Pop Culture Embassy Triad Anime Con: Review

Triad Anime Con cartoonThe Triad Anime Con (TAC) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina was started in 2012 by a local anime fan group, Winston-Salem Anime Group (WSAG). Information about the fan group is pretty difficult to find, a characteristic reflected in the con itself.

For a small, young con, TAC offers a wide variety of events including dances, gaming, dealers, artists, a cosplay contest, autograph sessions, special guests, and a library. They also have well-defined con rules for costumes, conduct, and weapons.

There are a lot of advantages to TAC. The con is very affordable. This year pre-registration was $35 for three days. You can also buy day passes and registration at the door. At least for now, the city of Winston-Salem can contain the con and it’s the perfect location. Parking is across the street and affordable at $9 per day and plenty of eating and coffee establishments within a block!

The highlights of the con included the Carolina Manga Library, the “Parent’s Guide to Anime” panel, the artist’s alley, and the dealer’s room.

One of the most impressive rooms at the con was the Manga Library hosted by the Carolina Manga Library non-profit, a traveling manga library of over 3,000 manga, American comics, web comics, and comic strips. The librarian, Laura Mehaffey, also lead the “Great Graphic Novels” panel with suggestions of manga for every taste. There’s nothing more enjoyable than listening to someone who is passionate and loves what they do.

The following are Mehaffey’s suggestions for getting started:

ACTION

Arpeggio of Blue Steel” by Ark Performance
Revolutionary Girl Utena” by Saito Chiho

ROMANCE

A Devil and Her Love Song” by Tomori Miyoshi
A Bride’s Story” by Kaoru Mori

HEROIC

Legend of Zelda” by Himekawa Akira
Magic Knight Rayearth” by Rumiko Takahashi

HORROR

Magical Girl Apocalypse” by Sato Kentaro
AJIN: Demi Human” by Miura Tsuina

COMEDY

Food Wars” by Tsukuda Yuto
Assassination Classroom” by Matsui Yusei

FANTASY

Hibiki’s Magic” by Aeda Jun
Wolf Children” by Mamoru Hosoda and Yu

SLICE OF LIFE

Voice Over” by Minami Maki
Bunny Drop” by Unita Yumi

NON-MANGA

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter” by Laurell K. Hamilton
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Omnibus” by Katie Cook

HEAD LIBRARIAN’S CHOICE

Night School” by Svetlana Chmakova

Paren't Guide to Anime book cover David Rothman is the author of “Parent’s Guide to Anime: What is Safe for Your Children to Watch?” A father and anime fan, he led the “Parent’s Guide to Anime” panel, another enthusiastic and information-packed panel.

The anime artists were impressive and offered a wide range of merchandise, as did the dealers. Unfortunately there’s not a complete list of artists or dealers on the web site or in the program book. If an attendee wanted to follow up with any, they’d be out of luck.

Long Distance cover“Long Distance” by P-ShinobiOne of the more impressive illustrators I met was P-Shinobi with Boomslank. He has a distinctive style with enormous detail. His designs translate beautifully to t-shirts and posters.

TAC’s program book and web site could use a lot more information. Each panel should list the names and organization of the panelists leading it. There should be a map of the hotel in the book. Although the book included panel descriptions, it didn’t include the panel schedule. Information about downtown parking would be helpful because it’s very limited. All of this should be in the program book and on the web site.

Although the staff is enthusiastic, they were mostly absent. They were very good about verifying badges and carding panelists for 18 and over material, but about half the panels had technical difficulties without any IT help to be found. And most panelists were bigger fans than speakers–they frequently got off topic, talked amongst themselves or to friends in the front row, did not have an informative presentation, or didn’t have a presentation at all.

The following are the panels I attended and a really small sampling of what was on the schedule:

  • ConSurvival 101
  • Cosplay Makeup for Beginners
  • Are You a Nerd?
  • What Needs to be Done in the Anime Fandom
  • Parent’s Guide to Anime
  • Great Graphic Novels
  • Cosplay Contest
  • Tokyo Ghoul: An Introduction
  • Voice Acting with Lauren Landa
  • Otaku Flea Market

As a small con, this is a great start for anime with energetic fans and extensive cosplay, and parents should be comfortable attending with their young fans.

Rhonda has a BS in Mathematics and Computer Science and is a self-taught graphic designer. She considers herself a geek*wildcard because she has a little bit of experience in everything.

5 thoughts on “Pop Culture Embassy Triad Anime Con: Review

  1. I think you were misinformed about a few things. As one of the leaders of WSAG I can assure you we do not run Triad Anime Convention. We run the con survival 101 pannel, we also help run other pannels and with badge checks but we are staffers and volunteers for the people that run the convention. As to as being able to find info about WSAG you merely need to look us up on Facebook.

  2. If I remember correctly the panel schedule was on a separate piece of paper which also had a map on it

  3. Robert and MistressCha, thanks so much for commenting.
    I did get the impression from the 101 panel that WSAG was in charge of the con. Again, more information on the web site and printed materials would have helped. Not everyone is on Facebook, believe it or not. And some underage fans are not allowed on Facebook. A single source for information is very limiting for your group when there are so many free web site options. It will just help you get the word out.
    We had two different printed schedules and no one in my group was able to find a map.
    This is all just constructive criticism that, take it or leave it, you can use to tighten up the logistics of the con and make it better.

  4. Hi there. As a regular staffer for this con, I can give you a bit of info. The con was founded, and is currently run by Nostalgia Conventions, out of Ohio, the organization behind Ichibancon in Charlotte, NC, and Colossal con in Sandusky, OH. Our Con Chair, Donnell, has seen this article, and has made note of you concerns. It's always great to get feedback, so thank you, and I'm glad you like the Con.

  5. As the main host of Con Survival I'm sorry you got that impression, but I never once stated we were anything more than staffers at the convention and long time convention goers. As far as gathering members for the anime group, honestly WSAG is a homegrown organization and without anything other than Facebook and word of mouth we have 222 members. Our organization is not always PG and what few younger members that do attend some of our events do so with their parents' consent or presence at the event themselves. Since a lot of events are hosted in personal homes, putting info out on the net isn't something we actively pursue. Our all ages events are usually publicly hosted events like the different local cons or the Animania days hosted at FYE , which there is one this Saturday at Hanes Mall that is all age friendly with a cosplay contest and prizes that I would encourage people to attend.

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