Anime, and Cosplay, and Panels, Oh My!


animeboston

The first Anime Boston I attended was back in 2012. Since I was going to school in the city, I finally had the perfect opportunity to go without worrying about transportation or getting a hotel. I was excited to dress up as two of my favorite characters – Super Danny from Danny Phantom and Yukio Okumura from Blue Exorcist – but I in no way knew how amazing the con experience would turn out to be.

So what exactly is Anime Boston? It’s a three-day convention held annually at the Hynes Convention Center that celebrates Japanese animation, manga, pop-culture, and various other Japanese media. Con-goers typically cosplay (dress up) as their favorite anime or non-anime characters (cartoons, comics, video games, and live-action shows and movies are not excluded). People of all ages are welcomed at the convention – it’s especially adorable to see kids there admiring the cosplayers that bring their favorite characters to life!

The best part about Anime Boston is the atmosphere it creates for people of all fandoms. Whether you are there for the information panels, anime premiere showings, or simply to make a purchase in the Artist’s Alley (my favorite!), you are sure to find others with similar interests. At an anime convention, no one questions you for wearing a suit of armor or magical girl uniform – instead, you can expect fans to take your picture and compliment on how amazing your cosplay looks!

Cosplaying is one of the funnest parts of the Anime Boston experience. Cosplayers prepare their outfits and props months in advance for the three day convention. Our first year my friend and I learned first hand how much time and effort is put into the creation of these cosplays.

One of many prop-painting sessions!

One of many prop-painting sessions!

My mémère used her amazing sewing skills to help create my character's bullet belt (as shown on the manga below it).

My mémère used her amazing sewing skills to help create my character's bullet belt (as shown on the manga below it).

At my first convention, the months of cosplay preparation my friend and I had spent were put to great use when we joined a photoshoot for Blue Exorcist. Having a photoshoot with people cosplaying characters from the same show, each in their own way, was a blast!  I had never attended anything where people from various fandoms were allowed to get together to enjoy and celebrate their mutual interests in such an awesome way. It’s not everyday that a group of strangers are able to immediately connect and bond over their love of one show – no conversation starters needed! 

The praise we received from the other members at the photoshoot, and the many photos other people took of us throughout the con, rewarded my friend and I for our hard work in putting our outfits together. We also learned that the heart and soul cosplayers infuse into their crafted costumes and props brings joy not only to themselves, but the people who recognize and compliment them on effectively portraying their favorite characters.

This year, I had a new cosplaying partner in crime. However, since we’re both seniors overwhelmed with work while finishing up our college career, we didn't have much time in advance to put everything together. The day before the convention, we spent hours putting the finishing touches on our latest cosplays – I went as Yuno Gasai (Future Diary), while my friend went as Vanellope von Schweetz (Wreck-It Ralph). Our excitement for the upcoming day wasn’t the only sugar rush we experienced – that Friday night was spent sticking (and super-gluing) peppermints, Sweet Tarts, and Twizzlers onto my friend’s wig!

I can now add "candy hairdressing" to my resume!

I can now add "candy hairdressing" to my resume!

My friend cosplaying as Vanellope Von Schweetz

My friend cosplaying as Vanellope Von Schweetz

Myself cosplaying as Yuno Gasai

Myself cosplaying as Yuno Gasai

Each year Anime Boston has a theme. This year’s was Kaiju vs. Mecha; “Kaiju” are monsters like Godzilla, while “Mecha” stands for people controlling robots or machines. My favorite theme was back in 2013: “Tales of Yōkai,” or stories about supernatural beings. Panels and events are typically scheduled around the theme of the year; prominent members of Japanese media, performers, and voice actors often attend as special guests for fans to meet or get autographs from. This year, for the Kaiju part of the theme, Akira Takarada (the director of the original Godzilla films) and Haruo Nakajima (the monster suit actor) were guests of honor – pretty awesome, huh?

Overall, my friend and I ended up having a great time. We took plenty of pictures, wandered around the Artist's Alley (buying lots of cool art and merchandise in the process!), and loved getting to wear our latest cosplays (which still turned out amazing, even if we we short on time!)

While the convention can be exhausting, the people I have met and the memories I have gained there always make a slight lack of sleep totally worth it.

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