On-Site At Anime Boston 2011: Day One
With a mere five-minute wait in the pre-registration line I was given access to Anime Boston 2011. As soon as I walked in the insanity didn't just walk into me, it punched me square in the jaw. Cosplayers, steampunk, random dancing and the nonstop Marco Polo filled the air, hallways and panel rooms as the annual crazy otaku weekend began at the Hynes Convention Center. And the day hadn't even started.
At around 10:30 the convention officially opened with the Opening Ceremonies. The Ayers Brothers (Chris & Greg) were there, as they have become the unofficial godfathers of Anime Boston guests, as were J. Michael Tatum, Spike Spencer and Trina Nishimura. Brina Palencia had not yet arrived, as her flight was delayed. Tom Wayland, the Yankees lover, once again made a great intro video, which poked fun of 4Kids TV's bankruptcy, how he gets a lot of parts since he's the voice director and the little mention of his now-infamous Hentai Dubbings showcase (as he is the magical man known as Dick Tripwire). The Japanese guests stereopony and girugamesh appeared, along with Mari Ijima, who said that she almost had to cancel on account of her sick bunny. (I originally thought that was a pet name for her boyfriend/husband, but she actually has a pet bunny back home in LA that's been sick, so hopefully he feels better soon.)
As soon as the Opening Ceremonies were finished I took off to roam around to see who else people were dressing up. Some costumes caught my attention, including a poorly-made Gundam costume made out of beer boxes, a human-sized Pac-Man, a very well-done Jack Sparrow and a couple of Master Chiefs. I do have one beef, though: what's with all the Lady Gagas? For one she's not even related to anything anime or game-related, and the only comic they have of her was that horrible one Linkara recently reviewed. The J-ROCK costumes I get, but this I don't. Still I guess there's not much you can do about it, and if I can allow someone to cosplay as the Dresden Dolls, then this should be okay.
I next walked into the Artist Alley, where all the fanbased and original creations are showcased to hopeful buyers. Sitting at The Devil's Panties table was our old friend Tater Tot, who was working for Nigel Sade (a pirate-based artist) right next to her. Much of the fan-made creations were very well-crafted, though there were a few people selling stuff that were both expensive and poorly-made.
Soon afterwards it was time to take part in a press panel interview with Brina Palencia, best known for her roles in such anime as Sgt. Frog, Black Butler and School Rumble. Here everyone (including myself) asked about her background, favorite series and if she prefers directing over voice acting. I was very surprised at her honesty, especially when I asked her the same question regarding fan-service and storylines that I did with Mamoru Hosoda, the director of Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. (A full article will be coming soon.)
After the press interview I went to check out Anime Unscripted, Anime Boston's version of the TV series Whose Line Is It Anyway?, which features some of the top American voice actors like Palencia, Chris Ayers, Tatum and Sean Schemmel partaking in improv games. All four voice actors did an amazing job playing such skits as Let's Make A Date, Party Quirks and Weird Newscasters. The biggest highlight of the show was the Slideshow game, where Schemmel did a hilarious Hindu accent and talked about an archaeological dig involving huge people, explosive puppies and the Pop Tart Kitty. The three-headed professor bit felt flat, unfortunately, but much of this can be blamed on audio difficulties.
The final event I checked out before hanging it up for the day was the girugamesh concert. Opening band Acey Slade & the Dark Party was quite the crowd pleaser, as many ran up to the stage to rock out like crazy. They premiered two new songs: "Shinigami Eyes" and "Cyclone," both of which got the crowd really going. In short: they sounded like Stone Temple Pilots in their prime, so a good future can be seen for this band if the cards are played right.
Finally the time had come for girugamesh to hit the stage. This being their second time in America the pressure for them to gain a following wasn't there, as everyone in the Auditorium was in hot anticipation for them to appear beforehand. For an hour the floors had become a massive screamfest, as girugamesh had run through a vast amounts of their hits, as well as a couple of tracks from their new album GO. Satoshi had the crowd at his fingertips, and his fellow band members Nii, Shou and Яyo smashed and bashed their way through the loud and crazy set. Had it not been for fire hazard rules the floor could've easily become a massive mosh pit; alas, it was not to be. Still girugamesh gave an amazing show for a captivated audience.
All in all, a good first day of events and interviews. Let's see what's in store for Day Two with the Masquerade and stereopony.