Come meet some fantastic guests. Autographs with our amazing guests are free unless otherwise specified.
Aurelio Voltaire is often described as a modern day renaissance man. He is a singer/ performer, creator of comic books, animation and toys.
An internationally touring musician, he is at the forefront of the Gothic, Steampunk and Dark Cabaret genres headlining some of the biggest horror, sci-fi and comic book conventions as well as Gothic and Steampunk festivals for nearly two decades. His music can best be described as a collection of murder ballads, tongue-in-cheek exercises in the macabre, with just enough bawdy songs about Star Trek and Star Wars to keep a convention audience rolling in the aisles. Many know him for his songs “Brains!” and “Land of the Dead” from the Cartoon Network show “The Grim Adventures of Billy And Mandy”. Voltaire’s live shows, whether solo or with his skeletal orchestra, are full of stories and games. Many describe his shows as sitting around a fire while an old friend regales you with tales, presuming that old friend drinks a liter of rum a night, dates zombie prostitutes and wrestles Krakens.
Voltaire has been recording and touring for over 20 years. He’s released 13 full length CDs. Most recently, Aurelio Voltaire can be seen in his informative and hilarious Youtube series, Gothic Homemaking. In this show, that can best be described as Pee Wee’s Playhouse for spooky kids, he demonstrates how to turn your boring apartment into a Gothic lair with the help of a desiccated co-host, Orville Deadenbacher and a bunch of other recurring monster characters.
Steam Powered Giraffe
The robots of Steam Powered Giraffe are like nothing you’ve ever seen. The malfunctioning joke-spewing metal men play a collection of original Vaudeville inspired tunes fused with modern flare and executed in a super-sleek, one-of-a-kind performance. More than just a band, Steam Powered Giraffe is an experience that must be seen and heard by the entire family.
The artists behind the SPG robots started street busking as these quirky characters back in January 2008 at Balboa Park, California, instantly drawing the attention of Southern California. They have since performed at such venues as The San Diego Fair, The San Diego Zoo, The Wild Animal Park, Legoland, Ontario Mills, and numerous Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Steampunk Conventions.
Their act combines the visual of robot pantomime with sketches, pop culture references, improvised comedic dialogue, and of course, original music. From their heartwarming nostalgic melodies to their funky cabaret rock, Steam Powered Giraffe’s songs are memorable, infectious, and as unique as the robots themselves.
Raj Ramayya is an Indo-Canadian singer, composer and lyricist. His claim to anime fame would be his musical collaborations with famed Japanese composer Yoko Kanno as a member of The Seatbelts. Raj sang the opening credits song “Ask DNA” and wrote the lyrics for “Cosmic Dare (Pretty with a Pistol)” from the fan favourite feature film Cowboy Bebop: the Movie, and both sang and wrote the lyrics for “Strangers” from the anime series Wolf’s Rain. Not limited to music in anime, he has also worked on songs for video games from the likes of Konami, Sega, and Capcom.
Raj has been featured as a guest vocalist/composer with several distinguished artists, ranging from talented composers Yoko Kanno (Escaflowne, Cowboy Bebop, Wolf’s Rain) and Tatsuya Oe (Captain Funk, Hotei), to gifted lyricists Chris Mosdell (Eric Clapton, YMO) and Ron Sexsmith, and everyone in-between. His work has won him multiple awards and critical acclaim from around the world.
Among his other projects are the electronic Indian fusion music project “Bhang Lassi”, the alternative Indian-influenced folk rock band “The Beautiful Losers”, and session singing for products ranging from Asahi Beer and KFC, to Toyota and Coca-Cola. He is also a guest vocalist with three different Japanese electronic music groups; Captain Funk, Akakage, and Studio Apartment, with SA’s song “Strawberry Rainbow” (which Raj both sung and wrote lyrics for) hitting #1 on the iTunes Japan charts! Raj is excited to be making a triumphant return to Anime Midwest and can’t wait to perform for everyone for the second year! For more information, you can visit him online at http://www.rajramayya.com.
Samurai Dan and Jillian
The husband and wife team of Daniel and Jillian Coglan are full-time martial art instructors, specializing in 16th century Samurai Arts. When not teaching at their dojo, the Kojokan, they travel the United States performing and teaching the ancient ways of the most famous warriors in history.
With a combined 35 years of experience, their show is a unique blend of history, combative skill, and humor, designed to educate and entertain audiences both large and small.
Beyond their martial skills, the dynamic duo collaborated to write, direct, host, and star in a 12 episode TV series entitled, “The Way of The Samurai.”
Daniel is also an author, with several martial art articles published, and is currently working on his second full-length novel.
Margaret (Meg) McDonald is a Houston based actress and all around nerd. McDonald first got started after auditioning while she was still in school. After getting her BA in Drama at the University of St. Thomas, Meg pursued a full time acting career in the booth as well as onstage. Her most notable roles in anime are “Rikka Takanashi” in Love, Chunibyo, and Other Delusions, “Tamako Kitashrikawa” inTamako Market, “Miho Nishizumi” in Girls und Panzer, and “Isuzu” in Log Horizon. She can also has supporting roles in Watamote, Hakouki, Little Busters, Maria Holic, Mayo Chiki, Rozen Maiden: Zuruckenspulen, Maidsama, and Nobunaga the Fool to name a few. She also appears in Parasyte: The Maxim and Akame Ga Kill.This is her first appearance at Anime California and she couldn’t be happier.
The strongest idol unit ever has arrived! Consisting of 2 active pro-wrestlers, gym junkies and kawaii idols, DEADLIFT LOLITA is here to “redefine the meaning of kawaii.” Following his departure from idol trio LADYBABY August 2016, the amazing lolita-wearing wrestler Ladybeard continues his kawaiicore trend in the new idol group DEADLIFT LOLITA with the bodybuilder idol Reika Saiki. Ladybeard is the persona of a 33-year-old Australian wrestler who moved to China in 2006 to kick-start his martial arts stunt career in films, later becoming a hit in Hong Kong as a pro wrestler in unique outfits. In October 2013 he moved to Tokyo to take his career to the next level as part of an idol group LADYBABY, now known as The Idol Formerly Known as LADYBABY following his departure. This incredibly well-synced new weightlifting and music duo is set to perform several original songs at their live show in Chicago, and Ladybeard’s ‘Kawaiicore’ style screams will be complimented for the first time by his clean voice singing.
Greg Ayres went blasting his way through 2017! He was thrilled to make his second appearance in Dragon Ball Super earlier this year as Frost, and equally excited to help blast bugs as Geo in Sony Picture’s Starship Troopers : Traitor of Mars. 2017 also gave him the opportunity to reprise one of his favorite roles as Son Goku in Saiyuki Reload Blast, and will also be appearing in Haikyu as Yu Nishinoya, as well as voicing Zenji Marui in Food Wars. With over 290 credits to his name, he has managed to play a variety of characters that are almost as colorful as his hair. Some recent roles include Nagisa Haruki in Free, and Free Eternal Summer, MonoKuma in Danganronpa, Clear in Dramatical Murder, and Doug in Gangsta. Thrilled to be a part of the Toonami re-launch in the roles of Ganta Igarashi in Deadman Wonderland, and Heihachi Hayashida in Samurai 7, and even more thrill to follow that up the in the following summer’s thriller Another as Kouichi Sakakibara. He can also be hear as Satoru Asahina in From the New World, Kenji Nakanishi in Say I Love You, Sion in No. 6, Heisuke Toudou in Hakuoki, Tommyrod in Toriko, Tomoki Sakurai, in Heaven’s Lost Property, and Volken, in the Book of Bantorra.Some of his all-time favorite roles include Son Goku in Saiyuki, Chrono in Chrono Crusade, Kaoru Hitachiin in Ouran High School Host Club, Youhei Sunohara in Clannad, Yuki in The Wallflower, Leo in Ghost Stories, Satoshi Hiwatari in DNAngel, Kaworu Nagisa in the Director’s Cut of Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Negi Springfield in Negima. When he’s not in a booth with headphones on, you can usually find him sporting headphones behind “the decks”at many a music event. A veteran nightclub DJ of many years, he has jumped at the opportunity to play music and organize late night dances at many of the conventions he attends. He currently helps organize dance and music tracks at several US conventions.Greg is also a member of Project BECK, who perform music from the anime Beck Mongolian Chop Squad, and has had a blastreliving the music from the show with his friends. Thrilled to be able to share his love of music with anyone willing to listen – from packed rooms at anime conventions, to the legendary stage of The Knitting Factory (NYC), he’s always ready to make a little noise.
Mega Ran personifies with Hip-Hop should be: Spontaneous, fun, and true. Every album, starting with “Mega Ran” in 2007, conveys a different theme, a different vibe, and a different emotion. “Mega Ran” was a collection of sampled 8-bit beats from the hit “Mega Man” video game series, which was quickly discovered by CAPCOM. Instead of shutting down this hit music, CAPCOM offered Mega Ran a special licensing agreement and booked him to perform at Comic-Con and other special events. Since then he’s released albums including “RANDOMONIUM” and “FOREVER FAMICON” and “Black Materia,” and has toured with acts such as mc chris and MC Lars, playing in the US, UK, and Japan. He’s appeared in Playstation: The Official Magazine and Game Informer. Fans can learn more about Ran and download free songs at his website, megaran.com