Katsucon is a large-scale anime convention held annually in Washington, D.C. by Katsucon Entertainment, Inc. an educational non-profit organization dedicated to bringing information about Japanese animation, society, and traditional and popular culture to fans everywhere.
Katsucon 2015 enjoyed a cold, but mostly snow-free weekend, allowing both attendees and guests to make it ito the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in Washington, D.C. in relative peace. A 24-hour convention, panels and programing were offered around-the-clock, and guests included voice actors Chris and Greg Ayres, Josh Grelle, and Cherami Leigh, martial artists Daniel and Jillian Coglan, cosplayers Yaya Han and Svetlana Quindt, performances by Geek Comedy Tour and programming by the Japanese Cultural Institute. The World Cosplay Summit was moved away from Katsucon this year, allowing cosplayers to focus on the con's own masquerade contest. The convention still leaves much to be desired, however, which is a shame given its fantastic location and wonderful social aspects. Disorganization and poorly run events causes many attendees to "ghost" the convention, greatly skewing attendance numbers. If Katsucon improves the convention experience itself, it could morph into a much larger event.
EllyStar, Sketch and I pulled into the Westin National Harbor around 8PM, where we were staying for the first time. It was two blocks from the Gaylord but much closer to all of the shops and restaurants, and our room overlooked the harbor. After dropping our stuff we went to the Gaylord, where registration was once again mishandled and took much longer than necessary. We had to wait over an HOUR to pick up our pre-reg badges and the line wasn’t even that long. Dragon*Con has over 60,000 attendees and about the same number of people working the table, and they manage to push everyone through in under 20 minutes these days. We finally got our badges and hit up Cadillac Ranch for a delicious crab cake dinner and pomegranate margaritas so full of Tequilla they tasted like crap but a few sips in we stopped caring!
Friday morning I got into Sango from InuYasha while Sketch got into Godric Gryffindor and EllyStar wore her Lynnea Stark costume from Game of Thrones. We wandered around, took photos, and visited the dealer’s room. We also chatted with many acquaintances; the con was very sociable considering so many of our good friends were not there. That afternoon we got into civvies and visited the Awakening Statue and the Peeps Store on our way to The Crab Cake Café for lunch. Delicious! In the afternoon I wore my 2.0 Rosette costume from Chrono Crusade and Sketch wore Steiner from Final Fantasy IX. When we headed to the Gaylord it had dropped to around 15 degrees and the wind had picked up. I grabbed a few photos of Steiner outside in the setting sun before Sketch's metal chainmail got unbearably cold. We got some nice shots of Rosette inside near the brick walls, and I got a lot of positive feedback for her. I love Rosette as a character so much that it was really nice to finally feel like I was doing her justice. Sketch's Steiner was also looking really nice now that it had been touched up and had the weapon to pose with. I even took pics of him fighting the giant Marlboro in the Artist Alley! That night I got into VICI and it was so cold outside we jogged up the street to Thai Pavilion for dinner. Afterwards we full-on RAN to the Gaylord! I didn’t expect many people to recognize VICI at this convention since most attendees are too young to remember the show, but I got a few! After socializing with a few drinks, we checked out the game room before turning in for the night.
Saturday morning we all got into our Final Fantasy VI costumes; I wore my remade Relm while EllyStar was Celes and Sketch wore EllyStar’s Locke costume. We met up at the fountains with some other FF6 cosplayers and took photos. We also ran into Cimorene and her friend in their Saizouku costumes which were super cute! That afternoon we headed to Peri Peri for lunch and loaded up on sangria, then enjoyed a good nap before Sketch and I got into Steiner and Madoka and walked back over to the con. We met Cinnabunny as Beatrix and her friend Komouri who were both super nice and had awesome costumes, and we exchanged cosplay cards so we could find each other online later. Finally, EllyStar caught up with us a few hours later in her Presea costume from Magic Knights Rayearth; I got some good photos of her and we hung out some more until dinnertime. As we exited the Gaylord, a hurricane force wind ripped into us with a blast of snow, out of NOWHERE. Sketch’s helmet and one of his costume pieces went flying, and he went running after them. My Madoka hairbows went flying into the night, never to be seen again. I was blown everywhere and turned back to the Gaylord, while EllyStar in her simpler costume, kept running for the hotel. Sketch found me in the entryway having retrieved his items two parking lots away. Sketch had to remove every detachable piece of his costume and had me hold onto it while he booked it for the Westin, changed into regular clothes, and came back for me with a jacket so we could both walk me and our costume pieces back without losing more of them. Apparently this is called a “river blizzard” and it SUCKS.
Back at the room I felt better once I had warm comfy clothes on, and we ordered take-out for dinner so we didn’t have to go back outside. When we were done eating it was only 9:30 and the storm had subsided, though it was still only 5 degrees out. Second wind achieved, Sketch and I changed into our Tsubasa costumes and headed back to the convention with EllyStar. At the courtyard bar I downed a White Russian before heading up to the Pose Lounge on the 18th floor. We were carded before getting into the elevator and we could hear the music as we approached, so we started elevator dancing. It was a cool place, with changing light colors on the walls on one side, and floor to ceiling windows with a view of D.C. on the other. There was a large tile area for dancing, a huge bar, and white couches for lounging. It also was not crowded at all - perfect! I ordered us more drinks, and we grabbed a couch inside a light box that kept changing colors. Akanae Saotome, Kelli, and Cimerone joined us, and we chatted and drank for about two hours as the lounge filled up with more people and we hit the dance floor. It was so much fun! We finally ended up leaving about 1am because we knew we had to run back to the hotel in the cold, but I could have danced for at least another hour.
Sunday morning we had an easy time packing up as we’d done most of it the night before. I got into Coco Bandicoot for the day; the costume is simple but turning my arms, face, and neck orange takes some time. I had just about finished as Sketch finished loading up the car, but just as I left the front door, a huge wind gust blew off my hair flower and ears and sent them down the street. I grabbed the ears and a lady grabbed my flower which luckily only had the gem break off in one piece and I stuck it back on with fashion tape for the time being. This wind thing is terrible! At the Gaylord Sketch did an awesome photoshoot of me as Coco in the tropical-looking gardens, and Coco ended up being my most successful costume of the convention in regards to being recognized! We visited Mookie in Artist Alley, and they had done really well during the con, which was great to hear. We had lunch at the sports bar in the hotel and by 3:30 we had changed and were ready to head out. It felt good to be in my normal clothes! The drive home was long, but uneventful; overall a fantastic weekend!