Con Report – Anime Boston 2015

We interrupt the chain of reviews for this slightly delayed report.

This past Easter marked a familiar tradition as far nerd culture in the New England area goes – Anime Boston.

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This particular year was one for which I was feeling extra stoked. I mean, I’ve enjoyed prior themes for the con well enough, but the decision to make this year’s theme Mecha vs Kaiju, complete with guests from Sunrise as well as two of the original cast members of Gojira…well…text can’t do justice to the internal giddiness that ensued.

It also helped that this was another year of getting to pitch in on panels, including my first attempt at one solo (but that’s a story for later on in the weekend).

One of the many great decorative touches this year's theme inspired (credit goes to my girlfriend, Liz for the photos.)

One of the many great decorative touches this year’s theme inspired (credit goes to my girlfriend, Liz for the photos.)

First day went off pretty well. Getting in during that Friday rush was hectic, but anyone who’s been to a con before knows that’s just part of the experience anyway. Fortunately, con staff kept things moving pretty smoothly, even with the extra hurdle of bag checks.

This is one of those moments where I will apologize that we weren’t able to get interviews done this time. As a result, this coverage is largely on panels, though I did make it a point to keep extra notes during the industry panels was able to get to.

Which brings me to the first big destination of the weekend for me, Sunrise’s Gundam panel. I won’t say we were privy to any exclusive new information. A lot of it was the classic industry presentation. That said it was also quite informative, both in terms of the roles the guests played as well as the journey anime makes in getting over (care of some oddly memorable stories from Mike Sinterniklaas relating his experiences at ADR directing for the English versions of Gundam Unicorn and Gundam: The Origin).

The panel’s Q&A did discuss some possibilities for the future, though perhaps not the ones people may have had in mind. To wit: they’re not making any promises, but based on feedback, they are interested in doing a third Gundam Build Fighters series; as far as they can tell, the 00 movie is as far as anyone on the panel felt Gundam would ever be taking the idea of aliens in a Gundam story; and sorry folks, but as it stands, no – a Crossbone Gundam anime is not in the cards at this point.

Fortunately, this fan's spirit remains undampened!

Fortunately, this fan’s spirit remains undampened!

As personal trivia goes, this panel also gave me a chance to meet up with a few people I largely only knew through online at this point, including Moar Powah’s own Nick (who, admittedly, spotted me with the other guys up front singing along with the pre-panel song selection. Yeah, I’ll admit to that).

From there, did some wandering around of the con, including the official sweeps of the Artist’s Alley and Dealer’s Room. All in all, both were in good shape this year with a selection of good deals, good items, and some downright odd ones as well (I lack a picture of the Colossal Titan cookie jar, but I can assure you, it is a thing).

In the middle of this, I did get to meet the two guests from Gojira: Akira Takarada (Ogata) and Haruo Nakajima (one of the original suit actors for Gojira himself). Have to say, both very cool people and was glad to have met them. Got my copy of the Criterion edition signed by the both of them, which was a very nice bonus, though even just being able to meet them and thank them for a movie that had a big hand in my road to nerding in the first place meant a lot to me.

Yes, the man in the middle was one of the two to rain down monster-suited destruction. Pretty cool guy.

Yes, the man in the middle was one of the two to rain down monster-suited destruction.
Pretty cool guy.

The next big stop after all around browsing was a panel on Gunpla hosted by Sophie, a friend of mine. It was really a perfect pick for the panel’s theme, and she got a good crowd for this one. Plus, the information definitely helped prep a lot of people for their first steps into the world of build Gundam kits.

…I would also like to again take this moment to thank and curse both panelists for the fact that weekend saw me buying my first Gunpla in ages. I BLAME YOU FOR THIS!

Anyway, a lot of the second half of the day was wondering around the convention center. Which was a bit hit or miss since, while con staff were all doing a great job, the staff on the Prudential Center/Hynes Convention Center side seemed to be…well…less ready to handle these crowds.

Actually, less ready isn’t fair, as that makes it sound like they were out of their element. It’s a bit more on the mark to say it felt like we weren’t welcomed by some of them. Which I could understand from maybe one or two people, I know as a whole, congoers can be trying. But at this level, it was hard not to feel like there was some resentment going around.

Also, it finally happened. Too Many Cooks cosplay!

Also, it finally happened. Too Many Cooks cosplay!

Fortunately, that was really the only downside to the weekend, so with that out of the way, back to the highlights.

That Friday night, I finally pulled off a figurative con Band-Aid and ran a panel solo. For those who braved it up to the fifth floor, thank you for being such good sports with me. For those who didn’t make it, Nick was an even bigger sport and got the whole thing on video. So we have documentation on my rambling about various sci-fi series that were based on classics of western literature (and a vaguely sleazy rendition of the creative process that turned A Little Princess into StrAIn: Strategic Armored Infantry).

At that point, it was mostly just winding down for Friday.

Saturday was, as is often the case, a lot more busy and hectic. I’ll admit my group wasn’t there quite as long that day due to mental wear down from the crowds, but still got to a couple of events.

First of these was another panel Sophie’s been working on a couple of versions of since last year, and it’s one that I’m glad to see is getting more notice. If you’re at a con and you see the panel on Gender Identity and Con Culture there, it’s worth checking it out – very informative and really just useful information, even outside of cons, for just not being ‘that person’ in certain situations (or, as an earlier iteration of the panel once put it best: ‘Don’t be a dick’.)

Also, this year's room -HUGE improvement over where they were working last year.

Also, this year’s room -HUGE improvement over where they were working last year.

From there was a panel that’s become tradition for me yearly (and only partially because I help out with it) – All the Mecha You’ll Ever Need. It’s a great chance to discuss new titles, make some lesser known recommendations, and also just get some unusual discussions in (this year’s odd standout being the role of Heavy Metal L-Gaim as the ultimate ‘middle of the road’ anime to use as a better/worse than meter stick). But the real highlight still arguably goes to the contests at the end. Every year we challenge these congoers to bring their A-games to attack yells, and every year, they make sure not to disappoint.

After that, the next big standout was the screening of the original Gojira. We weren’t able to stay for the film, but we did see the pre-showing Q&A with the two guests, which was well worth the trip. For as many good times as that weekend provided, there’s still few things that really made it quite as worth it as hearing just how passionate these guys were about the movie and what it had to say 60 years later.

Well, that and learning Takarada REALLY loves Mothra, which was a bit of levity as amusing as it later got strange.

It was an experience funny, informative, and even a bit heartwarming amid the weird Mothra comments.

It was an experience funny, informative, and even a bit heartwarming amid the weird Mothra comments.

Sunday, finally, was something of a wind down day. Given it was Easter, much of the group I came with had to leave early for family/travel obligations. I stuck around for a bit longer to give everything one last sweep on the hopes of many one more standout panel or two. My timing wasn’t that great on that front, but it was enjoyable to just watch the con center one last time, say a few goodbyes, and do the vulture’s sweep of the dealer’s room one more time.

All in all, pretty enjoyable weekend. Also rather stressful at points, though those weren’t really the con’s fault, so I won’t hold that against them. For their part, they put together an enjoyable weekend and one I was glad I was able to make it for.

Going to be looking forward to what’s in store for next year!

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This is what happens when a man takes a degree in English and the excessive analytic skills therein and chooses to use them for... ...is this evil? I'm not sure. But there are monsters and potentially robots, so there's potential for evil. ...we'll get back to you on that.

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Guyinthe3rdrow

This is what happens when a man takes a degree in English and the excessive analytic skills therein and chooses to use them for... ...is this evil? I'm not sure. But there are monsters and potentially robots, so there's potential for evil. ...we'll get back to you on that.

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