Category Archives: Conventions and Concerts

Anime Boston 2012: Wrap (TL;DR Version)

Another con, another meeting and parting, and more importantly, another party. I think it’s fun to see AB trying something new in its 10th year. I remember when I first read about Anime Boston 10 years ago, it was close but so far and so not worth the effort. Over time they’ve shaped up and gotten better. Trying new things and sticking to what works seem to be the formula for them.

I wrote a lot for this wrap up, and to facilitate things please just go to the bold points for each heading. The important stuff is towards the latter half of this post, I think, but maybe it’s not!

I could start anywhere but I guess here’s some general con feedback: The panel setup was fine, but I guess there were some issues and that caused certain things to be moved or canceled. I heard Fakku’s panel got interrupted and relocated mid way. That’s unusual. I heard from Mike Toole that there was something going on after the Hynes ejected its ‘contents’ after 2am or whenever, and the cops came to broke things up on the side walk. That’s not unusual. On Saturday, AB felt just as crowded as it did in the past despite PAX East going on at the same time. I’m going to chalk that up to people who didn’t/couldn’t pre-reg for PAX as that show sold out on Saturday well before the con started, where as AB was open for on-site. For more than a few people the decision to go to AB over PAX was made for them in a similar way.

Moving the autograph session to the hotel was nice once you realized that’s what was going on, however they really need to figure out a better way to line people up. It’s kind of annoying and more amusingly how it makes the press easy because the interview rooms were right there. I thought press was run pretty okay this time, definitely a step up from the last time I went LOL.

I think PAX has a huge hit on the “dealer room” crowd–the people who spend huge parts of their time in the dealer’s room. I wasn’t able to make it there on Saturday, but Friday and Sunday it was relatively light. That’s great for me, but probably not great for the vendors. Actually it wasn’t really bad, but Sunday was always kind of tricky when your con operates on Easter weekend. The artist alley was probably not impacted, but I was only there for one time on Friday.

I actually didn’t outright attend any panels besides the GOH ones. I sat in a couple for a short time. Thought the Gothloli fashion show was pretty pimp, very stylish I guess. Saw Chris’s panel for half an hour, but was really just there to see bayoab LOL. I’m glad that FUNimation announced different things at Sakuracon and Anime Boston, and both sides had exciting things (perhaps more so for AB) to say. I’m also glad that FUNi did a cosplay marketing thing for AsoIku at their booth. I thought my picture was pretty okay in the “dude, I didn’t hire these kids” kind of way. It’s less embarrassing than confessing to be a creepy otaku next to Zange-chan, let’s put it that way.

But all you need is a bro to make a good laugh. Houki is platinum mad!

Oh, and there was the iDOLM@STER poster story (Postory?). And I’m probably no less wordy than Nisio Isin about this, so feel free to skip to the next set of bold words. Sunday had the one programming conflict between Kanako Ito’s dealer room giveaway/game and Momoi’s 2nd autogrpah session. I was like, dude, I would go play “guess which song” game (especially since it involved her actual self riffing it on the guitar instead of a recorded thing) so I tried to double dip (partly because I would rather hang with the Momoist when I could) by going to the autograph session as early as I could and immediately run down to the dealer’s room (which while isn’t very far, it’s still quite the distance from the Sheraton 3rd floor to the Hynes). Turned out I got there just in time as they were finishing the guess-the-song game. Kanako Ito’s group ended up handing out 2 of her concert DVDs and a promo wall scroll thing they had hanging in their booth. They also brought a bunch of CD-Rs of the single she recorded for the Tohoku 1-yr song to give out, so those who were there got lucky got it (and got it autographed!).

Back on Saturday, some of the Momoists (these guys) did some impromptu graffiti on this poster pad outside of Kanako’s Q&A session. We hung around doing it and eventually her group walked out and saw us and told us about the Sunday session (btw the one guy who translates for her is pretty great at it). Long story short (w), we were going to get her to autograph that sheet of graffiti. It’s really the start of the whole “oh hey there’s a conflict thing.”

At any rate, “Onii-chan” and the twins wanted to get it signed (they were pretty adorable/effective at least versus the various GoHs) so they snooped out the dealer room to try to get the 411 on the session, effectively reserving a spot at the event. They also later told me about Nippon Columbia booth and showed me where it was. And how there were some awesome iM@S posters just lying on their table. And how some people took them even if it wasn’t clear they were there to be taken. Actually, were they? I probably should have asked about that.

I’m kind of glad I didn’t know what they (people and posters) looked like, or else I might also get platinum mad!

Actually by the time I got there, it was prime time for lunch and all we saw left were the 4 poster hanging on the back drop and a stand-up of Louise, promoting Zero no Tsukaima F (it even had a little voice box where Kugyuu will tell you to buy it or else!). The group decided to split and re-converge for lunch, and in the 20-minute gap when I left the area and returned someone has already lifted that Louise stand-up. How bold! And this is to say, the booth was set up so all there was, it was just a table with the name of the vendor, some posters hung up on the back, and that stand up behind the table. No signs or anything. And of course, nobody around.

Seeing the opportunity I just didn’t want to let it go.

What was amusing is that the dude who lifted Louise took it with him and got lunch at the food court where we were. I think he didn’t own up to that he just 5-fingered it either when it was asked where he got the stand-up. Poor Louise. At least I can take solace that anyone ballsy enough to 5-finger her and take her to lunch (on Easter! in public!) probably at least like her.

Anyway, given how we were pretty much done with the con after lunch, I went back to stake out the Nippon Columbia booth while everyone else went to line up for the closing ceremony. It was actually great–I met two other iM@S fans! Both of them were anxious and excited that they may be able to take home a couple promo posters for the second series. This sounds awfully weird now that I think of it, but it was very interesting to see these tense yet excited fans eyeing the same objects of desires as I do and struggle with, heh, moral issues. Maybe I’m older and more centered (LOLOL) but it’s like a social experiment kind of thing, where you want to see how they behave and which forces of the mind wins over, given different external circumstances.

The first guy I talked to is a excited guy but he had the facial expression of someone who is about to commit a crime for the very first time. Despite him being all nervous and talkative, I actually didn’t talk to him much other than to explain to him why I was there (to wait if the reps return) and why I was doing it (because, well you know). I explained to them how the reps are most likely not going to miss missing a poster and you’re not likely to get into any trouble. But after all, these were definitely “not for the taking” as they were hung up in the display. I also gave him the clear, as an iM@S fan to another, that I’m after the other iM@S poster.

There were 4 posters up, one from yoshiki*lisa’s debut album, the promo poster for CHANGE!!!! [four !’s !], a Zero no Tsukaima CD release promo poster, and the promo poster for iM@S2 prologue CD. [By the way, the iM@S page for Nippon Columbia records is, wow, nice.] In the end, after talking to me, and 3 of the other dealers near the area, he reached up and took the poster for the iM@S2 prologue CD.

That was amusing. Despite the act of taking without consent the dude was a nice guy. And speaking as another fan I can’t fault him. He did as much as he reasonably could in that situation. Short of just giving it up, of course.

It wasn’t long until the honey pot snared another iM@S fan–this guy is a lot more reserved than the first guy, but by that point I was enjoying myself so I talked to him about things. I suppose it’s typical, but this dude only saw the anime and liked it. I fault myself for not asking the most important question: who was your favorite? We ended up talking about the games, or rather, I did–because to me iM@S is just nowhere nearly as fun until you’ve had the chance to produce your idol(s) from start to finish, the ups and downs, the minigames and the random talk sessions, all of that. The anime was great, but it’s so much more. Anyway, me, at an anime con, not talking about iM@S all weekend? That’s tough to do. It’s good to finally do it with some real-life people, since basically nobody I was hanging with was into it. The saying goes, every bone in my body is LADY.

The social experiment side is a slightly different story. I told him we’re now competing the same good, and he agreed that we should decide it somehow. I guess he had to go somewhere and wanted to decide first so he can just leave, so I used that as an advantage and put it off. It helped that I had something to do while I waited (so many tags for my 3DS) and people to talk to (sup lvlln, twins). It was totally divine providence that at around 20 minutes until the closing of the dealers room, the reps showed up. Actually, the main guy is actually a GOH at the con, this Shotaru Kizuka dude. Then we’re like “can we please”? And then we did 2 out of 3 janken to decide who walked away with it. Begging is within the scope of things I permit myself to do, and so is exercising that janken skill from hours of iM@S, AMIRITE. The rest is history. In retrospect I probably would’ve been amused even if I lost. What I probably should have done is talk to the reps and let them know our love for the games, the anime, and hit myself for not carrying more copies of my business card.

It feels good to get that out of my mind.

Accommodations this year was different. Then again, every time I go to AB I stayed somewhere different. The weather was nice, but it was definitely on the chilly side. It’s at the point where you have to pack a jacket, but once you get indoors it’s shorts and t-shirts kind of weather. The advantage of staying in the Sheraton is clear, since it’s attached to the complex. The down side is that you’ll have to grab your coats each time you go out for eats.

Like Sakuracon’s namesake, the historic residential district of Back Bay is laced with cherry blossoms. On Sunday some of them started to shed, and it was beautiful. We stayed at a converted apartment-into-vacation-homes kind of place a couple blocks south of the con center, so we had a suite with a kitchen. I made my own coffee, which was nice and it also marks the first con in a long while that I didn’t have any Starbucks.

I have to say, to me, part of Momoi Halko’s attraction at an American con is seeing the Momoists. This is the sort of thing you can only see at west coast cons, save for the occasional Minori Chihara tour group and the like. It can be fun to see these Japanese fans bring their cheers to the concerts and those long, long autograph/concert lines. What marks Momoists different than any other group of hardcore anison otaku you see oversea is the way they do their wotagei, plus the large number of westerners that make up the group. Being Anime Boston, though, there were no strong outing, and in truth only a few of them were uh, ready to put on a move. But they worked as a team and everyone pitched in something to make the thing work.

Before the con I already knew what was going to happen as a result of already knowing some of them. I psyched myself out a little, but in reality they’re not scary at all. I thought coverman’s light baton collection is something quite special. It’s like a magic item. The group (teams Socal, Japan and Canada) was small but passionate. Armed with free glow sticks and call books, they did what they could to AB’s tough crowd. I think enough of the crowd got into it at the end that the real obstacle was the song arrangement and that the show was just too short to really get things going.

I already stated the quick take in the last AB post I wrote but for sake of completeness, Kanako Ito was just that. Halko Momoi is somewhat more complicated to explain, so I guess I can expand on it a little. I did attend the press session for her so I will spin out the results at the usual place, and in the interest of making this not unbearably long you can just read about it when I get around to writing it up. Just a short blurb for now.

In a nutshell, I’ve heard various things about Momoi. That’s part of being friends with Momoists, but also because she’s been to a lot of different cons. She’s also just been around for a while, over 10 years musically, as a personality, and as a seiyuu, I guess. She’s something like 34 years old this year, and she has been writing and doing all kinds of things. I think as a person with a lot of stories, she’s a treasure. And she does tell her stories when prompted. In that sense she is really the cultural ambassador for Japan, the one who could fly around the world and preach Akiba’s siren songs. It’s the wind beneath her wings.

I spend way too much money on loot again, and this time half of the money spent was on shirts I can’t even wear. What kind of a bogus size is “LL” or “F” anyway, LOL. I guess they could be made into presents and bribes as the time comes. I wonder if I can run a charity auction or something, or donate it to a charity auction. Or whatever, you know. I did end up with something a lot more useful: a Wagnaria plate and soup bowl set. Maybe I will actually use it to drink soup, you never know.

What would really get to my wallet is if say, Benjamin Moore came up with cans of moe paint. I probably should repaint some of my rooms. I could also use some moe lawn seed/fertilizer about now.

The rest of the loot is more or less calculated risks and things I knew I was going to buy going in. I helped someone buy a Kanako Ito CD and got a friendly face to help autograph it. I really appreciate this random act of kindness from a total stranger (even if I suspect this mysterious helper is someone I talk to on a certain internet forum). It’s not uncommon that the freebies that I got at a con are way more meaningful than the things I paid for, and I’m not even talking about the memories I made! Or that hole in the wall that will probably cost me money–that probably does not count as a freebie.

Oh yeah, so I made a hole in the hotel wall, partly because the night before I was jumping up and down to see if I can top coverman’s airtime, but also because I was sleeping uncomfortably on the floor. I tried to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and my legs cramped up on me, causing me to fall. I was able to break my fall using the wall, but well, now there’s a hole there. How much plaster does it cost, I wonder.

Finally, I’d do a shoutout to all my brothers and sisters in arm but srsly, I’m just going to be like, miss someone, and make that person feel and make me feel oddish. So let’s just be said that if I missed ya, I’m sorry for not able to catch you. If I saw ya, it was a good time. If you own me money, you gotta cough it up (gotta pay for that  hole somehow right)! And let me know Tim, I was going to give you some money for your books but I never got around to it, so I’ll get you the next time I see you. Meanwhile you can look at some pictures here. Lots more where those came from, but those are request only~