Kawaii Kon. This weekend. Suuuuuuper busy.
Need I say any more?
… well, okay, I was tempted to just post that and call it a day, but that would be unfair to you, the few, proud (I hope?) Otaku Ohana readers who keep checking your RSS feeds, Twitter or Facebook to see if I’ve posted anything new.
Yet there’s no denying that this weekend will be a busy one, packed with panels and events and wacky spur-of-the-moment happenings and other weird and wonderful stuff that the local fan community seems to come up with every year. And while tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. and I will be trying to provide a cross-section of coverage of everything going on at Kawaii Kon here in Otaku Ohana all weekend (energy and Internet connections willing), there are some events on the schedule that are particularly piquing our interest. So we each picked three panels/events that we’re most looking forward to this weekend. If you’re having trouble figuring out what you want to do out of everything going on, you can’t go wrong with these suggestions, really.
Jason’s top 3
1. Anything featuring voice actress Yuu Asakawa. She’s the voice of Sakaki in Azumanga Daioh and Motoko in Love Hina. She sings. She co-hosts Otaku-VerseZero, the show “introducing the Japanese subculture to Otaku throughout the Universe,” with Otaku USA editor Patrick Macias. And she’s on Twitter — and tweeting regularly in English, to boot. Her multimedia versatility has me interested in seeing what she has to say. Plus there’s no denying that whenever guests come out to Hawaii, they end up loving the place … and Asakawa’s already said on Twitter that she’s looking forward to coming here. Hopefully her experience exceeds her expectations. “The Journey of Yuu Asakawa” panel, 5 p.m. Friday; “Work of a Seiyuu,” 10 a.m. Saturday; “Behind the Music,” 11 a.m. Sunday. Autograph signings: 11 a.m. Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
2. “Introduction of E-manga: Magical Dreamers.” We’ve been seeing an increasing number of digital manga initiatives lately, and we’re not just talking about the publisher that actually has the phrase as part of its name, Digital Manga Publishing. NTT Solmare, Jmanga, Yen Press and Viz are some of the more notable enterprises as of late. But those are all digital versions of existing print manga. Magical Dreamers, by contrast, is being touted as “the world’s first e-manga,” and so far it comes with the following bullet points:
- For iOS and Android devices
- Full Japanese and English audio recorded by voice actors including Ryo Horikawa, Chris Sabat, Brina Palencia and Monica Rial
- Ability to switch between Japanese and English voice and text
- Available April 2012
That, along with this image that’s surfaced with all the information I shared above, is pretty much all we have in English. If you know Japanese, maybe you can get more out of this official site than I can. Will we get more details like (a) what the story is and (b) how much it’ll cost? We shall see. 4 p.m. Saturday.
3. The Eleven Staples concert. I already covered this in my Kawaii Kon preview in TGIF — go check out that, and my profile on the Cosplay Cafe presented by UH students, out for free on Honolulu Pulse — but to recap the news that certainly made my jaw drop when I saw it: According to singer Erin Tamura, this will be the band’s final bow at the con. So will this be a send-off in style? You better believe it. 11 a.m. Saturday.
Wilma’s top 3
1. Anything featuring artist Yoshitaka Amano. I’ve loved his work since I first saw it in the Final Fantasy series, and that appreciation expanded to his work in the Vampire Hunter D series. he has a very ethereal style that I like. I know many people don’t care for his ultra-effeminate style of drawing people, but what I like most is the way he draws expressions on his people’s faces. They’re often sad or apprehensive, and I think he captures that very well. I’m also interested in hearing him talk about his life, his work, where he gets his inspiration and how he developed his drawing style — basically everything you’ve ever wanted to know about your favorite artist. “Face to Face” panel, 4 p.m. Friday; “Art is Life” panel: 10 a.m. Sunday.
2. Live Drawing with Yoshitaka Amano: Also a must-see. I’ve seen a video that someone shot of Amano drawing live at Comic-Con in San Diego in 2010:
It’s always great to see an artist work. You can marvel at how they’ve developed their style. (And stick around for the last character he draws, too!) Noon Saturday.
3. Ryo Horikawa and Kenichi Miya. Case Closed is one of my favorite manga, and although I haven’t watched the anime much, it’s still thrilling to have one of its major voice actors as a guest here. The bonus is that he’s the voice of Reinhard von Lohengramm, the main character in Legend of the Galactic Heroes, a show that my fiance is totally crazy about. So it’s exciting for both of us to have him here.
I’m also interested in hearing Ryo speak. His range of voices is incredible, from the soft mildness of Andromeda Shun in Saint Seiya, to the calm yet tough and passionate Reinhard, to the deep gruffness of Vegeta — he has an amazing range.
As for Miya? I have to admit I’m interested in him for curiosity’s sake. Not much has been said about him, so I’d like to hear him describe his career and the roles he’s done. 11:30 a.m. Friday.