Gilles Poitras

March 18, 2024

Gilles was born in Quebec, Canada in 1951 and raised in a farm town in Northern California. As a child in rural California, he was exposed to a great deal of Japanese toys and games without even being aware of their origins, thanks to his many Japanese American school friends. In high school he became a fan of world cinema, and in 1977, he saw part of an episode of Space Battleship Yamamoto on a store display in San Francisco’s Japantown. From that day on, Gilles began going to every anime feature shown at the UC theater in Berkeley. Later on he discovered Cal Animage Alpha, UC Berkeley’s anime club. For years he attended regularly and even began to write his first articles on anime for the club’s newsletter the Konshuu, which then turned into an anime newsletter on Usenet. Eventually he wrote The Anime Companion, the first of his three books on anime. As a result of this writing he ended up speaking at many public libraries, doing presentations at anime conventions, curating an anime exhibit at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, introducing movies at the Smithsonian, and even teaching a class on anime for Pixar Staff.
All of this exposure to anime, and manga, quickly led to a growing interest in Japan. Gilles even began tracking down information on locations seen in shows.When he first went to Tokyo with friends it was to explore the city not as a regular tourist but as an anime tourist. Further trips and research resulted in a large set of notes that became foundational for his latest book Tokyo Stroll, a guide for wandering about over 20 neighborhoods in that city.

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!


Social Media:
Twitter/X: @GillesLPoitras