Looking Back on Anime Boston 2023

Normally when I write about my experiences at a past weekend’s convention I only talk about how much fun I had and how great it was to meet everyone and the great gratitude I felt towards everyone that came out to see me.

This past Anime Boston had all of that, no question. The attendees who came by and the staff who helped me out were all spectacular, as usual. Anime Boston is a show that’s near-and-dear to my heart and my weekend there was a great start to kick off my 2023 season of shows. Much love to all returning readers who said hi, a warm welcome to anyone who discovered me and gave my books a chance, and a huge thank you to the crew of the Artist Alley who always make me feel like I’m coming home.

There are two other things I want to talk about, and maybe this is just a sign of my getting old while conventions are geared more towards a younger crowd. These things I’m going to bring up are not exclusive to my past weekend at Anime Boston, as I’ve encountered them at other shows in the past, but I feel like they’re worth mentioning.

Anime Boston is one of a handful of shows that keeps very, very long hours for its Artist Alley. Friday and Saturday had 12 hour shifts. And for what it’s worth, it seemed warranted. The Artist Alley always felt busy, whether it was stuffed shoulder-to-shoulder with people or had a moderate crowd milling about, the Alley never felt dead to the point where being open felt pointless, even close to 10pm. At least for me, those marathon hours are draining, and I’m fortunate that I was in a position to take a day off yesterday to simply recover. Shorter hours can light a fuse under attendees’ butts, and give artists much-needed to time to relax and find food at reasonable hours.

Announcements in large exhibit halls at convention centers are important. If someone has lost a wallet or can’t find friends/family, it’s vital to reach as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Loudspeaker announcements are efficient for getting everyone’s attention at once. But sometimes people who get a microphone can get carried away and use the loudspeakers to tell jokes or attempt to be funny. And I get it. The occasional loudspeaker announcement that gets a chuckle across a show floor can provide a nice bit of levity. But sometimes, someone with a microphone gets carried away and proceeds to get on the loudspeaker every 2-5 minutes for things like “ATTENTION, ATTENDEES! ATTENTION, ARTISTS! YOU JUST LOST THE GAME!” Stuff like that interrupts artists/vendors trying to have conversations and, you know, make sales to pay for our tables. I don’t care how comfortable a public speaker you are, you can’t compete with the volume of a convention center loudspeaker.

But maybe these are the gripes of an aging nerd. Long convention hours and random loudspeaker announcements seemed to suit many of the attendees and my Artist Alley neighbors.

Anime Boston was a great time, no doubt. I had a blast this past weekend, as I do every year, and I look forward to going back next year. I always love seeing folks in person, and can’t wait to head off to more places in 2023.

Though don’t be surprised if you see me with earplugs and a pillow at the next show.