I didn’t get to spend as much time at Anime Boston this year as I usually do. I was only there a few hours Friday due to the bus ride from NY in the morning and the family seder in the evening, and I couldn’t attend Sunday due to the ride back to college for evening classes. More time would have been nice for socializing (as well as for cosplaying, which I didn’t get to do this year due to parts of my costume arriving late), but the con itself was as fun (and as crowded) as ever. Here’s some of the highlights:
Gundam Unicorn Episode 7
This feature-length final episode of the recent Gundam OAV series was released on Blu-Ray a year ago and on DVD back in the fall, but I hadn’t gotten around to seeing it yet so this screening (introduced by the both the Japanese and English cast and crew) was a treat. The epsiode is everything I was hoping for and more, mixing exciting battles and major revelations about the Universal Century Gundam universe with an extra philosophical vent and some of the most beautiful space psychedelia this side of 2001.
It Gets Better: Anime Con Edition
Voice actor Greg Ayres has run this panel a few years. This year focus was placed on the alarming increase in bullying within the traditionally accepting fan community. Cosplay bullying, misgendering, and fandom cliqueishness (a subtler problem but one that deserves awareness) were talked about as issues within the community. Considering how many fans are in one way or another are treated as outsiders or bullied in the wider world, it’s important to make conventions safe spaces for people. Even just saying hi to someone who seems lonely can help make things feel more inclusive. The rise of SWATing and the GamerGate harassment campaigns were briefly pointed to as examples of problems escalating beyond mere “bullying” into full-blown terrorism. There were thankfully no GamerGaters in the room to debate that.
I had an entry in the contest (“Time“, a Madoka AMV). Good selection all around; one of my votes for Editor’s Choice ended up winning that particular award and the overall Best in Show was highly deserving.
Ping Pong The Animation Dub Premiere
I was curious how Masaaki Yuasa’s first series to be dubbed into English would work out in translation. Turns out pretty good. FUNimation made the smart choice to not dub the Chinese language dialog, keeping with the original’s bilingual charm. Main characters Peco and Smile are acted well, though I prefer their Japanese voice actors. The real stand out of the English cast is Mark Stoddard as Coach Koizumi.
Calling All Kai-JEWS: An Otaku Passover
A friend and I brought back our Passover panel from three years ago, this time updated with new videos and additional focus on mecha and kaiju anime (there’s certainly a lot of Jewish headcanons out there relating to Gundam). Some technical difficulties but went well and followed up the panel with a seder. For those who were at the seder, here’s that haroset recipe.
Bad Anime Bad/Anime Hell
Grouping these together as two similar-but-different Saturday night events. Bad Anime Bad was packed, and there’s nothing quite like hearing a full auditorium react to “Party Time“. Some of the selections of bad animated material were fascinating (there was one with puppet dinosaurs using mind control on badly drawn dogs in front of live-action backgrounds), but the constant badness does get a bit tiring and I left in the last half hour when they were starting up Tomb of Dracula Sovereign of the Damned which I’d seen twice already. Anime Hell, on the other hand, focuses less on the bad and more on the bizarre, and as such is constantly entertaining. Never would have known about depressed German bread or PTSD beer penguins otherwise.