Katsucon 19: Metro DC’s Preeminent Anime Convention

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by Victoria Erica | staff writer

Katsucon is a mid-sized convention in the DC Metro area that took place on President’s Day weekend at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. In their 19th year, Katsucon is going strong and provides a variety of entertainment for all otaku. This is truly a 24 hour convention with so much to do, but so little time.

The Gaylord Resort is a beautiful, scenic place perfect for cosplay meetups and photoshoots. It really feels like an otaku’s vacation resort.

Katsucon drew in A-list voice actors such as Crispin Freeman, Monica Rial, Steve Blum, Greg Ayres, Monica Rial, among others. The biggest international guest was the visual kei band, the Sound Bee HD.

A variety of programming all weekend long kept attendees busy. As a cosplayer, there were very informative panels on designing gijinka cosplay, cosplay community sociology, and how to deal with cosplay creepers. I enjoyed other panels as well, such as how to afford Lolita fashion and a therapeutic discussion on growing old with fandom. As mentioned, this is a 24 hour convention. Plenty of mature programming was available during the evening hours from cosplay burlesque, convention horror stories, and the typical hentai / yaoi MST3K viewings.

World Cosplay Summit headlined the main events. Hosted by Yaya Han, World Cosplay Summit at Katsucon was the Eastern Regional qualifier. Cosplayers from Chrono Cross placed in the Eastern division and will go onto the next round to determine Team USA for the international cosplay competition.

Masquerade was held shortly after the World Cosplay Summit. Highlights from Masquerade included Madoka, Super Mario Brothers, Trinity Blood and Fate/Stay Night. In both Masquerade and World Cosplay Summit, cosplayers truly brought their A-Game. The quality of costumes and performances were top notch. Katsucon’s cosplay contests certainly attract the best and most talented cosplay artists.

Another great cosplay-related event was the cosplay ballroom dance. What I liked about this ballroom dance is that they played mellow music from anime and video games. “Toki Ni Ai Wa” from Revolutionary Girl Utena was a huge throwback, and it was a nice choice to help some newbie ballroom dancers learn to lead and follow. The ballroom dance concluded with “Gangnam Style,” putting the entire dance floor on fire.

The dealer’s hall had a variety of anime and manga goods. As someone who obsesses over blind bag figures, I found a ton of iDolm@ster, Persona 4, and Fate/Stay goodies. There was even a booth that sold import games and collectable anime merchandise. There was a good selection of anime goods for all generations, from DVDs to discounted manga. Definitely something for everyone – Sailor Moon plushies are back! The artist alley also had a nice variety of independent arts and crafts. I ended up buying Lolita fashion jewelry and taking photos at cosplay photoshoot booths.

Katsucon is a luxury convention, but well worth it. While the Gaylord is a resort and National Harbor is very touristy, it’s well worth the investment. People were very friendly to interact with. I had a joy talking to otaku from Scranton talking about old school anime. As a late 20-something otaku that has been attending anime conventions for the past 13 years, this was well worth traveling out for.

[NOTE: The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the SPJA.]

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