The greatest of these is love

This past week has been a week of endings, one with no shortage of topics for me to talk about in this space. Curiosity — which I can only describe as “iOS/Android virtual bubble wrap, except with cubes instead of bubbles to pop” — ended. From Up on Poppy Hill‘s run at the Kahala 8 theaters wrapped up on Thursday (although as I mentioned before, it’ll be back on DVD and Blu-ray in September, and it’ll come packing that Japanese-language soundtrack that’s frustratingly eluded me thus far). On Thursday night, JManga transitioned from being one of the largest legal venues to read manga online to being one of the largest legal venues to view manga covers and nothing else. And Barnes & Noble will be closing its Kahala store, leaving just its Ala Moana store, as well as a scattered handful of comic stores between Aiea and Kaimuki, as the only places left on the island to buy first-run manga.

I may return to one of those topics in due time. Truth be told, I’ve been struggling all week to hit my writing stride and form anything resembling a coherent post. Part of it is the usual time-constraint problem that’s been plaguing this blog since way back in forever. But it’s mostly because I’ve been thinking a lot about something else that’ll be ending on Sunday … and, more importantly, the big ol’ katamari ball o’ wonderful that will emerge as a result.

To properly discuss this, let’s cue up some appropriate music.

As you might note from the embedded title, the song above is “Theme of Love,” the version off the Distant Worlds: Music From Final Fantasy album. Final Fantasy Wiki notes that “‘Theme of Love’ is a leitmotif from Final Fantasy IV for the relationship between Cecil Harvey and Rosa Joanna Farrell.”

Now, I’ve never played FF4. I have no idea whether Cecil and Rosa actually live happily ever after, or if some Aeri(s/th)-esque event happens and one of them ends up at the wrong end of a giant sword wielded by the Ultimate Evil Who Threatens the World They Hold Dear. Sacrilege for an anime/manga blogger, I know. (It is in my Big Horking Pile of Games to Play Eventually if I Ever Stop Getting Distracted by Bejeweled Blitz and Candy Crush Saga, but that’s beside the point.). But I do know enough about this song to know that (a) it’s a song from the Final Fantasy franchise, and (b) it has the word “love” in it. That’s more than enough for me to deem it appropriate as a tribute to my longtime tag-team partner in fandom — and quietly dedicated CD chronicler for many years — Wilma Jandoc.

On Dec. 12, 2009, at an event that was disguised as a karaoke get-together among friends at GS Studios in Waikiki, Wilma got engaged to her longtime boyfriend, Zarli Win, a guy who, among other things, is known as a really good photographer around local cosplay circles. Longtime readers of Otaku Ohana may remember this post that I wrote shortly after the events of the evening. Here’s one of the only shots I’ve ever gotten of our happy couple since then, shortly after Wilma’s first and only modeling gig at the Japanese Street Fashion Show at HEXXP 2011. I think this is the first time I’ve ever publicly published this shot. (Like I’ve said many times before: WAY behind on posting things. WAAAAAAAAY behind.)

Wilma and Zarli

Three years, five months and 20 days later, we’re on the verge of reaching the pinnacle of that journey. On Sunday, before their closest family members, friends, coworkers and a certain dorky blogger who’ll probably end up chronicling a good chunk of what goes on somewhere, Wilma and Zarli are finally getting married.

Which means that it’s the end of an era of sorts: In her personal affairs, she’ll be taking Zarli’s last name in marriage and becoming Wilma Win. I’m sure she’s heard all the possible permutations of “epic Win,” “full of Win,” “Winning” and “for the Win” by now … most of them, probably, from her husband-to-be, to which she’s probably responded by playfully whacking him. Because that’s how she rolls. So yeah, you’ll probably want to get that out of your system pretty quickly and move on. Here at Otaku Ohana, though, she’ll always be tag-team partner in fandom Wilma Jandoc to us. (She’s already committed to keeping that name in print.)

In any case, it’s certainly going to take a bit of getting used to on my part. Then again, so much has changed in our respective worlds over the lifespan of this engagement, changes that I think have been reflected in the ongoing evolution of Otaku Ohana into the blog that you see today, that another change is really par for the course. Her role with Otaku Ohana has evolved over the years, as evidenced by the handful of posts she’s contributed during our time on the server: more posts about video games and video game-related entities, less about anime and manga. And for good reason: With Gunslinger Girl wrapping up its manga run next month, I think the only two continuing series left for which she’s eagerly awaiting new installments are Case Closed and the Vampire Hunter D novels. (Well, okay, that and hoping beyond all hope that someone eventually resurrects Initial D and Musashi #9, but with JManga going pfft and U.S. publishers thumbing their noses at long series, those seem like impossible dreams at this stage.) Anime’s been pretty much limited to theatrical productions like From Up on Poppy Hill.

And yet … it would take a lot for me to rebrand this blog in my mind as anything but “Otaku Ohana by Wilma Jandoc and Jason S. Yadao,” her name always coming first, even though I’ve been the primary writer here for a while now. Because as I noted in that 2009 post, I owe my entire side career of writing about anime and manga and the local community of cartoonists and artists and fans to her and our friendship over the years, and I never want to stop paying tribute to that. Sure, our fandoms may change, and her name may be changing, but when it gets right down to it, she’s just Wilma, my dearest friend, a cool gal who loves her ramen and shoyu chicken and chocolate, and someone who’s just a few hours away from marrying the love of her life.

Again, congratulations, Wilma and Zarli. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go work on writing their card … and stock up on some packets of tissue.

Because I can pretty much guarantee you that I’ll be bawling like a baby on Sunday.

P.S. Looking for the Ota-Cool Incoming! calendar? It’s right here, the same edition I posted last week. (Just mentally shift the MangaBento meeting in your mind to June 9.) I did get word of some new events, but that’s happening later this month and deserves its own post, so there you go.

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