Katsucon 2016 – a con in review

The focus of Katsucon has it’s share of panels and guests but the highlight has to be the cosplay which takes over the Gaylord National Resort during Valentine’s weekend. Next to the harbor, the Atrium, the gazebo, hallways and lobby, cosplay shoots take place at all hours celebrating the fun, the intricacies of the craft and the artistry of photography. The location and relaxed feel of the convention draws fans from across the nation with special international guests and attendees like our favorites from Canada. Hit the link for photos from the weekend, a few panels, the masquerade and some of the best cosplays of the East coast.

Thursday: February 11

badge lines

Having a convention in a resort thankfully means that everything takes place indoors. Including badge pickup which is in the large halls. The line is long but it keeps on moving. At around 8pm, everyone probably was on the line for only about an hour.

Even on Thursday, there were already some amazing cosplays.

Friday: February 12

cosplay before shopping

Because of some late shoots, I didn’t manage to get out to the floor until the afternoon. Before the Dealer’s Room, I checked out some of my fav series come to life.

shopping time!

The Dealer’s Room had many booths of other conventions on the side.

The focus of the industry area was around Funimation and Crunchyroll who had the biggest booths.

The special gifts with purchases at the Funimation booth.

Crunchyroll was live streaming all weekend with special guests and talks at their booth.

The Aniplex booth had special raffles for signed posters including the a beautiful illustration of Shigatsu. A Kaori cosplayer also performed at the booth during the day.

After the Dealer’s Room, we checked out the Artist Alley.

I grabbed a few more cosplays prior to the Vertical panel.

Vertical Panel

Marketing Director of Vertical, Ed Chavez hosted the panel filled with kitty manga and more. What I enjoy most about Vertical is that they are not concerned with only popular series, but they look to licenses which opens the mind, something that adds to the art. Or something that is really hilarious. It is always a surprise with their works. And Ed surprised us by opening the panel by playing Neko Atsume and Love Live!!.

Saturday: February 13

fire? fire

The last time I experienced a fire was at Otakon a few years ago. It was in the sweltering heat and now it is winter. The Gaylord temperature control device in the room is also the loudspeakers. Around 12:30pm, it broadcasted an emergency signal and told us to head to the lobby. We headed to the lobby via the stairs before we were herded outside under the heat lamps. We stood outside of the hotel for a bit under the lamps…until they turned it off which caused a tremor of awws throughout the crowd. Poor cosplayers since most left the hotel without a jacket.

~ Photo credit: Linda Yau

Many went to restaurants and stores in the area as well as other hotels. It was close to an hour later before we were allowed to return inside.

just a few cosplays

I did a few photoshoots before the evening masquerade. Thankfully, there were heaters near the walls which warmed the cosplyers up when they returned from the cold.

Katsucon masquerade

The masquerade for Katsu always surprises me. There was a mixture of walkons with the skit performances and they were such amazing walk ons which weren’t simply ‘walking’. They were totally in character and with the high caliber of cosplay which is amazing to see on stage. The skits also were of a higher quality. The novice doesn’t seem like novices and I didn’t find any mediocre performances.

just a few cosplaying swords

Touken Ranbu is a popular game and there were many cosplays of the various characters throughout the weekend. I’m just amazed at the details on the costumes and props.

Amongst the swords is a Judar cosplay from Magi.

Funimation panel

The MCs for the Funimation panel were Tara McKinney and Justin Rojas. The panel opened with them sharing about their social media sites including Facebook, Pintrest and Tumblr (which includes cat videos.) Instagram would include photos from conventions. For news and updates, there is the Funimation website. Rojas promoted the Funimation shop which includes limited edition items.

evening cosplay shoots

Sunday: February 14

Happy Valentine’s Day! Being the last day, I took a last look around the Dealer’s Room for some last minute shopping.

At the Crunchyroll booth, they were interviewing Charles Dunbar.

last of the cosplays

Perhaps it’s because it’s Valentine’s day, there were many romantic cosplay couples.

~Photo credit: Mizu

con in retrospective

This convention was a light one for me as I spent the weekend photoshooting and feel the enormity of my lack of experience. *bows* I’m grateful for those who gave me the chance to shoot them as well as working with me, giving me ideas, suggestions and encouraging me. I’m also honored since those cosplays are pretty amazing and I do want my photos to capture just a bit of that brilliance.

I didn’t hear of any panic or complaints about the evacuation which took place on saturday. Instead, I read of people sharing jackets, lending to cosplayers who are mostly naked in the cold. The influx of attendees on the street must have been surprising to the nearby businesses but they didn’t refuse those coming in from the cold.

One thing I was not happy with was that there were reports of attendees destroying parts of the hotel. From graffiti in the stairways to flooding the hotel room, there were photos on social media sites of the damage. What is obnoxious is that there was even a hole in a door with tape over it with the words ‘One Punch Man was here’. A blatant disrespect of the property as well as evidence of how destructive and immature Japanime fans can be. The increase in hotel prices stems from the destruction of property and the insurance that must be tacked on with holding the convention at this location. The increase with the prices at Otakon was from similar circumstances and I’m worried about how this will affect the price of future Katsu.

Katuscon has been at the Gaylord for a number of years and the hotels as well as neighboring businesses welcomed the attendees by fandom name tags, special t-shirts for their staff, airing anime on the networks, signs and food specials when you walk down the street. It’s a fun event which promotes business and streamlines the still niche media genre which is Japanese animation and cosplay. In a short weekend at the Gaylord, Katsucon is a haven for cosplay, the gathering of friends and fans, the meeting with guests and a celebration of all facets of Japanime. Next year, Katsucon has moved away from Valentine’s weekend so it will be from February 17 to 19. Looking forward to 2017!