Out: Saturday Dance at Anime Boston

Bespa Kumamero

Every year, teenage otaku from all over New England swarm the Hynes Convention Center for Anime Boston, an orgy of Japanese anime, manga, and video games (or pretty much anything involving adorable characters with enormous leaky eyes) that prides itself on being the largest anime convention in the Northeast. (Check out Maddy Myers's trip report here, complete with a video of the madness.)

On Saturday, I arrive just in time for the “Informal Dance,” a sweaty PG rave in the adjoining Sheraton Grand Ballroom. On stage, DJs ILP and Binary spin DnB and psy-trance, flanked by two gigantic screens showing swirling yin-yangs. As I scope out a cluster of kids in fluffy yeti boots swinging glowsticks and LED batons, I feel as if I’ve stumbled into a wormhole to an alternate-universe ’90s. A grey-bearded dude saunters past; he’s sporting a Pikachu hat with pathetically wilted ears and brandishing a digital camera. It’s disturbing to watch Uncle Creepy–san film the heaving sea of gyrating kids on the dance floor, but at least it means I’m not the oldest person in the room.

From the periphery, I glimpse a pink-wigged girl freak-dancing with a guy wearing a Naruto robe and a huge shit-eating grin while two ectomorphs in Guy Fawkes masks stomp along to a happy hardcore track. A mom wanders in with her daughter, who can’t be more than eight years old; the girl is utterly mesmerized. Nearby, a gaggle of corseted girls bust out some kind of elaborate Chinese-jump-rope-style dance move. Admiring their chops, a kid next to me advises his pal, “When in doubt, DDR.”

Suddenly, the lights on stage flash red and out come Bespa Kumamero — an industrial techno duo “all the way from Tokyo, Japan.” The crowd goes apeshit. As hundreds of fist-pumping anime fans pogo along to “Girl & Bunny” (which sounds a little like a mash-up of Madonna and the Aladdin video-game soundtrack), I swear I can feel the floor sway.

The energy is infectious, and the rubbernecking’s top-notch, but gawking at high-schoolers from the sidelines and scribbling furtive notes about them is starting to make me feel like a narc. Right around the time Creepy-san switches out his Pikachu cap for little green satin cat ears, I decide it’s time to bounce. The lobby outside the ballroom is littered with messenger bags, plushie backpacks, and cheerfully bedraggled congoers — the hallmarks of another successful Anime Boston.

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