Anime Boston 2010 Wrap-Up: The Good, The Bad and the Yawn...
Another Anime Boston has come and gone. As this was my third time going (and my first solo mission for ESH & B3) I had to give it my all to report as much as I could about AB2010. However there were two problems with this: no press room to sit down and type things out as events came and gone, and -- in my opinion -- not a whole lot about the convention to really talk about.
First let's talk about the line situation. When I got there everyone was grouped into two sections: pre-registered people and those needing to register. On top of that there wasn't even a separate line for the press. However since it was only a three-minute wait there was no reason to complain, and from the look of things there wasn't anyone complaining about the line. Once I got my pass and dropped my things off at the hotel I met up with fellow B3 member Shades Blackflame and just chatted a bit about what we wanted to do at the convention.
One of the big problems with Anime Boston 2010 was the lack of any outstanding panels. With the exception of the "Vampires Don't Sparkle" event there wasn't really anything that was that attention-drawing. On top of that some of the panels were moved around so much that I basically missed all of the ones I was really looking forward to. All the music-based panels were either pushed back/moved forward half an hour (which made me miss half the panel), or at a time frame that overlapped with another meeting or event.
Overlapping didn't happen just once at the event. Two of the events that I had been gunning for since last year's Anime Boston were the Hentai Dubbings and the Hentai AMV Contest. (Sue me, they're funny as hell!) Unfortunately the AMV Contest went on during the second half of the Hentai Dubbings, so I opted to miss the actual Dubbing part in order to watch the AMVs with Sio-chan and some other acquaintances (and considering the lack in quality of the AMVs, I definitely made the wrong decision).
However despite these flaws there were some bright spots in the event, especially in regards to the concerts. Boston's own Video Game Orchestra put on a stellar performance (which will be reviewed sometime this week either here or on the B3 site), and the surprise guest in the end of the concert was a nice touch to a great finish. GaGaalinG frontwoman MyM put on an emotional show that featured her band's hits and a newer song, and I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed the J-POP idol opener Reni Mimura (even though she and MyM are two polar opposites in the Japanese music world). The interviews with MyM, J. Michael Tatum and Dick Tripwire went great (which can be heard later on this week on a special B3 bonus Podcast episode), and the panel discussion with Nobuo Uematsu was a lot more relaxed than I thought it would be. (I mean, he wrote some of the best video game music of all-time. Who wouldn't be nervous in a room with him?!)
I missed the first hour of the Anime Boston Masquerade due to the Uematsu interview, but I was pleased with how entertaining the rest of the show was; from the SNL parody "Vash's World" to "How I Met Your Butler" the Masquerade had very little disappointments. However I am surprised that Ninja Tetris did not make an appearance at the event, as they have for the past few years. Perhaps they had trouble trying to top last year's Pac-Man in Portal bit. I also caught a bit of the Whose Line Is It Anway-inspired Anime Unscripted event, and after watching some of the voice actors come up with routines off the bat I am surprised that they don't get many non-anime gigs.
Even Cosplay Chess was a bit more entertaining than last year's show. Granted the plotline of time-traveling anime characters wasn't as original as last year's "Who Killed Sailor Moon?" side-story line, but the fights on the chessboard itself were highly entertaining. I especially loved it near the end when Alucard killed everyone on the board so he and Dracula could battle one-on-one with each other. I also enjoyed the impromptu dance sequences before the events, which were not just fun to watch but also to join in the silliness.
A huge round of applause needs to be given to the staff and crew of Anime Boston 2010. This was the first time the convention took over the entire Hynes Convention Center, and with some of the chaos going on around the halls and lines the staff managed to keep everyone together with little to no problems. On a personal level I need to give a huge thanks to Jamison the Press Liaison. Not only did he make sure my interviews went smoothly, but when something happened in regards to them he was very apologetic (even though he really didn't need to be, since things happen beyond his and the staff's controls). Whoever heads AB should seriously consider giving this man a promotion for his hard work.
Having said all this, I can honest say that Anime Boston 2010 was, well, mediocre at best. Sure the Main Events, concerts and interviews were great, but in regards to the panels there was nothing remotely spectacular. On top of that there needs to be some changes before Anime Boston 2011, and here are five of my ideas:
- Remove the floor seats in the Main Events Hall: At PAX East it was standing-room only, and there weren't any complaints. On top of that it'd make it easier for con-goers to dance, jump and just plain have fun without feeling forced to sit in place for the entire event.
- Get some bigger-named anime-related guests: Not since the pillows came to Anime Boston in 2008 has there really been a well-known anime-related guest at the convention. Why not try to get a seiyuu like Aya Hirano or Rie Kugimiya, or maybe a musician or rock band like GACKT or Asian Kung-Fu Generation? AB2010's guests seemed more game-based, and whether or not it was to compete PAX East may be up to one's interpretation.
- Bring back Kaiju Big Battel: do giant monsters battling in a faux Boston landspace sound like a lot of fun? I thought so, too.
- Press Room: not just for me, but for everyone else there that has to cover the event for their website, TV channel and Podcast program. It's a lot more comfortable than having to fork over $20 a night at your hotel to gain Internet access, and it helps to report on events when they are fresh in one's mind.
- Every time some yells "MARCO!" they should be hit in the face with a pie: not sure if that'll help the con itself, but it would bring joy to the staff.
So with that, I conclude this wrap-up of Anime Boston 2010, but do check in within the next few days on both the ESH & B3 sites for interviews and reviews from some of the people and events of AB2010.