by Crystalyn Hodgkins,
Overheard at the convention:
"Dear LiveJournal, you won't guess what happened to me today. I'm a woman now." - Male attendee walking around in the panels area.
Day 3Apparently, there's a good amount of people who come to the Gaylord just to have a nice Sunday brunch in the few ritzy restaurants inside the hotel. Boy were those people in for a surprise this morning when their normal people watching was replaced with watching thousands of cosplayers running around. One of the restaurants, which was an open-air restaurant in the pavilion area of the hotel, had a string quartet playing for guests. When I looked over at them, the woman playing the violin had just watched a gothic lolita cosplayer walk by and was red in the face from trying very hard not to laugh. Awesome.
Dealer's RoomThe dealer's room at Katsucon was surprisingly large and unsurprisingly packed full of attendees on all three days. In my ongoing search to find the weirdest item for sale in the dealer's room, this time I present you with an oppai mug. I had no idea these things existed. I at least get the purpose of the oppai mouse pad, considering its functionality as a wrist rest, but what the heck are the point of these?
I'd like to take this opportunity to remind congoers that the dealer's room is a mecca of out-of-print anime and manga. Manga that go for 4-5 times their retail price on Amazon can be bought for $5 at one of the many large booths selling shelves upon shelves of old manga. With Tokyopop now out of the picture, I think this year is a good time for congoers to snap up any of those lingering Tokyopop volumes they've been meaning to get. One booth even had some Sailor Moon and Card Captor Sakura VHS tapes.
The Funimation booth, which was the only industry booth at the convention aside from a small booth from Media Blasters, featured a fun, cute little side booth of Princess Jellyfish crafts. At conventions so far this year (and at Katsucon), Funimation has been hosting panels to teach attendees how to make little jellyfish plushes such as those featured in the series. At Funimation's booth, the company had cosplayers teaching visitors as well how to make the plush, and each time I walked by it was full of people sewing jellyfish.
One thing I don't understand about dealer's rooms are the increasing amount of booths solely dedicated to fanart. Shouldn't those be in the artist's alley?
Artist's Alley and Video Game RoomI'm liking this trend in artist's alleys to feature more crafts instead of just fanart. Rather than booths just selling 11x17 fanart images, most of Katsucon's booths at the artist alley contained handmade or hand-knitted plushes, scarves, hats, or jewelry. Some of them still contained anime or manga themes, but the artist's alley seemed more like a physical version of Etsy than just a room filled with people making money drawing characters that aren't theirs. And Izumi Matsumoto had his own booth in the alley as well, where he was drawing images from Kimagure Orange Road for fans.
The video game room was a bit more lackluster, but I was surprised to see the amount of imported arcade games in the room, and not just bunch of tables of people playing fighting or shooting games and a DDR booth.
Closing CeremoniesKatsucon's closing ceremonies were short and sweet. Con Chair Grig Larson revealed to the sparse audience that the unofficial attendance total has reached more than 11,000 (The official total is now 12,614). Considering last year's attendance total of 7,200+, that's a pretty sharp increase (Larson also mentioned they ran out of badges this year). Larson then thanked all the guests by name, and mentioned that because the con is getting so much attention, they've already booked some guests for next year. Larson then thanked the staff for all their help in keeping the hotel pristine, and thanked the attendees as well. He then mentioned some of the problems the convention had, including problems with registration and lines, and said that these are being taken into account and will make sure it will be a better experience next year. Larson then revealed that Katsucon 2013 will be held at the Gaylord again next year, and the theme for the convention will be kabuki, and the convention will include a kabuki festival. And with that, Katsucon 18 was over.