Happy Monday, everyone, and welcome back to The Dispatch!
Wow, it’s… been a few days, hasn’t it? Things have gotten busier, and the atmosphere’s gotten more lively since the last time I was able to sit down and chat like this.
This week, though, I’d like to take a moment to talk about something near and dear to my heart: Anime Boston. As many of you know, Anime Boston will be held this weekend at the Hynes Convention Center. More than 25,000 are expected to attend the event again this year, which will welcome icons like Kenji Kodama, Yoko Shimomura, Yuri Lowenthal, and Richard Epcar.
And, like many years, it’ll be a heck of a party, with countless splashy events planned. MIYAVI is headlining the musical acts, and City Hunter: Shinjuku Private Eyes will make its North American début at the con. That’s to say nothing of the countless amazing panels and events that are sure to dot the weekend.
Over the convention’s sixteen years of operation, though, I found myself settling into a fairly typical pattern. Once the doors opened, I’d typically scout out a spot in the industry panel rooms, set up my laptop, and take notes from the time the first company rep steps up to the mic until the very last moments of the day. Afterwards, I’d stagger out, exhausted and seeking some form of quick meal to wolf down before I write until the wee hours of the morning.
And, for a while, it became something I leaned into. The “workaholic boss” who’d devote her all, until the sun was starting to climb up on the horizon. It was a sort of self-reinforcing kayfabe that would see updates pouring out until there was basically nothing left that I could offer for the day.
— Samantha @ Anime Boston Panel Prep (@sam_animeherald) April 2, 2017
And, well, while that’s fun, it’s also not healthy.
Over the past year, I’ve had to come to terms with this in the harshest ways possible. I bring this up from time to time, but up until May 2018, I was working sixteen to twenty hour days. Anime Boston 2018 was handled with about six hours of sleep across the weekend, as I’d sit awake, allowing the stress of the day to just kind of eat away at what I was doing. We put out a ton of content, for sure, breaking our previous records by a total margin. But, looking back, I really… don’t remember that weekend.
Okay, I’m being dramatic, here – I remember some parts of that weekend: getting lunch at Sweetgreen with Seth, saying “hi” to a few old friends, and hosting my very first panel out and presenting as the real me.
But, really, that’s… about it. Looking through my write-ups, from Jen Blue’s “Anime Doesn’t Exist“, to the disastrous Aniplex panel or even Viz Media’s Sailor Moon panel, it just feels as if I’m reading someone else’s experiences. Even “Bad Anime, Bad!“, a highlight of the weekend, just seemed so foreign, so unfamiliar to read.
I kind of had this realization that things need to change, in a big way. Anime Boston has been a place where I can just kick loose and be myself… and I treasure that. I’ve long referred to the convention as “my home away from home,” where I can let the pressures of the day vanish for a weekend.
I don’t want to spend another year just working myself to exhaustion, and forgetting what drew me to the Park Plaza back in 2003. And, I’ll be honest: “sitting in a conference room watching the equivalent of a timeshare pitch” wasn’t it.
With this in mind, I’ll be making a decree here and now: We will not be focusing on news for Anime Boston 2019.
Blasphemy, I know. Last year, we had sixteen news pieces published over the course of that weekend; it caused traffic spikes in the short-term, for sure.
But was it really worth it?
Let’s be honest, here: I’m an old dog on the news crew. For as long as I can remember, that’s been my life… but I know there’s something more outside of those industry rooms. At the same time, I know that I’m one woman who, while dedicated, can’t possibly compete with the likes of ANN or Crunchyroll on the basis of sheer volume. I’ve tried, and it drove me to a nervous breakdown.
That said, I know that there’s a vibrant community of creative, talented people bringing some genuinely fun and intriguing content over the weekend. Whether it’s Dungeonmaster Jim keeping it real with “Get Off My Lawn!”, Professor Otaku presenting the fun and informative “A Visual History of Mecha”, or Rachel Kane’s “From Kabuki to Anime: LGBT History in Japanese Media”, there’s just no shortage of engaging, inspired panels to get the imagination rolling. And, well… I want see it again for myself. I’d like to check out the panels, stroll through the artist’s alley, and spend way too much in the Dealer’s Room. I want to enjoy the concert, cackle like an idiot to Bad Anime, Bad!, and maybe (just maybe) get some real food in the city.
And, well… I’d like to have fun again.
With this in mind, this year, we’ll be handling Anime Boston a bit differently than usual. We’ll still have a few news updates over the weekend (I mean, come on; that $800 Blu-Ray from Sentai Filmworks was something that we all wanted to talk about!), but it won’t be the One. Big. Thing. that we focus on.
Instead, we’ll be changing our gaze to the stuff that really matters. We’ll be taking time to check out the sights, and to look at the things that tend to fall by the wayside for a lot of outlets. At the same time, I’m talking with the Patrons on the Anime Herald Discord to see what they’d like to see, and taking it to heart as I plan for the weekend.
It’s going to be strange, for sure – I’ll miss the familiarity of the newsroom. Still, I hope that you enjoy what’s coming, and look forward to our coverage of the con!
The Latest From the AniBlogging Community
Which Rider rode to victory? TokuNet published the results from their readers as to which Heisei-era Kamen rider was their favorite. We’re not spoiling, but over 3,000 votes were tallied to get their results, which were nail-bitingly close!
Life Will Change. Lauren at Otaku Journalist published an article about who we were in the past, and who we are today. In a wonderfully-written piece she argues that you, and everyone else is allowed to grow out of those terrible opinions that seem to haunt us from five, ten, or even twenty years ago.
It’s a Kunihiko Ikuhara show. Atelier Emily takes a look at Sarazanmai: the latest anime series by Kunihiko Ikuhara (Penguindrum, Revolutionary Girl Utena). She dives into the symbolism and deeper meanings that filter heavily through the first episode’s background.
This Week's Fun Stuff
Because I’m a sucker for literally anything Sakura Wars: On March 29, YouTuber ytubeFon published a fan cut of the Project Sakura Wars trailer. The teaser features the full version of new theme song Geki! Teikoku Kagekidan <Shin Fumi> as a background track, offering a preview of the theme for those who didn’t want to watch the entire Sega Fes presentation.
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