The Cel Shaded Report, 3/30: “From Up on Poppy Hill” comes down to Kahala

Wonder if this makes it "Poppy Hill" on San Francisco hill. Hard to tell from this angle.Roy Chang — Aiea Intermediate art teacher, MidWeek cartoonist, Cacy & Kiara and the Curse of the Ki’i author and friend of the blog — visited San Francisco while on vacation for a few days last week, making me (and no doubt a good number of his Facebook friends) supreeeeemely jealous by posting pictures of his Bay Area adventures. One of the pictures he posted was the one you can see to the right: a From Up On Poppy Hill poster on a light pole in the SoMa district.

Poppy Hill is the newest film from Studio Ghibli to be localized for U.S. audiences, and the first to arrive under the umbrella of GKids Films. Ghibli, of course, is the production house of My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Spirited Away, The Secret World of Arrietty, Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle and many, many, many other quality films over the years … and Tales From Earthsea. The less said about Earthsea, the better. It’s worth noting, though, that Poppy Hill is the first time since Earthsea that Goro Miyazaki, son of Ghibli superstar Hayao Miyazaki, has directed a feature film and critical buzz has actually been good. (Hayao Miyazaki contributed the screenplay.) The story, set in Yokohama in 1963, follows Umi and Shun, two teens drawn together in their efforts to save a rundown clubhouse at their high school from being demolished … and eventually drawn closer with the bonds of budding romance.

Here, have a trailer.

Our Bay Area friends have been enjoying Poppy Hill since Friday, but the question was whether the movie would cross the Pacific and make its way to a theater near us. On the same night that Roy posted his picture, I checked GKids’ theater listing and was pleased to learn that the film will be screening locally … Consolidated’s Kahala 8 complex in Kahala Mall, to be exact. And it’s opening next Friday, April 5.

And that is pretty much all I know about the movie’s local release at this point. I’ve been watching Fandango over the past few days to see if there have been any links to advance ticket sales or showtimes posted; none exist as of yet. (I’d expect movement on this around Tuesday or Wednesday, which is when screenings over the next week usually are added to the database.) Unless there’s some special dispensation, I’m also expecting that the version that will be screening will be the English dubbed version, as seen in the trailer above; the subtitled version seems to be appearing only at select film festivals. It’s good that the film’s even showing up here in the first place, though, so please, no complaining.

Want to learn more about Poppy Hill? Visit fromuponpoppyhill.com.

Ota-cool incoming!

journey of heroes“Journey of Heroes” graphic novel: If you have yet to pick up this this manga-style book chronicling the achievements of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team/100th Infantry Battalion in World War II — and you really should get it; author Stacey Hayashi and artist Damon Wong did a great job with it — it’s available for sale at the Bishop Museum gift shop. It’s a tie-in with the exhibit “American Heroes: Japanese American WWII Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal,” which also looks like it’s worth checking out. Over at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii gift shop (2454 S. Beretania St.), you can also get the book ($10 general, $9 JCCH members), some spiffy exclusive “Chibi Wear” aloha shirts for men and women ($75, $67.50 JCCH members) or, for you DIYers, pre-cut yards (36 inches by 44 inches) of any of the three available fabric styles ($20 per yard, $18 JCCH members). Bishop Museum exhibit on display through April 17.

Anime Manga Society at UH-Manoa: Meets every Thursday and Friday in Kuykendall Hall, room 305. Catch Cyborg 009, Kuroko no Basket and Hanasaku Iroha on Thursdays, or Magi, Psycho Pass and Toriko on Fridays. Social time/announcements 4:30 p.m.: screenings 5 to 7 p.m.

Manga character design workshop: Learn the basics of human anatomy and character design (and how to break those rules to develop your own style) from Tara Tamayori, the artist whose two-chapter story “Eternal Blade” is featured in the Hachi Maru Hachi anthology. Workshops will be held at the Honolulu Museum of Art School (1111 Victoria St., room 200) Cost: $15 per session, payable to the instructor at the beginning of each session. Designed for ages 12 and up. Special note: There’s already a waiting list for these workshops, so email peninkinfo@gmail.com or call the art school at 532-8741 if you’re still interested. April 7 and 14, 1 to 4 p.m.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center; locations within the mall may vary. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. April 7.

“How to Draw Manga Faces”: If you can’t figure out what participants are going to be learning at this workshop at Treehouse (250 Ward Ave., suite 233) presented by MangaBento, you’re really reading the wrong blog. Recommended for ages 8 and older; cost is $10, art materials included. Feel free to bring your own, too, if you prefer. And yes, this is the same workshop that was supposed to be held March 9 but canceled due to lack of interest; here’s hoping for more interest this time around. Details and a link to register are at treehouse-shop.com/how-to-draw-manga-faces-workshop. 2 to 3 p.m. April 20.

[Kawaii Kon 2013] Con artistry

One of the things I love about Kawaii Kon is that it’s a venue where artists inspired by the anime and manga that the convention promotes all weekend can show off their work. Heck, there’s an entire room dedicated to that purpose — Artist Alley — and for pretty much its entire nine-year existence, Kawaii Kon has posted on a certain date that tables are available for sale, and they’ll promptly sell out faster than it’ll take for you to read this sentence. Next year, Artist Alley’s moving downstairs to one of the convention center’s larger Kamehameha rooms … where tables will probably sell out faster than it takes for you to read this sentence when they go on sale.

This post is dedicated to all the pretty artwork that I saw during this year’s convention. It’s art so nice that I knew I wouldn’t be leaving the convention without a few pieces in tow. This year, in fact, actually marked a first for me: I came out of Kawaii Kon 2013 having bought more original artwork than anime-related toys. Granted, I’ve managed to cut down my toy purchases over the years to an occasional Nendoroid figure or stuff from my favorite series (get me anything related to Haruhi Suzumiya, Lucky Star, Yotsuba&! or Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and I’ll love you for life). But still … quite unusual.

I was also fortunate enough to be the recipient of some gift art pieces. The first was this drawing of Akemi Homura and Madoka Kaname, two characters from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, by Audra Furuichi.

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Yes, this is the same picture that you can see in the “10 Memorable Moments” post up on Honolulu Pulse. She threw it in with the trio of pretty art pieces I was already buying — Botcha Duck and Anpan, Kana and Nemu, and Yotsuba from the “Going Green” trio — because there was a minor flaw: A small piece of tape accidentally landed on Madoka’s cheek as Audra was drawing it. I showed it to several people, and no one noticed the small tear until I pointed it out. It’s still a really nice, clean piece.

There was also this cartoon card that Comic Jam Hawaii coordinator Michael Cannon whipped up while he was hanging out with cartoonist Jon Murakami at his table.

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There may be a picture of me with this card floating around on the Internet somewhere. But here’s Michael, Jon and Jon’s lovely assistant Gwen with it in Artist Alley. (Jon’s also holding a copy of his new comic, The Ara-Rangers issue 1, now on sale online!)

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It’s been a while since I last embedded a Flickr gallery within a post, so here’s a refresher course on how this works: To start the slideshow, just press the “play” button in the middle of the frame below. Pause and restart using the button on the lower left. If you want a larger view, click on the icon on the lower right; in that full-screen view, you can also see the captions I’ve written for each picture (using the “Show Info” link) or slow down the automatic scrolling (using the “Options” link). Finally, if you’re viewing this blog on an iOS device (iPad/iPod Touch) and can’t view Flash plug-ins, or if you just want to skip all the slideshow fiddling and go straight to the gallery, here’s the direct gallery link: www.flickr.com/photos/sumiyoshi/sets/72157633093007134/

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984

Oh yes. In case you’re wondering about where the pretty art from con guest Noizi Ito fits in to all this, there’s a whole other post in me that’ll talk about that. She deserves her own post. Because she came up with the character designs for Haruhi Suzumiya. So she’s awesome like that.

The Cel Shaded Report, 3/22: Atelier Pierrot’s isle return

It’s hard to believe it’s already been about one week since Kawaii Kon 2013 kicked off and five days since it ended. I’ve been alternating quite a bit these past few days between relaxing/recovering from it and wading through the virtual piles upon piles of pictures I shot over the three-day weekend. More galleries and posts are coming in the next few days. Just ran a handful of pictures for a “general cosplay” gallery through the ol’ Photoshop Elements image cleanup tools, in fact.

There was also this random picture that doesn’t particularly fit into my current gallery-organizing, but it’s one that’ll make old-school anime collectors drool with envy:

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Yes, that’s a stack of Maison Ikkoku box sets 1-7, sitting at the Friends of the Library Hawaii State Library System table in Artist Alley. A copy of box set 5 in the series recently sold for $88.45 on eBay. Box set 7? $76.56. Let’s not even think of what a complete set, plus box set 8. recently sold for. And it’s available to borrow — $1 per box set, for a one-week period — at a friendly neighborhood library near you (as long as that library is Aiea, although you certainly can put in a remote request for it).

But we also have to start the transition away from Kawaii Kon-related items to other events on the calendar (although with the convention already announcing its 10th annual edition is arriving on April 4-6, 2014, a seed’s certainly been planted already in the back of our minds).

So today we turn our attention briefly to the fledgling convention in town, Oni-Con Hawaii, which hit a milestone in announcing its first guest for its inaugural show: Yuko Ashizawa, a designer for Gothic Lolita fashion retailer Atelier Pierrot. This is the second go-round for Atelier Pierrot in the islands, the first time being at HEXXP last year; OCH will feature an expanded presence, with a fashion show, giveaways and a tea party among the events announced so far.

Also signing on with Oni-Con Hawaii is the Cosplay Chess Brigade, the local group that started off staging a real-life cosplay chess game at last year’s HEXXP and has since pulled off a successful game at Kawaii Kon as well. If you’ve never seen a cosplay chess game in action, it’s pretty neat; I haven’t gotten to my pictures of the Kawaii Kon game yet, but I’ll certainly be posting pics of this group somewhere soon. It seems like they’re ramping up activity in the local community quite nicely.

There’s still no date or location announced for Oni-Con Hawaii, but hopefully that’ll be coming along soon. In the meantime, if you’re interested in volunteering, send all inquiries to info@oniconhawaii.com.

Ota-cool incoming!

“Journey of Heroes” graphic novel: If you have yet to pick up this this manga-style book chronicling the achievements of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team/100th Infantry Battalion in World War II — and you really should get it; author Stacey Hayashi and artist Damon Wong did a great job with it — it’ll be available for sale at the Bishop Museum gift shop. It’s a tie-in with the exhibit “American Heroes: Japanese American WWII Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal,” which also looks like it’s worth checking out. Now through April 17.

Aiea Library Anime Club: This month, you wanted more Black Butler, so you’re getting more Black Butler from librarian Diane Masaki. Club meets at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or email aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.

Anime Manga Society at UH-Manoa: Meets every Thursday and Friday in Kuykendall Hall, room 305. Catch Cyborg 009, Kuroko no Basket and Hanasaku Iroha on Thursdays, or Magi, Psycho Pass and Toriko on Fridays. Social time/announcements 4:30 p.m.: screenings 5 to 7 p.m.

Manga character design workshop: Learn the basics of human anatomy and character design (and how to break those rules to develop your own style) from Tara Tamayori, the artist whose two-chapter story “Eternal Blade” is featured in the Hachi Maru Hachi anthology. Workshops will be held at the Honolulu Museum of Art School (1111 Victoria St., room 200) Cost: $15 per session, payable to the instructor at the beginning of each session. Designed for ages 12 and up. Special note: There’s already a waiting list for these workshops, so email peninkinfo@gmail.com or call the art school at 532-8741 if you’re still interested. April 7 and 14, 1 to 4 p.m.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month in front of Hot Unique Imaging on the Uptown side of Pearlridge Center. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/147779161986428 (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. April 7.

“How to Draw Manga Faces”: If you can’t figure out what participants are going to be learning at this workshop at Treehouse (250 Ward Ave., suite 233) presented by MangaBento, you’re really reading the wrong blog. Recommended for ages 8 and older; cost is $10, art materials included. Feel free to bring your own, too, if you prefer. And yes, this is the same workshop that was supposed to be held March 9 but canceled due to lack of interest; here’s hoping for more interest this time around. Details and a link to register are at treehouse-shop.com/how-to-draw-manga-faces-workshop. 2 to 3 p.m. April 20.

[Kawaii Kon 2013] The 11th memorable moment

Hey, regular Otaku Ohana readers: Jason Genegabus over at our entertainment website, Honolulu Pulse, asked me to write something wrapping up this year’s Kawaii Kon, and I was happy to oblige. You can find that write-up, “Kawaii Kon 2013: 10 Memorable Moments,” here: http://www.honolulupulse.com/sa/kawaii-kon-2013-10-memorable-moments

There were far more than 10 memorable moments, of course. I hope to share more of what I saw in the days and weeks ahead. But yesterday morning, as I was browsing through my Facebook news feed, one post in particular — made to the Kawaii Kon page — caught my attention. And had I known about it when I was writing the Pulse article Sunday night, it easily would have made my list.

The story is by cosplayer Jayson Semetara; the picture, by Mark Parel. Here it is, reprinted in full:

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Kawaii Kon weekend is always fun and joyous with lots of happy memories, but I think this pic tops them all.

While waiting for friends during their Pokemon shoot, this woman was walking around the convention center with her grandpa and stopped in front of me. The man suffers from dementia, and according to the woman his memory is slowly slipping away. However, when he saw me in my Gatchaman costume, he stopped and smiled at me, even shook and held my hand tightly. He even slightly said “Gatchaman!” to me. After taking the photo, his smile was really big, as if he was meeting a celebrity. Later that day, I bumped into the woman again, and she thanked me for the photo op. She said she never saw her grandpa smile that big in months and that he was humming the theme song after leaving.

….it’s memories like this that make me want to put on a costume.
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As of this morning, the post had garnered 66 “likes” on Jayson’s Facebook page and 170 on Kawaii Kon’s page, and had been shared dozens of times. Mark added in comments: “I had to take that photo. The sparkle in his eyes and his genuine smile should make everyone understand why we cosplay…”

Confession time: There are times every now and then when I wonder why I keep writing this blog. There are times when I wonder if there is anyone out there reading my words, aside from the few hard-core readers that I know I have. (Quick side note: Hi, Parv and Dan! Nice meeting you over the weekend! Hope you had a good time!) And then stories like these come along, and I remember once again that I do this because I love sharing stories like these.

Heroes do walk among us. Jayson’s certainly one of mine.

[Kawaii Kon 2013] The surprise cover debut of Noizi Ito

It was a no-brainer that I’d be attending the live-drawing panel of Noizi Ito, the Haruhi Suzumiya and Shana character designer who’s been the target of fanboy squeeing in this space as well as KYAAAAAH~!ing at opening ceremonies. She certainly didn’t disappoint, drawing pictures of Kawaii Kon mascots Ai-chan and Nami during the hour-long panel.

This one's Ai-chan!

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I’ll post a gallery showcasing more of Ito’s drawing process sometime in the (hopefully) near future. It’s rare that Ito does hand-drawn stuff in the first place; she usually works in digital media. (The Ai-chan piece would later sell at the Art Auction for the minimum bid of $750.)

But the real surprise in the panel came in the last five minutes, when translator Lisle Wilkerson started talking about a new book of Ito’s Haruhi Suzumiya-related illustrations being released May 1 in Japan and Ito took out … this.

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An audible gasp could be heard from the crowd when the color page proof popped up on the screen.

“She is just putting in the final touches on this project, on this book,” Wilkerson said. “In fact, you guys are the first — at this convention — the first to ever see the final draft of the cover.”

She paused to chat with Ito in Japanese.

“In Japan, the three girls, that part has already been seen,” Wilkerson said. “But here we see the two boys and also Shamisen, the cute little cat. This has just been added, so people in Japan have not yet seen this.”

Applause followed, and the panel ended a little while later.

There’s just something thrilling about being in an audience when something’s revealed to the world for the first time. The fact that it was something associated with one of my favorite franchises made it all the more special.

[Kawaii Kon 2013] The year of the “KYAAAH~!”

Previously at Kawaii Kon, I wrote this:

Of course, I’m not sure if Jake the Dog and Finn the Human will show up — the preceding few sentences having been a riff on the Adventure Time theme, for those of you not familiar with the show — but who knows, that show is pretty popular, so cosplayers dressing up at those characters may be a virtual lock.

And sure enough, not 30 minutes into my day, these fine cosplayers showed up.

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A Finn with Jake (in his pocket), and a Princess Bubblegum to boot? That’s it, I’ve seen all I needed to see this year, my job’s done, see y’all at Kawaii Kon 2014.

But no, we must press on, because the first day of Kawaii Kon is always a whirlwind of activity, one that usually starts off at opening ceremonies and keeps on building until everyone flops over with exhaustion Sunday evening. I say “usually” because the fireworks actually started about in the hour just before opening ceremonies this year.

That’s right. Crunchyroll and its representative, senior brand manager Keith Kawamura, broke the news that Sparrow’s Hotel, with a Japanese premiere date and a cast announced five days ago, would be making its way to the streaming anime site.

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People in the panel thus knew about the news for several precious, precious minutes before Crunchyroll formally announced it online, Anime News Network picked it up and forums no doubt started buzzing about how good and/or bad it’ll all be. Hey, several precious, precious minutes are an eternity in the Twitterverse.

But back to opening ceremonies. To say it was heavily trafficked would probably be an understatement. Here’s the scene on the fourth floor of the Hawai’i Convention Center a few minutes before 12. The line to the Dealers Room formed on the left; the line to the Main Events Room and opening ceremonies, to the right.

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That’s already a lot of people wanting to get into one or the other. Factor in where the end of the line was, though …

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… yeeeeeeaaaaaah. It would take 15 minutes after the doors opened to get everyone into the room, with staffers checking that badges had those new anti-counterfeiting stickers.

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Pretty packed house, too. Certainly more full than I’ve ever seen opening ceremonies. Consider, too, that this wasn’t even everyone at the convention at the time — Dealers Room line, remember? — and you could say that there are quite a lot of people here this year. And this is only Friday’s crowd!

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After the customary opening video (which will not be shown here because I don’t feel like dealing with copyright claims) and a performance by a Hatsune Miku hologram (which also won’t be shown here because (a) that’s super-tricky to photograph and (b) any photos or videos would never do the real thing justice anyway, because it’s one of those things that just has to be seen in person), the parade of guests began.

And that’s where one of the dominating themes of opening ceremonies — and the title of this post — entered into play. Flash back to last year’s opening ceremonies and the corresponding post, in which I dubbed that year “The Year of the Cat” because of voice actor Lisa Ortiz’s introduction of a plush kitten to beat up during the convention. This year’s trend came courtesy of Lisle Wilkerson, voice of Nina Williams and Christie Monteiro in the Tekken franchise and this year’s translator for the Japanese guests.

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Wilkerson told the audience that she was going to teach them how the Japanese usually scream. “I would like for you to use it when we introduce all our guests,” she said. “So this is how you scream: ‘KYAAAAAAAAH~!'”

And so it went. Voice actor Toshio Furukawa? KYAAAAAAAAH~!

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Fashion designer Mint? KYAAAAAAAAH~!

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Singer Iruma Rioka and guitarist Nemu? KYAAAAAAAAH~!

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Artist Noizi Ito? KYAAAAAAAAH~!

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Vocaloid DJ hachioji-P and professor Toshihiro Fukuoka? … you get the idea.

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Worth noting with Ito: She had with her one of this year’s official Kawaii Kon T-shirts with an image she designed, with all of the guests’ signatures on it.

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And one lucky audience member won it, and she got to hug Ito in the process.

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The KYAAAAAAAAH~!ing didn’t carry over to the guests from the mainland, but the swag giveaways certainly continued. Here are your hosts for part of these proceedings, voice actors Todd Haberkorn and Colleen Clinkenbeard.

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Here are two audience members begging like little doggies in front of Haberkorn to get some stuff.

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And yet the masses wanted more.

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Here’s Haberkorn actually receiving something in return from someone about to get stuff: a … plush crab. Yeah, I don’t exactly get the connection, either. But hey. Free crab. One that’s neither giant nor enemy nor requires the attacking of a weak point for massive damage.

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And then, of course, there was Johnny Yong Bosch and Eyeshine. Hugely popular.

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The masses, naturally, clamored for the stuff that they were giving away, too.

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I understand Eyeshine played a mini-set to close out opening ceremonies. I’d already moved on, though. Far too much else to see and do. A whole bunch of con-tent, you could say.

More from Kawaii Kon, coming soon…

[Kawaii Kon 2013] Day 0: With a twist!

IMG_1145Day 0 of Kawaii Kon is when you really start to feel the electricity, the energy, of another year’s convention having finally arrived. It may be logistical stuff — badge pick-ups, vendors and artists moving into the Dealers Room and Artist Alley, final technical kinks being worked out in the other rooms — but all of it means that tomorrow morning, those of us who are into the whole anime and manga scene are going to party like it’s X/1999 (well, without the whole death and destruction and end-of-the-world apocalypse stuff).

It’s also the first chance you get to see this year’s designs for the convention program and badges. You can see a picture of what I got to the right. The program’s certainly the largest I’ve seen over Kawaii Kon’s history, an 8.5-inch-by-11-inch book, with lots of colorful pages contained within. (There’s also 100 percent more giant bunny robot content on the cover than I’ve ever seen before.) This year’s badge also has a anti-counterfeiting hologram, another first.

Of course, to get all of that, you had to wait in line first. And so, here was the registration scene 15 minutes before the scheduled start time of 7 p.m.

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… that is, of course, if you were expecting preregistration to be in this area, where it’s always been since 2007, with the line of booths at the front and the line extending back around the corner and toward Kalakaua Avenue. But hey, guess what, curveball! This year, for the first time, general registration was located in a room — the room where some of you may recall the video game room was located in previous years.

There’s also a spiffy new, very pink banner.

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Also new to this year: names were divided up into individual letter stations. It seemed to make things go faster.

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And yet there were still familiar touches here and there. The fact that there are a lot of badges to process, for starters.

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Which, of course, meant that the lines for general attendees — one for people with last names beginning from A through I, the other for people with last names from J through Z — was still long.

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… no, no, long-enough-to-not-be-able-to-see-that-pink-banner-up-front long.

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… no, no, that J-Z line went around the corner and into … hey, did you guys know there’s a children’s courtyard at the convention center?

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Six years of attending Kawaii Kon, and I’ve never had a chance to actually see this courtyard until now. The artwork tiles are cute! Check it out if you have an opportunity to take a breather this weekend.

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But I digress. My destination was the professional registration table, which, aside from being outside of the general registration room, also had a handy sign pointing out where general attendees could go. The staffers, of course, were hard at work.

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It was also nice to meet one of my few dozen readers for the first time tonight — Bridget, I believe, was her name? And sitting near her there was also … oh, gosh, I forget his name, John? Jeff? Something with a J? I do remember that he had a coworker named Scott who joined him as I was leaving, and that he was playing Fire Emblem: Awakening on one of those lovely royal blue limited-edition Fire Emblem: Awakening Nintendo 3DSes. If any of you whom I met would like to clarify anything in comments, please do! My mind has admittedly been a bit frayed all week.

Coming tomorrow: Convention time! Come on and grab your friends! We’ll go to very distant lands (for our meals, because man, Blazing Steaks, Subway and 7-Eleven get crazy crowded busy during the weekend)! Of course, I’m not sure if Jake the Dog and Finn the Human will show up — the preceding few sentences having been a riff on the Adventure Time theme, for those of you not familiar with the show — but who knows, that show is pretty popular, so cosplayers dressing up at those characters may be a virtual lock.

Or the “Let Us Tell You About Homestuck” panel could just end up breaking out and taking over the entire convention.

Either way, something’s bound to happen, right?