Kayarath’s Adventures in Katsucon

Posted on Mar 08 2012

You know, I thought I could come with something more unique then a regular convention report. However, my Katsucon adventures didn’t produce a single event deep enough to warrant its own article. That doesn’t mean there was nothing worth writing about! Being an anime convention, I do have lots of amusing anecdotes to tell you!

Katsucon is an anime convention that takes place in National Harbor, Maryland (that’s basically right next to Washington D.C.) every February or so. It has all the cool convention stuff like guest from your favorite anime, panels about interesting topics, and more merchandise then you can stuff down Hannah’s throat! Sadly, I was only able to take a day trip there because of work. That severely hampered my ability to cover the convention in general. Driving to Katsucon and back in one day was quite draining for me, considering I live a fair distance from Washington D.C. and I never drove myself there before. Apparently, I could have just taken I-95 the whole way there but my directions advised me to take a more complex route, which made getting there a great deal more stressful.

Upon arriving, I meet up with our very own Tempest Wind, who gave me my primary objective, attend the Funimation Industry panel in search of the hot scoops! Overall, I found the panel a bit bland. Blah, Blah, Blah; we got a website and social media. Blah, Blah, Blah, let’s tell you about the new series we got coming. Blah, Blah, Blah, new announcements (this is the important part!)! After the new announcements, I left the panel to meet up with Tempest in order to report the information online before anyone else. I would have liked to stay for the Q&A (which would have been the best part of the panel) but duty calls. I’m sure you read about this by now, but I bet you’ll find the announcement of a Funimation mobile app to be very enticing. I’m not much of a smart phone guy but the prospect of watching anime on your mobile device is still pretty freakin’ cool. If you want to know about the new licenses Funimation got, please go watch iStalk 763 to learn more. And yes, me not telling you what the licenses are now is a blatant attempt to drive more views to iStalk!

If I forget to replace this picture with something cooler, you'll have to settle for looking at Funimation's logo!

After doing some actual journalism, I was left to my own devices so I decided to check out the dealer’s hall. Seeing how this is my third or so convention in the local area, I’ve seen most of these dealers before. After doing the obligatory browsing of stuff, I went over to the Funimation booth to actually buy something. I made a promise to myself that I would purchase an item from Funimation the next time they had a booth at a convention. I decided against buying the Negima!? animes because I would always compare it to the manga and not be happy that things were changed.

The series I purchased was Princess Jellyfish. It’s about a Jellyfish otaku (yes, there are jellyfish otaku), her otaku lifestyle, and the crossdressing guy who changes it all! Expect a full review of it sometime in the future. It was being sold at Katsucon thirteen days before it became available to the general public. I got a very cute totebag as a bonus for buying it. The downside was that it did cost sixty dollars to purchase, which is a lot for a thirteen episode series. I’m a believer of not buying entertainment items at their release since you can get them cheaper later. However, that was more about supporting a company that does cool stuff than getting the best deal on my part. I did watch a few series Funimation put up online and I wanted to endorse that type of behavior. Now it can’t be said I never did anything nice for those people!

This is seriously happening!

After the dealer’s hall was the artist alley. As always, there was plenty of anime-related art (and more) to buy from local artists, including Rikki Simons. In case you didn’t know, he’s done the voice of a certain character from Invader Zim called “Gir”. I was genuinely surprised at finding him. Invader Zim is a beloved cult classic and to see him at a table, in the artist alley, at an anime conventions is like getting a lucky egg from your first Chansey! At first, I thought the guy was flat out lying to me. After talking with him for a bit, it turns out he really was who he said he was. The reason Rikki Simons was in the artist alley was because he really is an artist! He was originally hired on to work on backgrounds and later fell into the role of voicing Gir. After my suspicions were disproved, I brought an autographed print from him. It’s one of those things you have to get because you don’t want to say you didn’t get it when you could have. I also got a card detailing an event called “Invader CON,” the Invader Zim Fan Convention. Yes, there is an Invader Zim fan convention! I had no idea you could have an entire convention based on a single television show (but I guess you can)! If any show could pull it off, it would be Invader Zim. In fact, this is the second (and final) Invader CON. It’s happening July 28-29 in Los Angeles, California if you’re interested in going.

You may be also be interested in looking at our Katsucon Cosplay Gallery! I hope you like it because I’m the one who took all of those pictures! During my single day there, I did manage to take about one hundred and forty cosplay pictures. I would wager that up to ten of those won’t be put up due to blurriness and such. That’s still an admirable amount by any standard. Believe me, it does get old asking people, “Can I take a picture of your cosplay for 91.8 The Fan?” Of all the people I asked, only two said no, which was usual but not unexpected. If you’re observant in your browsing, you’ll notice cosplay idol Yaya Han (I seriously could not recognize her because her cosplay was that amazing!), a girl not cosplaying at all (I assume she had to be cosplaying as SOMEONE if she was wearing a corset!) and a trap or two (good luck spotting him/her!). I only wish I could have taken more pictures. If I was really on my game, I could have gotten over two hundred. Exhaustion really does slow a person down, and I am no exception to the rule.

Please see our Katsucon Cosplay Gallery for unblocked pics!

I did manage to get myself into one entertaining panel at the very least. The panel was called “Webcomics are Really Business with Danielle Corsetto & Randy Millholland.” The panel focused on how to properly run a webcomic so that it could be successful enough to support its creator(s). Randy Millholland, who created the famous webcomic Something Positive, is a treasure trove of great insights, useful information and hilarious one liners. I strongly recommend you go hear him speak if you like webcomics, business, art, or people in general! Danielle Corsetto did Girls with Slingshots and played a support role, jumping in when needed (or wanted).

There was so much good advice that was given during the panel that I’m not sure where to start. For starters, it’s ridiculously important to maintain a regular schedule of updates (sadly, it’s an important rule I have failed to adhere to. I’M SORRY! I HAVE A FULL TIME JOB!). You’ll also need to find a good lawyer and accountant who have experience withing with artists. If you’re working with other people, be sure to draw up a formal contract to fairly define the relationship and responsibilities. There was even extensive analysis on the hugely successful Order of the Stick Kickstarter project that raised over one million dollars! The concept Millholland stressed the most was the importance of staying true to your own voice. After all, wasn’t expressing it the main reason most people started webcomics in the first place?

Of course, it wouldn’t be a con for me unless I got to hang out with my cool friends from 91.8 The Fan! I got to hang out with Tempest Wind, which is always a breath of fresh air! She was cosplaying someone from the Homestuck webcomic, making her fairly easy to find. I wish I took a picture of her! Due to scheduling conflicts, all we really did was walk around and chat but it was still cool hanging out with her. Sadly, I was unable to hang out with Neoridgeback, fellow follower of KROZE!!! He told me he was cosplaying as Colonel Mustang there but I must have missed him. We could have talked about how awesome KROZE is but I guess we’ll have to settle for doing that just in the IRC for now.

They do know how to make a good cover

Sadly, I would have to say that Katsucon was not my best convention experience. It’s hard to enjoy a con when you’re short on sleep, long on travel time, and have a practically endless supply of cosplayers to take pictures of. I was half dead by the time I left! I would have had a lot more fun if I could have gone on Friday and stayed over for a night. Since I couldn’t get that Friday off of work, I had to take settle for just going on Saturday. I could have planned to go on Saturday and Sunday, but Sunday is the relative short day and I wasn’t gonna spring for a hotel room just to hang around on the short day.

I do have one major complaint about the whole event. The Katsucon schedule was the most counter intuitive convention schedule I have ever faced. For the love of Miyazaki, please use a time block format next time!!! I am willing to cut them some slack since they got a larger than expected turn out. Katsucon had a lot more people due to hosting a major cosplay contest this year. Instead of getting between eight and nine thousand people, they got over ten thousand people! The total could be as high as thirteen thousand! That’s a fairly huge jump from what they were expecting. There were so many people, they ran out of badges and had to go print more! Despite being pushed to the limit, they managed to get the trains (mostly) running on time. I suspect things went smoothly for a lot of people. I also suspect that Katsucon will be hungry for volunteers to help run the next one. Did you know that volunteering for Katsucon fulfills community service requirements for most schools? They are a non-profit organization so they count for that purpose! That’s all the more reason to volunteer! Don’t you want to help out the community?

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