Yup, I’m finally back in the saddle again. Why it’s taken so long between posts is a story best told some other time (preferably in one of the other posts that’s been sitting in the queue for far too long), because the kickoff to what’s promising to be another looooooooong year full of otaku-flavored events is coming up: the 23rd annual New Year’s Ohana Festival at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.
All the usual elements that have made the festival such a big community draw in past years are back again this year: activities, food (love those KC Waffle Dogs!), craft vendors, cultural demonstrations and entertainment on two stages, divided between the center itself (at 2454 S. Beretania St.) and nearby Moiliili Field. Some of the highlights for our purposes:
- Kawaii Kon representatives will be selling three-day passes for their convention April 4-6 (the first stop for Con-a-thon 2016!) at prices cheaper than what’s currently available online — $50 general admission, $40 children ages 5-12, a savings of $5.
- After going on hiatus for … umm … a while now, Oahu Anime Explorer is making its public return this year! Yay! They’ll be screening anime and hosting a photo booth for cosplayers and various activities.
- Anime Matsuri Hawaii representatives will be hosting dress form demonstrations at their table in the Manoa Grand Ballroom at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. It’ll be a preview of a longer workshop they’ll be hosting in February. They’ll also be bringing a stack of masks of Saitama, the bald-headed hero of One Punch Man, to color and take home. One Punch Man, of course, is the hottest current otaku property not involving either an unhinged wisecracking assassin or Daisy Ridley.
Admission is free; parking is available for a fee at the University of Hawaii at Manoa lower campus parking structure, with a free shuttle running between the structure and the festival. Questions? Call 945-7633.
Elsewhere around town
Closeout sale at Jelly’s Aiea: Back in 2001, Jelly’s, that bastion of local retail that’s been selling comics, books, music, games and collectibles in some form since 1983, opened a branch at the Harbor Center in Aiea, right behind Cutter Ford. Times change and good things eventually end, and it’s with that thought in mind that we’re bidding farewell to that store in less than two weeks. (A store in Kakaako will remain open for the time being.) They’re going out with a pretty big bang, though: Almost everything in the store (except for the guitar equipment, anything priced at $2 or below, and anything marked as being on consignment) is 50 percent off the price marked. There was still quite a bit of stuff there when I went on Wednesday, including a fair amount of manga and graphic novels, so go check it out while you still can.
Store hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday; it looks like they’re aiming for a Jan. 17 closing date, if everything doesn’t go out sooner. Point your GPS-enabled device at 98-023 Hekaha St., suite 9; call 484-4413.