Anime Boston takes over Hynes Convention Center
Will Quach lowered his 6-foot-long sword from his armored shoulders after stepping off the escalator at the Hynes Convention Center on Saturday to make sure that the tip of the wood-and-foam weapon hadn’t been damaged by the low ceiling.
After inspecting the silver-painted blade that he had spent months assembling at his home in Canton, Quach, 28, decided that everything looked OK.
He wanted the weapon in mint condition. Because at Anime Boston, a three-day soiree that draws anime and comic book fans from all over the country to Boylston Street, having an immaculate costume and accompanying props is as important as attending the event itself.
“You want to be your favorite character that’s a hero,” said Quach, who was dressed as Cloud Strife, from the video game “Final Fantasy VII.” “You want to portray someone that’s from your favorite series or anime, and that makes you feel good.”
Quach was one of thousands of costumed revelers who went to the convention center for the annual Anime Boston weekend, which is in its 14th year. Anime is a type of animation style that began in Japan.
The convention features panel discussions, contests, guest speakers, a charity ball, and video screenings — not to mention a chance for fans of the niche genre to come together and share their passion.
“It’s a broad group that’s attracted,” said Victor Lee, the event’s chairman. “People love dressing up, showing off their skills, and taking pictures. One of the things we pride ourselves on is building a family with our attendees.”
About 27,000 people had registered for this year’s event, which gives the city a roughly $13 million economic boost, according to officials from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.
“There is some solid economic impact,” said Jim Rooney, the chamber’s chief executive. “And beyond that, it’s a fun event.”
Outside the convention center, a line of people wearing colored wigs, wings, furry tails, and handmade costumes stretched around the block.
Jesse Warren, 27, came lurching around the corner decked out in a gold-painted, cardboard and thermoplastic costume of Nunu Bot, a character from the video game “League of Legends.”
Warren couldn’t step five feet without someone asking for a picture, but he didn’t mind the attention. The enthusiasm from event-goers is part of Anime Boston’s charm.
“It allows people who are passionate about video games, cartoons, and anime to really express their passion by putting it into craftsmanship,” he said. “That’s one thing I love.”
Inside the building, it was just as crowded. Attendees’ props banged into those hoisted by others passing by, as masked or face-painted fans of the anime and comic book culture weaved through the crowds and greeted their friends.
Standing in the second-floor lobby, wearing a pink frilly dress and boots with pink bows, Katelyn Rivela said the event — and costumes — make her feel connected to strangers.
“This interest isn’t too common,” she said, as she thanked a passerby who commented on her costume of Nui, from “Kill La Kill,” an anime television series. “So it’s great to come together, and geek-out all together.”