Helen loves conventions - all kind of conventions. 2014 was her fortieth year of congoing since the first British Star Trek convention in 1974. Her first American convention was Boskone in Boston in 1977, and her first U.S. anime conventions were Anime America and Anime Expo in California in 1994. Over four decades she's designed, made, and worn whole wardrobes of historical and SFF costume, and has appeared in and judged Trek, SFF, anime, and costume convention shows. She's written, edited, illustrated, and contributed to more fanzines and convention books than she can remember.
Helen first got into Japanese popular culture in 1981. She edited two professional anime magazines - Anime UK and Manga Max - and wrote the first book on anime in English in the 1990s. She's had eleven non-fiction books and many articles published in six languages, including Japanese, with more to come this year.
She and Jonathan Clements have just finished updating their epic work The Anime Encyclopedia, reviled and ripped off in equal measure by Internet pundits around the globe. The third edition has 40% more content than the second, with over 1,100,000 words and over a thousand pages. It qualifies as a lethal weapon requiring open carry.
Mike Toole got into this anime thing in 1994 (yep, that makes it over 20 years!) and turned pro in 1996, working as a critic and features writer for the likes of Animerica magazine, Anime Insider, Sci-Fi Magazine, and Otaku USA. He had a stint working as a spec copywriter and web designer for the late Geneon, developing websites and writing for favorites like NieA_7 and Vandread. More recently, he's been developing extras for Discotek DVD releases, and is featured on commentary tracks for the Lupin the 3rd films Bye Bye Lady Liberty, The Hemingway Papers, and Napoleon's Dictionary. His guided commentary also features on the stand-alone DVD releases Ringing Bell, Adventures of Horus: Prince of the Sun, and the forthcoming Night on the Galactic Railroad. He’s been lecturing on a variety of anime topics nearly as long as he’s been a fan, and has reliably filled rooms for years with fun fare like Dubs That Time Forgot and The Worst Anime of All Time. Currently, he’s a biweekly columnist and sometime podcast guest at Anime News Network, and occasional contributor to the Topless Robot geek humor blog.
A veteran anime industry translator, Neil got his start as a fan-turned-professional in the early 1990s, gaining notoriety for his translation and subtitling work on a long list of projects, such as Macross Plus OAVs, The Slayers and Slayers Try TV series, Revolutionary Girl Utena and Irresponsible Captain Tylor. A gigantic Gundam fan, he also worked for Sunrise translating the original Gundam TV series and the One Year War OVAs, and is the man who popularized the use of the term "Zeke" as a derogatory name for Zeon soldiers in the Gundam universe.