In what felt like the blink of an eye, Sunday had fallen upon the Hynes Convention Center. A familiar calm swept over the venue, as crowds slowly thinned through the day, and the tens of thousands who had made the trek to Boston began to fill into trains, planes, and automobiles to begin their journey home.

Or, in true New England fashion, they made their way to Dunkin’ Donuts for their morning dose of caffeine, sugar, and calories.

Photo of a line of people outside of a Dunkin Donuts

Photo Credit: Samantha Ferreira

Like Otakon before it, Anime Boston became a welcome reprieve during this time of great uncertainty. For the first time in months, during a pandemic that had claimed countless lives, it was a chance to feel “normal” for a few days. The many who wandered its halls, popped into panels, or got their shop on were given a fleeting chance to finally cut loose.

Though their faces were hidden, it was hard to miss the joy that shone through the eyes of every fan who wandered through the Hynes. This was our town square, united once again for the first time in three years. The divisions that separated us outside those walls, in fandom and elsewhere, just melted away as we shared in the raw energy of the moment.

Photo of people walking through the halls of the Hynes Convention Center on Sunday of Anime Boston 2022.

Photo Credit: Samantha Ferreira

We cheered together for ASCA and EyeQ’s performance and cheered as Discotek revealed license after license. We giggled and cheered through Yuri Court, and nodded thoughtfully to discussions of ADV Films’ heyday and anime’s presence in World War II. Heck, we all joined to sing the Pokemon theme song in a panel about the 2000s anime bubble. We enjoyed bad fast food and thrived on caffeine and sugar. We spent too much in the Dealer’s Room and let sleep become a distant memory.

Anime Boston, like Otakon, was a normal anime convention, like so many that we’ve enjoyed before. And, deep down, that’s remarkable. Anime Boston was further proof that we, as a community, are capable of amazing things. Through our quirky, often disjointed history, we’ve been able to build bridges that can weather any storm. And though we’ll bicker, fight, and scrape, we’ll always support one another, even when things are at their most dire.

In short, it was home… and it was good to be back, even if only for a little while.