From the past few years of cold-ass Katsuons comes this year’s. With the first couple of days being exactly like every other year, cold and windy, to Saturday and Sunday being in the 70s. The amount of people hanging out outside was a breath of fresh air. Katsu is one of those cons known for the A-game cosplay. This year was no different. As usual you could get a room at the Gaylord or, like us, be a part of the groups that had to find another hotel due to overbooking. This happens every year and at almost every con that has more people wanting to stay at the host hotel or near by. We were able to get another hotel, but we were looking forward to staying close at the Gaylord.
Staying at a hotel within National Harbor is quite nice, since we never had to wait to actually wait for the elevator at any point in time. Last year we were on a lower floor of the Gaylord, so I would just take the stairs. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have to wait on elevators, since many of my friends were staying in the Gaylord. There’s nothing you can do about a host hotel’s elevators, but if you don’t mind a short walk you can always stay walking distance and not have to worry about it as much. I attend this convention as a lover of cosplay and every year I’m more and more impressed by the orchestrated groups and more intricate cosplay. Depending on your reasons for attending a convention, Katsucon has a little bit of everything for the anime lovers. I generally don’t ever attend panels, but Katsucon always delivers on a diverse set of panels. If there’s something that catches your interest in a panel, you can most likely find a good panel to attend at Katsu.
This convention is one of the few cons that I don’t usually find a whole lot of things wrong. They’ve got a good set of volunteers and make sure the people who are attending the con are taken care of in terms of picking up their badges. The lines for that can get a bit long, but I’ve always seen it going fairly fast. The Gaylord is an amazing location for a hotel convention. It’s one of two conventions that I attend constantly that’s mainly held inside a hotel. Dragoncon would the the only other. Some of the other hotel-hosted conventions are due to size of the convention. These types of conventions are becoming more and more a thing of the past, since conventions overall are becoming more popular and turning to larger venues like convention centers.
I know as cons gain popularity, especially Katsu, there’s the thought of it becoming too big for the space. I don’t care if we hit the cap limit for Katsucon, but it would not be the same if it was held anywhere else. The venue is a perfect way to start my con year off. The Gaylord Hotel is one of the most scenic hotels both inside and out. This convention is made great by the people who attend, but just as much the venue. We all know that I tend to attend conventions a lot for the cosplay, since this is the type of photography I’ve shot in the past. I love the passion and drive that cosplayers put into their costumes. Year over year, we see so many familiar faces becoming more and more detailed in the costumes. From trying out new techniques in 3d printing, worbla, eva and many other things. They continue to push themselves and the people around them. I’m honored that I know a few of them, but more honored just to see some of these cosplays up close.
I tend to talk about Becka Noel’s yearly groups cosplay. In the past, you had My Little Pony Warriors and the Eevees. This year was no different with the Care Bears. The group she puts together gets better and better each and every year. Everyone in the group builds such an amazing cosplay based off the chosen theme. If you haven’t seen them, you should go looking for the photos of this amazing group. I ran into them really late in the day, so I couldn’t get any photos, but there are plenty out in the wild internets. This year Stella Chu created an awesome shoot called Underwatch, where it was a boudoir version of Overwatch characters. This wasn’t just one of each character, but so many different characters and cosplayers. From what I heard was that there was even multiple photographers working with her to get everything photographed. There’s a video and photos all over, you might have seen some of the articles on the net about this group. I continue to see them a month afterwards.
Another thing you can expect almost every year at Katsu is Jessica Nigri’s amazing work. Over the past few years, she’s been upping her game in her costumes. Many think she’s just bewbs, but she’s amazingly talented and humble. This year she had yet again another amazing collaboration with Zach Fischer Designs in Sindragosa. I’m not up on all the different fandoms, so I could be wrong in saying it’s from WoW. When these two put their collective heads together it produces such amazing results. I’m quite sure there were plenty of other Zach Fischer designs running around Katsu!
That was just one day of the con, Saturday Jessica brought out her version of Reinhardt from Overwatch. This was one costume I was sad that I missed, but there was so much going on that day, it was really hard to see everything. You can see amazing photos and video from Mineralblu, along with some of the other photographers you come to expect with a Nigri cosplay. There’s quite a few other cosplayers that I got to meet for the first time that just slayed their respective cosplays. I’m not sure you saw Sunrise Cosplay’s widowmaker from Katsucon, but she brought it to PAX East as well. If you haven’t seen this, her attention to detail was purely amazing. She’s such a talented artist. Besides just her widowmaker, her mom cosplayed Anna. I love to see families come together over cosplay and conventions. There’s so many of us out there who might not have such supportive parents who are willing to get dressed up as well.
I want to take a minute and thank all those parents who support and even join in on cosplay. I know this is an expensive hobby, but they recognize that their children are involved in something constructive and artistic. Once again, thank you to those moms, dads, aunts, etc.! We all know that I tend to take photos of cosplay, while dabbling in some other arenas as well. If you didn’t get to join the fun of the breaking news the Sunday night after Katsucon, let me get you up to speed.
So, on Friday night this year, I brought in 170 pounds of Gummy Bears with Vorian and Rad Cosplay bringing another 50 pounds. What did we do with these Haribo Gummy Bears, we filled a bathtub and had 7 different girl cosplayers jump in for a photoshoot. This shoot was put together in less than a week, including ordering and shipping Gummy Bears. This wasn’t the reason why most people know about these Gummy Bears, but there was a post on Twitter from someone looking for who left two neatly stacked bins of Gummy Bears in a hallway. First off, these bins were out of the way and each one weighed in at over a hundred pounds a piece. Whether these were left for hotel to pick up or we were getting a cart to make it easier to take down, it shouldn’t have mattered.
So, someone found our bins and posted it on Twitter asking people to answer for why these were left for the staff to pick up. Well, the way I look at it, these were not their bins, so why did they look into them? Second, why did a witch hunt happen where the people involved in this shoot were attacked for the Gummy Bears?
People found my Instagram and started saying I should clean up after myself and be more professional. Well, if I didn’t clean up after myself, there would have been 220 pounds of gummies left in and around the room, not put into bins to be thrown away. What I received was mild in comparison to what my models had to endure. Even though we had talked with the hotel on what they wanted to do with the gummies and had the accusatory post removed from Twitter, Rad and other models were still getting attacked over these gummy bears. Why was this a big deal, when no one asks why someone was going through bins that weren’t obviously theirs and so many other things we should be worried about besides some neatly stacked bins of gummy bears? I did see quite a few funny posts where people went to the bins and struck the Ginyu force poses in front. This is something that should have been more funny than a lot of the hatred that went around.
We should be more worried about the story of the girl I heard about. Ani-Mia came across a girl obviously distressed cutting herself in the hall. I don’t know much about what happened with her, but we should be more worried about her than some goddamn gummy bears. It’s disheartening where we care less about the people in the community than some gummy bears left in a hallway. I’m with her on this it’s a disgusting display that people lost their damn minds over gummy bears. We need to make sure everyone in our community, whether it’s friends or someone we don’t know, has whatever help they need. We’re better than this. With all this shit about what we’re calling #Gummygate, I was brought into the shitty side of many cosplayers lives on the internet. That’s the comment section of almost any given post or widely spread article. These areas are cesspools of internet, where you’ll find some of the worst of the worst commenting on a cosplayer, costume or whatever. Cosplay doesn’t belong to these people and they shouldn’t be acting like there’s only one way to cosplay.
Everyone’s style in cosplay is different, if it wasn’t we would only see people going with exact replicas of characters and having to act exactly like that character. Cosplay is an artistic expression, where you’ll get armored carebears, my little ponies, sexy cosplay and so many others. If you don’t like a specific cosplay, keep it to yourself. You’re making shitty comments on someone else’s artistic expression. What if your comment were what drove that poor girl crying and cutting herself do that? We need to think about how these types of comments are going to affect someone else. What if that was you and everyone kept attacking your work to the point it drove your to crying and thinking about not so great things? I’m not saying only make nice comments, but there’s a huge difference between making a thoughtful, constructive critique and harshly criticising someone or their work.
Let’s think about things before we say them. It hurts me to read what people say on so many posts, whether it’s condemning someone’s hard work or making shitty sexual comments. Would you like it if someone said that to you? If you’re ok with that, then what about hundreds of people saying that to you? Please think about what you’re saying and how it makes someone feel. I know that probably a lot of some commenters are not from this community, but we need to make sure we’re taking the time to defend our as a community’s artistic interpretations of characters. I was amazed by the amount of people who had no clue really who did the gummy bear shoot and our friends defending us. I’m so grateful that you’re in my life one way or another and know that you have our back. I love you guys, you make every day and con so much better. Once again thank you for coming to our defense!
Enough of this for right now, now get out there and get to con before this year ends!