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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
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!