2014 could be a bad year for some event organizers, so check out what went right and what went wrong on Toku Con 2014
The event was supposed to be the first event focused on Tokusatsu; for those who are new to this, Tokusatsu refers to the Japanese live action films or dramas that uses special effects, most well-known types of tokusatsu are kaijiu monster movies like Godzilla, superhero television series like Kamen Rider and the Super Sentai franchise. Toku Con was organized by (ICozplay Events Management) IEM in partnership with the Tokusatsu fansite JEFusion which was held on October 18 and 19 at the Green Sun Events Center in Makati. But due to unexpected circumstances, JEFusion had to drop their partnership and support for the event.
Now let’s take a look on what happened inside Toku Con…
Entrance and Event Registration
Once you enter the venue, you will be greeted by the event marshals on the ticket area, after you have gotten your tickets, you will have to take the elevator up to the fourth floor where the event was held. Using the elevator might take a while as it is the only elevator available to take you to the event, this can be inconvenient when a large group of people are also in line, but you can always opt to use the stairs if you can’t wait for your turn on the elevator. Ticket price is at PhP 130, which is pretty expensive for a small event, a possible reason for the high pricing is the venue rental, good thing the event has a special discount for the first 400 attendees (slashed to PhP 100)
Once you get to the fourth floor, there are two sections at the event. The left side was for the toy exhibit from several Godzilla and other Kaiju toy groups, as well from other toy collectors who showcased their tokusatsu figures. On the right side was the event proper. the first thing you would comment about the venue is there massive video wall, dubbed as The Eye, this feature allows the entire walls of the Green Sun Event area to play videos, giving the audience 360 degree view of what is playing on the video. Near the walls were the booths from partnered exhibitors, ranging from popular toy stores to video game publishers and at the middle was the stage area. The venue lighting is very dim, so photographers have to resort on their flashguns and other external light sources when taking photos.
The venue had a unique setup, the stage is located at the middle, sadly there was no platform in the middle, meaning the stage wasn’t elevated, and this proves to be a problem for audiences, especially during photo ops. If a proper stage setup was prepared, the viewing experience would be better. A good compliment on the stage is the proper lighting, as most of the lighting in the venue focused more at the stage, this helped to attract the audience on where the activities will happen.
Aside from the usually cosplay competition, there was a movie presentation on day 1 and a panel talk on day 2, which was also a problem. There were no detailed information on what activities will happen on Toku Con, the only thing that were mentioned that there was a panel discussion with tokusatsu contributors, which was a very vague information and also an open genre cosplay, tokusatsu cosplay battle royale and a special dance performance. The panel talk was soon revealed to be a talk with some of the known voice actors that dubbed some of the popular anime and tokusatsu series, it would have been better if they announced it with more detail as this can help attract more people. The lack of detailed activities can affect the event entirely, as audience cannot anticipate what will happen next, it could have also been better if they posted an event schedule at the entrance to help inform the con-goers. To add more injury, the entire stage activity line-up was very weak and not exciting, especially for a venue setup that makes the stage the main highlight. Another problem that we found is the lack of visual presentation, especially with the panel talk, the organizers could have made use of the video wall to add more impact on the stage activities, it would have been nice to see clips of the characters the voice actors have dubbed. The stage performance by Rain Drop could have also boosted the presentation by changing the video background’s theme as their music number changed.
To sum everything up, Toku Con was not a success as you might expect. With very few attendees (estimated around 80-100 people on the first day and 150-250 on the second day), poor stage presentation and a disappointing set of stage activities. The event really had potential for its unique target audience, but the execution was unforgiving. We are still unsure if a part two will still happen even when the IEM management have announced that they will have another Toku Con next year, and some additional info that they will be moving to a different venue for next year. But to make this event a hit and for it to continue in the next few years, IEM needs to step up and avoid doing unnecessary issues that could cripple any partnership with other communities, especially if the partnered group has more experience on their targeted scene.