I’m not going to make any excuses — things have felt different around Otaku Ohana Central for the past few months.
It’s certainly not for lack of content. So much has come and gone since I last wrote anything in this space. There are many fragments of posts about various events sitting in the “drafts” folder and photos sitting in my phone, but I just haven’t been motivated enough to see any of them through to completion and publication. Lancen went off to teach in Japan as part of the JET program, and tag-team partner in fandom Wilma W. and I haven’t had much mental energy left to spare after work to write much of anything after we both left the paper.
It’s one thing to re-share various announcements on the Otaku Ohana Facebook page (still very much a thing!) or to post pictures from various events on my Instagram feed so you can live vicariously through what I experience (also still very much a thing!). It’s another matter entirely, particularly these days, to generate a few hundred words about things that I really care about and want you, dear dedicated reader who’s actually stuck around this long waiting for new content, to know about as well.
But hey! Guess what! Something’s finally motivated me to write something again! So here are a few hundred words about a thing etc. etc. etc.: Mini Con at McCully-Moiliili Library, an event I’ve covered for the past …
*checks notes* …
*rechecks notes* …
… WAIT WHAT 10 YEARS HOLY CATS I AM OLD.
Seriously, though, double-digit lifespans for pop-culture events are difficult to come by in this town. Only Kawaii Kon, which kicked off the modern era of such local events and held its 15th annual show earlier this year, has lasted longer.
Mini Con, running from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the library, is being held in celebration of Teen Read Week, the Young Adult Library Services Association’s annual initiative to encourage literacy.
When I heard about Mini Con’s venue, I knew there was one person I had to get in touch with right away: Hillary Chang, the library’s young-adult librarian and acting branch manager. Those of you who stopped by the Hawaii State Library table at Kawaii Kon’s Artist Alley earlier this year might remember Chang as the librarian cosplaying as Yotsuba Koiwai, the eternally cheerful green-haired child star of must-read manga series “Yotsuba&!”
Chang is bringing in three local artists for a meet-and-greet:
» Audra Furuichi, co-creator and artist of the popular plush pup Web comic “nemu*nemu.”
» Jon J. Murakami, Star-Advertiser cartoonist, illustrator and creator of the “Gordon Rider” comic series.
» Kevin Sano, a T-shirt designer with Crazy Shirts who’s also done some designs featuring Kikaida and Kamen Rider.
“It’s more like a ‘Mini Artist Alley,’ but ‘Mini Con’ is so much easier to say!” Chang told me via e-mail.
By Hillary’s estimate, around 60 people attended Mini Con that first year. Last year, around 400 showed up. Other things changed over the years as well: Audra’s now the artist of the popular plush pup Star-Advertiser comic “nemu*nemu: Blue Hawaii”; Jon’s added the Ara-Rangers, Edamame Ninjas, and Wasabi Magazine’s “What’s Up, Wasa*bee?” comic to his repetoire; and Kevin’s moved from designing shirts to selling comics at Idea’s Music and Books in Kakaako.
All three of them will be back for Mini Con 10, happening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the library at 2211 S. King St. Joining them are several other repeat guests — Brady Evans, Tara Tamayori, and Derick “7Sketches” Fabian — and this year’s new-to-Mini Con invitee, the Hawaii Saber Academy, taking Star Wars lightsabers and turning them into tools for a pretty good workout. Instead of Teen Read Week, they’ll all be helping celebrate a bigger milestone: McCully-Moiliili Library’s 50th anniversary.
You’ll want to go around and meet everyone, too; back for another year is the stamp card rally, where you can get a free comic book in exchange for a filled card. You can also enter to win a giant gift basket, and bid on original artwork, books, and other items in a silent auction.
Normally this is the part where I would recommend arriving early for the best parking spaces, carpooling, or taking public transportation, but there’s an additional option this year: The library’s giving out passes for free parking at Ross Dress For Less across the street (top level unreserved stalls only, second level away from entrance), so there’s that.
Questions? Call 973-1099.
Pop Culture Expo is a Go!
Meanwhile, in the rapidly expanding Mini Con-esque event category, both sides of Pearlridge Center —
Phase 1 Uptown Mauka and Phase 2 Downtown Wai Makai — are hosting the Pop Culture Expo during business hours Saturday and Sunday. A number of fan-favorite artists and vendors from local convention Artist Alleys will be there — off the top of my head, I can think of Kawaii Mono, Trinigrafx, Roy Chang, Mana Comics, Headshot Heroes, and Michael Cannon. Cosplaying is encouraged, too! Admission is free.