A photograph of the Anime Boston 2024 sign, which depicts the event's mascots dressed as lobsters


Anime Boston 2024 – Introduction: The Annual Homecoming

On April 9, 2004, New England anime fans rejoiced, as they descended upon Boston’s Park Plaza Hotel for a second year. Anime Boston had returned, boasting an expanded space that included the cavernous Saunders Castle, which would host the event’s Artist’s Alley and Dealer’s Room. The guest list was studded with stars, from up-and-coming talents like Monica Rial to English-language icons like Crispin Freeman. Meanwhile, major players in the industry, from Funimation to Dark Horse, to ADV Films boasted industry panels throughout the weekend.

By February, the convention had reached its capacity for a second time, as they sold through all 3,223 memberships available. Much like its inaugural year, it was equal parts chaos and excitement, as impromptu Pokémon battles broke out in alcoves, and lines were packed with folks chatting with an equal sense of excitement and wonder. Some wondered if this would be the year Funimation or ADV finally got One Piece, while others traded stories about the panels they attended or their finds in The Castle.

A photograph of the entryway of the Hynes Convention Center, that depicts a small group of people walking into the main hall.
Photo Credit: Samantha Ferreira

And, who knows? Maybe Hell would freeze over, and someone would finally license one of those long-lost fansub darlings like Kodocha.

Though the convention had grown, it was impossible to deny that the same electrifying optimism that fueled its first year coursed through its halls. The eager smiles of members seemed inescapable, and there seemed to be real pride in the event from the staff and fans alike. Meanwhile, the Anime Boston website promised they’d be at a bigger venue in 2005, and it was impossible to avoid imagining the possibilities such a location could bring. 

It’s been two decades since that weekend. In the years that followed, Anime Boston made the Hynes Convention Center its new seeming forever home. Passing by the gigantic, triangular event sign that adorns the entryway has been a welcome reminder that the rest of the world could fall away for those three days, while more than 20,000 fans returned for one big, rowdy gathering of friends and found family.

A group of people milling about the first floor of the Hynes Convention Center
Photo Credit: Samantha Ferreira

As I stepped through the giant glass doors that led into the Hynes, badge in hand, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of nostalgia. Twenty years have passed since we said goodbye to the Park Plaza, but it never quite feels that way. Though the convention continues to grow, and the world continues to change, Anime Boston remains a place of respite and happiness for one weekend a year.

And, as I walked along the slate floors, the familiar heft of my gear bag on my shoulder, I knew I had come home again.

About the author

Samantha Ferreira

Samantha Ferreira is Anime Herald’s founder and editor-in-chief. A Rhode Island native, Samantha has been an anime fan since 1992, and an active member of the anime press since 2002, when she began working as a reviewer for Anime Dream. She launched Anime Herald in 2010, and continues to oversee its operations to this day. Outside of journalism, Samantha actively studies the history of the North American anime fandom and industry, with a particular focus on the 2000s anime boom and bust. She’s a huge fan of all things Sakura Wars, and maintains series fansite Combat Revue Review when she has free time available. When not in the Anime Herald Discord, Samantha can typically be found on Bluesky.

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