Game shows tend to be a mainstay of many conventions. Many of these events are anime-infused takes on popular TV shows, like Who’s Line Is It Anyway? or Jeopardy!. And, like any game show, they involve a healthy number of opportunities for con-goers to embarrass themselves for fun and swag. Japanime Squares, as one would expect, is a take on Hollywood Squares. Instead of celebrities like Paul Lynde of Whoopi Goldberg, though, an assortment of cosplayers and panel regulars, like The Chibi Project’s Jekka Cormier serve as the squares. Each member was given a role, which was displayed on a projected board.
Yes, that is an angry potato in the center square.
For an event based on Hollywood Squares, one would expect a healthy amount of banter between the squares. After all most memories from the show revolve around Paul Lynde’s snappy sense of humor or the various jokes and snaps between celebrities and contestants. However, Anime Boston’s equivalent proved to be surprisingly dry in this department. Outside of the Spike cosplayer, the answers were mainly devoid of the source material’s humor and wit.
On top of this, the person playing the bottom left square, Ranma, went a bit too far into the role. Rather than use relevant humor and jokes, he he continued to belt out references to the show. Given that Ranma 1/2 ended in 1992, his performance came across as the desperate beating of a dead horse. The surprise star of the show came from actually came from the co-host working the board. She wasn’t shy to doodle and write on the screen, as she scribbled jokes and insults for all to see. The visual outbursts were a welcome addition that helped to offset the lack of humor from the actual Squares.
While it wasn’t on the caliber of Extreme Geek or Who’s Line Is Is Anime, Japanime Squares proved to be a generally fun experience. The core of the panel was strong, and the trivia questions presented did pose a decent challenge to a section of the audience. In future installments, though, I hope that we do see more banter and more comic chatter coming from the panelists.