Guest post by James P. Burke
Cosplay is often the highlight of Anime Boston, as it really is a noticeable part of the convention experience for this event, moreso than (for example) PAX East. And I have to admit that the activity of people greeting each other over their creations generates more convention energy than all but the most outstanding panels and presentations.
This year I didn’t think there was a single standout cosplay category as often I have seen in other years (e.g. Homestuck trolls a couple of years back, or Attack on Titan last year). A lot of what you would have seen in previous years, and a lot of mashups including video games, movies, comics, and popular classic anime (One Piece, Evangelion, Naruto, etc.). The obscure character here and there is always special, and people appreciate a shout out from fellow fans. One thing I noted was a dearth of Frozen cosplay when last year it seemed poised for continuing popularity, even before it took off with the general public. One has to wonder whether some kinds of popularity and exposure do not get reflected in cosplay.
It was great to see a number of couple and families with themed cosplay, and such coordinated efforts usually come along with a willingness to pose and emote in character. It just makes everything better.
There was a good deal of excitement on Saturday over the premier of the English dub of Sword Art Online 2. The lines were very long to get into Exhibit Hall E for that event, however the convention crew managed the hundreds of SOA fans very efficiently. The high-capacity hall nearly filled, but everyone was accommodated.
More on the crew. While it is inevitable that you encounter some overenthusiastic crew members who are yelling (and not always in helpful ways) the crew there were organized, prepared and efficient. The line at registration was nonexistent by 10AM on Saturday, which has not always been the case in previous years. The line to get into the Con and past bag check was long, but quick moving, diverting temporarily out into a protected outdoor area in the brisk and windy Boston daylight. The queue, which doubled back on itself, served as yet another way for convention goers to see others and be seen, with many opportunities to point out a favored character or particularly impressive costuming effort.
Back inside, the Exhibition Hall A had slightly less variety of vendors from years past, but the same volume. This con tends toward a lot of games, plushies, figurines, T-shirts, and art. A new addition was some impressive metalwork from vendors offering real aluminum masks. And others dealing in both metal and leather for steampunk paraphernalia that could literally be used to build an entire costume if you had the money to spend, including masks, goggles, holsters, chestplates, flask holders, hats, etc. The dice dealers of previous years were not in evidence this time around, but a new game seems to have risen in popularity. Betrayal at House on the Hill, which was obscure last year was on display at several game dealers. It has possibly gotten quite a boost from its exposure on Tabletop.
In summary, Anime Boston 2015 is a great experience provided by a clearly seasoned convention organization in a venue that provides ample space to an enormous crowd. I suggest cosplaying to get he full experience, and to engage with as many convention goers, inquiring about how they made their cosplays and congratulating them on their creativity and hard work.