Katsucon has a happening nightlife. From various late night panels that go onto the wee morning hours to concerts and late night shenanigans at the gazebo level. In fact, we ran into music guests, Lolita Dark. Like Scarlet Rhapsody's main site writers, they were originally from the South Bay. It was nice to see other people from California at the winter east coast con.


Introduction to Bonsai by Scarlet
As part of the Japanese Cultural Institute, the Introduction to Bonsai panel showcased how to care for those tiny Japanese trees. I decided to check out this panel because I had always wanted to have a bonsai tree in my office – they are tiny and they seem easy to maintain. While a huge focus of the bonsai gardening panel was on what tools to use for maintenance and care – we were shown different cutting devices and how to wire branches so they don’t grow all over the place – what I got out of the panel the most was how to select a bonsai tree. The lecturer mentioned not to get it from a big box store – most of these plants have been placed in a pot of soil that is “locked” with a hard surface that the soil is inaccessible. It’s best to get your bonsai tree from a nursery.


Artist Alley by Scarlet
Perhaps my favorite place to explore at Katsucon, Artist Alley had a variety of indepedant artists selling various fan made merchandise. Not only people were selling prints of popular anime characters and anime pairings, but there was also wearable art. Lolita dealers such as Moss Marchen and Sweet Mildred made a return by selling their Lolita and mori girl accessories. There was a handful for of sweet Lolita merchants – necklaces and hair accessories depicting sweets were sold. Additionally, cosplay accessories such as patches and pokemon ears and tails were also sold. I picked up a pair of Persian ears from Team Rocket’s Emporium. They also had the Espurr ears and tail set at the con. Though the blizzard may have caused some artists to arrive later than scheduled, it was nice to see the diverse array of fandom inspired products Katsucon’s artist alley always delivers.


Series Specific Photoshoots by Scarlet
While Katsucon is a cosplayer photographer’s playground, there was many opportunities for various fandoms to meet up. Much of these get togethers were hosted on Facebook event pages and later complied to a main thread on Cosplay.com. Some of the big meet ups were the Sailor Moon and Hetalia shoot that took place back to back. Because of many high traffic areas by the fountain and the gazebo being blocked off, the Sailor Moon meet up moved up to the Maryland ballrooms just right on the gazebo level. The good thing is that we weren’t blocking any traffic. Like any other meets, we usually do one large group photo and proceed to group shots of multiple cosplayers of the same character and recreate some scenes from the show. The Hetalia meet up took place right after – a sea of younger tween girls donning military uniforms was close to outnumbering the 20-something moonies. Right next to the Hetalia meet was the Devil May Cry meet – though smaller, it provided plenty of opportunities for Dante to go up against Vergil.


Are You Afraid of the Dark by Jared
One of my original panels made a comeback with Murphy’s Law trying to ruin every moment of the panel.  Didn’t have my laptop presentation, didn’t have my usual co-host, my notes were still in the hotel room, and due to foot traffic I almost missed my panel time.  However, despite the problems the giant room I was given was filled to near capacity and everyone had a good time talking about different horror series old and new.  When the panel came to an end the discussion continued in the hallway with fans who wanted to talk about other series that did not get covered.  It goes to show that even if everything doesn’t go your way you can still run a successful panel if you and the audience is passionate enough about the subject matter.


Game Room by Scarlet
In contrast to Otakon’s mega hall of gaming, the Katsucon game room was located on the ballroom level of the convention center in a nice and carpeted ballroom. This was a rhythm gamer’s haven. Not only you had old school mixes of various Dance Dance Revolution arcade machines, but you also had Pump it Up, Pop ‘n Music, and a large screen where you would see a mob of people following routines from Just Dance. Other than rhythm gaming, you also had pachinko machines lined up and various console gaming scattered about. However, if you wanted to play, you had to check in your bags with coat check to enter in.


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