This past weekend our Cosplay Savant (aka Sam aka me) had the chance to attend Saboten Con 2017. This year was the tenth anniversary for this budding Southwestern Anime convention, and they put on an AMAZING show. The event started in the early afternoon on September 1st and went on into the early evening of September 4th. Programming was available until 2 AM most days, and the Exhibitor/Vendor hall was open at least eight hours each day. There was so much to participate in at this event that, at one point, I was flustered by my options (can you believe it?!). Let’s start with Day #1 = Friday.
Friday – Settling In
Friday was a flurry of packing, traveling, checking into the incredible Sheraton Grand Hotel in downtown Phoenix and FINALLY picking up badges for Saboten Con. The hotel was lovely and the rooms were quite clean. I shared a room this time around with some friends who were eager to assist me with capturing the excitement of Saboten Con. Once we were situated, we collected our props and took a ride downstairs to our first event of the day, our Seven Deadly Sins panel. The fans were ecstatic about this anime. Many hypothesized that Escanor was going to arrive in Season 2 and some of the manga fans insisted that, so long as this series stuck to the comics, watchers were sure to have a roller coaster of emotions in coming seasons. We played some clips of funny moments and discussed our theories before parting ways to explore the Exhibitor hall.
Located on the third floor of the hotel, this massive 23,000+ square foot hall hosted dozens of Japanese pop culture artists, vendors, actors/actresses, singers and gamers. The entire list of those who hosted booths at the hall can be found HERE. Navigating this space took about an hour at a medium pace. To see EVERYTHING it had to offer, you would need 2-3 hours of casual browsing. Since this event allows props and pocketed bags, there were stops on each floor (exhibitor hall included) where your weapons and bags were checked. These were generally very fast checks and the security guards were incredibly congenial.
When we had our fill of vendors, we took an escalator down to the second floor and explored the gaming room. This was about half the size of the exhibitor hall and it offered table top, card, arcade, pc and console gaming options to fans of all ages. There were lots of options for table top, and the DDR machine in the corner of the room was in constant use. Once the game room was properly surveyed we spent the rest of the day planning our weekend and resting our legs for the activity that was inevitably set to take place on Saturday.
Saturday – RWBY and Late Night Programming
We started our day bright and early with a photo shoot in the Gardens across the street from the Sheraton. While it was a muggy afternoon, the temperature stayed under 110, which is pretty mild for an Arizona summer day. Here is a LIVE video we took while exploring the Gardens…
Orange Slice Media is the photographer you see in the video above, and for anyone who visits an Arizona convention I HIGHLY recommend him as your con photographer. Now, an hour in the heat was enough for us, so we rushed back to the Hotel and found the ever lovely StevieSpade Cosplay, who was Android 18 that day. We all roamed around with one another, exploring the second floor panel rooms and discussing some of the programming we participated in. During one escapade alone I ran into Green Jello Cosplay and had the chance to chat it up with Melissa (also known as Garnet Runestar). She and Shannon make up Green Jello Cosplay; they were guests at Saboten this year and, as WCS Team USA finalists, their costumes were impeccable!
Friendly bantering aside, Saturday was a LONG day. I had a panel at 11:30 PM that night, and making it that long without a nap was proving surprisingly difficult (the AZ heat really drains you). To cool off, my friends and I changed into pajama versions of our RWBY characters, hit up the local Starbucks for caffeine, then wandered over to Valley of the Sun Ballroom B for what was a hilarious and absolutely fantastic RWBY panel. There were discussions on the enemies, the students, the academies and the characters of RWBY. We threw Dory gummies to the crowd and had a great time listening to the rave next door. As 1 AM reared its head, we managed to crawl into our beds and rest. After all, Sunday was the BIG day.
Sunday – Masquerade
As Masquerade Day, Sunday was an important part of Saboten for me. I rose early to get ready for a photo shoot before the heat of the day became unbearable. I participated in pre-judging with my group, and we practiced our Seven Deadly Sins skit for the masquerade. In between all of this we also hosted a panel on Retro Anime and rekindled the flame of love for older anime titles with the fans of Saboten. For the sake of remaining brief (because I could literally go on for HOURS with how great Sunday was) here is a summary video of Masquerade Day…
Here are a couple photos from Sunday as well…
Monday – Wrapping it all up
By Monday I was ready for the convention to be over. Ok, I THOUGHT I was; then I gave a presentation about Reminiscing on CLAMP , and the fans who attended the panel were so enigmatic that I didn’t want Saboten to be over. Monday is a notoriously quiet day for Saboten Con. Despite falling on Labor Day each year, it always seems to have smaller attendance. That WAS NOT the case this year. The exhibitor hall was bustling, the concerts were packed, the panel rooms were abuzz with activity and fans from all generations congregated in every nook they could to soak up that last little bit of Saboten Con magic. While I did not capture many pictures at this event I took A LOT of video. So, to wrap this up, here is FGN’s Saboten Con Finale Video…
Saboten Con 2018
With all the magic and wonder that this convention generates, the owner has to start planning for 2018 pretty early. This year he ALREADY has an event on Facebook for Saboten 2018. Be sure to check it out, and we hope to see you next year!