It’s never a good time to get sick, but for your friendly neighborhood anime/manga/cartooning blogger in particular, getting sick last week came at a really inopportune time. I’m still shaking the last remnants of what was diagnosed as a viral infection (the formal medical term for “yup, you’re coughing and congested; here, have some codeine and get some rest”) I missed the Mini Comic Con at Aiea Library, which saddened me. At one point, between swigs of codeine, I even considered tweeting, “Otaku community newsmakers, please hold off on breaking any juicy news until I have a chance to get better.”
Naturally, otaku community newsmakers broke a lot of juicy news while I was sick.
So now I have quite a few announcements to catch up on — movie screenings! Special events! New convention guests! — and I’ll be starting in on it with this series of posts, “The Summer of Stuff.” Because let’s face it: If you can’t find anything that you’re interested in doing in the next few months from everything I’ve been told about, you’re doing the summer wrong.
Take this summer’s lineup of movie screenings for Japanese cultural aficionados, for instance. A lot of it is being generated by GKids, working overtime with a weeks-long presentation of animated films from around the world (that is, if your definition of “around the world” is 75 percent Japan, 25 percent France/Italy) and the wide release of When Marnie Was There. There’s also a pair of free screenings at Aiea Library in coming weeks.
Let’s go to the calendar for some dates, synopses and trailers …
When you’ve been writing columns and blogs about the local anime/manga/cartooning community for as long as I have, you tend to fall into a rhythm when writing about certain recurring items.
It used to be that way with events taking place at Aiea Library: throw in a mention that the event was the brainchild of young adult librarian Diane Masaki; add where the library was located (99-143 Moanalua Road); submit column to editor or push “publish” button on blog; wander off to enjoy a nice strawberry smoothie with tapioca pearls somewhere. Heck, it was reliable to the point where the place was even Ingress portal-ized.
Well, as of last Saturday, that’s no longer the case. Meet the new Aiea Library, now a left turn and an up-the-street-past-Aiea-Bowl-and-its-yummy-lemon-crunch-cake away from the old location.
Our reporter Leila Fujimori and photographer Bruce Asato wrote about last Saturday’s grand opening in Sunday’s paper (subscription required). But this is Otaku Ohana, where you want to know about what really matters about the new library, like how the manga shelves look. (They’re quite compact.)
Or where the anime collection is. (It’s near a pillar with a Comic Jam Hawaii “Chibi Heroes” card-poster.)
Or whether local events like Kawaii Kon and Taku Taku Matsuri already have informational postcards available.
Or — perhaps the most important detail of all — if there’s more parking.
I swung by on Wednesday to check out the place and get all those pictures above, and everything has that nice, new library sheen to it … and yes, there is more parking than the old library, and it is glorious. (Gonna miss seeing all those chickens wandering around nearby, though.) That parking will come in handy Saturday as the library hosts its first big event since the grand opening: Batman Day, a celebration of 75 years’ worth of Caped Crusader adventures. (Yes, anime/manga fans, a Batman event totallycounts as something worth mentioning here, too.)
Young adult librarian Diane Masaki (See? There’s that auto-fill instinct kicking in again …) has a full day of activities planned, including:
Cosplayers dressed up as various characters from the DC Universe will be wandering around for photo ops starting at 10 a.m.
Artists from Comic Jam Hawaii will be drawing Batman-related artwork on 11-by-14-inch sheets at noon; at 1 p.m., the pieces will be raffled off to attendees.
A special Comic Jam Hawaii session will be held starting at 1 p.m. Join in and draw with some of Hawaii’s top cartoonists!
Aiea Library is now located at 99-374 Pohai Place; for more information, call 483-7333.
Also this weekend
Kids Inc. Business Showcase: I’ve been keeping an eye on the work of teen artist Joelle Lee; she (along with proud mom Lisa, on her behalf) has posted samples of her work on the Comic Jam Hawaii, and … well, it’s hard to describe exactly what I like about her artwork, but I just know that I really like it. (I think that’s one of her self-portraits I’ve posted to the right.) I see a bright future for her, that’s for sure.
Windward Mall recently held a public vote to choose a dozen young entrepreneurs (ages 6-15) to set up shop in the mall’s center court and sell merchandise and services for a few hours, and Joelle was one of the kids voted in. She’ll be drawing chibi portraits at her booth, “Joelle’s Custom Artwork,” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Stop by, say hi, and support her and the other young businesspeople.
Kawaii Kon’s “Caramelldansen” flash mob:Dance to the beat, wave your hands together / come feel the heat, forever and forever / listen and learn, it is time for prancing / now we are here, we’re Caramell Dancing …
If you could (a) tolerate listening to that entire song and (b) want to do that little dance in the aisles of Barnes & Noble Ala Moana for a few minutes, then Kawaii Kon staff wants you to join them for their flash mob at 2 p.m. Sunday. It’s part of the store’s ongoing “Get Pop-Cultured” campaign running through Aug. 10; other events in the campaign coming soon include appearances by artists Roy Chang (1 p.m. Saturday), Cheryl Nagata (1 p.m. Sunday) and Devin Oishi (4 p.m. Sunday). Cosplayers from the League of Shadows group will also be with Roy starting from 1 p.m. Saturday.
Oh yeah, and while you’re there, take advantage of the store’s “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” sale on Viz manga. Deadman Wonderland, Naruto, One Piece, Vampire Knight and oh-so-many-more titles are on sale through Aug. 10.
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 time around, they’ll be meeting in room 202 instead of their customary room 200. Visit www.manga-bento.com. Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The Sakai Project profile: It’s a thing. It’ll be in Sunday’s paper. Tag-team partner Wilma J. and I worked countless hours to write it. Please pick up a paper or spring for digital subscriber access to read it.
To preview what we were in the middle of writing about, I picked up copies for ourselves on Wednesday, the first day the book was available for sale. Of course, the first thing I had to look for was the piece by the lone Hawaii artist featured in the book, nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi. Now, you have to realize that while this book grew from a planned 100 pages to 160 pages, not all the art featured could get a full page. A number of pages feature two or three art pieces. Everything still looks gorgeous, of course, in a glossy, full-color 9-by-12-inch hardcover book; just a bit more compact.
Audra’s piece was one that got a full page. That’s hers on the left.
Go pick up a copy at your local comic book store (only $29.99! Plus some stores offer discounts!). All proceeds from book sales go toward helping pay for Sharon Sakai’s medical bills. You’ll want to see Sunday’s article for the full story behind the book, though. It’s quite inspiring.
Good news, everyone: The “Made in Japan, Loved in Hawaii” panel, which I talked about in my last post, went off without a hitch. Roy Bann, Brady Evans, Audra Furuichi, Jon Murakami and I talked about anime and tokusatsu series for a little over two hours, more people were sitting in the audience than were on the panel, and I didn’t die of embarrassment afterward. Victories all around! Thank you to all of you who came to visit, even if you stayed for just a little while.
Since I was sitting on the panel and couldn’t exactly take pictures of myself, I’ve been relying on what panel attendees have posted and shared with me to see what we looked like up there. Friend/coworker/Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker reviewer Christina Chun sent along a few pictures; here are me and Audra …
… Jon and Brady …
… and Roy, who served as panel moderator.
Here’s a full shot of the panel table taken by cartoonist Roy Chang.
And here’s a shot of all five of us after the panel, taken using the official Otaku Ohana Camera of Record by McCully/Moiliili Library branch manager Hillary Chang.
In case you missed it or weren’t able to stay for the whole thing, not to worry: I recorded the whole thing, and the slides we used — created through Prezi, an online app — are publicly available for viewing. You can download the audio file (a 121 MB download via Google Drive) at http://ow.ly/uwyBr, while the slides are available at http://ow.ly/uwyTQ. Find a comfortable seat, follow along and enjoy; I hope the audio’s okay throughout. (I haven’t had a chance to listen through the whole thing yet, although the portions I’ve heard sound pretty good.)
This week — Thursday at 6:30 p.m., to be exact — I’ll be out at Aiea Library to help my Enlightened teammates take over the library portal yet again chime in where needed with a presentation on Ingress, the massively multiplayer augmented reality mobile online game profiled in our paper (subscription required to view) a few weeks ago. (As our writer, Steven Mark, put it, it’s like “‘Capture the Flag’ for tech geeks,” using area landmarks as capture points, or “portals.”) Heck, the person who set up this panel in the first place, Aiea Library young adult librarian Diane Masaki, was front and center and pretty much became The Face of Hawaii Ingress ™ in the picture on the Today section cover:
That’s her in the black shirt in the front row.
Here’s the official panel description:
The world around you is not what it seems. It’s happening all around you. They aren’t coming. They’re already here.
Our future is at stake. And you must choose a side. A mysterious energy has been unearthed by a team of scientists in Europe. The origin and purpose of this force is unknown, but some researchers believe it is influencing the way we think. We must control it or it will control us.
“The Enlightened” seek to embrace the power that this energy may bestow upon us. “The Resistance” struggle to defend, and protect what’s left of our humanity.
Find out what it’s all about during Teen Tech Week!
Also significant: It’s the last public program at the current library location (99-143 Moanalua Road) before they pull up stakes and head to their new building on the site of the former Aiea Sugar Mill. So if you’ve ever been curious about the game or some of those Ingress-related jokes that I’ve increasingly been including in this blog, come on out. We’d love to see you.
Welcome to this month’s edition of Ota-cool Incoming! … which technically should have come out a few days ago, ideally before Sept. 1, so that I could have gotten one more Comic Jam Hawaii meeting in here. What can I say; work the past few nights, ever since I last posted something here, has been cah-ray-zy.
This month’s spotlight event is one for which yours truly served as an adviser: “Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawaii.” The exhibit, at Gallery ‘Iolani on the Windward Community College campus, is a journey through the history of manga locally, from its origins in Japan through its influences on the local fan community.
There’s a veritable who’s who of local artists and writers spotlighted, including Audra Furuichi (nemu*nemu), Roy Chang (Cacy & Kiara), Jon Murakami (Gordon Rider), Marisa Torigoe (“Children of Aumakua” from the Hawaii Star Manga Project), Stacey Hayashi and Damon Wong (Journey of Heroes), Patsy Y. Iwasaki and Avery Berido (Hamakua Hero), Tara Tamayori (“Eternal Blade” from Hachi Maru Hachi) and Kyunyo (“Emperor’s Seal”). All of this is curated by Brady Evans, Pen & Ink Works founder and Hachi Maru Hachi contributor.
The number of special activities tied in to this exhibit could probably fill an average Ota-cool Incoming! calendar by themselves. Start with the opening reception, running from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday. Every Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. for the duration of the exhibit will feature the curator’s walk-through and artist talks, where you can meet some of the participating artists. And as part of the Windward Hoolaulea(10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 28), the Honolulu Printmakers will be hosting a hands-on manga printmaking activity from noon to 2 p.m., and the gallery will be open on what will be the only Saturday it’ll be open for the exhibit’s run.
If you can only make it out to see the exhibit, it runs through Oct. 2; there’s an area where you can sketch to your heart’s content, so at least you’ll have that. Gallery hours are 1-8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays and 1-5 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.
It’s become a bit of a tradition here at Otaku Ohana to kick off the year talking about the annual Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s New Year’s Ohana Festival, and for good reason: Not only are there a bunch of activities that appeals to the Japanophile in all of us — mochi pounding and other cultural demonstrations! Entertainment! Games for the kids! Maximum ono grindage with food trucks and booths galore! — it also serves as the natural launching point for a number of groups and businesses with ties to the local anime and manga fan community.
There are a few notable gaps in this 20th annual edition of the festival — local art group Pen & Ink Works is taking a break until Kawaii Kon, and if the website (or lack thereof) is any indication, things aren’t looking good for another year of HEXXP (you’ll recall that Oahu Anime Explorer was handing out info at last year’s Ohana Festival … and yes, I have heard the murmurings that the show is kaput; I’m just waiting to hear confirmation on what’s next if that is, indeed, the case). But there’s still a nice lineup of people who will be attending, including:
Kawaii Kon: Staff members from the annual anime convention will be on hand for all your convention preregistration needs … and you may stand a good chance of winning a prize at their booth as well.
JN Productions and Generation Kikaida: Autograph sessions with Kikaida star Ban Daisuke and performances by Kikaida & Friends (at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.) are the order of the day, along with the University of Hawaii Pep Band and the other usual trimmings that come with a Generation Kikaida party: picture-taking, Kikaida-oke and discounted merchandise. Spend $100 or more and get the Kikaida vol. 1 DVD for free; spend $200 and up and get a Kamen Rider V3 case for your iPhone 4 as well (sorry, cutting-edge iPhone 5 adopters and all of you with Android phones).
MangaBento: This group of anime/manga-inspired artists will be holding their first meeting of the year at the festival, sketching activities and photo booth props likely in tow.
Yu x Me Maid Cafe & Host Club: The group formerly known as Animaid Cafe Hawaii will have their giant Jenga set and other casual games set up at their booth. Also, I’ve said this before about them and I’ll say it again until the end of this blog, but as inevitable as death, taxes, and President Obama and his family vacationing in Kailua in late December, this dance will probably show up sometime as well.
nemu*nemu: Artist Audra Furuichi and her husband, Scott Yoshinaga, will be selling their line of super-cute plush pups and other assorted swag from the popular webcomic. (Side note: Read Audra’s “Heyo 2013! State of the Comic” post on the nemu*nemu website. Then support them in whatever way you see fit. It’s not easy to provide “free” entertainment in this day and age, and with their strategy of staying local save for the Toronto Comics Art Festival in mid-May, they need all the backing they can get.)
Journey of Heroes graphic novel: Author Stacey Hayashi will be bringing books, chibi T-shirts and other chibi goods based on the characters in this manga-style chronicle of the achievements of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team/100th Infantry Battalion in World War II.
Interested? It’s all happening from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the center at 2454 S. Beretania St. and nearby Moiliili Field. Parking is available at the UH-Manoa lower campus parking structure, with a free shuttle running between UH and the center. (Tip: Get there before 1 p.m. to take advantage of free parking; there’s a Wahine basketball doubleheader at the Stan Sheriff Center starting at 2:30 p.m., and I believe the 1 p.m. cutoff is to allow the parking guards a 90-minute window to swoop in and charge the attendees for those games.)
New this year to the Cel Shaded Report is this weekly feature that will highlight all of the events on my radar that may be of interest to local fans. It’s kinda like “More From the Anime Desk,” except featuring events that are more than a week out (and with more of an emphasis on events, period). Don’t be surprised if the title of this feature changes next week, by the way; I’m … not exactly enthusiastic about it.
Otaku Fair at Shirokiya: Hosted by Hakubundo Bookstore with volunteers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa Anime Manga Society. Pick up art books, Japanese-language manga, posters and assorted character goods. (I swung by there on Wednesday, and it looked like there were a lot of things related to One Piece, Dragon Quest slimes and Hatsune Miku.) Now through Jan. 27.
Liliha Library Anime Art Contest 2012 Winners Reception: Fifty-five entries, 13 winners. Join Liliha young adult librarian Linda Mediati, Audra, Kawaii Kon senior administrator Roy Bann and myself as we honor those winners in a ceremony at the library, 1515 Liliha St. (And if you want to see the pretty artwork that we saw in this year’s contest, stay tuned … I’m going to be working on that two-part post immediately after I put this post to bed.) 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
Aiea Library book sale: Book sales are really a media treasure hunt — you never know what you’re going to find. There could be an out-of-print manga volume that you need to complete your collection, or a Pokemon strategy guide in Japanese, or something completely different that you totally want right now. Find your passions here. Presented by the Friends of the Aiea Library and the Aiea Community Association at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 19.
“Friends, Books, Music … The Sale!”: You know all that stuff I wrote about the Aiea Library sale above? Apply it to this sale, presented by the Friends of the Library of Hawaii, except on a waaaaaaay bigger scale. Visit the Friends’ warehouse in Kakaako, which is ewa (west) of the UH medical school; just go makai (south) on either Forrest Avenue or Keawe Street to the end, and you’ll be there. Visit www.friendsofthelibraryofhawaii.org. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 19-20 and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 21.