Katsucon 2015: Wonderland in National Harbor, Maryland

Photo Credit to Kreation Studios 

Nerds, geeks, cosplayers of all genres, gather ‘round: I have a tale of utmost importance to speak of. It is a tale of danger, love, loss and friendship. A tale many cosplayers know of well: The tale of the convention wonderland. I saw this event play out in all of its glory Valentine’s Day weekend last month. It was miraculous. The Gaylord Hotel graciously opened its doors (and breathtaking amenities) to the thousands of guests that graced us with fabulous, colorful and out-of-this-world cosplays. This convention boasted the attendance of amazing and well-known guests, included Vincent Corazza, Greg Ayers and the band UZUHI! Honestly, I think Katsucon was hands-down one of the greatest experiences at a convention I have ever had (top two, definitely). The artists, fans and cosplayers wished and washed around the conventions, spreading excitement and laughter to every inch of the Gaylord.

Photo Credit: Daryll Morgan Photography

Facebook page and official website

Photo Credit: Daryll Morgan Photography

Many anime conventions have masquerades and contests where they can perform skits, dances and display their cosplays. The Cosplay Club at VCU won a Judge’s Award and Best Novice Performance for their skit featuring characters from the popular anime Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.

Photo Credit: Daryll Morgan Photography

Like many other anime conventions, Katsucon offered a wide variety of activities. There were dozens of panels to choose from during the three-day weekend, including the 18+ panels, which are amazing. As usual, I highly recommend checking out the “adult” panels, because holy hell, they make your night. The attendees were all very kind and friendly, for the most part. Katsucon also had a huge Dealer’s Room and a decently-sized Artist’s Alley. The Dealer’s Room was filled with artifacts to make your wallet weep for days. I, for one, bought an Angry PuppyCat (From Bee and PuppyCat) plushie and a Sailor Pluto (from the anime Sailor Moon) body pillow. They were pretty expensive. It was so worth it. 

Photo Credit: Daryll Morgan Photography

Photo Credit: Daryll Morgan Photography

In the Artist’s Alley, I saw so many amazing creations. I had the opportunity to interview one company I found.

What is the company name, age and where you are based?

So my company name is Tenta.co! I'm 23 years old and based in Toronto and I'm just another girl with a big heart for all things soft and cute. Tenta.co! Is focused on bringing a line of plush toys that reflect a love for anime, anime/comic conventions, cosplay and more. 

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and the start of your company:

I'm inspired by things of my childhood such as anime, night markets and cosplay. I don't think I'll ever outgrow plushies. Plushies make me so happy and making plushies is something that makes me even happier.   

How do you go about your creative process?

My creative process started with a random urge to create something cute for myself. I'd spend times at the sewing machine and as time went on I would end up creating things for other people that would make them smile and giggle. I incorporate a lot of themes that reflect the culture I grow up in like emojis and takoyaki! 

What do you love about conventions and gatherings like Katsucon?

Conventions like Katsucon are always super exciting. Before becoming an artist, I was a hardcore convention-goer and there's always something so fun about the culture within it. It's a great place to hang out with friends or make new ones, see the things you love and somewhere where you can cosplay your favorite characters. Now that I'm usually behind a table, I realize it's also a great outlet to express creativity whether it's through cosplay or your works in Artist Alley.

You can find more pictures at www.tentaco.ca

I’m grateful I was able to tell this story. So many amazing adventures were had, and so many more are to come.

Photo Credit: Daryll Morgan Photography

Photo Credit: Daryll Morgan Photography

Photo Credit: Daryll Morgan Photography

Photo Credit: Daryll Morgan Photography

Photo Credit: Daryll Morgan Photography

I want to thank the members of Katsucon who gave me the opportunity to attend and cover this glorious anime convention for Her Campus VCU. A giant thank you to all the attendees and volunteers for making this convention happen. It was amazing. I’ll see you next year.