Anime Clubs and Conventions

By Valerie Jensen and Ashli Pingry

Length of Program

1 hour – 10 hours

Program Description

Cultural activities provide teens with a deeper understanding and knowledge of the people around them. Teens explore other cultures daily through interactions with their peers and friends. This program will focus on the Japanese culture by creating a broadened understanding of Japanese traditions through Anime and Manga. The program will specifically focus on Anime clubs and conventions that can be held as ongoing programs at your library while instilling learning through cultural activities. Anime conventions can be very time consuming and require a great deal of planning. All of the activities listed below can be done individually as stand-alone programs or combined to provide a full day of fun.

Anime is the term coined for Japanese animation. It comes in the form of television shows, DVDs, and theater releases. In Japan, anime is a popular form of entertainment, available in a variety of genres, such as action, romance, mystery, comedy, fantasy, and more. Most of the time anime is derived from manga, the Japanese term for comic books, although occasionally the anime (film) will come first and the manga (book) will follow. Popular examples of anime include Pokemon and Dragon Ball.

Developmental Needs and Assets

This program allows teens to be very creative and interact with other teens and adults. The social competencies instilled through this program allow teens to open themselves up and become comfortable with people of other cultures, backgrounds and ethnicities. It reinforces values, builds self-esteem and confidence, increases team working skills by planning and implementing programs. They see themselves as valuable members of the community by providing programs to other youth in their community.

Books to Display

Cosplay: Catgirls and Other Critters by Gerry Poulo.

Everybody Cosplay. Vol. 1 by Jan Kurotaki.

Food and Recipes of Japan by Theresa Beatty.

How to Cosplay. Vol. 1 by Graphic-Sha.

Japan Edge: The Insider’s Guide to Japanese Pop Subculture by Mason Jones.

The Manga Cookbook by Chihiro Hattori.

The Simple Art of Japanese Calligraphy by Yoko Takenami.

Watching Anime, Reading Manga: 25 years of Essays and Reviews by Fred Patten and Carl Macek.

Books to Booktalk

Bleach by Tite Kubo.

Japan Ai: A Tall Girl’s Adventures in Japan by Aimee Major Steinberger.

Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa.

Bulletin Boards

The American Library Association offers READ software allowing you to insert your own pictures into READ backgrounds just like the celebrity read posters. Take pictures of your anime club or someone in costume. This makes a great addition to your graphic novel collection. Pictured here is Ashli Pingry who is an avid cosplayer and aspiring designer. Be sure to get a signed permission slip from the teens and parents of teens younger than 18 before posting their photos in the library.

Poster of teenage girl dressed in black outfit and yellow-orange outfit with pink hair, the poster says 'READ' in large letters the same size as girl

Photo used with permission of Ashli Pingry.

Take pictures of your Anime club members with their favorite manga/anime and put them on display. Allow teens to hold their favorite manga or anime when taking the picture. Be sure to get a signed permission slip from the teens and parents of teens younger than 18 before posting their photos.

Have teens cut out Japanese characters to spell out words like Manga, Anime, etc. Display books on Japanese language and calligraphy. Refer to The Simple Art of Japanese Calligraphy by Yoko Takenami when making your bulletin board or to one of the many web sites that feature Japanese calligraphy. This activity could be done during an anime club meeting.

Games and Activities

Anime Clubs

Anime clubs have increased in popularity over the past few years with school, public and academic libraries forming groups all over the country. Anime clubs normally meet once or twice a month depending on the demand of your club members. Getting involved with a club supporter offers great advantages for the club members. Operation Anime,, for example, is a great supporter of Anime Clubs and offers a title for screening each month by club members, as well as occasional freebies such as bookmarks and postcards. In exchange all they require is that club members complete online surveys. Another club supporter is Stuf for Clubs,, which even provides help in getting permission to screen anime, along with screening copies of the film.

Anime Screenings

Begin each club meeting by announcing the anime title that will be screened. If possible, display the manga for this title along with other manga titles. If the anime was received from a company that supports anime clubs, it usually includes permission to screen the anime. Otherwise, you will have to get permission to show your titles.Some anime is covered under license from Movie Licensing USA or Motion Picture Licensing Corporation if the production is owned by a major studio, such as DreamWorks and Buena Vista, or another studio represented by the license. Much anime, however, is released through smaller studios not covered by these blanket licenses. In that case requests may need to go directly to the studio. Right Stuf at threads/ubbthreads.php/topics/815/ provides information on how to obtain permission to screen anime. In addition to explaining how to request permission, this site also provides publisher contact information.

Anime Charades

In advance, write the names of several manga and anime characters on slips of paper and place the slips in a box or other container. Be sure that there is an even number of slips. Charades is a game of pantomime, so no words or clues can be spoken. All clues must be acted out. The librarian acts as timekeeper and scorekeeper. The librarian can also review strategies for charades, such as gesturing to indicate that the guess is “on the nose” or indicating the number of syllables by holding up fingers.

Divide the teens into two teams. One member from the first team pulls a name out of the box. That player must act out the character’s name for his or her teammates to guess. If the character is guessed within the time allotted, usually three minutes, then the team wins a point. If the team can’t guess the character no point is awarded. Switch teams until all of the slips have been pulled. The team with the most points wins. Consider providing small prizes like the Megatokyo bookmarks sold by the American Library Association, Examples of possible characters to include are: Sailor Moon, Naruto, Pokemon, and Sora (Kingdom Hearts). Look at the anime and manga in the library collection to ensure that the characters will be known to the teens.


Hold gaming tournaments and charge a small admission fee, if the library policy permits this or it can be done under the auspices of the Friends of the Library. Sell refreshments with the proceeds going back to Anime club. Popular video games for tournaments include Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Tekken 5. Gaming tournaments are also described in the video gaming program in the 2008 Texas Teens Read Manual at


Encourage the club members to create an anime club newsletter. Include club news, events, pictures, resources for fans, and information about upcoming events. Be sure to post the newsletter on the library web site and distribute it through local comic stores and video rental stores, if possible.

Cosplay Day

Cosplay is short for “costume role play” and is a type of performance art, although it has also come to mean simply wearing the costume. Invite members of the anime club to dress up as their favorite manga or anime character for one of the club meetings. If enough of the teens know each other, they might even reenact a scene from a favorite anime film.

Field Trips

Take members on a field trip to select anime with money raised from fundraisers. Anime will be added to the collection for all patrons to check out. It’s a nice touch to put donor stickers inside each anime DVD stating that it was purchased with funds raised by the teen anime club.

Anime club members can provide very valuable input when it comes to collection development of manga and anime collections. Use their expertise when purchasing new titles. They also are very involved with gaming and can help bring that into the library as well.

Anime Conventions

Anime conventions date back as far as the mid 1970’s, and many conventions in the United States are operated by fans. These conventions often last two or more days. Usually several events take place at anime conventions, ranging from guest panels to video game tournaments. With the primary focus on anime and manga, many of the attendees cosplay or “costume play” characters from their favorite anime or manga and reenact scenes inspired by the characters they choose.

Anime club members may show an interest in hosting their own convention on a smaller scale at their library. The Anahuac Anime Club in Anahuac, Texas held an anime convention in May 2008 called “Ana-Con”. Anahuac is a small town located away from entertainment outlets so this active club decided to bring an all-day convention to the local community.

Due to the amount of interest in a convention it is usually necessary to request pre-registration. This can be done online, as well as through paper registration for patrons who come into the library. The web site Create Forms,, allows you to create a form to embed into a web site or blog so that people can register for the event. While Create Forms only allows for free registrations, a minimal monthly fee permits additional registrations.

In order to carry out the convention, donations will probably be needed. It’s important to start far in advance when planning a program this big. Donations from local businesses or anime and manga vendors should be solicited early in order to receive giveaways as prizes. In addition to screening manga, plan a few other activities described in this program to round out the convention.

Create your own customized nametags for the convention using Publisher, Word, Photoshop, or a similar program. Purchase plastic badge holders at any office store or Wal-mart so attendees can wear them easily anywhere on their costume. The nametags identify those who have pre-registered for the convention.

Poster with 'ANA-CON' in large letter on top, a pink monster with black mohawk, bing character machinge gun fired by helicopter

Viewing Rooms

Set up viewing rooms or areas at the convention. Three viewing rooms are recommended to allow different “tracks” or to allow one film to be shown while another is being set up. If the library or other facility doesn’t have three rooms, partition off areas to show different types of anime throughout the day. For boxed sets or multiple DVDs, just show the first disc or episode. Remember to get permission before showing the anime.

Shoujo anime (sometimes spelled Shojo) may appeal more to girls. Titles to view include:

Sailor Moon, the Legend Begins. ADV Films, 2000. (90 minutes)

Ouran High School Host Club. Funimation, 2008. (90 minutes)

Full Moon O Sagashite. Vol. 1: I Want to Sing. Viz Media, 2006. (94 minutes)

Shonen anime may appeal more to boys. Titles to view include:

Naruto. Vol. 1. Viz Video, 2006. (88 minutes)

Tsubasa. Season 1. Funimation Productions, 2008. (650 minutes)

Trinity Blood. Chapter 1. Funimation Productions, 2006. (100 minutes)

Full length live action movies can round out the final viewing room. Titles to view include:

Nana. Viz Video, 2008. (114 minutes)

Love*Com. Viz Video, 2008. (100 minutes)

Honey and Clover. Viz Video, 2008. (116 minutes)

Maid Café

Restaurants at conventions are called maid cafés and butler cafés. Many times the workers in these cafés dress as butlers and maids while serving refreshments. Teens can dress in maid or butler costumes while serving the traditional Japanese snacks normally found at conventions. Many of the following refreshments can be found at stores such as World Market, Wal-Mart, Central Market and the online web sites Asian Food Grocer,, Asian Munchies,, and Very Asia, Maid and butler costumes can be either made or purchased by the teens. Teens can use clothes they may already have in their own closets for maid and butler costumes. A simple black dress with a white belt for girls or black shirt and pants for guys works great. An inexpensive alternative is purchasing them from a local party supply store. Costumes can be stored and re-used for future anime events. Refer to the book Japanese Cooking by Jon Spayde to find different recipes for the Maid Café. Possible foods include Ramune (Japanese carbonated drink), Pocky, sushi, candy sushi, ramen noodles, rice, Hello Panda cookies, fortune cookies, and Ramune candy.

Several web sites also provide instructions for making Japanese cuisine if you want to allow the teens to try their hand at making some treats. Also consider inviting a community volunteer who is Japanese to make and serve traditional food. How to Make Candy Sushi,, offers step by step information on making three different types of candy sushi. Finest Chef,, provides instructions for several different types of easy sushi recipes.

Rice Eating Contest

Each teen receives one cup of cooked rice in a Styrofoam bowl and a pair of chopsticks. Participants cannot pick up the bowl of rice, although they can hold it in place. Using only their chopsticks, the teens compete to see who can be the first person to finish their bowl. Participants are not allowed to put their mouth to the bowl and shovel the rice in.

Cosplay Panel

Cosplay has become very popular among anime and manga fans. Cosplay involves dressing in costumes to look like a character. Some cosplayers attempt to act like the characters by doing poses the character is known for, as well as acting out prepared skits to be performed in the hallways or on stage at anime conventions.

Contact local cosplay enthusiasts to find someone who specializes in costumes, wigs, and/or weapons to talk at your convention. Some of the anime club members may have expertise in one of these areas and be qualified to give a speech to the group. Many larger cities have scout groups that consist of avid con-goers who may be willing to be a guest speaker. Display books such as How to Cosplay by Graphic-Sha and Everybody Cosplay by Jan Kurotaki while the panel is speaking.

Cosplay Show

Similar to a fashion runway show, the cosplay show allows the teens to show off their costumes in front of the crowd. Line up participants in the library stacks and let them walk out into an open area to be judged by their peers. Someone can moderate the show for added commentary. Cosplayers can be judged in two separate categories: “Best Construction” and “Accuracy”. “Best Construction” pertains to how well the costume is constructed, including whether the materials used by the participant are best suited for the design and character. “Accuracy” is based on how accurate the costume is constructed when compared to the actual character in the anime or manga. A cosplay expert or someone with experience in cosplay would be a good judge or have members of your anime club judge the contest.

Para Para Dance Instruction

Para Para is a popular Japanese dance performed in groups, using mostly your hands and arms moving in synch with music. The music consists mostly of very upbeat music such as Eurobeat. Most para para dances are done in groups, but it can also be performed individually. In groups, the dance is synchronized with other performers. Check sites like YouTube for examples and instructions. One of the most popular basic Para Para dances can be seen on YouTube at If Para Para dance is not familiar to the teens, project a video on to a big screen for participants to follow along. Have a teen who has mastered one of the dances teach it to a group at your convention. The more people involved in learning the dance the more fun it is.

Dragon Ball Z Scavenger Hunt

Dragon Ball Z is a popular manga series for children as well as teens. The plot of each book revolves around the quest for seven Dragon Balls. There are currently 26 volumes in the original series. Teens can easily do a scavenger hunt in the library to search for Dragon Ball Z stations. Give each participating teen a Dragon Ball Z radar card with seven points in the library marked. Teens gather at a central location before starting and must return to the same place when they finish. Each Dragon Ball Z station has a task that must be completed before the teen’s card is stamped. Use these seven tasks or modify them as you plan your scavenger hunt.

  1. Trivia

    Have the teens correctly answer a trivia question related to anime or manga. Sample questions might include:

    What is the name of the series about a boy who turns into a girl when splashed with cold water? Answer: Ranma ½

    What is the name of the series about a girl who is light haired, darkly tanned whom everyone thinks is “ditzy”? Answer: Peach Girl

    How do the characters die in Death Note? Answer: Their name is written in a book.

    In the series Chobits, what is the only word Chi could say? Answer: Chi

  2. Pose off

    Give the teens the name of a character and have them do a typical pose for that character. Popular characters to pose include Sora from Kingdom Hearts, Sailor Moon, and Naruto

  3. Dig

    Pour a disgusting mixture of ingredients like water, tomato juice, cottage cheese, and a few slices of bread in a big rubber container. Throw in a rubber ball and have the teens “dig” to search for the ball. Be sure to have some wet wipes and paper towels available.

  4. Guess the voice

    In advance, record anime characters saying one of their popular catchphrases and have teens guess who they think it is. Ask some of the teens who can mimic the voices as close to the original as possible to help with this.

    The following voices are from popular well-known anime:

Character Anime Catchphrase
AshKetchum Pokemon “Pikachu,I choose you!”
LightYagami DeathNote “I……..Justice!”
G.I.R. Invader “HiFloor, Make me a sammich!”
NarutoUzumaki Naruto “Believeit!”
  1. What’s wrong?

    Scan pictures of well-known manga covers and use Photoshop or another software program to insert images that don’t belong. Print them out and have the teens guess what’s wrong with the picture.

  2. Super zoom

    Enlarge pictures of manga covers and zoom in on a specific section. Print out the section and have teens guess the name of the book being shown.

  3. Hidden on body

    Hide a Dragon Ball on the body of one of the teens who is helping with the scavenger hunt. Hide the ball under their sleeve, on their back under their shirt, under their pants leg, or somewhere else obvious for the participants to find.

    Whoever completes all seven tasks the quickest and returns to the starting point is the winner. Stagger start times and record end times so that the teens don’t bunch up at any one station.

    A sample Dragon Ball Z radar card is provided in this program. The sample has an outline of the library with markers indicating the location of each Dragon Ball Z station. The back side shows seven circles where the stamps can be placed. This sample was created in Photoshop, with the shape of the library floor plan provided to make it easier for the teens to locate the stations. The yellow dot outside the “blueprint” of the library indicates a location outside the building.

    Image with 'DBZ-RADAR' spelled out at top, image looks like a hand held gaming system, the screen has simple squares, black lines dividing squares, and random yellow dots Orange 'Dragon Ball' with black circles - At bottom of poster it says 'Once you fill up this dragonball with all seven stars, return to the starting point to claim your prize'

Video Game Tournaments and Free Play

Anime conventions typically have video game tournaments, with games such as Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Dance Dance Revolution, Katamari, Street Fighter, or Tekken. As an alternative to a tournament, offer open play with gaming stations set up in a room, allowing teens to play when they want.


Show these videos and DVDs or segments of them if you have public performance rights. Otherwise, display them for home use.

Loveless: Lost and Found. Anime Works, 2006. (100 minutes)

Web Sites

The official web site for Manga Entertainment provides information on all of their products and features news, contests, and clips.

Marvel Comics

This is the official site of Marvel comics and it offers videos, digital comics, games, news, and more for its comics.


The official site of the manga publisher Tokyopop provides news and information on upcoming books as well as links to short YouTube videos featuring their characters.

Viz Media

The official site for Viz Media products, which publishes the magazines Shojo Beat and Shonen Jump, includes links to sites for popular characters, downloads for online manga, and more.


Shojo Beat. Viz Media. (Y)

This monthly Manga and anime magazine is aimed at teen female fans. Visit for details and online archives.

Shonen Jump. Viz Media. (Y)

This monthly manga and anime magazine is geared toward teen male readers. See for more information.

Professional Resources

American Cosplay Experience

This site focuses on American cosplayers with a female and male photo gallery. Each gallery contains videos, photos, forums and contests.

American Library Association

The ALA sells a CD that allows libraries to customize READ posters.

Anime Café: A Parent’s Guide to Anime

This web site provides general information on anime with reviews and ratings.

Anime Characters Database

Find a character, see what the characters look like, and locate information about Anime films.

Anime Clubs Unite

This site contains information on how to start an anime club, with links and information for existing clubs.

Anime Matsuri

This site is hosted by the Houston area anime convention located in the Woodlands, Texas.


This site is home to all things cosplay and includes photos, forums for events, costume and wig stores. This site also has a marketplace to buy and sell cosplay related materials.

Librarians Guide to Anime and Manga

Useful web site for librarians and teachers to understand the best way to review and select manga and anime as well as information about clubs, conventions and more.

No Flying, No Tights

This web site reviews different genres of manga and anime, provides news, and offers a core list of anime and manga for librarians and teachers.

Texas Teens Read! Time Twistin’

The Manga Mania program in this manual will provide additional ideas and resources.

Texas Teens Read 2010! Programming Manual / Within Arms Reach: The Future is Yours!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 10, 2011