Anime Boston 2014 Report
JAM Project rocked on at Anime Boston 2014!
This year's Anime Boston was truly a high note for the premier Massachusetts based Japanese pop culture convention as this year's musical guest was none other than the world famous JAM Project! Consisting of some of the most well known artists in the Anime Song (Anison) industry, JAM Project came to rock the Hynes with two high powered concerts full of passion, hot guitar licks, and MOTTO MOTTO!
For myself, the convention was a bittersweet combination of anticipation, excitement, and soreness. I love going to panels and meeting fellow anime enthusiasts, but a necessary evil of the nighttime concerts was a couple of long lines for JAM Project related events. Other than that, I was able to attend some very well put together presentations on subjects like "All the Mecha You'll Ever Need," which recommended some essential giant robot shows and even gave some love to lesser known series like Machine Robo: Revenge of Cronos! I also learned a lot about international ice hockey from, "Japan, Ice Hockey, and the Asia League." One of the more fascinating panels I got to attend was called, "Fight Like a Girl: How Magical Girls Weaponized Femininity" which examined the positive effect of Magical Girl shows and how they show that traditionally "girly" activities can be a source of strength and admiration. Right before attending the Saturday night concert, I went to "Free! Iwatobi Swim Club Panel: We Mock What We Love" which was a loving deconstruction of the hit anime series of the same name. If you haven't watched Free! I highly recommend it as it is one of the most entertaining shows involving group of teenage boys who form a swimming club at their school and are more ripped than Chris Hemsworth. My arms and shoulders were very tired from carrying around two cases with my laptop and cameras but I pressed on to experience the final reward of JAM Project. I apologize if I forgot some details of the Saturday concert as I was pretty tired by that point.
My own panel, "Ride of the Valkyries: A Guide to the Mecha of Macross," was an updated version of the presentation I did last year. Armed with some new information and a little more experience on how to run a panel, I introduced attendees to the fantastic world of military aviation and hopefully showed them that reality is often just as strange as fiction when it comes to airplanes. Many thanks to my friend, Relena Warcraft, for helping film my panel.
Of course my main focus at this convention was getting a chance to see JAM Project! The members of the the Japan Animationsong Makers held a Q&A session where they had a lot of fun talking to the crowd and getting to show their sense of humor despite the language barrier. They generally spoke and performed in the order you see them sitting, starting with Masaaki Endou on the right who is well known for the theme songs to the Gaogaigar and Abaranger. He was the most reserved and mature of the group but got a few good jabs in with some of the questions. Next up was Hiroshi Kitadani, who insisted that we, "call him Danny." When asked what his favorite fruit was, Danny responded in a sultry manner that he really likes "strawberries... sexy strawberries..." In the middle is the female lead vocalist Masami Okui, who is very well known for her work on shows like Revolutionary Girl Utena and Slayers. Her favorite fruit is watermelon (suika) and one of her favorite JAM Project songs is Asu E No Houkou (Roar On To the Future) which is the theme song to Muv-Luv Alternative. Wearing a lovely scarf was Hironbu "Kage-Chan" Kageyama. Despite being the oldest main member of the group, he's extremely jovial and loves to interact with the crowd. He mentioned being very surprised that someone asked him to autograph a copy of anime "classic" M.D. Geist, but had to apologize because he was not performing any songs from it that day. Kage-chan said his favorite fruit was grapefruits despite the fact that he only recently got to try them as they weren't sold in Japan when he was a kid. Last and most certainly not least was Yoshiki Fukuyama, who I know best as the singing voice to Nekki Basara from Macross 7! He's easily the most jovial of the group and loves being a goofball. When asked what his favorite band was he enthusiastically replied "Queen!" but admitted he was a little intimidated when he went to buy his first album. Fukuyama-san never expected to see men wearing tights on the record sleeve! When offered some tights to cosplay as Freddie Mercury he vehemently declined. Also his favorite fruit is pineapple but don't worry, Basara wouldn't die even if you killed him. The band thanked the crowd very much and said they were happy to see so many people singing with them on Friday's concert and hoped it would continue with their solo work show that night. All of them were very pleased with how many foreigners were learning Japanese through song much in the same way they learned English.
JAM Project performed as a group on Friday night but I did not attend that concert. My friends told me it was quite amazing so I gathered my strength to last until 11:00 PM on Saturday so I could enjoy each member performing two songs from some of their notable solo works. Masaaki Endou opened for the group and naturally sang the bravest song of them all with GA-GA-GA! GA-GA-GA! GA-GA-GA GAOGAIGAR! Danny followed up with two One Piece songs and revved up the audience for FIRE BOMBER! I must say as a Macross 7 fan, you haven't lived until you have heard Fukuyama-san singing PLANET DANCE live on stage. During Planet Dance, he shouted, "I WANT TO PLAY GUITAR SO BAD" in English and proceeded to mess with the the backup guitarists and even bite down on the strings of their instruments. During a brief interlude between songs he continued to speak in English as said, "This year is Macross 7 twentieth anniversary! Phew! Nekki Basara got old... I got old..." To lift his spirits, he was presented with a pineapple (!) by someone in the front row. He was so amused and bewildered that he almost said, "I just sang pineapple!" Fukuyama closed out his set with Makka Na Chikai from, Busou Renkin. After that, Masami Okui brought a powerful performance with both a song from Utena and MASK from Bakuretsu Hunters. Finishing off the solo sets was Kage-chan who brought the Shonen Fighting spirit with both SOLDIER DREAM from Saint Seiya and the always popular CHA-LA HEAD CHA-LA from Dragonball Z. At the end, the band got together one more time for an encore performance of SKILL from Super Robot Wars Alpha. After much hot blooded singing, jumping, and MOTTO MOTTO the concert ended with everyone filled with so much joy and anima spiritia. The band once again thanked the audience and hoped to return again!
Danny said, "I'll be back!"
Before I go onto the requisite cosplay pics, I would like to thank the people behind Anime Boston who put a lot of effort into making this happen each and every year. Also I would like to thank the cosplayers who graciously posed for pictures as they're the true convention heroes for walking around hours on end in costume. If you are one of these cosplays, please leave a comment!
This is Nitor Aiichiro from Free! Iwatobi Swim Club.
Amy and Ledo from Gargantia On the Vendrous Planet.
Black Condor from Choujin Sentai Jetman.
The Son of the Sun, Kamen Rider Black RX!
HEY DEADPOOL! IT IS THE DEADPOOL!
Two of my friends as Talho and Holland from Eureka 7.
The Gundam F91!
The Iron Man Mk. XLII!
Kazuhira Miller, who is Big Boss's hetero life mate from Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker.
The famous Hayao Miyazaki who took a break from troll hunting to attend the convention.
Sasha from Attack on Titan! One of a veritable survey corp worth of similarly dressed cosplayers.
Shimakaze and Rensouhou-chan from Kantai Collection.
Some Stigs are blurrier than others and drive a Toyota...
Thomas Bangalter from Daft Punk!
And that one weirdo that keeps popping up everywhere.
And so that concludes my coverage of Anime Boston 2014! Perhaps my most lasting memory of this event will be my copy of the PS3 game Macross 30 as I managed to get it signed by Yoshiki Fukuyama! When I handed him the insert, he did a double take as he was surprised to see so much Macross love! During the Q&A session, Fukuyama-san said that if you want to watch a show about a true artist then you should watch Macross 7. That is the best endorsement any show could ever receive.
Until next year... BOMBER!
|Posted 24 March, 2014 - 09:57 by VF5SS|