I sat and pondered for awhile on how to write this article. All conventions are not created equally but are they suppose to be? Should I hold every convention I attend to the same standards of time consumption that I expect? After some thought, not all conventions in the pop culture world are created for the same purpose and because of that, I shouldn’t expect my ideal expectations of a good time to be a “one size fits all” to work at every con.
At an average size comic convention, almost all of my time is split between exploring every inch of the exhibit hall and attending guest panels. That is where I get most of my enjoyment but I can’t hold that same standard to anime conventions. If I did, I would spend 45 minutes in an exhibit hall and maybe 2 hours in guest panels. To really get the most bang for my buck, I have to find other avenues of enjoyment and thankfully, Taiyou Con offers plenty to do.
Taiyou Con was a fun filled three days with some good guests who are appealing to pop culture enthusiasts and not just the most hardcore of anime fans (but they had that too if you fall into that category). If you’re an exhibit hall only attendee, you might be disappointed and not because of the vendors but the Mesa Convention Center’s biggest room has its limits. You can only pack in so many vendors and artists in there. That’s when you start to explore, try new things however. For starters, Taiyou Con tried something new by offering a small, traditional Japanese inspired festival, where you could play games with tickets that came with each badge. A unique experience at any type of convention.
If that’s not your thing, Taiyou also offered hours and hours of fan run panels that covered topics from video games to cosplay to Japanese wrestling. They had a dedicated gaming room that ran some of the most popular games in the anime community. There was the masquerade, cosplay meetups, and plenty of people just wandering the halls in cosplay if photography is your thing. I also spent some time in the after hours lounge with a couple of friends playing random party games with a table of fellow attendees.
It’s okay to have your standards and expectations in regards to your experience at conventions but that might not always fit perfectly at every convention. I was able to adjust my expectations and had a great time because of it. Thanks Taiyou Con!