Katsucon!!! For many, it’s the show that kicks off con season, but for many people out there it’s one of the biggest cosplay conventions on the East Coast!… oh and it’s a HUGE ANIME CONVENTION! It all goes down at the incredibly beautiful Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD! It’s really a 24 hour kind of event with so much to do it’d be hard to even get a quarter of it all done in one weekend. Here’s my trip!
The Great Bearded One (Thomas) and My Buddy Guy (Guy) joined me and my cos-sisters Li and Lin for an epic grand adventure. Take 3 cosplayers, 5 geeks, lots of caffeine, and toss out sleep… it paints the picture of not only our weekend but our drive down at 3 am that Friday. Getting there was a relatively decent trip, despite some traffic (but what do I know I passed out about 20 minutes into the drive). Upon getting there it was an odd feeling in the air. Con was underway at 9 am but… where was everyone? I quickly learned that most people (like us) we’re still coming in or were sleeping from coming in the night before. So what originally seemed like a slow start quickly picked up as the day progressed. I took a second to take it all in. I had only seen Katuscon from the eyes of all my friends and people who I have seen gone years prior. I was finally in the big show! What do I do first? Food!
That’s always the right answer. After getting our badges and grabbing some grub we set forth to learn the terrain and figure out what made Katsucon so popular. Essentially it has become a Cosplay Convention for many. A lot of my friends came without badges for fun or to network or to meet up with friends, and many just came for the cosplay. There’s no shortage of cosplay excellence at this convention. It is the con you prepare for while you are still recovering from NYCC. From October to early February it is what most cosplayers are anticipating and stressing over. I can say with good reason (To a degree). The opportunity for getting noticed is dramatically increased, both in person and via social media. Many of the “who’s who” for cosplay showed. Such cosplayers as… Leon Chiro, Yaya Han, Stella Chu, Becka Noel, Jessica Nigri, Dhareza Cosplayza and many many more!
The scenery of the hotel is incredibly gorgeous and the areas to shoot and hangout are limitless. I was surprised however to see that the artist alley area was so tiny until I saw that the dealer room was not as big as I had expected. I think by comparison of attendance, venue, and event I expected something along the lines of Special Edition, which it fell short of. I will say that it was a HUGE step up from Anime Next which I really wanted. I still feel that more should be offered but when you get a majority of attendance from people who don’t even buy a badge I can see the troubles of wanting to go all out. It offered enough to satisfy any buying needs with enough variety for even the most casual of fans.
I am sad that we didn’t get to do all the panels that we wanted to attend, but we did make it to the one panel I refused to miss… MAN AT ARMS: REFORGED! If you’ve never heard of these guys, STOP AND GO TO YOUTUBE! SUBSCRIBE AND THANK ME LATER! Along with Thomas and Guy, we got to hear them speak about life in and outside of the show, how production has been going, and what the future holds for the team. The Man at Arms: Reforged is a series that I’ve been a fan of for about 2 or so years now. They are blacksmiths who are damned good at their craft. They’ve taken weapons from games, movies, shows and anything in between and brought them to life. I was fortunate enough to bump into Ilya as they were leaving and Matt more than once. (Later on at the after-party where I did a double-take and tried my best not to fanboy). There were panels from 18+ content, video games, old school anime, to some of the most random stuff I’ve ever heard of. Unfortunately with such little time, I wasn’t able to hit them all, but with better planning for next year, I can see myself doing a lot more of the panels that Katsucon has to offer. I also want to take a second and give a thumbs up to their after-parties, because I’ve done after-parties for out of state cons and this one ranks pretty highly on my fun list.
All in all, it was an incredibly enjoyable trip that I will not forget. I’m still recovering, but it was so worth it. I will say that I have to go into the trip with a different game plan than I did this year though. Cosplaying, even briefly, while trying to take pics, meetup and do a million other things don’t quite work so well. I do plan on cosplaying next year, maybe taking Friday to take some photos and videos, and better schedule meetups, panels and such. This is one con off my bucket list, but onto my must-go list now as I foresee myself attending this con for the next few years to come. As a fan of anime, cosplay and out of state conventions it filled the need, but I would say this trip is all an eye of a beholder thing in the end. What you come for, who you come with, and what you end up doing, can completely affect the way your Katsucon adventure turns out.