Anime is such a unique medium because it attracts such a diverse audience. No where is that more prevalent than an anime convention and my weekend at Taiyou Con reinforces that notion. Taiyou Con held its sixth convention this past weekend in Mesa and I attended for the first time to see what it was all about! What made me want to attend were the two voice actors from Dragon Ball Z: Christopher Sabat and Sean Schemmel. The two talked about their characters, the screaming and the toll it takes on their voice, and funny stories from the recording.
Other guest panels I attended were Kappei Yamaguchi, a very popular Japanese voice actor who has been a ton of popular anime titles such as Ranma 1/2, One Piece, Deathnote. I wasn’t that familiar with his actual working going into the panel but you gain a certain appreciation seeing how passionate the audience was for his work. The same can be said for Yuu Asakawa, also a Japanese voice actress that who has done many different anime and video games.
The last guest panel I attended was Erin Fitzgerald and Valerie Arem, two voice actresses that have worked many popular cartoons, video games, and anime. This one was pretty interesting as they delved into what it takes to be a voice actor, techniques that voice actors use, and even had a few audience members try their hand at voice acting.
Taiyou Con was also FILLED with cosplay. I opted not to take any cosplay photos because 1)Majority of the costumes I had no clue what they were, I’m not well versed in anime. 2) So many cosplayers looked really young, I didn’t want to look like the creepy guy taking pictures. I honestly should bring a photographer with me to anime conventions just for that reason. The convention was held in two of three buildings at the Mesa Convention Center as well as some of the ballrooms at the adjacent Marriott Hotel. There you could find anime being played into the late night, a gaming room, and more panels.
Attendance was pretty decent, the hallways were always full, the vendor hall busy and brimming with good vibes, and photo shoots were happening every which way. Speaking of the vendor hall, that was a bit of a let down for me as many of the vendor were selling much of the same merchandise, some more variety would have been nice. What I did enjoy was the variety in programming from concerts, anime lip syncing, a masquerade, and plenty of panels.
Would I go again? If they had guests that interested then yes, I would. As someone who isn’t huge into anime, a con has to have some worthwhile guests and Taiyou Con had just that this year. I took a few videos which are on my youtube (I highly suggest subscribing so I know you guys like them!) which you can find HERE.
Next con is Amazing Arizona Comic Con in just a few weeks, see you then!