It is that time of the year again. June is just a month away, and when June comes, Toycon comes.
Yep, that event where toy collectors scour the dealer hall for that missing toy piece just announced their ticket prices for the occasion, and boy they did give its fans a surprise when they bumped the cost of the ticket from an already steep 500 to 600 pesos. That’s 20% more from last year. While I acknowledge the existence of a phenomenon called inflation. There’s no way that a 20% increase in price would fall into that. Unless of course, they will bring in more guest and make the event worth the 20% bump. But then again, isn’t this event called ToyCon, as a portmanteau for Toy Convention? Bringing guests and having a fantastic experience is a pleasant addition. But isn’t the reason go to this event is for the Toys, not the guest?
For people who attend ToyCon in let’s say, the past five years. These past two years showed the most significant shift in their tone and direction for their event. What supposed to be an annual gathering of like-minded individuals who want’s to share (i.e., brag) their toys to the public, or sellers wishing to peddle their goods to potential customers. Has now blown into this giant spectacle of pop-culture bukake of chaos that long-time fans never wanted in the first place. In fact, the only complaint fans have at the time was the Megatrade hall isn’t enough to accommodate the demand of the crowd. They never complained about the program, they never complained about the guest. Sure, it is a sweet thing to have. But it wasn’t what the audience clamour. They want a bigger venue, which they did solve when in 2016 they decided to move their residence to Pasay’s SMX Convention centre. People would’ve been happy right there and called it a day.
But no, they became ambitious. The people wanted ToyCon to be more than just a “Toy Convention.” They wanted more. They start diverging into all facet of pop-culture, not only your classic comic nerd or weeaboo. They invest in movies, TV Shows and gaming with its various sub-genres. The event became topical. Riding on what is hot at the moment and bandwagons on those to draw the crowd. After all, they are a business whose most significant event is their biggest cash cow. Among all of the pop-events that happens annually. ToyCon draws the most crowds, and it is a goldmine that other events in the space want to have a piece. A piece that only ToyCon has.
Then again, if this event is about celebrating the inner nerd of you, then why ride on the name ToyCon? It is no longer about Toys. It more about pop-culture. Sure, ToyCon name has more weight, and it is a familiar face among the sea of significant events line up for the year. Diversifying is not a bad thing. We need to adapt to change after all. Online shopping has taken its toll on brick-and-mortar stores and having a “gathering” of a sort is nothing but a relic of past. The organisers may have feared for it and wanted to pivot to an experienced oriented event. That’s fine. But then again, it is no longer Toy Con. What’s left of its spirit is gone and calling it by what it stood for when it is no longer is misleading and to be frank, disrespectful to the people who held for the brand for many years despite its flaws.
In conclusion, while they still offer Christmas ToyCon, which is perhaps the closest thing we have to an actual ToyCon. The ToyCon that people grew up with. The organiser should’ve just dropped the act and leave the name out of the June event because it is no longer their primary draw. Just call it Pop-life Experience instead. Or Guest con.