Get your comic on with freebies statewide

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, a movie based on a comic book series, is now out in theaters on this, the first weekend of May. And you know what happens when movies based on comics get released around this time of year: It’s time to promote the heck out of comics. Woo hoo!

On Saturday, various comic shops and libraries will be giving away a wide range of comic books as part of Free Comic Book Day. 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 their stock.

This year’s manga-related offerings include excerpts from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, Dragon Ball Super and Boruto from Viz, and excerpts from Attack on Titan from Kodansha Comics. Here’s this year’s list of what’s available; keep in mind that not all titles will be available at all locations. And try to buy something, will ya? While the books are free for customers, they aren’t for the retailers ordering them, so a bit of paid patronage certainly goes a long way in showing your appreciation for what they do.

Anyway! To the giveaways and events!

Comic book store events

Dragon's Lair flyerDragon’s Lair in Mililani (95-1840 Meheula Parkway, space E-10) will feature five, count ’em, five artists doing free sketches: Dwayne Acoba, Andrew Gutierrez, Kaci Horimoto, Reid Kishimoto and Jon Murakami. All current comics will be 25 percent off, with trade paperbacks and hardcovers going for 15 percent off. They open at 10 a.m.

Other Realms FCBD flyerOther Realms in Iwilei (1130 Nimitz Highway, suite C-140) will feature Free Isabelo, Roy Chang, Dowyne “DJ” Keawekane and Napua Ahina doing free sketches and paid commissions. First 50 people through the door will get a free button pin featuring the Tick and his trusty sidekick Arthur. There’s also going to be keiki face-painting (featuring SkinWars season 3 contestant Kyera Dalesandro), hourly door prizes, appearances by Legion of Shadows Hawaii cosplayers … and, of course, comic specials, with double points for Member Rewards card holders. They open at 10 a.m.

As far as I can tell, Choice Comics in Pearl City (98-1268 Kaahumanu St., suite 104) has the most liberal giveaway terms: a 10-comic limit per customer. They open at 10:30 a.m.

At Westside Comics and Games out in Kapolei (590 Farrington Highway, unit 538), you can get a maximum of three books … or you can sub out books for limited-edition Funko Pop and Heroclix figures. They open at 10 a.m.

Other stores on Oahu hosting FCBD giveaways include Collector Maniacs (3571 Waialae Ave., suite 102A) and Gecko Books & Comics (1151 12th Ave.), both in Kaimuki.

Two of the biggest players in comics on the neighbor islands are bringing their A games as well. Maui Comics & Collectibles in Kahului (333 Dairy Road, suite 102), celebrating its second anniversary, will feature James Silvani, author of Draw-a-Saurus and a comic artist whose series include Darkwing Duck, The Muppets, Ducktales, How to Train Your Dragon and Animaniacs, and Todd BernardyKukui Project artist, doing free sketches and signings. Also part of the festivities: the Second Annual Bruce Ellsworth Memorial Charity Auction. You can get some free samples at Mr. Pineapple next door, too! The festivities get underway at 10 a.m.

Finally, over in Hilo, Enjoy Comics (45 Pohaku St., unit 201) will have free grab bags with comics and other goodies for the kids, as well as giveaways throughout the day, starting at 10 a.m.

Library giveaways

20170503_162206Fifteen libraries on Oahu and nine on the neighbor islands will be participating this year; just show them your library card and you can get a comic (or maybe even two at some libraries!) for free. They’ll also have bookmarks (drawn by Michael Cannon this year), and most of the libraries will feature appearances from cosplayers from the Pacific Outpost of the 501st Imperial Legion, Rebel Legion Hawaii and the Costumers Guild of Hawaii.

Your starting lineup on Oahu: (deep breath in)

And on the neighbor islands: HiloKailua-Kona and Thelma Parker Memorial Public & School Library on the Big Island; Kahului, KīheiLahaina and Makawao on Maui; and Princeville on Kauai. Lanai Public & School Library will be represented at the Saturday Market from 8 to 10 a.m. at Dole Park.

Special events

nemu*nemu cartoonist Audra Furuichi will be signing and sketching at McCully-Moiliili Library from 10 a.m. to noon…ish. She’ll also have copies of nemu*nemu books available for the taking. Don’t feel like driving all the way out there? Her books will also be part of the FCBD assortments at — deep breath in again — Aiea, Aina Haina, Kailua, Kalihi-Palama, Kapolei, Liliha, Manoa, Mililani, Salt Lake-Moanalua, Waikiki-Kapahulu, Waimanalo, Waipahu and Wahiawa libraries on Oahu, and Hilo and Kahului on the neighbor islands. There’s a limited supply, so get them while you can. Distribution methods also may vary; Aiea’s young adult librarian/Face of Hawaii Ingress ™ Diane Masaki tells me she’ll be raffling off sets throughout the day.

Mililani Library will be hosting a free screening of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story starting at 2 p.m. We are the Force, and the Force is in us.

James Silvani will be signing and sketching from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Kihei Library on Maui. Looks like he’ll be stopping here before moving on to Maui Comics & Collectibles in the afternoon.

Local artist, storyteller and educator Keith U. McCrary will be hosting a cartooning workshop starting at 10 a.m. at Makawao Library on Maui. The program is geared toward ages 6 and up; children must be accompanied by a parent or adult caregiver.

Kailua-Kona Library will be hosting a cosplay contest in their Young Adult section, open to students from the 4th through 12th grades. Cosplay from any source is welcome! Registration runs from 10 to 10:30 a.m., with the competition (featuring audience participation!) running from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Two winners will each get a $25 Regal Cinemas gift card, perfect for seeing selections from the upcoming GKids Ghibli Film Fest.

Getting Ghibli with it

It’s been an … interesting past few weeks since I last posted something here on the Otaku Ohana blog. The first half away was spent working on a profile of Hitbox Music Ensemble (here’s the link for you subscribers out there) in advance of Kawaii Kon. The second half has been spent a) taking time to recover the introvert life-hearts I drained socializing at Kawaii Kon (trust me, it takes a lot out of me), b) finally seeing Your Name with the Otaku Ohana Anonymous Director of Forced Social Interaction on Wednesday, and c) rigging up what I had intended to be a travel netbook computer as my primary computer after my former primary computer died a horrible, meltdown-y death … on the day before Kawaii Kon began. Fortunately, I’ve kept multiple backups of my archive of photos from events I’ve attended throughout my blogging career, so those are safe. But it’s probably going to be slow going for a while until I get things up to speed and pull enough pennies from my couch to get a new computer.

I’m finally back, though! And I come bearing news that there’s going to be another Studio Ghibli film festival rolling through our fair state. Here, have a trailer.

(By the way, is it just me, or does it sound like the voice-over guy says “Hi-yo Miyazaki?” Hi-yoooooooooo~~~! Ahem. Sorry. Pronunciation pet peeve.)

Ghibli logoGranted, the lineup for the GKids Studio Ghibli Fest isn’t nearly as comprehensive as Consolidated’s screen-all-the-things Ghibli Film Festival last year, but it’s still a chance to catch six favorites from the studio’s vault on the big screen. My Neighbor Totoro leads off on June 25-26, followed by Kiki’s Delivery Service July 23-24, Castle in the Sky Aug. 27-28, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Sept. 24-25, Spirited Away Oct. 29-30, and Howl’s Moving Castle Nov. 26-27. Those are all Sunday-Monday date combos; the English-dubbed versions will be screening locally at 12:55 p.m. on the Sundays, with the English-subtitled versions screening at 7 p.m. on the Mondays.

Three Regal theaters will be hosting the festivities this time around: Dole Cannery Stadium 18 in Iwilei, Makalapua Stadium 10 in Kona, and the lusciously luxe Kapolei Commons 12, with its reclining plush seating, upscale food offerings and Eating House 1849, La Tour Cafe and Gyu-Kaku just outside. Yum.

(It should be noted that Regal’s theater list includes a fourth venue, the Prince Kuhio 9 in Hilo, but no tickets are listed for sale there on Fandango for any of the series films. It’s not listed in the GKids site listings, either. Curious.)

Tickets are $12.50 each, but if you really want to go all in and commit to seeing every movie, Regal’s offering a $60 series pass that comes with what they’re calling “an exclusive decommissioned Spirited Away 35mm film cell,” plus 6,000 bonus points for Regal Crown Club members. There is a shipping cost involved; the cheapest that I can see is $2.50 for USPS first-class shipping, which keeps the cost per ticket lower than buying each show individually.

For more information or to buy individual tickets, visit gkidstickets.com/movies/.

That would be the end of the story if not for an anomaly I stumbled upon while I was poking around to see what was up with the Prince Kuhio listing: Tickets seem to be available for another Ghibli fest, this one at the Consolidated Kahala 8 theaters. Screenings of the English-subtitled movies begin May 31 and run most Wednesdays after that through Aug. 9 at 7 p.m., and include:

  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, May 31
  • Spirited Away, June 7
  • Ponyo, June 14
  • Howl’s Moving Castle, July 12 (with the dubbed version screening July 13 at 11 a.m.)
  • The Wind Rises, July 19
  • My Neighbor Totoro, July 26
  • When Marnie Was There, Aug. 2
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service, Aug. 9

The inclusion of Ponyo thrills me, because now I can stick this picture into the post. Call it a tradition of sorts around here.

Ponyo

For tickets, visit ow.ly/utmN30bh0hR. Open the “pre-sale tickets” column on the right for the full listing of movies.

Keep an eye on that page and Consolidated’s social media in general, too … call it a hunch, but you’ve got to think some kind of formal acknowledgment of this is coming down the line. More theaters, perhaps? Are these the first shards we’re seeing of Consolidated Ghibli Film Festival 2017? And why is there almost a one-month gap between Ponyo and Howl’s Moving Castle? I can’t wait to find out …

“nemu*nemu” creator charts con-less path

Kawaii Kon released the first edition of its schedule for this year’s show on Friday, along with a spiffy new app (in both iOS and Android flavors!). Whenever big, juicy chunks of information like this drop in front of me, my friendly neighborhood anime/manga/Con-athon blogger instincts immediately kick in and I try to soak up every last newsworthy tidbit contained within.

And boy, was there something newsworthy in there. More specifically, there was something newsworthy in what wasn’t in there — a longstanding presence at Kawaii Kon, one that’s been around since 2007.

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After 10 straight years, there’s no sign of a nemu*nemu booth in the dealers room.

For artist Audra Furuichi, to not be a part of Kawaii Kon 2017 meant either that there was a mistake somewhere in the grand scheme of scheduling things, or she was shifting her resources elsewhere.

20150509_104733_editSadly for fans of Audra’s work, the latter is true. Unbeknownst to many of us at the time, the nemu*nemu appearances at the Hawaii Collectors Expo last month and the Mid-Pacific Institute Hoolaulea on Friday were the last we’ll be seeing for the immediate future. In addition to Kawaii Kon, that rules out appearances at other Oahu Con-athon events  — Comic Con Honolulu, Amazing Hawaii Comic Con and Anime Ohana — as well.

“No hard feelings to any of the shows — it’s just progressively gotten physically harder to do shows,” Audra told me via Facebook chat on Sunday. “Kinda lacking the endurance I used to have. I also don’t have new merchandise at the moment, so it was a good time to bow out.”

She also cited an evolving audience as a factor. The nemu*nemu online comic has been on hiatus since last July as she’s worked on other projects, and not as many people know about the plush pup duo as they did in the comic’s early years.

“Thought about doing the (Artist Alley), but the long hours and EXTREME COMPETITION OMGWTFBBQ … are big deterrents for me,” she said.

This doesn’t mean the end of all things nemu*nemu, though. Audra’s exploring swinging by Kawaii Kon for a day to drop off something for the art show. The nemu*nemu: Blue Hawaii comic strip is still chugging along in the Star-Advertiser. And she’s been posting some pretty non nemu*nemu artwork at audrafuruichi.com.

audra patreonAnd then there’s Audra’s Patreon account, where she’s been sharing sneak peeks at Blue Hawaii strips, digital desktops and other artistic works since January 2015. It’s a way for fans to show their continuing support for her work; it can be difficult to focus on creating art and tending to the business side of things, after all. As of this writing, 61 patrons are contributing $522 a month. (Full journalistic disclosure: I’m one of Audra’s $25/month contributors.)

There’s now an added incentive for people to jump on board: If contributions reach $550 a month, she’ll start regularly drawing a one-shot nemu*nemu comic again, once a month. It’s a perfect incentive for the comic’s 11th anniversary coming up April 1, and all it’ll take is one person contributing $28 a month, or 28 people contributing $1 a month, or some happy medium in between.

Remember the Titans. Remember Your Name. SO MUCH TO REMEMBER.

It’s Stream-of-Consciousness Day here at Otaku Ohana, where I try to keep track of all the news that’s poured into Otaku Ohana Central these past few days or so and share it with y’all before the next wave of news washes in. On the road to Kawaii Kon and the beginning of Con-athon 2017, we’ve definitely hit rush hour. Set up your calendars accordingly.

SAO ordinal

Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale in review

“O. M. G. That. Was. AWESOME!” the Otaku Ohana Anonymous Director of Forced Social Interaction fan-gushed to me last night after we saw the big-screen adventures of Kirito and Asuna and their friends, and how yet another video game they’re playing goes rogue and threatens to kill all the players for realsies. (It comes complete with that buzzworthy end-credits teaser, too.) “You’re going to write something about it, right?!?”

Since I’m already writing up all these other news items, I suppose I will touch on it for a bit. If you’re a fan of video games, augmented reality games like Ingress or Pokemon Go, and/or action-adventure-dramas in general, you’ll want to watch this movie. It was $15 well spent. This applies even if you aren’t that familiar with the Sword Art Online franchise to date, and you’ve seen only a five-minute summary of season 1 (warning: the link’s a humorous commentary peppered with NSFW language and situations) like me or fewer. Also, I want a copy of the soundtrack, composed by the always-awesome Yuki Kajiura, nownownow.

If you missed last night’s screening, you have one more chance: 11 a.m. Saturday at the Consolidated Kapolei theaters. There’s also a screening at the same time at Consolidated Ward, but that’s already sold out, so get those tickets quickly. Will there be another chance to see it after that and before it inevitably ends up on home video? Hmm …

shingeki_EP04_76

Hawaii lands rare Attack on Titan compilation screenings

This story began as most about anime being screened theatrically do: an article from Anime News Network crossing my social media feeds.

“English-dubbed screenings scheduled for 19 theaters,” a sub-headline noted.

Whenever I hear about ultra-limited runs like these, my mind automatically starts going through the usual suspects: Somewhere in Los Angeles. Somewhere in San Francisco. New York. Funimation’s hometown of Dallas, of course. Probably a bunch of Alamo Drafthouse theaters. Hawaii? Probably an afterthought.

Well … surprise! Hawaii made it on the list, landing two of what’s since grown to 22 theaters nationwide — Consolidated Ward and Kapolei, specifically. That’s more than New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco combined (one in New York, none in the other two cities). Because we rock.

So here’s the deal: The English-dubbed movies will be screened over two days — part 1, Guren no Yumiya, on Monday, March 28; part 2, Jiyuu no Tsubasa, on Tuesday, March 29. Both of them recap the events that took place in the first season of the series and offer a preview of the second season. Tickets aren’t available yet, but I’ll try to keep you updated on when that happens. Tickets are available for Kapolei now! Here’s part 1, and here’s part 2.

your-name

Your Name screening update

When last we left our coverage of Makoto Shinkai’s Oscar-ignored masterwork about two strangers whose lives are suddenly intertwined by fate, we knew that screenings in Hawaii were being set up in direct competition with Kawaii Kon weekend as part of ALL THE THINGS April. Even more details have emerged thanks to a Funimation Films update and new ticketing links, and … well, it’s looking more like you’re going to have some serious scheduling conflicts if you’re interested in seeing this movie and attending con. Consider:

  • Consolidated Kahala’s site has been updated with screenings listed from April 7-9 only — English dubbed at 11:40 a.m. daily; Japanese with English subtitles at 2:10, 4:40, and 7:10 p.m.; and a 9:10 p.m. show April 7-8.
  • Updated 2:30 p.m. 3/10! Consolidated Mililani screenings are available from April 7-9 — English dubbed at 11:20 a.m., Japanese with English subtitles at 1:45, 4:30, 7 and 9:30 p.m. daily.
  • Updated 2:30 p.m. 3/10! Consolidated Kapolei screenings — the first weeklong run confirmed, April 7-13! — are as follows: English dubbed at noon daily, Japanese with English subtitles at 2:25, 4:50, 7:15 and 9:45 p.m. daily.
  • Consolidated Ward and the Regal Dole Cannery theaters are also listed, with April 7 opening dates.

The Honolulu Festival’s otaku connection

Honolulu Festival logoIt’s Honolulu Festival time this weekend, which means it’s time for all of the usual events that come with the annual celebration of Asian and Pacific Rim culture, including:

  • Entertainment on stages at the Hawai’i Convention Center, Ala Moana Center and Waikiki Beach Walk on Saturday (here’s a schedule!)
  • A display of mikoshi, decorative floats unique to various prefectures of Japan that are hoisted by celebrants during festivals and parades
  • A craft fair and children’s games in the Ennichi Corner at the convention center
  • Kawaii Kon representatives on hand to sell three-day badges to next month’s convention (your last chance to buy them in person before the con!)
  • MangaBento hosting activities in the Kawaii Kon space
  • The Grand Parade down Kalakaua Avenue Sunday afternoon
  • The spectacular Nagaoka fireworks display Sunday night

And then there’s this guy.

20170310_094655

No, not Mad Moxxi from Borderlands on the right. We’re more concerned with Jibanyan, the spirit cat and one of the main characters from Yo-kai Watch, on the left. He’s been appointed by Hawaii Tourism Japan as children’s ambassador to Hawaii, so he’ll be making his way down to the convention center for the festival. He’ll be available for photo ops from noon to 12:30 p.m. and 3 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Cosplay 101 seminar at Pearl City Library

Do you have cosplay questions? Pearl City Library has cosplay answers for anyone interested in dressing up as their favorite characters, whether for Con-athon 2017 or beyond. Learn how to plan, modify and create your cosplay, and get some tips and tricks for a successful cosplay experience.

Interested? The seminar’s from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the library, 1138 Waimano Home Road. Call 453-6566 if you have any other questions about the event.

ALL THE THINGS April approaches

The “big dog” has a fair amount of company this year.

We’ve known for almost a year now that annual anime squeefest convention Kawaii Kon has been locked in for April 7-9. (Yes, that’s a little over a month away. You have my permission to start flailing in panic and/or glee now.) They’ll have voice actors from popular American shows like Steven UniverseLegend of Korra and Avatar: The Last Airbenderanime voice actors like the voice of Ayano in Lucky Star (*squee!*); and Japanese bands and fashion and a wide variety of other events that I’m hoping to write up in further detail soonish in my long-in-coming-but-gimme-some-more-caffeine-first Con-athon 2017 preview post.

But this year is the first one I can remember in the Kawaii Kon era where those of us in the anime fan community who aren’t already committed to panels/Artist Alley tables/dealers room booths/volunteer staff work are going to have some serious choices to make on whether we want to hang around the con or break away for a bit to catch something else. I’m calling it ALL THE THINGS April. Consider what else has already been announced surrounding that weekend:

April 5, 8 and 10: The Kizumonogatari trilogy plays out. It was a little over a year ago that Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu screened at Consolidated’s Ward and Mililani theaters. In that movie, audiences were introduced to Koyomi Araragi, a nondescript high school student who was once bitten by a powerful vampire and is only now regaining most of his humanity, but must now help a number of girls afflicted by “oddities.” Part 2, Nekkutsu, featured Koyomi taking on a trio of vampire hunters so he could reassemble the limbs of — yes, this is actually her name — Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade, the vampire who helped him. And now here we are at part 3, Reiketsu, in which Kiss-shot is reassembled and Koyomi is juuuuuuuuust about to regain his humanity. Of course, one does not merely walk in to a movie and regain his humanity …

Reiketsu is debuting at Consolidated’s Ward and Kapolei theaters with screenings at 11 a.m. April 8 and 7 p.m. April 10. But for those of you who need a refresher and/or missed Tekketsu and Nekkutsu, Consolidated’s offering a chance for you to catch up with a double feature, also at Ward and Kapolei, starting at 7 p.m. April 5. (Be ready to budget about 2-1/4 hours of your time.) For tickets, visit consolidatedtheatres.com/programs-and-events and set the month to “April” and the event type to “Anime.”

April 7: Your Name has its first confirmed screening date. Consolidated Theatres quietly confirmed on its Facebook page Wednesday night that Makoto Shinkai’s Oscar-ignored masterwork will be playing at its Kahala 8 complex. The announcement was a bit of a surprise — Funimation Films has yet to list any theaters on its Your Name site — and there are no specific showtimes (and thus no online ticket sales) or any indication that it’ll be playing beyond the 7th. Still, though, we’re one step closer to another chance at seeing a movie that drew raves when it played at the Hawaii International Film Festival a few months ago.

vgl_high_res_logo_finalApril 7-8: Video Games Live concerts play at the Blaisdell. Remember the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses concert a few weeks ago? This is just like that experience, except with a wider variety of video game soundtrack selections played by the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra and 100 percent more Tommy Tallarico. Tallarico is an accomplished video game music composer in his own right, best known for his soundtracks to the Earthworm Jim series and Advent Rising. Here’s his biography. He’s also the co-founder of Video Games Live, which has been playing in concert halls across the country and around the world since 2005. As a blurb on the VGL website puts it: “It’s the power & emotion of a symphony orchestra mixed with the excitement and energy of a rock concert and the technology and interactivity of a video game all completely synchronized to amazing cutting edge video screen visuals, state-of-the-art lighting and special on-stage interactive segments with the audience.”

Tickets — from the $29 cheap seats all the way up to the front-of-house $79 seats — are still available, but with more than 80 percent of the seats already sold for both nights according to Ticketmaster’s seating maps, you’re going to want to get in on the action fairly soon. Visit blaisdellcenter.com/ai1ec_event/video-games-live-2.

Anime Swap Meet’s back at Blaisdell

Around this time last year, tag-team partner in fandom Wilma W. and I took part in the rite of passage that dedicated otaku like us engage in every so often when we get tired of looking at our stuff: We packed a bunch of it up and sold it at the Anime Swap Meet at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall.

20160220_090826It was a lovely little opportunity. We got a 5-square-foot space, part of a larger block Kawaii Kon gets from the Hawaii Collectors Expo. We made a fair amount of money, and we met some nice people, too. Like Marisa Gee of Kawaii Mono, who bought a number of my DVDs while exhibiting impeccable fashion sense wearing Fat Rabbit Farm T-shirts. Or the enthusiastic gals who snapped up a bunch of Wilma’s Ace Attorney goodies, then went on to host the Ace Attorney live-action roleplaying fan panel at Kawaii Kon. (The half hour I was able to catch before I had to rush off to another panel was quite entertaining.)

And it’s neat to browse through the rest of the expo, too … we were across from a retro-gaming booth that had the attract mode music from Super Mario World for the Super Nintendo looping all weekend, and I picked up an oh-so-cute Bellossom plushie from another vendor for only $5.

We aren’t going to be making a return appearance as sellers again this year, for various reasons. But there are going to be a number of similarly enthusiastic otaku who will be more than happy to sell you their stuff in our place.

hawaii-collectors-expo-2017This year — the Anime Swap Meet’s third, the Hawaii Collectors Expo’s 27th — promises to be an even bigger party. Artist Audra Furuichi’s kicking off the year for nemu*nemu at the event and will have her usual assortment of merchandise and original drawings for sale, and MidWeek cartoonist/Pepe the Chihuahua kalbi handler Roy Chang will be selling his books and drawing Funko Pop-ified sketches of anyone who wants them. Several artists from Comic Jam Hawaii will be hosting a drawing table for the little kidlets. Replicas of the Ghostbusters Ecto-1 and Jurassic Park Jeep will be on display for photo ops. And, of course, Kawaii Kon representatives will be on hand, although they’ll be selling three-day badges for the upcoming con on Sunday only.

The Hawaii Collectors Expo begins tonight from 4 to 9 p.m. and continues from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The Anime Swap Meet will be open Saturday and Sunday only. Admission is free for children under 11 years old, military with valid ID, or anyone with a Kawaii Kon or Comic Con Honolulu badge from last year; $5 general per day; $7.50 for a three-day pass; or $2 for senior citizens. If you are going to be paying to attend, you can print out this copy of the image above, bring it to the ticket-sellers and save $1.

For more information, visit hawaiicollectorsexpo.com.

Pokemon Go (finally!) gets Gen 2 boost

Remember Pokemon Go? The augmented reality mobile phone game that was hotter than a Charizard for a good chunk of the summer of 2016, the one that promised players they could catch Pokemon in the real world? The one that drew this many people to one corner of Kakaako for nights on end when the game first launched in late July?

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

The visible popularity of PoGo has dropped since those dizzying summer heights. The good will lasted for several months, or about the amount of time it took for the hardest of hard-core players to fill their Pokedexes with every available species. Niantic has updated the game every so often, or about as much as one can expect when they’re still dealing with everyone who stuck around for Ingress. But for every special event, every announcement, every update that featured “minor text fixes” and little else, the frustration has mounted:

pogo-lickyBuddy Pokemon introduced (September): “Where are the legendaries (Zapdos, Moltres, Articuno, Mew and Mewtwo), Generation 2, player-versus-player battling and Pokemon trading? Pokemon Go is dead.”

Halloween event (October): “Spooky Pokemon spawns and more candy? But where are the legendaries, Gen 2, PVP and trading? PoGo is dead.”

Ditto appears (November): “Where are the legendaries, Gen 2, PVP and trading? PoGo is dead.”

Thanksgiving event (November): “More XP and Stardust? But where are the legendaries, Gen 2, PVP and trading? PoGo is dead.”

Starbucks and Sprint stores become PokeStops or gyms (December): “Where are the legendaries, Gen 2, PVP and trading? PoGo is dead.”

Pikachus with Santa hats appear (December): “Where are the legendaries, Gen 2, PVP and trading? PoGo is dead.”

Eggs start hatching select Gen 2 babies like Togepi and Pichu: “Where are the legendaries, the rest of Gen 2, PVP and trading? PoGo is dead.”

Christmas event (December): “More starter Pokemon and evolutions spawning? And free egg incubators? But where are the legendaries, the rest of Gen 2, PVP and trading? PoGo is dead.”

Valentine’s Day event (February): “More pink Pokemon spawns and candy? … ehh. You know.”

Yet there are still those of us who have soldiered on through everything. Mostly because we’ve never had the same fortune as those happy posters on the Pokemon Go Hawaii Facebook group that walk three steps somewhere and *BOOF* OH HI DRAGONITE. We’re more casual players, lucky enough to get 10 coins a day if we feel like battling gyms with three Snorlaxes, five Dragonites and a few other random species sprinkled here and there, with holes in our Pokedexes and nothing but Pidgeys, Zubats and Rattatas populating our “Nearby” radars. There are also people like Nick of Trainer Tips, who’s somehow willed daily YouTube content out of the game with videos that are definitely worth watching. (Plus he has ties to Maui, too!)

For those of us who stuck around — and perhaps for some of those lapsed players as well — our patience is about to pay off in a big way. Earlier today, Niantic announced that more than 80 of the long-rumored Gen 2 Pokemon are going to be added to the game later this week, along with new berries, avatars and avatar accessories. Here, have a promo trailer (that thankfully isn’t as pie-in-the-sky as the launch trailer):

… excuse me for a sec … that’s …

marill

OMG IT’S MARILL SQUEEEEEEEEEEE

It remains to be seen whether we’ll see critical-mass crowds at PoGo hotspots like Coral Street in Kakaako, the Waikiki Aquarium and Kapolei Library again like back in the early days, but it’s highly likely this will give the game a nice little kick-start. But here’s the thing: I’ve peeked at the comments on this announcement at various spots (so you don’t have to; many of you have learned never to peek at the comments on anything, as Internet forums are hives of scum and villainy). And guess what they’re saying!

“But where are the legendaries, PVP and trading? PoGo is dead.”

No pleasing some people, I guess.