Katsucon: The Art of The Con
This being our first year at Katsucon, we only had a small idea of what to expect from this east coast anime convention. This con is on par with Anime Expo if not a bit better. When we think about this con in hindsight, it only brings up vivid images of cosplay.
This convention is one of the biggest for the cosplay community. A ton of cosplayers and photographers from all around the world come for this winter convention. You can tell by all the beautiful cosplay and the variety of cosplay. While some of the smaller anime conventions have more anime than any other genre, both AX and Katsucon are known for the cosplay.
Arriving the Thursday before the start of the convention, it was windy and cold, and by the time we left on Sunday it had snowed and was in the single digits. With most people in the Gaylord this cold was not really a factor, but if anyone was trying to leave that Monday, there were probably flight delays due to the storm that moved in.
When flying into this convention, it’s not a bad idea to fly into Dulles, but it is quite a drive away. Talking with Sunday Cosplay we learned the cab ride is a pricey one at over $100. If you are flying into that airport, it’s suggested that you get a rental car.
After we met up with Justin from iCosplay, we left almost immediately to pick up our special roommate for the weekend. The always awesome Dara DeFreitas Cosplay. Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious, also one of the reasons we love her so much.
We got back to the hotel and found out where all the rest of our friends were. Having never been in the Gaylord, we took a tour given by some veterans. It was 11 pm at night and the convention floor and ‘Gazebo’ were already a bustle of activity and photographers doing photoshoots.
When we found out this convention does not allow any light stands or more studio equipment on the floor, we wondered why. Over the next few days, we realized that there is not enough space if a ton of photographers had lighting setups. As packed as this convention gets, it’s still fairly easy to get around. Yes, there are some serious choke points, but most of the time, we could get from one point to another.
After a tour and hanging out, we retired to the room for the night in anticipation of the next day.
We all slept in and didn’t get to the convention until around noon. Friday at most conventions are slow, with people still getting in and settled. With this being said, there was still a ton of cosplay and cosplayers. We took this time to survey the convention, the floor and outside to see where most people would be and identify great locations to shoot. Even though we were only going to shoot with Dara on Saturday, we needed to see what would work best.
With this being our one day to seriously enjoy the convention for what it’s worth, we got to meet and hang out with new and old friends.
Meeting up with Cody Ironhammer after last year’s Dragon con, we were amazed he remembered us so well. We got to just hang out and bullshit over everything. He is genuinely one of the nicest people we’ve had the honor of meeting. For only having met him once, he’s certainly welcoming.
While wandering around, we ran back into Dara who broke off earlier in the day, but we lost Justin in the mix. Deciding to stay with Dara, we met two other great people right away: Snorlax Cosplay and Nathan DeLuca Cosplay. We’ve always been a fan of Nathan’s work and this was the first time we met Snorlax. She is fun person to hang out and we look forward to hanging out again.
We also got to meet one of our favorite photographers, Beethy. This guy has one of the best outlooks on life and photography. While shooting Dara the next day, Beethy was shooting with Lyz Brickley. We all got to talk about our thoughts on doing shoots. This guy was funny as hell, along with being talented.
We will say that one of the best cosplay groups of the day was the My Little Warrior Pony group. Each and every person in this group blew us away with their craftsmanship and attention to detail. We only got to see progress photos from our friend Chubear Cosplay, who was doing Nightmare Moon.
We highly suggest following all these great cosplayers! Below is a list of all the My Little Warrior Pony group, please go like their work and and follow them. They are awesome and we wish we got to get more photos of them.
Lyz Brickley Cosplay, Becka Noel Studio, Chubear Cosplay, KiraKira Cosplay, Joanna Marie Cosplay, Hooked on Phoenix Cosplay, Dhareza Cosplayza, PungoPungo, Lua Suicide and one other who doesn’t have cosplay page that we know of.
After a day of hanging out and grabbing a few photos, we all went out to dinner in the Gaylord before we got ready for the Friday night party. Being that this convention held here every year, we would have expected the restaurant to be properly staffed and have semi-decent service. We ended up waiting more than two hours for everyone to get their food. Our waiter only would come by once every hour or so, so with people not at the table, they waited forever just to order. Just another warning, don’t always go to what you think is the easy place to get something to eat. If you have the chance to leave the convention site, there’s usually better food and service elsewhere.
Now onto the Friday night drunk fest! Dinner wouldn’t get us down and we got ready to go out to the afterparty by SonicBoomBox. Before actually going to the party, we headed up to Lyz and Snorlax’s room in the Gaylord. Bringing a huge bottle of Grey Goose for Lyz, we went to get this party started. In the room, we met the Emilies, these are two cosplayers who have only been to one or two other conventions in their life. Here are two talented ladies who are new to the community and we hope to see more from them in the future: Magnolia Q Cosplay and Art and Mad Cat Cosplay.
While pre-gaming, we taught everyone how to ‘Swug’, this term turned up while we were drinking straight from the vodka bottle. This term is defined as a long pull straight from the bottle. This night would be in deemed the night of ‘Swuglife’! After a few rounds of Swugging, we went off to the party.
This party was just a great time, there was no hassle in getting in and there was no cover charge. Once in the party we met up with Lotte and others. The whirlwind of a party ended too soon, so we took to the lobby where Magnolia and Dara proceeded to twerk off. Around 4 in the morning we left the crew of people to think about sleeping a little. Just a great day with great friends old and new.
This was the day of full-on cosplay and convention madness. Running around all day taking photos and visiting a few booths in the artist alley, Justin introduced us to a great tattoo artist who he was friends with. Her artistry on geek tattoos was pure awesomeness.
We went to work teaching Justin more about photography throughout the day. He was a quick learner and we look forward to him picking up his first camera and taking great cosplay photos.
During the day, we met and hung out with our friends and met the main person behind MLZ studios. His video work is some of the best that we have ever seen. When we think of cosplay videos, we always see his work in our minds eye. If we ever did video, we would hope to one day be a fraction as good as he is. This was a pleasure to finally meet the man behind all those great cosplay videos.
Around midday, Lyz had to go shoot with Beethy photography. Since we still needed to shoot with Dara, we went with and found a few locations nearby for a quick photoshoot. These photos were to be sent off to Blizzard and we believe one is our best work yet.
After finishing up our little shoot, Beethy and Lyz were still shooting, so we got to know a little more about Elysiam. This guy has done some great work and have been following him for some time. We didn’t really talk shop, but just hung out and relaxed while waiting for everyone else.
At dusk, we went off with MLZ to so he could shoot Jessica Nigri and Dara, since they were in the WoW cosplays. They got their shots and we got asked to wait for another while MLZ went to get a jacket. While waiting, Justin took some great shots of Dara! We even did an edit of one of those for the Blizzard submission.
We did not go out Saturday night, since we were stupid enough to book a flight way too early in the morning. Leaving Katsucon, we had some of the worst post-con depression yet. This weekend was one of the best weekends this year. We can’t wait for the rest of the year, but don’t look forward to the post-con depression.
We always say and we will keep saying: a convention is always better depending on the people you go with. We have better experiences every time we go to a con due to the friends we have made over the past year and a half. Everyone at cons are mainly friendly and great people who love the some of the same things you do. Get out to a con, meet new people and have a great time–that is what it is all about.