Anime Boston 2012 Coverage.
|I attended Anime Boston 2012 this year, and I promised Kyokai a con report, so here we go. I know it’s been over 2 weeks, but better late than never, right? If you’re most interested in seeing the cosplay, feel free to jump right there. I don’t mind.|
This was my 4th time at Anime Boston, but my first time attending one of its concerts (yes, that means I skipped out on the Kalafina one 3 years back, even though I went to their panel). I went on Friday night to see Kanako Ito, whom you’ve probably heard recently in the Steins;Gate opening Hacking to the Gate. She was followed by Haruko Momoi, an idol with roots in Akihabara and the voice actor for Feyris-tan from Steins;Gate. I was really impressed by Ito. Besides showing off her great voice, she spoke almost the whole time in easily understandable English in between her songs. One of her songs was all in Latin and, though it’s been too long since school for me to know if the words made any sense, her pronunciation was just about perfect (I’ve a pet peeve about mispronounced Latin in songs, with One Winged Angel being a major offender). She also took out an acoustic guitar for 3 of her songs, something I didn’t expect at all from this poppy/anime/videogame singer. Oh, and I believe every song she performed except her final one, which was one she wrote herself after the Tohoku earthquake last year, was associated with Nitro Plus in some way.
I actually didn’t stay for most of Momoi’s concert, though I did see her singing God Knows from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, which she did quite well, with the right amount of energy required for that song. Based on what I heard from others, she was just as good as Ito, living up to her nerd idol reputation.
Kanako Ito looked so happy once she was done with her autographs.
Anyway, I was impressed enough by both that I decided to do the autograph thing with them. For Ito, I bought a CD and got it signed immediately following the concert. For Momoi, I bought a little wristband so that I could get my photo taken with her, and not owning any merchandise associated with her, just got my Anime Boston guide booklet signed during her autograph session the next day. (I actually barely made the cutoff for that, ending up 3rd to last in line – I hung out with a very convincing Daru cosplayer who had the actual board game that Feyris-tan played in Steins;Gate for her to sign).
Haruko Momoi with a Tomoyo (Cardcaptor Sakura) cosplayer during her autograph session.
Anime Boston pretty much never gets Japanese guests that I’m interested in, and Momoi was the first ever actual Japanese voice actor as far as I know, and watching and (sort of) meeting both of these performers was wonderful.
I went to only a handful of panels this year, and luckily for me, most of them were great. On Friday, I went to Disabilities in Japan, run by someone I somewhat knew from the Boston Anime Meetup group. It was a general talk about how people with disabilities are treated and depicted in Japanese society and media. To be honest, not a whole lot there that I didn’t know beforehand or couldn’t guess based on my knowledge of the culture: there’s a huge stigma against them, and accommodations are not so great. Of course she mentioned Katawa Shoujo which she hadn’t played but admitted that she heard good things about despite the offensive Cripple Girls title. Now that I think about it, Narcissu, a completely free, short and linear visual novel, might have been another good one to talk about.
On Sunday, I went to Current Happenings in Censorship, which mainly touched upon the controversial Tokyo Youth Ordinance bill that went into effect last year. The contents were good and informative, and it was well researched as best as I could tell. For example, Aki-Sora, one of my favorite manga, which straddled the line between ecchi and hentai while exploring incest (A LOT), was one of the handful of casualties of this bill, when the publisher freaked out even before the bill passed. Unfortunately, the panelist didn’t have enough content to fill up the hour slot and was finished in about half that.
The casualties of Tokyo Bill 156. Center bottom was truly a big loss. The author never got to properly finish her work ;_;
My favorite panel was another one run by someone I knew from the Meetup group, by the name of Mike Toole. Perhaps you’ve heard of him or read his column on Anime News Network. His panel Saturday night was on the Smash Hits of Korean Animation, going over how it progressed from being just outsource work for Japan and the US, to ripoffs of them, to legitimately good original work in the past couple decades. Nostalgia factored in for me personally, since I grew up in Korea watching both Mazinger Z and its Korean ripoff Taekwon V, a martial arts fighting mecha. It was an excellent presentation with lots of clips of very old works, mostly of poor quality, but with some gems. He showed us the opening shot to a 2002 film My Beautiful Girl, Mari, a single-take shot flying around a city, at least a minute in length. That’s actually one I’d heard of before, and I intend to check it out soon.
Besides those, I went to Puella Magi Madoka Magica – the First True ‘Post-Evangelion’ Anime with SeHNNG and aeroblip, all of us with high hopes that we’d get at least a good laugh. Unfortunately the panelist spent most of his time talking about the history of mecha anime and perception of otaku in Japan, and didn’t really do anything to explain or defend the point made in his panel title.
With a title like that, you expect at least a few laughs, right? It did not deliver.
I was pretty happy overall with what I got out of the panels this year.
But you’re really here for all the cosplay photos, aren’t you? Here’s a direct link to my Picasa album This year, I tried to make a point to get the cosplayers to pose in interesting ways. Of course, it’s rude to be too demanding – they’re doing you a favor just by posing, after all – but the photos are always more fun to look at when the cosplayers are in some deliberate pose.
I noticed a relative dearth of Vocaloid, Panty & Stocking, and Hetalia cosplay compared to the last few years. No single franchise seems to have filled that hole – Magical Girl Madoka Magica might have come close, but it didn’t match the volume of Vocaloid cosplayers seen in previous years – resulting in a greater variety of works represented, I think. Though the old guards of Naruto and Soul Eater and recent big hit Durarara were all quite well represented.
Pleasant surprises were a Hanako (Katawa Shoujo) cosplayer (a friend of mine, actually) and a handful of Bakemonogatari and Penguindrum cosplayers. Anyway, here are some of my favorites. Click any to go to the image in my Picasa album. The images have been scaled down, even in the album, so if you want the full-size one for any of them (12MP), please ask!
A pair of (unaffiliated) particularly dedicated Catherine cosplayers. The woman on the right has a Facebook page, Misa on Wheels, and I’ve seen her in previous years cosplaying as Yuna from Final Fantasy X and Rinoa from Final Fantasy VIII.
A little girl cosplayed by an actual little girl? The adorable Nanako from Persona 4.
The painfully shy Hanako trying her best to hide behind her book. The only Katawa Shoujo cosplayer I saw.
The King of Heroes offers a drink (Fate Zero).
Finding a Bakemonogatari cosplayer is rare enough, but 2 of them, and the Valhalla Combo no less? Jackpot! (Notice the attention to detail in Kanbaru’s shoes)
You’ll be forgiven if you didn’t recognize these guys right away. They’re protagonist Raoul Duke and his attorney Dr. Gonzo from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Not an anime, but an excellent movie.
Lucy with her helmet during her escape at the beginning of Elfen Lied. Notice the basket at her feet; this was taken on Easter Sunday.
I’ll finish off with the stuff I actually got to bring back from the convention, the goods from the dealer’s room and the artists’ alley. I actually didn’t buy too many stuff this year, though it wasn’t for lack of trying. Some good stuff to keep around as remembrance for another great Anime Boston in the books.
That CD I got signed by Kanako Ito. Still haven’t listened to it yet. The cover art is quite nice, though!
A Panty & Stocking illustration I bought from the artists’ alley, and a mug I bought from the dealer’s hall. You should be able to tell which anime it’s from based on the picture. The filename has it.
I tried getting one of those random figure in a box things for the first time. And what do you know, I got the best one on, the mystery figure, Black Hanekawa! It’s sitting on my desk under my monitor right now.