Boston’s premiere anime convention – the aptly named Anime Boston – was a hit again this year! This is the second time that it’s been back after the pandemic, but you could still feel the excitement crackling in the air when all of New England’s nerds gathered together to celebrate their favorite Japanese media. Let’s explore the highlights of Anime Boston 2023 and get you all psyched to go next year!
|When it Established||April 2003|
|Length of Event||3 days, with pre-registration ticket pickup the night before|
|Location||John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center and the Sheraton Boston Hotel – Boston, MA|
|Cost||Anime Boston sells full weekend passes for $95 online, and for $105 at the door (you can get discounts if you register several months ahead of time). There are also single day passes and family bundles available.|
|Hotels||As the Hynes Convention Center is inside of a large mall called the Prudential Center, there are several hotels connected directly to the whole complex. The Sheraton is closest to the con itself, and the Hilton, Marriott, and Westin are also accessible via indoor bridges. Other hotels can be found nearby.|
|Event Message for Attendees||Anime Boston’s focus is to celebrate and promote Japanese animation, comics, and pop culture. More info here.|
What to Expect
It’s Pretty Crowded, But You Can Escape: This convention commands an audience of around 30,000 people, which is... plenty... for many introverts and neurodivergent people. Luckily, the convention center is very spread out, staff control lines so that they don’t get bunched up, and there’s even a specially designated Quiet Room tucked away in a hallway. It’s sponsored by a local mental health organization, so they know how to help if you’re having a hard time. And of course, there’s no shame at all in getting overwhelmed at an anime convention because everyone understands the feeling.
Good For People with Mobility Issues: And speaking of accessibility, Anime Boston is great for people with mobility issues. We saw many attendees with wheelchairs, walkers, and canes, some of whom had even decked out their devices to match their cosplays! The largely flat terrain; plentiful escalators, elevators, and ramps; and the fact that you don’t even have to go outside if you’re staying at a connected hotel make getting around pretty easy.
What to Bring
Masks and Vaccination Records: Unlike last year, masks aren’t explicitly required, but you do have to have a vaccination record or negative COVID test to receive your badge. About 1/3 to 1/2 of attendees were wearing masks, so if that’s a concern for you, you may want to stay away for now. Still, there were plenty of places to sanitize your hands if you needed to.
Old Anime Merch to Trade: On Friday and Saturday night, you can stop by the Swap Meet and trade your gently used merch for something that you’ll treasure even more! Either arrive early to set up a table or carry your goods in a backpack to barter around the room at your leisure. As an added bonus, the MC of the event knows absolutely nothing about anime and will try to attract traders for any items you give him with his own slightly embarrassing flair (he referred to Guido Mista as a “rejected Domino’s Pizza mascot”, for example).
What to Do
Anime Premieres: Big conventions like this attract exclusive events, and this year saw the North American premiere of one of the spring season’s most hotly anticipated shows – Oshi no Ko! Courtesy of HIDIVE, attendees got to see the 90-minute first episode with a special video intro featuring the Japanese cast. Experiencing such a dramatic anime with a crowd of people who were all as excited as us was a truly electric event; we all laughed, cried, gasped, and cheered as the plot twists kept coming. And each attendee received a complimentary month of free HIDIVE, as well as a special shikishi board featuring the enigmatic idol Ai. Past years have seen the premieres of Makoto Shinkai movies and other hot properties, so check the schedule before the next con to see if there’s something you’re interested in.
Idol Events: Idols weren’t just limited to Oshi no Ko, though. A local idol showcase attracted a massive crowd, and Hololive’s beloved HoloMeet panels were a hit with devoted fans. If you were lucky, you could even have a short individual chat with one of the Hololive personalities (a total of seven, including Fubuki, Risu, Kiara, and more) by winning a ticket lottery!
Kimono Exhibition: Kimono importers Tangerine Mountain had an intriguing exhibition set up in the Dealer’s Room. It featured authentic antique Japanese garments, including a set of Edo-era samurai armor, as well as modern applications of the clothing styles for comparison. The staff also gave lectures explaining the intricacies of the iconography and what each part of the samurai armor was used for. It’s a traveling exhibition, so check to see if they’re coming soon to an event near you!
Cosplay trends are always fun to follow, and we’ve seen a slight shift in the most popular series since last year. Genshin Impact still reigns supreme, with its insane popularity and easily purchasable costumes, while Chainsaw Man has overtaken Demon Slayer for second place. Characters from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean were also prevalent, as well as Love Live and classics like Final Fantasy VII. We even saw a fair amount of Trigun cosplayers – both for Stampede and the original series – and it was cool to see so many giant Punisher props again!
Here’s a selection of our favorite cosplay from Anime Boston. Be sure to follow these amazing artists on social media, and check out our Instagram page for even more!
We had a fantastic time at Anime Boston 2023, and if you attended as well, we’d love to hear from you in the comments. What did you think of the con? If you weren’t there, would you like to go next year? Let us know, and thanks so much for reading!