Gilles was born in Quebec, Canada and raised in a farm town in Northern California. He played with Japanese wooden toys bought at the corner store, watched girls at school do origami, and played various games that few of the kids knew were from Japan. In high school he became a fan of world cinema, and when he was in grad school this led him to explore what little was known in English about anime. One day at work he received a phone call from a friend who had discovered a new student club at U.C. Berkeley, Cal Animage Alpha, devoted to anime. For years he attended regularly and became irrevocably hooked on anime and manga.
He has written three books on anime and for various magazines. For several years he also sat on the senior board of Mechademia, an annual scholarly anthology of essays on anime, manga and fan culture. He has done presentations on anime for various Japan – US friendship groups, libraries, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, conventions, librarians, the Smithsonian, and once even taught an eight week course on the subject for Pixar staff.
In his spare time he reads manga, watches anime, and researches Japan. He often visits Tokyo, a city he is so interested in that he has been called a Tokyo otaku by a friend who lived there. This eventually led to his latest book Tokyo Stroll, a guide to twenty two interesting neighborhoods to wander about in.
Gilles has been a long-time guest of FanimeCon, beloved by many attendees for his intimate knowledge of anime, manga, and traveling to Japan. FanimeCon is happy to have him join us once again for more stellar panels and events!
Facebook: Gilles Poitras