Anime Boston 2016 001 - 20160328Before we get into our regular coverage, I’d like to take a moment to speak personally. Anime Boston is a convention that I’ve come to adore in its 13 years of existence. As someone who’s been in the trenches year after year, I’ve seen the event grow in change in ways few could imagine. In those thirteen years, I’ve had the pleasure of watching this energetic little con, which could originally fit into the dealer’s room of an Otakon, and seeing it grow into the major epicenter for fan culture that we see today.

And yet, it’s been able to keep its soul, its very energy that entire time. Unlike Anime Expo, Otakon, or other large events, Anime Boston is, well… different. If I had to explain it, I’d say Anime Boston is like a small con, only bigger. That sheer, joyful energy and hope that buzzed through the halls of the Park Plaza is alive and well today. The smiles in the fans’ faces, the lively spark in the staff, and the welcoming atmosphere throughout the event continue to be a constant.

Having said this, it is unfortunate that this year’s Anime Boston was again marked by dangerous times. Just seven months ago, two individuals were arrested. Kevin Norton and James Stumbo had driven from Iowa to Boston with an AR-15, a Remington shotgun, scores of bullets, and a hunting knife. The two were heading to Pokemon tournament at the Hynes with the intent to kill.

The two were foiled only by their arrogance, having posted their intentions on social media, thus granting a much-welcome warning. In the wake of this averted tragedy, announcements were made regarding enhanced security measures would need to be taken. In addition to the bag checks, everybody going into the event would need to also pass through a metal detector, on the off chance that somebody could be trying to finish what the two previous folks had started.

The grey, mottled sky hung above, as a light rain began to plip down from the heavens. It almost seemed too fitting at first.

Then I remembered: this is New England. We were deep in the heart of a place “Boston Strong” became a defiant rallying cry against terror of the horrific tragedies just three years ago. This was a city where people looked forward and came together, refusing to be pushed apart by fear.

As I gazed at the line that wrapped around the Sheraton Hotel, filled with smiling people and excited fans, I knew that it’d take far more to push us apart. Even if only for the weekend, everybody who stepped through those gates was a friend, an ally, and a fellow fan.

This is Anime Boston. And, to me, this is home.