CUAnime Members Attend 2022 KatsuCon

Photo Courtesy of CUAnime

By Dean Robbins

From Thursday, February 17 to Sunday, February 20, the CUAnime club attended the 2022 KatsuCon convention in National Harbor, Maryland. The convention, centered on Japanese culture and media, was held in the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. Attendance was estimated to number over 15,000 guests. 

Members of CUAnime stayed in the AC Hotel National Harbor on Friday and Saturday night, totaling eight in attendance across three rooms. On Thursday night before programming officially began, several members drove to the Gaylord to pick up their badges. The line for pre-registered attendees was over ninety minutes long. 

“We ended up waiting in line a lot longer than expected, but we got some good dinner at a Mexican restaurant nearby, so it was all worth it,” said CUAnime President Kristijan Jakominich. 

The next day, members started arriving at the Gaylord around 1:30 p.m., a few hours after the convention’s official opening. 

The convention had a wide variety of activities. The large Merchant Area and Artists’ Alley took up multiple convention halls, with dozens of booths selling art prints, manga, and much more. Several guests made appearances for autographs and panels, including but not limited to voice actors Billy Kametz, Mark Whitten (the voice of Rengoku in Demon Slayer), Greg Houser, and cosplay artist Yaya Han. 

Over a dozen educational panels were held that ranged from Japanese tea ceremonies to the partnership between Japanese and American animation studios on The Hobbit animated film. Anime episodes, movies, and anime music videos (AMVs) were also screened all day and all night, with some showings beginning as late as 4 a.m. . Attendees interested in gaming could participate in video game tournaments or board game groups. There was never nothing to do, even in the dead of night.  Jakominich said, “there was a Hyakumonogatari, or a scary story session, late at night.” 

One aspect of KatsuCon that would be immediately obvious to any outside observer would be the hundreds of cosplayers all over the convention center, hotel, and even the town of National Harbor. Cosplay is the practice of wearing handmade or purchased costumes of characters, whether one created by the cosplayer or one from a piece of media. Some of the most common cosplays were of characters from Spider-Man, the anime Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba, and the video game Genshin Impact.

“I was surprised by how many people recognized me and how many people took pictures of me,” said CUAnime member Lachlan McAloon, who cosplayed as Denji from the anime Chainsaw Man. “I am definitely going to cosplay again.” 

The club plans to attend the convention again in February of 2023, with the hopes of more participants. CUAnime meets every Monday and Wednesday from 7 pm to 10 pm in Caldwell 121 to play board games, watch anime, and discuss club business.

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