Linus Lam Network News
convention coverage report of
Katsucon 2013!
 

Welcome to another edition of Linus Lam Network News for 2013!  This news report covers our trip to Katsucon 2013 for a huge weekend of anime and manga enjoyment and a whole lot more!  Held at the Marriott Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland over the weekend of February 15-17, Katsucon 2013 saw lots of attendees ready to party on with a bunch of dedicated artists, live performances, gaming events, cosplay fun, and plenty of opportunities to hang out with fellow anime and manga fans. Our exciting trip to Katsucon 2013 starts here!  Coverage you can count on, here at Linus Lam Network News!

Highlights: Various live programming events kept the attendees well-covered throughout the weekend. Guests included The Sound Bee HD, Symphonic Anime Orchestra, Initial P, Christopher Ayres, Greg Ayres, Steve Blum, Crispin Freeman, Jamie Marchi, Monica Rial, Rikki Simons, Michael Sinterniklaas, Lisle Wilkerson, Yaya Han, Cosplayer Nation, Steve Bennett, Super Art Fight, Tavisha Wolfgarth-Simons, Team Chisuji, The Geek Comedy Tour, Kevin Bolk, T Campbell, Darkstar Studios, Dern and Obsidian, Garth Graham, Harknell, Phil Kahn, Danny Kang, Dave Lister, Onezumi, Michael Terracino, M.I.N.D., Samurai Dan and Jillian, Robert V. Aldrich, Holly A. Blummer, Chin Hamaya Culter Center, The Comiku Girls, Charles Dunbar, Kuniko Kanawa, and Jamie Rosenberg.  Panels and workshops included Affording Lolita, Aging Otaku, Anime and the 1980s, Live Action Anime, Anime Music Appreciation, Anime Name that Tune, Anime Vendors are Serious Business, Asian Brush Painting, Awesome Animation Not From Japan, Beginner's Guide to Cosplay, 3D Modeling, Overcoming Writer's and Artist's Block, Brief History of Japan, Cel Painting with Steve Bennett, Character Design for Comics, Composing Music for Games, Con Horror Stories, Con Survival 101, Cosplay Chess, Cosplay Dance-Off, Crossplay for Boys, Anime Physics in Cosplay, Fanfic Readings, Face Your Cosplay Fears, Female Stereotypes in Shojo and Josei Manga, Figure Collecting for Noobs, Forty Years of Video Gaming, Girl's Guide to Hentai, History of Taiko Drumming, How to Wear Skimpy Costumes and Still Look Modest, Horror Anime, Iron Cosplay, Japanese Tea Ceremony, K-Pop 101, Katsucon Idol, Katsucon Karaoke, Kimono 101, Making Your Own Plushies, Cosplayer Networking, Philosophy of Pokemon, Living in Japan, Thrift Store Cosplay, Webcomics, Voice Acting, Why Your Fanfic Sucks, World Building, and much more.
Cosplay: This year's trip to Katsucon saw lots of inspired costumes from numerous anime and manga characters and more! Chart-topping displays for this year included characters from Sword Art Online, Final Fantasy, Madoka Magica, Legend of Korra, Vocaloid, Sailor Moon, Black Butler, Pokemon, Hetalia, Persona 3-4, Kuroko no Basket, My Little Pony, Magi, and much more! 
Please check out more cosplay photo coverage from our Katsucon stock convention archives!
Report: When worlds collide. That was apparently the ongoing theme throughout Katsucon weekend as the anime convention and a Jewish Youth Movement BBYO Organization had booked shared spaces within the hotel and convention center. While shared spaces are nothing new to many anime conventions, this one was quite awkward. Katsucon is billed as an open-minded organization, able to host numerous panels and functions that spans multi-cultural and multi-lingual interests beyond the typical Japanese anime and manga community. Interests such as Homestuck, My Little Pony, K-Pop, and others were well-received. The adjoining BBYO event was billed as a Jewish Youth Movement primarily closed to Jewish-only attendees and rubbed off as even more closed off when rope barricades were erected and human chains were clustered to protect the youths from Katsucon attendees.  BBYO staffers even deflected reports of their own young and elder attendees providing some not-so-polite colorful remarks against Katsucon's more mature and peaceful cosplayers.

Tensions were extremely high on Friday as the entire prized Gazebo area was closed off from Katsucon. But as Saturday rolled around, it was 50% open and moderated by both Katsucon and BBYO staff to make sure the proper attendees stayed in their spaces. Awkward as it seemed, it worked out pretty well, though honestly, it could've been communicated better. The supposedly friendly BBYO still left a bad impression to many open-minded Katsucon attendees. Clearly a huge difference in ideology that in this day and age, we cannot seem to overcome these conservative attitudes no matter how hard we try. But keep trying we must, as Katsucon and BBYO collectively went out of their way to clear up that much-festooned Gazebo space that is a prized possession and fond memory for many cosplayers and cosplay photographers. What can I say, Katsucon attendees are extremely passionate about their hobbies. Con staffers take note: just pay the extra money and keep that Gazebo area open.

So with that issue out of the way, let's talk about the actual convention itself. To be honest, everything went really nicely. There's not much to say other than Katsucon still remains a top-notch event for many East Coasters and West Coasters alike. The Registration system was a blast, however some panels and workshops in the evening required the use of an 18+ wristband even though you had a purchased badge. Where to get wristband? Back to Registration where a very long line waited for you to pick one up. Uhhmm, nope. Didn't bother with that and just simply did panel coverage the next day.

Dealers Hall was really splendid as booths seemed to stock more interesting items this year than last, mainly figurines and plushies. A lack of DVDs and media was apparent as they move off to online distribution but that didn't stop businesses from touting their newest subscription-based streaming media services for anime-hungry attendees. J-Rock merchandise is slowly starting to lose its charm as K-Pop gains momentum. More cosplayer-friendly booths like Arda Wigs stocked up well for the incoming rush of last-minute purchases for the ever-wig-hungry cosplayers. Artists Alley was open for a good portion of the night, even after Dealers Hall closed; I'm sure that's a boon for any artists out there to remain open for much-needed business. Gaming areas had new pachinko machines and the Maid Cafe seemed to have even more maids than last year.

If there was anything we learned this year it's that the world isn't quite where we want it to be yet. Anime conventions are still a tiny microcosm filled with special people in a special world and despite our efforts to be civil and open-minded, there are a few unfortunate encounters with outside groups that we must tolerate and simply put on a bright and shiny face no matter the odds. In the end, you will win. I was witness to many hotel staffers taking pictures of the cosplayers and many had nice things to say about Katsucon. So keep wearing those exquisite ballgowns. Keep wearing those large wings. Keep wearing those bright and shiny outfits and taking nice pictures of each other. Keep saying your thank yous and common pleasantries. If we can keep that attitude of friendliness up, I'm confident the Gaylord will go out of their way to guarantee issues such as this year will never happen again.

Come check out more cosplay and events photo coverage from our Katsucon stock convention archives!

Be sure to visit the next Katsucon!

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