Katsucon has always been a dream convention of mine and when The Geek Lyfe gave me the opportunity to go, I couldn’t say no! Being from Canada, I haven’t experienced a really huge convention in the United States and I didn’t really know what to expect. Boy was I surprised!
Location and Price
Katsucon takes place in the D.C. metro area at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center from February 15-17th. It’s nestled beautifully on the bank of a gorgeous lake and even has it’s own heated ferris wheel. HEATED! The resort is surrounded by little shops and restaurants all within walking distance and if I wasn’t so swept up in the convention I would have gone out to explore the beautiful area.The 3 day convention that’s basically going on 24 hours a day costs 50-70 USD depending on how early you register. They even offer group rates if you’re planning on attending with a huge party. The resort offers lodging at the convention but it sells out very quickly. If you’re interested in being onsite, I suggest keeping your eyes on their website for the announcement. Either way, from my hotel search the pricing wasn’t too intense, around 80-150 dollars a night. The rates didn’t surprise me. It’s a huge convention, what more can you expect?
A lot of times when I attend a convention, there are always a couple cosplayers who blow me away with their build, but with Katsucon, every time I turned around I was in awe. The imagination and skill that goes into everyone’s work was amazing. I saw mashups of characters, bunny groups, drag queens as super heroes, and enough versions of My Hero Academia characters to last me a lifetime! Katsucon also brought in some cosplayers I’ve always looked up to such as Jessica Nigri, Gladzy, Leonchiro, Beckanoel and Blackoutcos. Seeing all of them in one place wearing their amazing work was inspiring and I left ready to work on my next big build. I also attended the fashion show and the masquerade (because really I couldn’t get enough cosplay) and I applaud everyone who put together their skit and showed off their skill. There were idol groups, ribbon dancing, magic shows, and some really emotional pieces that showed off all the sweat and tears they put into their art. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to put yourself out there on display for people to judge, just the idea of signing up makes me nervous. Check out our own cosplay gallery courtesy of Chocozumo!
I’ve never been much of a panel goer, maybe its because a lot of then are fandom based? Or nothing has really stood out? But Katsucon was a bit of a different story. Again, I’m not familiar with American conventions so this might be something normal but, the panels that were available were so diverse, fun, and informative I actually had a hard time choosing which to attend. There were Japanese tea ceremonies, plush making, 3D printing in cosplay, NSFW and regular AMV shows, makeup tips, and armor help. All of which is what I really want from panels! I do realize that fandom game shows and whatnot are quite a bit of fun but, workshops and helpful tips for building cosplay are so helpful. The internet is a vast place with so many resources that it can be hard to find what you’re looking for and a bit daunting with so many choices out there. Katsucon did an amazing job at offering panels that offer exactly what you’re looking for! Plus some fun ones that helped me de-stress a bit with some laughs.
Merch and Artist Alley
Let me start off by saying I did not save up enough money for all the stuff I wanted to buy. The Katsucon Merchandise and Artist Alley room were huge and every booth offered something I’ve really never seen before. Kpop, manga, boardgames, makeup, clothing, ink pots and quills and so much more! I was also introduced to the popularity of ita bags, a phenom where you buy a backpack or purse with a clear front cover and fill it with keychains, pins, etc of a character of your choosing. I’ve seen a couple people here in Canada who sport this trend but at Katsucon! Wow! Almost every booth had separate character bins for ita bags and even one booth sold and showed you how to properly use your bag. It all seemed silly at first but now I’m hooked and can’t wait to start my collection. Which easily lead me to artist alley! You could tell quickly which anime and games were the popular ones this season because every artist had their own twists on things like My Hero Academia, Persona 5 and Pokemon. However, it was so nice to see some artists that brought things I’ve never seen at cons before like PandyApparel who brought some amazing clothing designs that I was too slow to purchase and jimengay who had Final Fantasy 14 key-chains that I bought up quickly for my new ita bag obsession. I love seeing all the popular stuff but I do hope to see this kind of new and old selection at future cons!
I’m dubbing Katsucon 2019 as Partycon because I bet you could ask anyone who attended what they thought, and I guarantee you they would agree on some sort of level. A regular Katsucon day is spent doing photoshoots, walking the halls or sitting by the famous gazebo talking to other cosplayers. The atmosphere and mood quickly changes the second the sun disappears over the horizon. The bar lineups start, the music gets turned up and the flashing party lights on all the balconies facing inside the resort turn on. People still walk the halls, do photoshoots, and hang out by the gazebo but, its louder and much MUCH crazier. The NSFW cosplayers come out in packs and the pastie wearing dancers come out for that nights dance. At first I was a little overwhelmed, conventions in Canada are nothing like this, well the ones I’ve attended anyways, and I didn’t really know what to do with myself. But honestly after some time to get comfortable, the evening was probably the most fun I had the whole convention. There was visibly less stress and I met some really amazing people. I only wish I would have had more time to mingle with more of them! Good thing there’s next year!
All in all, Katsucon was a lot of fun and whole new experience I’ll never forget. I’m curious though, are all American cons like this or is Katsucon just special? Please let me know! I need to experience more exciting conventions in the future.