Skin-tight leather suits and Pokémon costumes contrasted with the Bostonians shopping in the halls of Prudential Center this weekend as New England’s largest anime convention, Anime Boston, spilled out from the rooms of the Hynes Convention Center.
Anime Boston, held from Friday to Sunday, is the ninth annual Anime Convention put on by the New England Anime Society in the Boston area. Last year, the convention drew nearly 18,000 people to Boston to share their love of all things anime, a Japanese style of animation.
Although the convention center was the main hub of activity, which included live performances, anime accessory dealers, art shows and video screenings, costumed anime enthusiasts permeated beyond Prudential Center to Newbury Street and the rest of the Back Bay.
“You always end up meeting people just like you at the Con, a little nerdy and crazy,” said Katherine Johnson, a Medford native dressed, as a character from the show “Durarara!!” in a freshly pressed white dress shirt, a black bowtie, a black vest and a blonde wig.
“I have to come back to see the people I’ve met in previous years that I won’t see anywhere else,” Johnson said.
Johnson was part of a group of costumed individuals who had met over the Internet connected by their love of the show “Durarara!!”, that gathered in front of the Prudential Mall for an early convention photo shoot in the Friday afternoon sun.
Johnson and other anime enthusiasts slowly filled Boylston Avenue with more costumes as the masses of anime enthusiasts made their way into Boston from all over New England.
Olivia Letters, a Massachusetts College of Art student studying fashion, has been coming to the convention for five years to see friends, join in live performances and shop for anime goods.
“I once saw an obese man with body hair like Gaston wearing a Misty, from Pokémon, costume that was made for someone the size of Misty,” Letters said, while smoking a cigarette in a full-length red gown.
Many of the convention goers, such as Johnson and the group of “Durarara!!” fans, split into different cliques depending on their preferred anime series or game.
Fans of “Kingdom Hearts,” an anime video game, gathered in the Prudential Center’s South Garden Friday evening to evaluate their attempts at recreating the characters from the game.
Patrick Pollard, 16, of Worcester was wearing a full black leather trench coat and had a five-foot-tall wooden sitar he had made himself.
While Zach Senchunk, 16, North Hampton, a friend of Pollard’s from a previous convention, brought along an equally large wooden weapon he had also made himself.
“It’s not an axe, it’s a Claymore,” Senchunk said, correcting a misinformed spectator.
Not everyone was expecting the influx of costumes to the Prudential Center.
Roger, a 68-year-old retired Somerville engineer, said he was surprised by the costumes he saw in the Prudential Mall.
“I hand no idea all these people were going to be here,” Roger said. “It’s not really my cup of tea but they look like they are having fun.”