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This year, Anime Boston will be in the wake of a the tragic bombings.

In just over three weeks, thousands will descend upon Boston for this year’s Anime Boston. The city will become a living monument to anime, with fans crowding the streets in their finest cosplay, and thousands more packing into the Hynes Convention Center. Amidst the fun and festivities,though, there will be a somber tone that flavors the atmosphere.

Just under weeks ago, we saw bombs detonated at the Boston marathon. Three lost their lives, and countless more were injured. The streets were painted crimson with the blood of the innocent, and the city closed its doors in lockdown as police searched for the suspects. The entire experience was surreal, like something out of a movie, or a video game. Everything, from the setup, to the manhunt, to the fatal shootout that night seemed like it belonged in the pages of the next Die Hard script than the Providence Journal. It was crazy. It was over-the-top. It was the stuff of fiction.

And yet, here it was, playing out. We were stuck as extras in a frightening, macabre film, forced to be little more than spectators exchanging mindless dialogue as we tried to make sense of everything. In this case, though, there was no happy ending. Yes, the “bad guys” were caught, but at what cost? Three were dead, countless were injured, and even more lives were forever impacted by the events that unfolded on that day.

As the countdown to the event changes from weeks to days, we’ll see the same ramp-up that comes every year. Schedules will filter to the masses, as people plan their itineraries and eagerly chatter about what guests or events they’ll attend. Some of us, though, will begin to ponder.

Personally, I haven’t had a chance to make my way back to Boston since the before bombings. I’m fairly familiar with the city, and I’ve always found great comfort in the area around the Hynes. However, this year, I’m not so sure. To walk down that very street that was stained red just weeks before, to see the buildings that were recently peppered with blood and debris may cause things to really “hit home,” so to speak. I doubt that I’m alone in this train of thought. And, this year, I feel that I won’t be alone.