Let me start by saying this: Saboten Con is not targeted to me. I’m a super casual anime fan in my 30s who does not cosplay. With that said, I still find ways to enjoy Saboten Con and I was able to do just that this year thanks to my kiddo.
Saboten Con’s demographics are late teens to mid 20s specifically to those who cosplay. It’s one of the highest cosplay to non cosplay ratios I’ve seen at any con. It’s also why we will probably never see the convention being held anywhere besides a hotel. With that many people cosplaying, it’s only good business to make it as easy as possible for cosplayers (meaning not making it so they have to walk from a hotel to a convention center).
The vendor hall, while not huge, has a decent amount of exhibitors and artists. It’s also refreshing not to see Funko Pops or mystery boxes every other booth as well. It sounds like next year will see even more artists and vendors as there are two different expansions happening in 2023.
Besides the vendor hall, Saboten Con has a wealth of panels and other programming such as the masquerade, fashion show, guests, gaming and more. Just a side note, I think some cosplay sets would be HUGE for the convention. The convention covers the three floors of the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown with the second floor being for main events, panels, and gaming while the third floor is mostly the vendor hall and guests. The first floor is the lobby area where it’s a good place to relax, having a drink or a bite to eat, and just watch all the people coming and going.
I want to point out the prices on food, snacks, and drinks at the Sheraton we’re all very reasonable. $2 for a soda?? You typically pay $5 at a convention. I super appreciate when cons (or the facility) can offer good prices on necessities. What wasn’t cool was the Sheraton having issues with the escalators and elevators. Multiple reports of elevators taking too long to get to the upper floors to get people down to the first three floors. The escalators at one point had to be repaired and none were moving from the second floor down to the lobby.
Circling back around to my personal experience this year, I originally was only going to attend on Sunday. My good friend joined us (you can follower her on Instagram!) for Sunday and we explored the vendor hall extensively. We also checked out a few panels and devoured some Jersey Mike’s. My kiddo had such a good time that he asked if we could return on Monday and we did just that. Made a couple of purchases, took a handful of photos (including the most popular photo I’ve ever taken at any Saboten I’ve attended). I ultimately had a good time because my kid had a good time. His excitement and enthusiasm being in that environment was infectious. I’m just happy he is at an age where he enjoys conventions, there was a few years where he just could not stand them.
Here are a few photos I took down below and I’m sure I’ll see you guys again soon!