The counts are in! This year’s attendance at the Saboten con, held at the Rennaissance hotel in Glendale, Arizona was officially the largest in the history of the convention! The 3 day convention was packed full of events including the first U.S , live Silent Hill concert with vocals by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn and Troy Baker as well as the composer himself, Akira Yamaoka, on guitar. There were thousands of cosplay costumes, a gaming room with back to back tournaments, tea parties, panels hosted by voice actors like Phil LaMarr and dozens of other events. It should be no surprise that the weekend brought record-breaking attendance, at a final count of 3,432 attendees.
I was there interviewing on behalf of the convention and comicbooked.com and have some exciting new videos that will be released over the next few days. Guests I spoke with include David Doub, who has a new series out, Andy Bohn and Jolene Houser, both of whom were doing commissions and had art available for fans. I also got to sit down with the lovely Mary Elizabeth McGlynn and we spoke about her weekend at the convention as well as her work on the Silent Hill music. I’ll also be bringing you interviews with (get ready fan girls) Troy Baker, Ellyn Stern and Richard Epcar and last but definitely not least, the hilarious Phil LaMarr! I will be posting an article on each artist along with our taped interviews, and I’ll let you all know where you can find them and their latest work.
I also have some great footage of the Kahza concert! Kahza ended their tour with this year’s Saboten Con and the band played to hundreds of fans , bursting with excitement every night. After they played, the band stayed to sign cds & shirts and to personally meet fans! The Silent Hill concert was also a huge hit. Scheduled to play just one of the three nights, and playing together the first time in the United States, Mary Elizabeth, Akira Yamaoka and Troy Baker decided to play all 3 nights, with over 500 fans at each concert.
There was anime and video game cosplay on most every attendee and the energy in the air was infectious. The vendor hall, which is larger than ever, was host to dozens of vendors selling original art, stuffed critters, furry beanies, anime figurines, custom handmade jewelry, card games, Manga and artists were there selling their pieces. There were groups of people running around, laughing, smiling and often breaking into unpredictable bursts of Gangnam style dancing. After the vendor hall closed on Saturday and Sunday, the convention hallway filled up with aspiring , young vendors, who had a dedicated section of floor to bring and display their own items to sell or trade. Statues, toys, Manga collections, costume pieces and more adorned the floor of what we call, The Otaku Closet.
If you stayed after the vendor hall closed each night, there was an endless amount of programming to choose from, as the convention had programming until 1AM each morning. The only problem became scheduling everything you wanted to do. Would you get to attend the Sabo Raves, stay to compete in gaming tournaments, watch movies like Tokyo Gore Police and Battle Royale (where Silent Hill 2 gave us rights to show the new trailer before each film)?? The options were limitless. Roaming the halls after hours, tiny tired lolitas and other anime dressed attendees could be found hiding in corners sneaking in some much-needed rest, before running off to their next scheduled adventure.
One of the bigger events was the Masquerade, judged by world renowned cosplayers Pikmin Link, Vampy Bit Me and Chris Tang. This packed the house for an hour and a half of entertainment. There were fan-made costumes, dance routines, reenactments and more. The Masquerade was introduced by convention owner, Greg Fennell and was hosted by the always charming Richard Epcar.
By bringing in more attendees on the first day than there were at the entire convention least year, I’d say the move to a larger location couldn’t have come at a better time and that this years Saboten Con was a great success. I can’t wait for next year, where there will be even more to look forward to!!
Who would you like to see at next years Saboten Con? How about programming? Where there any panels that you’d like to see next year?
If you want to see WAY more pictures from this years convention, you can follow me on Pinterest! http://pinterest.com/vpaege/comicbooked/