See also: Taiyou Con 2014 in Photos
If you require further education on the topic, be sure to leave the first weekend of next January free in order to attend the annual Taiyou Con -- one of the Valley's annual conventions devoted to anime, manga, and other parts of Japanese pop culture and geekdom -- at the Mesa Hilton.
As with any sort of convention, costumes are everywhere, and the majority of the stuff that's being worn is inspired by anime and J-culture. The most recent Taiyou Con was certainly no exception. (Other non-anime characters are also about, of course, as evidenced by the fact we ran into the likes of Deadmau5, Merida, and Deadpool within short order.)
We paid a visit to Taiyou Con with our camera in hand and chronicled some of our favorite costumes, including a few that weren't necessarily related to anime or manga.
Before attending Taiyou Con, Chris Jones was merely a mild-mannered Mesa resident. Once he stepped into the midst of other anime fans and geeks attending the event, however, the 29-year-old became Heathcliff, the digital avatar of equally mild-mannered character Kayaba Akihiko in the anime Sword Art Online. In the context of the series, Heathcliff serves as the leader of the Knights of the Blood and Akihiko's avatar in a virtual reality online role-playing game bearing the same title as the anime.
Jones, a big fan of the series, says it took two weeks to build his version of Heathcliff's red and white armor from play mat foam. "One of my friends was going [to TaiYou Con] as another main characters from Sword Art Online, so we meshed well," he says.
Hooded Figures of Night Vale A word to the wise: Be a bit wary when dealing with the Hooded Figures of Night Vale, whether its within the fictional and supernatural-friendly southwestern town or if they happen to be in attendance at your neighborhood con. These cloaked and clandestine figures, which are characters in the humorous and popular paranormal podcast Welcome to Night Vale, have been known to steal babies (well, one of 'em, at least).
And one trio of Hooded Figures were a little brusk when we chatted them up at Taiyou Con. "We don't have names," one stated curtly when asked. Maybe so, but they had their own fenced dog park (one of the places where their kind is sometimes spotted in Night Vale). It made for a funny sight as the three of them crept around the Hilton with their park in tow.