Review: Taiyou Con 2016
Last year I made a pledge to visit as many geeky conventions Arizona had to offer and that is exactly what I did! It was fun, expensive, inspiring, and all around a great time. Unfortunately, I made that vow after Phoenix Comicon, so there was an entire half a year of conventions I missed! Taiyou Con was one of these conventions and so I was excited to attend!
Here is my review of the convention!
It was held at the Mesa convention center, the same location as Game On Expo and Comic Media Expo, which is a building that is nice, well kept and comes with plenty of space for activities. The bathrooms were wonderful, which is a weird aspect of the convention to bring up but to be honest, bathrooms are a big deal for me because when nature calls you don’t want to wait in line and I never did, even during the busiest of times. There were quite a few stalls, even more urinals, and a good amount of hand washing stations. Although I stuck to the men’s restroom, I’m sure the women’s bathroom came with the standard flat screen tv, couch, and advanced screening of various awesome films(I made a funny).
The vendor hall had a good amount of space for vendors and con goers alike. Panels were held in separate rooms with one of them being on the vendor floor. Having it in such a public place made it slightly awkward yet attracted a large crowd due to being in the thick of the convention.
Only drawback I felt was that the amount of people traveling through halls had to make themselves as small as possible in order to not get pushed by folks traveling to and from, I personally felt rude stopping at booths because I would block the hall and tried my best to chat and leave without holding up foot traffic too long (Especially the more bulky cosplayers). Opening up another area to help spread out vendors could have allowed for larger path ways making it more convenient for shopping.
The food made available was standard convention hot dogs, hamburgers and so on which will give you what you need for a price. It’s not the worst food and definitely saved me when I lost track of time and found myself starving. When it came to drinks, the options were either going to the hotel located next to the convention center or traveling to another establishment, which isn’t too bad at all.
Having a food truck or two placed in the parking lot would have been incredible and I hope they include it for next year but their food situation was good enough quality to get hungry con goers through the weekend.
When it comes to the staff of Taiyou Con I have mixed feelings unfortunately. I arrived on Saturday at the convention bright and early, the announcement came over the loudspeaker that registration was open and lines began to form. I came over and asked about my reserved media passes, the few staff that were helping out other folks looked stunned at my request, they scrambled and informed me that they were unable to give me a media pass due to circumstances of a unprofessional nature beyond their control that dealt with higher powers of the convention.
I waited forty minutes for passes for my photographer and I, which will not affect my review because it was only media who were affected, everyone else was assisted quickly and efficiently. The staff worked hard to help out, even if they didn’t cause the issues and for that I give them all the praise.
Even when they began accepting registration passes they realized almost none of them had Square(A device which allows for card payments on mobile devices) or the login information for those paying with cards. I unfortunately heard too much of their conversation and felt both sympathy for the poor souls who had to power through this and also annoyance by whoever was in management that they didn’t have this taken care of before they began accepting payments.
Again, everyone I encountered that was staff was all around wonderful but whoever manages Taiyou Con needs to tighten the screws just a bit to ensure their staff has all the tools they need to do their jobs.
The guests at Taiyou Con were fantastic! Chris Sabat, Sean Schemmel, Mega Ran, Lotus Juice, and so many other incredible entertainers! I honestly had no idea about the amount of star power they had this year and was pleasantly surprised.
Anime Trash Swag was another awesome guest vendor that came to sell their incredible goods! If you are not familiar with Anime Trash Swag, they sell a variety of Anime themed clothing that are all around pretty dope. They are wonderful folks who are skilled merchants that almost got me to buy their Saitama covered hoodie which is shown in the above photo.
Darling Army made one of her first appearances in the Phoenix Convention scene with her assortments of geeky dresses! We were actually able to interview her on her and her products last year. She was incredibly kind and her products were even more wonderful in person. I highly recommend checking out her wares online!
I have to add another line about Mega Ran, he is one of my all time favorite Nerd core rappers and was shocked he was making an appearance at Taiyou Con. I have to give Taiyou Con props for their taste in musical guests because they picked wonderful artists. Everyone who I talked to who attended his performance raved about it.
Taiyou Con was a great convention to attend, my friends and I had a wonderful time and loved the vendors, cosplayers, fellow con goers, and all of the guests. Although there were a few mishaps, the amount of awesome aspects of the event greatly out weighed the bad. If the management of Taiyou Con are reading this, thank you for giving us passes to your event, we can not wait for the next one but please take more care in the set up process for future events.
Best cosplay at the convention:
Group cosplay + On point poses + Great Costumes + Super friendly guys!