The Cel Shaded Report, 8/30: Blue plush, Manga Swap rush & HEXXP’s flush

Blue with GizmoSince mid-January, Audra Furuichi has been drawing her nemu*nemu spinoff series, nemu*nemu: Blue Hawaii, every third Sunday for our fair publication. If you’ve been following along regularly (and you really should; it’s part of the free, non-paywalled content on our site), you know that the comic strip features Blue, a plush pup from a lost-and-found box sitting in an office somewhere, and his slice-of-life adventures with his friends — toy robot Gizmo, parrot Ross and goldfish Simon.

This, of course, begs the question: Blue, as I just mentioned, is a plush pup. Anpan and Nemu, the costars of nemu*nemu proper, are also plush pups. And there are Anpan and Nemu plushies for children (and the young at heart) to hold and cuddle in real life. Mini-plushies of intergalactic traveling pup Enchilada and his bird companion Pollo also exist. Surely a real-life Blue plushie wouldn’t be too far behind, would it?

Well, guess what: The Blue plushie is really real. Second from left in the photo below. He’s joining a larger version of Enchilada and new versions of Anpan and Nemu on sale in mid-September. And as that photo, which showed up on nemu-nemu.com earlier this week, also notes, you could score two of these cuties for free.

MC-PupPrize-thumb-500x282-4597

All you need is a dash of creativity. It doesn’t even have to be particularly good artistic creativity, just the ability to take one of these templates …

nemu template sampler

… and transforming it into your very own pup creation. Like, say, the examples shown below the Aug. 20 installment of nemu*nemu. (And it has to be your own creation, not, say, a pup dressed up in Sailor Moon cosplay.)

There will be two winners: One will be the “judge’s choice,” while the other, the “people’s choice,” will be picked by nemu*nemu readers from among 10 finalists.

Interested? Download your templates and get complete contest rules at www.nemu-nemu.com/2012/08/26/contest_2012_win_a_pair_of_pup.php. There’s no age limit for submissions (although there is a limit of two entries per person), and anyone worldwide can participate, so get to downloading and drawing already!

The deadline for submissions is at noon Sept. 8 … a day that also promises to have its own level of craziness, particularly for your tag-team partners in fandom. Why, you ask? Read on…

Manga/anime merchandise mayhem START!

One of the big reasons why I enjoy attending Fanime in San Jose, Calif. — unexpected presidential visits and six-hour line waits notwithstanding —¬† is that it’s the only anime convention that I know of that has an anime swap meet attached to it. Basically, fans set up shop with their boxes and suitcases full of their extra swag, and fellow fans go around trying their hardest not to buy everything in the room, usually failing miserably. (Or maybe that’s just me.) Seriously, the number of bargains and hard-to-find-stuff that pops up at these sales are quite mind-boggling, especially for someone like me, stuck on a rock out here in the middle of the Pacific. Here’s a small peek at what it looks like.

Fanime anime swap meet 2010

It’s a great idea, and one that I’m surprised hasn’t caught on in more places. Heck, you’re probably looking at that picture, thinking, “Wow, I have extra stuff! I’d love to have a way to sell my stuff that way!” And then you remember that you’re not living in Gilroy or Cupertino or Alameda or Emeryville or any of the other cities in the San Francisco Bay area, and that it costs an arm, a leg and rights to your yet-unborn children to take even one 50-pound-or-less checked bag with you to the mainland these days, and you’re sad.

Until now. See, for the past few months at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, there’s been a monthly bazaar in the first-floor courtyard. It was only supposed to last for the summer months of June, July and August, but, by the force of sheer otaku will (at least, that’s how I imagine this going down, anyway), it’s been extended into a date in September. And so, on the aforementioned Sept. 8, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., bargain-hunting otaku can buy and sell at the first-ever Manga Swap.

So why will it be sheer insanity for your tag-team partners in fandom? Full disclosure: We’re planning on being among the sellers there. We have … stuff, accumulated from at least a decade, probably more, of collecting craziness. For an example of just how crazy, I humbly submit to you this picture of half the music CD inventory that Wilma will be selling.

Yup, websites devoted to cataloguing Final Fantasy music and anime karaokes will do this to ya.

Half, people. Granted, most of what she’s selling are CD singles, but still. HALF.

If you want to join us and sell your stuff, spaces are still available (and free!), but limited. You can also rent either a 6-foot-by-30-inch table ($10) or an 8-foot-by-30-incher ($11) from the center. Or, if you want to just stop by to browse and buy stuff (and on behalf of all of us who are going to be selling there, for the love of all that is righteous and holy, please come and buy stuff), you can do that for free.

The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii is at 2454 S. Beretania St. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/events/275137595933041/ (Facebook login not required) or email Jtkwlum@gmail.com for a sellers’ registration form.

Yet even still more from HEXXP, part 4,929,884,021

hexxp-logoIt seems like every time I turn my attention toward the Hawaii Entertainment Expo, the pop culture convention also known as HEXXP, they’ve been adding even more guests and events to their 2012 show. This particular update’s been revised several times over the past two weeks, in fact. So before things change even more, here are the newest guest announcements:

  • DJ MaRia, Avex Entertainment’s resident DJ for House Nation, “the most famous house music party in Japan.” HEXXP will mark her second U.S. convention appearance on the heels of A-Kon in Dallas earlier this year.
  • Atelier Pierrot, a clothing brand known for its EGL (elegant gothic lolita) styles. Debuting at HEXXP will be a new line inspired by the magical-girl creation of Go Nagai, Cutey Honey.
  • N.S.D.P., a J-rock band with members that include bassist Kuro (who’s performed with the rock band Sophia) and guitarist Yui (no, not that Yui, but the one who’s a member of the heavy metal band Cynthia). Here are samples of their music … and, umm, you might want to start off with your volume low if you don’t regularly listen to J-rock. For the record, “N.S.D.P.” stands for “Night Spit Death Pain.” I think it’s safe to say that they will not be doing a cover of “Lazy Harp Seal Has No Job.” They’ll be making their U.S. convention debut at HEXXP.
  • Angel Anatomy, the duo of Anya St. James and Lorelai Lyn whose new EP will be released under Babel Entertainment this year. Their music style is “ambient, classical, industrial, and a touch of opera,” according to their YouTube account; here are some free samples of their music. They’ll be opening for Nobuo Uematsu and the Earthbound Papas.

Also showing up on the HEXXP news radar are a pair of special events being hosted by the maid-cafe servers from AniMaid Hawaii on Friday, Oct. 19: an afternoon tea with an assortment of sweets and teas from 3 to 5 p.m., and a “One Piece Special Event,” a battle with pirates aboard the SS AniMaid with dinner, drinks and games, from 6 to 7 p.m. Tickets for $16.37 — that’s $15 plus a $1.37 processing fee — are available now at animaidhawaii.eventbrite.com; there were 28 tickets left for the afternoon tea and 29 for the One Piece event, so you’ll probably want to act on that sooner rather than later.

HEXXP is taking place Oct. 19-21 at Aloha Tower Marketplace; for more information or to preregister, visit www.hexxp.com.

The Cel Shaded report, 4/6: AniMaid-ed conversation

Perhaps there’s someone out there — maybe even someone like you? — who’d like to join in on the fun. Well, it’s your lucky day — AniMaid Cafe Hawaii is now accepting applications for new volunteers.

I’ve been doing my fair share of thinking about maid cafes recently. A lot of it has to do with that Kawaii Kon preview article I wrote profiling the UH Cosplay Cafe, but there’s also the fact that I’ve had the song “Mune Mune Kyun” earwormed into my brain ever since I tuned into one of those KZOO Sunday shows featuring K-chan and some of the AniMaid Cafe Hawaii workers. Never heard of “Mune Mune Kyun”? Well, here you go. (Warning: Extreme cuteness and high likelihood of earworming similar to mine ahead.)

Perhaps there’s someone out there — maybe even someone like you? — who’d like to join in on the fun. Well, it’s your lucky day —¬† AniMaid Cafe Hawaii is now accepting applications for new volunteers. Some of the standards, for those of you who don’t feel inclined to click through at the moment:

  • Must be 18 years old and/or older
  • Must attend all mandatory meetings/training
  • Must provide your own maid/host uniform
  • Must have reliable transportation to/from meetings and the event venue
  • Must send at least two pictures of yourself (pictures must not be be hosted on social media accounts like Facebook or MySpace)

But let’s say you’re more a fan of the maids and hosts rather than someone who wants to be among their ranks. There’s something for you, too — the AniMaid art contest is now open for entries. Draw, paint or sculpt your favorite maid or host and post your creation on the group’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/AniMaidHawaii — and yes, the page is viewable to those who have thus far successfully resisted the siren call to join Facebook). Winners will receive a personalized card from his or her favorite maid or host as well as a photo and a special “mystery prize.” Just be sure to keep your work clean — PG-13 or cleaner, please. For the kids. I couldn’t find any ending date for this contest, so I’ll just say for now that the sooner you send in your entries, the better.

World Cosplay Summit rolls out rules

World Cosplay Summit USA logoWhile we’re on the subject of HEXXP, further details have emerged about the World Cosplay Summit regional qualifier at the event in October. A lot of further details. An over-2,500-word Facebook post worth of further details. It only serves to reinforce how this competition is leagues beyond your garden-variety cosplay contest, and just how much participants are going to have to step up their games to even be in the running. Consider some of these basic requirements:

  • Contestants must enter as teams of two people, with a single series, performance plans (2 minutes and 30 seconds maximum, please) and props chosen beforehand. That series must have origins in Japan — sorry, Disney, Star Wars, Marvel and DC fans. And even with the Japanese series, there are restrictions — while costumes from Shueisha series like One Piece, Bleach, Death Note, Naruto and Yu-Gi-Oh! are allowed in the preliminary rounds, they won’t be allowed in the finals. (Here’s Anime News Network’s comprehensive list of Shueisha series as a guide. There are … many.)
  • Participants must be at least 18 years old as of Feb. 14, 2013.
  • Each participant must submit a resume that includes¬† — take a deep breath here — full legal name, cosplay alias, group name, age, date of birth, gender, home address, contact number and email, whether you have a passport, your intended costume and series, cosplay website (if applicable), a history of major costumes and awards, a few sentences about why you love to cosplay, and four photos of your favorite costumes with explanations of why they are your favorites. Each team must also include a team photo, a brief team biography and the general idea for the performance.

The upside to knowing all of this now is that there’s plenty of time for teams to form and prepare their materials. The resume-collecting process for the Midwest qualifier, at Colossalcon in Sandusky, Ohio, June 7-10, opened March 30 and runs through May 11. I’m only roughly speculating here, but if we go by that timetable, that would mean resume collection for HEXXP will probably start sometime in July. This is something you probably don’t want to leave to the last minute, though. And I can’t emphasize enough: You’ll want to read through all the rules carefully to get everything in order by then. Again, here’s the link: http://www.facebook.com/notes/world-cosplay-summit-preliminaries-united-states/wcs-us-2013-preliminary-circuit-rules/422987357716872.

Anime around town

MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists meets from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St., Room 200. Visit www.manga-bento.com.