Featured Panelists

Cosplay Pro Wrestling

What do you get when you blend together a Super NES, your Crunchyroll queue, and a pinch or two of what the Rock is cooking? The answer is Cosplay Pro-Wrestling, which features some of your favorite anime and video game characters battling it out in the ring. If you are looking for a very entertaining experience that will bring to life some of the mashups you never got to see, then this is definitely an event you should check out.

Charles Dunbar

Charles Dunbar is a fan of many things, of which anime and Japanese culture are but one (admittedly large) sphere. After discovering the medium through Dragonball Z in high school, he spent his formative college years indulging in giant robots, Pokemon, JRPGs, and Rurouni Kenshin, never expecting his coursework in cultural anthropology to ever intersect with his burgeoning fandom identity. This was only the first of many instances when the Universe decided to troll him hardcore for his obliviousness. After spending years attending his local SF con, Charles began attending anime cons in earnest in 2007, bumping them up drastically while undertaking fieldwork for his MA in Anthropology, where he researched and wrote on fandom, convention culture, and the changing dynamic of anime fan practices. He never stopped attending, coming back year after year to both indulge his love of anime conventions, and educate his fellow fans on all manner of mythology, Japanese sacred culture, fan cultures, and whatever else grabs his interests. He is currently working concurrently on two books related to these pursuits, dabbling in game scripts, writing his own ghost stories inspired by the folklore he devours, and traveling around the country speaking at conventions, libraries, and the occasional university. You can read his ideas and ruminations at www.studyofanime.com or via his Twitter @studyofanime.

Dave Merrill

Former con chair, infrequent cartoonist and full-time expat Dave Merrill has been involved in Japanese cartoon fandom for decades. A member of the seminal anime parody-dub group Corn Pone Flicks, he was the first chairman of Anime Weekend Atlanta. His articles about Japanese animation have appeared in periodicals like Manga Newswatch Quarterly, Star Blazers: The Magazine Of Space Battleship Yamato, the late, lamented Mangajin and the still extant Otaku USA. He wades through piles of lousy comic books for Mister Kitty’s popular “Stupid Comics” feature, his classic anime blog Let’s Anime is the internet’s home for exhaustive research into forgotten and perhaps forgettable animation, and he frequently appears at anime conventions and video-store back rooms to amuse and confuse with his popular “Anime Hell” clip-show event.

Erica Friedman

Erica Friedman has written about Yuri for Japanese literary journal Eureka, Animerica magazine, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Dark Horse, and contributed to Forbes, Slate, Huffington Post, Hooded Utilitarian,Afterellen and The Mary Sue online. She has written news and event reports, interviews Yuri creators and reviews Yuri anime, manga and related media on her blog Okazu, since 2002.

John Bowers

John Bowers is the co-creator of Gunpla 101, a Gundam modeling tutorial site for all skill levels. Ever since Gundam Wing came to the United States, he’s been adding anime, manga, and curiosities to his extensive Gundam collection. When he’s not working on his Perfect Grade Unicorn Gundam, he is restoring vintage game consoles.

Lauren Orsini

Lauren Orsini is a journalist who covers fandom topics for Forbes, Anime News Network, and other outlets. Her book, Cosplay: The Fantasy of Role Play, is in bookstores near you. She is the co-creator of Gunpla 101, a Gundam modeling tutorial site aiming to show people that anyone can build Gunpla.


The Nerdfit Network (“Nerdfit”) is a Boston-based entertainment group has delivered hours of laughs and amazement at events since 2007. Nerdfit provides a versatile list of talents including (but not limited to) hosting and performing in panel presentations, game shows, concerts, DJ sets and dance parties. Outside of events, they provide live streams, videos and comedy articles about anime, video games, technology, and silly conspiracy theories. You can find them at www.Nerdfit.com.

Shaindle Minuk

Shaindle Minuk is a cartoonist and animator based in Toronto, Ontario. In 2005 she and her husband, Dave Merrill, started the website misterkitty.org, which hosts her webcomics The Element Of Surprise, Georgie Girls and Behind The Blue Door as well as the popular weekly feature Stupid Comics, which pokes good-natured fun at comic books of all shapes, sizes, and genres. She and Dave will be presenting the live version of Stupid Comics this weekend, so please check it out!

Zack Davisson

Zack Davisson is an award-winning translator, writer, and folklorist. He is the author of YUREI: THE JAPANESE GHOST, YOKAI STORIES, and KAIBYO: THE SUPERNATURAL CATS OF JAPAN, and the translator of Leiji Matsumoto’s CAPTAIN HARLOCK and Go Nagai’s DEVILMAN.
Davisson has lectured on translation, manga, and folklore at Duke University, UCLA, University of Washington, Denison University, as well as contributed to exhibitions at the Wereldmuseum Rotterdam and Henry Art Museum. He has been featured on NPR, BBC, and The New York Times, and has written articles for Metropolis, The Comics Journal, and Weird Tales Magazine.
As a manga translator, Davisson was nominated for the 2014 Japanese-US Friendship Commission Translation Prize for his translation of the multiple Eisner Award winning SHOWA: A HISTORY OF JAPAN. For Drawn & Quarterly, Davisson translates and curates the famous folklore comic KITARO. Other acclaimed translations include Satoshi Kon’s OPUS and THE ART OF SATOSHI KON, Mamoru Oshii’s SERAPHIM: 266613336 WINGS, Leiji Matsumoto’s QUEEN EMERALDAS, Kazuhiro Fujita’s THE GHOST AND THE LADY, Go Nagai’s CUTIE HONEY, and Gainax’s PANTY AND STOCKING + GARTERBELT.


Anime World Order

The Anime World Order podcast began in 2005 and is run by three holier-than-thou know-it-alls that are…anything but. All of us live in Florida and have been involved in anime fandom since the 1990s. We frequent anime conventions, generally on the East Coast of the United States, and put on a variety of entertaining and informative panels while doing so. Each week…er…month…ish, we review Japanese cartoons and/or comics. None of us knows how to shut up.

In addition to podcasting, we contribute articles to both the print and web edition of Otaku USA Magazine. In 2009, we were the winner of the Parsec Award for Best Anime Podcast.