As one of the longest running and largest pop-culture event in the country, Toycon has becoming bigger. We take a look on how things were running from the recently concluded event.
The 13th Philippine Toys, Hobbies and Collectibles Convention or much known as Toycon was held at the Megatrade Hall 1 to 3 last June 20 to 22, 2014. This is one of the biggest toy/action figure convention in the country, it also caters different pop culture interests such as comics, movies, video games and cosplay. The event have become a mainstay at the Megatrade Hall for years and it managed to occupy all three halls as the venue for its annual event.
We take a deeper view on the event to see how they manage to make this event successful and also look at the lapses they encountered:
Entrance and Registration
There are two entrances for the event which are located on Hall 1 and Hall 2. Each of the entrances have three designated ticket booths and an information booth at the second hall for any event-related inquiries. The exit is located at Hall 3 which separates it from the two entrances to allow better traffic flow. The designs of the entrances have a Batman motif in celebration of its 75th anniversary. Those who entered at the event for the first time will be given a freebie; ranging from cardboard Batarangs to Guardians of the Galaxy cards, you could also purchase a Toycon 2014 baller band for PhP 35 at the information booth.
One plus side for this event was the inclusion of a discounted ticket price for senior citizens, a first for any conventions, we saw an increase number of senior citizens attending Toycon from the past year so having a discounted price is a great gift for them.
Another good thing was that there were no surprise ticket price hikes, which is good as the organizers kept their word on their original price (PhP 130, which has a PhP 10 increase from last year) and always reminding the people about their ticket price, hopefully some event organizers would learn a thing or two from Toycon about informing their attendees for any sudden price hikes.
Despite the massive lines during peak hours at the event, the event marshals were present in assisting the ticket buyers round the clock to ensure faster ticket transaction, security were also patrolling around the hallways to ensure no one were obstructing the ticket line.
The Event Site
With a whopping 3,800+ square meter venue, Toycon offered a lot of exhibits, retail booths and gaming areas for those who want to experience all the best things in pop culture. The first two halls offered a combination of toy retailers and exhibits from sponsors. You won’t ran out of booths to visit for your hard-to-find toys with dozens of toy retailers available, from the retailer giants like GreatToys, Wasabi and Arigatoys offering a wide array of action figures and figurines, ranging from anime, video games, plushies, tokusatsu, comic books, card games, model kits, statues and even vintage toys, we managed to see some other retailers offering unique items from ball-jointed dolls, posters, AR cards, novelty items like mugs and jackets, plus many more. The best part with these retail booths is that you could ask for discounts, or if you are patient enough, you can wait until the closing time where most retailers would give a bigger discount.
The booth exhibitors also provided some interesting displays. from giant bust statues to custom figures to Occulus Rift demos and even freeplays of your favorite console and online games. At the end of the second hall you will find the food court and wall exhibits for cosplay and toy photography as well as artworks from local comic book artist legend Alfredo P. Alcala. We also got a chance to see some of the costumes used for the live action Rurouni Kenshin movies, where the next two movies will be premiered in the country this year.
At Hall 3 you will be greeted with the event stage and some booths from indie game developers and comic book artists, there were also a line of giant statues of Marvel and DC superheroes and custom made statues from skilled modelers. Walking past Hall 3 will bring you to the conference area, where several collections of toy collector group showcased their favorite figures. You will find different collections of Transformers, Gundam, GI Joe, Lego, Barbie and even vintage collections of Coca-Cola products.
The stage was smaller compared from last year, though it provided a much wider space for more audience to watch the stage activities. They still had their LCD panel at the stage for added visuals and can provide clear visuals during film showings. Audio is clear even when playing very loud music from band performances. The space for the audience was pretty big due to the smaller stage, with an ample amount of chairs for spectators to enjoy their viewings.
What’s an event without any stage activities? Aside from the usual cosplay competitions (both Toycon’s cosplay contest and the finals for the World Cosplay Summit Philippine leg), there were panel talks from FlipGeeks, Batman 75th Anniversary from Justice PH, Reimaru Files’ Video Gaming talk, Toy collecting discussions and more from other major sponsors. There were also band performances from Itchy Worms, Sanctus and Evening Tea Time. We got to see some guest appearances from several Marvel Comics artists and cosplayer celebrity Alodia Gosiengfiao
Outside the stage, we got to witness the ribbon cutting at the entrance area, with participation from the Star Wars 501st and Disney Cosplay group. This is an annual tradition for the organizers to perform a ribbon cutting to mark the official opening of the event.
Toycon also made an interesting twist for Day 1 where they set up a night party for those who attended at that day during the evening, Day 1 was originally dubbed as Retailer’s Day as there were no activities on stage and solely focused on toy retailers.
However this twist also made some controversies, especially with UNO Magazine bringing the Mocha Girls as part of the day 1 night party. You see Toycon is catered for both the young and old, then of course the Mocha Girls were more for the much older audience. Now imagine these fine ladies doing a lap dance on stage (which eventually happened) and then putting up semi-naked or rather naked images of the Mocha Girls at the UNO Magazine booth (which also happened and was near the exit that was right behind the tech booth of the stage), then add kids roaming around with their moms at the area. Now talk about a kid-friendly event. It seems that UNO Magazine weren’t mindful on their surroundings and they only cared much on grabbing more people to read their magazines. Good thing the Toycon organizers were aware of the situation and asked for the banners to be taken down, but that didn’t stop UNO Magazine from doing some sneaky moves on the following day to put up the banners again just to grab more people into their booth. Looks like UNO Magazine didn’t get the memo that Toycon was not an ‘adults only’ event.
Despite the not-so-kid-friendly gimmicks of UNO Magazine at Toycon, the organizers still managed to make the event really successful, with more people attending (they just broke another Toycon record with 27,900+ attendees, compared to last year’s 25,000+) and still managed to provide really great content, and not to mention keeping the crowd under control despite the massive crowd flocking to the event.
Why would you enjoy this event?
- You enjoy collecting toys and figurines and you are looking for great deals.
- You enjoy cosplaying/like to take pictures of cosplayers
- You are a gamer looking for fellow gamers to hang out with
- You enjoying attending conventions with friends
Why would you not enjoy this event?
- You are not into pop-culture-related stuff
- You don’t like going around with large group of people
There are already plans of moving to a bigger venue and they will also listen to the community’s opinion whether they should move or not, but the community are still having mixed reactions. Either they stay or move, this will not stop the organizers in making Toycon the best geek culture convention in the country not just for toy collectors, but also to otakus, cosplayers and gamers. Kudos to the organizers and we are looking forward to another great event next year.
Our Traditional Aftermath Video will be available on a separate article, so stay tuned…