Sorry for the delay. That can be blamed on a combination of me doing a similar report for another anime site that I visit regularly, me getting back to my regular work schedule after missing a week due to snow, and me currently having a cold (a typical side effect of attending a convention). However, I finally found time to finish my report on Katsucon 2010.
There's an old saying that goes "The show must go on." Basically, this saying means that even if something really bad happens, an event should continue to go as planned rather than be cancelled (unless the idea of continuing the event is in very bad taste given the bad thing that happened). That was the case of this year's Katsucon. A week before the convention took place, the Washington D.C. area was covered in a blanket of snow that was so deep that most of the mess wasn't even cleaned up before the area was hit by a second snow storm. However, despite the snow, Katsucon still took place this past weekend (although a little unorganized on Friday due to a few problems as a result of the storm). As usual, I attended the convention during the weekend, and here's my report on it.
-For it's first year at taking place at the Gaylord National in Inner Harbor, I kinda felt that Katsucon had not yet used the hotel to its full potential yet. Sure, I'm well aware that there's more than just Katsucon going on at the Gaylord that weekend (i.e. a pre-marriage event that was going on all weekend; a military banquet on Saturday, which ended up with the military members actually getting along rather well with the otaku), as well as the fact that it took years before Otakon began to utilize the whole Baltimore Convention Center. However, some areas in the layout that I felt could have been better include the location of the Main Events (which, due to it being in a room where part of the vision may be blocked by pillars, was set up in a way that those people on the right side of the stage can't even see the stage due to the placement of the video screen) and the Video Game room (which was in the same area as Artist's Alley, and was lacking when compared to the Video Games room that Katsucon had in previous years).
-Due to the weather, Katsucon badges did not arrive at the convention on Friday afternoon. As a result, the convention had THREE different types of registration lines on Friday afternoon: one for at-door registration, one for pre-reg, and one for people who got temporary versions of the badge earlier in the morning and now have to wait in line in order to pick up the regular badge. Note to Katsucon: if it looks like it may snow the week before the convention, I suggest sending the badges to the D.C. area earlier than scheduled in order to ensure that the badges are there Friday morning.
-Once again, I kinda felt that the scheduling could have better. For starters, with the AMV Contest taking place in the afternoon, there's nothing for me to do on Friday night after 8:00 PM (well, there was the Guests Uncensored panel at 11 PM, but due to roads still being somewhat of a mess on Friday, I felt I had to leave earlier that night). Also, a lot of events that I wanted to attend that weekend were either placed in times where I'm not even at the convention (i.e. Bad, Anime, Bad happening early Saturday morning, the Funimation Panel being held on Sunday) or got pushed back (i.e. a MST3K-style event on Saturday night that got pushed back from midnight to 1:00 AM). Yes, I do enjoy looking around at the various sites of the convention center, but also keep in mind that I'm the type of person that likes to be kept busy in order to ensure that I make the most of my time (that's one thing that concerns me when I do work, since I'd rather be at home than be paid for doing nothing at the office). So, here's hoping that Katsucon can learn from this mistake and add more variety to the schedule on Friday night.
-Obviously, I can't do a convention report without coverage of what I bought at the Dealers' Room. The bad news was that three things that I was looking for at the Dealers' Room, the 1/4 scale figure of Fate from Nanoha StrikerS in a bikini, a Japanese shooter game for the XBox 360 that's region free, and a Japanese guide book to the first 18 volumes of Negima, were not available at any of the vendors in the room. However, I didn't go aware empty handed, as I did manage to pick up a couple of figures, another pin to add to my Kisuke hat, a plushie of Mio from K-On!, a DVD collection of the Ghost Stories anime, the latest volume of the American version of the Lucky Star manga, and a number of video games for the PSP (including a Higurashi video game that came with three trading figures).
-Despite a few techincal difficulties (with one of the comedy videos not being shown on Friday), the AMV Contest was still rather decent. A few comments concerning some of the videos that were in the contest:
- (On the winner of the Drama category and the Con Chair's choice) You know you're the type of person who has been watching AMV's for a long period of time when, when it comes to an AMV of the "One Day More" song from Les Miserables, you'd prefer a older video set to SDF Macross over a more recent one that uses Code Geass as its anime source.
- While I myself have thought that "The Trail" from Pink Floyd's "The Wall" would make a perfect song to use for an Evangelion video, I felt that my idea of how the video would play out was better than the version that was shown at the Katsucon AMV contest (with the only things that "match" casting wise is Shinji as Pink and Asuka as his wife).
- Looks like I'm not the only person who finds some similarities between Case Closed and Psych.
- (On the Best in Show winner) While the idea of doing a various video to the "I Love the Whole World" ad for Discovery Channel has already been done before (with that video being a great video as well), the "Best in Show" winner definitely gives people an idea of what makes anime so great.
-The main thing on my mind when it came to Saturday at the convention: Funimation's sneak peek at the dub to Strike Witches. After watching the first episode, I originally felt that I wasted a good amount of time that could have been used to do something else (after all, the first episode is full your basic "I don't to get involve in your battle" crap that plagues a lot of mecha or military-based anime titles, which results in all the good stuff being held back until the second episode). However, once that gets sqaured away (with me saying out loud, "Thank you" after the main character decides to join the platoon), the show does begin to pick up my interest. The main thing that caught my attention once the real fun began: the fact that, for a title that is being shown in the afternoon without anyone being carded in order to get in, the episodes that were shown in this preview included one where the nipples of various female characters are clearly shown in a bath house scene (something that is very much in the "not suitable for children" category). I'm still up in the air about this series (especially since I read that the final two episodes of the show's first season also consist of "cliche" military/mecha storylines), but I may want to check this title out just to see how far Gonzo went when it comes to the shameless amounts of fanservice that is prominent in the series.
-After being somewhat disappointed with the Cosplay Contest at last year's Katsucon (the only Masquerade event that I try to attend regularly when it comes to the three anime conventions that I regularly attend), this year's Cosplay Contest was definitely better IMO (especially when it came to the fact that there's only incident where the audience tried to get the emcees to dance, unlike last year, where their urge for a dancing emcee became more annoying than the "Chair" chant). Among some of the skits that I enjoyed:
- A Hellsing skit where a simple scene between Arucard and Integra involving a backrub and a lollipop gets mistaken for something more perverted by the rest of the cast.
- An "artistic" skit based on the video game Pong (no, you're not seeing things, there actually was a skit that took a game like Pong and made warped it around to make it appear as if there's more to the game than just a simple video game version of tennis).
- A skit where Captain Harlock and his crew perform "Professional Pirate" from Muppet Treasure Island.
- The cast of Yuu Yuu Hakusho being made to perform scenes from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juilet in order to defeat a demon.
-One additional comment I have to make about the cosplay. After seeing this year's sketch by the William and Mary Anime Society (which featured the cast of Final Fantasy VII performing "It's Raining Men"), I'm kinda concerned that the newer members are lacking the flair that the group is known for. Don't get me wrong, as the members that took part in the group were part of the novice category, and the skit was popular with the most of the people watching the show. However, for someone who is familiar with some of the group's more clever bits (from a Gilbert and Sullivan version of SDF Macross that ends with the cast bashing Carl Macek to a Last Exile skit that spoofs The Phantom of the Opera), I kinda felt that the group could has the potential of pulling off something bigger than your basic Final Fantasy skit.
In the end, Katsucon was a fun weekend. However, when you consider the size of the Gaylord and a lot of the mess that was caused as a result of the blizzard that hit the D.C. area the week before, the convention could have been handled a lot better. Of course, this is only the first year of the convention at the Gaylord (with it being there for at least two more years), so things can improve in the next couple of years (the fact that avoided a possible mess on Saturday afternoon by having the people who are attending the Masquerade line up in the registration area is one way of them dealing with the problems). Also, given the "weather cycle", it's most likely not going to be until 2013 (if the 2012 crap doesn't happen) before Katsucon has to deal with another snow storm, so hopefully some of the mess at this year's convention that was caused by the blizzard won't happen again next year.
To end my report, here's a link to the pictures that I took that weekend, which consists of cosplay, some of my purchases, and an idea that I had after seeing what came with "limited edition" version of the Higurashi game that I bought at the convention:
BTW, try to guess which name I contributed to the Death Note in one of the pictures that appears in the link above.