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Cybertroncon: Not More than Meets the Eye

I can’t say much about Cybertroncon, which was in Singapore from 11th-14th March, because there wasn’t much that I saw. It may be the fact that when I got there it was a weekday, but considering it was Monday, the 12th of March, and only the 2nd day of the convention… it looked worryingly empty.

I’m assured that it was a lot busier the previous day, with hordes of customers, and quite a few VIPs, including Mr Hideaki Yoke, the originator of transformers, but I didn’t see much on the second day. It seems as if most of the crowd rushed in the day before, snapping up collector’s editions, getting it signed and then running away again. This was only magnified by the decor near the entrance: set like a battlefield, the random debris and cardboard standees only ended up making me think of the hall as a post-apocalyptic shell, left empty after it was looted by fans.

There WERE things to look at: The huge timeline collection of toys from Gen-one to present day for example, or that set of transformers toys re-imagined by hobbyists, artists and celebrities (My personal fave being the one by Kai of Imaginary Friends Studios, mainly because I’m a fan). Or the drawing panel, play area and cute little interactive screen letting kids dance and play with bumblebee. Or that giant optimus prime. It just wasn’t enough.

Maybe I’m used to conventions where I am invested in. Having experienced conventions like Gencon, SDCC and even STGCC, I say that my standard for cons are pretty high. And this didn’t feel like a con to me; just a place for a family outing and for fans to buy merch. And it’s not even a LOT of merch! The official store (yes, store. Singular) plied mainly movie and RWS merch, or really expensive old-school/collector’s edition toys. I didn’t see any comics, not enough TV-saturation and most definitely not a wide-enough range of merch (I missed the organic array of small-time doujin and etsy-styled vendors so common in just about any other fan convention).

The things that caught my attention was the nostalgia ridden old-school gen one stuff. I actually stood at the TV screens for a good half-hour (altogether) watching ancient ancient Japanese advertisements from the 1980s (Gun-U ROBO-TO!), as well as the original cartoons (STARSCREAAAAM!). And I even found a transformer from Macross/Robotech (Back in the day where everyone ripped everyone else off)! It was probably the most enjoyment I had in the convention.

I suppose I might have been looking for the wrong things in the wrong places. I suppose I might not have been the demographic Cybertroncon was targeting. The families that went seemed sufficiently pleased, as were the throngs of purchasers that I’ve seen in reports about the first day. All I know is, if I’m looking for a holistic, well-rounded range of fan ‘stuff’… even if it’s for something as specifically themed as Cybertron Con, I’d probably end up looking somewhere else next time.

And $12 for a one-day pass? For something I finished in less than half a day? When other cons are cheaper? COME ON.

kakita

Singapore’s resident Press Ganger, that is, the man to go to for Privateer Press’ WARMACHINE, and HORDES. Kakita also dabbles in Games Workshop’s WARHAMMER FANTASY and WARHAMMER 40K lines.

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