Knowing what to expect on Day 2 based on our experiences on Day 1, we were able to take it a little bit slower with the booth set-up and sales. Instead of actively pushing our merch at passers-by, we just made small-talk with whoever wanted to look at our stuff, or get more of our flyers (which came with free postcards!). This strategy paid off well as we sold off most of our big ticket items on the second day, as if the closure of the con at the end of the day pushed the bargain-hunting into overdrive.
With the relaxed atmosphere in the dealers hall we all decided to take turns just going around the exhibits and checking out what else was on sale. There were plenty of items that would make perfect Christmas presents six months from now: I really liked the stuff at board-game and Blythe specialist Play Matters, as well as the selection of modeling materials and tools from Sculpeyman. Meanwhile, Comic Odyssey pulled out all the stops for their selling booth, displaying a massive spread of dirt-cheap manga volumes and prized comic-book hardbacks.
On the flipside, there was a lot of shameless piracy going on — from fake Good Smile Company products (Figma and Nendroids in particular were quite uh popular) to burned DVDs of fan-subbed Japanese anime. It has reached embarrassing levels — more so these last few years as fellow fans from nearby countries like Malaysia and Singapore fly to Manila just to attend the con. Is this the face of the Philippine convention scene that we want to show to the world? Didn’t think so
Lastly, I was able to take a look at the Toy Display section and the Events Hall. The Toy Display section played host to a number of collectors’ groups, who were keen to show their private stashes to both hardcore collectors and dilettantes. I was really impressed with some of the items on display, especially by the Batman Forced Perspective diorama submitted for a contest – really fantastic stuff. It was just a bit disconcerting that the guards watching over the front and back doors keep reminding people to keep their eyes on their wallets, phone, and cameras – as if the con was worse than Quiapo on a really bad day.
The Events Hall was brilliant technically and well-planned from an organizers’ perspective. It was sectioned off so that the lights and sounds did not interfere with the goings-on in the dealers hall. Unfortunately, all that good work was lost amongst the crowd of photogs and cosplay fans, who kept complaining that the lack of seating was a turn-off for viewing the stage events. Uh guys, that’s how stage events really are overseas – it’s just us lazy-ass Pinoys who demand seating everywhere we go.
Final verdict – 2011 Toycon was pretty good, much better than expected actually. The experience that VicVic and the Collectibles Unlimited team had garnered over the past ten years has really shown. Despite several cosplayer-related boo-boos, the con went off without a hitch, and we hope to see even more improvements as the con embarks on its second decade.
Thanks to Yue of I AM PINKIST for lending me her camera when my Hamster used up all the space in our camera.