2012 Journeys: Anime art that amazed and amused

As I sit here typing this on Thursday night, there are four days left in all of 2012. There probably will be fewer than that by the time I finish this post and publish it … or perhaps you’ll already have crossed over into the brave new world of 2013. (In the latter case, dear future reader, please tell me if 2013 starts off a little happier than 2012’s melancholy ending.)

With that in mind, it’s time to pull out the classic chestnut that us bloggers commonly use when either (a) we can’t figure out what else to write about or (b) our regular jobs have managed to keep us busy enough to the point where we end up amassing all this great content over the year gone by and need to figure out some way to make that content relevant again (guilty as charged, sigh): the “year in review” posts.

So yes, for the few dozen of you who have managed to stick around reading this blog for this long, this does mean that I’m trying to get photos from Kawaii Kon, HEXXP, Mini Con and the Windward Mall Anime Day up sometime soon…ish.  But as I was typing out the working titles for those year-end posts, I noticed something: For a blog that tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. and I started several years ago to talk about anime and manga … we really haven’t been talking all that much about anime and manga as of late. Notable for its absence from the queue, in fact, is any sort of “anime/manga year in review” post. Collectively, we just haven’t watched or read enough of the stuff this year to have any sort of commentary on it.

It’s not that we’re going to be retiring the anime/manga angle from Otaku Ohana any time soon. Heck, “review more anime and manga” is written in big red letters on my list of resolutions for 2013, between “lose more weight” and “keep Wilma from going insane before her wedding.”

But if anything, I’ll remember 2012 as the year anime/manga-inspired art and cartoon art took over a good chunk of this blog. Easy to do, really, when you have groups like MangaBento, Pen & Ink Works and Comic Jam Hawaii producing such great artwork. There were several spotlight events for that art, too, including MangaBento’s Nakamaboko exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art School (featured in this space in a threepart series) and the still-in-progress call for entries for the Liliha Library Anime Art Contest.


A quick Anime Art Contest tangent

This shot of Audra was actually taken last year, though it could certainly be an accurate depiction of what awaits your esteemed panel of judges next week. So C'MON TURN IN MORE STUFFIt has come to my attention that there have only been a handful of submissions to this year’s Liliha Library Anime Art Contest. We’re talking waaaaaaaaay-down-from-the-past-two-years handful. To which I say, umm, hello? Copic markers? Wacom Bamboo tablet? Other great art supply swag? Don’t you people want this stuff?

I mean, it’s great that those who have entered so far may have the best chance of winning in this contest’s three-year history, but your esteemed panel of judges — myself, nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi, Kawaii Kon senior administrator Roy Bann — would like to have a bit of a challenge picking the winners. That’s right, interest in this contest in the past was so great, we added a judge this year to handle the volume of entries. And as of now, with the number of entries in hand, it looks like we could render a verdict in … mmmm, three minutes? I mean, sure, Audra and I appreciate the help, but we were expecting to go from an hour down to 45 minutes, not five minutes down to three.

So yeah. Don’t make us sad. You wouldn’t like us when we’re sad. There are two more days — Saturday and Monday — to turn in those entries, so read up on the rules, tromp on down to the library at 1515 Liliha St., and go encourage the students in grades 6 through 12 in your life to get cracking.

and now, back to my year-end retrospective, already in progress.


There were two art showcases that I’ve yet to cover in this space, though. The first was the annual silent art auction display in Kawaii Kon’s Artist Alley in March. The works on display there drew from a number of anime series both classic (Trigun, Ah! My Goddess, assorted Studio Ghibli films) and contemporary (the ageless Pokemon and the recent K-On!). (The link for those of you slideshow averse to or lacking Flash: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sumiyoshi/sets/72157632363712060/


The other display that I visited but haven’t had a chance to talk about until now was an exhibit by members of Aiea Intermediate’s Comic Jam group, on display at the state Capitol around late April/early May. With art teacher/MidWeek cartoonist Roy Chang as its adviser, the group did something similar to what the Comic Jam Hawaii cartoonists do regularly: They gathered weekly to collaborate on various cartoons and just had fun drawing in general. Some of the personal projects they worked on were pretty cool in their own right as well. (Your offsite link for this gallery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sumiyoshi/sets/72157632363785030/show/)


Next time in Otaku Ohana: More pictures from a year of local fandom! Or perhaps something completely unrelated. Our attention spans are fickle like thOOH A SQUIRREL

… happy new year, everyone.

The Cel Shaded report, 6/14: Returning with a boxed lunch

Well. Hello there. It’s been a while since I’ve actually written a full post in this space, hasn’t it? Yes, there was a guest post from Christina Chun on the Dragon Age movie, and tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. handled the May Manga Movable Feast post, but I haven’t written much here since May 3.

Not that I haven’t tried to write anything, of course — I have about two or three unfinished posts sitting in the Otaku Ohana drafts folder. Great topics, too. For starters, I really ought to share some of those pictures I took at an exhibit at the state Capitol in early May, so you can see all the nice artwork from the Cartooning Social Jam group at Aiea Intermediate School. Like this piece by Jessica Sato.

An intermediate school student did this, folks. INTERMEDIATE. SCHOOL. STUDENT.

It’s just that, I must admit, I haven’t felt very inspired to finish anything as of late. You could call it partly a feeling of burnout, partly that feeling of blogger mid/late-life crisis where one starts questioning why he or she still blogs and whether anyone really cares about what gets written/published anymore. It just seemed like I needed to step away for a bit and re-evaluate just why I do what I do. Rediscover the joy of writing, if you will.

So, without a word, I just took some time off. Yes, I edited Christi’s and Wilma’s posts and added some introductions,  but that was pretty much it when it came to Otaku Ohana. In the interim I also visited San Jose for FanimeCon over Memorial Day weekend, one of the largest and best anime conventions in northern California … unless, of course, you show up at your hotel on the same night that the leader of the free world is staying there and have to navigate your way through various security measures and metal detectors just to make it to the front desk, and then, less than 24 hours later, endure six hours waiting to pick up your badge (and not having any guarantee of picking it up, at that!). In which case you’d probably seriously rethink ranking Fanime among your best experiences and relying on it as your “vacation con,” too.

On the bright side, I did get to watch this sax player play songs like the Sailor Moon theme song, the Epic Sax Guy riff and, my personal favorite (because I’m old-school like that), “Baker Street,” in the hallway of the McEnery Convention Center. A YouTube search pulls up the user name “MkaliKunguru” as the man responsible for filling Fanime with his merry melodies. Assuming YouTube doesn’t take this video down on a copyright infringement charge, here’s his take on “Baker Street.”

That video is admittedly a bit dark, so here’s a clearer picture of what he looks like. You may also notice in this picture that some familiar plush pup companions were enjoying his music, too.

On a side note: I also saw this guy one night while waiting in line at popular neighborhood eatery Pizza My Heart. He was carrying Anpan with him. Those of you who read "nemu*nemu" will find that quite apropos.

So what did I conclude during my time away? I don’t think I’m quite ready to give up this gig yet. It’s just too much fun to write about what we experience in the world of anime/manga/cartooning fandom and share them with our readers — whoever they may be at this point. (Please leave a comment if you’re still reading, by the way. I’m a bit curious to see who’s out there. Don’t be shy.) Granted, tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. and I may not post as often as we’d like to — our targets have slipped from “multiple posts per week” when Otaku Ohana started, to the more recent “once per week” schedule, to the current “whenever we can scrape together 10-15 minutes out of our busy schedules to write part of a post that maaaaaaay, God willing, come out sometime in the next few months” — but then again we’ve always been more about quality than quantity ’round these parts.

Enough of my rambling, though. Let’s get to the good stuff.

“Nakamaboko” ready to serve

These past few weeks have been very, very good for local fans of anime/manga/cartoon-inspired art. It started with the aforementioned Aiea Intermediate Cartooning Social Jam exhibit. Then Comic Jam Hawaii, a group of local artists that’s been popping up on my radar quite frequently as of late, conducted several jam sessions around town. Our sister publication, MidWeek, had an article about Pancho Abalos’  “Tributes” exhibit, with his pieces influenced by the Edo period joined by student artwork on display at the ING Direct Cafe in Waikiki through June 30. Elizabeth Kieszkowski over at Honolulu Pulse also did a piece on it, and I’m going to try to make my way out there sometime before the month is out as well. (The cafe’s at 1958 Kalakaua Ave., in case you want to see it for yourself.)

nakamaboko2The rest of the month is packed with events — more details, God willing, next week — but the latest event in this recent chain just opened Tuesday at the Honolulu Museum of Art School: “Nakamaboko: Working Together,” this year’s exhibit by the anime/manga-inspired young artist collective MangaBento. Those of you who visited MangaBento’s “Kakimochi” exhibit last year know what the display space on the school’s second floor looks like; you can expect to see an all-new lineup of pieces on display this year. The group’s already posted a gallery of pre-exhibit setup photos on its Facebook page, and the space is already looking quite promising. (I’m certainly digging the octopus over the elevator.)

You have until July 14 to check out the exhibit, but in case you have some free time this Sunday, the group will be hosting an opening reception from 2 to 5 p.m. AniMaid Cafe Hawaii servers will be on hand with refreshments, and art activity stations will be set up around the gallery. Yes, it’s also Father’s Day. Just bring dear ol’ Dad along after taking him out to lunch or before taking him out to dinner, and it’ll all be good.

The Honolulu Museum of Art School is at 1111 Victoria St.; admission is free. For more about MangaBento, visit www.manga-bento.com.

Anime around town

Aiea Library Anime Club: 3 p.m. Saturday at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. This month, librarian Diane Masaki will be screening the first few episodes of Ghost Hunt. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com.