The 14th annual Anime Boston convention was held at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston. The convention lasted 3 days, from Friday to Sunday, under the supervision of the New England Anime Society, whose focus is to celebrate and promote Japanese animation, comics and pop culture.
Since 2003, the convention has experienced unprecedented growth. It became so huge that it outgrew its original space in the Boston Park Plaza Hotel and moved to the Hynes Convention Center in 2005. The first convention in 2003 had 4,000 people in attendance, and by 2012, over 22,000 people attended throughout the weekend. The Anime Boston website states that the Hynes Convention Center, along with the Sheraton Hotel in Boston, has “allowed [Anime Boston] to grow in ways [they] could not have imagined since the idea was first conceived.”
While the main focus of Anime Boston has always been Japanese animation and comics, they have expanded to include other aspects of Japanese pop culture, such as J-Pop, J-Rock and live action Japanese media. The convention also explores Japanese history and traditional culture. As the convention’s popularity grows, it has even begun to incorporate popular non-Japanese animations/shows such as those from Marvel and DC comics and cartoons like Steven Universe.
Over 350 staff members and volunteers, who are all fans of Japanese culture, work to make Anime Boston a success each year. They work year-round to prepare for each convention. The Anime Boston website states that “the hard work and dedication of [their] staff members ensures that [they] put on the best show possible.”
Throughout the weekend, Anime Boston presented popular events including a masquerade, an anime music video contest, video programming rooms, an artist’s alley and art show, karaoke, game shows, video games, dances and much more. The convention also had some special guests and industry representatives. Many people that attended the convention showed up in cosplay of characters from anime, manga, and pop culture in general.
Outside of Anime Boston, the New England Anime Society has also participated in First Night Boston. At First Night, they take the opportunity to reach out to the public and introduce them to Japanese animation and pop-culture. The society is also a part of Geek Central, which is a group of geeky organizations and businesses that get together to run events all through Central Square in Cambridge. They host events such as anime screenings, gaming events and card tournaments. From 2012-2013, NEAS was also a part of Arisia, which is New England’s Largest, Most Diverse Sci-Fi and Fantasy Convention.
The next Anime Boston is scheduled to be from March 30 2018 to April 1 2018.