Editor’s Note: You know, every year, I tell myself that I won’t comment on the Opening Ceremonies, but each year, I find something so charming that I want to highlight it. So, here we are again. And as always, I regret nothing.
A distinct chill swept through the streets of Boston, as Seth and I made our way to the Hynes. Though the sun shone high in the sky, it wouldn’t be long before rain, snow, and hail would visit the Bay State. Still, that did little to keep folks away from the event, as a massive line sprouted from the venue’s entrance and snaked toward the Sheraton’s revolving doors. A quick visit to the bag check and registration, and it would be time to get to work.
This year, Anime Boston’s theme was “retro” (a bit fitting, given the anniversary). It was to be a celebration of anime past and present alike, which was reflected in the decor throughout the Hynes. Cardboard cutouts featuring pixel-art anime characters dotted the hallways, and columns were decorated with ’80s-cool doodles of items like cassettes and VHS tapes.
Meanwhile, the escalators were decorated with banners that featured various jokes and moments from classic anime titles. From the old “InuYasha! Kagome!” gag, to a simple “Bang… See you, Space Cowboy” on a black background, these playful callbacks were equal parts silly and poignant.
The con itself was already brimming with anticipation, as hallways packed with eager attendees. Lines began to grow outside of the biggest attractions, from the Main Events auditorium, to the Dealer’s Room and Artist’s Alley.
As the old saying goes, some people just like to get their shop on.
Shortly before 10:00, the auditorium doors opened, and the flood of fans began to stream into the arena. As the last seats filled, the house lights dimmed as the convention safety message dimmed. This year, going with the Retro theme, the team opted for a Final Fantasy inspired sketch, which would become a constant sight in any larger hall going forward.
With the formalities out of the way, it was time for the annual “Cosplot” skit to begin. The “Cosplot,” for the uninitiated, is Anime Boston’s home-grown series of shorts, which serve as a general bookend for the convention. Actors fill the roles of convention mascots A-chan and B-kun in a series of short segments, which are set within the year’s theme.
Keeping with the retro theme, this year’s saw some time traveling wackiness, as mascot B-kun sets on a journey through time and space to find his counterpart. A mysterious VHS tape is involved, a DeLorean is used for something other than running coke, and a good time was had by all as fans watched B-Kun wind up in a mysterious ancient past.
Truth be told, this year’s video was actually fairly decent, all things considered. The subject matter didn’t reach the sheer depths of oddity as last year’s “horse racing” special, and it was fairly short overall. As the sketch came to an end, A-chan and B-kun trotted onstage to warm up the crowd.
As this was retro themed, and a major anniversary, though, the group had something special planned. Due to some “time travel mishaps”, the duo brought out two pairs of special guests. The first group was Patrick Delahanty and Adam Ferraro, the chair and vice chair for Anime Boston 2003. The two made a few jokes, and gave a couple of remarks before being ushered offstage by a hurried pair of mascots.
Next up was Andrea Finnin and Keith Kisovet, who served as the second chair and co-chair of the convention. Like Delahanty and Ferraro, the two made a couple of jokes, said a couple of words, and were quickly shuffled offstage by the panicked mascots.
Finally, all seemed right with the world. Well, the world onstage. Chairman Victor Lee and vice chair Lauren Gallo took the stage. As with previous years, the two talked up topics of general interest such as the formal ball and the charity that the convention would be supporting this year.
After the two finished their announcements, Lee and Gallo took their leave, as the guest introductions began to roll forth. One by one, guests took the stage, though a few video messages were sent by those who were still in the air.
That’s not to say that these were all just the typical greeting, mind you. Several actors turned their entrance into a brief chance to get a pop from the crowd. Toru Furuya, for example, opened with short performances as Tuxedo Mask and Amuro Ray. Hirokatsu Kihara, on the other hand, just seemed to revel in the energy of the room as his laid-back comments carried through the room.
Possibly the highlight of the bunch, though, came from Johnny Yong Bosch. The room erupted in laughter as Bosch struck a heroic pose, all while a gaffer wheeled him in on a dolly. He said a few words about remaining modest, a man of the people, and making a few mugs toward the crowd for additional giggles. Then, like a flash, he was off… well… wheeled off by an unfortunate staff member.
Johnny Yong Bosch
Kyle Colby Jones
Christopher R. Sabat
After the guests made their entrance, Lee and Gallo took to the stage to thank the crowd for attending before letting the crowd rush into the Hynes faster than a group of Gremlins fed after midnight. The fifteenth Anime Boston was officially on.