Chatty AF 107: Panels Podcast (WITH TRANSCRIPT)

By: Anime Feminist January 19, 20200 Comments

Caitlin talks hosting panels at anime conventions with special guests Megan, Zack, and Rinnie!

Episode Information

Date Recorded: Saturday 27th April 2019
Host: Caitlin
Guests: Megan, Zack, Rinnie

Episode Breakdown

0:00:00 Intros
0:02:49 The con experience
0:06:54 Our panels
0:17:49 Feminist critique
0:24:21 Planning styles
0:34:53 Inspirations for topics
0:39:13 Panel dynamics
0:49:29 Success stories
0:54:30 Horror stories
1:04:01 Final thoughts
1:07:08 Outro

CAITLIN: Hi, and welcome to Chatty AF, the Anime Feminist podcast. Today we’ll be discussing how to create feminist-relevant convention panels. My name’s Caitlin, and I’m a writer and editor for Anime Feminist, as well as writing for The Daily Dot and my own blog, I Have a Heroine Problem. I’m joined today by Megan Deyarmin, Zack Wheat, and Rinny, who only has one name.

MEGAN: My name is Megan. I’ve been doing manga reviews on my own blog, The Manga Test Drive, for… God, it’s coming up on like seven, eight years now. I also have a side blog, Renaissance Josei, where I do other articles and features and whatnot. I’ve written for Anime Feminist a couple of times, although it’s been a couple of years. And most recently, I did three panels and co-hosted one with Caitlin at Sakura-Con, including “Shoujo Manga’s Lost Generation” and “The Josei Renaissance.”

RINNY: Hi, everybody. I’m Rinny. I’ve been doing panels for about… I think two years now.

ZACK: Like three years if you count this one.

RINNY: Yeah. I’ve been doing a lot of cosplay, a lot of visual art. The dream is to make my own comic book at some point, but we’ll see where that goes. And right now, we are pitching some more panels. Our biggest one has been the JoJo one that I’m sure people have known about. But it’s been really cool to do that.

ZACK: I’m Zack. I do some video production. I do a lot of writing on the side. We are two-thirds of the panelists for “Lipstick and Superpowers: The Femininity of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure,” where we come to an approach with the really popular franchise that we kind of wished more people would come to, and we decided to charge conventions for the privilege of us talking about it for an hour.


CAITLIN: So, for some background for our listeners, I actually got to know Zack and Rinny through that panel. Literally after the panel, I was sitting in the panel and I was like, “This is amazing!”

ZACK: [Chuckles] Aw.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] And then afterwards, I came up and I’m like, “I should get them to pitch for AniFem.” And they still haven’t written for AniFem, but now we’re friends.


ZACK: This is something that I’m certain we will touch upon as we move forward. And you’ve been super sweet about this. I just keep going, “I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. I don’t know if the internet needs more white dudes with hot takes.” [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: But yeah, no, so, panels… For a lot of people, they are not an integral part of the convention experience, which I think is really unfortunate because I love panels! I love doing them. I love going to them. I love learning about things. And they are generally more thoughtful than what you get at a lot of guest Q&As where people go up and they’re like, “So, how do you become a voice actor?”

RINNY: Yeah. “My question is more of a comment…”

ZACK: [Chuckles] “Could you recite this line I really, really like?”

CAITLIN: Oh, yeah. “Can I record you for my voicemail?” [Chuckles] So, yeah, no, for me, a lot of the best part of conventions are panels.

RINNY: It’s so funny because for me, that’s not necessarily been the worst part, but it’s been the part I’ve been least interested in. So, becoming a panelist is really funny.

ZACK: Yeah, it’s fascinating, really, and I’m certain we’re all gonna discuss why we like them and how we got into it. But before ours, panels were never a big deal about conventions to us. And it’s really interesting how that’s turned around and they’ve become such a focal point of our convention experience, pretty much for that exact reason, that it can lead to very focused perspectives, very interesting arguments. 

Caitlin, I think a lot of the stuff you do with shoujo manga is just brilliant. And it sucks that Otakon has not worked out in such a fashion that we can attend yours yet. 

And I think it adds so much value to the programming and to the nature of these conventions, that it is funny now to reflect on when I was on the other side of it and it was “that thing” occupying most of the rooms while I was doing a photoshoot somewhere.

MEGAN: My experience is closer to Caitlin’s, in that panels are the big thing I do at cons. And maybe this is just reflective of the fact that I didn’t start going to cons until I was in my 30s.

CAITLIN: I was thinking it might be partially an age thing, because I’m not sure exactly how old you two are, but I’m pretty sure, Zack and Rinny, you are younger than me and Megan.

ZACK: Are we?

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] I don’t know. I think so?

ZACK: [Chuckles] I’m 28.

CAITLIN: Okay. Yeah, you are younger. I’m 31. Megan, you’re thirty…

MEGAN: Five.


RINNY: I’m baby.

CAITLIN: And so, I know that for younger people, sitting in a panel room when there’s all these sights and sounds… And also, you two are really into cosplay, which adds a whole other dimension of conventions. And I used to be more into cosplay, but not as much anymore because it’s an expensive hobby.

ZACK: Yes.

RINNY: Yeah.

ZACK: Yes. Yes. Yes.

CAITLIN: Conventions are totally what you’re into. And the educational aspect is really appealing to me, because I’m old.

ZACK: [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: [Chuckles]

RINNY: You’re a teacher, too, right?

CAITLIN: Yes. I mean, I’m a preschool teacher, which is a little different.

RINNY: [crosstalk] Those kids gotta know about feminism.

ZACK: Similar tone to college students, as someone who works administration in higher education. You need to wrangle them similarly.

CAITLIN: Yeah, I’m also a nerd who really enjoyed college.

ZACK: Oh, wow. Man. Man, you are a nerd!

CAITLIN: [Laughs]

MEGAN: Oh, same here, although my background is more in museum-related fields. My minor is actually in museum studies. I’ve done a lot of interpretive stuff for the Park Service. So, this sort of thing comes naturally to me.

ZACK: That’s really interesting. Well, I know, Rina, you’ve expressed for so long how much you just love the act of learning. And I think there’s that crossover in this field that shouldn’t be understated.

CAITLIN: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve learned some really cool stuff from going to panels, and I hope people learn things when they go to mine. And it’s so self-directed, self-researched, which has always been my jam. And you can do a panel on a topic that you’re passionate about and that you think other people should learn about. It’s not just a curriculum. 

Which is why we are talking today, in particular—to make this podcast episode relevant to the website—feminist-relevant panels, which, to be fair, covers pretty much all of the panels that all of us have done. I don’t think I’ve mentioned the panels that I’ve done, which include “Abusive Relationships in Shoujo Manga,” the isekai panel that I’ve done with Megan… I’ve done—

MEGAN: Yeah!

CAITLIN: Yeah! … Female anime directors. I’ve done what I first called “Is This Feminist or Not?” and then this last Sakura-Con, I changed it to “Anime Feminist 101,” just to give it a chance to talk more about the website as well as the act of criticism. I did “Child Development in Anime” for the first time this year.

MEGAN: It was really good!

CAITLIN: Thank you! I think there’s a couple that I’m forgetting. But for me, doing feminist-relevant topics just came naturally because that is what I’m excited about and passionate about. I’m passionate about shoujo manga. I’m passionate about women and their voices. 

I would argue that child development is a feminist-relevant topic because it is a traditionally female field. But, you know, I’m a preschool teacher. I know about child development. 

So, it’s like, “What are these things that I know about that I think would be interesting and useful to other people and that I want to share?” And of course, doing topics focused on women just sort of sprang naturally from that.

ZACK: So, y’all, we’re gonna be straight-up honest: our panel was motivated by mostly two factors.

RINNY: The first thing was that we had spent actually three hours talking about what our panel is about, just amongst us after watching an episode of JoJo.

ZACK: Yeah, yeah. Every single time we would watch an episode, we would talk to Craig, my brother, about it, because he’s the dude who got us into it in the first place.

CAITLIN: Oh, he’s your brother?

ZACK: Yeah, he is! He is, he is.

CAITLIN: Oh! You guys don’t look alike at all!

ZACK: I know! Actually, I look a lot like my dad, he looks a lot like my mom, and there’s very little crossover between. But it’s part of why—

RINNY: We’ve had friends for a couple of years that just found out they were brothers like last year.

ZACK: Yeah, exactly. And we don’t advertise it in the panel, just for whatever reason. It’s part of why our rapport is so good. And we would talk to him about it. And we would have these long, long, long discussions. And it became apparent, because we have a few friends who do panels as well, that this was definitely something we could construct. 

And the second reason, which definitely put my butt in the seat on Otakon’s panel registration site… Otakon’s expensive, y’all.

MEGAN: [Laughs]

ZACK: Otakon’s expensive, y’all. And we were like, “Man, you know what? We really love the series. We think we can really dig into it.” And my background is film and media criticism. Craig is hugely passionate, knows the series backwards and forward. Rina has a lot of experience with design work, with character design work, comes to it from this very artistic perspective that I just can’t. And we thought we were perfect for this. But we also thought we would love to not pay for our badges.

CAITLIN: [Laughs]

MEGAN: That’s always helpful, because a lot of cons will compensate you if you do three or four hours’ worth of panels.

CAITLIN: Well, most cons you only have to do one. Sakura-Con is the one that wants that much. And I’ll be real: that’s the reason I started doing so many panels every year.


ZACK: Jesus! [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: Is because Sakura-Con’s like, “You have to do three hours of programming.” And I’m like, “Okay, I think I can come up with three hours of ideas.” And the first time I did it, one of them was a disaster. But it was a learning experience.

ZACK: [crosstalk] You have a heck of a resume!

CAITLIN: That’s why I have so many, is because Sakura-Con is very demanding.

ZACK: That’s amazing!

RINNY: Not all cons compensate for all panelists, but Otakon is one of those who do.

ZACK: I think they treat their panelists quite well, actually. I think that’s really worth noting. At least in the experience we’ve had, I think Otakon is actually quite good to their panelists, particularly Otakon DC.

CAITLIN: They are.

MEGAN: The trick is getting a panel in.

RINNY: Yeah.

CAITLIN: I think East Coast convention culture is definitely more panel-oriented. Someone—I don’t remember who, but I can’t take credit for this idea—their theory was that it was because [of] all the colleges there. So, you get college students coming and people who have those fancy East Coast college educations, and so that’s just something that sprung naturally from it. I don’t know if there’s any accuracy to it. It also has a lot more like big-name panel personalities. There’s a tongue-twister.


CAITLIN: Like Mike Toole.

MEGAN: Oh, yeah. The AWO people.

CAITLIN: Yeah, AWO, they do a lot of panels. And Otakon is extraordinarily good to their panelists. Sakura-Con, you get nothing. You get a free badge if you do three hours, and then that’s it. There’s no special lounge. There’s not even a press area or anything. There’s a small press area that’s like three people with laptops.

ZACK: [Scoffs]

RINNY: Otakon has coffee set up and snacks…

CAITLIN: Breakfast.

ZACK: [Amazed] They have breakfast? What have we been doing?

RINNY: Not getting up in time for breakfast at a convention.

ZACK: Oh, man.

MEGAN: [Laughs]

RINNY: Ever.

ZACK: Welcome to Chatty AF, where we advertise Otakon for like 20 minutes.

MEGAN: [Laughs]

CAITLIN: Honestly, I have my own beefs with Otakon.

ZACK: Yeah…

CAITLIN: But how they treat panelists is not one of them.

ZACK: So, I’m happy that the epilogue to that story is… Last weekend was Anime Boston, and we were fortunate enough to run the panel there, too, at 10:30 p.m., which brings a very interesting flavor to an otherwise PG-13 panel. And the last time we ran it was like friggin’ 9 a.m. on a Sunday, and, Caitlin, you still came out!

MEGAN: [crosstalk] I was there, too!

CAITLIN: I dragged people to it, too.

ZACK: [crosstalk] You were there, too? Oh my God.

MEGAN: She dragged me.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles]

ZACK: Thank you so much for being dragged. I hope you had a good time.

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] I could not get Jared there.

ZACK: Oh, I really want to meet Jared. But yeah, yeah, yeah. So, we got out of our Anime Boston panel, and we were talking with Craig, and he just went, “Man, I don’t even really care about the badge anymore. I really don’t. I just kind of love doing this.” 

And it’s such a conversation, more so than writing a blog post or something, which I think is intensely valuable. But this creates a back-and-forth in a really meaningful way, I think.

CAITLIN: Absolutely. A lot of experienced panelists will say, “Don’t do Q&A. Make sure that you fill up the entire time.” But because of the nature of my panels, I really value discussion, and sometimes the discussion is just like, “Oh my God. No. That’s not…”

MEGAN: [Laughs]

CAITLIN: [Chuckles]

RINNY: I think I don’t agree with that, just because I like having Q&A, just like you said. And in our case there’s a lot of JoJo fans who have lots of opinions, who want to either add to our panel or ask us how we felt about something we didn’t bring up. I think taking questions in the middle of our panel would probably not be conducive to what we were doing.

CAITLIN: No, you need a flow. You have to have that flow going.

ZACK: A friend of ours was running a really, really cool-sounding Castlevania panel—

MEGAN: Oh, my God.

ZACK: —and made the amateur mistake of allowing questions mid-panel. And this was very early in the morning, so I just slept through it because I’m a bad person.


ZACK: But everyone I know who went was like, “Yeah, so pretty much every five minutes, there was a ‘Well, actually’ from a guy in the crowd.”

MEGAN: [Groans]


RINNY: I had been sitting in the crowd. It’s just her by herself up on the stage, presenting really cool Gothic architecture. And some dude would raise his hand, and she, being a sweet person, would answer him, and he would correct her. And that would be the panel. And I, at this point, got so fed up that I turned to him and went, “Hey, can you stop correcting the panelist? I’m here to learn something. Thank you.”

ZACK: So that is why you save the Q&A till the end.

MEGAN: As for me, most of my stuff is not necessarily the most conductive to Q&A stuff.

CAITLIN: No, you do more historical research sort of stuff.

MEGAN: Yeah, mine are more lectures, more or less.

ZACK: That’s cool as heck.

MEGAN: But there could still be good conversation, good Q&A stuff afterwards. People ask me about ephemeral things. Particularly with the josei panel I did recently, there was a lot of good conversation about, like, “Where can I find stuff? Does this cross over to light novels?” That sort of thing.

CAITLIN: I wish I could have gone. I mean, I saw it before, but that sounds like a fun discussion.

ZACK: No, that’s super cool. Are you thinking of running that at Otakon again?

MEGAN: Yes. I’ve submitted it along with “Shoujo Manga’s Lost Generation,” which is about shoujo manga in the 1950s and ‘60s. So, here’s hoping!

CAITLIN: Yeah, I can’t do Otakon this year. Spending all my money on getting married.

ZACK: Ah, we’re gonna miss you!

RINNY: Getting married instead of going to an anime convention?

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] Oh, I know! I’m just like, “Man…”

RINNY: What are you doing?

CAITLIN: I know. I’ve sold out.


ZACK: So, in terms of choosing the subject matter for our panel, I think something that resonated with us was like… Hey, you know, Rina and I are feminists. I’m pretty sure Craig is… It’s just he believes in equality, and we’ve never gone, “Hey, Craig, do you have this label?”

CAITLIN: [Chuckles]

ZACK: But we are, and that informs the way we consume media. It’s always going to, because all art has a perspective. And you know, Caitlin, you’ve said on other podcasts that asking broadly “is this feminist?” is basically—and I don’t mean to be reductive—kind of a facile argument, and I agree. And I don’t think JoJo is feminist. [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: I’ve gotten into such arguments with several different people, including certain AniFem staffers…

ZACK: No way!

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] …about gender in JoJo, never arguing that it’s feminist, but like, no, it’s not just…. No, Yukako is amazing, actually. [Chuckles]

ZACK: So, I just think about it in… you know, because there are the various lenses of film theory, and there we get into the stuff that I’m really trained in and I’m very lucky to be educated in. And feminist theory is not applied regularly. 

I think, not to butter anyone up, but we could use 100 more sites like AniFem, because this is not a regularly applied lens to the discussion. And we felt that there was worth in that with JoJo, and we’ve been able to mine a lot out of it.

MEGAN: As far as feminism in my panel work, again, it wasn’t something I necessarily did intentionally. It’s just I really wanted more panels about manga-related stuff. And when it is present—and that is not a guarantee at a lot of cons—it tends to focus a lot more on the big-name shounen manga of the day. And very quickly I determined, “Well, if I want to see this content, I’m going to have to make this content.” And it just so happens that a lot of my interest is in shoujo and josei manga and similar sorts of things.

CAITLIN: Hm, it’s almost like when you look at what’s available and you say, “What can I do that’s not as available?”, feminism, talking about women, just kind of springs up. It’s almost like people don’t…


MEGAN: I know. It’s weird.

RINNY: Slightly related, but not in regards to panels, but for the very first time at AB this year, there was an artist who had charms for shoujo manga I really love. It was the first time I’d seen this. She had just a collection of shoujo manga couples. She had some from Arina Tanemura, Fruits Basket, stuff like that. And I was like, “Oh my God! I have never seen shoujo manga merch in the artist alley before.”


MEGAN: People who make shoujo manga merchandise are blessed. I love them. There was somebody at Sakura-Con who was making Yona charms! And they had all the boys! And I was like, “Yes! You are awesome!”

ZACK: But this is super worthwhile, right? Because all of us have seen in various ways, from what’s being sold in artist alleys to just what’s in the programming, that feminist conversations are not going to be there unless we put them there.

MEGAN: Pretty much.

CAITLIN: Part of what I started doing—the “Is This Feminist or Not?”—I was really tired of… because even then, feminist conversation, like you said, Zack, it can very easily be very facile and very shallow. And I was very tired of seeing on convention programs… First of all, “Magical Girls and Feminism” was at every convention I went to for like three years.

MEGAN: Oh yeah.

ZACK: Oh, man.

CAITLIN: Every single one, and I was like, “Okay, we need to have a different conversation. We need to talk about something else.” [Chuckles] Or just generic anime and feminist ones that are like, “Well, you know, shows that have a lot of girls are good.”

ZACK: [Laughs]

RINNY: And they are, but…

CAITLIN: I mean, they are. But it is very basic level. It’s not going to lead to a lot of interesting thought and discussion. So, I was like, “Okay, well, how can I sort of take people by the hand and lead them to where they can start having the more in-depth conversations?” And that ended up turning into the “Is this Feminist or Not?” panel, which, to be fair… I think I’ve told you guys this story before. I did not know the format until the day I did it.

ZACK: Jesus.

CAITLIN: I literally woke up in the morning, because it was Sakura-Con, so I was commuting, and I said, “I really need to get this panel put together. I really need to know what I’m actually going to get up there and say.”

ZACK: [Laughs]

CAITLIN: And so, I sat down and I put it together and I was like, “This is gonna be a disaster.” And then I went to the convention. And it actually was amazing. I literally ran into someone just in my neighborhood, and she looked familiar. And I realized she had talked to me after that panel. And I was like, “Oh, this is where I know you from,” and she’s like, “That panel changed how I thought of media.”

RINNY: Wow, congrats!

ZACK: [crosstalk] Oh my God!

CAITLIN: And I was just like, “Oh my God! I literally just threw that together.”


MEGAN: I always marvel at the people who can do that, because that is not my style when it comes to putting together panels. I am very, very careful. I start doing this stuff months in advance. I’m usually out at the library looking up books and websites and whatnot. And then I start putting things together. Putting them together overnight would just probably break my brain.

ZACK: Oh my God, I’d be so stressed out.

CAITLIN: It is stressful!

ZACK: I bet—

CAITLIN: It’s extremely stressful!

ZACK: I will note you did not say, “And I was very relaxed about this entire endeavor.”

MEGAN: [Laughs]

CAITLIN: No, I was freaking out constantly for like two weeks, just like “What am I going to do? I don’t know what I’m going to do.” But I am the sort of person who… I started my big papers at 10 p.m. the night before they were due in college and then would get an A. Everyone says, “Oh, I work best under pressure.” That’s a very common thing for people to say. But it really can be true for me. Now, I can’t do that very much because I’m old and I need to sleep.


CAITLIN: How many times can I call myself old on this podcast?

ZACK: Oh my God.

RINNY: I think for us, it was kind of a mix of both. So, the beauty in being in the relationship that we’re in is that Zack is very organized and I’m not.

ZACK: Oh my God.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles]

RINNY: So, I was kind of the idea person, and Zack and Craig were kind of the execution people. And what was fun about it was that we were like, “Yeah, we could do a panel on JoJo. Let’s just submit it. We’ll sort it out later.” And then we did. And then we got accepted. And then we were like, “Oh.”

ZACK: “Oh, no!”

RINNY: “We have to sort it out now.”

ZACK: “Oh, no! Who’s opened Google Slides before?”


RINNY: So, for us, it was upon getting accepted we’re like, “Oh, this is it? Okay, let’s actually get down and do it.” And even then, we still took longer than I think we would have all liked. But from there, I think we picked up a couple of things that we really wanted to talk about. 

So, I personally really wanted to talk about character design and the art style evolving. Zack and Craig wanted to talk about the more nuanced motivations between the characters and what mattered to them. And what’s great about doing a panel on an ongoing TV show is that just watching it is part of the research.



ZACK: Yeah, the prep for ours was interesting. And I’m really curious about how you navigated this, Caitlin. For us, we were pretty certain we were arguing something that we didn’t see argued a lot, or at least not in a structured fashion, and it definitely wasn’t making its way to cons if people were talking about it. 

And we knew that we can absolutely take a “You’re doing JoJo wrong!” approach. But that sucks. That sucks. That’s not the tone that we want to do. We worked really, really hard in all of our rehearsals and in all of our writing and the structuring of it to have it be this: “This is a way we love JoJo. And we would love for you to love it this way, too.” 

And I’m really curious about how, when you were structuring yours, knowing there was this void that you needed to fill, how you balanced the tone of what you were working on.

CAITLIN: Right. Well, one thing I did get with—especially with the “Abuse in Shoujo” one—was I got some pushback with people saying that by presenting the argument that [shoujo was] depicting abusive relationships as romantic in media aimed at young women, I was: (A) singling out media aimed at girls; why am I not talking about shounen and…

MEGAN: Oh my God.

ZACK: [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: —all the other things; (B) blaming girls for getting into… I was victim blaming by saying that this happened because they read the wrong kind of media.


ZACK: Oh, God.

CAITLIN: Yeah. So, I got a fair amount of pushback on it. And the first time I did it, I posted the transcripts, and I got some feedback, and some people were very rude about it.

ZACK: Did you feel that that was because of the transcripts or because of the overall subject?

CAITLIN: Both. Different ones. And I don’t script my panels ahead of time. I have an outline about what I’m going to talk about. And it was literally the second panel I had done in like ten years. Because I did one panel when I was 16 and then nothing for a long time. And then the one before it was a disaster. And that was the only time I did that one. And then I did that one. So, I was really nervous. 

I called breasts sexual organs or something, and someone got really mad at me about that one. Because they’re not. Fair. They’re not. So, that was some of the feedback that I got. And like I said, some of it was valuable; some of it wasn’t. So, I had to think of a way of addressing these things in a way so that I was not coming across as judgy or like I was blaming the series or that I was saying, “This is bad and you should not read it.” 

Listen, I don’t like a lot of the series I was talking about, because I view it through that lens. I view it through the lens of “This is a really abusive relationship.” But some people like reading about this stuff, and I have to admit, it is compelling reading.

ZACK: [Chuckles]

MEGAN: Speaking as someone who has read Hot Gimmick cover to cover, I totally understand.

RINNY: Oh my God.

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] Yeah. I don’t like Hot Gimmick, but if I pick it up, I can’t stop reading.

RINNY: I know.

MEGAN: I know!

RINNY: I’ve explained this to Zack before, especially in Hot Gimmick’s case. Everything happening around the main character is awful. But I can’t not read it. I just need to know what happens!

CAITLIN: Right. And there are ones where I was doing a project with them and it’s like, “I want to put this down and walk away and never come back.” Like Mayu Shinjo. I do not enjoy her writing. I do not find her as readable as some of the other ones. But listen, when I was checking out a pile of books for my “Abuse in Shoujo” project that I was doing on Heroine Problem… which I swear to God I will start again. I just need my life to settle down.

ZACK: Can you, please? I miss those, actually.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] I just need my life to settle down for a little bit, because it’s been just constant craziness for a year.

ZACK: Because I remember you have a pretty regular Mayu Shinjo segment, effectively.

CAITLIN: Well, it’s because she writes so goddamn much!

ZACK: [Laughs]

CAITLIN: And it’s all bad! But the first one I would pick up half the time would be Boys Over Flowers.

MEGAN: Hoo boy!

CAITLIN: Yeah. It’s compelling!

RINNY: [crosstalk] Mayu Shinjo… Is that Midnight Secretary?

CAITLIN: I did not get to that one. I don’t think my library had it.

MEGAN: That’s also a josei series, but yeah, man, there’s some stuff to talk about that.

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] Yeah, that’s also josei. I decided not to cover josei with it, just because josei tends to be a little bit more complex and it’s not aimed at people whose ideas of relationships are still developing. Their unhealthy ideas are already well formed.

MEGAN: Hooray!

ZACK: [Chuckles]

RINNY: It’s real sexy, though. [Chuckles]

CAITLIN: Right. And Black Bird, when it was sexy, it was really sexy! There were parts where I was like, “Oh, my God. This is actually really hot!”

MEGAN: [In sing-song] Someone’s got a bloodplay fetish~

CAITLIN: [Quietly] Not me.


MEGAN: No, the author!


ZACK: That’s so good.

CAITLIN: Anyway, so how can I talk about this stuff where it doesn’t come across as being judgmental? So, I sort of moved from saying, “Hey, instead of reading these things, read these things instead,” to saying, “I understand why people read these. So, what can we do to address them in a way that can mitigate any potential harmful effects that they have on certain kinds of readers?” 

Because some people can read it and they’re like “This is just fantasy” or “This is a safe way to explore unhealthy things. This is interesting for me to think about in fiction, but I don’t want it in real life.” Different people process fiction in different ways. 

So, how can we take the 12-year-olds and the 13-year-olds who don’t know anything about real relationships, who don’t have models for healthy relationships in their lives, and have that conversation with them without telling them, “No, don’t read this”? And the answer I found was, for one thing, trying to create a greater culture towards teaching media literacy.

ZACK: Yes, exactly!

CAITLIN: Having honest conversations with them and talking about it with them without judgment, not “instead of” but “in addition to” trying to help them find stuff with models of healthy relationships. 

And that was how I arrived on it without coming across as judgmental while also including… I’ve been very fortunate. I have not had any really abusive romantic relationships in my life. But including voices of people who were like “Yeah, no, this is what I learned from shoujo manga. This is what was taught to me as an ideal, and it wasn’t healthy.” And so, that was how I tried to address that and tried to take all of that into account. 

And that’s probably the thorniest topic that I’ve done, because child development in anime, that’s not really a controversial thing. Talking about isekai, that’s mostly just research. And that one actually came out of an article that I wrote, and the article was popular, and I was like, “That could actually make a really interesting thing to talk about at a convention.” 

And then I did it, and then I was like, “Hey, Megan likes talking about shoujo manga. I should see if Megan wants to do it with me.” And that article actually came out of spite of a bad GoBoiano article.


CAITLIN: Which doesn’t exist anymore. They took it down.

ZACK: Because you burned ‘em so hard?

MEGAN: [Laughs]

CAITLIN: I would hope so. [Chuckles]

RINNY: What was the article about?

ZACK: Yeah, this is rad.

CAITLIN: So, spite is a powerful— It was about isekai, but it was saying that there was no isekai between this random obscure ‘80s series and Inuyasha.

MEGAN: Which, no. Just no.

CAITLIN: No. No! Whoever wrote that had no idea what they’re talking about.

ZACK: And they’re a coward who took their article down!

CAITLIN: And so, I wrote— There’s a different isekai article up now that’s more correct. But, so, I’ve written a lot of articles out of spite.


CAITLIN: So, yeah, thank you, GoBoiano, for giving me that panel idea, I guess.

ZACK: That’s amazing.

MEGAN: That’s so weird, because a lot of my panels have also come— If they didn’t start as article ideas or articles I have pitched, they kind of ended up that way. My first piece for AniFem, “The Josei Renaissance,” it was only after doing that, I realized, “I could turn this into a panel!”

CAITLIN: Yeah. These are different ways of reaching different audiences, right?

MEGAN: Right. And sometimes panels let me expand on the subject a little more than I can in an article. Or vice versa.

ZACK: Yeah, I was gonna ask about that.

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] Yeah, put videos in an article.

ZACK: Yeah. Megan, doing such a really informative, interesting historical perspective on stuff is… you would think an article would be the ideal place for that. And it sounds like you found a lot of success in doing this in a panel format. Personally, I don’t know how I would pull that off.

MEGAN: I don’t know. I’ve always been kind of a natural know-it-all, so—


MEGAN: —lecturing people about history just comes naturally to me. And the history of shoujo manga and josei manga in particular is not something that’s widely discussed—josei in particular or particularly the older parts of shoujo manga, like the Magnificent 49ers era or even before that. But I don’t know. It’s just bringing it to a whole ‘nother audience, to one that might not necessarily click on an article about old shoujo manga, but “Hey, this is on the panel. I’m not doing anything else. This looks interesting.” 

Also, I like articles because it allows me to do at least stealth bibliographies to show off my research, because I do like to embed stuff wherever possible so people can do further reading.

CAITLIN: I’ve definitely seen people do bibliographies for panels.

MEGAN: Totally, but most people don’t really pay attention to it.

ZACK: Yeah, because that would end up being, for the most part, probably a slide at the end with your bibliography while everyone is putting their cosplay back on and leaving the room.


CAITLIN: Yeah, that’s true.

RINNY: I feel like our panel would be really difficult to turn into an article, only because half of the panel is the jokes between the three of us trying to be content.

MEGAN: Yeah, that could actually be a big thing at a panel: the dynamic.

CAITLIN: I mostly do panels solo, so that’s not as much of a thing for me, but you three have a really strong natural dynamic. And now that I know that Craig is your brother, Zack, I’m even more impressed, because God knows if I tried to do a panel with my sister, we would just be fighting and sniping at each other the entire time.

ZACK: Oh no! Yeah, no, I’m very fortunate to have the relationship that I have with my brother, and the three of us have a group chat that we’re in every day. He actually doesn’t live anywhere near Boston up with us, which means that the majority of our rehearsals are in our hotel rooms. 

And through that, I think we’re able to find a kernel of something. We’re able to let people in, because the entire perspective we’re adopting is: “We know you see this this way. We want to make you see this a completely different way.” 

And it’s not an accident that it’s frontloaded with jokes, because we want people to be eased into their seats, to be with us, to like exactly what we’re putting down, so that when we’re referring to the sculptures that some of these designs are references to, we’re bringing up more intricate perspectives on what the characters want and how that reflects against standards in the genre—by that time, if we haven’t eased them into their seats using that natural dynamic we have, I think we might lose them.

RINNY: For me, it was also important because I had been to a couple of panels before, and I went to one panel that made me decide that panels suck and I don’t want to go to panels anymore. And it was…

ZACK: [Chuckles] How specific are we able to be about this?

RINNY: I’m gonna be very specific.


RINNY: It was a panel a couple of years back, and it was about the history of Final Fantasy. And it was supposed to be super neat. This panelist apparently did this a couple of times. And I love, love, love the Final Fantasy series, so I was like, “Oh, maybe I’ll learn something new. Maybe I’ll find out about something really cool that I didn’t know about.” 

And I went to this panel, and I had a front row seat, and I was super excited. And this guy starts the panel with this incredibly monotone voice. And all he goes is, “This is Final Fantasy 1. Final Fantasy 1 came out in nineteen whatever. And this is what the game is about.”

MEGAN: [crosstalk] Oof!

RINNY: And I was like, “Oh, he’s just talking at me. This is just him telling me—”

CAITLIN: It’s like going to class for…

RINNY: Yeah!

ZACK: [crosstalk] Yeah!

RINNY: And I remember when we decided to put JoJo together, I was like, “Hey, I want literally none of that energy in our panel.”

MEGAN: [Laughs]

ZACK: Yeah, because there is that thought that it is a performance. It is. And it’s super important that all of us continue to bring subjects and lenses and perspectives like these to stages in front of audiences at conventions. And yet, at the same time, it’s equally on us to give them a good show, because to a certain extent, we’re making people choose between us or the dealer room. Right?

MEGAN: Right.

CAITLIN: Right. And since you’re not going to be handing them a degree at the end, it has to be intrinsically motivated for them to come.

ZACK: Yeah, exactly. Absolutely.

MEGAN: And it’s even more important in a lecture-style one because you need to keep them engaged with the material. And my stuff is not necessarily built for a lot of jokes and memes and that sort of thing, but I practice things. I try to keep my voice up. I try to keep people engaged. I do make jokes when and where possible.

ZACK: Oh, yeah. Just by being a witty, entertaining person.

MEGAN: Because dry history is just boring. Yeah.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] Yeah, I try to use my natural energy towards it and my kind… [Speaking quietly] I’m kind of a weird person.

RINNY: [Chuckles]

ZACK: [Chuckles goofily] That works, though. That works. That’s a tool in your arsenal.

CAITLIN: Right! Right. So, I have a particular energy and I’ve sort of learned how to use it, and I’ve almost needed to get good at improv because of some of the technical issues we’ve had.

RINNY: [Chuckles pitifully]

MEGAN: Mm-hm.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles]

ZACK: Can you mention some of those?

CAITLIN: Which we can go into when we’re talking about horror stories—or success stories, because I do consider some of them successes. But I’ve always had issues with people not taking me seriously because I am kind of weird and out there and I think I kind of give off this air of “I don’t really know where I am or what I’m doing,” even when I do, which has led me to a lot of difficulties in my working life sometimes.

But I have kind of learned how to harness that for panels, because if it’s a subject that I’m knowledgeable about, that I’m passionate about, that I’m excited to talk about, I can talk a lot. Which is another thing that can be a disadvantage or an advantage in real life, because I find a coworker who’s like, “Oh yeah, I have an interest in anime,” and I’m like, “Really? Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah,” and they’re like, “Uh…”


CAITLIN: “… I like Totoro and Naruto.”

MEGAN: [Chuckles]

ZACK: Heck yeah!

CAITLIN: And I’m like, “Oh…” Which, there’s nothing wrong with those things, but there’s that weird dance where you find out someone has a similar niche interest and you have to figure out how into it they are compared to you.

RINNY: You also have to figure out if they like it in the same way you like it.

CAITLIN: Mm-hm. Exactly.

ZACK: “I love Naruto.” “I hate Sakura so much.” “I guess this conversation is over, sir.”

CAITLIN: [Laughs] “Goodbye!”

ZACK: “Goodbye!”

CAITLIN: “Goodbye!”

ZACK: “Goodbye!”

MEGAN: [Imitating a posh British accent] “I say, good day, sir!”


RINNY: That was a really fun thing that happened when I was first cosplaying Sakura at Otakon and somebody was like, “Hey, I hate you.” And I was like, “Wow. I’m so glad I’m wearing this costume, and now I know I don’t have to talk to you!”


CAITLIN: “Good thing I don’t have to waste my time on a person like you.”

ZACK: Yeah, exactly! This kind of touches upon this fear that I think I’ve held every time we run the panel, which is “When is the time?” Because I like running it, but when’s the time that we’re going to get to the Q&A and someone’s going to raise their hand and we’re going to get to them, and they’re gonna go, “I think this is dumb! They’re beefy!”

CAITLIN: I luckily have not had that issue.

MEGAN: [crosstalk] To which, the natural response is “Why are you here, then?”

ZACK: Yeah. Yeah.

RINNY: “Why’d you stick around for an hour to say that?”

CAITLIN: That is another good thing about… I have done that to someone.

ZACK: Really?

CAITLIN: Yes, but I had a good reason. But anyway…

ZACK: [Laughs]

CAITLIN: The good reason was that their panel was bad, and it had a misleading description.

ZACK: Oh my God.

CAITLIN: But anyway, I was saying… I’ve sort of learned how to use that “natural space case” kind of weird energy to my advantage and go up to panels and hope that people are kind of charmed by that.

ZACK: Because the thing is, if you’re passionate, it comes through. It does, no matter how much of a space case you are. If you really, really care, you can tell, absolutely, no matter what.

CAITLIN: Yeah, ADD, you get fixations that are similar to autism spectrum, but it’s not quite the same. And anime has been such a long-running one for me, so it’s really gratifying being able to go up and just talk about what I like to talk about for forever and what I’m excited to talk about. 

And so, I try to, instead of trying to have a super polished presentation, especially now that I have enough panel experience to be confident—although people who know me well can tell when I’m kind of nervous—but put that excitement and energy into my presentation and know that people will respond to it. And not everyone does, but some people do. A lot of people do, fortunately.

MEGAN: And that’s a similar attitude that I try to bring to any interpretive program I do, whether it’s an anime panel or otherwise, like, “Those people are here because they saw my title, my description, and they want to learn about it. So, all I have to do is transfer even just a fraction of my own enthusiasm and knowledge of the subject to them. And if I do that, it’s a success.”

ZACK: Yeah. Exactly! Exactly. I think it’s not even so much [that] we want someone to walk out of that panel room completely 100% top-down convinced by everything we’ve said. But man, if I’ve gotten them to just think a little more—to maybe, whether they realize it or not, slide that feminist lens over even if it’s just JoJo, man, I’ve knocked it out of the park. That’s all I need.

CAITLIN: Absolutely. And that’s why that person saying to me, the way he talked about “That really changed the way I look at media” was just so staggering to me. Because that’s important to me, that people really come out of it thinking about what I’ve said. 

Actually, one of the most incredible convention experiences I’ve had was… I did the “Is This Feminist or Not?” panel, and Susan Napier came to it.

MEGAN: Yeah! Oh my God, yes!

CAITLIN: And for anyone who doesn’t know, she is one of the top anime and manga scholars in the US.

MEGAN: She’s literally written books on the subject.

ZACK: That’s so cool.

CAITLIN: Yes, she’s written two books on the subject. She’s awesome. She’s super nice. And she came over, and I had talked to her at one of her panels before, so she knew who I was. But she came over and she talked to me, and she asked me if I wanted to get coffee and chat during the convention.


ZACK: Oh my God.

MEGAN: And I was there, because this was AnimeFest 2017. And all of us who were just hanging out on the same couch were just like, “[gasps] Senpai has noticed you.”


CAITLIN: So, that was probably like one of my most incredible panel experiences, and it’s an example of what you can do if you are excited and passionate about a topic: sitting in a room party talking to Carl Horn passionately about how shoujo manga has so long been underrepresented from the outset of when manga was being published in the US. I have had a lot of really awesome experiences, and a lot of them were due to doing panels and going out and putting myself out there. 

So, yeah, no, panels are great. I forgot where I started with this, but that’s okay.


ZACK: Is it time to talk success stories? Sounds like we’re sharing some success stories, y’all.

CAITLIN: Yeah! Let’s talk about some success stories. I mean, obviously, your success story, Zack and Rinny, was meeting me.

ZACK: Yeah, I agree. Wholeheartedly.


ZACK: You kid. No, legit.

RINNY: Legitimately, we came home after that Otakon where you had written up about us. And we were at Zack’s parents’ at the time. And I grabbed my phone. I was like, “Oh, my God! Anime Feminist wrote about us! Guys, look!”

ZACK: “It legitimizes us!”

CAITLIN: [Laughs] That’s always so weird to me… [chuckles] when people treat me like a bigshot.

RINNY: [crosstalk] I think for me, one of my favorite successes was at Anime Boston just now.

ZACK: Yeah.

RINNY: When we left the panel, we were leaving the con center after hanging out in the game room after our panel. And we saw two people who were attending the panel and who asked us some really great questions, who were nodding super knowingly as we were talking, and that felt really good. And they came up to us and they were like, “Hey, we just wanted to tell you, thank you so much for running the panel. We had been waiting all day for it. We kept telling ourselves, ‘Oh, we just have to survive until 10:30 and we can see the panel. We just have to live.’”


RINNY: And we were like, “Oh my God. I hope it was worth it, if you had to do that to yourselves.” And they told us that it was, and they told us that they really, really appreciated it and that it was really great for them to see this at their local con and to see this perspective on the series that they have loved for a very long time, because it’s something they felt about it but hadn’t heard other people talk about it. 

And for me, that’s all I want, is to have these people who attend our panel just come out of it being really happy they spent that time with us.

ZACK: Yeah, that got me choked up.

MEGAN: Aw. I was gonna say I don’t know if I’ve had something as big as, you know, dining with a major anime scholar for lunch. But honestly, a lot of my panels have been at least minor success stories in that people came up to me afterwards like, “Oh, you did a really good job. That was really interesting,” or even get people coming up to me randomly at the con afterwards just like “Hey, you did such-and-such a panel. You did a really good job!”

CAITLIN: Yeah, no, that’s always really nice. Anyone listening, don’t be afraid to say hi to the panelist afterwards unless they look like they have to get somewhere in a hurry, because at least for me it really feels good, and most people I know really do enjoy getting that.

MEGAN: The biggest success story I can think of actually came from my early shoujo manga panel that I just did at Sakura-Con, because somebody from my Twitter feed who was there was actually motivated to pick up a book, order it from Japan after seeing that panel. And I’m just like, “Oh my God.” And they’re like a translator. I think they work with Fakku.

CAITLIN: Oh, was it Aila?


CAITLIN: Yeah. No, she’s cool. She’s a letterer.

MEGAN: Yes. And I felt really good. I was like, “I’m actually having an effect. People are going out and picking up books because of me.”

CAITLIN: Yeah, absolutely. 

All right, so, now that we’ve done success stories, let’s talk about horror stories, because I’ve got some good ones.

MEGAN: God! Technical troubles just plague you like a ghost!

CAITLIN: Oh, my God, they don’t stop!

MEGAN: Maybe they will, now that your Chromebook died.

CAITLIN: The first panel that I did as an adult, I was gonna do it with Jared, and we were planning on doing like the Sawbones-style back-and-forth. He plays dumb while I talk about female characters in anime. And his mic didn’t work.

ZACK: [Sympathetically] Oh!

CAITLIN: And Jared… I love him so much. I’m very much looking forward to marrying him in a month.


CAITLIN: He shut down. He is not the person— [Chuckles]

ZACK: [crosstalk] No!

RINNY: Oh, no.

CAITLIN: And so, I was up there on my own. I was not ready to be up there on my own because the whole premise of the panel relied on our natural interplay, so I was fumbling and stumbling and [makes silly nonsense noises]. And I got through it. And then afterwards, someone sent me a message on Tumblr telling me how much they didn’t like it.


ZACK: [Laughs]


ZACK: “Really? Because I thought with only one working mic and the stick I balanced it on not working, it went great!”

CAITLIN: So, luckily, the next panel I did was a success, or else it might have really put me off of doing panels for a while.

ZACK: Oh, God.

CAITLIN: Let’s see, there was also the time that my Chromebook died literally as I was sitting down to do the panel.

MEGAN: Oh, God.

CAITLIN: I ended up using Gabbo’s laptop, and very luckily it was on Google Slides, so a very helpful panel worker used their phone to give me Wi-Fi, so I could get to my actual—

ZACK: Oh, a hotspot?

CAITLIN: Yeah, hotspot, thank you. Made their phone a hotspot for me so that I could get onto Google Slides and do the actual presentation. 

There was this one like a week ago where our screen was very tiny in the corner.

MEGAN: Yes. And no one could quite figure out why. They thought it was something to do with the projector in the end. People who don’t do panels would be surprised how common that sort of technical stuff is.

CAITLIN: Oh my God.

MEGAN: It’s an issue with the cables, it’s an issue with the projectors…

CAITLIN: I have more that have technical issues than don’t. And that’s why I’ve gotten so good at improv, because I have gotten used to being like, “I need to stand up here and vamp until tech support figures out what the hell’s going on.” 

Which has worked out sometimes, because Gerald Rathkolb from Anime World Order was like, “Yeah, you did a great job,” because it was before the “Female Staffers in Anime” that I do with Rose Bridges from ANN. And so, she was like, working with the staffer, trying to figure out the computer. 

I’m just like, “Okay, uh, let’s see. All right, what are some female anime writers? Okay, I’m going to pretend to be psychic. And I’m thinking really hard of a female composer. Everyone, say it on the count of three! One, two, three! Yoko Kanno!”


CAITLIN: So, afterwards that felt really good that I sort of successfully kept the panel going, especially when there were people whose names and faces I knew in the audience. And then Gerald sent me some very nice photos of us doing the panel, which was very nice of him. But yeah, no, technical issues are just sort of how I do it.

RINNY: At this point, it would be weird if you didn’t have a technical issue.

ZACK: Yeah, it would throw your energy off a little bit. You need that desperation.

CAITLIN: [Chuckles] Yes, the desperation. That’s a good way to put it.

ZACK: We’ve been really fortunate to not face any major technical issues.

RINNY: The only horror story I can think of is more sad than it is funny. And it was what happened to you mid-panel.

ZACK: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, the first time we ran it, it was a really good run, and I’m really proud of it, and we’ve evolved the panel a little bit over time. But that first time, I just didn’t have a handle on my anxiety. It was just not looking good. And I was doing a pretty good job bottling it up and setting it aside. 

But there came a point—I think we were talking about the designs—in which just everything was kind of overloading me. And I turned to Craig, and I kinda just tapped him and I nodded in the direction of a backstage-ish area. There was an area behind the projectors. And I just had some water, and I stood up, and I walked off. I did everything I could to keep it from looking like a total top-down freakout. And I went there, and this is kind of my success story, because when I was there, Rina, you and Craig didn’t stop.

RINNY: Nope.

ZACK: Not for a single beat. Not for a second. The panel continued perfectly. And hearing that and hearing how much I could rely on the two of you brought everything back down. It was everything a horror story could be, in that I was this close to just dropping. And knowing I could rely on the two of you the way I do and still do to this day brought me right back, and the rest of the panel was great.

CAITLIN: Yeah, it’s awesome that you guys have such a great team. It really, really is.

RINNY: Yeah, I can’t imagine doing this by myself. You guys are killing it. [Chuckles]

ZACK: [crosstalk] You guys are brave!

CAITLIN: [Chuckles]

ZACK: We are pitching another panel, not a criticism one, for Otakon that is just the two of us. I don’t know how we’re gonna do it without Craig.

CAITLIN: I’m sure you’ll be fine.

ZACK: Maybe they won’t accept us.

CAITLIN: Alright, so we’re hitting the point where we unfortunately have to wrap up. But before we go, do you want to hear the story of when I did sit through a whole panel and stand up and tell a guy how much I didn’t like him?


CAITLIN: All right. So, this is actually written up on Heroine Problem. But basically, the panel was called like “Anime, Manga, and the Male Gaze” or something like that. And basically the entire panel was him talking about how “feminists are wrong, and actually, it’s way worse for men in anime and manga.”

ZACK and MEGAN: Oh, my God!

CAITLIN: He called the male gaze a slippery concept and [talked] about how it’s not really an easy thing to determine, and then also talked about the female gaze like it was definitely something that was very set in stone. And he talked about Free!

RINNY: Oh, my God. I hate when people use Free.

MEGAN: Oh, for Christ…

CAITLIN: He called Is the Order a Rabbit? subversive.

MEGAN: Pfft! Okay…

CAITLIN: Someone in the audience was like, “How is that subversive?” And he’s like, “Well, women don’t really act like that.” It’s like, that’s not what subversive means!

ZACK: That’s not what that means!

CAITLIN: At this point in media, it is more subversive to have women who do act like women, right? And I could feel the mood in the room, and it was very negative and hostile towards what he was saying. 

And so, I was like, “Okay, I’m gonna do this,” and I stood up, and I was just like, “This panel is bullshit. How dare you stand up in front of this roomful of women and tell us that, ‘Oh, silly feminists, it is men who have it bad.’ Did you ever actually talk to a woman while you were making this panel?”


CAITLIN: And literally, I called him the fuck out!

ZACK: [Laughs]

CAITLIN: And no one ever believes this part of the story, but literally the whole room burst into applause!

MEGAN: [Laughs]

RINNY: Oh my God.

CAITLIN: Which, if you’ve been to a panel, you can see how that would happen. I understand how it sounds implausible, but it was the kind of setting where that would happen. It’s not like I just stood up in a random restaurant where everyone was minding their own business, right?

ZACK: Oh, yeah. No, no, no, that is one of the great pleasures of this, is everybody just feels free to do that, so that’s super believable.

CAITLIN: So, it was really great. As I was walking back to my seat, this guy taps me on the shoulder and is like, “You are my heroine.”

[Laughter and cries of delight]

CAITLIN: So, that is the story of how I called out a dude at his own panel, and then I reported him to panel ops for a misleading panel description and also showing clearly R-rated clips in a PG-13-rated panel, which his moderator should have called him on.

ZACK: Yeah, yeah. Should have called him on it, absolutely.

CAITLIN: And he got blacklisted from doing panels at Sakura-Con.

ZACK: Heck yes!

CAITLIN: All right, so, do you guys have anything else to add before we go?

RINNY: Megan, do you have any horror stories?

MEGAN: I can think of one I witnessed, actually, from last year’s Otakon. And this was a real shame because it was a real gem of an idea. It was a Junji Ito panel talking about body horror and the feminine mystique—talking about Tomie. And keep in mind, this was late-night Friday, like 10, 11 p.m. And there was a line, a big line for this panel. It was packed! For a manga-based panel!

ZACK: That’s cool.

MEGAN: It was, except that she didn’t really quite finish her research, and she kind of ran out of steam 20 minutes in. I remember the folks from Anime World Order talking about this on their podcast. They came in about those 20 minutes late, and the panel was already over. And she admitted, “Yeah, I could have done more research about feminism and body horror,” and it just made me really sad. It’s like, you had such a good idea that people wanted to see. And it’s just like, you needed to follow through with that.

RINNY: We always keep a timer on our table, so we’re aware if we’re way too far ahead than we were supposed to be for timing, and I feel like that could have helped her out a little bit.

ZACK: Yeah, man. I think just researching more… Then had to manifest another 25 minutes.

MEGAN: And the only other thing I will add is, for people out there thinking about doing panels, don’t worry about getting too esoteric. I have literally seen a panel there—I can find this on YouTube—of a guy talking about electrical lines in anime. He’s an electrical engineer, and he’s talking about all the different types of power lines and the stuff they carry and about power networks in general. 

And it was really fascinating because, again, he knew his stuff. He knew what he was talking about, and he managed to deliver something on something that no one would ever think about otherwise.


ZACK: That’s so cool!

MEGAN: So, don’t feel like you’re getting too obscure. You’d be surprised what people could get into.

CAITLIN: [crosstalk] Yeah. And it’s only an hour.

ZACK: [crosstalk] Any for you, Rina?

RINNY: I think my advice would be “Have fun with it.” If you’re just up there going like, “And this is Final Fantasy II. In Final Fantasy II…”


ZACK: We are roasting that guy!

RINNY: I am! Have a good time with it. Obviously, know what you’re talking about, but enjoy what you’re talking about, too. Don’t just pitch something that you think will get you in and get you a free badge or something. Get something that you actually care about.

CAITLIN: Yeah, absolutely. Passion comes through. 

All right, I really need to finish this up because we pay for transcription now, so…

ZACK: [Chuckles] Oh, Jesus.

CAITLIN: Going over costs extra. But it’s okay, because we’ve had some shows that go under anyway. All right, so… I’m gonna close this out. 

If you like the show, go check us out on, er— No, stop. All right. All right. 

Thank you so much to Zack, Rinny, and Megan for coming over and chatting with us. 

If you like the show, go check us out on our website, If you really like us, check out our Patreon. We have some really ambitious projects that we would love to do to grow as a website, including going to conventions more and doing some more panels of our own. But we really do need financial support for that. Every little bit helps, even $1 a month. 

You can also check out our Twitter, our Tumblr, or on Facebook

Thanks for listening, AniFam, and remember to stay hydrated.

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