The Cel Shaded Report, 2/2: Kawaii Kountdown, version 9.0

kawaii-kon-logoAs of today, we’re about 1-1/2 months out from the ninth annual edition of Kawaii Kon … which means we’re getting that much closer to our annual three-day celebration of all things anime and Japanese pop culture. To that end, the local anime convention has been pulling out all the stops when it comes to news as of late, releasing enough news tidbits over the past week or so to fill … well, an entire Cel Shaded Report, really, minus the still-haven’t-come-up-with-a-better-name-for-it Great Calendar of Otakudom.

Let’s start with the guests. A pair of Japanese talents have been added to the roster: fashion designer MINT and singer/songwriter Iruma Rioka. MINT — no relation to this Mint — debuted in 2006 as S-INC and has since created two brands — Sixh, created in conjunction with designer Ibi, and MINT NeKO, fashions that have been based on more than 200 cat character sketches. “The fashion that MINT creates starts with a gothic aesthetic that has evolved into more decorative, ornamental ventures, emerging into an essence that is simple yet high fashion,” notes his bio on This will be his second appearance at a U.S. anime convention, on the heels of Anime Boston last year.

If that last paragraph held any significance to you, then you could be a perfect candidate to serve as a model in the MINT fashion show. Male and female models of all body types are encouraged to apply. If you’re more a behind-the-scenes type of person and would rather serve as a volunteer hair designer or makeup artist, there are positions open as well. Application submission details are available at (Just, umm, do it quickly. They’re going to begin picking the models on Feb. 15.)

The second guest, Iruma Rioka, is another name in the ever-growing “Japanese guests that I’ve not heard a thing about before I started looking into their backgrounds for Otaku Ohana posts, but when I do, they turn out to be crazy awesome” file. She’s a self-described “fantastic singer-songwriter” who is fond of simple triple time and … you know what, let me just grab a portion of her bio from her official website and post it here:

She comes from a noted family (Rioka) which is down on their luck.
She was kidnapped by a witch because of her debt. While that time, she was creating music in the top of the tower and was waiting for the chance to get out for a long time.
Because of her long blond hair, people call her Rapunzel.
After she found a magical crow (named Nemu), she ran away from the tower. She sings and goes on a journey to makes her dreams come true.

… yeah. Umm. Just … have a music video.

If you want to hear more from Rioka, CDBaby has Secret Garden ~2nd Press~ for sale, while iTunes has her self-titled five-song EP. As with MINT, Kawaii Kon will be the second appearance for Rioka at a U.S. anime convention, her first being at Anime Central in Rosemont, Ill., last year.

That brings the guest count for Kawaii Kon 2013 to eight, with illustrator Noizi Ito; voice actors Colleen Clinkenbeard, Todd Haberkorn, Lisia Wilkerson and Johnny Yong Bosch; and Bosch’s band Eyeshine being the others announced to date. Attendees who want to spend even more time with Clinkenbeard, Haberkorn and Bosch will be pleased to know that the Guest Dinner at Hard Rock Cafe is back and happening from 6 to 8 p.m. on the first day of the convention, March 15. Cost is $65 to preregister, $80 at the door, and includes dinner and transportation to and from the convention center.

Anime Rocks 2013 flyerAnd while we’re talking abut the Hard Rock Cafe — hooray for smooth transitions! — another pre-con event will be returning to that venue for a second year: “Anime Rocks!” spotlighting local musical talent and the debut of this year’s limited-edition convention pin, happening from 2 to 5 p.m. Feb. 17 at the restaurant, at 280 Beachwalk in Waikiki. With the retirement of Eleven Staples after last year’s convention, two groups are taking the stage this year: two-time con guests Alt/Air and Emke, a quartet of youths that has been making music together since 2005. To put that in perspective, a review by this paper’s esteemed John Berger of their EP last year pegged their ages as between 11 and 15.

… yeah, they’re pretty awesome for their age. Go see all of them, buy a pin, and get 15% off all food and drink. There will also be preregistration discounts, games and prizes at the event.

Kawaii Kon is happening March 15-17 at the Hawai’i Convention Center; current rates for three-day passes are $48 general, $38 children ages 5-11. Two-day passes just went on sale, too, at $37 general, $27 children ages 5-11. As for single-day passes, those haven’t been formally put up for sale yet, but a new rate schedule recently was publicized: $25 for Friday, $30 for Saturday, $20 for Sunday. For all your presale needs, visit; general information can be had at

The great calendar of otakudom

MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists usually meets every second and fourth Sunday of the month at the Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St., Room 200. Visit Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Open Cosplay Shoot: Got a lovely costume that you want to show off and want to capture it on film … err, pixels? (The digital era: changing the way we think about things since time immemorial.) Come on out to the first large-scale open cosplay shoot of the year at the Aiea Loop Trail. Cosplayers and photographers, meet at the first restroom at the head of the trail, and go from there. Happy cosplaying/shooting! 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month in front of Hot Unique Imaging on the Uptown side of Pearlridge Center. And yes, this means that this upcoming meeting will be happening at the same time that the San Francisco Squared Sevens take on the Baltimore Nevermores (you’ll get that reference if you’ve ever read Tuesday Morning Quarterback) in the Big Game With All the Cool Commercials. Fear not; there will still be people there, happily drawing away. Visit (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Madoka Magica double feature: Watch the magical girl saga unfold in one big four-hour, two-film chunk comprising Beginnings and Eternal, Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Tickets are $20 general admission, $18 museum members. Visit 4 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28.

The Cel Shaded Report, 8/17: “Madness” at the museum

It’s been a tradition at the Honolulu Museum of Art since 2004: Every third Sunday of the month, thanks to Bank of Hawaii, Honolulu’s premier art repository throws open its doors for Family Sunday, an opportunity for families (and groups of friends, couples, single people, to walk through the galleries and participate in a number of fun art-related activities for the price of absolutely free.

Family Sunday’s always worth attending, but this month’s installment is drawing a bit more attention from your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger for a simple reason: It’s what I like to think of in my own mind as the Otaku Ohana All-Star Super Show … or, as the museum’s has formally dubbed this particular event, “Manga Madness.” Consider this roster of people and groups that have made appearances in this space in the past who are showing up at Manga Madness:

  • manga mayhem 7.15Roy Chang, Aiea Intermediate art teacher, MidWeek cartoonist, campaign manager for Pepe the Chibi-huahua and soon-to-be published author (more on that in my next post). Roy’s bringing back his one-on-one art portfolio/sketchbook review sessions (seen at right at “Manga Mayhem” at the then-Contemporary Museum in July 2010), the likes of which have not been seen in … wait, did I just type that right? July 2010?!? My, how time flies. Certainly doesn’t seem that long ago. Then again, much can change over a two-year span, I suppose.
  • Jon J. Murakami, Gordon Rider creator and Star-Advertiser “Calabash” cartoonist; Audra Furuichi, nemu*nemu and Star-Advertiser “Blue Hawaii” cartoonist; and Ming Qi Vinci, Kawaii Kon Artist Alley mainstay, who’ll be joining artists Sarah Kashiwabara, Darold Ramelb and animation students from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, who’ll be working with children to help them create their own books of drawings.
  • Anime/manga-inspired artist group Pen & Ink Works will have several story scrolls on hand to which you can add your own contributions.
  • Oahu Anime Explorer will be screening anime and handing out information about the Hawaii Entertainment Expo (HEXXP) in October.
  • Representatives from Kawaii Kon, who’ll be handing out information about their convention in March.
  • Two-time Kawaii Kon guests Alt/Air — the duo of Aly Ishikuni and Brandon “DJ Kowai Kowai” Udani — will be bringing their special blend of dance beats and J-pop-inspired vocals for an hour-long performance from noon to 1 p.m.
  • Fashion designer Lauren Lee will have designs from her Monarch Lolita line on display.

Add in a Cosplay Theater with two sketches planned (“At the Beginning,” inspired by Cardcaptor Sakura, and “Fighting Game,” inspired by Kingdom Hearts), a display of manga-drawing materials by Hawaiian Graphics, an activity where children can make headbands with common manga symbols like giant sweatdrops and diamond-shaped sparkles, and the exhibit on display that inspired all this manga madness in the first place — “Hiroshige: An Artist’s Journey” — to see, and it becomes clear that there is a lot going on to keep local fans occupied. I’d even go so far to dub this collection of talent and activities as “Mini Con 2012,” if not for the fact that Hillary Chang over at McCully-Moiliili Public Library already has the real Mini Con 2012 locked, loaded and ready to roll for Sept. 22. (Details on that as we get closer to that date.)

“Manga Madness” Family Sunday  runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, with activities ending at 3 p.m.; for more information and a complete listing of what’s going on, visit

More from the anime news desk

Bargains abound in this edition of the Cel Shaded Report Section Formerly Known as “Anime Around Town,” so let’s get to it:

kamen rider v3AnimEigo: Owing to the fact that (a) hardly anyone buys old-school anime anymore (even though they really ought to), (b) so few people bought AnimEigo’s woefully underappreciated first Yawara box set of 40 episodes, we’ll likely never see the remaining 84 episodes localized for the U.S. and (c) AnimEigo’s license to release the series is expiring as a result, the company is sending the series out with a bang. Basically, you have until Aug. 31 to scoop up a Yawara set for $19.99. Considering original retail for that set was $134.99, to say that’s a hyuuuuuuuge bargain may be the understatement of the century. While you’re at it, if you really roll with the old-school and want to pick up some movies featuring Katsu Shintaro as the blind swordsman Zatoichi, six of those movies are also going out of print as of Sept. 18, so you may want to spring for a seven-movie set for $49.99 while you still can. Pick up one or both of these bargains at

Generation Kikaida: The discounts may not be as deep as AnimEigo’s, but sales on DVDs from Generation Kikaida tend to be few and far between, so sometimes you just have to seize the moment when you can. Through Aug. 26, save 15% on single volumes of Kikaida or 10% on Kikaida three-disc or nine-disc sets and the Inazuman and Kamen Rider V3 box sets. For a full list of what’s on sale — including posters! — visit

Manga University: For a limited time, Kindle e-reader versions of their How to Draw Manga: Eyes and How to Draw Manga: Ears guides are 99 cents each (regular price $4.99). They’re 28 pages each; click here for the Manga Eyes book and here for Manga Ears.