Welcome Back Kyoko Okamoto!

Kyoko OkamotoKyoko Okamoto, a demonstrator and lecturer of the koto, will be returning once again to Anime USA! Bringing years of experience, she teaches the Ikuta school of koto all around the DC Metropolitan area. Her lecture and recitals have attracted numerous college and community audiences up and down the Mid-Atlantic, the Midwest, and New England area! She has also recorded for the Smithsonian Institution, National Symphony Orchestra, and numerous Western artists! Hear a live lesson of the koto from a master in person only at Anime USA!

The Urasenke Tea Ceremony Returns To Anime USA!

Urasenke Tea CeremonyWe’re excited to be welcoming back the Chado Urasenke Tankokai Washington DC Association to perform the Way of Tea ceremony for us once again! This elegant ceremony is a glimpse at a different era and is a perfect way to relax at the convention. The Association is part of a network that spans throughout the US and Canada teaching the Urasenke school’s methods and promoting US-Japanese friendship and mutual understanding. Stay tuned for the schedule to find out when you can see the amazing Urasenke Tea Ceremony at Anime USA!

Studio Cosplay Saves The Day At Anime USA

Studio CosplayWe’re happy to announce that Studio Cosplay will be on-hand at Anime USA this year! They’ll have a repair booth in the Artist’s Alley(right?) to help with all of your cosplay emergencies! On top of that, Studio Cosplay will have several workshops and classes designed to help cosplayers, new and old, to learn more and refine their work! You’ll be able to find them sharing space with our Art Show!

Five Questions With Lord Ramirez

Lord Ramirez

1. First off, tell us more about yourself and what you do!

I’m a professional educator and entertainer. What I have done is very diverse, so lets go with telling you a little more about me. I started attending conventions around 1991. I think my first one was a Star Trek convention. I remember meeting Sulu, Scotty, and Chekov. I first got involved with Martial arts when I was five. This led to a lifelong fascination with Japanese culture. Useless trivia for AUSA my favorite restaurant while I’m at AUSA is UMI Sushi.

2. Do you have a favorite anime?

My favorite anime, would be Mazinger Z, which was one of the first ones I ever saw. The idea was pretty cool, and the side story about the Bobo bot was pretty funny.

3. Do you have a favorite costume that you’ve donned? Any tips for those who want to get into character?

No. I think each look I create has a specific purpose and that makes each of them fun. As for getting into character, If I was talking to an actor on acting I would suggest feeling the role by living it (Method acting). But as for a cosplayer, I’d say the key is having fun with it, and not feeling self conscious about it.

4. Can you tell us more about one of your panels?

Yes. The Oicho Kabu panel is one of my favorites. While I begin with the history of the game, It ends with us all playing it, and everyone tends to have a good time. The best thing about it is while you can play it with traditional Japanese Kabufuda cards, it can also be played with traditional western playing cards as well, making it a more accessible game.

5. Finally, what are you most excited for at Anime USA?

Getting to meet all of the attendees and the chance to share my passions with them!

Shikarius Gets Into Character At Anime USA!


We’re happy to bring the 13-year cosplay veteran on board for Anime USA! A holder of over two dozen cosplay awards, Shiki meticulously crafts all of her costumes and enjoys ending up with no more than 30% vision or movement capability at any given time. Her style can be described as “where did you even find that many rhinestones” combined with “selectively picky tailoring”, “whatever will make me look taller”, and “50% chance of being Levi from Attack on Titan”. You’ll be able to catch her roaming the convention as Matthew Perry Jr. from Samurai Jam Bakumatsu Rock, Midori Nagamasa from Aoharu x Machinegun, and Mikazuki Munechika from Touken Ranbu. On top of her costumed exploits, Shiki will be holding several panels and will be one of our judges for the cosplay masquerade! You can see more from Shiki at http://www.acparadise.com/loves/shikarius and https://www.facebook.com/shikariuscosplays, as well as with us Halloween weekend!

Five Questions With Kass McGann

Kass McGann

1. First off, tell us more about yourself and what you do!

My name is Kass McGann and I’ve been doing studying and replicating historical clothing for about 20 years. In 2003, I started the sewing pattern company ReconstructingHistory.com in order to share this information with other people. Since then I’ve also published nearly 20 e-books that describe the clothing from various places and time periods and how to wear it.

2. What’s your favorite thing about Japan?

When I was studying at Doshisha University in Kyoto, and I was reading The Tale of Genji for school, I could walk down the same streets as the characters in the book did. And that really affected me. The way that ancient things live next door to modern things and it’s not at all weird. When I lived in Kyoto, it was very common to see Geisha dancing to modern music at the Maharaja disco in Gion. Or a yakimo salesman peddling his snacks outside a totally modern office building. In the West, we’re all about preserving things and keeping them separate. In Japan (and Kyoto in particular), the past is right there with you, everyday. It’s a part of everything.

Do you have a favorite anime?

I do! I was really into “Ranma 1/2” when it was just out, back in the day. Something about it just appealed to me. I also was an aficionado of “Oh My Goddess”.

3. What was it about historical costuming that got you hooked? Was there a particular outfit or historic clothing trend that got you hooked?

It was. There is a dress in the National Museum of Ireland called the Shinrone Gown. It was found in Shinrone, County Tipperary in 1847 and dates to the late 16th or early 17th century. No one knows anything about who wore it or who made it, and at that point (1995), no one had studied it extensively. I spent the next three or four summers flying back and forth to Ireland to examine it. In that time, I didn’t just learn about 16th-century Irish clothing making. Or even dyeing and weaving. I learned about the culture that produced the woman who wore that gown, what was important to them, and a little about what was important to her. Without anyone trying to make it do so, this garment told the story of a life. It told about her changing circumstances, her pregnancies, the changes happening in Ireland during her lifetime, lots of things you wouldn’t expect to find out from a piece of clothing. And that’s when I realized that one of the rare things that ties us to the past is that we all wear clothes. And those clothes protect us as well as let us show off who we are. And they tell stories. They wear us! That connection to the past really charmed me. That’s why I approach historical reconstructions a bit religiously. It’s important to get it right because you are honoring a real person of the past by doing so. And as someone who likes to dress up and pretend to be someone else on the weekends, I realized how essential costume is to that, not just because it’s the thing that makes you look right, but it’s the thing that makes you feel right. Even when the costume is fantasy, it is still an essential element of who I’m trying to be.

4. Can you tell us more about one of the panels you’ll be presenting this year?

Yes! I’m doing a costume construction panel called “What Makes That Shape”. It’s about how to look at an outfit and figure out what kinds of pieces you will need to make your costume look like that. It’s a technique we use in historical replica making when we don’t have an original garment to examine so we’re basing out reconstructions on portraits and illustrations. There’s a world of difference between what a circular skirt and a multi-paneled skirt looks like in terms of shape, and this method can help costumers figure out what they need to make without a lot of trial and error. It saves a lot of time and material. And I think it will be of great use to the attendees at Anime USA for their future projects.

5. Finally, what are you most excited for at Anime USA?

The Ball! This year I made sure I didn’t have any panels that conflicted with the Formal Ball. So I’m going to be out there cutting up the rug!

Five Questions With Psyche Corp

Psyche Corporation

1. First off, tell us more about yourself and what you do!

I’m a science and science fiction enthusiast who loves to weave dystopian narratives about technology- or policy-gone-wrong into my music. Through my cyberpunk/steampunk band, Psyche Corporation, I’ve been able to do that while blending in elements of electronic rock music, trip-hop, and world music. My music appeals to a diverse crowd, including fans of Visual Kei style bands, because of the creative visuals and costuming I often incorporate into my performance.

2. What’s your favorite thing about Japan?

I’ve only ever been to the airport in Japan, on my way between America and China, but I have to say that airport had the best bathrooms I have ever experienced. If you’ve ever been to both Japan and America, you know what I mean (wink wink). Also, I flew Japan Air one time and they had the best food, and the best movie selection. Definitely my favorite thing about Japan is basically everything I’ve experienced in Japan (the airport and airline). I’d love to go for real some day and venture beyond the airport.

Do you have a favorite anime?

Serial Experiments Lain. It came out the year before the Matrix and I totally see elements the Matrix borrowed (knowingly or unknowingly) from SEL.

3. What was your first show that you performed?

I did my first live show in 2007 at a place in NYC called the Pussycat Lounge. It was actually on top of a strip club, strangely enough. I was so nervous, my hands were shaking, and I stood very, very still while singing. It was a good thing I had the forethought to work with two very talented dancers to put together dance choreography for them to do while I was singing. So people didn’t necessarily notice how totally still I was standing :)

4. Can you tell us more about one of your panels?

I’m giving a science panel at Anime USA called Neuro-Decoding, where I talk about present-day research in brain-machine interfaces that allow scientists to “read minds”. For example, decoding neural signals now allows people to figure out what your eyes are seeing based on brain activity in your visual cortex. Decoding neural signals via EEG allowed a quadriplegic man to do the kickoff at the World Cup in Brazil, in fact. I’ll talk more about that during my panel.

5. Finally, what are you most excited for at Anime USA?

I am MOST excited that my 5th album will likely be available just in time to bring to AnimeUSA for patrons to check out! The fundraising for the kickstarter just launched so people can even use it as a pre-order mechanism if they like and I’ll bring their stuff to AUSA if they prefer. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1097332101/romance-of-the-counter-elite-psyche-corp

Men At Arms: Reforged Hit Anime USA!

Ilya AlekseyevMatt StagmerExpert bladesmiths Ilya Alekseyev and Matt Stagmer will be showing off the tricks of their trade when they join us Halloween weekend! We welcome these amazing craftsmen from the hit youtube series Men At Arms: REFORGED, where they recreate the greatest gear from anime, games, and more! Check out their panel where they’ll be going over their craft and talk about their work. Outside of that, you’ll be able to catch them at their booth in the dealer’s room. Join us as they head from the forge and on to the fun right here at Anime USA!

Want a sample of what they can do? Check out this video of the Hattori Hanzō Katana from Kill Bill.

Five Questions with Lilith Lore

Welcome to a new series we like to call “5 Questions, ” where we find out more about our upcoming guests for Anime USA 2015. First up is Lilith Lore.

Lilith Lore

1. First off, tell us more about yourself and what you do!

I hold a theater degree from Rutgers university, and have parlayed that into a modest but fulfilling career as a storyteller, burlesque dancer, and improvisor. Since it can be hard to make a steady living as a performer, I also pursued my passion for fitness and body positivity and am now a NASM certified personal trainer.

You can learn more about both of my careers by visiting www.LilithLore.com and www.WillowFit.com

2. What’s your favorite thing about Japan? Do you have a favorite anime?

Fox stories! I first started researching Japanese tales a few years ago, when I was asked to do an all-Edo version of my show for this very convention (up until that point my tales were mostly Western European in origin). I fell a little bit in love with the new-to-me storytelling conventions, but most of all the kitsune archetype.

3. What was your first story that you ever performed in front of an audience?

Little Red Cap is the very first story I wrote and performed as a part of Poison Apples & Pretty Witches. But if you want to get really technical, my third grade class did a play on American Tall Tales, and my character told the story of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe. So I’ve been at this fairy tales and folklore gig a pretty long time.

4. Can you tell us more about one of your panels?

I’m always thrilled to bring my work as a performer to conventions, but this is the first time I’ll be working as a fitness professional in this kind of setting. I’m looking forward to helping people ease into Saturday with Hangover Release, but I think I’m most excited for my Avoiding Con Crash panel. Between my work as a trainer and my experience as a con attendee/performer, I have a lot of great advice on this topic–and if I’m lucky, maybe I’ll learn a thing or two as well.

5. Finally, what are you most excited for at Anime USA?

The cosplay, hands down. My own sewing talents are fairly minimal, but it’s always a joy to see people painstakingly recreate their favorite characters, out of shear love of their fandom and their craft.