Anime Boston 2017 Convention Report

Wet and snowy conditions dominated the weekend

The Anime Boston convention was held this past weekend from Friday March 31 through Sunday April 2, 2017 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA.  This was my first time attending this convention so it was an entirely new experience for me.  I kind of made the mistake of flying in on Friday morning instead of coming out the previous night as I had to lug my suitcase around during the morning before I could go and check into my hotel (although they did thankfully have a paid bag check area to store things).  And since I had to leave and get situated with my hotel I also lost out on some valuable time that I could have spent actually doing things at the convention (and I missed out on the fire alarm!).  Lessons learned for future trips to distant conventions.  And as luck would have it, I apparently brought some bad weather with me as well as I have been told that this year was the first year in AB history that it had snowed during the convention.  Granted, the snow never really accumulated much on the ground but it was still very wet and troublesome for both Friday evening and the entirety of Saturday.

I think I have to start this article by mentioning the security measures that they had in place at the Hynes Convention Center.  Due to recent events in Boston the past couple of years and due to the fact that the Hynes is a state-run facility there were security checkpoints that you had to go through whenever you entered the convention center.  Every time that you entered the Hynes you had to go through a bag check station to have your bags searched and to have a security guard wand you before you could enter.  This only applied to the main convention center because it is state-run and did not apply to either the Sheraton Hotel which was attached to the convention center or to the Hilton Hotel across the street.  I certainly understand that Anime Boston has no part in dictating the need for the security checkpoints and that the lines moved faster this year compared to the previous year, but it certainly is still quite a pain especially if you're always lugging a backpack full of camera gear or rolling a suitcase around.  I don't know when the next time will be that I will return to Anime Boston but I hope that by the time I return that the security posture of the city will have relaxed by then to eliminate the need for the security checkpoints.

 

One of the security checkpoints

 

Anyways, with that out of the way it's time to get to what went down at AB this weekend.  Seeing how I was intrigued to attend Anime Boston this year due to some of the guests that they had invited, it's no surprise that I spent the majority of my time attending various guest panels and events.  In fact, I didn't go to any cosplay photoshoots at all until Sunday when I stopped by the RWBY photoshoot, but even then I only stayed for about 20 minutes before heading out to go to the Voice Actors Round Table event.  I was quite pleased with how things were run at this convention overall as they seemed to be a rather well oiled machine and there didn't seem to be many or any delays for the events.  It is kind of odd though that they used a ticketing system to try to streamline the seating for some of their major events such as the Masquerade and the Sword Art Online the Movie English Dub Premiere.  People who lined up for the events but didn't have a ticket were forced to line up in a separate line as those with tickets went in first.  I understand the idea behind the ticket system to have guaranteed seating in order to try to reduce the lines going into the event, but in practice it really doesn't do anything to reduce the lines and just adds confusion to the mix.

And speaking of SAO, the Ordinal Scale English Dub Premiere was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend for me.  I had previously watched the subtitled version in theaters a month ago so this wasn't the first time that I saw the movie (although obviously the first time with the English dub), but it was really fun being in a giant room full of SAO fans all laughing and commenting at the same moments during the movie.  Then they followed up the movie screening with a Q&A session with three of the voice actor guests that were there at Anime Boston who had roles in the movie.  Plus, they also gave away free movie posters and a collectible film strip from the movie as an added bonus.  This was definitely a very fun event overall and was glad to be a part of it.

 

Guest Panel after the SAO Movie Dub Premiere

 

Unfortunately I had to skip out on the Masquerade event as it overlapped with the Q&A panel for Michelle Ruff (who was a big reason why I was at Anime Boston in the first place) and later the Q&A panel for Robbie Daymond.  However, I did see that there was an enormous line going into that event so I was happy to see that this event is extremely popular here at AB.  I know that in recent years the popularity of the Masquerade events at the anime conventions that I normally attend (such as Otakon and Katsucon) have really plummeted in attenance so it's nice to see that this fan event is still going really strong here in Boston.

And speaking of long lines, I was extremely shocked at how many people there were at the Closing Ceremonies on Sunday.  The line ended up looping around the entire second floor of the convention center and from the looks of it practically filled up the entire ground floor of the auditorium.  Of course, I found out later that they were going to show the winners of the AMV contest right after the Closing Ceremonies, so I guess that explains why everyone who was still at the con on Sunday was there.

 

Part of the huge crowd at Closing Ceremonies

 

That basically sums up my time in Boston this past weekend.  I definitely had a lot of fun and will probably return some day in the future.

Click here to check out the hall cosplay photos that I took.

Click here for the photos from the Sunday RWBY cosplay photoshoot.

Click here to go to my YouTube channel where I uploaded videos from the various panels and events that I went to, which includes Cherami Leigh's Q&A panel, the Anime Unscripted voice actor event, Christopher R. Sabat's Q&A panel, the Official Sailor Moon panel, the SAO Movie Dub Premiere guest panel, Johnny Yong Bosch's Q&A panel, Michelle Ruff's Q&A panel, Robbie Daymond's Q&A panel, and the Voice Actors Round Table event.