Anime Boston 2016 happens this weekend at the Hynes Convention Center starting Friday March 25th and this year’s theme is “Field Day”, inspired by an annual intramural competition event that often occurs in Japanese schools. Anime Boston previously had a general “sports” theme for 2005 and so did Fanime in 2012 but both conventions lacked significant programming around that theme in those particular years. The convention’s official YouTube channel has a number of videos showing its mascots (A-chan and B-kun) participating in various activities, some in wackier ways than others.
I counted at least ten different sporting-related panels & programming items on this year’s schedule — I’ve listed them below with scheduled times, descriptions, and locations — and there will likely be a number of cosplayers and fan artists showing their love for recent series involving fictional athletes. I hope those planning to attend the convention have a safe and fun time there and in the general Boston area!
Friday, March 25th:
10am-11am – Legends of the Street: The Roots of Racing Anime & Manga (Panel 208)
Fast cars, winding mountain roads, hot tempers, blistering straightaways, bitter rivalries, friendships and grudges; racing anime/manga like Initial D, Wangan Midnight, and Shakotan Boogie have all of these. But do you know their roots in the real life Japanese street racing scene? Come and bask in the rich history of Japan’s legit and underground racing and tuning culture, and get familiar with the media it inspired—and which have reshaped it in turn, and have now spread across the world as the “JDM” phenomenon. Don’t miss it!
10am-11am – On Your Mark (Video 311 Fan Track)
A collection of AMVs revolving around sports.
10:30am-11:30am – Haikyuu!!: How to Volleyball (Panel C)
Are you looking to become the “King of the Court”? Get ready to pass, toss, and hit in this action-packed workshop! Whether you’re a fan of Haikyuu!! who wants to learn more about volleyball or a cosplayer who wants to learn good poses, come check out this panel! Bring along a volleyball if you have one!
12:30pm-1:30pm – Tankery 101: The weapons and world of Girls Und Panzer (Panel 202)
Do you find Baseball boring? Football not combative enough for you? Does driving an armored fighting vehicle in a highschool competition sound like fun? Are you ready for a real WOMAN’S sport? If the answer is yes then this is the panel for you! Join us as we explore the tanks, technology, and world of Girls Und Panzer!
4:30pm-5:30pm – The Three Pillars of Sports Anime and their Counterparts (Panel 306)
Sports Anime has been on the rise in recent years. In particular this panel will explore the three pillars of the sports anime genre: Major, Slam Dunk and The Prince of Tennis and their counterparts. The panel will further explore the effects that these animes and their counter parts have on the current sports themed anime.
Saturday, March 26th:
2:30pm-3:30pm – Japan, Ice Hockey, and the Asian League (Panel Constitution 2)
Welcome to a look inside the world of Ice Hockey as it pertains to Japan. From its origins as an imported sport from Canada, to modern times with the Japan Ice Hockey League and its current successor the Asia league Ice Hockey Pro league. Also included would be a look at Japan’s national team, notable players of Japanese descent playing in North America, and the recent success of the national women’s team.
5pm-6pm – Japanese Pro Wrestling: NJPW vs. DG (Panel 206)
New Japan Pro Wrestling and Dragon Gate are indisputably the two most popular wrestling promotions in Japan. Both promotions are very different- New Japan focuses more on serious wrestling presented as a sport, while the lucha-inspired Dragon Gate has much more comedic elements- but at the same time, there are some big similarities too. With both promotions growing in popularity in America as well, we’ll compare and contrast them in an effort to discuss what makes them so unique. And of course we’ll air highlights of recent matches so you can get a feel for what makes them so great! Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of Japanese wrestling or a total novice, come check out some of the best, most athletic action in the world today!
6:30pm-7:30pm – Japanese Car Culture, Anime, And the Art of the Drift (The Fens)
Before life was lived a quarter mile at a time, before the sightings of the ghost of Mount Akina, there was a culture of man and machine in Japan that rivaled anything seen in the west. From the very beginning of anime flashy and fast cars have found their way into anime and pop culture. Join us as we look at the history of the Japanese car scene, its progression and its worldwide legacy. We will look into the aspects of tuning culture that are uniquely Japanese, as well as things that have spread globally. We will also be exploring some of the many ties that car culture has had to anime (from the action hero in the awesome car to actual racing anime) and how the love of the automobile shines in popular art and media.
8pm-9pm – Gambatte! Sports in Manga (Panel 206)
While many otaku find playing sports to be an unsettling thing, reading about it is something completely different. So Join Xan of the Spiraken Manga Review as he shows you the best and most creative sports manga that have been released. From Ashita no Joe, Prince of Tennis and even Slam Dunk, we cover it all.
10pm-11pm – Princess Nine: Women, Baseball, and Heartaches (Panel 310)
Princess Nine is an obscure sports anime series that’s released during the anime craze. Learn more about their baseball culture and their struggles to make it in the big league.