The world of anime is a vast and interesting place. Every year, Japanese culture and art explode into National Harbor, Maryland with Katsucon, an annual convention that celebrates all things anime and the people that enjoy this powerful art form. Like most cons, Katsucon plays host to panels, screenings, and of course, cosplaying. A plethora of the attendees dress up as their favorite anime characters, strut their stuff, and pose for plenty of pictures. There are even those who dress up in non-anime attire (this particular writer walked the convention halls as a Ghostbuster and the response from fellow con-goers was a truly positive one). All in all, it is an event that anyone and everyone can take in and thoroughly enjoy.
Now, to be honest, I’m not the most savvy student of anime but I did learn a little bit in terms of history, style, and fandom by partaking in a few of the panels. But what provided the best education was walking around the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, a humongous center of tourism and culture. This building provided the stage for Katsucon and was utterly perfect for the event. Cosplayers and casual fans flooded the floors and strolled along much to the pleasure of those with cameras. Between February 12th and February 14th, 2016, things were pretty crazy with crowds taking in the sights and the sounds.
Katsucon features costume contests, karaoke tournaments, a video game room, and last but not least, a rave, which I proudly attended. I, a 30-year-old man, standing on a crowded dance floor amongst hundreds of teens and tweens flashing glow sticks, breakdance moves, and half naked bodies. It was an experience, for sure, and one I will never forget. 1995 saw the beginning of Katsucon and more than two decades and thousands of attendees later, there doesn’t seem to be an end to this pop culture culture in sight.