to scream, she would be giving little context. John Stocker talked about how he got the voice direction job out of luck - he was in the right place at the right time as previous director was fired. Yuko Minaguchi was asked if she had any involvement in the new Sailor Moon Crystal, but at this point in time, she cannot say anything. This was a really insightful panel - Linda talked about how the world is ready for Haruka and Michiru as a same-sex couple today compared to the time they were adapting the series. Linda also talked about how she attended her first con and how she got the rest of the voice cast to appear at the con she was invited to. It was really interesting hearing her talk about how she didn't know that Sailor Moon was a big deal; it was not until she started guesting at cons she saw how much of a phenomenom Sailor Moon actually was. This was a huge nostalgia bomb for the 90s kids at the panel - it was nice to have a huge part of my childhood talk about what goes on behind the scenes in the recording booth.

Yuko Minaguchi Q&A and Autographs by Harmony
Ms. Minaguchi is one of the nicest people I have ever met. Her panel was more of a Q & A format. I was surprised that the panel was not more full. Everyone was able to ask her questions about anything (except the new anime she is sworn to secrecy)! The cutest part of the panel was when Ms. Minaguchi shouted out “Saturn Planet Power Make Up!” for a fan! Ms. Minaguchi covered topics from her teatime with her cast mates from Dragon Ball Z to her experience as a voice actress. She mentioned one of the biggest differences she noticed from voice acting in Japan rather than in America is that in Japan voice actors are in one room and do the dialogue together where in America that is not at all common. The session was really amazing and I was so excited to meet the voice of one of my favorite characters.

The next day I went to the autograph session. I have to say this was a bit disorganized. I arrived an hour and a half early to line up. The staff said we were not allowed to line up but then someone told me tickets were given out earlier and no one posted anything about tickets! Luckily, tickets were distributed (again?) and I was one of only fifty people who were allowed to get an autograph. Once tickets were distributed we were brought to a room where we had to wait quite a while. Only two items could be autographed and you could take a picture of Ms. Minaguchi (not with her). If you wanted a personalized signature then she would not allow photos. Once the autograph session started it was very quick! But regardless, Ms. Minaguchi was very friendly and I was so happy to meet her!

Get Off My Lawn by Jared
It is nice to see panels that are focused on the older generation of anime fans.  The fans who remember VHS trading, sub/dub wars, and the message boards where everyone gathered to discuss the niche fandom of anime, but it wasn’t anti-youth by any means.  The panel was built around stories about getting anime, experiencing the key titles from the 80s and 90s, and the excitement of hitting your first convention back when they did not come around so often.  It was a fun discussion panel and it was nice to see others who had to deal with the scarcity of anime years ago.

JAM Project Group Concert by Scarlet
One of the most anticipated events of Anime Boston was the JAM Project concert. The first night had the JAM Project perform as a group. The second night had JAM Project perform their solo acts. We were able to hit up the first concert. JAM Project consisted of musicians who have lended a track or two to anime, super sentai, and tokusatsu theme songs. While you may not have heard of JAM Project, you may be familiar with each of the members' work. For example, Masami Okui did the opening themes for The Slayers and Revolutionary Girl Utena. Though these musicans were very well known in the 1990s, they still mantained their looks and their rockin' performances.

For the group performances, we had opening themes to Soul Taker, Transformer Animated, Mazinger Z, Rescue Fire, Super Robot Wars, to name a few. After the first three songs, the band introduced themselves to the audience. They talked about their impressions of Boston and two of the members talked about last year's world series. The band also talked about touring around North America and their brief stint in Los Angeles where they recorded their last album, Thumb Rise Again.

While the auditorium was not filled to capacity, the audience was getting into it. Glowsticks dominated the first couple of rows. Though the band has been around for quite some time, they were very passionate and lively on stage. While I have been to many concerts at anime conventions, this was the most rockin' one of all. The staff came back to their apartment with their ears ringing and "Transformers EVO" stuck in their head.

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