It is worth noting that at Katsucon 2014 it was conceived that I start writing about anime for killahbeez.com, so you might consider this a one-year anniversary post of some sort.
As with most anime conventions I’m sitting here a few days later trying to get off the high of the weekend. Seeing friends old and new, being off work and with the freedom to go and do what you want for three days is an opportunity hard to pass up when a convention this close to home occurs. And with the optimism of the weekend in mind I made my trip down to National Harbor, MD for Katsucon 2015.
Upon first looking at the schedule of any convention there are a lot of thoughts that go through anybody’s head. The biggest thoughts are which panels or videos you’ll choose to attend, when and where you’ll have time for dinner, and how you will ever sleep. As a 24-hour affair Katsucon makes it as impossible to sleep as they can, and trust me when I say braver souls sleep a maximum of 3-4 hours throughout the weekend.
But Katsucon has a unique offering in that its cosplay community and photoshoots are as recognized as anything else about the con. Well-known cosplayers Yaya Han, Svetlana Quindt (Kamui), and Giada Robin were all guests this year. On the schedule there were other panels dedicated largely or exclusively to cosplay, far too many to name here. On the convention floor there were too many cosplays to count from the incredibly popular League of Legends. Costumes from popular anime series Kill la Kill, No Game No Life, Haikyuu!!, and Tokyo Ghoul were able to be seen everywhere. And of course there were the requisite Pokémon, Marvel/DC, and Nintendo cosplays to be seen as well. One surprise, and they deserve a shoutout here, is the person who got a Left Shark cosplay together less than 2 weeks from the end of the Super Bowl. Thank you for making me and surely many others laugh.
League of Legends continues to grow in its presence at cons, with the last year having been nothing but growth in its cosplay community and it having panels at conventions that typically brand themselves under the anime umbrella. It is a testament to the franchise’s popularity and saturation. I attended a panel where the game was introduced to those unfamiliar with it and then a lot of interesting facts and trivia about the game, such as least-played champions and attack range for certain champions, were brought forward. We were entertained by a plethora of LoL videos as well that varied from great plays to funny fan-made songs.
One panel that is a regular at Katsucon is Super Art Fight. In fact they got their start at this very con a number of years ago. For those familiar with it, you know what to expect. For those unfamiliar with it, well it’s a competitive art battle that takes from pro wrestling gimmicks as well as Iron Chef. Beyond that it’s remarkably hard to explain in the confines of this write-up. But it is absolutely worth experiencing. You will laugh as I and hundreds others did during their show on Saturday.
Saturday night, and to a lesser extent Friday night, largely becomes time to socialize with those you know and those you’ve just met. As important as the programming, the artists’ alley, and the video game room are to a convention there is so much more that makes the Katsucon experience complete. The opportunity to just stand around near Gaylord National Resort’s famous gazebo talking to people you’ve just met in another panel, or walking past musicians jamming in the halls of the convention center, or perhaps going back to your hotel room to sit out on your balcony with a couple close friends. Katsucon is so unique in its setting and I hope it never has to leave National Harbor.
Sunday morning is when your adventure comes to an end. We hastily packed up our room, exchanged money, and put everything in our cars to head home. But naturally I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the weekend just yet, and judging by the amount of people in line for panels many others felt the same way.
My convention closed with the Crunchyroll-presented “Working in the Anime Industry” panel. Largely the panelists talked about their own experience working for Crunchyroll, but gave insight into how tightly-kint a community the entire industry is. They’re almost all fans too and it makes for a truly unique offering when the people working to bring you your hobby care about it as much as you do. The panel closed giving us all just a mild inkling that maybe we should try doing this kind of stuff full-time.
And with that thought I went back out to the parking garage in some of the coldest weather I have ever felt and drove home, with the heaters on of course. And if you were curious, I now have a rather rough cold to show for a very fun, memorable weekend.