Another Amazing Weekend: Another Anime Con 2023

In 2023, we’re experiencing a resurgence of anime conventions; new events appear but ongoing events also continue to expand their reach. Another Anime Con may be well, another convention by its name, but is far more than that. 

It’s been ages since I attended a New England-based convention, with my last con being Magfest about five years prior. I only attended larger scale New England Cons and didn’t know what to expect.

DJ RanmaS wanted me to come along–he reached out to me with the offer to go. I was rather tired of being in my neck of the woods, and being in Massachusetts was legitimately a breath of fresh air. 

Ari picked me up at 11 on Day 0. We picked up Ranma at noon and began our adventure to AAC to the energetic beat of D4DJ and Bang Dream Covers, and to the gorgeous scenery of Autumn leaves falling. 

We arrived around dinner time, and got settled in the usual Day 0 fashion. Ranma gave me a tour of the convention center while Ari got rest and relaxation after the long drive. 

I had dinner at a Poke Bowl joint with Ranma that was a very quick walk. I mention this frequently in my con reports, but the food options were so convenient. Five Guys, a grocery store, and Panera are a few of the many choices. A smorgasbord if you will. 

Getting our press badges was very easy. The con’s badges had an attachment to put them on your clothing rather than a lanyard; I thought this was a cool choice! For next year, 

I attended Pumpkin Decorating to wrap up Day 0: activities are also another increasingly common occurrence before the main event and quite fun! Attendees had the option to purchase a pumpkin but it was recommended to bring your own pumpkin to decorate. We had dozens of paints to choose from. 

On the first day of the convention, I got a better understanding of the convention layout. The con went into full swing at 2p.m. Exhibit Hall Vendors were put into three separate areas of the con. This decision minimized traffic and also spread out vendors to help with visibility of their wares. 

The vendors at Gartisan Works held a cosplay repair station at their booth. Prominent signage throughout the convention promoted repairs for attendees. The vendor from this booth who helped me was very kind and patient–thank you! 

I continued the trend of attending crafting panels on day one by decorating a ‘fairy lantern.’ This was run by the same panelist as the Thursday pumpkin event. We all got to choose mason jars, cottage core  themed stickers, and after we completed our decorations, the panelist put glitter on our crafts. We even were able to get a small, electronic candle to put in the jar to complete the look! 

I also attended an Ice Breaker Panel, which is made for attendees to make friends, whether they’re new or veterans to the con scene. The host of the panel, one of the vendors from Gartisan Works, gave us prompts to answer as we all introduced ourselves. Our group then dispersed into pairs, which we rotated.I felt exhausted by this point but loved this panel! I can tell that the panel host had experience in teaching or a related field. 

Day One came to a relaxing close with Diners Drive In’s and Dives, a tradition for Anime Jam Session. 

As Day Two began, I began to realize that our weekend was almost half-way through! But that still left plenty of time to explore the con and enjoy events.

 I looked forward to the swap meet. The convention had a tent outside of the hotel and some events took place there, including the yard sale on day three. I was happy to see the con went all out when preparing for the meet! Foldable tables, table cloths, and, chairs were given to us. 

A huge drawback of the swap meet was confusion on rules. ln cons I went to in the past , swap meets are for trading of goods at cons and were very casual, with attendees sitting around and doing exchanges. Money is not swapped, but the merch is. 

  I was really confused about cash being a common exchange: I don’t typically carry cash.  becoming a lot more common.

I brought items over and read the panel description, but it didn’t mention being prepared with cash or other payment options. 

This was the first swap meet. Even with the confusion when it came to rules, the concept of this swap meet was really creative and innovative. For next year, I think the idea can be built on with further guidelines to make it even better.

I looked forward to the Jasper Jax Panel as an avid dog owner. Jasper makes appearances at AAC. I share a very close bond with my own dog and petting Jasper Jax was a very delightful bonus! The panelist shared her story and patiently answered questions. I related to having a pet as a companion. 

I helped film the Guest Q+A panel featuring  Dani Chambers, Barry Yandell, Spencer Lilies, and Jim Foronda. Although the event held a small group of attendees, Barry’s charisma energized the crowd and  built engagement. 

At first, attendees came up to the microphone to answer questions. Barry eventually walked into the audience to encourage even the shyest  folks  in the audience to participate. 

The attendees were able to ask multiple questions. Some questions were traditional, such as a voice actor’s favorite role. Random questions are always a delight to hear, especially the one about my favorite type of cupcakes. Dani Chambers is so wholesome and I liked hearing how passionate she was about her favorite roles. Spencer Lilie’s background in radio was great to learn about and we got to briefly hear him talk in a Mid-Atlantic Accent. 

Jim Foronda also had a really inspirational background by working in commercials at Hasbro during the earlier part of his career. He was able to use what he learned at Hasbro to be where he is today.

The masquerade began shortly after the Guest Q+A. I did see cosplayers a little prior and could feel some of their excitement and nerves in the air itself. But I saw how much cosplayers supported each other by their performances alone. 

AAC’s masquerade was tell-rounded in terms of walk-ons, types of skits (singing, dance, etc), and perfect length. The M.C. was excellent and kept the audience going in an overall steady flow. The cosplays were stunning and really liked to see the performers support each other: it was so wholesome. 

Something was nostalgic about the masquerade with the variety of skits. I feel that cons might be going in a different direction with skits overall. Much like other cons, AAC offers a show for idol cosplayers to shine! 

The only suggestion I have is to give time for a  group picture of all of the participants! It’d make a really lovely shot for them to remember their time at the masquerade. 

On Sunday, the con slowly began to wind down. I went to the Yard Sale at the tent. The Yard Sale had awesome prizes with gently used merch from attendees. I got a Kirby plush for just $3 and a ramen bowl for $7. 

I went to the Tea Panel, feeling quite satisfied.  Loose leaf tea was brewed in a small panel room and a chill image of Uncle lroh was on screen along with chill instrumental remixes of Avatar songs, including Leaves on The Vine. Attendees all eagerly got their tea and relaxed! 

I packed up my luggage between panels, as I had one final panel to help Ranma cover. The voice actor, Barry Yandell, shared his experience with mental health. The panel had a theme of destigmatizing mental illness; attendees had the chance to share their own struggles. With permission from the panelist, I filmed this panel. Although the panel does get very raw in terms of subject matter, it is an important conversation to be had for people so they do not feel alone in their struggles.

We left and the sun eventually set. We saw the leaves continue to fall in gorgeous colors. We hit traffic but being together with my friends made me…not mind the ride being a little longer. I feel right asleep, memories of this event, the fun, the bittersweet, the wholesome, fond memories all, in my head. A conglomerate of exciting notes and bullet points that would soon become this very story! 

Thank you so much for reading!



CinnaKnight has been in the convention-scene for over a decade! C.K. runs on candy, coffee, and sometimes ...chaos! She's an avid writer, foodie, and a big fan of the Kirby franchise. She will also remind you to hydrate and almost always has safety pins and Advil handy.

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