Toy Con. The only time when it is perfectly normal to see a guy wielding a 5-feet sword around in a mall.
Yes. You know it's that time of the year again when cosplayers and avid toy collectors converge into the same spot in SM Megamall. It's also a photography enthusiast/paparazzi wannabe's dream - getting their shots from people who don't mind being photographed in their out-of-this-world (really, they came out of the 2D world) outfits.
I've been to Toy Con twice before - first in 2008 and 2009. I was an avid collector of Haruhi Suzumiya gashapon figures back then and went in the hopes of adding some hard-to-find items to my collection. But circumstances (including diminishing space in my condo) forced me to part with my collection - selling them for a reasonable price and only retaining my favorite character from the series - Kyon.
"Yare yare... my Owner doesn't even take good care of me. I'm so dusty!" "Urusai!"
I didn't see myself going again, except that my brother rented a stall to sell off some items from his Star Wars collection. Naturally, I went to show my support.
People manning my brother's booth
Since I don't collect toys anymore (or have the need to practice my apertures), I merely went to see the merchandise. It's a toy convention, but there are also lots of goodies there for those who are into J-Pop, K-Pop, kawaii and general geekery.
Kawaii goodies aplenty at Toy Con
I don't have a photo of it, but there are a couple or so booths there that sold geek-themed t-shirts. One of them was Geekerie which had The Big Bang Theory inspired ones. They had Bazinga! and Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock shirts, but I think I want the Massive Dynamic design on a cap or something. God, I miss Fringe.
There were also a lot of comics and manga being sold but unfortunately there was no Urasawa Naoki works (Monster, 20th Century Boys, Pluto) available.
I also saw a booth that offered goldfish scooping. You know - the one that's always shown on animes during matsuris/festivals. I think it was Php 50 for a scoop and you can try until your scooper is destroyed.
The thing that tempted me most was this little Dara cellphone charm from Queen A Accessories.
They also had a Bom, Taeyang, TOP, and SNSD member charms.
It was too bad that the GD one was already sold. I would've liked a Daragon pair. But I got their website and lookie here! Someone already commissioned Daragon-themed charms! So cute!
Daragon chibis by Queen A Accessories
Toy Con is also a platform to promote summer movies (at least in the Western part of the world). My favorite... Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
It all ends 7.14. Sniff.
Dumbledore-cosplayer posing for pictures and a Dark Arts Defence for Beginners textbook on display
EXTRA! For those who are planning to go to Toy Con in the future, here are some of my tips you might want to take a note of...
TIPS TO SURVIVING TOY CON: (Or maybe any other convention for that matter...)
Tip #1. Go early. Line was looooong. And that was just for the ticket booth. If you're going for the two days, I suggest buying your tickets for the next day already so you won't have to suffer the long line twice. Tickets were at Php 100 each per day and from the looks of it, the organizers made a killing.
Tip #2. Be ready for the deluge of people inside. Keep your arms crossed in front of you and make sure you have your belonging secured. You literally had to squeeze through the crowd at some parts. It's hot, sweaty, and you'd want a shower afterwards. LOL
Tip #3. If you're with friends or companions, make sure you designate a meeting place before you go inside. There is high likelihood that you'll get separated and, even though you all have cellphones, it's still very wise to know exactly where you could meet up. And it's not as if there is only one Star Wars booth there, hello.
Tip #4. Know what you want. With all the goodies inside, you'll be so confused about what to look at first. If you're just there to gawk, that's fine. But if you're a mission, then write it down and then look for those first before buying anything. There's going to be a lot of tempting items there that you suddenly realize you can't live without. I think it's also okay to haggle for a good price there, and if you are satisfied with the item and price, then snatch it up quick! Chances are you won't find another item like that outside the convention if it's really that hard to find and valuable. If you are still on the fence about buying that item, maybe you can get the seller's contact details. If you still can't forget about that item when you get home, you can contact the seller and ask if it's still available for purchase.
Tip #5. Don't be shy to ask cosplayers for a picture, and thank them afterwards. Believe me, I was shy at first too but it got easy along the way. If you're still feeling shy, then go with the crowd. Most of the time there are a lot of photographers taking a photo of a cosplayer or group of cosplayers so you can just join them without having the hassle of asking. But, of course, I think thanking the cosplayer is still a nice courtesy.
Tip #6. You don't actually need to go inside to take pictures. Okay, the organizers are probably going to be angry with me for this... But if you're just there to practice being a paparazzi, then go no further than the entrance or even the general area of the convention. Maybe it's because it's too stifling inside and their costumes might get damaged by the crowd, but cosplayers usually just hang around outside.
Well... there are my tips for surviving Toy Con. Of course, there are probably more things that I don't know but you've got to experience it for yourself, at least once.
And P.S. If any of you knows where I can buy a MAD board game (the one where there's a penalty of hopping on one leg and clucking like a chicken), then drop me a line. :)