President’s Day Weekend and I once again shoved myself onto a crowded bus, clutching my duffel and a trash bag full of cosplay items, to make the trip to National Harbor, Maryland for Katsucon! Katsucon 2018 was held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center the weekend of February 15th-18th. Thousands upon thousands of attendees traveled from across the country to get to this famous anime convention, many with heavy, intricate, and dazzling costumes and props in tow. Katsucon is known for its GORGEOUS venue so many cosplayers and costume designers dress to the nines to take advantage of all the glorious backdrops. The Gaylord has an inner forest/garden with small rivers and creeks, a fountain, beautiful marble floors, and of course, the infamous gazebo. It is also close enough to the harbor and the scenic Ferris wheel for the more adventurous con-goers and photographers to trek out. It short, it was truly a sight and I was so blessed to be able to witness it.

Things to Do

Katsucon, like most other conventions, provides the attendees with a schedule of multiple activities to keep us occupied during the 3-day affair. There are panels, workshops, a maid cafe, dances/raves, a masquerade, and so much more. Many popular voice actors are guests at the convention, so many clamor to get in line for either a panel or an autograph with the coveted celebrities. I myself enjoyed a panel that explained the science in Voltron: Legendary Defender. I learned about black holes and other science-y stuff, and then watched in-person calculations of how much money it would cost to build a real life-size Voltron — like, billions of dollars in case you were saving up.

My favorite activity to do at any convention is walk around the Artist’s Alley and the Dealer’s Room. Both areas are designed so I can look over many people’s various wares and gear. Honestly, it’s just another reason to blow a shit-ton of money so be warned when you go inside. You may get a call from your bank asking you “What the fuck.” As usual, Artist’s Alley did not disappoint. I was happy to be able to support many artists and their small businesses. There is endless talent at Katsucon, and to be able to walk past so many gorgeous prints, notebooks, bags, towels, and body pillow covers sporting said art was so fun.

A Little Bit of Wakanda

Another pivotal part of Katsucon this year was the fact that this weekend coincided with the premiere of Marvel’s Black Panther. This movie is such a significant point for cinema — it stars a almost entirely Black ensemble cast and has inspired people across the globe to take an interest in movie-making and the construction of certain narratives employed in art. The love for Black Panther was everywhere at Katsucon, including private screenings of the movie and a plethora of cosplays. The Black Panthers and Dora Milage cosplays were so fantastic. I am honored to have been able to witness this love as well as marvel at how FANTASTIC this movie is. It is by far the best Marvel film and I encourage everyone, nerd and regular human, to go see it. (Click to find our extensive Black Panther commentaries and reviews.)

All in all, this was another successful year for Katsucon. I must say, I am a bit worried about how crowded it has gotten as well as how expensive both the in-resort and surrounding food options are. This may deter others from returning next year, so I do caution Katsucon staff to address those issues now. The winter wonderland con will be back next year at the Gaylord, so I hope everyone has sufficient time to complete their cosplays and get ready for another weekend of enjoyment in 2019. Follow up on the developments of Katsucon 2019 at their website:

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  • Oona Sura is a cosplay enthusiast with an appreciation for Framboise Lambic, Haruki Murakami, and cats. Catch her at the next anime convention on the East Coast!

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