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Unread 02-13-2013, 07:14 PM   #1
Hime no Toki
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KatsuCon 2013: Feedback Thread

This thread is for posting your thoughts/opinions on KatsuCon 2013!

From your experience this year, what were the pros and cons? What were the highlights and lowlights? Would you return again next year?

Also, you can discuss the particulars of the convention, such as the events, panels, masquerade, dances, etc., as well as what you thought about the con and hotel staff, the guests, convention space, food, dealer's room, attendees, and whatever else pertaining to this year's KatsuCon!
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Unread 02-17-2013, 11:57 PM   #2
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Personally I had an awesome time. No problems with staff. Or the gaylord staff. Only real gripe i had was why the gaylord chose to turn off the water fountains at each restroom and resort to water dispensers, which resulted in either running out of cups OR running out of water and/or both happening at the same time.
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Unread 02-18-2013, 12:12 AM   #3
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Unread 02-18-2013, 04:56 AM   #4
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I didn't have any horror stories with the other convention going around, but I'm well aware some friends were getting rude comments from some of the teenagers attending the other con. The ones I've encountered were super nice, one of which even knew which series I was from.

Honestly, I had an enjoyable time. I only got rude comments from some guys in regards to the character I cosplayed while visiting the Game Room, but no matter, there will always be people who'll make comments so I'll continue to shrug it off.
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Unread 02-18-2013, 08:47 AM   #5
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The conflicting conventions made for a a bit of a difficult time, but I had no bad run ins with anyone. In fact my friends and I were stopped by a group of girls who were rather nice and they were admiring our work. I did hear horror stories of those from the other con stepping on costumes and ripping them, and generally out to destroy cosplays. That was really uncalled for and really rude. But I totally understand that is not Katsucon's fault.

I also wish people would not stop in the middle of walk ways to take pictures or to just talk. Many people had very large cosplays and when people do that it makes it hard to get through, obviously. And with that, be considerate of others in their cospalys. If you see someone with a rather large cosplay or prop, just be considerate and maybe let them pass, and yeah, don't stop in the middle of walkways. Again, not Katsucon's fault.

I did notice it being much more crowded this year. That might have been due to the fact that a) part of the gazebo area was closed off where many people choose to hang out and take pictures and film. And b) it was absolutely FREEZING on Saturday and Sunday so again, many people didn't want to go outside.

Other then those things I enjoyed Katscuon this year very much. The staff was helpful, the venue of course is great. Another good year, can't wait for next year.
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Unread 02-18-2013, 10:29 AM   #6
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I've posted my opinion regarding BBYO here: http://www.cosplay.com/showpost.php?...74&postcount=3

This was my first Katsucon and is the third smallest con I've attended in the past five years.

For the most part, I enjoyed it. Katsucon is different in the way that it focuses on the cosplay community and not so much on the anime industry (ie lacking in the guest department). The dealer's room and artist alley had a nice variety. There was usually plenty of space to walk around. The venue is beautiful.

There were a few things that I would have preferred. A minor one, but there was a lack of racing games in the gaming room; I would have definitely enjoyed an Initial D arcade machine if possible. Lines to the National Harbor panel rooms were a mess; they often did not make sense and merged with other lines. Some staff were a little OCD when seating attendees in some panels/events; even with half of the event over and only half of the seats filled, they still required people to fill in all of the spots closest to the front rather than allowing people to find their own seat. Service in one of the hotel's indoor restaurants was poor: my friend never received the meal he ordered, granted the food wasn't that great. Food just outside the convention was just as expensive, but with much better service and better tasting food.

There was only one staff member that I had a problem with. I've seen him at other conventions and know people have complained about him before, but he will verbally assault you if you're doing something he doesn't approve of. I could care less about the loudness of his voice since it becomes necessary in crowded areas, but I watched him scream at other attendees waiting in line, "What's wrong with you? Are you stupid? You can't block the door." etc., nearly verbatim. I don't know his name, but I really don't like this guy.

Other than these few things, several con-goers were blatantly high or drunk during the convention, causing several undesirable disturbances inside and outside of panels. There's really not much the Katsucon staff can do about that, but I thought I'd mention it.

Overall, I give a lot of credit to the Katsucon administration and staff. They were professional and handled the BBYO issues about as well as I could hope for. Would I return? Possibly, especially if there is a more well-known musical guest. Maybe I've attended too many conventions, but I really didn't have much to look forward to each day in terms of convention panels/events and spent a good part of the weekend watching anime in my hotel room when I wasn't shopping or ogling some of the most impressive cosplays I've ever seen.
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Unread 02-18-2013, 10:47 AM   #7
Quinn The Spazz
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I personally (and luckily) had no problems with any of the BBYO attendees, aside from some strange looks while wearing my Kaito from Fairy Cube cosplay. (Though I did have an eyepatch, bright blue hair and my shirt partially unbuttoned at the time.)

My only complaint was the Crispin Freeman/Steve Blum signing on Friday; my friends waited two and a half hours in a line that barely moved, only to be cut from the line. I know this was just an unfortunate turn of events considering the popularity of the actors, and all the other signings I went to that weekend went wonderfully, which was nice. That just made me sad.

Everything else was really nice though, I look forward to next year ^^
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Unread 02-18-2013, 11:25 AM   #8
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- Don't double-book with BBYO next year. Their need to keep their kids from escaping into the more-fun anime convention, which required blocking off areas of the hotel in a way that sharing the con space with adults has never done, was bad.

- Katsu needs better communication. The main Katsu page, and its Twitter feed, should have been running full time documenting all the status changes of the Gazebo Strip and the resulting Two-Con Solution. Silence on Katsu's part contributed to the confusion and unhappiness.

- Terrible panels. Just because you got five Ask A Nation, six Homestuck panels, two crossdressing-for-boys panels, etc., doesn't mean you need to allow them all (even if they're all at 3 in the morning). And then on the other hand, super-popular fandoms had no panels (SAO, Magi, reboot Sailor Moon, to name a few). I hiiiiiiiighly encourage Katsucon's staff to either brainstorm "What is popular now?" before conventions (or to ask "What fandoms would you like to see panels for?" before the panel submissions open). Then if no one submits panels for those anime/manga/generally Japanese fandoms, recruit people to run those panels (either from the existing panelists, past panelists, or posting "Uh does anyone want to run an SAO panel" on the site). Heck, if you don't want to recruit panelists, just put a staffer in the room and run "Fandom X Open Mic."

- Keep allowing Western panels, though.

- Really liked that Katsu arranged an encore of Ask the Avengers.

- Have you considered merchant-sponsored panels? Reaching out to merchants to run merchant-sponsored panels? Arda's running Iron Wig online, and that's fun, but how much more fun would it be to run it in person?

- Cosplay... official scheduling. I attended Youmacon for the first time this year, and they have a cosplay schedule. There were a handful of designated spots, and Youmacon would give its blessing (and post the schedule for!) fandoms that signed up to meet at those spots. It reduced so much confusion, and it was wonderful. Considering that Katsu is a huuuuuge cosplay con, Katsu really needs to implement this. Have Gazebo, Cherry Blossom Ballroom Doors, In Front Of Fountains, Behind Fountains, Big Windows By Registration, Balcony In Front Of Old Hickory, and maybe a few others, have a sign-up cutoff for the Official Katsu Blessing, and get Katsu more involved in scheduling cosplay. (I suppose having some of those places now depends on whether or not BBYO is occupying the Gazebo Strip.)

- Invite food trucks to National Harbor. A lot of the DC ones are Maryland licensed and would be a great addition to Katsu.

- Ban the Nazi guy. I saw that his display was a little less flashy on Saturday, but he'd put up more of his crap on Sunday. His booth fee can't be worth the poor publicity he brings Katsu.
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Unread 02-18-2013, 11:45 AM   #9
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My 4th convention, probably the 2nd largest I'd been to.

Had major issues with Security on multiple occasions.
I'm a guy, was a Psycho (Borderlands) on Saturday. I saw the late-game dress code changes (2 days prior) and wasn't too pleased with them. Usually I wear my costume without a shirt. I scrambled to find a nude-colored bodysuit, but couldn't on such short notice, so I ace-wrapped myself: https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...84743266_n.jpg

The "head of security" found me, asked me to put a shirt on during a shoot, continued to follow me around (when I ignored him), and finally confronted me saying to put on a shirt or leave.

Logic wasn't this guy's strong suit. As we stood in the crowded hallways, I pointed at half a dozen female cosplayers revealing FAR more skin than me. His reply: "They're girls".

I don't care. Rules are rules, I read them, I obeyed them. I can't imagine my horrible man breasts were causing anyone undue stress. He said the Gaylord staff would kick me out if they saw me, so I spent most of the rest of my time outside the conference area - buying drinks at the bar, taking pictures with Gaylord staff... They had no issue.

Security in general - don't hire people who aren't sympathetic to the cosplay hobby. I often felt patronized by security personnel who would just yell and never listen.

My girlfriend on Friday was in a Dress, headdress and wings. She could hardly look down without her headdress falling off. We were at the top of stairs HEADING down, she was cautiously taking her first step. Security came over "You guys can't block the stairs". I reply "We're going down them...". He says "Well go faster". These were the triple-wide stairs heading down from the Gaylord conference rooms. The dude was completely oblivious to the fact that someone's costume might prevent them from taking timely strides down the marble stairs in heels. Of course there's no one else on the stairs... dude's just being a pain.

It's as if the security meeting was a 45-minute ordeal where everyone was sat in a room and the rules were read 1 at a time, like bullet points. Each member of security only remembered ONE rule, and made it their job to enforce it the entire weekend. We ran into the lord man shirts, the duke of "you can't come in here" and the prince of stairs.

I've got a host of thoughts on the Gaylord staff, but I'll save that for an avenue where they'd actually receive it.
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Unread 02-18-2013, 11:54 AM   #10
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This was a pretty good con for me after a relatively slow start, BBYO drama aside. Fortunately, I didn't really get embroiled in that on either side so I have no commentary on it. I actually enjoyed most of the panels I went to, which is always a plus given I usually end up not making many panels at cons anymore. Further, the staff were responsive when issues with the water fountains and such were brought up around the time of ball. I also really liked how easy the layout was to remember, with panel rooms being relatively clustered and the more exhibity things like Game Room, Dealer's room, and Artist's Alley all being together as well.

However, there were a couple things that bothered me in particular about the con, mostly on Friday. The Formal Ball lessons were great. Honestly, I think starting slow and dividing up the class was a good idea to get the concepts down, though only teaching one dance rather limited the options. The actual Formal Ball...was not danceable at all. Even having attended dance lessons in previous years, at least 75% of the music just was not something you could actually formal dance to. This issue was compounded by the fact we only learned the waltz. There were literally only two waltzes played in the time I was there, which was for most of it. In addition, the playlist was hardly any anime/video game music at all. One of the people I was with put it best, that it was basically the top 50 of 30 years ago. I don't come to an anime con's formal ball to enjoy a middle school dance, I go to have fun with formal dance to tunes I recognize from anime or video games.

Now, not to belabor the Ball point, there was something tangentially related that also bothered me. There was an extreme lack of accessible water at the ball and presumably other events in that room. With the fountains turned off, there was basically no water sources on Friday that I knew about, because they didn't bring out the water bottles like they usually would. However, this is what ties into the good because my friends and I told information and it was immediately handled by putting a call to con ops, even after telling us that it was the Gaylord's policy (which I'd fully believe). So, kudos to the girl at the information desk, and from what I could tell there were results Saturday, with water bottles being put out and maintained.

tl;dr: Friday was mediocre with a ball that had me on edge about the rest of the con, but Saturday and Sunday were wonderful and really helped me relax from a lot of stress that had been building up.
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Unread 02-18-2013, 12:24 PM   #11
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Overall I enjoyed Katsucon and I would come back.

Pros:
-VIP badge was worth every penny.
- Interesting panels. I would have liked to attend more, but for various reasons I missed out on some I wanted to go to.
- Most Katsucon staff are friendly and helpful.

Cons:
- I have attended the maid cafe at Katsucon two years in a row and I see the same problems crop up. Last year we were fortunate to get in without a reservation so I made a reservation this year, because I like to support con sponsored restaurants. While the pose lounge is very beautiful it was way too crowded. Diners were cramped together so much so that you couldn't move your chair without bumping the person behind you. I also don't like being constantly hustled for donations before I even get to order. The food is always either luke warm or cold and it takes forever to pay for your order. In the future I'd like to see the maid cafe at Katsucon become more organized. It just felt chaotic.

- Some of the staff members can be rude and overbearing. I try to be understanding. Katsucon staff are human after all and they get cranky at night just like any normal person. My husband wanted to go to a particular panel and asked me to come with him. The panel I wanted to go to was in the same room afterwards, so I agreed to it against my better judgement. The panel I was waiting for started a little late and I guess quite a long ling had gathered outside of the room, because a staff member came in and rudely asked us if we had been there the whole time. When we answered honestly that we had and that we were waiting for the next panel, she told us it was unfair to everyone waiting in line outside and we were told to stand aside. Had I been aware of this rule, I wouldn't have come to the initial panel in the first place, and I would have gladly waited in the line outside, but obviously I can't be in two places at once. I never argue with staff, but my husband raised his voice to her. (He has aspergers syndrome) The experience made me very upset so I just went back to my room and called it a night. I was not prepared for that reaction from staff because I attended back to back panels earlier with no problems. It's not like I was camping out in the room just for the sake of it, I actually wanted to attend that panel. I want to make it clear that I'm not angry with the staff person for this, I just wish I had known about this rule before.

-To add to this another staff member stopped me from going down the down escalator and told me I had to go down the stairs next to the up escalator (I guess this was because of the tensions with the bbyo). Even with the circumstances it didn't seem like an efficient way to manage con traffic.
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Unread 02-18-2013, 12:47 PM   #12
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Pros:

Every con staff/volunteer I talked to was helpful and friendly. I know first hand how stressful working a con can be. I understand it when they get short or snippy. Luckily I experienced none of that.

At door registration went smooth.

Cons:

The dealers room felt so, so very cramped and small for some reason. There also wasn't a ton of variety. I feel like I see the same stuff all the time at conventions now.

Otherwise it was a great con for me!
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Unread 02-18-2013, 01:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tatooine View Post
- Terrible panels.
Just because some panels weren't to your liking or specific fandom interests, or were more numerous than you'd like, doesn't mean they were "terrible."

If you want an SAO panel, why don't YOU apply for and run it?
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Unread 02-18-2013, 02:24 PM   #14
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Dear god. The staff. If you were an INCH off the wall on the line for something, you were told to get as close to the wall as possible. I was trying to sleep while on the line for Steve Blum because it wasn't moving, and I had to curl up into a damn ball pretty much because apparently even in an empty hall, somebody can trip over a leg that is again, only about an inch off the wall.

Coat check for the rave. I had a sweater on that was PART OF MY RAVE COSPLAY and was told I had to check it because it had pockets. What am I going to smuggle, cups?

SCHEDULING. Why would you overlap guests like that especially? And also cancel/combine guests signings without telling people and say it was a mistake?

1 item per guest. That's like asking for the impossible. I'm sure I'm not the only one who was upset about this.
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Unread 02-18-2013, 03:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by belligerent View Post
Just because some panels weren't to your liking or specific fandom interests, or were more numerous than you'd like, doesn't mean they were "terrible."

If you want an SAO panel, why don't YOU apply for and run it?
Didn't think I could make the con until the last minute.

Besides, I can like a fandom and still dislike that there were six panels for it. The "see what people send in" paneling system is obviously a bit messed up if uber-popular anime/manga fandoms aren't represented, and it's in Katsu's best interests to experiment with tools to diversify.
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