(My con video from TaiyouCon 2013)
The first weekend of 2013 bought out 10 different cons spread out in the United States. This year, I decided to check out Taiyou Con, a pretty new anime convention located at a Hilton in Mesa, AZ. Personally, I’ve only driven through the state and done layovers at their airport so pretty curious to see how cons are like in Arizona. Gackto help paved the way to getting me to there. Gackto is a cosplayer/photographer whom I met at different cons across the country – perhaps you seen him around ?
I first heard of this con through this video “a mini Japan” I found on Youtube. It was pretty bad. But so bad it was hilarious. Hilariously funny bad. See for yourself !
- More + photos after the jump -
(Map on the back of badge, yay !)
TaiyouCon has been on the scene since 2011 – so it is a new kid on the block. The con is hosted at the Hilton Phoenix East – funny enough, I was at another Hilton for Ikkicon last week. The con is laid out pretty easily. Everything is on one floor. Pretty awesome is the fact a map of the con is on the back of the badge ! Definitely helpful ! Wanna know where Fiesta Room is ? Look on the back ! How about bathrooms ? Look on the back ! More cons should seriously do this – though for the super big cons, it probably is difficult to squeeze all the info on the back of the badge.
Attendance numbers I could find says around 1,500. I’m terrible at guessing numbers but I will say that in about 2 years or so, they may have to move venues. At times it felt packed but not San Diego Comic Con packed.
Guests at this con : Sonny Strait, Christina Vee, Tristen Citrine, Chris Guerrero, Maridah and Lauren Landa. I had the chance to meet Tristen back at Cos & Effect in Vancouver last year. Chris Guerrero, I got to know at a room party during the con and met Sonny & Christina on the way back to the airport. Maridah, I’ve known for years – she’s in my first book.
(Atrium where Artist Alley is. Early AM)
Artist Alley takes up a big chunk of the con. It circles the atrium of the hotel and there’s a bar right in the middle in case you need some refreshments. About 45 artists were registered and at times, AA was pretty dang packed. The panel rooms were lined up on one side of the atrium as well as the gaming room hosted by AZHP.
Panels include Yaoi Pajama Party to Figuring Drawing Q&As to Bronies : The Fandom. Pretty much panels you may see at every con … and yes, there was a Homestuck panel too
The dealer hall was at the far end of the hotel and I admit, it is tiny compared to ones I’ve been to. I believe there was around 10 vendors there. If you are looking for vendor stuff, this con won’t have enough but if you’re looking for local artist stuff – this place definitely is the place !
Other things that annoyed me : when it get dark, the atrium lighting is that sickly yellow parking garage light that just is blah. Not the fault of the con but just kinda annoys me. Another thing I’ve seen at other cons and hope they do here is t-shirts for the volunteers so you can tell who they are. At times, I wasn’t sure who was who.
I spend most of my time talking to people. The best thing about smaller cons is I just have more time to talk. If you catch me at a bigger show like Otakon or Anime Expo, I have to limit my chats to around 5 minutes. Here I could chat for half a hour and it’s totally fine. The one thing I picked up was the folks here are really nice. Surprisingly nice. Don’t get me wrong, folks at anime cons in general tend to be open but here, maybe because it is such a tight-knit community, everyone seems to know everyone else. Staffers from other cons are either working at this con or hanging out at this con.
My artist alley neighbor Anabel Martinez was one of the sweetest folks I’ve met. She and her friend Joe from Phoenix Comicon (apparently he’s just known as Joe from PCC ???) took me and another friend to check out Gotham City Comics & Coffee as well as a bar called Monsterland. Also finally had a chance to meet Almost Focused, a local cosplay photographer here in AZ. Met some of the gals of Banzai Productions, saw Jessica Nigri as well as Aicosu whom I met before at another con plus a ton of other people.
( More derptastic photos can be found at instagram.com/cosplayamerica)
Cosplay-wise,you’ll get everything under the sun here. I was surprised at the amount of cosplay that caught my eye. Some standout ones are Ren & Len (Victorian version ?), Homestuck maids, Sergeant Calhoun + Fix It Felix, Gambit, Zack Brannigan and Kip but there was so much to see and I missed a lot. Surprisingly you would figure you catch everything because of the size of the con but looking online afterwards, I’m scratching my head and going how did I miss that ?!? As usual, Jack Frost is turning out to be a big trend. So maybe around 8 as well as a male Jack Frost cosplayer. Even saw a Lady Gaga cosplayer – something I haven’t seen in a while.
Would I recommend this con ? Definitely if you live locally – locally meaning about 3 hour drive. I’m planning to come back to Phoenix. the two other cons I like to check out is SabotenCon and Phoenix Comicon. Should you travel in from out of state for this con ? Surprisingly I’ve met a few folks not from Arizona at this con. I probably say if you have friends who live in Phoenix, come on out to visit them and while here, go to a con !
In two weeks I’ll be in New Jersey for Cosplay in America exhibition at Kean University. Full details here. If you enjoy what I do, please support me by purchasing through the links to the right top (underneath the instagram/twitter feed). Currently I’m an affiliate with B&H Photo, J-List, Amazon and Borrow Lens. I get a small percentage of whatever you purchase if you go through my links.