Ota-cool Incoming: All the anime. ALL. THE. ANIME.

Gera gera po, gera gera po ... Courtesy PRNewsFoto/LEVEL-5 abby Inc.
Gera gera po, gera gera po … Courtesy PRNewsFoto/LEVEL-5 abby Inc.

News tends to travel in cycles around these parts. There are times when not much is going on, allowing me time to play my phone games and plot out points on the Pokemon GO Hawaii Guides map (1,800+ Pokestops and gyms on five islands mapped so far, another 700+ in the queue!), and times when ALL THE THINGS ARE HAPPENING AT ONCE AAAAAAAHHHHHH.

Welp, we’re now in one of those ALL THE THINGS periods. It started Tuesday when Tsum Tsum partner in fandom Wilma W. reminded me that there were screenings for Rurouni Kenshin II: Kyoto Inferno and Digimon Adventure tri Chapter 1: Reunion next week. Then nemu*nemu: Blue Hawaii cartoonist Audra Furuichi noted on Facebook that there were a buncha anime movies on deck at the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Doris Duke Theatre. And then Funimation and Crunchyroll announced they were joining forces to create one huge Voltron-esque anime distribution machine, the Aiea Library Anime Club finally laid to rest my close-to-3-year-old “Polar Bear Café and Friends Club” running joke, and Shin Godzilla and Yo-kai Watch tickets for local screenings.

This, of course, came around the same time Marvel Tsum Tsum (for Android and iPhone!), Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice (Nintendo 3DS/2DS) Touhou Genso Rondo: Bullet Ballet (PlayStation 4) and Trails of Cold Steel 2 (Vita) were released, regular Tsum Tsum launched its “battle against Jafar” event for in-game items and a pile of Abu Tsums, and Ingress introduced a monthlong “Via Lux Adventurer” badge for agents who visit at least 300 new, unique portals this month. And, of course, I’m getting ready to fly out to the Big Island next week for whatever adventures await at HawaiiCon.

So, well, goodbye for a little bit, games. (You better show up when I get back, elusive Pokemon Go Dragonite.) It’s time to get to work. Because there’s a lot of anime and anime-related stuff to watch to watch over the next few months, and you’re going to want to know where to go to catch all of it.

Coming to theaters

Rurouni Kenshin II: Kyoto Inferno: Noted here more for completionists’ sake, as both screenings at the Consolidated Ward theaters — 7:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday — are sold out online. Sorry about that.

Digimon Adventure tri. Chapter 1: ReunionIt’s been 16 years since a Digimon movie made it stateside. Technically, what we got here in the U.S. wasn’t even one movie; it was three movies mashed together, with about 40 minutes of content lopped off along the way. So here it is: the first Digimon feature to make the jump from Japan to the U.S. intact, with an English dub to keep those nostalgic feelings intact. It’s the next chapter in the lives of Tai and the DigiDestined, who’ve finally made it to high school. The gate to the Digital World has been closed, too. But their lives are about to Digi-volve in a big way once again … Regal Dole Cannery theaters, 7 p.m. Thursday.

Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie: Speaking of the whole “gotta catch ’em all” ethos, here’s Yo-Kai Watch, featuring the adventures of Nate, the boy who can see otherwise invisible yokai everywhere, and his yokai companions Whisper and Jibanyan as they help wayward spirits with their problems. In this, the English-dubbed version of the first movie, the watch gets stolen! Oh noes! Nate and the gang must travel back in time with a new yokai, Hovernyan, to save the world. Those of you who collect Yo-Motion Yo-Kai Medals will want to pick up the Hovernyan medal, too, while supplies last. Regal Dole Cannery theaters, 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15.

Shin Godzilla (Godzilla Resurgence): As we continue to wait for any word on whether Evangelion 4.0: You Will (Not) Be Happy (or whatever the subtitle to that movie will be) has gone into production, Eva director Hideaki Anno’s latest project is coming to theaters stateside. It features the return of everyone’s favorite city-stomping giant lizard. And guess what — the King of the Monsters isn’t happy. Which means deliciously entertaining chaos and destruction are about to follow. Hold on tight, Tokyo. Consolidated Ward theaters, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, Oct. 11-13.

Honolulu Museum of Art’s Japanese Cinema spotlight: More details to come in a future post for what’s turning out to be a busy otaku October at the art museum — I should know; I’m part of the programming — but for those of you who want to get a head start and buy your tickets now, there are 13 Japanese movies screening at the Doris Duke Theatre. Five of them are anime:

>> Miss Hokusai (making its Hawaii premiere!), 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1

>> Tekkonkinkreet, 1 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5

>> Millennium Actress, 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27

>> Paprika, 7: 30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25

>> Tokyo Godfathers, 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26

Tickets for Miss Hokusai are $25 general admission, $20 museum members, and includes preshow pupus from 6 to 7:30 p.m. (definitely go for the tenderloin with ponzu sauce if it’s offered; I had some at the opening reception for the Takaya Miou manga exhibit, and that stuff was heavenly) and koto music from Darin Miyashiro. For the others, it’s $10 general admission, $8 museum members.

Pokemon: The First Movie and Pokemon: The Movie 2000: Tickets ($15 general, $12 museum members) aren’t on sale yet for this double feature, but we do know this much: The First Movie is screening at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30, while The Movie 2000 will follow at 4:30 p.m. Also, I’m pretty sure someone will deploy Pokemon Go lures on the museum’s two Pokestops at some point. Because everyone wants to catch more Pidgeys.

Elsewhere around town

Aiea Library Hot Swimmer Dudes and Friends Anime Club: We’re in uncharted territory here, folks: a world where young adult librarian / Face of Hawaii Ingress ™ Diane Masaki has run out of Polar Bear Cafe episodes to screen. So by popular demand, Diane will be screening episodes of Free! Iwatobi Swim Club for, umm, free. Kancolle will be continuing, too, for those of you who’d rather watch battleships personified as cute girls. At the library, 99-374 Pohai Place, where there’s still plenty of parking and a giant sugar molecule out front, to boot. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or email aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.

MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists usually meets every second and fourth Sunday of the month at the Honolulu Museum of Art School, 1111 Victoria St. Next meeting is from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday in room 200. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/mangabento/

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center; locations within the mall may vary. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18.

Ota-cool incoming: Sale-abrate good times, come on!

If someone were to write a book about local otaku culture — don’t look at me; I’ve already written my one book of a lifetime, and I doubt I’ll ever have enough free time to properly update that one, never mind writing another one — one of the chapters would have to be about how we manage to accumulate so much stuff. Plushies, figures, statues, toys, video games, assorted show merchandise, books, CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays — you name it, we all have some sort of stash stored somewhere. Some of you may be sighing over how you have waaaaaaay too much; others may be lamenting about how you don’t have enough. For those of you in the never-ending pursuit of managing and accumulating more stuff, these next two weekends — along with the ongoing 20%-off sale at Book Off Ala Moana that I talked about in my last post — offer several chances to score some sweet bargains.

One sale is part of the 26th Annual Hawaii Collectors Expo, happening Friday through Sunday at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. Saturday (from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) are what matter for our discussion, as that will be when a bunch of people like tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. and I will be selling off surplus parts of their collections at … well, depending on where you go, it’s either the Anime Swap Meet or the All-Genre Swap Meet, presented by Kawaii Kon and Comic-Con Honolulu, respectively. And when I say “a bunch of people like us,” I really do mean to say that in the interest of full journalistic disclosure, Wilma and I have purchased a space where we will be selling things. Here is a preview of my stuff.

Jason's ASM things

And here is Wilma’s.

Wilma's ASM things

… she always was more organized than me. (You can probably expect many more DVDs and even a few Blu-rays from me, for starters.)

Want to join us in selling? As far as I know, there are a few spaces remaining. One 5-square-foot space costs $25, with a maximum of two spaces shared by two people; the cost remains the same regardless of whether you apply to sell for one or both days, so if you can spare an entire weekend, by all means do so. Deadline for applying is midnight Thursday, check out the rules and apply at kawaiikon.com/anime-swap-meet/ or comicconhonolulu.com/all-genre-swap-meet-feb-20-21-2016.

If you’re in the market for buying, we love you! Please buy our stuff. (And everybody else’s, too, of course.) Kawaii Kon representatives will be on hand to sell three-day general-admission passes to this year’s show for $50 — $5 off the current online price! Keep in mind that admission to the Collectors Expo is $5, but if you present your badge from last year’s Kawaii Kon or Comic Con Honolulu at the box office, the cost drops to nothing.

The other sale worth noting here is the Nerds’ Garage Sale, which has proven to be the hottest ticket in town for sellers in recent weeks. (For the record, there is no more space for sellers, so stop asking on the Facebook page already.) Organized by cosplayer extraordinare Leah Rose, the sale will feature about a dozen self-described “cosplay nerds” selling off their extra supplies, costumes and other things. You can also check out Other Realms’ sizable collection of comics, games and other happy nerdy collectibles for sale as well. That’s happening from 3 to 7 p.m. Feb. 27 at the store, which is at 1130 N. Nimitz Highway, suite C-140. (It’s actually not visible from the highway; you have to go behind the buildings with New Eagle Cafe on one end and AAA Hawaii on the other end to find it.)

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” are the ship-gals of KanColle.) This month didn’t garner much of a reaction, probably because Diane, the Face of Hawaii Ingress (tm) that she is, is really really close to becoming a max-Level 16 agent. The friendly neighborhood anime/manga/cartooning blogger in me is cheering her on, while the Enlightened side of me wants to put AXA Shields on every portal in Pearl City and Aiea. But I digress. 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. Saturday.

Mori & Steam

Mori & Steam: Steampunk Family Sunday: If you haven’t had a chance to check out the “Harajuku: Japanese Street Fashion” exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art yet, by all means try to stop by before it closes April 3; it’s a fascinating snapshot of contemporary Japanese fashion trends. And with the museum’s Family Sunday coming up, you can swing by to see it absolutely free, and enjoy some activities and entertainment, to boot. Kids can make a set of steampunk goggles at one station, at another, visitors can make their own Harajuku- or steampunk-inspired pins. Roy Chang, MidWeek cartoonist, Cacy & Kiara author and Pepe the Chihuahua’s kalbi feeder, will be doing live sketches of Harajuku fashion models from noon to 3 p.m., and featured bands include Hook + Line and Gypsy 808. There also will be a complimentary shuttle running between the museum and Spalding House, so you can check out the exhibits at both locations. Oh hey, and before or after you go, perhaps you might like to visit a certain Collectors Expo with an Anime/All-Genre Swap Meet going on down the street? *hint hint* *wink nudge* The museum’s at 900 S. Beretania St. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Kawaii Kon Karaoke Competition preliminary round #2: So you think you can sing, and you’re planning to go to Kawaii Kon this year? Give the annual Karaoke Competition a try. This year, the preliminary rounds will be held at Nocturna Lounge, the video game/karaoke bar just downstairs from our editorial/advertising offices here at Waterfront Plaza/Restaurant Row. Top three singers from each preliminary round move on to the semifinals at the convention itself. The fun starts at 3 p.m. Sunday; full details on what you need to do to prepare are available at kawaiikon.com/events/karaoke-kompetition/

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center; locations within the mall may vary. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Ota-cool Incoming: Cons, cons everywhere, and nary a time to breathe

It’s been a wild past few weeks here at Otaku Ohana Central, a time that’s included voice actors conducting panels after a lovely morning swim off Hawaii island, some friendly neighborhood anime/manga/cartooning blogger dork talking for a good 40 minutes or so at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, a governor and a congressman offering proclamations and plaudits for comics legend Stan Lee, and lots and lots and lots of waiting in lines.

Also, this happened.

ban daisuke

Hello, Kikaida star Ban Daisuke. Nice to finally get to meet you. Although it was a bit awkward when the person we thought was going to take our picture wandered off to go take pictures of the other costumed characters at Kikaida Day. But I digress.

I’ll have some thoughts on my recent 11-day span of otaku craziness in my next post (which I will try to post really, really soon even if it kills me in the process), but I reeeeeeaaaaaallly need to take a look at what’s coming up over the next few weekends first. We’re coming up on the third of five straight weekends of otaku-related activities, and keeping everything straight (and perhaps pushing you, dear reader, to attend an event or two in the process!) is what I do best. Or at least try to do best, anyway, whenever I have the time/energy to do so.

mini con poster

Our tour of events starts with Saturday and Mini Con at McCully-Moiliili Library. Branch manager Hillary Chang has been putting on this free little slice of comic-con culture for six years now — holy cats, I feel old just typing that — and this year’s installment is, pardon the cliche, bigger and better than ever before.

Longtime exhibitors Jon Murakami (Gordon Rider, Ararangers, the Star-Advertiser’s “Calabash” strip), Audra Furuichi (nemu*nemu, the Star-Advertiser’s “nemu*nemu: Blue Hawaii” strip) and Kevin Sano (Crazy Shirts artist and painter of many Kikaida-themed Minion toys) will be joined this year by Christopher Caravalho, Aumakua: Guardians of Hawaii artist. Brady Evans from the Honolulu Museum of Art will host a digital painting demo at 11 a.m., where you can learn how he creates pretty prettiness like “Wisteria” here. Young adult author David Estes will give a talk at 11:45 a.m., “From Accountant to Author: Getting Started as a Writer.” Collect a stamp from everyone and receive a free comic! Here’s what the stamp card looks like.

mini con card

Of particular note is that this will be the last time you’ll be able to pick up some of that sweet nemu*nemu merchandise in person this year; Audra’s said she’s going to be skipping her traditional holiday craft fair circuit in favor of travel, so stock up on those gifts now! (Or you could just go online and order anytime, but hey, I’m old-school. Personal interaction’s always nice.) Cosplay, of course, is also welcomed; heck, here’s Hillary cosplaying with coworker Wendy Araki at last year’s event.

03 me Wendy

Mini Con runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at McCully-Moiliili Library (2211 S. King St.); as I recommend every year, you’ll want to come early for the best parking opportunities. There’s a new, welcomed twist this time around, though: Overflow parking will be available in the Ross Dress for Less lot across the street. Yay! Call 973-1099 for more information or if you need to make special arrangements.

anime day 2015

A week later, Kawaii Kon will be hosting its fourth annual Anime Day at Windward Mall. Everything you loved about past Anime Days will be back for another round, including the Cosplay Runway, games, art activities, discounted three-day passes for Kawaii Kon 2016, a selection of Artist Alley vendors (including the Star-Advertiser’s own Erika Engle and her handcrafted jewelry!) and a mall-wide stamp rally for the chance to win a fabulous prize. All of this happens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the mall, 46-056 Kamehameha Highway. And, of course, admission is free! Visit facebook.com/events/899357246825955/ for the latest details.

QuickMechaRide

And then about a week after that, on Oct. 9-11? It’s time for Anime Ohana, the fifth of our state’s six-convention windfall this year. As I noted earlier this year, this convention, started by Kawaii Kon founder Stan Dahlin and Sentai Filmworks producer David Williams, will feature voice actors Jessica Calvello (Hange Zoe, Attack on Titan; Yuri, Dirty Pair), Monica Rial (Kaede Kayano, Assassination Classroom) and David Matranga (the title role in Orphen) and all the usual accouterments we’ve come to know and love from the other four conventions this year. (Seriously, if you have to ask what kinds of activities will be available, you really haven’t been paying much attention to the con scene this year.)

All this is going down at the Pagoda Hotel at 1525 Rycroft St., just a short walk away from YogurStory, Walmart, Walgreens, Don Quijote, Like Like Drive Inn, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka … umm, can you tell some of the places I’ll be stopping by during con down time? For the latest news, visit the event page at facebook.com/events/742706302513876/; for passes (available in 1-3 day varieties for both children and adults), visit animeohana.com.

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, the “friends” part will likely be Squid Girl.) Every month, she gives me the same response: “Pfffffffft.” I’ll keep trying, folks. At the library, 99-374 Pohai Place, where even now, more than a year after opening, there’s still plenty of parking. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or email aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.

Anime Matsuri Hawaii LUV Day: “LUV” is short for “Let Us Volunteer,”and at this event, you’ll get to meet con directors John and Deneice Leigh and learn everything about volunteer opportunities at the last convention of the year, being held over Black Friday weekend (Nov. 27-29). Bonus: There will be games! And prizes! Lili’u Theater, Hawai’i Convention Center (room 310, in the corner closest to Kalakaua Avenue and the Ala Wai Canal), 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Ingress First Saturday: Ever wanted to learn how to play Niantic Labs’ massively multiplayer augmented reality smartphone game? Feel like honing your skills and learning playing tips from high-level agents? Want to meet The Face of Hawaii Ingress in person? Care to see what Niantic is capable of producing before their new likely-to-be-a-megahit collaboration with Nintendo, Pokemon Go, goes live and turns what we’ve known for several years as the Hawaiian Netmender Fountain portal into Jigglypuff? Come to Kapiolani Park for a day of cross-factional rivalry, fellowship, and … triangles! Lots! And lots! Of TRIANGLES~!

Meet at the Diamond Head Landmark portal (www.ingress.com/intel?ll=21.265395,-157.82058&z=17&pll=21.265395,-157.82058 for those of you with scanners; about halfway between the Waikiki Aquarium and the Natatorium on the park side of Kalakaua Avenue for those who don’t). To the Enlightened, may the odds be forever in your favor. To the Resistance, umm … enjoy the cross-factional potluck afterward? Yeah. That’s it. Starts at 9 a.m. Oct. 3.

Random Ingress Portal of the Post:

Screenshot_2015-09-23-17-36-37

Meet Drainage Marker! It’s … a drainage marker! On the corner of South King Street and Ward Avenue!

(Yeah, Niantic’s portal approval team was probably half-asleep when they approved this one.)

Gamer Expo 2015: The second annual edition of what’s been called the state’s largest video game event will feature tournaments for pretty much all the hot games out there (Super Smash Bros.! Hearthstone! Halo! Street Fighter! League of Legends! More!), a retro gaming section, and pretty much all the pew-pew-hack-slash-kick-punch-it’s-all-in-the-mind action you could possibly want. Special guests include Super Smash Bros. pro players Corey “False” Shin, Larry “Larry Lurr” Holland, William “Dkwill” Walsh, Max “Max Ketchum” Krchmar and Michael “MikeKirby” Alvare, and noted Hearthstone streamer Hafu. Presented by eSports HI; $25 general admission, $43 VIP pass. The Modern Honolulu (1775 Ala Moana Blvd.); 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Oct. 3.

The big convention roundup

Yes, four out of six shows for this year are done, and it’s already time to start thinking about next year. Con dates are already scheduled out through next September, in fact! Here’s everything I know so far. Unless otherwise noted, con venue is the Hawai’i Convention Center:

Anime Matsuri Hawaii: Featuring guests — deep breath in, Jason — voice actors Johnny Yong Bosch, Crispin Freeman and Maile Flanagan; Justin Rojas, representing Funimation; Masahiko Otsuka, president of Studio Trigger (the studio behind recent hits Kill la Kill and Little Witch Academia); musical guest DaizyStripper; professional cosplayers Goldy, Yuegene Fay, Stella Chuu, Reika and Vampy Bit Me; fashion designers Shunsuke Hasegawa (Putumayo designer) and Chinatsu Taira (Metamorphose chief designer); and KERA/Gothic Lolita Bible model Yui Minakata. And exhale. Nov. 27-29.

Kawaii Kon: The 12th annual edition of Hawaii’s first anime convention will feature a return visit by voice actor Johnny Yong Bosch and his band, Eyeshine, as well as the first visit by Japanese rock band Loverin Tamburin. April 8-10.

Amazing Hawaii Comic Con: Save the date! The follow-up to what may well be the biggest pop-culture convention in Hawaii now (pending the formal release of attendance numbers and what I’ve heard about really crowded conditions Friday and Saturday) will be May 20-22.

Comic Con Honolulu: Kawaii Kon’s pop-culture con spinoff hopes to build on its strong debut with guests Erin Gray (Col. Deering, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century), Colin Ferguson (Federal Marshal Jack Carter, Eureka), Summer Glau (River Tam, Firefly/Serenity) and Kristin Bauer (Maleficent, Once Upon A Time). July 29-31.

HawaiiCon: Guests announced so far include Simpsons/Futurama artist Bill Morrison, actress Nichelle Nichols (Uhuru in the original Star Trek) and science fiction author John Scalzi.  Sept. 15-18, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel (Hawaii island).

Ota-cool Incoming: And lo, ‘The Last’ shall be first

Ten years ago in September, the story of a certain ramen-loving ninja descended from a nine-tailed fox hit American airwaves on Cartoon Network for the first time.

Naruto the LastWe’ve seen about a bazillion thingy-no-jutsus, battles, double-crosses, triple-crosses and sordid slash fanfics written since then. Heck, the entire cast has aged as Plain Old Naruto evolved into Naruto Shippuden. And now, as Masashi Kishimoto’s manga ends and the anime likely to follow suit eventually, we have the last Naruto movie ever. I mean, it even says so in the title: The Last: Naruto the Movie.

… wait, what? There’s another one scheduled for release this year? Well now.

Semantics aside, The Last is notable for being the first big-screen anime feature with screenings scheduled for Honolulu this year. There are two screenings, in fact, both at Consolidated’s Ward Stadium 16 complex: noon Saturday, Feb. 21 and 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 23. Both will be in Japanese with English subtitles. You’ll also be able to nab a free commemorative poster while supplies last.

So why is this movie called The Last if it isn’t exactly the last movie of the franchise? It’s a reference to the last days of Earth, as the moon is somehow approaching the Earth, meteorites threaten to rain down on the planet and, presumably, Sailor Moon and her friends are stuck in another franchise and have no interest in resolving the matter. To make matters worse, Hinata’s younger sister, Hanabi, has been kidnapped by a mysterious man in Konoha. It’s up to Naruto and the gang to save her, save the world, and … ummm … set up the next movie, I suppose.

Here, have a trailer.

Tickets aren’t on sale yet, but I’ll try to keep an eye on things and let you know when they do. Update 2:55 p.m. 1/16: Fandango ticket links are live! Tickets are $15 each; here’s the Feb. 21 screening, and here’s the Feb. 23 screening.

Other ota-coolness

Aiea Library Anime Club: This month, young adult librarian Diane Masaki is screening two episodes of Polar Bear Cafe followed by two episodes of “something action-y,” as she puts it. At the library, 99-374 Pohai Place. Have I ever mentioned that there’s plenty of parking now? Because there is. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.

portal_20150116_103030_1Random Ingress Portal of the Post: Speaking of The Face of Hawaii Ingress … it’s apparently been so long since I’ve done one of these Ota-cool Incoming roundups (and by extension these random portal profiles) that Niantic, the game studio behind this game, finally got around to sticking a portal on the new Aiea Library. So here it is, a portal that you’ll have to get out of your car to visit, since it’s tucked away a bit from the road. Shown here is the proper alignment — Enlightened-held — for a portal that the aforementioned Face of Hawaii Ingress (tm) seems to want to switch to Resistance control during regular library hours. To each his/her own, I guess. I think it looks prettier in green … but maybe I’m just biased on that matter. Just a teensy bit.

Kawaii Kon Karaoke Competition preliminary rounds: So you think you can sing, and you’re planning to go to Kawaii Kon this year? Give the annual Karaoke Competition a try, then. This year, two out of the three preliminary rounds will be held at a new location: Nocturna Lounge, the video game/karaoke bar just downstairs from our editorial/advertising offices here at Waterfront Plaza/Restaurant Row. (The other round will be held at its traditional location, Orvis Auditorium on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus.) For the Nocturna rounds, sign-in starts at 3:30 p.m. Sunday and March 15, with the actual singing starting at 4 p.m. on both days. The Orvis round will be held on Feb. 15; exact times have yet to be announced. Full details on what you need to do to prepare are available at bit.ly/Karaoke_Prelims.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center; locations within the mall may vary. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists usually meets every second and fourth Sunday of the month at the Honolulu Museum of Art School (1111 Victoria St.). This month, the front door of the art school may be closed, so enter through the sides or via the basement. Check with the guard for room number. Visit www.manga-bento.com. Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 25.

Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses: Ever since the last time we looked at the seating chart for this orchestral tribute to the long-running Nintendo video game series, the Blaisdell Concert Hall has filled up quite nicely. Here’s a look at where things stood as of 9 p.m. Thursday.

zelda ticket map

 

For those of you who were procrastinating on buying something in the cheap seats, you waited too long; those $45 tickets are now sold out. The cheapest seats available now are $69.30 each ($59 + $10.30 fees); those hard-core fan VIP seats ($138.55, includes a limited-edition poster and a meet-and-greet with the producers following the show) are also still available. There are also other options available for those of you who prefer something in between those two prices. If you did procrastinate, though, you’ll have one advantage that those of us who rushed to buy tickets didn’t have: a discount code. Enter “HEYLISTEN” at checkout to receive 15 percent off (and curse the powers that be for getting this stuck in your mind once again). Click that seating chart above for tickets; for concert information, visit zelda-symphony.com. 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30.

Anime Swap Meet: Hosted by Kawaii Kon, this opportunity for local otaku to buy and sell assorted preowned collectibles from one another will be part of the 25th Annual Hawaii Collectors Expo from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22. Interested in selling? Check out kawaiikon.com/anime-swap-meet for all the details; registration deadline is midnight Feb. 18. This year, the rules are a bit more liberal: $20 will get you a 5-square-foot space for both Saturday and Sunday, and you can share your space with one other person. Interested in buying? Stay tuned for those details; I’m still waiting to see them myself.

Moyoco Anno at the Honolulu Museum of Art: Hopefully your short-term memory is good enough to remember the details from my post on Wednesday; if not, here’s your refresher. Starting 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 22.

The second second coming of Taku Taku Matsuri

taku taku matsuri logoOne of the breakthrough otaku-targeted events last year was the Taku Taku Matsuri’s natsu matsuri, or summer festival, where about 300 people showed up at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu on a sunny Sunday in August to cosplay, play games, buy Japanese-themed merchandise and food from a number of vendors, enjoy entertainment and just have a fun time overall. As I wrote last year, organizer Yuka C. Nagaoka started Taku Taku Matsuri to give local fans of anime and manga culture another venue where they could gather, similar to the events she took part in growing up in Japan.

This year, Taku Taku Matsuri was scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 9. It promised to be bigger — a one-day mini-anime con of sorts being held at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s Manoa Grand Ballroom, with a Star Trek-themed cafe, video game tournaments, a dance party featuring DJ E2D, and special guest Kyle Hebert. But the tournaments were quietly dropped, DJ E2D pulled out … and then the dual threat of Hurricanes Iselle and Julio took care of the rest.

The show, however, will go on. Yuka said as much, announcing a new date — Saturday, Nov. 22 — along with a new rallying cry, “We will make it happen.” But there’s still the venue, activities and higher costs to deal with. As she told me before, without any sponsors, she has to pay for everything out of pocket … and those costs add up pretty quickly.

And that’s where the second Second Annual Taku Taku Matsuri crowdfunding campaign comes in. If this all sounds familiar to you, you’re right; we’re looking at another $2,000 funding goal to reach and more $10 pre-sale tickets and $20 ticket/T-shirt bundles available, albeit this time on the GoFundMe platform instead of Kickstarter. The change removes the nail-biting element from the first campaign — Yuka told me she switched because she gets to keep whatever she raises regardless of whether the goal is met by Oct. 25, unlike Kickstarter’s all-or-nothing approach.

But the importance of hitting her goal remains.

TTM November teaser“If I don’t get enough, as before, it’ll come out of my pocket and/or me trying to get a business loan from a bank,” she told me via email. “Sadly for attendees, this may result in me having to hike up the entrance fee, even for people that supported us on Kickstarter and GoFund.”

Those of you who bought in during the Kickstarter campaign, don’t worry: You don’t have to give any more during this round. Yuka will honor all tickets sold during that campaign. For those of you who chose the $100 perk, she’s also trying to book a replacement guest that will be able to make a special meal appearance as well.

Which brings us to the other unknown about Summer Taku Taku Matsuri in Fall: who, if anyone, will fill the “guest of honor” slot. It’s already been confirmed that Kyle Hebert will not be returning for the make-up event (stick around for a bit of Otaku Ohana-related news about that at the end of this post, though). Yuka’s trying to find a replacement guest, but with three months between now and the event itself and many other conventions and events being booked with guests far in advance, she’s not sure she can pull it off.

Several artists and craft vendors have had to pull out of the rescheduled event as well, most likely because the new date is in the heart of the lucrative holiday craft fair season. So if you’re an artist or vendor looking for some exposure, spaces are now available.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/taku2matsuri or email taku2matsuri@yahoo.com.

Ota-cool incoming!

10636109_561435233979790_6832920851635999729_nArashi in concert: Judging by my Facebook friends’ timeline, the arrival of five-member boy band Arashi for concerts at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 19 and 20 at Ko Olina’s Naia Lagoon 3 is a Pretty Big Deal. Is it worth paying $150 per ticket ($75 for children under 15)? Or would we be better off heading over to Shirokiya and its pop-up Arashi Shop to get CDs “and other items not normally available in Hawaii” and calling it a day? We’ll find out starting Saturday, when tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. exclusively at Ticketmaster.com. Be sure to check out Tom Moffatt Productions’ Facebook event page to see all the rules and procedures involved; the key elements to note are that there’s a four-ticket limit, sales are limited to customers in the United States and Canada, and you’re going to have to bring the credit card you used to order the tickets to the show itself.

Aiea Library Anime Club: It’s back! The new conference room is really nice! And as I’ll probably point out until the library moves to a new location, there’s plenty of parking! This month, young adult librarian Diane Masaki is screening Appleseed: Alpha, the latest computer-animated film in the franchise directed by two-time Kawaii Kon guest Shinji Aramaki. At the library, 99-374 Pohai Place. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.

MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists usually meets every second and fourth Sunday of the month at the Honolulu Museum of Art School (1111 Victoria St.), room 200. Visit www.manga-bento.com. Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Random Ingress portal of the post: With Ingress arriving on iOS, it’s now available to almost everyone with a smartphone (sorry, Windows Phone and Blackberry users). I think it’s about time to introduce this new recurring feature to the Ota-cool calendar.

Let’s start with this portal.

Ringy Dingy

Yes, ol’ Ringy Dingy is actually Pass Loop Doraemon from my statue cat-alog earlier this year, located on the third floor of Ala Moana, in the Nordstrom wing. Please note that while Doraemon is blue, his portal should be green. Just sayin’.

Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie: Screening Sunday, Aug. 31 at noon and Monday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Ward Stadium 16 theaters on Oahu and the Kaahumanu 6 theaters in Kahului. Tickets are available on Fandango.

Anime Day at Windward Mall: Kawaii Kon is back for its third year of mini-con craziness across the Koolaus. I’d imagine more details will be released in coming weeks, but I’d expect art events, cosplay contests, free anime screenings and a mini Artist Alley to be part of the day. Also, it’s coinciding again with Star Wars Reads Day, which makes Diane sad because she can’t go again this year. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11.

Coming up in Otaku Ohana

As I mentioned earlier, Kyle Hebert won’t be coming back for Summer Taku Taku Matsuri in Fall. He did, however, make it down to Hawaii. Two people got to sit down with him for formal interviews while he was here. One of them was Kell Komatsubara, as part of his ongoing “Ramblings About Something Close to Nothing” video blog series.

The other? Your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger.

Kyle Hebert: The Otaku Ohana interview. (Still) coming somewhat sorta soonish. (Hey, transcribing audio recordings are hard when you have a bazillion other things to do. Sigh. Sob.)

“Anohana”: The flower we’re seeing on Maui

anohanaIt’s been a while since tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. has raved to me about wanting to see any anime, so when she does, you bet I’m going to perk up and take notice.

In this particular case, it’s Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, an 11-episode series that aired in Japan in 2011 and is currently available for free on Crunchyroll. In the series, a girl’s death ends up being the wedge that drives a group of childhood friends apart, but her ghostly return — and her haunting of the group’s leader — could end up being the key to them coming to terms over the guilt they felt about that tragic day. And a flower is probably involved. (Hey, I only saw the first episode of Kill La Kill on Wednesday. I have a lot of anime series catching-up to do.)

A feature-length film retelling the story was released in Japan in August; a few months later, in November, Aniplex of America announced it would be bringing the film to U.S. theaters, with Eleven Arts distributing. If you remember my first post on Evangelion 3.0 a few weeks ago, your sixth sense should be tingling right about now, considering that I said that pretty much anything with Eleven Arts attached to it has shown up locally as of late.

Well, an Aniplex press release announcing that a theater list was now available rattled into my inbox this morning … and there’s good and bad news. The good news is that the Anohana movie is, indeed, coming to Hawaii. The bad news? As of now, if you’re reading this somewhere that isn’t Maui, it’s going to cost you, at a bare minimum, round-trip airfare, a round-trip cab ride and a ticket to see it. That’s because, for the first time that I can remember this happening in all my years on this beat, Anohana is skipping Honolulu entirely and screening exclusively at the Kaahumanu 6 theaters in Kahului.

So here’s the deal, Mauians: There will be two showings, one at 2 p.m. on Wed., Jan. 22, the other at 7 p.m. Sat., Jan. 25. Fandango ticket links are embedded in that last sentence; tickets cost $15 each. Ticketholders will have an opportunity to score cool gifts, including “Letters From Menma” replicas and movie posters. And in case you’re still on the fence, here, have a trailer.

For more information on the movie, visit www.AniplexUSA.com/anohanamovie. In the meantime, I’ll be sitting over here, alternating between being jealous of those of you on Maui and seriously contemplating whether I should hop over for a day and indulge in Komoda Store cream puffs, guri guri from the Tasaka shop, and pretty much everything Sam Sato’s in Wailuku serves up. That’s good eatin’.

Evangelion 3.0, update 3.0

eva3_posterB_B1_org_OK_RGBWhile I was poking around on Fandango, I decided to check in on whether the Eva 3.0 screenings for the Kaahumanu 6 and Ward Stadium theaters finally materialized. And they have! Ticket links and prices are below. (Note: “Seniors” refers to anyone ages 60 and older; “children” refers to anyone ages 3-11.)

Those screenings are more than two weeks earlier than the Doris Duke Theatre screenings at the Honolulu Museum of Art that I’ve written about before, so if you’re really itching to see Eva 3.0 sooner rather than later, here’s your chance. If not, tickets are still available for all those screenings. As far as I know, tickets are also still available for the Kawaii Kon screening at 7:30 p.m. Thurs., Jan. 30, for free to those who have a three-day badge from 2013 or who already preregistered for 2014. Details for that offer are in this post.

Ota-cool incoming!

Unless some major news breaks in the next few days, I expect this will be the last Ota-cool Incoming! update for 2013. It’s been a very fruitful year for the local anime/manga fan community … and the first few months of 2014 are already shaping up to be fun ones as well. So let’s get to it!

journey of heroes 2Honolulu Gift Fair: We already knew that Stacey Hayashi, author of the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team graphic novel Journey of Heroes, would be one of the vendors in attendance. Now comes word that she’ll have copies of the fresh-off-the-press second printing of the book as well. The new edition contains four additional pages — featuring letters from veterans and a list of donors to schools — and a redesigned cover. Well, okay, so the title bar just changed from red to blue, as you can see in the picture to the right. But hey, it’s something. Stacey will also have shirts featuring the chibis and buttons available for sale as well. Admission is free. Blaisdell Exhibition Hall; 3-9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Aiea Library Anime Club: This month, librarian Diane Masaki is screening … well … something holiday-themed, that’s for sure. Could be polar bears. Could be something about three homeless friends and an abandoned baby. Just show up and act pleasantly surprised, okay? At the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.

MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists usually meets every second and fourth Sunday of the month at the Honolulu Museum of Art School (1111 Victoria St., room 200). Visit www.manga-bento.com. Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Future attractions

New Year’s Ohana Festival: Kick off 2014 with the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii in an event guaranteed to be filled with food, games, entertainment, cultural activities and a Kawaii Kon booth, where preregistrations will be taken and Eva 3.0 tickets will be given away. At the center (2454 S. Beretania St.) and nearby Moiliili Field. Jan. 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Honolulu Festival: It’s the 20th anniversary edition of the festival promoting harmony between Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific region; the theme: “Jubilation, One Heart, One Pacific, One World.” Just as in previous years, Kawaii Kon will have an exhibit, and the Nagaoka Fireworks display will put a bow on the proceedings. Hawai’i Convention Center and other venues around Waikiki, March 7-9.

Kawaii Kon 2014: Guests for the 10th anniversary edition include voice actors Jim Cummings, Grey DeLisle, Ayumi Fujimura, Quinton Flynn, Richard Horvitz, Tetsuya Kakihara, Michael Sinterniklaas and Stephanie Sheh; professional cosplayer Leah Rose; and local comedian Augie T., serving as emcee. Preregistration open now; $37 for a three-day pass for children ages 5-12, $42 general admission. Hawai’i Convention Center, April 4-6.

Next time in Otaku Ohana

This.

Indeed, a Kawaii Christmas is the only Christmas for me.

And there are a lot more pictures from where that came from, too.

Aloha, Toys N Joys (and other Ota-cool calendar additions)

toys n joys aiea

It took a few weeks for me to confirm the news, but now that all the players have been properly notified and the signs printed, I can now type this with authority: Both Toys N Joys stores — the store in Kaimuki, as I noted in the September Ota-cool Incoming! calendar, and the Aiea store, at 98-150 Kaonohi St. in the Westridge Shopping Center — will be closing on Sept. 23.

The Aiea store hasn’t been around as long as the Kaimuki store — 25 years compared to Kaimuki’s 30 — and it only had a fraction of the selection, but it’s always held a closer, more cherished spot in my heart. Part of it is because it’s physically closer to where I’ve lived all my life (central Oahu represent!). But it’s mostly because back in the days before one-click Internet shopping and a GameStop in every large neighborhood, it was the place to go to feed a budding local otaku’s ever-growing hunger for video games (both domestic and import) and anime collectibles. There’s a clerk there, Steve, who’s also been there for what’s seemed like forever. I don’t think he’s been there all 25 years — kinda hard to remember who was behind the counter when you’re 11 or 12, which is how old I would’ve been when the store opened — but it’s most assuredly been a long time. Friendly smile, always chats with me whenever I come in … great guy to know, really. I wish him and the other staffers nothing but the best in their future endeavors.

Here’s the current Aiea clearance sale breakdown:

  • All toys 25 percent off (plushies 50 percent off)
  • All video games 10 percent off
  • All DVDs 15 percent off
  • All Airsoft guns 20 percent off
  • All replica swords 25 percent off

There’s a good chance that the percentages will go higher the closer we get to closing day, so if you want to gamble on your preferred item of choice still being around for an extended period of time, it’s your call. You aren’t going to find anything super popular — it doesn’t seem like the merchandise mix has been updated for several months — but hey, you can think of it as your last chance to have a vintage otaku treasure hunt of sorts.

After the jump: some additional notes on events in September and October that have hit my radar after I published that Ota-cool calendar.

Continue reading “Aloha, Toys N Joys (and other Ota-cool calendar additions)”