Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Thousands of anime fans flood the Hynes for Anime Boston 2024

Anime+Boston+2024
Arthur Mansavage
One of the members of Baby Beard performing during the Anime Boston opening ceremonies at the Hynes Convention Center on Friday, March 29, 2024. (Arthur Mansavage/ Beacon Staff)

If anyone is wondering why there have been some interesting outfits on the Green Line this past weekend, it’s because Anime Boston 2024 occurred at the Hynes Convention Center from March 29 to 31.

Anime Boston is an annual event celebrating and promoting Japanese animation, comics, and pop culture. The event started in 2003 with 4,000 attendees and quickly grew enough to move to the Hynes in 2005. Since 2012, Anime Boston has hosted over 20,000 people over the three-day event.

Anime Boston has a packed schedule from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. that includes events, panels, video presentations, activities, and game shows. 

The convention’s opening ceremony on Friday highlighted Anime Boston’s mission and the guest appearances.

The opening ceremony began with a skit of the convention’s mascots, A-chan and B-chan, exchanging dialogue about all the anime they’ve watched this year before welcoming in Convention Chair Jenny Leary and Vice Chair Omega Au, the MCs of the opening ceremony.  Leary and Au showed a video displaying their work.

“[This video] highlights the work [the crew] does in the background. We could not do this convention without them,” said Au.

The guest list ranged from voice actors of popular anime in Japanese and English dubs, artists, industry guests, panelists, cosplay judges, hololive productions, and musical performers. 

Musical guests included performances by Raj Ramayya, HIZAKI with Kaya, Lotus Juice, QUEEN BEE, and BABYBEARD, who performed for the crowd to end the opening ceremony. 

Anime Boston 2024
The group, Baby Beard, performing during the Anime Boston opening ceremonies at the Hynes Convention Center on Friday, March 29, 2024. (Arthur Mansavage/ Beacon Staff)

BABYBEARD, formed in 2020 under frontman Richard Magarey, is a three-person Japanese idol group that started to release singles in 2021. 

Frontman Richard Magarey is an Australian stunt actor and a professional wrestler. His stage name, Ladybeard, is used in his professional wrestling and musical career. .

The performance featured choreographed dance movies and energy that excited the crowd.

The trio’s sound combines metal and J-pop, with screaming vocals accompanied by the light and airy vocal performance of SUZU and MAHRI, the other two members of BABYBEARD.

Following the BABYBEARD concert, the convention officially began. There were several locations for con-goers to go as they waited for their favorite events to begin.

The largest areas were Artists’ Alley and The Dealers Room. Artists’ Alley sells merchandise created by talented artists worldwide, and “The Dealers Room” consists of vendors selling official Japanese merchandise.

A wide range of artists appeared at Anime Boston. Michelle Melton is an artist from Nashville, Tennessee, who goes by the artist name Sugar Lich. Melton discussed what inspires them to create cottegecore and female-centric artwork.  

“I’m really big into feminism and body positivity, so I enjoy making artwork of women’s bodies in their natural state that makes them feel beautiful how they are,” Melton said.

Melton talked about working with the anime community at this convention. 

“I love the community, everyone is so nice and helpful,” Melton said. “We have a Discord that we use to converse with each other. It kind of helps for when you feel like you’re doing bad at a convention. You can ask others [for help] and it makes you feel better,”

Artist’s Alley was the most popular area of the convention, with each stand having about a dozen people crowding around it trying to purchase goods during the peak hours. 

 

One artist, Stache, known online as Stacherpieces, spoke about what it’s like to work the convention floor.

“It can be pretty exhausting,” Stache said. “I think we’re done at 10 o’clock today. I’ve been here since 9. That’s a little different than most conventions.”

Artists like Stache, who is from Canada, or Melton, who is from Tennessee, said spending long hours coming to Boston to share their artwork can be difficult but fulfilling.

“It’s really fulfilling having people come by my table and tell me how much they like my artwork or how much it means to them. It makes me really happy,” said Melton.  

Outside of vendor areas, Anime Boston also offered a room featuring autographs of convention attendees and game consoles to play with other con-goers, a room with various arcade machines, a main area for sponsors, and a maid cafe.

The tunnel near Artists Alley led into a more spaced-out room featuring a large wall of video game consoles and rows of lines so con-goers could meet their anime idols, whether it be artists, voice actors, or industry guests. 

In addition to a room with game consoles, the convention center’s third floor featured a Japanese arcade. Freeplay Bar and Arcade located in Worcester, Massachusetts, offered this pop-up arcade. Alex Sofikitis, one of the employees running the arcade area, said he attended his first convention as a kid in 2007. 

An attendee playing the Step Maniax game in the Japanese arcade room at the Hynes Convention Center on Friday, March 29, 2024. (Arthur Mansavage/ Beacon Staff)

“As soon as I saw this place for the first time, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it in some way,” said Sofikitis.

Con-goers packed the arcade room and participated in popular foreign games such as Dance Dance Revolution and Sound Voltex brought by Sofikitis and his company. Despite the large group, Sofikitis expected more people to show up. 

“I’m really curious to see how it will pick up once all the kids are out of school. Friday afternoons, the conventions are usually a little slow,” Sofikitis said. “But once you get into the evening, this place is packed. We’re open until 2 a.m., Friday and Saturday night,so I expect to see really large crowds on all these games.”

The main area of the convention center had the most popular event, which was The Maid Cafe. Running every day of the convention from noon to 6 p.m., hosting events each hour, it was sold out each hour it was active. 

Walking into The Maid Cafe, guests are greeted by staff dressed in maid outfits, who welcome them to tables of 10 and explain the rules and experience of the Maid Cafe. 

While the employees are not real maids, they encourage attendees to gather food that’s sold in the room and prepare to watch their performance. 

The performance included two maids singing a song, one singing in Japanese and dancing with the other, who was playing the violin. 

Photography was prohibited inside the space; however, each seat had a postcard picturing each maid on the card. The maids allowed cafe customers to take pictures with them and sign their postcards at the end of the performance and meal.  

Also located in the central area were the two main sponsors of Anime Boston this year, the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) and the Boston Public Library (BPL). The MFA highlighted its current exhibit, Hallyu! The Korean Wave, which celebrates Korea’s becoming a cultural superpower and trendsetter in artistic waves. 

One of the booths inside of the Hynes Convention Center on Friday, March 29, 2024. (Arthur Mansavage/ Beacon Staff)

One of the people working at the MFA’s stand was Stefani Davila, an Emerson senior business of creative enterprises major. She also is an intern at the MFA’s Marketing and Communication Center. 

“It’s the first time I ever came to one of these conventions, I’ve been impressed and amazed by all the costumes,” Davila said.

The BPL’s stand featured Michael Brown, the community reference and workforce development librarian, who spoke about why it was significant for BPL to appear at Anime Boston. 

“Literacy is our most important initiative,” said Brown. “Being free to all, we understand that we need to provide for our constituents. We provide free tabletop role-playing games. We provide anime, manga, online, and in person because we understand how important it is to foster literacy in all of its forms with the youth of today.”

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About the Contributor
Sam Shipman
Sam Shipman, Assistant News Editor
Sam Shipman (He/Him) is a freshman journalism major from Natick, Massachusetts. He currently is a Staff Writer for the Berkeley Beacon. When he's not reporting he can be found listening to music or spending time with friends.

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