Katsucon; the anime event to trump all events (okay maybe not)!  The event that I'll probably end up being dragged to, every year for the rest of my life! The event that I actually had a ton of fun at this year!

So what exactly is Katsucon? Katsucon is a gathering for anime lovers all across the east coast! More specifically, it is a 3 day convention held every year in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area during the month of February. In the past 5 years it has been held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. But since its founding in 1995, it has been held in various locations throughout D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.

So, now that the boring background information is out the way, we can get to the meat of things! Katsucon, ah Katsucon; I have a real love/hate relationship with that convention. I've never been a huge anime fan, not like my husband and some of our friends. However, that doesn't mean that I dislike the genre. No, not in the least - I'm just no crazy about it. I'm always up for a good anime, and I'm willing to try some of the lesser known stuff as well, but when it comes to being an Otaku... I'm more of an American geek.

With that being said, it's not hard to see how I could potentially feel out of place at such an event. However, surprisingly, most of the time I feel right at home. As I said, I don't really consider myself an Otaku; however I am pretty geeky by society's standards. Because of this, when I'm at places like Katsucon, I feel united with my fellow geeks (no offense), I feel at home! I find myself surrounded by individuals with similar interests, and that is an incredible feeling!

So, what's so great about Katsucon? Well it all really depends upon who you ask. Some people might say the cosplay is the highlight of the event. Others might say it's the vendors. A few people might say it's the Katsucon Dance. And perhaps, some people might say that it's the opportunity to reunite with friends. Whoever you are, whatever your interests, as long as you find at least some enjoyment from anime, you'll find something to call great about Katsucon.

For me, Katsucon is a smorgasbord of experiences, some good and some bad. But this year, Katsucon was majorly a delightful event! What was so different about this year as opposed to the previous? Well, a number of things actually. For starters, we didn't take our son. At 5 years old, he has little interest in anime; and as for Japanese culture as a whole, if it's not chopsticks, the Wii U or Mario and Luigi, he just doesn't care. Removing him from our party allowed for quicker navigation, and gave us more time to spend at vendors, events, and just all around exploration.

Secondly, we enlisted the help of friends more familiar with the territory to give us advice on where to go, what events to attend, and most importantly to just hang out. Thirdly, we actually had a structured plan. For people who know me in real life, they know that I am famous for always having a plan. And even when my plans don't successfully pan out, I at least find solace in knowing that I had one. However, last year we did not have a plan. Last year we just ventured out into the wild, essentially, just aimlessly wandering.

These 3 simple changes made all of the difference this year and because of it, I was actually able to have a pretty enjoyable time! So what exactly did we do at Katsucon? Honestly... not much; but certainly not because there was a shortage of things to do. No, quite the contrary; it's just that we're still noobs at this, so time easily escaped us.

While we didn't accomplish a whole lot, I can tell you what we did do. We did check out a few events - the Katsucon Dance, and Masquerade to be more specific. When I say Katsucon Dance, it's pretty self-explanatory as to what goes on there. However, the Masquerade is in a sense a little misleading. The Masquerade is actually a mixture of cosplay modeling and performances. The Katsucon Masquerade was by far, one of the most entertaining performances that I've ever seen! Some were a total snooze fest, others were downright cringe worthy, but some... some were like blockbuster movies! My personal favorites were a Left 4 Dead act, a Kingdom Hearts skit, and a Godzilla/Mothra battle. If you ever make your way to Katsucon I highly recommend sitting through the Masquerade; you won't regret it!

Aside from attending the events, we also did quite a bit of vendor hopping. I love shopping, and place like Katsucon are great for finding those nifty little items that you won't (or will have a hard time) finding anywhere else. There are so many things to buy at Katsucon that it will make your head spin! From trading cards, to artwork, to swords, to steampunk props; there's so much to choose from that you'll almost certainly walk away from it all with an empty wallet.

For me, the video game vendors are always my favorite; although, not all vendors are created equally. Some video game vendors have better selections than others. Some vendors are cheaper than others. Some vendors sell hard to find, rare games and consoles. Other vendors sell common games for 50 percent above retail (I wish I was making this up). Suffice it to say, shopping around is just as important at Katsucon as it is in any other retail establishment. When visiting Katsucon vendors make sure to never outright low ball them when it comes to the prices of their merchandise. However do attempt to haggle, and do buy things in bulk! I was able to get a few dollars knocked off of a couple of games due to the discs being scratched. I was also able to get a few games thrown in for free due to the large quantity of games I was purchasing. My husband was also able to get 10 percent off on a sword that he purchased for me, on a count of his employment. Deals are waiting to be had at Katsucon; you just have to know how to make them.

While our time at Katsucon did prove to be more productive and way more structured than the previous year, we still managed to do quite a bit of wandering around. In part, this was because we were trying to kill time until the Burlesque Show (that we actually ended up missing). Another reason for our wandering was because we were once again trying to waste time for an event - this time for the Katsucon Dance. Thirdly, we wound up roaming around again to kill time, so that we could be seated at the crowded sports bar downstairs. And lastly, we found ourselves shuffling about in attempt to find a misplaced friend. In all honesty, we didn't have to wander so much; there were other events we could have gone to. However, wandering allowed us the chance to check out other peoples cosplay. Wandering, allowed for photo-ops, socialization, and downright weird and random encounters. Wandering, was actually fun this year, and I'd wander again if given the chance.

Last but not least, we hung out with friends. Katsucon can be an Otaku's party paradise! And while partying isn't exactly a priority in my life, I do enjoy a good get together every once and a while. Luckily, the friends we hung out with aren't total party animals either. They were more occasional get together people like me. This made for a great night of fun! However, if you're not into hanging out in hotel rooms with friends while drinking, laughing, and listening to music, or bar/restaurant hopping with a group of people; you can always go to the Katsucon Dance (which is pretty much a wholesome rave) and dance the night away! Whatever your preference, Katsucon is the place to be. Katsucon is perfect for meeting up with old friends and making new ones. It's also perfect for exploring many activities with said friends. All in all, it's a real party spot, whether it is the quite get together type, or a hotel rager! If you ever attend Katsucon, make it a social event; I guarantee you'll have more fun.

So that's it folks, that was my weekend in a not-so-small nutshell. I know that this was pretty long, and if you're still here then I thank you for continuing to read on, regardless of its length. I also want you all to know that I intend to continue to attend these types of events, and I plan on continuing to provide some form of coverage for them. So, if you enjoyed reading this, I highly advise subscribing to my blog because (if everything goes according to plan) I do intend to post coverage for another event in June and possibly sometime in April or May. Also, if you'd like to see more photos from Katsucon, I also recommend checking out Geektography. My photography skills may suck but those of the Geektography most certainly do not. Anyway, thanks for reading and as always Happy Gaming!