This was my second Katsucon and due to my positive experience last year I was very excited about making my return. The trip was nerve racking due to weather issues, but everything worked out fine and I was able to attend again. This year I knew what to expect and unlike last year I didn’t have an overwhelming amount of panels to run so I was able to have more freedom at the con. While some personal things did cause me trouble none of it was the fault of the event. This was another stellar year that just made me wish I could have done more or that it lasted one day longer.

The venue is great due to the size and aesthetic of everything. The panel rooms are easy to find and are large enough to fit a good sized audience. In addition to that, there are several restaurants and a CVS not too far from the convention center to help with food needs. However, there were some problems this year that were not as apparent last year. The large signs that signified the doors were gone and only the little monitors by the doors had any information. While that information was updated and accurate, the large signs make quickly finding the room you are looking for much easier. The second issue was the ballroom level and the madness of the gazebo section. It gets way too crowded and the photographers are often very rude. It takes some of the fun out of the event, but thankfully there is not much reason to go into that area beyond one panel room.

The programming line up was not as strong as last year, but still above average. There were plenty of options from the basic guest panels to life hack and educational panels. While I did not find myself rushing around as much as I did last year there were still several moments when I had to choose between two different panels I wanted to hit. In addition, the late night programming doesn’t stop and if you are a night owl there is plenty to do. On the cosplay side of things there were plenty of ‘how to’ and discussion panels to improve costumes. In addition to that there were plenty of gatherings for cosplayers and there were times when they had multiple gatherings for the same series throughout the weekend so if you miss one you can probably hit another. No matter your interest there was always something to do.

Beyond programming there was a large dealer hall and a very large artist alley. Both areas were separated and had a good number of booths. The dealer hall had a good amount of figure booths, clothing booths, and anime tchotchke booths. The hall also had a photo booth as well for those who wanted some nice costume pictures. The artist alley had a nice mix of art and accessories of both anime and non-anime sources. There were a large number of booths and the room was almost always filled with people making it one of the most popular artist alleys I have seen at a convention.

The general vibe of Katsucon is mixed at best. While there are plenty of great people and cool cosplayers they are balanced by innumerable rude photographers and arrogant cosplayers that think they own the hallways. Depending where you are going you can run into fun people or you can get yelled at for walking or hanging out because some jerk thinks their picture is more important than anything else. On the good side the staff is very friendly and security did a good job keeping control in all but one area. I hope security or the staff can find a way to keep the Ballroom level under control next year. Frankly, I suggest that you go for the entertainment factors and less for the social factors due to the attitude that is growing at this convention.

Overall, Katsucon is a great event. While this year did have hiccups it did not ruin my experience, but some people did try. There were plenty of panels that I enjoyed and I even had fun at one of the Pokemon gatherings. The elevator can get very crowded, but if you plan properly that should not be too much of a problem. I would like to see more rules to keep the gazebo section under control, but I understand that sometimes you just need to deal with the problems a popular photoshoot location can cause. Despite the negatives I really did enjoy my time at the convention and I’d love to come back to run more panels and party it up with my friends.

As I wrap up I’d like to give a few thanks where thanks are due. Thanks to the staff of Katsucon, the Scarlet Rhapsody team, Abe, Adam, Ari, Bart, Craig, EBK, Stephanie, that lady that gave me food, those who met up with me after the panels, the Pokemon gathering peeps, and all the cool people who let me squeeze into the elevator. As always if you have any questions or comments be sure to not e-mail (Jared –at- and until next time I leave you with my list and ask that you give my love to tasty Asian snacks.

The List:
1. Cold, so cold
2. Stupid auto correct
3. Too many people
4. Wish I could have brought ‘S’
5. Only two panels!
6. Pretty Cure!
7. Insert rant here
8. Great glass elevator
9. Shopping!
10. Picked up my waifu
11. Free breakfast is always welcome
12. Next Cosplay: The Admiral
13. Ballroom hell
14. Jerks will be jerks
15. Travel was a pain
16. Missed the game room again
17. Dance, dance!
18. The man with the flute
19. I want to rock some J-RPGs again
20. So many street passes
21. Pokemon people keeping it awesome
22. Type-Moon people keeping it cool
23. Sailor Moon people keeping it magical
24. Audience participation!
25. How are we all on the same floor?
26. Stomach is happy
27. Lost my knife
28. New ideas in my head
29. RE: 28 – Writing of course!
30. Did I mention it was corwded?
31. Note to self: Stay positive like a number higher than zero

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