February 16th - 19th, 2017
National Harbor, Maryland

Convention Stats:
Location: Gaylord National Resort
Event Year: Twenty-Third
Reported Attendance: TBD
Roadtripping for AnimeCons.TV:
Sketch's Costumes Worn:
Miroku, InuYasha
Gene Starwind, Outlaw Star
Link, Hyrule Warriors
Takashi Shirogane, Voltron
Shiva's Costumes Worn:
Sango, InuYasha
Small Lady Serenity, Sailor Moon
Miku Hatsune, Vocaloid: Project DIVA
Princess Serenade, Eternal Sonata
Princess Zelda, Hyrule Warriors
Summoner Lenne, Final Fantasy X-2
Summoner Belgemine, Final Fantasy X
Summoner Ginnem, Final Fantasy X
Convention Photos:

Photo Credits:
Amiephotos (x2), Marlo Louden Photography, Shiva, ChezPhoto, Shiva

Katsucon is a large-scale anime convention held annually over President's Day weekend at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. The twenty-third annual Katsucon was held at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center just outside of Washington, D.C. A 24-hour convention, panels and programing were offered around-the-clock, and guests, consisting of mostly voice actors, included Greg and Chris Ayres, Bill Rogers, Darin DePaul, and Monica Rial. Industry panels also included Funimation, Aniplex, and Vis, and the Japanese Cultural Institute's sessions were in-depth as usual. A new track, Chibi Katsu, which was geared specifically towards children was a wonderful addition, encouraging family-friendly and kid-geared panels such as the history of anime and Pokémon yoga. Overall the convention still suffered from poor management decisions, including the preregistration badge pickup line which has absolutely no excuse for being over a three-hour wait year after year when larger conventions have cut the wait time down to mere minutes. However, with a great location, entertainment and food close by, dazzling A-game cosplay, and incredibly friendly attendees, this con remains a great deal of fun despite its internal struggles.

Sketch and Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
Thursday morning we packed up the car along with Scarlet and Ellystar and started what has become our traditional road trip to National Harbor, picking up Majodere along the way. This was the fifth year we've driven to Katsucon, so at this point we have our schedule down to a science; Ellystar even filmed some of our shenanigans for an AnimeCons.TV episode on driving to conventions. As usual we arrived at the Gaylord around dinnertime, unloaded the car, and were pleasantly surprised to get a balcony room for the first time with an awesome view of the foyer! It was fun to just hang out on the balcony for a bit as we unpacked and settled in, taking in the scene below. Before getting dinner we went to stand in the dreaded pre-reg line to pick up our badges as we knew it would be much too late to do so afterwards. As we feared it took almost three hours to pick them up, which was excruciating, especially since we were STARVING. Shiva was also in her first trimester of pregnancy, and standing for several hours in that line was wearing on her already thin patience. Finally badges, we went out into town for a well-deserved leisurely meal and drinks.

Friday morning we were all up early to get ready for a photoshoot as the InuYasha main cast with Marlo Louden Photography. We had cosplayed as Miroku, Sango, and Kagome before, but Scarlet was finally joining the rest of us as InuYasha! Majodere spent some extra time fluffing up Scarlet's wig before we headed downstairs for our shoot in the garden area of the Gaylord lobby. The trees, bushes, rocks, and water formations were the perfect. backdrop and we had a blast playing off each other for photos. After the shoot wrapped up we wandered the con as a group for a while, chatting with other attendees and taking pics before grabbing a delicious lunch at Nando's Peri-Peri.

That afternoon Shiva changed into her revamped Princess Chibiusa outfit for a shoot with Amie while Sketch and Majodere got into their Outlaw Star outfits for their own shoot. On the elevator ride downstairs one of the cosplayers complimented Shiva's wig and asked who had made it. "Oh I commissioned it from Ms. Rae," she said, and the cosplayer replied, "I thought that was one of mine. That's me!" We all laughed at the coincidence and chatted for a bit; Ms. Rae was very nice and said she rarely runs into the people she makes things for, so it was really cool we all bumped into each other. It was warm and sunny outside so we all were able to do our shoots with Amie outside and she got some fantastic photos in the late afternoon sunlight. She got a great one of Shiva tossing rose petals, which took a few tries of us scrambling to pick up the petals in between attempts.

Afterwards we met up with Ellystar, and Shiva got some good shots of her new Sakizou costume by the water before we wandered the convention for the evening. We checked out Artist's Alley and the dealer's room for a few hours, and Sketch and Majodere met up with another Outlaw Star cosplayer much to everyone's surprise and delight. That evening Shiva changed into her remade Miku kimono while Sketch, Ellystar, Majodere, Doug and Kate changed into their Voltron kigus which were both adorable and super comfy. We all went out for a wonderful sushi dinner at Thai Pavilion before spending an enjoyable evening hanging out in the Gaylord lobby and socializing.

Saturday morning Shiva spent quite a bit of time getting into her new Princess Serenade costume from Eternal Sonata. It had taken her over a year to finish it so she was happy it was finally done! She had a fun photoshoot with Amie and Cole outside and then changed into Princess Zelda from Hyrule Warriors and met up with Sketch as Link. We had an enjoyable shoot by the water with Riley of ChezPhoto, then had fun checking out the con for a bit. We even got a photo with a giant life-size Snorlax cosplayer who was wandering around the outside garden area; he was so fluffy and adorable!

That evening we had a fantastic dinner at Granite City Brewery before heading back to the Gaylord and changing into our clubbing outfits. Sketch and the crew were wearing their Voltron costumes while Shiva wore Songstress Lenne and we headed up to the club. Everyone was enjoying their drinks with Shiva downing Shirley Temples. We had a blast dancing the night away, and experienced a few firsts; since it was so unusually warm out, the outdoor balcony was open for the first time in our experience and we were able to sit back and enjoy an amazing view of the harbor at night. The club also opened up the upper level VIP section to everyone, and soon two stories of congoers were cutting a rug, which greatly alleviated some of the congestion. We stayed until last call before heading out; normally we would have taken the opportunity to pack up the car before turning in, but we had late checkout the next day and planned to enjoy it.

Sunday we woke up to a beautiful sunny day in 70s, which was shocking for D.C. in February! Scarlet and Shiva wore their Summoner Belgemine and Ginnem costumes for the day, and instead of being warm and comfy as they had expected, they were sweating buckets in them. We walked a few blocks to the beach area and Sketch took photos of the girls by the Awakening statue; the backdrop was great but the gorgeous weather had packed the location with people, including lots of little kids, so it was hard to get access to and take good photos with the statue. We then went across the street to the Peeps Store and got some candy and a took a few photos of the Summoners with the Peep Mobile.

We returned to the con and saw some amazing costumes for a Sunday; there were even an Officer Hops with an actual police car from Zootopia! Around 4PM we finally changed, packed up the car, and stopped for a farewell lunch at Nando's before starting on our road trip home. We had a fabulous weekend and were happy to have another fun Katsucon on the books!