by Bamboo Dong,
Registration was a breeze as well, with everything being handled in the Sheraton adjacent to the convention center. Although lines were the busiest Friday morning and Saturday morning, for the most part, the experience was streamlined and efficient, even when the hotel held a mock fire drill.
Conveniently, the convention center also provided free Wi-Fi, and although the connection was spotty at times, it offered fans a good chance to connect with others online, and to blog about their activities. This is especially welcome, considering that at most conventions around the country, wireless internet comes at a very high premium. Other conveniences included several hand sanitizing stations, part of a statewide push to curtail the spread of wintertime illnesses. For fans who have ever experienced the dreaded “con bug,” this was a welcome amenity.
The first day of the convention was lacking in industry panels, but fans still had seven rooms of fan-run panels to choose from, with choices ranging from “The ‘How to Run A Panel’ Panel,” and “Swordsmanship Around the World,” to “The Swastika in Anime and You or: Why Cosplaying as a Nazi is Not Cool.”
For those seeking something a little more artistic, Friday evening saw the performance of the Video Game Orchestra, a project started by Berklee College of Music grad Shota Nakama, whose alma mater is fittingly, only a few blocks down the street from the convention center. With almost 100 members, the symphony wowed the audience with renditions of classic game music, ranging from Super Mario to Final Fantasy to Castlevania.
Later on that evening was the first chance for fans to sit down for the AMV Contest. For early sleepers, an encore performance would be shown the next morning, but the room was very well-attended for this traditional event.
The dealer room spread out over two large halls this weekend, with consumerables ranging from t-shirts to accessories, to plush toys, to manga and doujinshi, to collectibles and figurines. There were also several booths selling gothic lolita clothing, cosplay costumes, and cosplay accessories. Notably, though, there was a marked dearth of industry presence, with the exception of Funimation Entertainment. Fans looking to buy DVDs and boxsets from the company had to wait until Saturday afternoon, though, as a shipping snafu prevented the booth from stocking any product earlier. Section23, formerly ADV Films, also had a booth, though their space consisted only of two tables with a modest amount of DVDs for sale.
Check out photos from the exhibition hall!
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