Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Matthew's Taiyou Con 2015 Review: Part 3 - Day Three

By the time Sunday morning came, we were still hung over from the concert last night. And up on deck for today was the Lotus Juice solo concert and the private meet and greet for the VIP ticket holders, which three of the four people in the room had.


Everyone had slept in, including myself, until around 9am - 10am. By then, we only had two hours until the solo concert which even he admitted was a bit early.

Attendees shopping on the last day.
People waiting in line for the solo concert. Most of the Persona cosplayers, inlcuding Ryan and I, where in casual clothing today.
Lotus Juice took the stage just after 12pm and performed his music from the Dead or Alive series and Jojo's Bizarre Adventure as well as Persona music not performed yesterday such as "Laser Beam."

Lotus Juice performing.
Even though this was listed as a "solo concert," the fact that Yumi Kawamura and Shihoko Hirata were still here gave him the excuse to bring them on to perform a reprise of "MAZE OF LIFE" and "Reach Out To The Truth" as well as "P3 Fes" and "Do It For Love" with Kawamura-san.

Hirata-san getting down with Lotus Juice.
Lotus Juice with Kawamura-san.
Back up in the room, we had lunch one last time with the four of us before heading down for our final round of autographs. Because the convention wasn't listing when the guests were during autographs, we had to play it by ear, and by ear we meant Twitter.

Eric Stuart, who did the voices for Seto Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh! and Brock from Pokemon was also there. The thing was that this was the first time I've seen him all weekend. And some of the other guests of honor - like Johnny Junkers and Chris Guerrero - I didn't see at all. I guess that if you're locked into Persona Con, you're totally zoned in to those four.

3:30pm rolled around, which meant that the meet and greet for VIP ticket holders started. This gave 50 attendees who paid an extra $25 to meet their idols up close and personal, ask questions, get things signed, and take a photo.

Danny interacting with the trio.
I had found a spare timetable of the cosplay gatherings for Saturday, and knowing that I ran the Persona/SMT Gathering at a convention attended by Lotus Juice, Kawamura-san, and Hirata-san, I had them (along with Erin Fitzgerald) sign the poster along with my Persona Q Sounds of the Labryinth CD that I brought with me.

One last selfie with the trio.
This event signaled the end of the convention, even though there were still things to do outside of the convention as the weekend came to a close. For one, Packers/Seahawks was on and we caught the end of an overtime win by the home team. We also had to see Michael off because he was leaving Phoenix back to Portland that night, so we spent some time chilling on the second floor balcony talking about the weekend as a whole.

Our plan was to head out to Alice Cooper'stown located in downtown Phoenix to eat the "Man vs Food" Bases Loaded Big Unit.

We quickly found out that Cooper'stown is open on Sundays but only for special events (such as Suns or Cardinals games or corporate events) and that they were already closed when we got there. Because we already paid for two hours of parking, we set off to downtown Phoenix to find a place to eat. After sightseeing crews building a block party for the upcoming Super Bowl, we eventually found ourselves at a Five Guys. The only person out of the remaining three that hadn't gone to Five Guys, which I equate it more to restaurant-quality burgers than In-N-Out and fast food burgers, was Ryan. He was shocked to know that ordering a large order of fries didn't equal a large order of fries; I order the smallest batch of fries and I know that they give you way too much. At least he liked the burger.

Back in the car heading to the hotel, we streamed Carpe Diem out of my phone and honed in on the lyrics from Lotus Juice. Now that we've met the person, listen to his stories and inspirations, and saw him perform in person, his lyrics and music take on a whole different level of meaning. In fact, you can say that for the entire Persona franchise.

We were planning on crashing and packing in so that we could leave Monday, then we spotted Lotus Juice and Kawamura-san chilling with drinks with whoever was left after the convention ended. So we bought down what drinks we had left and offered it to those who still remained. Knowing Ryan as a great bartender, he got people going with his drinks as I made up a couple of my own from what was brought down.

After everyone departed, we stripped down to our suits and hit the hot tub to relax the night away. We noticed that someone was already in the hot tub, then we find out it was one of higher staff members for Taiyou Con. For nearly two hours, we discussed what we liked at the convention, voiced some of our concerns, and gave recommendations to grow this five-year old convention. Having that conversation really changed our perspective of the entire weekend and left us wanting to come back to see how this convention turns to the future.

Ryan and Michael posing with Kawamura-san and Hirata-san for one last photo.
-Day Three End-

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