Panel Descriptions

Below is a (partial) list of the panels and workshops that will be presented at AWX 2015.  We’ll be adding more guest events and panels as the con draws closer, so check back!

Events are listed in alphabetical order. Guest events and hands-on workshops are noted in parentheses after the panel name.


30 Things You Need to Know About Chicago’s Anime Scene – Whether you’re new in town or a long-time veteran, we’ve got news for you. Join AnimeChicago for an overview of Chicago’s thriving community, some history on how it formed, and where it’s going in 2015. Join us in making Chicago the Anime Capital of the US!

Acting for Cosplay – Whether you’re a hall cosplayer, a masquerade performer, or just someone who likes to dress up and hang out, you’ll find something for yourself in this panel. Join a panel of experienced actors and actresses for acting tips, advice, and of course, improv games! Whether you’re a veteran to the stage or a total noob, you’re bound to have a great time!

Adaptations Across Countries – What happens when a popular story gets adapted to a country other than its origin? You get shows like Samurai Pizza Cats and more in this exciting panel.

Akita: Samurai Guard Dogs – Natural Treasure of Japan (GUEST) – Come and meet the inspiration for the movie “Hachiko” in living, breathing, furry, person! The akita, companion to samurai for generations, are here for your enjoyment.  Naya and Kuma, pureblood Japanese akita-ken, demonstrate and enlighten congoers.  Hosted by their humans, Samurai Dan and Jillian.

Alis and the Unsung JRPG Heroes – Everyone knows about Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger, but what about the other JRPGs that we might look over? Come learn about some of the lesser known JRPGs from the 8-bit and 16-bit generations and discover what they brought to the genre as a whole.

AMV Cage Match – Back by popular demand! And updated with all new videos! You decide: Classic, or fresh? Retro, or shiny new? Which AMVs reign supreme??? Come watch some awesome AMVs in head-to-head battles and vote for the winners! Will nostalgia win out, or the bright lure of newer releases??? Ready … FIGHT!

AMV Contest Screening & Awards – Come view the entries for the AWX 2015 Anime Music Video Contest! This year’s awards will be presented at the end of the screening.

Anime Jeopardy – Think you know anime? Did you answer that in the form of a question? Then come on down to play the classic game with an anime twist.

Anime Psychology – What the hell is wrong with Shinji, Sasuke, and half the characters in Fairy Tail? Let’s analyze them!

Artist Meet & Greet – Are you an artist in our artist alley? Would you like to actually have some time to sit down with your other artists to just relax and hang out? Come to the Artist Alley Meet & Greet to meet your fellow neighbors!

A Visual History of Bad Video Games – You’ve heard their names: E.T…. Superman 64… Smurfs… Dark Castle. You already know they’re awful. Now you can witness for yourself just how terrible these infamous failed video games are! A few lucky audience members will have a chance to try their hand at bad games from Atari2600, ColecoVision, Sega Genesis, SNES, and more.

Awesome AMVs – Do you like AMVs? We do too! Here are a bunch of awesome ones we’ve found.

Ballroom Dance Lesson – Want to attend the Masquerade Ball, but your dancing shoes are a bit rusty? Never fear! We’ll show you a few basic ballroom steps to carry you through the formal dance, including the waltz, simple swing steps, and more. Beginners welcome!

Best Foot Forward: “Editor” is not just a movie credit! (GUEST) – We all know the importance of good presentation – but knowing what not to show can be even more important than what you include! Author Laura VanArendonk Baugh shares the secrets of presenting your creative work’s best side to your audience, whether that’s an agent, publisher, or beta-reader. If you’re a writer or any type of independent creative, this is a great opportunity to learn to avoid the pitfalls in the indie path.

Blind Date Gameshow (18+) – We have a bachelor/ette on one side, and 3 dates on the other. The audience, bachelor/ette, or panelists ask questions, and based on the answers a winner is chosen!

Cards Against Humanity with Samurai Dan & Jillian (GUEST) (18+) – Prepare to be offended… er, entertained! Late night fun at its finest, the Cards Against Humanity panel will take you where you have never been before…unless you’re really, really demented! Samurai Jillian hosts this popular Apples To Apples spin-off, where the otaku play the cards, and the guests judge the warped-ness of the answers and pick the winners.

Charity Date Auction – Our charity date auction is one of the most popular events of the convention, as we auction off volunteers to the highest bidder to raise money for a local food pantry! Dates will accompany their winning bidders to the Formal Masquerade Ball. Flying solo? The date auction is the perfect way to find someone to dance with! Volunteer or bid, and help support a great cause! (Please familiarize yourself with the rules.)

Coloring Book Party (for kids of all ages) – Need a break from the convention chaos? Want to reconnect with your inner child? Come relax with some bright-colored crayons. We have both traditional coloring books and anime-themed art for you to color. You don’t even have to stay inside the lines!

Coloring with Copic Markers (WORKSHOP) – Have you ever wanted to learn how to color with Copic Markers? Now is your chance! Come to this workshop to learn basic coloring techniques using Copic Markers. Participants will get to take home the work they create during the workshop. (Markers will be provided for use during workshop.)

Con Arcade – The cult classic Nick Arcade resurrected for the first time at Anime World.  Test your skills and knowledge in this classic arcade challenge.

Cosplay Comedy (18+) – If you wanna hear crazy con stories and debaucherous humor, this is EXACTLY what you need!

Eien Strife: Behind The Scenes (GUEST) – Are you interested in knowing more about voice acting, animating, performing music, and everything else that goes into an Eien Strife concert? Well then, this panel is for you. The members of Eien Strife will show you everything that goes into their performance as well as offer you a chance to record some parts with them during this panel.

Eien Strife Meet & Greet and Convention Stories (GUEST) – The cosplay adventure band has been touring anime conventions for over four years now, and there are some stories to share! Join Eien Strife as they share videos, answer questions, and tell you all about their adventure and what to expect this weekend from them. Cheydra, Raien, Lyren, and Kale are ready to meet all of you!

Eien Strife’s Retro Video Game Challenges (GUEST) – Can you hang with the old-school NES games? The members of Eien Strife invite you to play select games with a little ‘twist” to it. Are you up for the challenge to win some prizes?

Equality In Anime – Not all anime is create equal, nor are their characters. Let’s break stereotypes and let everyone be represented!

Formal Masquerade Ball – Dust off your bow ties and glass slippers for AWX’s formal dance!  This elegant evening will feature traditional and modern music for all skill levels of dance — or just come to share the evening and socialize with your well-heeled friends! Wear your most elegant costumes or formalwear, and dance the night away! (Formal dress required.)

Goku’s Journey to the West – You may know Goku, but do you know Son Wukong? Learn the origins of Dragon Ball and Saiyuki and the many adventures Goku has gone on.

H.E.M.A and Anime – Are you curious about Historical European Martial Arts? Swords, Axes, Crossbows, OH MY! Learn more about it, including how it’s influenced anime and gaming characters like Saber, Link, Erza, and more!

History in Anime: Fact or Crack? – Ever watched a historical anime and wondered if what you were seeing in the show actually happened? Come and test your knowledge in a friendly game to see if you can pick out what’s true and what the animators made up.

History of Sharp Shiny Pointy Things (GUEST) – Samurai battlefield weaponry displayed, explained and demonstrated by Samurai Dan, an expert in 16th century Japanese combat. Lecture features stunning visual aids (blades from 1400-1800) and a question and answer session for attendees.

How To Make Cosplay Armor – Are you dying to learn how to make some Daedric armor? How about Erza’s Purgatory Armor? This is the place for you!

How Videogames Save Us – Videogames can have a positive influence on our lives. They help cope with depression, teach us about the world, and appease our natural curiosity.

“I’m So Dumb” (GUEST) (18+) – The world’s tallest, most heavily-armed comedian, takes the stage to tell jokes and attack his most vicious critic—himself. Come hear Samurai Dan relive his most memorable learning experiences as an anime con performer.

Inking with Copic Multiliners (WORKSHOP) – Ever wanted to give your artwork that extra oomph, or just learn how to make fantastic outlines? Come to this workshop to learn about various ways of inking using Copic Multiliner pens. Participants will get to take home the pictures they create during this workshop! (Markers will be provided for use during workshop.)

Introduction to the Japanese Tea Ceremony (WORKSHOP) – Would you like to participate in a Japanese tea ceremony?  How about trying your hand at whisking up some matcha (powdered green tea)?  Please join Yaexrae for a brief introduction to the tea ceremony followed by a demonstration.  Audience members willing to volunteer for the demo will be shown how to serve and accept tea in the bonryaku temae style.

Japanese Fairy Tales #1 (GUEST) – Join bestselling author Laura VanArendonk Baugh for a reading of classic Japanese fairy tales, as translated for American children in the 1920s! Laura will share additional insight into these stories and the folklore behind them.

Japanese Fairy Tales #2 (GUEST) – Join bestselling author Laura VanArendonk Baugh for a further reading of classic Japanese fairy tales, with a discussion of the folklore behind them.

Japanese Folkore: An Anime, Manga & Film Primer (GUEST) – What’s the difference between bakemono and ayakashi?  What are those little creatures that show up in your favorite anime?  Get the most from your anime and Asian cinema experience when you understand the cultural background! Bestselling author Laura VanArendonk Baugh will give you an overview of the basics of Japanese mythology in this folklore primer, including video examples from anime and film.

Karuta, the Hundred Poems, and You! – The Japanese card game “karuta” takes many forms, one of the most popular using the famed 100 poems of the Hyakunin Isshu. Come learn about the game and the poems! Plus, stick around for the second half and you might get to play a match or two yourself…

Laura VanArendonk Baugh Q&A (GUEST) – You already know Laura VanArendonk Baugh is a bestselling author and Japanese folklore enthusiast. But did you know that she’s also a world-renowned animal trainer, or an award-winning cosplayer, or a hardcore nerd who hosts gaming parties in her kitchen? Come ask her your questions about any of these topics, and see if she’ll give you a straight answer! (Plus, you can meet her adorable puppy Undómiel! Who doesn’t love puppies?)

Let’s Make Mizuhiki! (WORKSHOP) – Mizuhiki is the Japanese art of using colorful paper cords to create beautiful decorative knots.  Not only is it fun, it can be used to make wonderful accessories, package decorations, or gifts!  We’ll cover a basic history of mizuhiki and work on a project together, which will allow you to take home your own hand-crafted mizuhiki knot.  Supplies will be provided for free to all participants.

Lolita 101: Introduction to Lolita – Have you wondered what Lolita fashion is all about? Have you been interested in diving in, only to be utterly confused on how or where to buy? If you answered yes to any of those questions, this panel is for you! This panel will discuss the basics and history of Lolita fashion, where to shop, and resources at any beginner or veteran Lolitas’ disposal!

Lolita Substyles and Coording Tips  – Dive into the world of frilly things with this Lolita panel! While the Lolita 101 panel focuses on a general overview of Lolita, this panel will go more in-depth regarding the many substyles of Lolita. Additionally, we’ll cover some great coording tips as well as some do’s and don’ts!

Making Original Characters and Universes – Do you want to know how to make your own universe and characters? Don’t know where to get started? Well come to my panel and me saru-chan shall show you the ropes.

Martial Arts (Well Over 9000) – Are you ready to train like a Z-fighter?! Get pumped and workout like a true Super Saiyan! Flexibility recommended, dedication required.

Masquerade – Come see the best of the best at AWX’s costume contest, one of the highlights of the show! From fabulous hand-crafted costumes to fascinating skit performances, this event showcases the talent and creativity of AWX’s most outstanding attendees.

Ninja Olympics (GUEST) – The Ninja Clans want you! Come take part in the contest of the ages, where two teams of congoers compete for prizes, risking life and limb to show their ninja skills.  Samurai Dan and Jillian show off the dark side of their training and teach you the ways of the ninja!

Origami: The Art of Paper-Folding (WORKSHOP) – Origami is a fun and inexpensive hobby that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.  Beginners:  Come get an introduction to origami and learn to fold a paper crane!  Experts:  Come and flex your paper-folding muscles by trying out some more difficult models and crease patterns.  Paper, origami books, and instructions will be provided.

Power Rangers Q&A (GUEST) – Dr. Jason Narvy played comic villain Skull in many installments of the MMPR franchise. Ask him your questions and get a behind-the-scenes perspective!

Sailor Man’s Drag Race – This interactive comedy show is a perennial AWX favorite! Come watch the anime-themed chaos, or join Sailor Man’s Glitterati as a contest participant! You might have to lip sync, play cutthroat musical chairs, or create a magical girl costume out of random items, but we guarantee you’ll be entertained! This show is family-friendly and fun for all ages.

Samurai Sword Class (GUEST) (WORKSHOP) – Not a boffer class! Real Samurai Sword moves and concepts taught by a professional swordsman to con-goers. Learn from Samurai Dan & Jillian!

Samurai Vs. Ninja ~ Honor Vs. Tactics (GUEST) – How the Samurai fought mattered to these honor-obsessed men and women. The Ninja were concerned with winning. Samurai Dan explains the difference, and how the philosophies shaped battlefield and street combat.

Scavenger Hunt – This popular event has returned for 2015! Pick up your Scavenger Hunt forms on Friday or Saturday morning, and collect the required photos, items and signatures throughout the weekend. Turn them in at any Scavenger Hunt check-in. All completed forms will be entered in a drawing to win fabulous prizes at Closing Ceremonies! You could win manga, DVDs, or free badges to next year’s convention!

Sewing With Sailor Man: Draping 101 – Have you always wanted to make your own patterns for cosplay? Do flat patterns from Simplicity, McCall’s, and Butterick freak you out? Would you prefer a more hands-on method of pattern making? Join professional costume designer Reipoker for a draping demonstration, and learn how you can get started making your own costumes!

Sewing With Sailor Man: Fabric 101 – Have you ever wanted to make a costume, but you can’t decide which fabric to use? Join professional costume designer Reipoker to learn about many different kinds of fabrics and how they can help you build the cosplay of your dreams!!

Sewing With Sailor Man: Flat Patterning 101 (WORKSHOP) – Have you ever wondered how Simplicity, McCall’s, and Butterick make the patterns they sell? Have you ever wanted to make your own pattern? Have you ever wanted a pattern for something that doesn’t exist? Come learn how to create basic sloper patterns for the bodice, skirt, pant, sleeve, and collar!

Sewing With Sailor Man: Patterns 101 – Do you want to sew, but find store-bought patterns confusing? Join professional costume designer Reipoker for a talk about the basics of how to read and use patterns from Butterick, Simplicity, and McCall’s! (pairs well with the Fabric 101 panel)

Shinsengumi 101 – You’ve seen them depicted in everything from Kenshin to Ouran, from Hakuoki to Gintama. Just what was this special police force and why are they such an enduring part of Japanese history? Come get some facts and see the many and varied anime portrayals of these warriors.

Simple Cosplay Makeup: A How-to Panel – Learn about basic makeup for cosplay, what makeup to use and how to apply it.

Skin Tone Shading with Copic Markers (WORKSHOP) – Coloring with Copic markers can seem really daunting, but never fear! This workshop covers color selection, shading, and blending for skin tones! Participants will get to take home the work they create in the seminar. (Markers will be provided for use during workshop.)

So You Want to Write a Really Bad Fanfic – Learn how to write a bad fanfic that will leave your fandom scratching its head, spawn memes, and possibly make you tumblr (in)famous. Includes a group writing session, with the resulting fanfic posted to the internet!

Steven Universe Ask – Attend this panel and ask your favorite characters from the show “Steven Universe” a question!

The Gamer’s Experience – Whether you’re a veteran gamer or a complete and total “noobcake”, this panel is a wealth of fun and information! Now packed with more advice, stories, jokes, mishaps, and the talking sword guy, “The Gamer’s Experience” is here to help players learn how to get the most out of a table top game. This is a highly involved panel that will have participants up out of their seats and playing games and doing writing exercises. Not into that? Just come and watch, you’ll still learn a lot! If you’re looking for the best way to build a powerhouse character, you’re in the wrong place; freshman math in college was as far as this panelist wanted to go. If you’re looking for ways to bring the “role” into “role-playing”, then come join us!

The Ghost Outside Of Us – Author and Entertainer Matthew Lovecraft presents a panel that explores Psychic and Paranormal phenomena. There will be a demonstration of the methods that mediums use to display psychic abilities and contact the Dearly Departed.

The Sims with Nicki Rapp (GUEST) – Voice actor Nicki Rapp has been a part of the Sims franchise for 12 years, both as a frequent character voice and as a director for Sims 3. Join her for a revealing look at the games, the voice recording process, and learning Simlish.

Tokusatsu For Beginners – An introduction to rubber suit monsters and armored heroes for any curious fan that wants more than Power Rangers.

Vocaloid’s Got Talent – Join Vocaloid panelists for a game of Truth-Or-Dare and a singing tournament. Vote for your favorite!

Video Game Voice Acting (GUEST) – Nicki Rapp has voiced many toys and fluffy animals, but her love is working in Video Games. In her 16 years of the biz, she has done three games with Telltale, two with Doublefine, and countless with EA. She will discuss her journey in voice acting and what it’s like to work with some of the coolest game developers around!

Voice Acting Industry: How to Get in! – Want to learn how to get into Voice Acting?  Voice actor Evan  and Tech man John will tell you all about the industry, how to get in, and various dos and don’ts.

Way of the Samurai (GUEST) —  The almost mystical martial arts of Japan’s greatest warriors, brought to life by professional martial artists. Watch Samurai Dan and Jillian present the Way of the Samurai, mixing combat and comedy in a dizzying trip to 16th century Japan.

Wigs With Sailor Man 101 – Receive an in-depth look at various types of wig construction, wig fibers, and basic methods of styling. Styling will include: How to untangle any length of wig, how to get a healthy shine in your wig, how to take too much shine out of a wig, how to roller-set your wig to get the style you want, and basic styling tips. We’ll also go through a list of must-have materials to make styling and caring for wigs easy and fun!

Wigs With Sailor Man 201 (WORKSHOP) – We’ll be expanding on what we learned in 101 by discussing adding in and removing wefts of hair, how to make your own wefts, how to care for full lace and lace fronted wigs, and how to ventilate hair (the process used to make lace and lace fronted wigs as well as facial hair).

World of Kimono (WORKSHOP) – Come get a crash course with Yaexrae on the traditional garment of Japan, the kimono!  Different types of kimonos and obis, tips on dressing, and an introduction to kitsuke accessories will be covered. Authentic kimonos will be on display for attendees’ perusal, and we will finish up with a how-to demonstration where volunteers from the audience will be dressed in a kimono or yukata.

You Only Hurt/Comfort the Ones You Love – Do you like when your favorite character gets beaten up? Do you enjoy the way their friends worry over their injuries? Then you’re a fan of hurt/comfort! Come take a look at the what, why and how of h/c – and get some anime sources of it, too.

You’re Doing It Wrong! Why I Hate Self-Publishing (GUEST) – Laura VanArendonk Baugh is a successful author who self-published her way to the bestseller list – but it’s not all rainbows and positive reviews. Join Laura for a snarky (and humorous) look at the morass of peril, desperation, and fragile egos that litter the self-publishing path, and learn how to put your work out in the world without being sucked into the pit of despair. If you’re interested in writing or self-publishing, this is a great chance to learn to avoid the common pitfalls of independent marketing.

Your Universe Has A Hole In It (GUEST) – Have you ever read a book or watched a movie, fallen in love with the make believe reality, and then had a character or environment go completely off the deep end and ruin it for you? So has Samurai Dan. Come complain about it, and learn how to avoid making that mistake in your own writing and/or storytelling.

Your Velociraptors Are Broken: Behavior and Fiction (GUEST) – We all know about alpha wolves, pecking order, and pack animals, right? Well… maybe not. Would you be surprised to learn that nearly every film and popular fiction book in the last 50 years has gotten it wrong? Join Laura VanArendonk Baugh for a science-based overview of how behavior actually works, what “alpha males” are in nature and society, and what to do if you ever encounter a hungry dinosaur.