“Miss Hokusai” returns for a week

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Hmmmmm. That great wave certainly looks familiar. Courtesy GKIDS Entertainment.

Miss Hokusai’s Hawaii premiere earlier this month sounded pretty sweet. As the leadoff feature for the Honolulu Museum of Art’s monthlong Japanese Cinema spotlight, this anime, focusing on the life of the lesser-known daughter to famed artist Katsushika Hokusai, O-ei, got a lovely welcome: preshow pupus, artists drawing on paper fans and auctioning them off, Darin Miyashiro playing the koto. And a good time was probably had by all.

I write “probably” here because, like most things scheduled for Saturday nights, I was working my usual night shift at the Star-Advertiser and thus couldn’t go. Fortunately for me and those of you unable to attend, though, there’s going to be another screening of Miss Hokusai … or, to be more accurate, another 33 screenings.

That’s because the movie’s playing at the Consolidated Kahala theaters in a full-on limited engagement starting today. It looks like it’s sticking around for at least a week, according to Consolidated’s site; we’ll see Tuesday whether it lingers for longer. So the standard disclaimer applies: The sooner you can see this movie, the better.

You can also see it with its English dub or original Japanese audio with English subtitles; check out the Ota-cool Incoming calendar for exact times, but in general, the dubbed version is being shown at matinees, and the subbed version has the late afternoon/evening slots.

Here, have the trailer again.

Other weekend notes

  • Haven’t seen Shin Godzilla, the latest installment in the Godzilla franchise as directed by Evangelion director Hideaki Anno, yet? You have one more chance: 12:50 p.m. Saturday at the Regal Dole Cannery 18 theaters. Get your tickets here.
  • idkwhat2wear and Kawaii Mono are going to be part of the Season’s Best Craft & Gift Fair this weekend at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. Hours are 5-9 p.m. today, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $3, but here, have some $1 discount coupons. Also, be advised that parking late Saturday might be a little tight because of that evening’s Big Bang show. Wow. Fantastic, baby.
  • NEET, the mini con at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii that I wrote about yesterday, released a more comprehensive list of vendors a few hours after I published my post. (Oh hey, Michi’s Toy Box and artist Reid Kishimoto are going to be there, too!) You can check it out here. Wish I could attend, but alas, work calls.

A banner day for us

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I’m not going to sugarcoat it: Things have been pretty rough emotionally these past few days, saying goodbye to so many Star-Advertiser colleagues who were part of the recent layoffs. It’s been so chaotic that I feel bad about not having the time or energy to write anything in advance here about Kawaii Kon’s Anime Day at Japan Village Walk, although I did take some pictures for a few minutes there (including this one), rushed off to watch Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie (much of which takes place in the lovely Japanese village of, umm, Harrisville … oh, and Kumamon shows up, too!), came back for a few more pictures and then dashed off to work.

There is, however, some better news to share. If you’ve visited this site in the past few days, you might have noticed our new site banner, drawn by cartoonist Dave Swann. Dave’s comic, “Trouble in Paradise,” ended its 7 1/2-year run in the Star-Advertiser on Sunday.

We’re honored to showcase that banner as a permanent fixture of our blog. I’ve followed Dave’s work ever since he did supplemental comics for Will Hoover’s old “Pineapple Stew” columns waaaaaaaay back in the day at the Advertiser. Heck, I even have one of the super-rare “Trouble in Paradise” books (the cover of which is shown up top), snapping it up back way back when Borders at Ward Centre was still a thing (remember that?). It’s so rare, I’ve never seen a copy since. So to have him do something for us is pretty danged awesome.

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Another announcement: We now have a Facebook page, where Wilma and I will be sharing links to our latest posts as well as the breaking otaku news that interests us the most, both locally and nationally. Maybe even live pictures from events, too, if I can figure out how to link that up. Like it! Share it! Say “amen!” (A certain Otaku Ohana Anonymous Director of Forced Social Interaction is so going to bop me over the head for writing that.)

Actual content that’s less about us and more about what’s going on in the community coming really soon! Like tomorrow! Promise!

Post #238

(Note from Jason: For the sake of having a complete Otaku Ohana archive here, I’m cross-posting this, the last post made on staradvertiserblogs.com, to this site. New content will be coming soonish! I just need some time to get some fresh air and food first.)

Amazing Hawaii Comic Con is hosting its Special Edition this weekend at the Hawai’i Convention Center. It’s a pretty impressive guest list, headlined by comic writer Brian Michael Bendis and featuring Chad Hardin (artist, Harley Quinn), Veronica Taylor (the original voice of Ash in Pokemon), members of the Hawaiian Comic Book Alliance and Max Mittelman, Ray Chase and Robbie Daymond (voice actors who play prominent roles in One-Punch Man and Final Fantasy XV). For tickets and information, visit amazinghawaiicomiccon.com.

But you’ll have to excuse me if I only briefly touch on that because of a bigger announcement that needs to be made: What you’re reading is the 238th post written by either me or tag-team partner in fandom Wilma Win since Otaku Ohana migrated from starbulletin.com to the staradvertiserblogs.com domain in 2012.

It is also the final post of Otaku Ohana as you’ve known it for its 7-year existence.

Sunset over Ala Moana Center as seen from the Ala Moana Hotel, March 26, 2015. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.
A sunset as seen from the Ala Moana Hotel, March 26, 2015. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.

Let me clarify at the outset that I’m not one of the 15 recently laid-off newsroom employees at the paper. (Neither is Wilma.) My primary duties at the paper are as a copy editor and page designer, and I’ll still be doing that. Recent cuts have, however, resulted in a shifting of priorities for staradvertiser.com, and those of us who write blogs were told earlier this week that most of the blogs — save for the four UH sports blogs hosted at hawaiiwarriorworld.com — would be discontinued, effective Friday, Oct. 7.

I do, however, have some good news about the future of Otaku Ohana. Shortly after that blog migration I noted earlier, I quietly reserved a space on WordPress, intending to use it as a backup in case anything ever happened to either that server or the original Star-Bulletin blog server. Things happen all the time that cause chunks of the Internet’s history to disappear forever, and I wanted to be ready for that.

Thanks to staradvertiser.com webmaster Adam Sparks and Editor Frank Bridgewater, who gave me the go-ahead to do so, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve gained full rights to house all past Otaku Ohana content and publish all future posts to that WordPress space. So yes, this blog will live on. It’ll just be updated at its new home — set your browsers and bookmarks to otakuohana.com, please — and be a 100 percent more freelance-ish endeavor.

So why am I continuing this blog away from the umbrella of Star-Advertiser branding? It’s because it’s become something more than A Thing I do in my spare time at the paper. It’s become a labor of love. A coworker once told me that he enjoys reading what I write because my style seems more like it’s written from a fan’s perspective rather than a clinical journalist’s perspective, and it’s something I’ve tried to keep intact all these years.

In the 11 years I’ve written Cel Shaded and Otaku Ohana, I’ve met so many cool people had so many wonderful experiences and had fun writing about it all. And it’s all thanks to you, the people who’ve stuck with me and Wilma over those years. We are otaku, fans of anime, manga, comics, cartooning, sci-fi, fantasy, what have you. We are ohana, a family. Granted, we can be a somewhat dysfunctional family at times — trust me, I’ve heard enough off-the-record, behind-the-scenes stories to write a book if I was that sort of person, which I’m not — but still a family nonetheless.

I just have one request: If you like the blog, now more than ever, please spread the word about it. I usually note when new posts go up on my Twitter (twitter.com/jsyadao) and Facebook (facebook.com/jsyadao) accounts. Sometimes Google+, too, if the Otaku Ohana Anonymous Director of Forced Social Interaction reminds me about it. Readership going forward is something I’m going to closely monitor to determine whether I should continue to request press credentials at most of the Con-athon shows, because I feel somewhat guilty asking if hardly anyone’s reading.

See you at otakuohana.com, space cowboys.

Ota-cool Incoming: Art and squeeeee~!

So many events! So little time. So much Pokemon! So little happiness.

To the calendar!

Special events

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Draw Story: Art and Process of Visual Storytelling: If you’ve ever wondered about how your favorite comics develop into something you can read, or if you’re just a fan of work generated by our local community of comic artists, this is your show. The Honolulu Museum of Art is hosting an exhibit collecting work from a selection of artists from the Hawaiian Comic Book Alliance (including MidWeek cartoonist Roy Chang, Con-athon 2016 standard-bearer Jon Murakami, Pineapple Man creator Sam Campos and Mana Comics founder Chris Caravalho) along with several comic-inspired artists (Brady Evans, Devin Oishi). The opening reception is at the art school from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday (be advised that the art museum will be hosting its August Moon food and wine event around the same time, and the Pacific Ink & Art Expo will be going on at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall, so neighborhood parking will probably be tight), while the exhibit itself runs through Aug. 29.

Pokemon Go Fest at SALT: Coral Street sits a few blocks away from Star-Advertiser Tower in Kakaako. It’s rather industrial in nature; there are a bunch of warehouses lining it, and you can also find Highway Inn and Hank’s Haute Dogs there. Ever since Pokemon Go launched a few weeks ago, I keep seeing a few players adding confetti-spewing lures to at least eight of the area Pokestops every night and wandering over to claim the nearby Paradise Mural Gym for the glory of Team Instinct or the other two teams that aren’t Team Instinct. (Just kidding, Valors and Mystics, you know I love ya. Mostly because I’ve given up on holding a gym for more than 20 minutes at a time.) Here’s the scene on a recent night.

Yeeeeeeeaaaaah. There are a LOT of people playing Pokemon Go. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.
Yeeeeeeeaaaaah. There are a LOT of people playing Pokemon Go. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.

… yeah, it’s a nightly PokeStreetParty. And now SALT at Our Kaka’ako — the development that has Coral Street as its eastern border — is getting in on the action with a daytime party, featuring live music from DJ Romeo Valentine, a cosplay contest, an Instagram raffle, photo ops with the Hawaii Pokemon Go girls (wait, there are Pokemon Go girls now? Quite a world we live in these days …) and discounts at various SALT merchants. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

otaku summer festival logo

Otaku Summer Festival: This single-day event is back for a second year with food, games and vendors (including Jon!) offering items that’ll make fans of anime, manga and Japanese culture happy. Planned entertainment includes music from The Otakus and a cosplay contest (with prizes!)

Here, have a commercial.

Video Gamers Hawaii will be feeding the shrine’s Pokestop with lures regularly and, in conjunction with the Hawaii Video Gamers League, will be hosting Street Fighter V and Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator tournaments. As for that food? Look forward to five kinds of musubi (fried rice, shoyu chicken, kabayaki eel, furikake salmon and sweet sekihan) for $2.50 each, and three kinds of bentos (chicken katsu, katsu curry, salmon yakisoba) for $7.50 each. Admission is free. Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu (1239 Olomea St.), 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

Kenshin Part I: Origins: The live-action adaptation of Nobuhiro Watsuki’s wandering swordsman manga starring Takeru Sato as Himura Kenshin and Emi Takei as Kamiya Kaoru is making its way back to theaters courtesy of fresh stateside licensing by Funimation. Yes, it’s the same movie that first came to town via the Hawaii International Film Festival in 2013. But a) you get to see it on the big screen again and b) there are two more movies in the series that will be making their way down here in the next few months as well. That counts for something, right? In Japanese with English subtitles. General admission: $12.25. Consolidated Ward Stadium theaters, 7:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday.

Pokemon: The First Movie: It’s the first big-screen adventure for Ash, Pikachu and the rest of their PokeBuddies, the debut of Mew and Mewtwo in animated series canon, and it’s back on the big screen once again … and it’s in a venue where you can’t play Pokemon Go. (Seriously, I’m not sure if it’s just my cell phone provider or what, but I’ve never been able to get any sort of data signal in the Doris Duke Theater. It’s just too deep underground.) You can, however, cosplay and enter a trivia contest to win fabulous prizes. Sponsored by Kawaii Kon; tickets are $10 general admission, $8 Honolulu Museum of Art members. 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15.

Elsewhere around town

Aiea Library Polar Bear Cafe & Friends Anime Club: Every month, I joke with young adult librarian Diane Masaki that she ought to change the name of the Anime Club to the Polar Bear Cafe & Friends Club, seeing as how the screening schedule for the past few months has consistently been two episodes of the 2012-2013 anime followed by two more episodes of something else. (This month’s “friends” remain the ship-gals of KanColle.) Well, it’s the end of an era, because the club will be finishing off the series at this meeting (and this running gag in the process). Oh, well. At least I can still call Diane the Face of Hawaii Ingress ™, right? At the library, 99-374 Pohai Place, where there’s still plenty of parking … and now a giant sugar molecule out front. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or email aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month … and this month, they’re back at Pearlridge Center! Happy day! Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: Pearlridge Downtown (Center Court area), 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The Great Otaku Calendar of All the Things, July Edition

There isn’t much time to explain why I’ve been away for so lo–

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… OK, fine, so there’s that. But seriously, there isn’t much time to explain why I’ve be–

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… yeah, OK, that too. But that’s really everything that’s been distracting me at the mo–

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… umm, let’s just get to this month’s event calendar, shall we?

ghibli porco

The Miyazaki Ghibli Film Festival: “But I thought we just had a Ghibli film festival in April!” you say. Ahh, but that one didn’t feature films being screened in the historic Hawaii Theatre. Nor did it feature a festival-exclusive Ghibli-themed T-shirt, a cosplay contest (2 p.m. Sunday), entertainment from the Drowning Dreamers Band (7-7:30 p.m. Friday) and Makkuro KurO.K. (7-7:30 p.m. Saturday), food vendors Pig & the Lady (Friday) and Onomono (Saturday and Sunday) or an Art+Flea-hosted room full of crafters, including friends of the blog Marisa and Carole Gee of Kawaii Mono, who’ll be selling all these Ghibli-themed charms at the event:

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Related to that, Kawaii Mono is giving away a Miyazaki prize pack valued at $50; visit instagram.com/kawaiimono808 for details. (If you win, though, you’ll have to pick up your prize at the festival; keep that in mind before you enter.) Best of all, if you just want to skip the movies and enjoy the festivities, admission to that is free. You can visit the crafters in the theater’s Weyand Room from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

As for the movies themselves? You can choose from Princess Mononoke (subtitled) at 8 p.m. Friday, Kiki’s Delivery Service (dubbed) at 4 p.m. Saturday, Spirited Away (subtitled) at 8 p.m Saturday, and/or My Neighbor Totoro (dubbed) at 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15 general, $10 children ages 4-17, free for children 3 and under. For more information or tickets, visit hawaiitheatre.com.

keiki con 2016

Keiki Con: Central Oahu’s largest con-style event is back for a second year in Mililani Mauka, and it’s boasting quite a lineup of guests in the Artist Zone: Pineapple Man creator Sam Campos, Mana Comics creator Christopher Caravalho, Gordon Rider/Ara-Rangers/Edamame Ninjas creator Jon Murakami will all be there Members of Comic Jam Hawaii will be hosting a table with drawing activities (and they’ll be drawing as well!), and Headshot Heroes will be doing a live painting demo (when he’s not giving kids a chance to visit with Elmo, of course). Kawaii Kon/Comic Con Honolulu representatives will be on hand with ticket specials, and they’ll also be giving away two 3-day passes to CCH later this month. And no mini-con would be complete without a cosplay contest, taking place at 11:45 a.m. (and if you’re interested in participating in that, be sure to check in no later than 11:30 a.m.). Food booths, entertainment, and, of course, plenty of activities for the kids round out the event. Mililani Recreation Center 7 (95-1333 Lehiwa Dr.), 10 a.m.-3 p.m. July 9.

Hawaii Geek Meet: If it’s geeky, it’ll probably show up somewhere during this 9th-annual meet-up — cosplayers, a Quidditch team, the Last Outpost and the Pacific Outpost of the 501st Legion being among those who are planning to show up. Also notable: Just four days after the game overwhelmed Android and iOS networks nationwide, there’s already a Pokemon Go farming meetup planned. Geeks are super-efficient! Kapiolani Park, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.

CCH logo

Comic Con Honolulu: George Takei, original Star Trek actor and overseer of everything viral on the Internet, is the headliner at this, the next stop for Con-athon 2016. Other key guests from the 22-person lineup include Sean Astin, Sam Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy; John Barrowman, Capt. Jack Harkness in Torchwood and the Dark Archer in Arrow; Mythbuster Grant Imahara; Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicienza; and Kristin Bauer, currently starring as Maleficent in Once Upon A Time. Hawai’i Convention Center, Friday-Sunday, July 29-31.

The Great Otaku Calendar of All the Things, June edition

Before I get too far into this month’s event roundup, a quick shout-out is in order to Joelle Lee and the rest of her Moanalua High School team — mentioned in this space last month — which made it to the finals of the Vans Custom Culture contest. While they didn’t take home the $50,000 top prize for their school’s art program, they did earn a $4,000 runner-up prize, as well as an additional $15,000 for being chosen as the Journeys “Local Attitude” award winner. Nice job, everyone!

OK! Let’s take a look at what’s coming up for the rest of this month:

Fighting Spirit 2015

MangaBento presents “MaidenCraft”: It’s the sixth eighth annual show — one at the former Contemporary Museum, seven at the current Honolulu Museum of Art School location! — by the group of anime- and manga-inspired artists. Some of the young artists who had pieces in the first few shows have gone on to nice professional careers elsewhere. MAN, I feel old. But I digress. Last year’s show, “This is Fighting Spirit” (part of the layout of which is shown above), featured a number of pieces focused on a shonen (boys’ manga) theme; it’s the girls’ turn with this year’s show, “MaidenCraft.” Honolulu Museum of Art School (1111 Victoria St.), second-floor gallery. Opening reception, 2-4 p.m. Sunday; show runs through June 24.

Friends of the Library of Hawaii 69th Annual Book Sale: Lovers of print media, this is your sale. (Not just books, too; there are CDs, DVDs and even artwork available.) Lovers of comics and manga, this is even more your sale this year, as one of the big promo points is a larger inventory of comics and manga, priced at the holy-cats-that’s-really-low price of $1 each. There are also more cookbooks than usual, which means that if you stick my mom and I in there on the first day, we may not emerge until the last day. Heck, we may have to empty our bookshelves now so that we can fill them back up again. Free. McKinley High School cafeteria (1039 S. King St.), June 18-26.

hello kitty truck

Hello Kitty food truck in Honolulu: Sanrio may be getting more in tune with the real world’s jaded/bitter tone — consider their last two most notable characters have been Gudetama the unmotivated egg and Aggressive Retsuko, the harried red panda office lady who blows off steam with death metal karaoke — but at least they’ll always have their iconic cat-who’s-not-a-cat, Hello Kitty, as the face of their company. To that end, there’s been a Hello Kitty food truck touring the country, selling mini cakes, cookie sets, macarons and exclusive merchandise at every stop. This month, it’s Hawaii’s turn, so the truck’s (presumably) hopping on a boat and floating on over here to spread its special brand of happiness. In front of the Sanrio Store at Ala Moana Center, June 17-19.

Neko Cafe: If you like your cats to be shorter than five apples tall and less cartoon-like, Mori by Art+Flea will be the place to visit for Hawaii’s first cat cafe.  You know those places in Japan where you can stop off for a cup of coffee with a side of cuddles with feline friends? Same concept. Morning Glass Coffee will be providing the noms and drinks for both humans and animals, the Hawaiian Humane Society will be providing the cats — all of which will be up for adoption, by the way, in case any of them capture your heart and refuses to let go — and several artists from the Art+Flea community will be selling cat-inspired works. Ward Warehouse, 1050 Ala Moana Blvd., unit 1550, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. June 25.

Aiea Library Polar Bear Cafe & Friends Anime Club: Every month, I joke with young adult librarian Diane Masaki that she ought to change the name of the Anime Club to the Polar Bear Cafe & Friends Club, seeing as how the screening schedule for the past few months has consistently been two episodes of the 2012-2013 anime followed by two more episodes of something else. (June’s “friends” remain the ship-gals of KanColle.) It hasn’t happened yet. And it probably never will, now that she’s running out of Polar Bear episodes. Sigh. At the library, 99-374 Pohai Place, where, yes, there’s still plenty of parking. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or email aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. June 25.

Comic book Christmas has arrived anew

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Congratulations, dear otaku! You’ve managed to survive the first four months of the year. Here, have some cookies … err, comics.

Indeed, with all that’s been happening in the real world and its cascade of bad news, we’ve made it to the annual national celebration of comic book culture, Free Comic Book Day. On Saturday, various comic shops and libraries will be giving away a wide range of comic books. Some will even be hosting special events. It’s a tradition that’s run annually since 2002, and while some of the stores locally have changed over the years, the concept remains the same: give away comic books; expose readers to a wide range of series; get people into stores to peruse what’s available. Put another way, it’s like a comic Christmas.

The books this year run the gamut from summer blockbuster source material (Avengers, Suicide Squad, Captain America) to pop culture icons (Archie, Doctor Who, Strawberry Shortcake, Sonic the Hedgehog) to cool little niche titles that you might not recognize now but might just end up being the next series that you slavishly follow every month. Manga fans, the books you’ll want to look for are Kodansha Comics’ Attack on Titan Anthology preview and a pair from Viz, Pokemon Pocket Comics and the One-Punch Man/My Hero Academia combo sampler. You can find a complete list of what’s available here; just remember that the sites celebrating Free Comic Book Day rarely, if ever, have every book in stock. Don’t forget to patronize your local stores and stick a few dollars in their cash registers, too; while the books are free to readers, they aren’t for the stores.

So where can you go? With six stores and 14 libraries on Oahu and a smattering of locations on the neighbor islands, you certainly have options this year.

Comic book stores

The biggest celebration in the state looks to be at Other Realms (1130 Nimitz Highway, suite C-140) in Iwilei, with cosplayers, gifts for children in cosplay, discounts, door prizes and a FCBD Spongebob Squarepants pin for the first 100 customers. Special guests include Free Isabelo, founder of Live Free Die Free (LFDF) Comics and creator of The Contraptor; Gary Turner, a local TV commercial producer and creator of I, Mage; and the creative team behind Kipaku Kai. Midweek cartoonist, Cacy & Kiara creator and Pepe the Chihuahua kalbi wrangler Roy Chang’s also going to be there, drawing caricatures of people as Funko Pop figures. You know, kind of like this.

roy chang funkofied drawings

… and yes, that is your friendly neighborhood otaku blogger in the upper left corner with a convention badge, funny cosplay hat and phone running Ingress at the ready. I love it.

Dragon’s Lair (95-1840 Meheula Parkway, suite E-10) in Mililani will be hosting artists Jon Murakami, Michael Cannon and Reid Kishimoto, who’ll be doing sketches throughout the day and handing out bookmarks drawn by Comic Jam Hawaii members. I don’t think I’ve ever spotlighted Reid’s artwork in this space before, so here, have some Disney Princess bookmark samples drawn by him.

fcbd bookmarks

Over on Hawaii island, Enjoy Comics (45-201 Pohaku St.) is teaming up with Hilo Public Library and using the day as an opportunity to promote literacy through comics. Comics will be available at the store and at the library, and the library has a special display showcasing local and national comics that will be up all month.

Also giving out comics: Choice Comics (98-1268 Kaahumanu St., suite 104) in Pearl City; Westside Comics and Games (590 Farrington Highway, #538) in Kapolei; and Collector Maniacs (3571 Waialae Ave., suite 102A) and Gecko Books (1151 12th Ave.), both in Kaimuki. Maui readers can visit Maui Comics & Collectibles (333 Dairy Road, suite 102) in Kahului.

FCBD 2015
Various cosplayers and one Face of Hawaii Ingress ™ gather for a picture at Free Comic Book Day 2015 at Aiea Library. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.

Libraries

If getting to a comic book store is too much of a haul for you, your neighborhood library might be able to help. Participating libraries include Aiea, Aina Haina, Hawaii Kai, Kailua, Kalihi-Palama, Kapolei, Manoa, McCully-Moiliili, Mililani, Salt Lake-Moanalua, Waianae, Waikiki-Kapahulu, Waimanalo and Waipahu on Oahu; Princeville on Kauai; Kahului, Kihei, Lahaina and Makawao on Maui; the Lanai Library booth at the Saturday Market in Dole Park on Lanai; and Hilo, Kona and Thelma Parker on Hawaii island.

The libraries will have Comic Jam Hawaii bookmarks, and they’ll have a selection of the following comics:

  • Archie #1
  • Assassin’s Creed
  • Avengers #1
  • Bongo Comics Free-For-All (Simpsons)
  • Boom! Studios Summer Blast (featuring Mouse Guard, Adventure Time and Lumberjanes)
  • Captain America #1
  • Dark Horse All-Ages Sampler (featuring The Legend of Korra, How to Train Your Dragon and Plants vs. Zombies)
  • Suicide Squad #1
  • DC Super Hero Girls
  • Doctor Who: Four Doctors Special
  • Grumpy Cat
  • Pokemon Pocket Comics
  • Dark Horse Serenity/Hellboy/Aliens
  • Spongebob Freestyle Funnies
  • Strawberry Shortcake #0

In addition, cosplayers from the 501st Imperial Legion, Rebel Legion Hawaii and Hawaii Cosplayers Guild will be showing up at Aiea, Aina Haina, Kapolei, Manoa, Mililani, Salt Lake-Moanalua, Waikiki-Kapahulu, and Waipahu libraries on Oahu, Makawao on Maui and Thelma Parker on Hawaii island. Lawrence Muleh, a Maui teacher, artist, illustrator, creator, and children’s book author, will be teaching a drawing workshop at Makawao Library at 2 p.m. But the luckiest library in the state has to be Kihei, who’ll be hosting comic artist James Silvani from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Among his credits: artwork on Darkwing Duck and Animaniacs comics. Seeing as how those are two of my favorite series ever, I am so jealous of you right now, people of Kihei.

Shoes … shoes … shoes … let’s get some shoes

When last we visited with teen artist Joelle Lee in this space nearly two years ago, it was at the Kids Inc. Business Showcase at Windward Mall, and I had commissioned her to draw a caricature of me.

Joelle Lee at Windward Mall

I haven’t changed my Facebook and Twitter profile pics ever since.

Joelle’s graduating from Moanalua High School in a few weeks, which makes me feel pretty old. (Also making me feel old recently: the fact that Cel Shaded ended five years ago. But I digress.) One of her final school projects, though, is pretty cool: She’s part of the Moanalua team that’s among the semifinalists in the annual Vans Custom Culture shoe design competition. According to the contest website:

Vans Custom Culture was created to inspire and empower high school students to embrace their creativity through art and design and to bring attention to diminishing arts education budgets. Vans believes everyone should be empowered to express themselves creatively and should be given the tools to do so.

Custom Culture is a national high school customization competition using blank Vans shoes to be customized around specific themes. Once your school’s designs are completed, they go through a voting process to narrow down our top 50 entries. Then, it’s up to your school and classmates to garner votes from the public to choose our top 5 that go on to compete in our final event.

The top vote-getters in each of five regions — Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, and California, which I guess has enough entries to support itself as a region in its own right — advance to the finals in Los Angeles, and the winning team will get $50,000 for its school’s art program.

Here’s Joelle’s contribution to the competition, inspired by the theme of “Music.”

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And here are the other shoe designs. Clockwise from top on the top photo are team members’ interpretations of the themes of “Local Culture,” “Action Sports” and “Art.”

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The Moanalua team’s in the Southwest region, and it’s going up against a school in Arizona, a school in Oklahoma and about a hundred kajillion schools in Texas. OK, there are only seven, but it certainly looks intimidating, particularly when you consider nine states comprise the Southwest region (better luck next year, Colorado, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah!). In any case, the last time I checked, Texas had a loooooooot more people than we do, so it might be a bit of an uphill battle. But hey, we got Jasmine Trias pretty far into her American Idol season back in the day, so that probably counts for something, right?

Voting is open now at sites.vans.com/customculture. You have until 2 p.m. May 11 to vote and you can vote once per day until then, so let’s make a difference, people.

Ota-cool Incoming: The merry, merry month of May

If April was the month of anime, with Kawaii Kon and Consolidated Theaters’ Studio Ghibli Festival capturing the attention of local otaku, then May has to be the month where comic culture takes center stage. The Hawaii Comic & Toy Expo kicks it off, Amazing Hawaii Comic Con puts a nice little bow on it, and there’s Free Comic Book Day and a smattering of comic artist appearances in between to keep us all busy.

But that’s not to say it’s all comics; anime/manga fans have some events to look forward to this month as well — a new movie, idkwhat2wear’s annual clearance sale and the return of an annual festival on Maui are just some of the events to look forward to in the next few weeks. I’ll go into greater detail on some of these coming attractions in future posts, but there’s a really busy weekend coming up, so let’s get around to that right now:

Islandwide Spring Crafts and Food Expo: Otherwise known as “the craft fair where idkwhat2wear unloads ALL THE THINGS.” See, every year there’s one show where Karl Miyashiro and Terri Dux blow out their discontinued T-shirt styles at $6 per shirt. These are styles that usually sell for $19-$21 apiece, so yeah, that’s a pretty healthy chunk of savings change. This photo posted to the idk Facebook page reveals they have … oh, a few shirts.

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Please save Terri from impending cotton-crushing doom and buy some shirts; they’ll be at booth 705. While you’re at the show, go visit Kawaii Mono with their line of origami jewelry, charms and more at booth 408. Admission: $5 general, $4 military families and seniors ages 65 and older, free for children ages 13 and younger. (Be warned: With The Book of Mormon still at the concert hall and comedian Kevin Hart in concert at the arena Saturday and Sunday, parking in the neighborhood is going to be tight.) Blaisdell Exhibition Hall (777 Ward Ave.); 4-9 p.m. today, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

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Hawaii Comic & Toy Expo: Yes, there will be comics, toys and collectibles being sold by more than 40 dealers. But there will be special featured guests in the house, too. Guest of honor Scott Williams is a local boy and University of Hawaii alumnus who’s worked as an artist and inker for Marvel and DC, frequently collaborating with talents like Jim Lee and Frank Miller. Joining him at the show will be local artists Jon Murakami, Kevin Sano, Christopher Caravalho, Andy Lee and HeadShot Heroes. Admission: $3. Ala Moana Hotel (Hibiscus Ballroom), 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center; this time around, they’ll be in the center court on the Downtown side of the mall. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Also worth noting: The Friends of Aiea Library will be holding a book sale at the library (99-374 Pohai Place) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; there will be plenty of parking. And where there may not be anything directly related to otaku culture at this year’s Hawaii Book and Music Festival, at the Civic Grounds near Honolulu Hale downtown, it’s still worth checking out anyway. Because local literature and music never go out of style. That runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Elsewhere around town

Maui Matsuri: A kickoff celebration for Maui’s annual celebration of Japanese culture — featuring taiko performances, karate demonstrations, coloring contests and Hello Kitty — will be at the Queen Kaahumanu Center (275 W. Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului) from 6:30 to 9 p.m. today. It’s just a little taste of what will be happening a little over a week from now at UH-Maui College, with food booths, entertainment, and contests for cosplayers, video gamers and artists inspired by the anime/manga art style. Maui residents, go check out mauimatsuri.com and register for some of those contests now! Presented by the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui. Saturday, May 7, 2-9 p.m.

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Free Comic Book Day: It’s almost time for the Annual Comic Book Summer Blockbuster Movie to be released to millions of eager American fanpeeps (*cough*goTeamIronMan*cough*), which means it’s also time for your annual enticement to visit your local comic book store/distributor of choice and pick up a whole stack of free books. Various locations statewide; Saturday, May 7.

Mother’s Day: Don’t forget about your mom. She helped shape you into the person you are today. Also, eat your veggies and don’t slouch, dear. Sunday, May 8.

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Free Isabelo appearances: The founder of Live Free Die Free (LFDF) Comics; creator of The Contraptor, a steampunk-inspired tale about a Secret Service agent looking for his brother’s murderer and the conspirators behind President Lincoln’s assassination; and artist behind the “Steam Royals” series of pop culture icons reimagined with a steampunk twist will be appearing at Other Realms (1130 Nimitz Hwy, suite C140) on Free Comic Book Day and on Wednesday, May 18, and Enjoy Comics in Hilo (45 Pohaku St., unit 201) on Sunday, May 15. He’ll also be at Amazing Hawaii Comic Con … see below for some more details about that show.

Joe Rubenstein on Maui: The longtime artist/inker best known for his work on Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s four-issue Wolverine miniseries in 1982 and his inking on The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe for more than 20 years will be visiting Maui Comics and Collectibles in Kahului (333 Dairy Road, unit 102). Get your autographs and commissions there! Wednesday, May 18.

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Project Itoh: Harmony: In this theatrical anime being released stateside by Funimation Films, a mass suicide has rocked the globe, but there’s something about the motives behind the event that seem eerily similar to what Tuan Kirie and her friends attempted when they were teens. Is her old friend Miach Mirie behind the deaths? And if so, how could she be, considering she supposedly died all those years ago? Hmm. Consolidated Ward Stadium 16 theaters, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, and Wednesday, May 18. (I must say, May 18 is shaping up to be a really busy day.)

Cosplay Figure Drawing: Join Mangabento’s Devin Oishi as he leads a six-session series on figure drawing with a key twist: All of the models will be cosplayers. Students can cosplay and interact with the models as well. It’s a fun, informative way to brush up on skills including visual measurement, selecting materials and anatomy. Cost: $150; preregister at https://secure.honolulumuseum.org/auxiliary/Reserve.aspx?p=260. Honolulu Museum of Art School (1111 Victoria St.), room 200; 6-9 p.m. Fridays starting May 20 through June 24.

Amazing Hawaii Comic Con: It’s the second stop of the unofficial official Con-athon 2016! This year’s edition may not have Stan Lee, but it does count among its guests Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, DC Comics everything extraordinaire Jim Lee, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman, and amazing/astonishing/uncanny/fill-in-your-own-adjective-here X-Men writer Chris Claremont. They’re also targeting us otaku this year, with guests who’ve done voice work for Dragon Ball Z (Sean Schemmel, the voice of Goku! Chris Sabat, the voice of Vegeta! Chuck Huber, the voice of Android 17!) and Street Fighter. Hawai’i Convention Center, Friday, May 20-Sunday, May 22.

Ota-cool incoming: Dressed to impress

Cosplay doesn’t exist in a vacuum. As much as we’d like to twitch our noses and *poof* a lovely costume of Sailor Moon or Tuxedo Mask into existence a la Samantha in Bewitched (note: this is what I’m talking about, for those of you who may not be old enough to remember Bewitched), the truth is that it takes a lot of work to craft a costume that turns heads at conventions and other special events.

One of the tools of the trade that cosplayers use is the dress form. Think of it as a mannequin torso on a stand; here’s a selection of what’s available on Amazon. Of course, getting a dress form means spending more money, something that may be in short supply when taking into account all the other supplies one needs to create a high-quality costume.

That’s where a workshop happening this weekend at Aiea Public Library comes in.

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Representatives from Anime Matsuri Hawaii will be on hand to show workshop attendees how to create their own dress forms without having to order the real thing; apparently all you need is some duct tape, some plastic wrap and a willing victim partner. They’ll provide the tape, wrap and some fabric that can be used to stuff mannequins or for other crafts and cosplay; you can bring your own partner, as well as a T-shirt that you don’t mind cutting up to make a complete dress form.

Interested? The workshop runs from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday. It’s free, but be sure to RSVP to cosplay@animematsuri.com if you’re interested so the workshop organizers can bring enough supplies. Aiea Library’s at 99-374 Pohai Place, where there’s still plenty of parking as well as a certain Face of Hawaii Ingress ™ who’s on the final stretch to hitting max-level 16 in the game (in spite of Enlightened efforts to slow her down, too, *sigh*). Call 483-7333.

Elsewhere around town

Kawaii Kon / Comic Con Honolulu volunteer staff meetings: The third session for Kawaii Kon volunteers and the second for Comic Con Honolulu volunteers are coming up, a checkpoint worth noting for those of you interested in helping take care of all the behind-the-scenes things that keep the two events running smoothly every year. Prospective volunteers have to attend a minimum of two staff meetings to qualify for work, after all, and the clock’s ticking … louder for Kawaii Kon in particular, of course, but ticking nonetheless. For more details on volunteering (as well as an enrollment form for anyone joining the party), visit kawaiikon.com/volunteering/volunteer-rules-faqs or comicconhonolulu.com/volunteer/volunteer-rules-requirements. Saturday at the Ala Moana Hotel Plumeria Room; 1:30 p.m. for Kawaii Kon, 3 p.m. for Comic Con Honolulu.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center. Yes, there are other things going on on Sunday — the 50th Superb Owl will be overseeing some panthers and horses playing sportsball on one channel, puppies will be romping around on another channel, and it’s the only day of the year when people actually want to watch commercials. If none of those catch your fancy, though, perhaps some drawing is in order. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Downtown section of the mall.