I’ve been going to Katsucon for roughly 16 years at this point. I remember when it was a small con, maybe a few thousand people. Then it grew. And kept growing. And now it takes over the National Harbor’s Gaylord Hotel every year, with no real sign of slowing down. Katsucon is a well oiled machine from an outsiders point of view. Somehow their staff and volunteers manage to keep everything running but hiccups will happen. After all, we’re only human. Thankfully they didn’t have to evacuate the entire hotel this year (like they did last year), there wasn’t a major blizzard forcing people to stay in the hotel for a few extra days (which has also happened), or any other kind of weird mishap!
In fact this past weekend the weather was stunning. Cosplayers took full advantage of the mild weather, taking a ton of shoots outside. The only real complaints I’ve seen and heard was the price of parking in the area. The Gaylord charges $12/hour, valet was $40/day. The garages across the street are significantly cheaper at $18/day. I spent $36 total for parking for three days, so I have no room to complain. That all being said, there are a few things Katsucon can do to make things better for everyone.
There needs to be more children’s programming. A quick glance over of the schedule indicated to me that while there was stuff for kids, it felt like an after thought. There are thousands of anime for children. Why not have a dedicated children’s anime viewing room with dubbed anime running from say, 10-6. As far as panels, perhaps allow members of the press into a panel room a few minutes early for set up. You want us to cover the con, why make it hard. There also needs to be better crowd control around the holy and beloved gazebo (above on the right). I realize it’s the holy grail of cosplay photos (seriously) but it’s almost impossible to navigate that area during peak times, which seem to be from 10am to 10pm.
The dealers room and artists alley were fantastic and sized well for the con. I wish they were connected better, but what can you do.
The video game room was also exceptional. There were some great games and tournaments, and there were also pachinko and pinball machines! Personally I would have liked more arcade style games, but the console games were plentiful and fantastic.
The masquerade being at 3pm was odd. I know they moved it earlier so they could have the formal ball Saturday evening, but there was only a two hour window between the two events. If you’re in the masquerade and want to also attend the ball, you could be pressed for time to change. I think the ball should be moved to Friday evening, allowing the masquerade to be the big event on Saturday evening. Hopefully this will be changed for next year. I myself had a great time. My assistant Kyle was super helpful and it was great to see my friends again. Getting beer spilled on me Thursday night (thanks, Kyle) was no fun, but there are worse things in life! I even got a cute pair of fox ears and a fox tail at the con! Super exciting I know.
Will I go back next year? Perhaps. I haven’t decided yet. But if you haven’t been, I strongly urge you to check it out. You may just fall in love with it!
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