It’s a new day, yes it is

Ahh, 2016. The year that held so much promise until it actually happened. And now a bunch of our favorite entertainers are dead, a giant wall’s been built between red and blue voters, rail transit’s cost has risen to an estimated hundred bazillion dollars, and Pokemon Go went from the promise of this:

… to the reality of this:


So yeah, it’s pretty easy to think of last year as one that we should’ve abandoned around, say, February. It particularly rings true for me, considering:

  • I lost pretty much all of March to a cold that escalated to pneumonia, landing me in the hospital for a week.
  • A handful of coworkers at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser were laid off, including some good friends, in September.
  • I’m not sure what happened to a good chunk of the pictures I took during the first half of this year.
  • A lack of free time combined with a yearlong case of writer’s block is terrible for a blog and even more deadly for a freshly independent entity like Otaku Ohana.

A strange thing happened on the way to me labeling 2016 as “that speed bump we hit between 2015 and 2017,” though: I looked through a bunch of the pictures that I did find and found plenty of bright spots. You can’t hate on a year where this wild Magikarp suddenly spawned at the Comic Con Honolulu Pokestop, for starters.


You might know this sweetie as the Magikarp Who Made the Internet’s Collective Heart Melt, thanks to a post by a certain actor who played Capt. Jack Harkness and Comic Con Honolulu guest that same weekend in July:

We saw our share of celebrity guests — Barrowman, George Takei, Stans Lee and Sakai, Robert Kirkman, Johnny Yong Bosch, Steve Blum, Jonathan Frakes and Walter Koenig were among the stars who showed up at various events over the year. Two photos really caught my attention in that department. The first was taken in mid-January, when Stan Sakai and his wife, Julie, came down to visit and have lunch with a bunch of local cartoonists. Here’s Stan drawing in the famed FuzZz 😸 Cat-a-log, a sketchbook filled with cat sketches by people both famous and anonymous over the years.


And then there was Nichelle Nichols. The actress who played Uhura in the original Star Trek wasn’t listed for any events other than signings and photo ops at HawaiiCon in September. So when she showed up during the Star Trek 50th anniversary all-star panel, the atmosphere was electric, and she drew a standing ovation from the assembled audience. Here she is sitting next to Chase Masterson during the panel.


And while Anime Matsuri Hawaii disappeared and Anime Ohana pushed back its second event by almost a year, the local convention family still managed to grow, with Maui Comic Con drawing several hundred people to Lahaina in November. Here’s con organizer Alika Seki, left, chatting with Darkwing Duck artist James Silvani and writer Aaron Sparrow about the proper care and feeding of conventions.


There were so many moments like that last year. Moments where we were able to find our happy place, to escape from the increased drudgery and despair of the world today. I think we need more of those, and looking back on — and sharing! — some of those fond memories of years past will be an increased priority for us here at Otaku Ohana this year. Because we should be able to enjoy SOME aspect of our lives, right?

Happy new year, everyone. Here’s hoping this year turns out to be the best year ever. And if it isn’t … well, I’ll be happy to settle for another year of life, good health and being around loved ones.

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