Your Guide to Saboten Con 2022 in Downtown Phoenix


If you’ve spent the last year or two getting into anime, you’re not alone. Interest in the Japanese-originated animation genre and its many shows and movies is at an all-time high, thanks in part to COVID-19.

At the height of the pandemic in 2020, millions of people anime binge-watched on various streaming services, skyrocketing his popularity. In fact, the anime industry brought in around $24.80 billion last year, according to a business consulting firm. Grand View Search.

In other words, it wasn’t just otaku and weebs enjoying shows like naruto, Dragon Ball ZWhere A punch during confinement.

The mainstream awareness of anime has also spread to anything and everything to do with the genre, including events like Phoenix’s annual Saboten Con.

Organizer Greg Fennell said Phoenix New Times attendance at last year’s event reached 23,000, nearly doubling the turnout from 2019.

“As everyone was [under lockdown], they started watching anime during the pandemic and it brought a lot more people into the industry,” he says. “I think that’s what caused the significant growth we had last year and is continuing this year.”

As such, Fennell expects an even bigger turnout at Saboten Con 2022, which runs Friday, September 2 through Monday, September 5 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 340 North Third Street. The event focuses on anime, manga, and Japanese pop culture and features four days of panels, activities, concerts, games, cosplay, and appearances by voice actors and other special guests. .

If you’re new to anime and want to catch it, we’ve put together a guide to this year’s con with everything you need to know.

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Anime fans outside the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel during Saboten Con.

Benjamin Leatherman

When and where is Saboten Con 2022?

The four-day event takes place over Labor Day weekend, Friday, September 2 through Monday, September 5, inside the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 340 North Third Street.

What are the opening hours?

It depends on which part of the scam you are talking about. The Exhibit Hall, for example, closes relatively early in the evening while programming will run until the wee hours each night. Here’s a full rundown of Saboten Con’s opening hours:

Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Exhibitors hall
Friday, noon to 8 p.m.
Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Monday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Friday, 1 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Monday, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

How much is admission?

If you buy online in advance, daily general admission is $25 on Fridays, $35 on Saturdays and Sundays, $20 on Mondays, and $60 for a full pass. (Prices for each option are $5 more when purchased at the event.)

An “Otaku Pass” is also available for $450 and is only available to a limited number of participants. It includes early access to the exhibit hall, a VIP merchandising package, the opportunity to attend a private mix with special guests and staff, prime panel seating and other perks.

Are there age limits?

No. Saboten Con is an event for all ages, and children, teens, and families are encouraged to attend. Keep in mind, however, that some topics during panels or screenings may be more adult in nature or restricted to 18+ (see the programming guide for details).

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A trio of The attack of the Titans cosplayers race down a crosswalk in downtown Phoenix.

Benjamin Leatherman

How can I get there?

If possible, take the light rail. It will save you time, money and hassle. Trust us. Valley Metro park-and-ride lots are available along the route, there are stations within walking distance of the hotel, and fares are $2 (for a single ride) or $4 (for a pass) of a day).

Where can I park?

If you’re someone who needs to drive, due to a complex costume or other reasons, the good news is that downtown offers a mix of surface land, structures, and parking spaces in the street. Leaving your car at the hotel itself will cost you $29 per day, while rates for nearby garages, structures, and surface lots range from $10 (CityScape, Jefferson Street Garage) to $20 (Collier Center, Chase Tower) per day. Street parking is also available throughout downtown, but you’ll have to pay up to $1.50 per hour from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day.

What will the weather be ?

Very hot. The National Weather Service released a excessive heat warning for the valley this weekend and temperatures will peak at 105 degrees on Friday and hit 108 degrees Saturday through Monday. In other words, stay hydrated (especially if you’re in a costume), stay indoors as much as possible, and rest when needed.

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Stuff for sale at an “Otaku Closet” vendor session at Saboten Con.

Benjamin Leatherman

What will happen in the exhibitor hall?

Virtually anything and everything related to anime, manga, or J-culture, in general, will be on sale in the expansive Saboten Con exhibit hall at the hotel. Over 70 vendors and stalls participating in the event will offer a wealth of cosplay items and costumes, as well as artwork, books, DVDs, games, music, books, collection, toys and other toys.

What will the programming look like?

To say the least, there will be a lot going on during the four days of Saboten Con. The programming schedule features over 500 different events, including activities such as anime viewing parties, game battles, lip-sync battles, maid cafes, fan fiction readings, dance parties, quiz contests , animated music video contests, art workshops and karaoke sessions. Live entertainment is also planned, such as traditional concerts, karaoke sessions, etc.

Who are the special guests this year?

According to Saboten Con website, this year’s guest list includes artists, voice talents, performers, cosplayers, and a few notable animation personalities. The full list is as follows.

Dave Fennoy (RWBY, Minecraft)
Corina Boettger (A punch, Genshin Impact)
Sand fox (cowboy bebop, naruto)
Lex Lang (Bleach, Lupine the Third)

Hirokatsu Kihara (former Studio Ghibli production coordinator)

Melon Batake A Go-Go (rockabilly idol group)
Kazha (J-rock group)
MVP Elite (K-pop dance team)

Cassandra Hershey (Lovelymixar)
Beth Hodgson (Kaolinite Dreams)
Joshua Scott and Deanna Stutesman (Urban Web)
Armand Villavert (Zap!)
Karina Moreno (illustrator)
Ariel Medilo (Works of Exodam)
Susan Lake (designer)
Santino Arturo (Evil Robo Presents)

Michael “Mage-Knight” Wilson
Baby Alkaid Cosplay
Alyson Tabbita
illuminati cosplay
Mikaria Drake
Ryan Kay
Courtney Leigh
Mae Dae
paprika husband
Eurobeat Kasumi
Courtex Studios

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Anime cosplayers at a previous edition of Saboten Con.

Benjamin Leatherman

What does Saboten Con cosplay look like?

It’s one of the cornerstones of the event and there will be over 100 different panels and workshops dedicated to cosplay-related topics. Want to learn how to get into the chase and create your own costume? There are multiple instruction sessions on how you can do just that, as well as tutorials on how to build armor, learn embroidery, develop a character, build your cosplay self-esteem, stick to a budget, network with others and accessorize in style.

One of the biggest cosplay events of the weekend will be the annual Saboten Con Masquerade on Sunday night at 8 p.m. in the Valley of the Sun Ballroom, which will include skits, performances and some of the most impressive costumes and the most elaborate seen in the con. .

However, as with any event involving costumes, Saboten Con requires a certain level of respect for cosplayers, so be sure to ask permission before taking photos of anyone.

What should I bring?

Besides a face covering or mask, comfortable shoes are also a great idea, as is ID if you want to participate in any of the adult programs, and a camera to get photos of all the costumes and memorable experiences. And if you plan on picking up a few things from the vendor hall or buying water from a vendor, cash is always good and an appropriately sized bag to carry your loot is even better.

What should I not bring?

Since respect is of the utmost importance at an event like Saboten Con, leave any intolerant, impatient, combative or creepy attitude at home. And while accessory weapons are allowed, you should refrain from bringing actual weapons to the event.


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