Every February, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, Maryland, turns into cosplayers’ photoshoot heaven for a weekend. Katsucon usually takes place either on Valentine’s Day weekend or President’s Day weekend every year and is jam packed with activities to do in and out of the convention itself. Being in February brings the risk of inclement weather and cold temperatures which don’t bode well for certain cosplays. Regardless of the risk, thousands attend the convention every year and have a blast.
Katsucon is known for being photoshoot heavy. Group cosplays are planned in advance, and people chat on forums and various social media posts to coordinate and schedule out when and where in the convention center to meet up. Among all of the chaos of the one well-known symbol of Katsucon that everyone craves a photo with: The Katsucon Gazebo. It’s so famous in the community, it even has its own Twitter. With the right time of day and right lighting, amazing photoshoots for individuals and groups can happen there.
With the heavy photo aspect in mind, prepping and work for Katsucon starts very early. In fact, the hype for Katsucon happens way before the week of the eventually. Usually, once the new year hits, the hashtag “Katsucrunch” starts showing up all over social media. What exactly does that mean?
A “crunch” is a term for cosplayers who are running out of time to get their cosplays together. It’s a race against time for sewing, crafting, wig styling, prop making, and packing, among other things. The idea that “oh, it’s January 5th, I have plenty of time!” is often thought up but before you know it, it’s the week of the convention. There’s more than one sleepless night to be had at a sewing machine or hunched over a giant foam sword.
So what is the “Katsucrunch” like, exactly? I asked a few cosplayers on the way to Katsucon to get their exact feelings on what it means in general, what it means to them, and…will they finish their costumes in time? Let’s find out!
How would you personally define “Katsucrunch” for yourself right now?
Celine: It’s Saturday and I have to be packed by Wednesday and none of my 3 costumes nor 1 commission are finished.
Rose-Maiden Cosplay: Everything has been finished and packed already.
Luna Mirage Art: Making cosplays at the last minute!
Smoke & Honey Cosplay: I have one character completely done and 2 that I have to finish. I will probably be sin the hotel room night before/day of. I also have various accessories to make and finish detailing. So, I will be putting things together last minute.
Stark Raving Cosplay: Stress. And overwhelming.
Luna D. Cosplay: Making sure all the small things are in order (extra batteries, makeup, sewing kit etc.) I preped all my cosplays about 2 weeks ago so I’m pretty much set.
What are your cosplay goals for the con?
Celine: My only goal is running an enjoyable photo gathering for the same series I run it for at almost every con. As long as the others have fun, I’m happy.
Rose-Maiden: My only goal is to see as many if my friends as possible, enjoy my time with Alan since he’s cosplaying and shoot as much as possible.
Luna Mirage: UtaPri & Mystic Messenger cosplays. Luckily most of my cosplays are already made with store bought clothes or just bought the costume. I’m making two, Brave Earth Syo is my first time making semi-armour type outfit and Usagi’s school uniform.
Smoke & Honey: Honestly, looking put together enough. I am really excited about our Archer cosplay group.
Stark Raving: Finish my Overwatch cosplay.
Luna D.: More professional shots for both my cosplay fan page and patreon page.
How much work do you have left to accomplish?
Celine: Sealing and painting 2 sets of armor, sewing 2 dresses, lining a tunic, making a cape, sewing some chaps, making a belt & scabbard, and painting a collar. I dunno. Probably more than that.
Rose-Maiden: Thankfully I’m ahead and all set, hah.
Luna Mirage: Brave Earth Syo is almost done, just accessories. Usagi school uniform hasn’t been touched at all. Dunno if I can sew everything in the next few days. I work 2 days at 2 jobs.
Smoke & Honey: Hahah, a lot. Re-doing an entire outfit and accessories, finishing bows and wig styling, and thinking of putting together another cosplay…
Stark Raving: A lot, but not too much.
Luna D.: 20%, not much.
What would you say is the best part of Katsucon?
Celine: The number of friends that attend.
Rose-Maiden: It’s my first time so I don’t know yet!
Luna Mirage: It’s my first time, but it looks like fun.
Smoke & Honey: I’ve never been, but hear it’s great!
Stark Raving: Seeing the hard work people put into their cosplays and seeing friends.
Luna D.: Just the size and how much fun it is overall seeing everyone and just enjoying such a beautiful venue.
What are you looking forward to the most?
Celine: My beautiful con roommates!
Rose-Maiden: Seeing my friends
Luna Mirage: Meeting up with my friends to cosplay together would be the best part like every other con!
Smoke & Honey: Honestly, our group for Friday night. I get to run around as Pam from Archer… so there’s that.
Stark Raving: Same as above.
Luna D.: Sharing the experience with my husband who has never been. He’s been to NYCC plenty of times but this will be the farthest convention he’s attended.
Are there any tricks to con crunch that you want to share?
Celine: Hot glue is magical. So are safety pins.
Rose-Maiden: Hot glue is magical. So are safety pins. And always pack an emergency repair kit!
Luna Mirage: Don’t wait until the last minute and time yourself. I took off a few days of work to get most of my stuff done, though I work 2 jobs with no days off, so it was necessary. I’m always the last minute type of person, though I have to say I get so much done and it comes out well cause I have less time to think about the cosplay without doubting myself.
Smoke & Honey: Plan before…. but like I don’t think there is anything you can do.
Stark Raving: A list and a schedule to keep you honest.
Luna D.: Prep months in advance. Write everything down and stick to it.
Thank you to the lovely cosplayers that participated in my mini interview! Be sure to check out their cosplay pages to follow up on their Katsucon experience. And if you like what you see, be sure to stop by Katsucon’s website for updated social media links and information on next year’s convention! I’m aiming to be there finally – hope to see you there, too!
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