2018 is nearly here and with that comes Taiyou Con, one of the premiere conventions in Mesa. For the uninformed, Taiyou Con is an anime convention that celebrates popular Japanese animation as well as manga, video games, cosplay, and more. Here’s what you need to know!

When and Where: Taiyou Con takes place at the Mesa Convention Center as well as the neighboring Marriott hotel on January 5 – 7, 2018.

Guests: Taiyou Con is headlined by Robbie Daymond (the voice of Spider-Man in Marvel’s Spider-Man animated series as well Tuxedo Mask in Sailor Moon), Toshio Furukawa (Piccolo from the Dragon Ball series, Portgas D. Ace from One Piece), as well as internet sensations Mega64. Taiyou also usually brings out a guest or two every year that have never attended a U.S. convention and this year that includes bringing out guest Satomi Arai who has an impressive list of characters she has voiced on her resume. For the full list of guests, click here.

Programming: New to Taiyou Con this year is the Nikko festival which is inspired by traditional Japanese outdoor festivals. The festival will feature a variety of traditional Japanese games that cost tickets to play (24 tickets come with your Taiyou Con badge, more can be purchased separately). On top of that, Taiyou features a cosplay masquerade, HOURS worth of panels, a Sunspot Bazaar where attendees can sell their personal manga/figures/etc, Maid Cafes and lounges, and more which is spread across all three days.

Convention Hours: The vendor hall will be open during the following hours: Friday 2P – 8P, Saturday 10A – 7P, Sunday 10A – 4P.

The actual convention hours for Taiyou which includes panels and gaming is as follows: Friday 12P – 2A, Saturday 10A – 2A, Sunday 10A – 6P.

Badges: Badges are currently on sale on the Taiyou Con website. You can purchase your full event badge ahead of time for a discounted price of $40 (at the door will cost you $45). Individual day prices are as follows: Friday – $30, Saturday – $35, Sunday – $30. For more information on the badges and prices, click here.

Cosplay: While cosplay is obviously not required to enjoy your time at Taiyou Con, it is definitely encouraged. Lots of attendees dress as their favorite characters inspired by various Japanese media (as well as characters from non-Japanese media). The convention also offers cosplay meet ups for certain popular properties which can be found here.

Transportation/Parking: The Mesa Convention Center is conveniently located within walking distance of the light rail and bus stops on Main Street and Center Street. The Mesa Convention Center also offers free parking plus an overflow lot.

Food: If you’ve attended any convention at the Mesa Convention Center before, you know that the dining options aren’t exactly the best. Taiyou Con will be once again have food trucks on site during the con (last year they were located behind the Marriott, no details on where they will be this year). Other options include the Marriott restaurant that will be serving food during the maid cafes 4P – 9P. Other nearby options include Diamonds Sports Grille and Jimmy Johns.

Buying your badge now for $40 is a really good deal and there is a lot of value for that price if you’re into anime and Japanese pop culture.