Katsucon is an annual Japanese culture and entertainment con held at the Gaylord Convention Center in Maryland. It is an impressive convention with a dynamic schedule of panels and events, a huge merchant and artist alley and large contingency of cosplayers. It can be stimulation overload for an experienced con attendee, but for a first-time con attendee it can be a black hole of chaos and scheduling overlaps. This past February four brave attendees, Alyx, Baylee, Lexi and Sam, loaded up the car in Illinois and headed to the Gaylord to attend Katsucon. They are all fans of gaming and anime and were excited to see some of their favorite voice actors and see what a con is all about. And they were also planning on cosplaying each day......with different costumes every day. Did I forget to mention that when they loaded up the car, a Honda civic, they had to make room for an 8 foot boomerang?
The trip went relatively smoothly except for the rush to make last minute finishes and changes to costumes. The Gaylord is a beautiful hotel and the facilities are self-contained for the attendees. The only complaint the girls had was that the elevator wait times could be problematic since so many attendees were cosplaying. This mean more luggage and props than normal travelers. The girls met each day of the con with wigs, hats and props in place and hopes and nerves high.
They took part in the con every day. And they Cosplayed everyday. Their cosplay included Sailor Venus and Sailor Jupiter, Elsa, Sam and Dean Winchester and characters from Tokyo Ghoul. Their entire cosplay experience was positive. Other attendees were respectful and polite and asked permission for pictures.
The fearless foursome all had VIP passes which helped improve their first experience. This allowed them to move to the front of the line in the live programming and sessions, 30 minute early entry into the hall, a VIP lounge, and some meet and greet opportunities.
Besides the huge amount of attendees taking part in cosplay, the tremendous amount of live programming and activities is a highlight to the con. At some of the larger comic cons, much of their programming is simply autograph sessions and Q & A. At Katsucon, the opportunities are endless. Panels included topics on anime, cosplay, Japanese culture and pop culture, and comics. Activities included Katsucon Idol, a formal ball, and Harley's Mad Tea Party (2 versions). The guest list was also impressive with cosplayers and voice actors. One of highlights for Lexi was meeting Vincent Corazza, the voice of Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon.
Katuscon will be held at the Gaylord again February 13-15, 2016.