Saboten Con Continues to Be Fantastic!
I have attended Saboten Con for four years now and it continues to be such a fantastic event. This year was no different as they made some changes that helped and allowed certain rules to stand despite the convention culture changing around them. Let’s jump right into the review and talk about everything!
Saboten has been at the Sheraton located in downtown Phoenix for the past few years and again this year. They have also confirmed they are to stay in the same venue for the following year. In the Sheraton, the convention is split into three floors. The first floor is the lobby where registration, security check, and the bars are. The second floor contains major panel rooms and the gaming area. The third floor contains the exhibitor hall and the photo op areas.
One of the main concerns for convention goers was that the exhibitor hall was either too light or too packed. Last year, for example, the vendor hall was packed to the brim with so many incredible vendors that it also made it difficult to navigate the small aisles. This year they reduced the amount of vendors while still maintaining a healthy amount of booths. Everyone had enough room to move around while getting to browse a lot of really great artists and cosplayers!
Saboten Con is beloved by many in the Arizona community and brings out the best in costumers. Local legends such as Amber Skies, Lunar Lyn, Khainsaw, Q-Ki, Lindsey Elyse, Heartless Aquarius, and so many more! They rocked the scene by debuting their costumes from various anime series such as Black Butler, Gurren Lagann, Sailor Moon and more!
The cosplay guests for the event were D-Piddy, Enji Night, Sweets4aSweet Cosplay, K Cosplay, Green Jello Cosplay and more! An aspect that always blows me away about Saboten is their ability to bring international cosplayers to their event. I have loved and adored Enji Night and K Cosplay for so long and they were there. At one point I was setting in the bar at the Sheraton sharing drinks and conversations casually with a ton of the mentioned guests, everyone was in such good spirits and the vibe was golden.
The events at Saboten always bring a crowd and it was no different this year as they had Jo Stars play a ton of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure theme songs, D-Piddy wandered around the con doing various skits with folks who had no idea what was happening, and tons of fantastic bands played all night long! The cosplay masquerade blew a ton of folks away with some of the skits performed by Lunar Lyn, Nyunyucosplay, Ryokoandyami, Jesters Labyrinth Cosplay, Princessofherworld, Kittyprincesskie and friends that featured epic battles for friendship with a twist, and Peachgirl Cosplay and friends being Overwatch magical girls. My favorite skit of the night was of two brothers fighting over how to become famous and then rocking the stage with a full on dance performance with back up dancers.
These events were so varied that everyone had something they could attend and be entertained! Even the humble cosplay meet ups were a blast!
The staff for Saboten are always top notch in customer service, kindness, and efficiency. This year was no different for myself and my staff along with a majority of the other attendees. Security checks were brief but thorough enough to prevent any major weapons or harmful items. Their lack of a prop ban was refreshing as most conventions have converted to denying entry for folks with props that resemble weapons too closely or could inflict bodily harm including items such as staves or even light sabers. While a prop ban could be understandable considering past conventions, it was nice to watch cosplayers run around with their oversized foam swords and plastic laser rifles.
The one concerning incident that reached my ears was a situation where a cosplayer’s skirt got caught in an escalator that attempted to pull it off while the cosplayer tried desperately to yank it free. The cosplayer and her friends shouted for help from the con staff who stared at them from below and although they heard the request to hit the emergency stop button, they stood and did nothing. Only after one of her friends raced down and slammed the button herself was the situation resolved. It was an odd occurrence and although the entire situation might have taken place in the matter of a few seconds, I feel as though the staff should have cautioned on the side of error by stopping the escalator first and asking questions later.
Thankfully no one was hurt, the cosplayer was able to remove her garment once the escalator was stopped, and everything was fine. I’d recommend a bit more training or reinforcing proper reactions to distress that way, god forbid, if a situation was more serious the staff would jump to action faster. But this was literally the only bad event I heard taking place all weekend, the rest was pretty smooth sailing and good times!
We love Saboten Con and encourage everyone to attend the con at least once because there is so much love and care that goes into it! Everything from the incredible guests to the events and the venue are unique to their convention. The entire experience is refreshing and such a great change from every other convention in Arizona. With the new prop ban sweeping a number of venues, Saboten is among the few who stand by props thanks to their location at the Sheraton. The reports showed that their attendance exceeded last year’s show, and I am curious how they will handle the growth when the amount of people overwhelms the hotel. Thankfully that was not the case this year but given how fantastic they are, it may be drawing close.