Weebs and otaku of Phoenix, rejoice. It's a great time to be a fan of anime and manga. Interest in the Japanese-born art forms is at an all-time high nationally and locally, and the number of cons in Arizona has tripled in the last three years. At the forefront of the anime boom in the Valley is Saboten Con, which serves up four days of vendors, artists, voice actors and cosplay over Labor Day weekend at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel. Since launching in 2008, it's become Arizona's largest and longest-running anime event and has been synonymous with both local anime fandom and inclusivity. Organizers Greg and Stacy Fennell eschew gatekeeping at their event, welcoming casuals and newbies eager to embrace, explore and experience their newfound anime obsession. It helped Saboten Con's turnout swell, particularly this year when a record-setting 29,000 people swarmed the Sheraton and the nearby Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel. There was also a new gaming and esports side event called SaboSlam, which Greg says is aimed at making the convention even more all-encompassing. "If you're into any part of [anime] culture at all, you're going to find something to do over the weekend," he says.