August on the road: Anime art and festival fun

For many local fans of anime (Japanese animation) and manga (Japanese comics), the social calendar is divided into two seasons: “Kawaii Kon” and “waiting for the next Kawaii Kon.”
Me, in my Taku Taku Matsuri preview from Friday

I love “waiting for the next Kawaii Kon” seasons like the one we’re in right now. We just wrapped up a busy August with the ’90s Anime Art Exhibit and Taku Taku Matsuri, and it looks like anime and manga fans will have plenty of opportunities to stay busy through November with the exhibit “Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawaii” at Windward Community College next month; Mini Con at McCully-Moiliili Library, Kawaii Kon’s Anime Day at Windward Mall and the Hawaii International Film Festival in October; and of course the inaugural edition of Oni-Con Hawaii in November. And those are just the big events.

I’ll have a new edition of the Ota-cool Incoming! calendar posted in a few days with all the details, but for now I have a camera full of pictures begging to be shared. So before we move forward, let’s look back at the two big events in August.

The ’90s Anime Art Exhibit

I’m still a bit hard-pressed to explain why this exhibit, at the Loading Zone gallery downtown, was called a “’90s” anime art exhibit. Sure, there were a number of pieces by artists Julie Feied, Dennis Imoto, Devin Oishi and Chanel Tanaka that showed influences from shows of that era (Dragon Ball Z! Sailor Moon! Crayon Shinchan!), but it wasn’t the be-all, end-all theme of the show that I was expecting. Heck, the reception I attended on Aug. 9 featured anime music videos with Madoka Magica footage in them. And then there was the improv troupe (they were good, albeit a bit out of place). There were a handful of cosplayers, but not enough for me to stick around for the cosplay contest later that evening. Besides, talking to Dennis and Devin, I got the sense that there was a much more vibrant crowd the previous week, during First Friday. Such is life, I suppose.

Taku Taku Matsuri

The brainchild of Yuka Nagaoka acquitted itself quite nicely its first time out of the gate. Aside from a tight parking situation and the fact that the sound system speakers were located near the dealer area, making it difficult to conduct transactions any time there was music playing or performances going on, it was a nice little festival with a healthier-than-anticipated turnout, and it seemed like everyone was having a good time. And yes, just as she mentioned in that article I referenced above, Yuka did, indeed, wear her bright red kimono. She even danced to Psy’s “Gentleman” in it … not an easy feat in the warm weather we’ve been having lately, I’d think. Other highlights included artists — including some of the Comic Jam Hawaii regulars! — at the MangaBento table, doing their thing; the Yu x Me Maid Cafe & Host Club dancers filling their recommended event quota of “Mune Mune Kyun”-ing; and (not pictured) me buying waaaaaay too much Azumanga Daioh swag for my own good (but those chibi figures were sooooooooo cute, I swear!).

There aren’t very many pictures mostly because (a) I had to leave before the Cosplay Chess Brigade got to do their thing so I could go to work and (b) as I grow older, I’m finding that I’m becoming more and more of a hopeless introvert and don’t feel comfortable asking total strangers to take their pictures. But still I soldier on. Somehow.

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