The 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:
SLICE OF LIFE
HEAD LIBRARIANS CHOICE
"Night School" by Svetlana Chmakova
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.
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.