02/21/2012 02:32 pm ET

Cosplayers of Katsucon 18 (PHOTOS)

OXON HILL, Md. -- In the now-glamorous world of comic-cons, anime conventions like Katsucon are perhaps the neglected younger sibling.

But every year for one weekend, Katsucon becomes a miniature mecca for these lovers of Japanese cartoons, drawing more than 7,000 attendees from all over the United States to the Gaylord National Hotel at National Harbor.

Any other weekend of the year, businessmen and vacationers would be filing the Gaylord in a measured fashion. This weekend, sprawling parties of costumed revelers were everywhere.

The lobby and other parts of the entire hotel were saturated with wild and elaborate costume tributes to the fictional heroes and villains of written and animated anime. And the couture that dominates the scene is known as costume play, shortened to “cosplay”.

For those who participate, it can be a singular hobby. The 20-page convention guide features appearances from professional cosplayers, guidelines for creating your fake weapon, and more than a couple 120 minutes sessions devoted to pursuits like “Wig Styling and Cutting”.

HuffPost caught up with a couple of the costumed attendees this weekend to ask them about their outfits.

Katsucon 18