The “Crossing Cultures” photo gallery! … sort of.

Sept. 15, on my Facebook page:

Spent a good chunk of the 19th anniversary of my 18th birthday checking out Brady Evans’ “Crossing Cultures” manga exhibit at Windward Community College (short-form recap in six words: it’s really awesome, go visit it; long-form recap coming in Otaku Ohana after I soak up a bit more staycation time).

Close to two weeks later, long since the warm fuzzies from staycation relaxation were replaced by the smothering blanket of daily work stress, running through my mind this morning:


The "Crossing Cultures" exhibit booklet and a pair of bookmarks.It’s probably going to be a while before those two galleries — one for the exhibit proper, the other, a side gallery dedicated to the drawings exhibit visitors have created — are ready for viewing. They may not be out until an end-of-the-year retrospective, truth be told, with all of October’s events, plus the possibility that I may be called upon to review some films screening in the Hawaii International Film Festival, looming on the horizon.

But for me to say nothing further about the exhibit before it ends in less than a week would sell it short, because there’s still quite a bit going on. There’s the aforementioned Hoolaulea from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, where the Honolulu Printmakers will be hosting a hands-on manga printmaking activity and Gallery ‘Iolani will be open for visits. There’s also the final curator’s walk-through and artist meet-and-greet session from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, featuring Gordon Rider/Star-Advertiser “Calabash” cartoonist Jon Murakami and doujinshi artist Kyunyo.

You can also get a virtual taste of the exhibit at the excellent tie-in website, with exhibit photos, sound clips of the featured artists and downloads for a treasure trove of materials including the exhibit booklet, Rose Dela Cruz’s tie-in manga and bookmarks with Audra Furuichi’s nemu*nemu pups. Brady, along with featured artists Tara Tamayori and Audra, also did an interview with Hawaii Public Radio’s Noe Tanigawa posted under the somewhat unfortunate title of “POW! Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawaii.” (I’m sorry, but the whole “let’s add sound effects to something about comics, because when people think comics, they think of the Adam West-era Batman TV show” strikes me as a tired media cliche, ranking right up there with “MANGA! Wow! Girls are reading comics now!” on the irritation scale for me.)

Here’s a taste of some of the highlights from my visit to the exhibit, starting with … the entrance! There are several discrete sections to the exhibit: the history of manga (the first wall of which is shown here); a discussion of the local otaku community; and displays on a number of local series influenced by manga.


Here’s curator Brady during the exhibit walk-through, talking about the nemu*nemu display. Worth noting in this picture:

  • The girl with the red backpack was wearing an Iwatobi Swim Club jacket. That club will be very familiar to those of you who know about the fanservice-for-fujoshi swimming anime Free! How she got that jacket that quickly, I have no idea.
  • It’s an Aiea Library young adult librarian sighting!


And here’s Brady next to costumes of Fullmetal Alchemist’s Alphone Elric and Persona‘s Teddy in the Kawaii Kon section.


There’s quite a bit of art on display, but here’s a figure study from one series that I haven’t highlighted very often in this space: Marisa Torigoe’s “Children of Aumakua,” one of the series from the Hawaii Star Manga Project anthology.


Journey of Heroes writer Stacey Hayashi was the scheduled featured guest of the day. She talked about the creative process behind the manga depicting the World War II story of the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team in chibified form.


Cacy & Kiara artist and MidWeek cartoonist Roy Chang also showed up as an unscheduled featured guest of the day. He and Stacey swapped books later on.


And, of course, some Star-Advertiser anime/manga blogger dork is part of a display where local manga “dignitaries” — the others being Kawaii Kon senior administrator Roy Bann and Star-Advertiser “Bento Box” cartoonist Deb Aoki — shared some thoughts about the evolution of Hawaii’s otaku community.


Roy Chang and I were chatting a little after Brady’s walk-through, and we both agreed that the exhibit’s production values were impressive, on a level with the Osamu Tezuka exhibit at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco in 2007. Certainly worth checking out if you have some free time over the next few days.

Aloha, Toys N Joys (and other Ota-cool calendar additions)

toys n joys aiea

It took a few weeks for me to confirm the news, but now that all the players have been properly notified and the signs printed, I can now type this with authority: Both Toys N Joys stores — the store in Kaimuki, as I noted in the September Ota-cool Incoming! calendar, and the Aiea store, at 98-150 Kaonohi St. in the Westridge Shopping Center — will be closing on Sept. 23.

The Aiea store hasn’t been around as long as the Kaimuki store — 25 years compared to Kaimuki’s 30 — and it only had a fraction of the selection, but it’s always held a closer, more cherished spot in my heart. Part of it is because it’s physically closer to where I’ve lived all my life (central Oahu represent!). But it’s mostly because back in the days before one-click Internet shopping and a GameStop in every large neighborhood, it was the place to go to feed a budding local otaku’s ever-growing hunger for video games (both domestic and import) and anime collectibles. There’s a clerk there, Steve, who’s also been there for what’s seemed like forever. I don’t think he’s been there all 25 years — kinda hard to remember who was behind the counter when you’re 11 or 12, which is how old I would’ve been when the store opened — but it’s most assuredly been a long time. Friendly smile, always chats with me whenever I come in … great guy to know, really. I wish him and the other staffers nothing but the best in their future endeavors.

Here’s the current Aiea clearance sale breakdown:

  • All toys 25 percent off (plushies 50 percent off)
  • All video games 10 percent off
  • All DVDs 15 percent off
  • All Airsoft guns 20 percent off
  • All replica swords 25 percent off

There’s a good chance that the percentages will go higher the closer we get to closing day, so if you want to gamble on your preferred item of choice still being around for an extended period of time, it’s your call. You aren’t going to find anything super popular — it doesn’t seem like the merchandise mix has been updated for several months — but hey, you can think of it as your last chance to have a vintage otaku treasure hunt of sorts.

After the jump: some additional notes on events in September and October that have hit my radar after I published that Ota-cool calendar.

Continue reading “Aloha, Toys N Joys (and other Ota-cool calendar additions)”

Hachi Maru Hachi draws on new talent

When last we left our intrepid Hachi Maru Hachi creative team of Jordan Takemoto, Rose Dela Cruz, Brady Evans and Tara Tamayori back in March, the talents behind the local manga anthology were getting ready to release their second issue at Kawaii Kon and pondering the possibilities for a third issue for next year.

Well, we’ve reached the “open solicitation” phase of the creative process … and if you or any local artist-types you know want to be part of that next issue, now’s your chance. Tara — she of “Eternal Blade” and that series’ perverted panda — posted the following today on the Hachi Maru Hachi Facebook page:

hachi maru hachiHey all! Tara of “Eternal Blade” here! We are looking for people interested in doing their own manga and getting it published. All that is required is for you to have some sort of relation to the islands of Hawaii and have confidence that your work is ready to get out there.

We won’t just take anyone. Make sure to contact our president, Jordan Takemoto, with a 20-24 max page, one-shot story with character designs and concept, background, and fashion. We also want some inking examples of your work (if it’s digital that is fine), color is optional, and method of work (traditional/digital/both). Be ready and persevere against our strict president because he will poke holes in your story until there are none. If you are in younger than 18 make sure you let us know and have the consent of your parents. We do not wish to pull you away from school work. ((((;゚Д゚)))))))

This is a lot of work but we hope you can contact us with all of this by the end of this month (or a little later since i posted this late). That way there is room to get this printed by February and sold at the Kawaii Kon in March. Good luck! Or がんばって‼ (((o(*゚▽゚*)o)))

Interested? You can get in touch with Jordan via the aforementioned Facebook page.

Ota-cool! September: Manga’s story, our story

Welcome to this month’s edition of Ota-cool Incoming! … which technically should have come out a few days ago, ideally before Sept. 1, so that I could have gotten one more Comic Jam Hawaii meeting in here. What can I say; work the past few nights, ever since I last posted something here, has been cah-ray-zy.

Art of Manga flyerThis month’s spotlight event is one for which yours truly served as an adviser: “Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawaii.” The exhibit, at Gallery ‘Iolani on the Windward Community College campus, is a journey through the history of manga locally, from its origins in Japan through its influences on the local fan community.

There’s a veritable who’s who of local artists and writers spotlighted, including Audra Furuichi (nemu*nemu), Roy Chang (Cacy & Kiara), Jon Murakami (Gordon Rider), Marisa Torigoe (“Children of Aumakua” from the Hawaii Star Manga Project), Stacey Hayashi and Damon Wong (Journey of Heroes), Patsy Y. Iwasaki and Avery Berido (Hamakua Hero), Tara Tamayori (“Eternal Blade” from Hachi Maru Hachi) and Kyunyo (“Emperor’s Seal”). All of this is curated by Brady Evans, Pen & Ink Works founder and Hachi Maru Hachi contributor.

The number of special activities tied in to this exhibit could probably fill an average Ota-cool Incoming! calendar by themselves. Start with the opening reception, running from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday. Every Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. for the duration of the exhibit will feature the curator’s walk-through and artist talks, where you can meet some of the participating artists. And as part of the Windward Hoolaulea (10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 28), the Honolulu Printmakers will be hosting a hands-on manga printmaking activity from noon to 2 p.m., and the gallery will be open on what will be the only Saturday it’ll be open for the exhibit’s run.

If you can only make it out to see the exhibit, it runs through Oct. 2; there’s an area where you can sketch to your heart’s content, so at least you’ll have that. Gallery hours are 1-8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays and 1-5 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

After the break: the rest of this month’s highlights! And stuff beyond that, too! Continue reading “Ota-cool! September: Manga’s story, our story”