Katsucon 2013 Coverage

Katsucon is always a good show. It is for many people the con that begins the year and people bring out their best of the best cosplays. This is because as seen in my last post, the interior of the Gaylord is simply a wonderful and beautiful area. Many people come simply to see and photograph the cosplayers, some do not even attend the programming, and this year there was a lot of absolutely wonderful programming at all hours and there was no way to see it all. This is something that more conventions should have and you generally only see it at the largest of conventions. The only thing is a lot of convention people are not exactly morning people, especially on check-out Sunday. It is the kind of thing that makes you want to stay that extra day on Monday.

You can see many of the awesome photos everywhere from my fanpage to some of the greats like Elysiam Entertainment, Bentpic5, Soulfire Photography, and so many others. Just look around.

On the programming itself, there was so much that was of such high quality by guests and others by panelists.

“It Gets Better – Anime Con Edition” with Greg Ayres & Crispin Freeman [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enZXPP42nTY [/youtube]

This was an extremely good and informative panel, because it spoke about something that many people have experienced outside and inside the cons and conventions community, bullying. It is something that has been unfortunately on the rise, and this panel helps those who have been. Greg mentioned that at other conventions after the panel there is a workshop that they do about the issues discussed, which I know many people would love to have available to them. After the panel Greg continued to talk with people outside sharing stories and creating inspiration. One of the most important ideas shared at that was you need to stop bullying and hatred before it starts.

This was especially important given that Katsucon shared the Gaylord with the BBYO conference. At the beginning of Katsucon, the gazebo often seen in many photos was not accessible to Katsucon attendees. However I and others explained the importance of the gazebo and we all regained access to it. I also explained the importance of the cultural exchange and the art, beauty, and celebrations of cosplay and convention culture to those at BBYO. There was a lot of positive cultural exchange and many people from BBYO were extremely respectful and in awe of the art and beauty that we know is present in cosplay. As always there were a few who were disgraceful on both sides through their actions, words, and behavior as can be found through stories on various forms on multiple outlets. I worked to ensure that anti-Semitism did not start, because being Jewish myself, I have been the victim of anti-Semitism outside and inside the convention community. These issues of hatred are something I can expand upon at a later time. There was one very valid safety issue, and it was elevator access. The elevator to the areas and levels for the majority of panels and programming was behind the banner and separators for BBYO. On multiple occasions I saw first-hand people being denied entry to the elevators and prevented from leaving them. This in and of itself is a safety issue because many costumes are simply not safe to travel on escalators with, regardless of their revealing nature or not. If the BBYO entryway was moved ten feet back everyone would have had elevator access and a source of contention would not have even occurred.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuBWDTx1Mqc[/youtube]

International Cosplay Culture with Yaya Han was an extremely interesting panel because she talked about cosplay internationally as well as its evolution. There are many differences in cosplay cultures around the world some very surprising to potential expectations, such as with Japan, which is explained best by Yaya in the video. Things like how cosplay is done there would most likely be very surprising to those who have not experienced it.

As stated before there was so much good programming that it all could not be covered. I did not get to experience the JCI as much as I would have liked, as there were quite fascinating panels and I look forward to the expansion of the JCI at Katsucon 20.

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Some of the best programming may not have been the most packed such as those with my friend Steve Bennett, who was giving lessons in art as well as telling stories about how he worked with some of the masters of anime way back when Urusei Yatsura was first broadcast in Japan. I always love the stories from the original creators in both comics, manga, and anime. They have the best ones.

In addition Katsucon was the East Coast qualifier for the US part of the World Cosplay Summit. There were many great performances and wonderful costumes. Karmaluna Cosplay were the winners with their spectacular costumes and performance.karmaluna_wins_closeup_1

Now these were just the official programs.

Beyond this there was the unofficial programming, such as the Rave Fashion photo shoot organized by Amy Tripp (who goes by Diamonds and Dragons). This was a wonderful event celebrating rave fashions with a wonderful photoshoot. Just prior to it I found some ravers who did not know about the shoot and they helped produce some wonderful shots and from them I learned about PLUR in raver culture. At the Rave Fashion Photoshoot there were amazing ravers and great fashions as seen here by It’s Raining Neon and GammoGahato Cosplay.
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Unofficial programming such as those from photographers, videographers, and other groups has been something on the rise and made even easier through Facebook, mobile phone, and more. These can be planned and adjusted on the fly with mobile data plans automatically syncing up any calendar changes. A big reason for these is the amazing beauty of the Gaylord and its surroundings with the gazebo as mentioned before, the fountains, the internal village, and more. As stated before some people do not do any of the official programming but instead work their schedules around videographers, photographers, and their friends.

This has even occurred with me in an awesome photoshoot with Lilith Astaroth with a few previews below:

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One of the best interviews about the awesomeness and art of cosplay photography was done with Elysiam Entertainment by Jibrii Ransom (who also goes by Spectra Cosplay)
Elysiam Entertainment: The Art of Cosplay Photography (With Yaya Han)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3a2RYmAh104 [/youtube]

This is why to wait sometimes after the con to incorporate the photos, videos, and everything else. Because while there you can not experience it all, and the works from others fill in the extra experiences that you yourself may have missed and may not have even known about. How many times have you thought, “Wow I did not see that at all?”
All of these things and many more made Katsucon absolutely wonderful.

And here are some more pictures, and I, like a lot of other photographers, am still processing and uploading. They will be on my fanpage and flickr.

About author

Lawrence Brenner
Lawrence Brenner 22 posts

Lawrence Brenner is a journalist/writer/photographer/videographer and academic. He has also presented on the Rise of the Cosplay Economy at Anime Expo.

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