Katsucon 2020

It’s really interesting to see how Katsucon has grown and changed over the years. I attended my first Katsucon back in 2004 as a 16 year old fresh off her first couple anime conventions in late 2003 and had a blast rooming with my mom and my grandparents (who went sightseeing the whole weekend). That was back in the day when I went by CCAmanda in the cosplay world.

I first attended Katsucon in the new venue, the Gaylord, in 2017 but didn’t stay onsite. I have since attended two more of the cons at that venue, plus MAGFest for the first time this year.

Let’s get into my day by day breakdown of Katsucon 2020:

Thursday: We arrived at the con at around 9:30pm as my friend and I headed down after work on Thursday. I can’t recommend online check in through the Mariott Bonvoy app enough since we could head right to the room when we got there. After we dropped things off at the room, we went to pick up press badges.

Proof I cosplayed over the weekend

This was gorgeous in person! She did an amazing job.

Friday: On Friday, I had some photo sessions scheduled (I had a total of 10 over the whole weekend) and I walked around the con. Most of my time was spent trying to move around the venue as it was super crowded. It feels like it gets bigger every year, and after just attending MAGFest for the first time the month prior, the space felt even more cramped. I went out to a Galentine’s Day dinner with some friends as it was Valentine’s Day and my friend and I had our tradition of going with our friends to the rooftop bar in the Gaylord for drinks and dancing. I find myself being drawn to the more not necessarily convention related activities at conventions as I get older. We checked out a panel on convention horror stories but it got uncomfortable very fast as the panelist kept losing their train of thought and their friend had to bring them back on the rails (we think they had done some drinking prior) and there was one story they shared that made us very uncomfortable as it involved a minor. NOT OK.

Those wings…this was so dramatic in person.

Saturday: On Saturday, I had more photo sessions and attended the masquerade. This masquerade was the longest masquerade I have ever attended; we left at entry #34 as I thoguth it was almost the end, and later we found out that was only halfway through; in total there were 66 skits….66! Majority of the skits were also idol groups with even one group repeating the same song and costumes. I understand Katsucon had new masquerade direction/staff this year but a better vetting needs to be done of entries, and I am 100% in support of having an idol showcase in the future. We have so many idol groups popping up because Love Live is huge; give those groups a place to show off together and compete on the same playing field versus in a convention masquerade.

After the masquerade, we met up with a streamer friend of mine, ButtJuiceSoup who is local to that area and it was such an amazing time to meet and hang with him; I’m a mod for him on Twitch and it’s nice to actually know them in person. We planned to go to the rooftop lounge again as nighttime activities weren’t jumping out for us to do and found out it was closed for a private event; they made a makeshift lounge in the fountain area which made things even more congested. We went back to the room and hung out, had a couple drinks, and watched Rush Hour before we went to bed; welcome to conventions in your 30’s!

Sunday: Sunday was a very chill day; I got to be in a photoshoot with a Love Live group that dropped down to four people but we had a blast anyway. After the shoot, we browsed the dealers room/artist alley one more time and then headed out from the con as nothing caught our attention to check out event wise.

Cowboy Bebop; rarely see cosplay from this anymore!

Katsucon 2020 was my sixth Katsucon and most likely my last, unless they move venues. Katsucon has gotten too large for the Gaylord and it’s very congested in a majority of areas in the hotel. Just walking between the atrium and the convention center section takes some time as the hallways are clogged with walking traffic in both directions. It also was super cold, so everyone was staying indoors.

I did some research and looked back at attendance numbers from the first Katsucon I attended versus the current state of attendance; attendance was around 4,500 people in 2004 versus 2017 where it was around 17,000 people (I couldn’t find for more recent years as it doesn’t look like that information was provided to animecons.com).

After attending MAGFest, it’s safe to say I will probably also become a MAGFest convert. It’s such a different vibe than Katsucon and there is a different variety of things to do at the con. I love seeing everyone bring their A-game for cosplay to Katsucon, but you can bring that same level to any convention you attend. I hope Katsucon can re-evaluate and think about another venue for the future, because they are getting to a point they may need to move elsewhere.

Wild Spice

WildSpice (formerly CCAmanda) is a veteran cosplayer with 15+ years under her belt. When she’s not working her day job, she spends her time focusing on cosplay and costuming photography. She can be seen at most conventions doing photoshoots, showing off her killer dance moves, or being a social butterfly with all fellow geeks.

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