Animé Boston 2004, Boston Park Plaza and the Castle, Boston, MA
Photos by Shadow Chaser and Steph!
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Friday, April 9
The excitement had built into the air as I walked to my morning classes at Emerson College. The night before, we had gotten our passes ahead of time, and Stephanie and I walked to Shaw’s to get some food, thinking that we’re not going to have time for lunch and probably should pack one. I was excited about getting into my costume to cosplay as Van Fanel from Escaflowne, Steph as Hitomi from Escaflowne. Anyways, during the morning classes, I was jittery since Bryn, who was able to sign out a camera from our school, gave me the camera and it’s a sweet little one.
I charged the batteries during my “Topic: American Dream, Global Nightmare” class so we can have a full day’s worth of filming and found out to my chagrin that carrying two bags is really not that great, especially 30 minutes after my “Western Civ” class, I tried to get out and was a bit bulky and hasty on getting out.
Anyways, I met Steph in line in front of the Dealer’s Room which was located in the Castle, a former Armory next to the Boston Park Plaza where Animé Boston was being held. She had met two people whose names I kind of forgot for now, but she told me that they weren’t moving that well and for me to change into my costume. I gave her the camera bag and ran to the Mezzanine bathroom to change. On my way, I saw so many cosplayers, ranging from Tsukasa to the obscure. There were a lot of InuYashas, I noticed, and a lot of Tsukasas. There was also a lot of Vash the Stampedes. Anyways, I changed and headed back out to join Steph in checking out the Dealer’s Room. This Dealer’s Room is A LOT bigger than the one I was at in Big Apple Animé 2 years ago. Wow. ^_^
A whole hell lot of stuff, it was an effort to control my urge to spend, but the first thing I saw was a Chocobo plushie, and it was the only one there in the whole convention. I bought it right away as I knew that it was going to be one of the few rarest things to be sold at a convention. Then after we wandered for a bit, Steph and I headed over to the Imperial Ballroom where most of the Main Events were going to be held so we can listen to Crispin Freeman, who does Amon’s voice from Witch Hunter Robin.
Let me tell you, photographs do not do justice to the person. We got second row seats, and Crispin is HOT. Very cute and very animated on stage. I immediately liked him a lot and he had an easygoing personality on stage. He shared with us his experience in working in the field and I learned that voice actors record all of their lines separately, and rarely get to meet each other. (Ed's note: Freeman also voiced vampire Alucard in Hellsing.)
Interestingly enough, he gave us some pointers and gave us a sample of his range, from the deep near-bass to the high alto range. Good voice, might I add, and he’s pretty funny, though not as funny as some of the other voice actors I will be commenting on later.
Anyways, he told us that his autograph session was immediately after the panel and I had wanted to go the "Making an Animé or J-Rock Plushie," but I decided that I wanted to get my WHR stuff signed right now and so we waited in line. As we were waiting, I got to look around at some of the costumes and decided to start taking pictures and B-roll of people wandering around. I got a real cool Vash the Stampede to pose for us, and damn, the guy’s costume was really well done –- First Class work! Anyways, I saw a group of people cosplaying as most of the good guys from FFX down in the Lobby and took pictures of them. Wow, Tidus’ outfit was real dedicated. It was also then that I noticed that there were a lot of Robin’s running around from WHR. Steph was a bit disappointed because she wanted to go as Robin next convention, and she didn’t want to go as such a popular character.
Anyways, when we got to see Crispin signing, I asked a lady, at the time I didn’t know was Lizzard a great webmistress, if I can film and she let me. Crispin is great on stage, but he kinda sucks as a people person. It’s as if he’s a bundle of nervousness around fans -– like he can’t understand his popularity and gets a bit scared. Oh well, its okay Crispin, you’re gonna be fine. Anyways, he signed my two DVDs and most of Steph’s DVDs, though they told us that there was a limit of 2 -– which is understandable.
After we left, we decided to dump everything back to our room and re-pack our bags. We headed back to our rooms and I was getting real cold because of Van’s costume. I felt like I was going to be sick and I think I actually got kind of sick. But anyways, we returned and went to the Voice Acting Workshop at 6, after a late lunch of course.
The Workshop was really fun, 3 people were chosen to try their hand at voice acting for a few lines and Crispin was hosting it. He led us through the processes and showed us how it was done and we learned a lot from it. Didn’t know that there were at least 2 minutes of just breathing ... hehe.
Afterwards, Steph had signed up for the Karaoke Competition to sing to the intro to Escaflowne and I was going to film some of it. Okay ... Steph missed her lines and messed up a bit, but the next 3 ... Asians should get handicaps as they KNOW what they’re singing (yes, I’m Asian), but I think the Japanese person that sang the intro to Rurouni Kenshin was pretty decent.
Anyways, I was feeling rather real sick by now and told Steph that I needed to go home so we went home at around 8 and I crashed onto the bed. We decided that we were going to go back around 9 to head to the Dealer’s Room again and so I slept. I actually had wonderful dreams about convention and stuff.
Saturday, April 10
I woke up at 6 a.m. bouncy and hyper. I couldn’t wait to go back to Con. ^_^ I still wished I had gone last year as I would have saw ALL of the Gundam Wing voice actors, at least the G-boys (which someone told me was the rarest feat of all Cons and was the first and only since to get all of the G-boys VA there). Anyways, I bounced around until Steph was ready and we headed off to wait in line for the Dealer’s Room. I decided that the Van costume was going into retirement for the rest of the Con because I didn’t want to risk getting sick so I wore regular jeans and my favorite and only Gundam Wing tee-shirt. I love that thing to death!
Anyways, we waited outside in the cold for about 45 minutes, and we were pretty far ahead in the line. At 10 they let us in and Steph and I went wild. I brought a few things like Read or Die for Jess, a FF Advent Children poster that is WHOPPING huge. A pretty RahXephon poster, and a few other things. We headed back to our dorm room around 11:45 to eat lunch at the dining hall. We headed back to the Park Plaza to catch our first panel, Escaflowne: Beyond the Mystic Moon.
Lugging the camera bag and our stuff around wasn’t as bad, because we didn’t buy heavy things, and we went to the panel and the hostess was to my surprise, Lizzard from the Escaflowne site that I’ve been worshipping. ^_^ I was SO HAPPY! Anyways she apologized for the fact that the Guest of Honor, Nobuteru Yuuki, the character designer for Escaflowne the TV series and Movie wasn’t able to come because of something that came up. She answered a few questions then proceeded to her presentation.
The funniest part was this as she showed us what original concepts were for the characters before they decided on the final design, for both movie and TV. Everyone ended cracking up and especially the last concept of the whole presentation was a demented looking Folken character design.
At the end, she asked us four questions and I won 2 of 4 prizes! Yay! They were both the original character design sheets complete with notes in Japanese and little coffee stains. Anyways, I would have won 3 of 4 if Lizzard didn’t ignore me as I was the only complete Escaflowne freak in the whole panel (which is a scary concept). Winning those designs definitely made my day as one of them was of Van, one of my dearest and favorite characters. Ahhh ... such is the life of an otaku.
Anyways, after that we headed back to the Imperial Ballroom for the panel with Lex Lang and when he came on stage, my initial response was that he was very, very tall, and very, very intimidating looking. He also looked a bit like Yanni, minus the mustache. ^_^ Lex talked about how he got into voice acting and how he had a rock band out in LA and at the end he sang some lyrics to Tactics the ending song of Rurouni Kenshin for us. Of course, he couldn’t remember most of the lyrics, but it made us happy that he has such a great singing voice.
After Lex was Dave Wittenberg and though the crowd was small, he was really nice and one of the funniest VAs I’ve ever met. He told us how he was a Boston native and got started in radio, in fact in WBZ right around the corner. Steph and I were overjoyed to hear about him and I asked him to do a line from WHR about Michael -– hee hee. Also, since he did the voice of Henry Wong from Digimon, the panel moderator pulled out a fairly life size of Henry’s digimon which was a bonus surprise.
When the panel ended, it was about 4 and we got to get our DVDs signed by him as I wanted to drop everything off at home and our batteries were running extremely low so we had to charge them in order to get more filming done tonight. Dave said that he was familiar with a few Emerson grads which made us very happy and we were like score! Yes! We’ve got connections!
Anyways, we headed over to the autograph line to get Steph’s Kenshin DVDs signed. I unfortunately, being the idiot I am, forgot to bring mine and so I got some of Steph’s signed. Lizzard was in there moderating and she recognized us from her panel. She was really nice and Lex actually gives bear hugs which is pretty scary from someone as intimidating-looking as him. After we got everything signed we headed back home to charge batteries and whatnot.
We stopped by the diner to pick up our dinner and sat in my room for about 2 hours, waiting for the batteries to charge. We discussed interviewing people tonight as tomorrow’s schedule wouldn’t really leave us with too much time. We would also head back to dump everything off into our rooms before we headed back to dance the night away.
Dressing up, Steph looked like the typical cameraman while I played the professional reporter. We started to snag people down and interview them about their costumes and whatnot. We were going to go to the Masquerade, but decided not to as it was crowded –- besides, we had a job to do! We went around interviewing people, and one time Steph told me to grab this cute looking guy who was dressed as Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop. I asked him how long he took his hair to look like Spike’s and to my surprise he said that his hair’s naturally like Spike’s –- all frizzled out. Wicked cool!
Anyways, we headed downstairs to the video game room and we saw lots of people playing various games, from arcades to X-Box (Halo of course), and at least a crowd of people watching people dance their feet off in DDR. Steph tried her hand at a color-coded DDR-esque game, but I told her to chose a particular song I knew was going to be at least 120 BPM ... hee hee, I am so evil. She got me afterwards by telling me to hold onto all the camera equipment! I protest! This is reporter-abuse! ^_^
Anyways, afterwards, we headed upstairs to the art room and since cameras weren’t allowed in there, we just browsed the selections quickly. I found an artist who was willing to do a rough Legolas sketch of what he would look like in my story The Shadows that Remain and paid him $30 to do it. He said that he would contact me by email with the preliminary sketches. I’ll let all of you know what happens to that sketch. ^_^
Anyways, a bit tired, we headed back to our dorm rooms, and decided to rest up for an hour before heading back to the Park Plaza to join others in the Animé Dance running from midnight ‘till 3 a.m. Before we headed back we decided to drink some energy drinks, me with a Starbucks Doubleshot, Steph with an Amp. Wired and ready, we headed back and went in.
Of all the dances I’ve been too, the Animé Dance was the best of all of them. Usually I don’t like proms because of the grunge music they play, but this ... this is J-Pop/Animé music I can dance to! I danced so hard that after half-hour I was very dehydrated and had a dehydration headache. We went across the mezzanine to the First Aid room and the people over there were so nice. I kept drinking water and from there, I think my memory was a bit foggy.
Steph told what happened from there. Apparently, I was very exhausted, the Doubleshot wearing out quickly and so we had decided to head back by way of our college’s escort service. While we were waiting for the escort service I apparently started swearing about how slow the escort service was. I swear, I don’t remember a thing ...
Ah, anyways, we got back home around 2:30 a.m. and I didn’t fall asleep until 3:30 because I was so beyond the point of tiredness that I was wide awake.
Sunday, April 11
Next morning, my alarm clock did not wake me up. Steph woke me up and we scrambled around because she wanted to go to a panel on making plushies at 9 a.m. We got there just in time and I got to peek into a video room to see a few minutes of the first episode of RahXephon (which is a great Animé since I own most of the series already). She made her plushie and I decided to head down to a Gundam panel.
Last year they had a Gundam Wing panel in which all the voice actors for the Gundam pilots were there. This year, it was more sedated and boring, with five panelists who didn’t really explain anything and some of the AC fans nearly clobbering the UC fans, vice versa. Me, I’m neutral as I love both the AC and UC timeline. Anyways, the panel was fairly boring until the last part when they brought a rare Char Aznable plushie and played a Japanese-only release (bootlegged to Hong Kong) Gundam special. It was called Gundam Evolve and it featured the greatest CG-ed battles of all the UC line. If you’ve ever watched Char’s Counterattack or 0083 and seen the final battles of those series, then the graphics in all of this will blow you away. By the end, I wanted Gundam Evolve added to my personal collection.
Anyways, after the Gundam panel and Steph’s plushie panel, we had an hour to kill before our other panels and so we headed to the Dealer’s Room once more to see if we could get some good bargains on the last day of convention. I also wanted to see if Lex Lang was there as I remembered to bring my DVDs to get them signed. Sadly though, he wasn’t there and the bargains weren’t that great ... not to mention we were almost out of money.
At 12 noon we parted, with Steph (dressed that day in her Hitomi costume) headed to a panel called “Creating Voice Demos” while I headed to the “Fanfiction” panel. Looking back, I should have skipped the Fanfiction panel because it was a big waste of my time. The lady there just ranted at us at how we all were amateurs at fanfic writing and we all should follow her lead because she’s been writing longer than any of us. She bereated us on how our diction should be novel perfect and that everything should flow and that there can’t be any inconsistencies. True, in fanfic writing, but it was very obnoxious coming from her. I should have gone to Steph’s panel.
Anyways, at 1pm, I headed to the Imperial Ballroom where the main events were and grabbed a seat in the second row to the front. This was the panel were all the voice actors who were guests here were to talk with us and we throw random questions at them. Some questions were funny while others were serious. I got to ask the final question! I asked each of them to give their best maniacal laugh. ^_^ And yeah ... all were scary. I still wished I recorded it, but sadly our camera had to be given to another friend who had graciously signed it out of the school’s property for us to use over the weekend.
Anyways, afterwards, I cornered Lex Lang and had him sign my DVDs. ^_^ Then I got a hug from Michael Coleman who was also giving out free Pocky sticks. Interesting fact, Michael was the roommate of Kirby Morrow (one of my favorite voice actors), in Vancouver. Cute. ^_^
After we were done mobbing the voice actors, we wandered a bit into the Dealer’s Room where I spent the last of my money getting a Kodama messenger bag. Next year, I’m going as a Kodama (tree spirit) from Princess Mononoke. We also headed upstairs for one last round in the Artist’s Alley where I had commissioned a gift for my sister before deciding to head back home. Pooped, tired, exhausted, but very happy. And so ends Animé Boston 2004.
Yes, yes, pictures are coming. I just spent too much money and am broke (no, seriously!)
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