Apologies for the late post, getting everything in order after the trip was hectic. Anyway, here’s my coverage of the event.
While the first day at the con was not all that eventful, I did go to a few events. The first notable event I went to was a “Dramatic Reading with Guests” panel. Essentially, the English voice actors who were at the con all voice acted parts from an original, dramatic comic done by the Sandman comic creator, and then a radio show similar to the old ones like the original Green Hornet. These were really fun, since the voice actors were clearly great at what they’re doing, but it was also rather eye opening, since it showed that the voice actors weren’t reliant on multiple takes when doing work in the studio. Like in Broadway plays and musicals, they have to get what they’re doing right, and there are no such things as do-overs. Sure, what they did is much easier than a broadway play: they don’t have to memorize three hours worth of content, and what they have to read is already on screen. And though they did screw up a few times, the panel was really great fun, and also goes to show that voice actors are all really talented people.
Later, I went to see Kanako Itou’s and Haruko Momoi’s concerts. It’s kind of funny, but despite being solo artists from Japan, they’re remarkably different. Kanako Itou does quite a number of theme songs for Nitroplus, and other anime and games. Examples include Steins;Gate, School Days, Chaos;Head, Demonbane, and Saya no Uta. As you can see, Kanako Itou has quite a bit of experience. What struck me as interesting is that some songs she picked weren’t in Japanese: she sang one song in Latin and one song in English. In addition, I know she also has a song done in French, but she did not perform that in the concert.
Meanwhile, Momoi Haruko is not only a seiyuu and a singer, but is also an idol. She started singing casually and doing performances on the streets of Akihabara and Harajuku. Soon, she broke into voice acting with an OVA, then leading to a number of anime series and games. Most recently, she played Feiris Nyannyan from Steins;Gate (surprise surprise, the two are connected). Additionally, she even started her own record label, AKIHABARA LOVE RECORDS. She’s really quite established.
The two concerts were really energetic. This is particularly amusing, because I went to the STEREOPONY concert last year here, and it was not as energetic as these two concerts, though it tried to be. The Momoi concert edged out a bit over the Itou one, but I think that’s because, as one of those “idol concerts”, Momoi’s concert invited more audience participation than Itou’s (though that’s not to say Itou’s concert wasn’t engaging). The two concerts were also similar in that the two singers both chose their famous songs. This is in contrast to some of the other concerts I’ve been to at other concerts, where the famous songs were mixed with some of their not so famous ones, and a few covers, as well.
However, beyond that, they were rather different. While many people know of Kanako Itou through her Steins;Gate songs, they weren’t familiar with many of her other songs (though for the record, most of her other songs were from Nitroplus visual novels). Meanwhile, though Haruko Momoi’s fanbase was a lot smaller, they were really dedicated. They printed out a bunch of booklets for the early birds, containing lyrics, cues, and translations, and they also gave out glowsticks. That made the concerts really engaging, though I imagine if concerts weren’t engaging to start with, there’d be problems.
Unfortunately, on the whole, I didn’t like the convention’s management all that much. There weren’t too many problems on the first day of the con, though why the pre-register line was longer than the line to buy tickets, I don’t know. However, the informal dance on Saturday was closed for a number of reasons, some of which could’ve been prevented with better management. During the day, there was some overcrowding, as well. Though there wasn’t much of a problem in some of the larger areas, it was often very difficult to get around the convention’s hallways. It feels as though Anime Boston has outgrown its convention space, and that was with a shared PAX East weekend! Congestion is often caused by someone taking pictures of someone else, and while that’s unavoidable, I saw several cases where management would blame the cosplayers for this, and not the picture takers, who could probably choose a smarter position to take pictures.
Even with those problems, I still liked the convention. What I liked about it: panel placement was pretty great. Last year, I remember having a problem with several panels that appeal to the same people all conflicting with each other, but this year, I don’t remember seeing much of that at all. Dealer’s Hall and Artist’s Alley had a good selection of products, and a pretty good variety, too. Additionally, as I’ve mentioned, I really loved the choice of guests, and the concerts, as well. The panels themselves are, on average, well thought out and informative/funny/whatever they set out to do.