Wednesday, 27 March 2019

{Event Recap} - Toronto Comic Con 2019

Toronto Comic Con Recaps: [2018] [2017] [2016]

This year's Toronto Comic Con took place during the March Break weekend, between the 15th and 17th, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Just as every Comic Con before, I chose to once again attend only the Friday, freeing up my weekend for other activities. Upon my arrival, I immediately noticed that the team behind Toronto Comic Con had vastly improved security when entering the facility. My concern has always been a lack of, especially after an incident I witnessed two years ago at Fan Expo 2017 where there were drunken people causing trouble with other guests (a situation, that actually involved my getting tripped and falling...not pretty or fun!) This time, I observed that the screening of people as they were entering the south building was a lot more vigilant, especially as March Break was in progress at all schools and children would be present at the event.

(Pictured: Yours truly in my Lolita Coord. Above I am wearing a long, high wasted JSK by Souffle Song, by the name of "Kitty Courtyard" in purple. Headpiece is made by yours truly to compliment the dress.)

Not long after entering, we made our way down a secured path towards the ticket purchasing/pick up area, which upon arrival at about 30 minutes before the event opened, was already immensely crowded and did not feel safe, in the least. The line for advance pick up (which is typically the shortest and fastest line to get through) was long and treacherous. After finally making my way to the desk to pick up my advance pre-purchased ticket, I was told that this year wristbands would be eliminated due to crowd control issues and fraudulent exchanges of passes. Instead, what was introduced was a badge with a lanyard. I was then given a pamphlet letting me know I would now have to, in record timing, activate said badge online before being able to come in. Thus, I ushered along with many other Comic Con attendees into another long line, whilst attempting to activate my badge with very vague instruction. Badge activation required the use of a smartphone with data services (tough luck if you don't have data on your phone OR a phone on you, ladies and gents), and was necessarily followed by a badge # look up, registration with your first and last name, and email address. The reasoning behind providing this information upon activation, I was told, is to protect your badge in case of loss or theft. A replacement can be reissued in the event of said loss or theft for the amount of $5 at a customer service booth. Additionally, I was also told that very pass had RFID and would need to be scanned every time you entered or exited the facility for crowd control purposes.

(Pictured: Cosplayers cosplaying as Red Riot aka Eijiro Kirishima (Boku no Hero Academia) and Endeavor aka Enji Todoroki (Boku no Hero Academia).

After finally activating my pass, which by the way I find to be a vast improvement compared to the wristbands, I made my way into the main vendor hall.  Upon entering I immediately made my way through the food court (to which I still believe needs MUCH improvement when it comes to amount and variety) and mosied on over to the gaming section. There I immediately purchased a PS Vita copy of Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk, a game I recently learned of and desperately wanted to play. Further along during my vendor adventuring, I also picked up a copy of Hitorijime My Hero Vol.2 (which at the time of purchase was still a week away from release), a mini Vaporeon plush, and a blueberry scented squishy.

(Pictured: A Dalek and myself posing with a Mewtwo statue.)

Moving along from the regular vendor portion of the hall, I then made my way up my favorite area of every con - Artist's Alley. There in Artist's Alley I purchased several vinyl stickers, and an Eijiro Kirishima (Boku No Hero Academia) acrylic stand, acrylic stands now being my new geeky obsession. After catching up with friends, running into amazing cosplayers, and enjoying all that the vendor hall had to offer, I made my way out of the con for a refreshing cup of coffee, and took a break to enjoy the bounty I'd just acquired.

(Pictured: A Mewtwo statue, and Usagi and Mamoru cosplayers in Kimono.)

After my quick break outside of the con, I once again returned, being rescanned into the con once more, and made my way to the outer corridor attractions. Sadly, this year there wasn't very much adult-centered entertainment or displays outside (or inside) the con, however I did enjoy seeing the updates on the Pokemon statues I've seen around from con to con. After perusing the vendor hall, and Artist's Alley once more, and catching up with more friends, I officially called it a night about 20 minutes before close.

(Pictured: My geeky haul from Toronto Comic Con 2019!)

All in all, I felt that Toronto Comic Con 2019 was a vast improvement, in most areas, compared to other cons, but still greatly required massive improvement in other essential areas. Security was amped up, which was greatly appreciated, and the introduction of passes, although confusing the first go around, turned out to be great new additions to the con attending experience. Sadly, this year I did not have the opportunity to meet any guests, as there were technically only 9 celebrity guests attending the entirety of the con, and the only one I was mainly interested in meeting was sadly attending Saturday only. The celebrity guest line up was quite sub-par and disappointing, and the lack of large exhibitors or showcases was lax. I strongly feel that the team behind planning Toronto Comic Con (and Fan Expo) should better focus on providing an exceptional experience on both the celebrity guest and large showcase exhibitors area of things. Massive missed opportunity on having an installation focused on the upcoming Shazaam! movie (although there was one about a 25 minute walk away from the convention centre), and even including anything remotely themed to Avengers: End Game or the Hell Boy reboot. I only mention this, because at past Comic Cons there have been many installations focused on upcoming anticipated films. Additionally, large installations like this are not only very great advertising for movies/shows/games, but also add some anticipation and fun to the guest experience, overall.

With that said, I'm still looking forward to Fan Expo 2019, and Toronto Comic Con 2020!

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