The Cel Shaded Report, 6/28: A quick dip into the night

tokyo story

I’m working on quite a few posts at the moment, so this week’s edition of the Cel Shaded Report is going to have to be a quick one. Fortunately for my workload, there’s only one event catching my attention this week that has to be talked about ASAP.

That event is happening Friday at the Honolulu Museum of Art. In conjunction with “Hiroshige: An Artist’s Journey,” an exhibit featuring the woodblock prints of Utagawa Hiroshige that’s on display through Aug. 19, the museum’s monthly ARTafterDARK event will carry the theme of “Tokyo Story.” “Inspired by the exhibition … we bring the neon glitz and glam of Tokyo to ARTafterDARK,” an official blurb reads … and you know that here at Otaku Ohana, we’re all about promoting events that have Tokyo glitz and glam that involves the local art community.

Advertised as being a part of the festivities is Gordon Rider/Star-Advertiser “Calabash” cartoonist Jon Murakami and Jessica Valadez, “featured artist of Kawaii Kon.” (I’ve only had time to deduce that she’s won a past Kawaii Kon newsletter art contest and has exhibited before in Artist Alley, but nothing beyond that.) Both Jon and Jessica will be doing sketches at the event. Not advertised, but also attending, will be nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi (sketching away alongside Jon and Jessica) and HEXXP and the MangaBento artists, who’ll be manning the Harajuku Photo Booth, where attendees can take pictures using yukata and various props. You can also meet Ayumi Sugimoto, the animator from Japan whose workshops in Hawaii laid the groundwork for MangaBento’s creation.

Cost is $10 general admission and free for Museum members; visit http://honoluluacademy.org/events/art_after_dark/12869-tokyo_story to see more of the cool activities that will be available.

Okay, back into the writing cave for me, where I hope to get at least one more post up before the end of the month. Or maybe I’ll just end up being distracted by random videos. You never know.

The Cel Shaded report, 6/22: Just kickin’ it

Tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. and I are big fans of Kickstarter, the fundraising website that gives all sorts of projects, from art exhibits to state-of-the-art technological doohickeys, the chance to go from dream to reality with the help of people willing to invest a bit to make them happen.

dragonfly poster… wait, did I just write “big fans of Kickstarter” in that last paragraph? I meant to say “freakishly obsessed with Kickstarter.” If there’s a worthy cause for us to support and an affordable tier of cool swag for us to jump on, we are so. there. Rich Burlew’s Order of the Stick reprint project? Helped with that. Double Fine’s untitled adventure game? That, too. And, of course, you’ve read about one of the most prominent/successful local campaigns in this space, the nemu*nemu volume 6 Kickstarter. We’ve hopped on those and so many more.

It’s with that obsession in mind that I present to you two more Kickstarter projects in the process of pursuing funding, one local, one national. The local project is one that’s been in the works since Burl Burlingame first profiled it in the pages of the Star-Bulletin in 2007: Dragonfly, a live-action superhero show from the creator of Pineapple Man, Sam Campos. Campos has described his show in the past as “Kikaida meets X-Files,” and it’s easy to see the influence of tokusatsu (live-action superhero) series like Kikaida and Kamen Rider on the costume designs in his series. The show stars Cole Horibe as Alex Tombo, descendent of an ancient line of genetically engineered warriors that defends the world from an ancient evil that lurks within the islands. (You may have seen Horibe on TV recently, as he’s in the running in Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance with his martial arts-infused moves.)

Campos is looking to raise $50,000 to finish production of Dragonfly’s first three episodes. With that in mind, here’s the Dragonfly Kickstarter pitch video:

… as well as a link to an interview Campos did on World of Superheroes that explains a bit more about the project. Rewards include anything from digital downloads of the three episodes in production ($10 for one, $15 for two, $20 for all three) all the way up to an executive producer credit, a prototype helmet, signed copies of Pineapple Man issues 1-4 and a Dragonfly DVD (a price tier so high that I’m pretty sure the average Otaku Ohana reader wouldn’t be able to afford it without taking out a loan somewhere). You have until July 13 to contribute to the Dragonfly Kickstarter at http://ow.ly/bKJ4r.

unicoOn the national front, Digital Manga Publishing — which already has successfully Kickstarted a reprint of Osamu Tezuka’s Swallowing the Earth and the first run of Tezuka’s Barbara — is going back to the Tezuka well for its latest project: a full-color print run of Unico. The series, about a unicorn endowed with magical powers to help those to love him, was serialized from 1976 to 1979 in Sanrio’s Ririka magazine — yes, that Sanrio, better known the House of Hello Kitty. As such, this title is far more accessible to readers of all ages than Swallowing the Earth and Barbara, two series tailored for older readers. This would be the first translated run for the Unico manga in the U.S., but it’s not the first time Unico’s shown up in the states; most recently, Discotek released two animated features, The Fantastic World of Unico (1981) and Unico in the Island of Magic (1983), on DVD in May.

As I was writing this post, the campaign had just crossed over the $12,000 mark and appears well on its way to making its $20,500 goal well before its scheduled closing date of July 21. Once it hits that goal, it looks like there’s going to be an announcement of another Tezuka manga that’s joining the party, so stay tuned. For now, $35 lands a copy of Unico and either $10 worth of online manga at eManga.com or six issues of the Astro Boy online magazine, and the tiers scale upward from there to include stickers, T-shirts and posters. The always great Tezuka in English site has more background information about the Unico manga, and you can contribute to the Kickstarter, check out some sample translated pages and watch DMP’s pitch video at http://ow.ly/bKKqS.

Update 6/28: Original goal has been met! Now the DMP Kickstarter-teers is working on getting another manga, the “Astro Boy … if Astro was a cat” story ATOMCAT into publication. And if that gets successfully funded — and it’s about a shade over $1,000 to doing that — the push for another manga will begin. Stay tuned.

Anime around town

uematsuHEXXP: Online registration is continuing for the third annual edition of the pop culture convention, and so are the monthly giveaways. Those of you registered by the end of this month, in fact, have a chance to win a rather coveted item to anyone who’s a fan of one of this year’s guests, Nobuo Uematsu. See that Earthbound Papas CD to the right? See that silver scrawl on the upper left corner? That is, indeed, Uematsu’s signature, and if your name is drawn, you could very well win this signed CD. HEXXP is happening Oct. 20-21 at the Aloha Tower Marketplace; visit https://www.facebook.com/hexxphawaii for more information or http://www.hexxp.com to register (and, by extension, enter to win). 

Pen & Ink Works: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists is getting together for a Sketch Meet from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the McCully-Moiliili Public Library, 2211 S. King St., in the first-floor reading room. (If you’re attended the library’s Mini Con in the past two years, you know where that room is.) Bring your sketchbooks, get some drawing advice from senior members, and get ready for a fun afternoon. Visit peninkworks.wordpress.com.

MangaBento: The other group of anime- and manga-inspired artists meets from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Honolulu Museum of Art School, 1111 Victoria St., Room 200. Visit http://www.manga-bento.com for more information. Also, the group’s latest exhibit, “Nakamaboko” is on display in the art school’s second-floor gallery through July 14. I’m still working on processing the pictures I took at Sunday’s opening reception and a follow-up visit on Wednesday, but here’s a sneak Pika-peek with a ceramic piece by Chad Vilayvong.

pika peek

Comic Jam Hawaii: This month’s informal gathering of comic artists is happening Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Center Court of Kahala Mall. Artists of all skill levels are invited to draw, talk story and collaborate on cartoons like this one, also among the pieces on display at the “Nakamaboko” exhibit:

comic jam sample

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.

The Cel Shaded Report, 4/11: Pen and ink words

Remember last week’s Cel Shaded Report, where I mentioned that AniMaid Cafe Hawaii was taking applications for volunteers? It’s over. Thanks for applying, take care, drive home safely, perhaps we’ll do this again next year.

The preceding 35 words could well have constituted the shortest Cel Shaded Report ever, but fortunately there’s another matter of immediate importance to discuss here, something you artsy types will want to jump on right away. Through Friday afternoon, nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi isn’t just serving up new installments of the plush pup online comic; over at the nemu*blog, she’s offering commentary on some of her favorite writing and drawing tools and giving visitors a chance to get some of their own with a $25 gift certificate to JetPens.com, home to a large catalog of art supplies imported from Japan and Germany.

Interested? Here’s all you have to do: Since yesterday and running through Friday, Audra will be writing one post a day that highlights some of the brands she likes to use in drawing nemu*nemu. In yesterday’s post, for example, she talked about her favorite brush pens. Today, she’s looking at coloring tools. Just leave a comment about what your favorite brands are in relation to the topic of the day — or which brands you’d love to have — and that’s it! You’re entered. Easy peasy. If you’d like to increase your chances of winning, just leave comments on all four posts; you can get one entry per post, for a maximum of four entries. One winner, to be drawn at 5 p.m. Hawaii time Friday (8 p.m. Pacific, 11 p.m. Eastern, for those of you reading this blog in other time zones *waves*), will win the gift certificate.

Even if the extent of your artistic creativity is figuring out whether to use a smile or a frown on your stick figure drawing, Audra’s posts offer some neat insight into the making of nemu*nemu. And when you put it all of these techniques together, you get something like this, a commission I received as part of the recent nemu*nemu vol. 6 Kickstarter drive.

With a Mr. Buns cameo!

That’s Nemu, Enchilada and the Star-Advertiser’s own Blue, three “generations” of plush pups. All I told here was to use those three characters and use the theme of “festivals,” and that’s what she came up with. I see that every day sitting on my work desk. Still get a thrill looking at it every time. It is awesome.

Get ready for Kawaii Kon … again!

Hard to believe that we’re almost a month removed from this year’s Kawaii Kon, but, as the closing ceremonies proved, convention officials aren’t wasting any time getting attendees hyped up for the next show. After an April Fool’s joke newsletter placed Kawaii Kon 2012-1/2 in Cordoba, Spain, in late October (darn, and I was so ready to get my passport papers in order and whip up an Enchilada costume to get ready to cover it … but only if it didn’t conflict with HEXXP, because, come on, there’s Nobuo Uematsu and the World Cosplay Summit in my virtual back yard, man!), the real newsletter revealed some information about preregistration for 2013 for people who didn’t already do so at this year’s convention.

The day that preregistration is happening is fast approaching. It opens online on Sunday, in fact. For the time being, prices will be set at $38 for general admission three-day passes (for ages 12 and up), and $30 for three-day passes for children ages 6 to 12. If you want a lifetime pass, prices of those are now up to $850. You can pick up those at kawaiikon2013.eventbrite.com.

While you can’t preregister until Sunday, there are a few con-related things you can work on now, if you’re so inclined. The annual Mascot Art Contest, running through midnight Hawaii time April 27, is currently accepting entries; just draw one, two or all three of the Kawaii Kon mascots — Nami, Takeshi and Ai-chan — in traditional or digital media. The artist whose entry is deemed most representative of the mascots and the Kawaii Kon spirit will win a three-day pass to Kawaii Kon 2013. Find complete rules and how to enter pieces at  www.kawaii-kon.org/community/kawaii-kon-2012-art-contest-rules/.

Applications for panels for next year’s event are also being accepted now. If you’ve ever wanted to lead a spirited hour-long discussion over, say, whether Pokemon Red/Blue or Pokemon Black/White had the better debuting bunch of Pokemon, now’s your chance. (For the record: It has to be Red/Blue. Jigglypuff, Chansey and Psyduck for the win, people.) If you and a co-host can figure out a way to fill three hours’ worth of con programming, you both could also receive complimentary three-day passes for your efforts.

Kawaii Kon is March 15-17; visit www.kawaii-kon.org.

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 four episodes of Fairy Tail. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com.

The Cel Shaded Report, 3/29: A sketching situation

pen and ink works logo

One of the neat things about local anime and manga fandom is how it’s spawned an entire generation of people eager to whip out their sketchbooks and draw things inspired by the series that they love. I’ve seen that talent manifest itself in the Liliha Library Anime Art Contest for the past two years now, MangaBento’s art exhibits, and the Artist Alley at Kawaii Kon and HEXXP, and the art’s been really, really nice.

Well, it’s time once again to nurture that talent. Pen & Ink Works has a neat event coming up from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday to do just that — a Sketch Meet where artists can hang out, participate in some drawing games and trade tips with one another. All you need is a sketchbook, some drawing materials (naturally), a mat or a towel … and some good walking shoes. Some sunscreen may be in order as well.

For while the event will be starting off in front of Shirokiya — Ala Moana, second floor, just look for them somewhere between the entrance to Macy’s and the KZOO studio — they’ll be migrating eventually to Magic Island, across the street. By the way, for the curious, as of this writing the National Weather Service forecast is for mostly sunny conditions with a 20 percent chance of showers, breezy and a high near 75. So unless you have to spend the afternoon, say, in an office working on polishing up the next day’s news for the people (sadly raises hand), it sounds like a creative, lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon and take in another nice day here on the island.

Learn more about Pen & Ink Works at peninkworks.wordpress.com or their Facebook page.

nakamaboko2Writing about this Sketch Meet also reminded me that I have yet to discuss in this space MangaBento’s upcoming exhibit, “Nakamaboko: Working Together.” Scheduled to run from June 12 through July 14, the exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art School (formerly the Academy Art Center at 1111 Victoria St.) will feature art pieces in various media (drawings, paintings, sculptures, photos, costumes and the like) that are inspired by anime and manga. To that end, the group will be accepting community submissions.  Most of the deadlines are in May — and I’ll include reminders in this space as we approach those deadlines — but if you want to get a head start and mail something in now, you can do so. Send your pieces in by May 23 to:

Devin Oishi
Art Instructor
Kaimuki High School
2705 Kaimuki Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96816

Be sure to include your name; age; school and teacher (if applicable); whether you’re a pro, amateur, or student; address; phone number; email address; and a sale price if you want to sell your piece. A complete rundown of requirements is available at the Nakamaboko page at www.manga-bento.com.

[Kawaii Kon 2012] Panel discussions: Horikawa, Miya and Amano

“Meet Ryo Horikawa and Kenichi Miya”

Putting your heart and spirit into whatever role you play is key to a good voice actor, Japanese actor Ryo Horikawa emphasized.

It’s that same heart that allows him to differentiate which American voice actors are good. “It’s about knowing the character, giving life to the character,” Horikawa said.

Kawaii Kon marks Horikawa’s first visit to Hawaii, along with fellow seiyuu (voice actor) Kenichi Miya. The two shared a panel on Friday, talking about their careers, their inspirations and the industry in general. That’s Miya on the left, Horikawa on the right.

miya_horikawa

With decades of voice acting under his belt, Horikawa now runs a school for aspiring seiyuu. When asked whether it’s better for an actor to have a wide range of voices or to concentrate on one role, “It’s hard to say,” he replied. “There are those who can do multiple and are good and there are those who are known for one voice.” What’s most important, he said, is to “enhance what you’re good at no matter what type you are.”

Concentration is another key aspect to what Horikawa does. Because he’s played so many different characters over the years, he said he has to completely ignore all his other roles when he goes to voice another one. “It was challenging to play Vegeta at the same time I played a very justice-driven character with a baby face,” he said through translator Sachi Kaaihue, that latter description likely referring to Reinhard von Lohengramm from Legend of the Galactic Heroes.

As for Miya, he’s a student at Horikawa’s school and said that meeting Horikawa-sensei and coming to Hawaii are the defining moments of his career.

Not that Horikawa seems to regard himself as such. Despite the noteworthy roles he’s played — he’s most well-known as the voice of the angry Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z, but he’s also done Heiji Hattori in Case Closed and Andromeda Shun in Saint Seiya — he downplayed it when Kaaihue called him “sensei” when introducing him at the start of the panel.

It’s probably because Horikawa regards himself as an eternal student, always looking ahead to the next role. When asked about his own defining moment, he said he loved all the characters he played. “The most important thing for me is to feel the new power inside,” he said, adding that he constantly wants a challenge, so he looks forward to the next job that could very well be the best of his career.

In fact, his latest role is one that he’s quite excited about. He has both a voice and a production role in Magical Dreamers, a new type of manga coming out for iOS and Android devices. Not only is it bilingual, it’s also interactive, with voices as well as printed text. (Jason will have more from that panel later.)

Both Horikawa and Miya said they enjoy their careers for the different lives in which they can immerse themselves. For Horikawa, the character of Vegeta is an excuse for him to yell all the time. “It makes me feel fun and excited. … I’m usually not like that in real life,” he said.

Miya is the same. He gets to go on adventures, go to war, and have relationships with the ladies — things that, he said through a translator, he probably would never get to experience in real life. (I’d argue against “relationships” being included in the “things Miya will not experience” list, though.)

But no matter what that next role might be, whether it be a teenage boy or an angry alien or something completely different, Horikawa’s up for the challenge. He’s pushing the e-manga as well as working to make his voice acting school truly international, so he’s still got a lot more on his plate.

“Face to Face: Yoshitaka Amano”

The same passion for his work can be found in Yoshitaka Amano. Wearing a just-purchased aloha shirt, the artist and character designer described how the vast majority of his artistic inspiration actually came from American sources.

He was a huge fan of Disney characters, he said, having grown up watching the cartoons. In the 1970s, when he was in his 20s, he was influenced by American pop artists such as Andy Warhol, and also by American psychedelic art. He was working in anime at the time, and those influences made their way into his character designs.

amano

Amano likes every character he draws — or at least he tries to, he said. Like Horikawa, he immerses himself into the person being drawn. “Even if it’s a bad guy or girl, there’s always something appealing,” he said through a translator. He really becomes the person, to the point where, if it’s a scary character, he said, he tends to become a little scary in real life.

But, he hastened to add, he usually forgets most of it after he’s done, so fans can be assured that Amano won’t stay a scary evil guy forever.

Still, Amano apparently better enjoys drawing the bad guys. Actually, he specifically said he enjoys doing the “cool” designs, which most often turn out to be the bad guys. He cited the vampire hunter D as an example of a design he’s proud of.

And in a declaration that warms my fangirl heart, Amano said that out of all the Final Fantasy games he’s worked on, he loved FF6 the most, although he couldn’t say exactly why that was so. In admitting that for the most part he likes easy, “comfortable” drawings because there’s less pressure involved, he pointed to FF6’s Moogle and Tina (called Terra in the English version of the game) as favorites.

But even with all the fame he’s accrued, Amano said he always harbored doubts as to the quality of his work. Did people like his art for itself, or did people like it because they enjoyed the game, anime, or other product that it was associated with? This was one main reason he said he stepped away from character design and went into the fine arts, which comprises about 90 percent of his work now. He’s even held a few museum exhibits of his artwork. All of what he described as “getting outside his small box” served to challenge his talent by having viewers focus on his art rather than the game or animated series.

Amano advises other artists to be the same way. For example, when designing a dragon, he said, we are influenced by what others have drawn before. But he “tries to interpret what’s in (my) own mind,” he said. “If you do that, you can be very different in drawing. Being different is important.”

Another key piece of advice: Love what you do. “Then you will work hard and if people don’t recognize you, you will still be satisfied,” he said.

Then in a complete 180, Amano gave this last piece of advice: Don’t listen to his advice. When asked what kind of counsel he’s received from other artists, he said he neither received any nor gave much to others. Which is good, he said, “because (I) learned to come up with (my) own ideas.” He finished: “Think for yourself. … Keep inspiration close to your heart.”

355 days later, a festival renewed

IMG_4492The Honolulu Festival, a celebration of all things Asian-and-Pacific-Rim culture, is this weekend. Having attended it for the past three years, I consider it one of those Really Big Deals on the local otaku community schedule, an event where you feel like you’re missing something if you skip it. I take a bunch of pictures and post them here, just to emphasize that fact. Yet while I went last year, all I’ve managed to post since then are a handful of pictures, the promise of more dangled like a fresh, crisp carrot in front of your eyes, just out of reach.

Let’s correct that. Just in time for the 2012 Honolulu Festival, here are highlights from those pictures I shot from the 2011 Honolulu Festival. Better late than not at all, right? Continue reading “355 days later, a festival renewed”