This gig comes with a lot of perks (Note to Self: Think of a better word to use than gig), the most tangible of which is probably getting to go to conventions under the banner of Press coverage. This has let me attend conventions that I might otherwise be unable to…I mean, ones I get a ride or a train to, I’m still bound by where I can travel to.
Anyway, for the second year in a row, I was assigned to attend Anime Boston, this time alongside our fearless leader Nick and fellow writer That Guy in the 3rd Row, who I assume will be posting their own recaps. Fortunately, with two other writers there to cover it, I could slack off and…ahem, spend the entire time covering the event in a dutiful manner, of course.
The theme of this year’s Anime Boston was Kaiju vs. Mecha, which suited me just fine. Growing up I rented the local Blockbuster’s selection of Godzilla vs. movies so much that I think I wore out one of the tapes (the Anchorage Blockbuster didn’t have the most extensive selection in the world…it’s Alaska) and to this day, I remain a huge fan of giant monster movies.
Unfortunately I’m not as big into mecha. Oh there have been some works featuring mecha (Warhammer 40k, as I’ve mentioned, but also Pacific Rim, Escaflowne, and Evangelion) but I’ve never been quite as into it as I am into giant monster movies. Mecha are more of a feature for me, rather than a reason to watch all on its own.
Which is why I was pretty happy to find that the Kaiju aspect seemed to be getting more focus. The biggest guests, in my estimation, were Akira Takarada (who played Hideto Ogata in Gojira) and Haruo Nakajima (who was inside the Godzilla suit in Gojira). And while I know that other members of our site attended their Q&A, I’m writing my recap first so I get to talk about it. Also they’re probably more qualified to talk about the Mecha stuff.
Akira Takarada and Haruo Nakajima’s Q&A was primarily devoted to a moderator’s preplanned questions, preceding a showing of Godzilla. I didn’t stick around for the showing of Godzilla, but I’ve seen it enough that I pretty much know it by heart, so I dunno if that was too horrifying of an oversight.
The questions were, at least initially, fairly straightforward: Akira Takarada gave a lengthy heartfelt answer about how Japanese anxiety about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the tests going on in French Polynesia, informed a lot of the plot of Godzilla. It’s something most Godzilla fans, and indeed most film goes in general, have known about the franchise for a while, but it was fascinating to hear it come from someone who was alive during it all.
Haruo Nakajima’s answers were more restricted to the actual monsters. A memorable moment was, when he was asked about what he though of the recent run of American Godzilla films, he wound talking about how using CGI as opposed to monster suits made those movies suffer from a lack of heart. Of course, I’d say that the most recent Godzilla movie was mostly suffering from a lack of Godzilla, but that’s me.
Of course, it did get sort of weird towards the end. When asked what their favorite non-Godzilla monster was, Akira Takarada not only informed us that his favorite was Mothra but also said that he wanted to marry it. Which would have been weird enough as is, but then he told us that he was waiting for his wife to die/divorce him so that they could get married. To quote the narrator from Arrested Development: it was weird.
If it seems like I’m dwelling a lot on the Godzilla panel, it’s because I am. Aside from that, there didn’t seem to be much in the way of stuff worth talking about. Perhaps it’s just because I’m not huge into anime, but I didn’t know who most of the guests were. So I did what I usually do at conventions: went to a couple panels (like my friend Sophie’s panel on Gunpla or our very own That Guy in the Third Row’s panel on sci-fi anime adaptations of classic literature) failed to attend some others (I tried to attend one on Post-Modernism in Anime, because I am incredibly pretentious but got lost on the way) and spent way too much money on food.
I do like to spend some time talking about how crowd control is handled at conventions, and I wish the news for Anime Boston was better. Last year it wasn’t great, but this year it was a disaster. I promised myself when I was there I would whinge about it too much, but let’s be clear: I shouldn’t have to plan an extra half an hour to wait in line returning to the convention after leaving for lunch.
Honestly, while I’ve enjoyed Anime Boston both times I’ve attended, I don’t know if I’ll return next year. It’s a lot of effort and a lot of money, even with the Press pass, for not a ton of payoff. I can definitely see how it could appeal, if I was more into anime or if I had less access to other conventions, but next year I think I’ll leave it to That Guy in the 3rd Row. Since he lives closer to it and everything.
Also I missed Sunday. So there’s that.