Hey geek gals! We recently headed to Maryland for the annual 3-day fan convention KatsuCon! The convention took place from Feb. 15-17 at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center–a venue that always proves to be stunning.
The locale is surrounded by numerous restaurants, shops, and is right by a ferris wheel and the Potomac River. The con had an array of various panels, workshops, and great guests.
It’s important to note that this was the first year that badges were really enforced at the convention. In previous years, you needed a badge to attend the con but many took this as a suggestion over a requirement since it was notoriously easy to get into the convention without a pass. This year, the con had multiple checkpoints where con and hotel staff would check for badges. The upped security was a hit or miss with con-goers but overall it helped cut down on the amount of people sneaking in.
Some of KatsuCon’s guest included musicians, voice actors and artists. AKIRA, a popular model in Japanese magazines like Kera and a known musical artist, was one of the guest appearances. I remember seeing her work all over the internet a few years ago so to have her as a guest was very cool. She and the group LANTANA put on a concert and signed autographs. Carolina Ravassa was another guest at the con and she is most known for her voice acting in video games such as Sombra in Overwatch and Taliana Martinez in Grand Theft Auto V. Similarly, the voice of Widowmaker in Overwatch, Chloé Hollings. Courtenay Taylor who voiced the likes of Ada Wong in Resident Evil and Scarlett Rhodes in Call of Duty Black Ops 4 was also present. Some of the other people in the line up was Steve Bennett who worked on Urusei Yatsura and Yamamoto.
Panels and Meetups
KatsuCon had many interesting panels and workshops spanning to giving people cosplay tips to table top game tutorials. There were makeup demos, dance and K-pop panels as well as events like contest and the masquerade. There were multiple anime music video contests that covered people who were new to editing as well as those who were well versed in making videos. There were multiple categories for videos like drama, action, comedy and even NSFW. The con also did anime viewings of shows like Katekyo Hitman Reborn and My Hero Academia.
The convention hosted cosplay meetups for almost every series you could think of. There were sizable meetups for series like Legend of Zelda, Critical Role, Overwatch, Sailor Moon, RWBY, Marvel, She Ra, and much much more. The meetups were more cosplay oriented but they were open to everyone. Most had portions where people cosplaying characters were called up to take photos with one another. Since this convention takes place at a hotel, there were a lot of series specific pajama parties. People met up at the con center in pajamas to talk, eat, play games, and just have a good time.
I, personally, went to a Seven Deadly Sins meetup. Even though it was small, it was easy to have a good time. People chatted about their favorite moments in the series and took silly pictures together. I was able to catch the end of a Dragon Age meetup as well and the atmosphere there was also really welcoming even though I wasn’t in anything close to a Dragon Age cosplay. There were meetups that were amazing to see if only because the sheer amount of people they attracted. The Critical Role meetup was moved outside of the con center because there was so many attendees. Despite this, the meetup was still organized and ran in a timely manner. Everyone I talked to that attended a meetup over KatsuCon weekend had a lot of positives to say. Between the panels and the meets, it was impossible not to come across people who shared the same interests or love for a series.
This is one of the only conventions where I can safely say that it seems that people in costume outweigh the people that aren’t. KatsuCon has a reputation for attracting all sorts of cosplayers who bust out their skills to create absolutely stunning outfits. This con is known for causing “con crunch” — cosplayers working feverishly on their costumes to debut them, sometimes without sleeping or eating. This is a huge problem within the community but people’s efforts definitely did not go amiss. There were huge Naruto groups, stunning Trinity Blood cosplays and costumes that were just plain out funny.
It’s always interesting to see all the different takes on characters that people have and how they portray them. Instead of canon outfits, there was an Overwatch group who cosplayed the heroes in Sailor Moon outfits. For the formal ball, many people cosplayed their as favorite characters while dressed to the nines in fancy dresses or classy tuxedos. The formal was a cool experience because, in my experience, not many cons have them. Anime NYC and New York Comic Con don’t take place at a venue where this type of event seems feasible.
Even though cosplay isn’t necessary or required to attend KatsuCon, it’s definitely worth a shot to try it at least once while attending. In a lot of ways, it can elevate your con experience. I cosplayed all weekend and most of my cosplays were simple but it was a great time.
View our KatsuCon Cosplay photos!
KatsuCon is pretty popular and even before I ever went to a con, KatsuCon was one of my goals. This is my third time going and it never fails to be a blast. There are aspects of the con that everyone can enjoy no matter their age. KatsuCon being at a hotel that has events that run into the late night means that this a con that never sleeps. At all times of the day, there are things to do. Even if cons aren’t your thing, KatsuCon is worth checking out next year.
Featured image credit: Keana Ghost/Geek Gals