Posted June 21, 2016 by Euni Salvador in Events

5 Things that Happened in ToyCon 2016

More than a week since ToyCon 2016 Poplife Fanxperience kicked off at SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia; and the hobbyists are still feeling the hype. However, it was more than just a toy and collectibles convention but like a heed to the fans of all walks of geekdom. How did ToyCon evolved from its humble beginnings?

The first ever Philippine Toys, Hobbies and Collectibles Convention (TOYCON) started in 2002 in a small conference room in SM Megamall, barely accommodating a large volume of people; but now, 15 years strong in their game of bringing comics, movies, anime, cosplaying, and collectors all over the Philippines in a 3-day much awaited yearly event.

If you are a big con-goer, then surely you’ve spotted a thing or two that were different from the usual Toy Con we love. We listed 5 things we’re raving about this year’s ToyCon 2016 Poplife Fanxperience:

1. The International and Local Fan Experience
There are two types of con-goers: those who come for the toys and those who come for the event. Since the emergence of Otakus (anime-lovers) here in the Philippines, toycon brought a few international cosplayers before and even have them walk around the halls, interacting with the locals (or the geeks so to speak.) This year though, the ToyCon team reached out halfway around the world for guests that peaked the interests of the comic book and movie geeks. Among the guests were: Kristian Nairn (Hodor from Game of Thrones), Dean Cain (Superman – Lois & Clark), Daniel Logan (Young Boba Fett – Star Wars Episode II), Bronson Pelletier (Jared Cameron – Twilight), Kiowa Gordon (Embry Call – Twilight), Frankie J. (singer/songwriter), and Heffron Drive. The new Encantadia cast also graced the halls (and stage) of ToyCon 2016 surprising the audience by airing an exclusive never-before-seen clip. This spoke so many levels to fans and even curious glances from families outside geekdom.

Kristian Nairn sits on the iron throne at his panel.

Kristian Nairn sits on the iron throne at his panel.

2. The Poplife + Fanxperience Partnership
So a lot of people refer to ToyCon 2016 Poplife Fanxperience to just “ToyCon” but little did they know the significance of the mouthful title as it opened doors to partnerships beyond the normal convention scene. PopLife Entertainment, in partnership of The Asian Comics & Toys and Hobbies Collective Inc., brought Fanxperience to fans that really upped the average convention game to a whole lot of new level. FYI, the USA counterpart of this is none other than Salt Lake Comic Con & Fanxperience.

3. The Rave of Thrones and Few Notes
Well, it actually made sense how Kristian Nairn was in, not just to have a panel (which we’ll talk about in a bit) but also dropped some sick beats in the event. Before, ToyCon is just a massive hall of toy exhibits and bargained collectibles in every corner with the occasional Jrock (Japanse rock) bands performing on stage. Now, they invited a few bands (Heffron Drive) and a sensational crooner (Frankie J) and even Hodor who brought the house down with his live DJ set.

Rave of thrones with Kristian Nairn

Rave of thrones with Kristian Nairn

4. The Celebrity Panel Shows
Most the time, conventions organize a separate press meetings with the media and a few hand-selected VIP holders to attend panel interviews with their guests. With the changes in this year’s Toy Con, the organizers opened the stage with spotlight to their guests in a live panel along with the participation of the audience. The fans are encouraged to ask questions and even have a free photo with the celebrities on stage. In line with this, VIP holders also have the chance to have their autograph signed and pose for a nice photo in the FanX Photo Ops & Autograph Area. Although, we can also agree that that Skype call from Stan Lee should have been longer.

5. The Stan Lee Excelsior Exhibition
For someone with just a fascination with Marvel heroes and probably admired the movie and its story lines, they would find this as a cool exhibit. On the other hand, for someone who practically breathed and read Stan Lee’s comics like they’re a comforting friend after a bad day at work and school; then this exhibit would freak out the inner geek in you. Placed exactly in the middle of the whole event, and with a literally bigger-than-life Hulkbuster welcoming you before entering – You sure know you’re in for a treat. The place was divided into two parts: where a few real props from the movies, exclusive Stan Lee photos and a whole bunch of items where celebrities expressed their sincere gratitude to the man himself. It’s not everyday you see a film set chair signed by Chris Evans & Robert Downey Jr. or a National Medal of Arts awarded from the white house, right?

Stan Lee’s National Medal of Arts from The USA President

A suitcase containing literally important writings.

While it is true that the only constant thing in life is change, there are a few things that we would have preferred to stay the same. According to fans, the tickets were a little bit over the top especially for those who only went for shopping in the booths. A clamor from other goers were the setbacks in the schedule. Although these are inevitable incidences, it still didn’t qualm the enthusiastic crowd. Another noticeable but nice change was the allotted dressing rooms for cosplayers that looked decent and safe.

The Toy Con 2016 Poplife Fanxperience paved ways to hobbyists and all kinds of geeks celebrating diversity and the pop culture life. With the cosplay events, toy galleries, fun booths (shot out to our friends at Zombie and Aliens that rocked the convention by turning the con-goers to zombies), local comic book artists, and toy collectors; it was indeed a successful event that compensated for a year of anticipation.

Warning zombies: Kylo Ren cosplayer posing in front of the Zombie and Aliens booth.

Euni Salvador

Euni is as passionate in games (and pop culture) as she is invested in ships that will never sail.