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Con Report: Anime Boston 2012

2012.04.15

April is a busy convention time for me and Hazard; we have I-CON one weekend, and then Anime Boston the next!  Even though it’s busy, it’s also exciting, because Anime Boston is one of our favorite conventions and we look forward to attending every year.  It’s also one of the few times a year we get to see StolenValkyrie, who flies over to the East Coast to celebrate a Boston weekend of cosplay and anime!  This year, our housemate Repto also joined us for the festivities, and the four of us drove up together early Friday morning.

Friday: 

Check-in was very easy this year, since our roommates and Con Mom (some of SV’s wonderful friends from college) had already taken care of all the hotel business.  We dropped our stuff at the Sheraton and everyone got changed.  SV and I had a new pair of costumes we were eager to debut: Senjougahara Hitagi and Kanbaru Suruga from Bakemonogatari!  Hazard donned his Reborn costume, while Repto painted himself green for a stroll around the convention as the Jolly Green Giant.

Hazard and other Reborn! cosplayers

Hazard (as Reborn on the far right) and fellow Reborn! cosplayers.

Since it’s such an unusual occasion that SV and I should be in the same state, we decided to prioritize a few Bakemonogatari photos before really hitting the con:

Valhalla on the Stairs

Valhalla on the stairs: Emmacchi as Senjougahara Hitagi, StolenValkyrie as Kanbaru Suruga.

Valhalla on the Stairs

Valhalla

Thanks to Hazard and SV’s friend Goran for taking our photos!

An East Blue tradition at East Coast cons is to do a cosplay scavenger hunt, where every participant gets points for photos of costumes from the hunt list.  This year, everyone hit the ground running on the hunt, so we split up for a while after the Bakemonogatari photos.  I went back up to the hotel room to change into a new costume I’d made just for Anime Boston (or rather, because of a very special convention guest), Kokobunji Koyori the Magical Maid from Nurse Witch Komugi ~Magikarte~.  I made this costume because Momoi Haruko, the Queen of Akihabara and the voice actress who brought Komugi to life, was in attendance.  Her concert was that evening, and I definitely wanted to go in costume.

Hazard, Repto and I eventually ended up in the Artist Alley, where we got the opportunity to chat with Ejen Chuang, the mind and photographer behind Cosplay in America.  In addition to taking our photos (Emmacchi, Hazard and Repto, all on his flickr), he interviewed us!  Look for Emmacchi and Hazard at 9:28, and Repto rounding out the video with a wonderful closing laugh:

If you’re a cosplayer, you’re probably familiar with Cosplay in America.  Ejen’s project is fantastic, his book is filled with beautiful photos and interesting stories from cosplayers all over the country.  He has tales to tell himself, and it was a real treat to talk with him.  We hope to see him again at future conventions!

After a little more wandering, Hazard and I finally sat down for Momoi Haruko’s concert!  I can’t describe how excited I was.  She has been an inspiration to me for a long time, as a cosplayer, an anime fan, and as a young woman.  She was full of energy and excitement as she sang, and full of kind and cheerful sentiments whenever she spoke with us.  In-between songs, I tried to translate some of her messages for Hazard; she talked about her experiences at Anime Boston, and about how our spirits are connected to one another and to Akihabara, the “Holy Land” of anime fans.  Though she sang quite a few songs, I was happiest to hear the opening theme from Nurse Witch Komugi, “Ai no Medicine.”  She also did a fun, upbeat cover of the Slayers NEXT opening theme, “Give a Reason.”  We had a great time cheering and singing along.

Check out part of her concert on YouTube:

After the concert, we joined back up with the rest of the group just in time to see SV take the stage at Anime Boston’s Dating Game (the 18+ Edition)!

SV steals the show!

SV steals the show in her Thriller Bark Nico Robin cosplay.

I’d never been to one of the dating games at a convention, so this was a treat.  SV took on the role of Nico Robin, Bachelorette, and had to choose between three unknown (though only to her) eligible bachelors.  SV did a great job of coming up with fun questions to ask the bachelors, who provided some really hilarious answers.  The emcees, cosplaying Jiraiya (Naruto) and Ash Ketchum (Pokemon), made things even more entertaining.  In the end, our SV ended up winning a date with the Undertaker (Kuroshitsuji), rounding out a ridiculously funny game show.

I headed up to bed after SV’s round was over, but Hazard and Repto stayed to watch a little while longer before joining us again.

Saturday:

For East Blue, Saturday is often One Piece day, and Anime Boston was no exception.  Repto was joining the three of us in a Marineford Shichibukai group, where he and SV were both debuting new costumes!  The One Piece meet-ups at Anime Boston are very special to us; not only do we see many of our cosplay buddies, but it’s also where we first met SV.

This year’s meet-up was once again lead by Geoff of Center of the Universe.  We had a good turn-out!

One Piece at Anime Boston 2012

Our Anime Boston 2012 One Piece crew!

Marineford

Marineford cosplayers, including all four of us!

True Love

It’s true love.

CotU's Timeskip Group

Center of the Universe’s awesome time-skip group!  Our meet-up’s host, Geoff, is wearing Sanji.

We were also able to catch up with our unspeakably awesome affiliates and friends, Baroque Works.  Without question, they know how to bring the awesome to a photo shoot.

Baroque Works

East Blue Cosplay at Anime Boston 2012

East Blue Cosplay at Anime Boston 2012!  Hazard as Crocodile, SV as Boa Hancock, Emmacchi as Donquixote Doflamingo, and Repto as Bartholomew Kuma.

After the meet-up, I ran up to the hotel room to quickly change into Miss All Sunday.  We had a long-overdue photoshoot with Baroque Works to get to!  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:

Baroque Works and East Blue

East Blue Cosplay and Baroque Works Cosplay: together at last.

East Blue and Baroque Works

Smoker and Ace

Tony and Nick as Smoker and Ace.

Smoker

Shichibukai

Our Warlords: Hazard as Crocodile, SV as Boa Hancock, and Repto as Bartholomew Kuma.

Mr. Zero and The Ladies

Mr. Zero and his amazing ladies.  Emmacchi as Miss All Sunday, Hello-KT as Miss Wednesday.

Power Couple

Cowgirl

Sadly, it was quite windy outside, so we didn’t get as many photos as we’d liked.  I love shooting with Baroque Works, though, and I hope we’ll get many more opportunities in the future!

After changing into Senjougahara, I met up again with Hello-KT and went to take some photos of her Princess Celestia (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic) cosplay.  It seems like she was the only one at the entire convention, and it was a lot of fun to see fans of the show treating her with such reverence!

Princess Celestia

We also bumped into another Baroque Works member, Mel, who was rocking her brand-new Groose (Legend of Zelda) costume:

Groose is on the loose!

You know things are getting awesome when there is a bird in somebody’s wig.

Repto ran off to participate in Anime Boston’s blood drive, while SV and I did a few more Bakemonogatari photos (now that she was sporting her monkey arm):

Our Ambivalent World

Escalation

After which, we met up again with Tony, Nick and Hello-KT for drinks at the hotel bar!  For me, this was probably the highlight of a convention filled with wonderful memories.  I love these folks, and celebrating cosplay and friendship with them (and a few mixed drinks!) is a great way to spend an evening.

Lounging it up at Anime Boston

After drinks, we made a brief stop at the Masquerade.  Sadly, we were only able to stay for the first half (since SV was leading a panel), but we enjoyed what we did see.  The caliber of performance this year was generally a little higher than last year’s, and there were a couple of skits that really made us laugh.

Speaking of laughter, the reason we left the Masquerade early was SV’s panel, “Matte! Matte! Iwanaide!,” an otaku-centric version of NPR’s popular program, “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.”  This panel (which was really more of a game show) featured three American voice actors as celebrity guests: Caitlin Glass, Michael Sinterniklaas, and Carli Mosier.  SV and our Con Mom, Suzanne, were the hosts.

Matte! Matte! Iwanaide!

Guests and hosts at Matte! Matte! Iwanaide!  Our very own SV is on the far right.

Suzanne and SV presented otaku-friendly trivia to the guests and to audience volunteers, who won prizes for correct guesses.  Everyone involved had more than a few good laughs, and all in all, it was a really fun panel to watch.

Repto and I ended up going to bed after Matte! Matte! Iwanaide!, but Hazard and SV (along with a few of our hotel roommates) went off to Extreme Geek.  For those unfamiliar, Extreme Geek is a combination game show and fan panel of bizarre, usually hilarious trivia and random silliness; Hazard added that it is “most assuredly 18+.”  It’s also big on audience participation; people can tweet responses to questions, for example.  SV is a regular at Extreme Geek, and given what a good time she and Hazard had this time, I’ll definitely be in attendance next year.

Sunday:

For most of us, Sunday was a day to see friends, shop, and scramble together a few more cosplays for the scavenger hunt.  I, on the other hand, put on my Koyori costume, picked up my copy of Nurse Witch Komugi vol. 1 on DVD, and went to Momoi Haruko’s autograph signing.

Let's begin!

Emmacchi as Koyori, with Posokichi (made by Toiea)!

While waiting in line, another fan took my photo and posted it on Twitter.  He came up to me a few minutes later to inform me that Momoi Haruko herself had retweeted it!  I was so nervous when I actually got in to see her.  My Japanese is a little rusty, but I was able to greet Momoi Haruko and thank her for coming to Boston.  I also asked her for a photo, which we were able to take together!

Haruko and Emmacchi

The experience of meeting her and thanking her was amazing, and I’m so glad I had this opportunity.  I hope she’ll be at other US conventions in the future!

While I was off meeting my idol, Hazard and Repto attended a panel called “Mythology of Pokemon.”  This panel discussed the mythical beasts (and extant organisms) that provided the inspiration for the multitudes of Pokemon.  It sounds like it was a solid panel.

At this point, it was time for us to pack up and go.  We tracked down our friends, said our goodbyes, and piled into the car for the long drive home.  I think we all agree that Anime Boston 2012 was a huge success, but I’ll let everyone speak for themselves.

Conclusions:

Emmacchi: This convention was just what I needed.  The cosplay, the friendship, the excitement of meeting Momoi Haruko!  Anime Boston 2012 was one of my favorite conventions to date.  I wish I’d visited a few more panels and taken a few more photos, but other than that I have no complaints.  My last thought is that drinks with Baroque Works needs to become a convention tradition.

Hazard: The ‘Mythology of Pokemon’ was an extremely interesting panel and I think I will make time to visit more of these types of panels. Extreme Geek was hilarious but also extremely 18+, so not for the faint of heart.  Drinks with Baroque Works was definitely a highlight; I owe Tony a drink next time we cross paths. As a whole, Anime Boston 2012 was great and we will return next year!

StolenValkyrie: All I remember of AB was running around like a crazy having an amazing time.  I really enjoyed spending some quality time with Baroque Works (who I visited with Sunday as well, mainly to catch Hello-KT in her Yukiko (Persona 4) outfit!  I always love the dating game, especially the 18+ version – the cosplay events staff at AB is always so great.  I was so nervous going up to be the one asking questions this time, but it was really a great time and pretty easy to get into character once I was up there.  I also had a grand time running our Matte! Matte! Iwanaide! panel as well, and I enjoyed having a little chat with Ejen on the last day.  Other highlights – I’m really thrilled with how well and how positively our Bakemonogatari cosplays were received, and I again have to thank Emmacchi for doing that with me!  I also had a quick chat with the voice actress for Nanako from Persona 4 – she doesn’t do games/anime often, and doesn’t go to cons often, and I think she really was moved by the amount of people who were so passionate about the work she’d done.  I love Anime Boston – it’s a great con, especially as a first ‘away’ con for those who want to travel.  The people there are very positive and supportive, and I just can’t recommend it enough.

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