Katsucon 16 Convention Review

Katsucon 16has been over for about a month now, and we feel like it is finally time to put our thoughts on the convention down on paper … well not really paper, more like up on the Internet.  Does anyone even say that anymore?  Who uses paper now?  Doesn’t everyone just type everything up, even notes?  I guess if you print that out, then your thoughts are on paper, but I digress.

CosWatch was very proud of our Katsucon coverage, due in a big part to are new photographer Ken who was able to provide some fantastic images from the show.  The level of cosplay was of a very high quality and we’re proud to have posted over 300 images from the show.

Yet the question remains, how was the convention in our opinion?  What follows below, is our judgment.

Convention Organization

 Before we begin, I would like to take the opportunity to thank Chad who was the Press Liaison for Katsucon and really took care of us during the convention.  It is greatly appreciated!

Now this review can’t go any further without talking about the Registration issues that plagued the convention during Friday morning.  If you were there, or asked anyone who was there, you probably heard about how the badges for the convention weren’t at the Gaylord hotel Friday morning.  Let me say, that this is a true statement, and it was a major annoyance for all those involved.  Let me emphasize the phrase “for all those involved”.

Yes this completely sucked for all the con goers as they had to sit in line longer than expected, but it also sucked for the convention staff.  Because of the snow storm that preceeded Katsucon, FedEx was just not able to get the badges there until Friday afternoon.  This meant that all of the staff present had to give out paper vouchers that were a temporary fix to get con goers into the building.

That’s all the bad.  Yet after experiencing similar events at Zenkaikon, I have become very understanding of situations like this that are out of a convention’s hands.  So what did Katsucon staff do with the odds stacked against them?  They dug in, and worked it out.  That is a commendable trait.  Especially considering that for the rest of the convention, our staff didn’t really see or have any other problems.  The staff was there whenever they were needed, and they disappeared when they weren’t, ensuring that everyone could enjoy the convention as best as possible.

That combination of skills, is something that we here at CosWatch like.  Say what you will about the well documented problems of other conventions getting rowdy, drugs being sold on the con floor, or anything else that happened … Katsucon staff did a great job!

Final Verdict:  Convention was run well, especially in the face of unexpected problems

Location

The Gaylord Hotel is gorgeous.  I simply can’t overstate that fact more.  This hotel was utterly beautiful and this greatly enhanced the convention from a photography standpoint, along with spacing.

Starting with the latter, if you go to convention on a regular basis, spacing and overcrowding is something that is a fairly common complaint.  Katsucon this year had no such issues, as the Gaylord was able to comfortably fit two other conventions and gatherings besides Katsucon.  The Gaylord housed a small TOWN in the lobby area that provided con goers a fun little way to shop, eat and take pictures.  It was just utterly amazing the quality of this location.  Add in the copious amount of gay jokes that we can make because of it, and it’s just a winner.

It’s not all good though obviously.  The great quality that the Gaylord provided is not cheap, and for con goers the pricetag on hotel rooms, adding in registration, swag budget and food neccessities can be a daunting proposition.

Speaking of food, that’s another issue with the location, in that the cheaper local restaurant / fast food options that are a staple of convention survival, was severely lacking here at the Gaylord.  Our own Dr. Weezil and Ken where able to find other food options, but it was easily a 5-10 minute drive, no where near walking distance.  That was an obvious downfall of the location, especially considering that pricing of restaurants in the Gaylord are on the high side.

Our suggestion?  Make sure you have at least one friend who can drive out to seek other food options, and make friends with pizza delivery.  While the pricing is a definite down side, the pros of what the Gaylord and Katsucon have to offer are worth the additional budgeting.

Final Verdict:  Pricey, but completely worth it.  Huge, beautiful, and a pleasant change from other convention spaces.

Fun Factor

In the end, no matter what the venue is or what issues the staff might come across, the bottom line question is, “Did we have fun?”

The answer?  A resounding yes!

As Dr. Weezil said in his post, this is the con of many things.  No matter what you were looking for, Katsucon had you covered.  Want to go to panels with some of the industry’s best Voice Acting talent?  Of course, they have that.  Want web comics?  You got it!  Great music and a fully staffed maid cafe?  That was at Katsucon too!  Not to mention the entire “War on Pants” event that was taking place the entire weekend, which you will just have to ask about on your own time.  =)

We get a lot of enjoyment from taking pictures, and interviewing anyone who will let us.  It’s good to see that the people we were talking to, had fun and had plenty of events that they could spend the weekend at.

Final Verdict:  Maid cafes, great cosplay, and some cool guests.  Good times all around!

Final Thoughts

Katsucon has a great staff behind the scenes, and a fantastic venue to display all their events.  To say that we were impressed with the direction the convention is going, is an understatement.  While the hotel might be a bit on the pricey side, it is well worth it.  We will be at Katsucon 17 where the theme is Madri Gras (staff favorite), and we will be ready to party!

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Joseph Valenti

Founder of g33kWatch, Joe is the guy who makes sure nobody hurts themselves. Connect with me on Google+

3 Comments:

  1. Great review. Can we expect writeups in a similar format for future events? /cheers

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  2. Yeah as time has gone on, I like doing a formal write up review. Expect this to be the usual from now on, with a podcast coinciding with it, if time permits!

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  3. Pingback: Link roundup – 03.05.2010 : Lauren Rae Orsini

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