Boston 2005 Anime Festival Review



The 2005 Boston Anime Festival had been moved to the Hynes Convention Center as there were so many people attending. Even so it was PACKED full.

We've been going to this festival since it began in 2003 and each year until now it has sold out. We knew to get our tickets back in January for the late-April festival. We were very glad we had. When we showed up Saturday morning, the line for those without tickets was VERY very long and looked to take about 45 minutes to wend through. We were able to bypass that line and go to the pre-registered line to pick up our badges. If you intend to go to ANY of the Boston Anime festivals, always pre-register. Always always.

Badges in hand, we decided to hit the dealer's room first. This was in the main convention hall of the Hynes and was HUGE.



There were bookstores with entire shelving units set up, giant collections of DVDs and VHS tapes, costume shops, contact lens groups, you name it. From statues to posters, from manga to collectibles, it was all here.

Even more amazing was that a huge portion of the people attending were in costume. The costumes were simply stellar. These people had worked months to get these costumes done. Here is one I loved from Final Fantasy -



I almost felt sorry for the people in costume, they could only walk 2 or 3 steps before they were asked to pose for a photo. I have 13 photos total in my collection, which you can click through below. The only reason I stopped at 13 is that I felt badly for the costumed people being told continuously to stop and pose :) They were really spellbinding though, and seeing the costumes in itself is well worth the admission price here.

I give super high marks to the dealers room and the costumed individuals. But I'm afraid that, given how much we paid to get in and how far ahead of time we put in our money, I was VERY disappointed with the remainder of the festival. They had 3 tiny rooms running anime films and every single room was jammed full every time we tried to go see a film. Not only were all the chairs taken, but all the standing room was taken. The main reason we'd come was to watch anime - and we couldn't see ANY. I take that back, the only time we squoze into a room was because of a situation I'll describe later on.

So we tried to get into film rooms, and couldn't. We went out for lunch hoping things would calm down after lunchtime. Nope. We went back to the dealer's room for a while. We sat in on an industry seminar where people asked questions to an anime company about when X would come out or when Y would be available. Even that was jam-packed full. We even tried to go to the manga reading room which was billed as a "quiet retreat" for those wanting a break from the festival madness. It was, of course, jam packed full.

So finally we decided to go up 45 minutes early to wait for the Bad Anime seminar to begin. We'd been to this seminar in the previous year and LOVED it, so we figured it'd be well worth seeing again. We bought some manga to read while we waited. When we got up there, we were told to start a line as the previous seminar was running late. By the time 4pm came around, the previous seminar was JUST getting out and the line to get into Bad Anime now snaked down the hall and around the corner. Anyone who tried to show up at 4pm for a 4pm event would be unable to get in.

When the event got out at 5pm, we prepared to go look for the line for the 5:30 entrance into the main event of the evening - a music show and costume parade. This event didn't start for another hour, at 6pm. This was supposed to be the highlight of our day and we'd been talking about this literally for MONTHS. To our horror, the line was already not only in place - but snaked across the ENTIRE main floor we were on. I'm not just talking about around one room. I'm talking about around the stairs, down a very long hallway, around another set of stairs, and more. We literally couldn't even tell where this line began. Every single wall space on the entire floor had someone sitting against it, somehow in this line. There was no way we could find out where the line ended, nobody we spoke to knew where the line ended, and even if we sat in it for 1/2 hour, it appeared there would be no way for us to actually fit into the room. We were very frustrated.

So we went down to an anime movie room and at THIS point there were actually a few seats open since 99% of the people were in that gigantic line. And even so the movie rooms were packed! We watched a little of the movie - it really wasn't a great one - and then decided to head home. We were just too disappointed.

I realize that it's hard to turn away eager anime fans who show up at the door. But we have dealt with the long lines and full events in the past years patiently. In those cases at least they stopped taking in people when the events were going to be full. At this festival they kept taking in people LONG after the rooms had exceeded maximum capacity, and it meant that us loyal fans who had pre-paid were now blocked out of pretty much every single event. There should have been a well thought out plan. "If we get 500 more people by Friday evening, we open up another film room. If we get another 500, we open up 2 film rooms". They were getting BOATLOADS of money from all of these people - and were not supplying any more benefit for that cash. They earned an obscene profit because of the extra people they let in - and us attendees suffered as a result, because now we couldn't even see the things we'd paid for.

I really, really hope they learned a valuable lesson in planning after this event. But it disappoints me that this was the THIRD time they had filled up - and they still didn't handle it well. I could understand on the first time around, being shocked by the turnout and not being prepared. I might even understand on the second year, having problems. But this was the THIRD year - and if anything, things were far worse than they'd ever been in the past. It is almost to the point that I feel like I should have gotten a portion of my money back, given how long we had waited and how little we actually got out of this festival.

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Boston Anime Festival 2005 Review and Photos

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