It looks like that cluster of Studio Ghibli movies screening at Consolidated’s Kahala 8 complex — first noticed a few weeks ago while I was looking into Regal Cinema’s Studio Ghibli Fest — has, indeed, blossomed into A Thing.
Last Monday, Consolidated Theatres promoted Facebook events for two movies — Ponyo and Whisper of the Heart — branded with a “Studio Ghibli Summer Festival” logo. Events have since been created for all the movies screening through June. It isn’t related to the Studio Ghibli Fest, and it still isn’t as comprehensive as Consolidated’s all-theater-encompassing Studio Ghibli Festival last year, but the 11 movies being shown are key pieces of Ghibli lore … with, of course, Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro included. We’re probably at the point where you’re either really tired of seeing these same movies over and over again or just can’t get enough of seeing them on the big screen. For those of you who lean toward the latter, welcome back.
Your starting lineup:
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: May 31 and June 1
Spirited Away: June 7-8
Ponyo: June 14-15
Whisper of the Heart: June 21-22
Princess Mononoke: June 28-29
The Cat Returns: July 5-6
Howl’s Moving Castle: July 12-13
The Wind Rises: July 19-20
My Neighbor Totoro: July 26-27
When Marnie Was There: Aug. 2-3
Kiki’s Delivery Service: Aug. 9-10
The English-subtitled versions of each movie will screen at 7 p.m. on the first day of their runs, followed by the English-dubbed versions at 2 p.m. on the second day. All of them are screening on Wednesdays and Thursdays, which makes it great for friendly neighborhood otaku bloggers who just happen to have those days off, perhaps not so much for people who have traditional weekday work shifts. Find out more and order tickets by visiting consolidatedtheatres.com/programs-and-events, clicking on a month and “Studio Ghibli Festival,” and proceeding from there.
A few final notes on the Regal Ghibli festival: You have until Wednesday to order Regal’s $60 series pass; the link changed since the last time I wrote about it, so you can find it here. Also, Hilo finally has confirmed screening dates! Yay!
Remember all those times I’ve said in the past few years that [INSERT MONTH/YEAR HERE] is going to be the best month ever for theatrical anime being screened locally? First of all, congratulations, you have a very good memory. Second, you may now forget I ever said that before, because April 2016 is claiming that title of best month ever now and forever.
The reason: Starting Saturday and running through May 5, for every day except Fridays (gotta make that new-release box office bank, after all!), Consolidated’s theaters across Oahu and their Kaahumanu complex in Kahului will be home to the Studio Ghibli Festival, screening every major Studio Ghibli film ever made. That’s everything from 1984’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Hayao Miyazaki’s pre-Ghibli feature that led to the creation of the studio, through 2014’s When Marnie Was There, plus the live-action Kingdom of Dreams and Madness documentary for good measure. That’s 22 good-to-great movies and Tales From Earthsea — which was kind of a disappointment for me — over roughly a month.
… yeah, I’ll just leave this meme here.
Most of the films will be screened two or three times each over the month, with English-dubbed and English-subtitled versions available. The more popular films — Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away — will be shown four times each.
But the real rarity in the group is Ocean Waves (Umi ga Kikoeru), the 1993 made-for-TV movie that is the only major Ghibli project never to see wide release in the U.S. now that GKids finally picked up Only Yesterday. The film’s rights belong to Disney, which kinda has biggerfishtopromote, so we probably won’t be seeing that in wide release any time soon, either. Ocean Waves will be shown exactly once — mark your calendars for 7 p.m. Thursday, April 14, and set your GPSes for the Koolau 10 complex, across from the Valley of the Temples cemetery in Windward Oahu.
Breaking down the numbers further, the big winner in terms of number of screenings is the Kapolei 16 complex, which will be showing 15 out of the 23 movies available, all of them subtitled. The Koolau, Mililani 14 and Pearlridge 16 theaters come in tied for second with 10 apiece, in both subbed and dubbed flavors at the first two and all subbed at Pearlridge.
Here’s the full screening schedule organized by theater, with GhibliWiki links in case you’d like to learn more about each movie. (Trust me, if I had to write 23 synopses and attach 23 trailers like I usually do with these previews, this post would have been posted sometime in February 2022.) Prefer to see what’s on deck chronologically? Here’s Consolidated’s “coming soon” list. Tickets, at $10 each, are available now on Fandango (except for the April 30 Kahala screening of The Wind Rises for some weird reason). Sorry, no passes are being accepted.
All films dubbed; screenings at 11 a.m. Saturdays.
My Neighbor Totoro: April 2, 11 a.m., April 7, 7 p.m.
Kiki’s Delivery Service: April 9, 11 a.m., April 14, 7 p.m.
Princess Mononoke: April 16, 11 a.m., April 21, 7 p.m.
Spirited Away: April 23, 11 a.m., April 28, 7 p.m.
Howl’s Moving Castle: April 30, 11 a.m., May 5, 7 p.m.
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. (April’s “friends” are the ship-gals of KanColle.) The response this time around: Crisis! Diane’s approaching the end of the Polar Bear run! And there aren’t very many KanColle episodes left, either! What will the club screen next? And what will be the next running gag for this item?!? 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 email@example.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.
Sanrio Ala Moana Anniversary Party: Head out to Ala Moana Center and take pictures (or selfies, if you’re alone) with a giant Hello Kitty mascot character and also enjoy: Special product promotions! Free face painting and Hello Kitty hat with any purchase! And a special gift with any $75 purchase! 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center; check their Facebook page for where in the mall they’ll be meeting. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii(Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Those of you who are J-pop fans probably mourned a little bit when local FM radio content went from 24/7 to a few hours every week on the K-pop station with DJ Chikapin’s “J-Morning Saturday” (woo-hoo!). I was sad, but I eventually adjusted; K-pop does have its fair share of catchy tunes, after all (and equally weird music videos, too; hello, Orange Caramel). It’s only when I was writing this Halloween edition of the Ota-Cool Incoming calendar that I realized the biggest void KORL 97.1’s conversion from J-pop to hip-hop left on the local radio landscape.
Namely, we aren’t getting Halloween Junky Orchestra’s “Halloween Party” played several times a day, every day, during this month anymore.
But we will soldier on, dear readers. Mostly because in the Year of All the Things, there’s not much time to sit around and mourn — there’s just too much to do. This particular round starts with what I like to call National Cosplay Recognition Day on Saturday, and Halloween Comicfest. Think of it as being exactly like Free Comic Book Day, except with more orange and spooooooky motifs in the promotional logos.
There’s quite a bit of anime/manga-fan-friendly stuff being handed out this time around, including “Birth of Kitaro”from Drawn & Quarterly (hey, more translated GeGeGe no Kitaro is being released! Yay!), Junji Ito’s “Fragments of Horror” from Viz, and a mini Yo-kai Watchcomic, also from Viz. Fans of more traditional comics have Archie, Harley Quinn, Doctor Strange, Batman, Spider-man and Avengers stories to look forward to, among others.
Participating stores around the state include:
Other Realms (The Nimitz Center, 1130 N. Nimitz Highway, suite C-140, Iwilei)
Gecko Books & Comics (1151 12th Ave., Kaimuki)
Dragon’s Lair (95-1840 Meheula Parkway, space E-10, Mililani)
Westside Comics and Games (590 Farrington Highway, #538, Kapolei)
Maui Comics and Collectibles (333 Dairy Road, #102, Kahului)
Selection will vary depending on what each individual retailer orders, so don’t get too upset if what you’re looking for isn’t available. Make sure to buy something else from the store, too; they may be free to you, but they certainly aren’t free for the people providing them.
In the afternoon, there’s the AMHI Halloween Walk. Anime Matsuri Hawaii and KZOO Radio are co-hosting this stroll through Ala Moana Center. Dress to impress in your finest cosplay or J-fashion coordinates, and you could win an upgrade to a Superpass — the convention’s VIP pass — or a free autograph session with a guest who’d normally have a paid session. The fun starts in front of the KZOO studio in Shirokiya at 2 p.m. Saturday and runs through 4 p.m.
Or if you prefer (or live closer toward west or central Oahu and don’t feel like driving aaaaaaaaall the way into town), you could hop into your vehicle of choice and head on over to attend the Halloween Cosplay Runway at Pearlridge Center. Kawaii Kon and Comic Con Honolulu are hosting this kickoff to Pearlridge Center’s Trick-or-Treat Extravaganza. Talk about your costume, then just work it on stage, baby. That’s taking place at the Pearlridge Uptown Center Court from 5 to 6 p.m.
Have fun and stay safe out there, folks. And don’t eat too much candy. You’ll rot your teeth out.
Elsewhere around town
Anime Matsuri Hawaii: I’ll have a full update on all the upcoming cons in my next post, but for now I should mention that the deadline for online preregistration for AMHI is fast approaching; cutoff time is 11:59 p.m. local time Saturday. So if you’ve been on the fence about attending this convention on Thanksgiving weekend, now’s the time to decide if you’re going to pay $55 for a three-day pass for it (or $20 if there’s a child ages 6-12 involved, or $150 if you’d like to go the VIP Superpass route). Tickets for the Grand Tea Party at the Ala Moana Hotel ($35; Sunday, Nov. 29, noon-3 p.m.) are also running scarce. Guests include voice actors Maile Flanagan, Johnny Yong Bosch and Crispin Freeman; Justin Rojas from Funimation; Masahiko Otsuka, Studio Trigger president; professional cosplayers Vampy, Goldy, Yuegene Fay, Stella Chuu and Reiko; Yui Minakata, fashion model featured in KERA and the Gothic Lolita Bible; and fashion designers Shunsuke Hasegawa (Putumayo) and Chinatsu Taira (Metamorphose). Visit hawaii.animematsuri.com.
The Anthem of the Heart: From the makers of Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie: The One Based on the Anime Series: Which They Also Did comes another tale of emotionally scarred youths which, judging by the official synopsis, seems like it could be another tearjerker:
Jun is a girl whose words have been sealed away. She was once a happy girl, but because of a certain thing she said when she was very young, her family was torn apart. One day, the egg fairy appeared in front of her and sealed away her ability to talk in order to stop her from hurting anybody else. Since this traumatic experience, Jun lives in the shadows away from the limelight. But, one day she is nominated to become an executive member of the “community outreach council.” On top of that, Jun is also appointed to play the main lead in theirmusical…
Over the 12 years or so that I’ve been keeping track of the local anime/manga fan community, I’ve seen a number of different series rise and fall in popularity. There was the Inu-Yasha era, the Naruto era, Fruits Basket, Fullmetal Alchemist, Ouran High School Host Club,Hetalia,Adventure Time, that weird Homestuck anomaly (shudder), Minecraft. And now, we’re squarely in the age of Attack on Titan, the franchise where massive vein-popping naked humanoids stomp around the planet, gobble up regular people (Eren’s mom, ewwwwww nooooooo) like we eat french fries, battle with the Avengers, attend junior high school and star in spinoffafter spinoff after spinoff.
One adaptation has gotten a fair amount of attention over the past few months: the Attack on Titan live-action movies, in which real-life people battle real-life CGI Titans. You can see all your favorites — Eren! Mikasa! Armin! Levi! — as they would appear as if they were real and dwelt among us. Here, have a trailer.
To say English-speaking audiences have been eagerly anticipating these movies could be an understatement. The announcement that tickets were on sale came on Monday, with the Consolidated Ward Stadium 16 theaters and the Doris Duke Theater at the Honolulu Museum of Arts listed as local venues; as I’m writing this post on Wednesday, the Thursday, Oct. 1 screening is completely sold out. (Pure speculation on my part, but could Kawaii Kon or one of our other local cons have snapped up all those tickets? This happened before in 2013, when Evangelion 3.0: You Will (Never) Get This Film on Home Video sold out one screening, then promptly re-emerged as part of a Kawaii Kon promotion.)
Also coming soon to a theater near you (as long as “near you” is urban Honolulu):
Love Live! The School Idol Movie:Back in 2013, we first met second-year student Honoka Kosaka and her efforts to save her school from shutting down by forming a nine-member idol group, µ’s. Two anime series and a popular rhythm/card-collecting/relationship simulator/special-event-obsession-magnet game for iOS and Android later, we’ve reached the point where the senior members are about to graduate and µ’s is ready to dissolve … until they receive news of a special event. Is this their last hurrah? Could this be a springboard moment for the rest of their lives? Is it possible that your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger already looked at the Love Live wiki and read the entire movie plot summary because he’ll be away attending HawaiiCon when this film screens on Oahu? (The answers: can’t say, can’t say, and OKAY YES I’M ALSO THE TYPE OF PERSON WHO CHEATS AND SKIPS AHEAD TO THE ENDS OF BOOKS BEFORE READING THE MIDDLE PARTS.) While supplies last, you can also get a randomly selected shikishi (image board) of one of the nine µ’s members! Consolidated Ward Stadium 16, noon Sept. 12 and 7 p.m. Sept. 14.
The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow: As I noted above, there aren’t any screening times listed yet for the Attack on Titan movies at the Doris Duke Theater. While I was looking, though, something else caught my eye: The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow, an animated feature screening as part of Seoul Cinema 2015, a mini festival of contemporary films from South Korea. The synopsis … well, here, excerpted from the museum website:
An orbiting female satellite picks up a lovelorn pop song on her radio antenna and descends to Earth to try to discover who could be the source of such heartfelt emotions. On the way, she is transformed into the Satellite Girl, complete with Astro Boy-like rocket shoes and weapon-firing limbs, while the balladeer in question—a loser twenty-something playing at an open mic in a coffee shop—meets the fate that befalls all broken-hearted lovers: he is turned into a cow. There is more: a wizard in the form of a roll of toilet paper, an all-consuming incinerator monster, a pig witch.
And then there’s this publicity still.
Omega-squee. Milk Cow for the win, people. 11:10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sept. 20 (free admission!), 1 p.m. Sept. 26 ($10 general, $8 members).
Boruto: Naruto the Movie: Proving that The Last: Naruto the Movie really wasn’t the last Naruto movie, here comes … umm … the last Naruto movie. Until the next one, I suppose, although it really seems like series creator Masashi Kishimoto will be taking a break from ninja tales for a while. This time out, Naruto’s the one tasked with the mature duties — he is the Seventh Hokage for the Hidden Leaf Village now, after all — while Boruto is playing the rebellious wild child role. But when Sasuke shows up to warn of impending doom, and said doom arrives on their doorstep … well, we’ve been through 11 movies and a bajillion anime episodes and manga chapters, you probably know what’s coming next: camaraderie, coming-of-age, teamwork, friendship, respect, all that fun shounen manga stuff. Consolidated Ward Stadium 16, noon Oct. 10 and 7 p.m. Oct. 12.
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 …
Back when I was in my formative years as an anime fan in the early 2000s and wanted to get out to watch anything animated coming out of Japan, it wasn’t easy to catch anime in theaters. The Hawaii International Film Festival had a few, and on occasion one or two might have shown up at the Varsity or Wallace’s Restaurant Row art house complex (anyone remember when those were actual things?) (of course you do; I mean, wow, some of you reading this are old enough to remember the older Japanese theaters, which is way cool), but those were few and far between.
The month we’re entering now shows just how much things have changed. This month brings word of three anime features screening in local theaters this month, including — whoa! — the first time I can recall in a longtime, if ever, that several Hawaii island theaters are included in a limited-run anime screening.
The film that’s getting this relatively widespread distribution is Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, otherwise known as “that Dragon Ball Z movie for which they were carrying around the poster everywhere Ryo Horikawa, the Japanese voice of Vegeta, appeared during Kawaii Kon 2013.” Here he is with panelists Lisle Wilkerson and Pali Kaaihue … and that poster.
One of the gods of Battle of Gods is Beerus, the God of Destruction who has the power to make everyone drunk and post incriminating selfies of themselves on various social media outlets. (A portion of that last sentence may be more what I imagine a character described as “Beerus, the God of Destruction” to be and not reflect reality.) Beerus is on his way to Earth, which means it’s up to you-know-who to input his “God mode” cheat code and face him.
… no, of course it’s Goku. Much screaming and KAMEHAMEHA~!-ing and sock-biff-powing and explosions will likely ensue, and … well, you probably know what you’re in for with a Dragon Ball Z-series movie, so you’re either already eager to check it out or moved ahead to look at the details of the My Neighbor Totoro screenings a bit further down.
So when can you see Battle of Gods? The first big day is Tuesday, when four theaters — Consolidated’s Ward Stadium 16 complex on Oahu and the Kaahumanu 6 complex in Kahului, and Regal’s Makalapua Stadium 10 complex in Kona and Prince Kuhio 9 complex in Hilo — will be showing it at 7 p.m. The Kona and Hilo theaters will also have screenings at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets for those screens are available on Fandango.
The film then moves on for an longer run starting Aug. 9 at the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Doris Duke Theatre. The showtimes:
Sat., Aug. 9: 1 p.m.
Sun. Aug. 10: 5 and 7:30 p.m.
Tues., Aug. 12 through Thurs., Aug. 14: 1 and 7:30 p.m.
Around the middle of this month, Consolidated’s Kahala 8 theaters will host screenings of My Neighbor Totoro as part of the ongoing “GKIDS: Animated World” seriesof animated features “for kids of all ages” … which I just learned about while writing this post Thursday night, so I’m a bit sad about missing features like The Secret of Kells, A Cat in Paris and Tales of the Night.Totoro will screen Sat. Aug. 16, at 11 a.m., Mon., Aug. 18, at 3:30 p.m. and Tues., Aug. 19, at 11:30 a.m.; presale tickets are available now on Fandango.
Finally, for you Naruto fans, your favorite orange jump-suited ninja and his friends are back for their latest big-screen adventure, Road to Ninja — Naruto the Movie. It’s a movie that seems to hearken back to his roots; here’s the synopsis:
Long ago, a mysterious masked shinobi unleashed the Nine-Tailed Fox onto the Village Hidden in the Leaves to spread chaos and destruction. But the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, and his wife Kushina Uzumaki sealed the Tailed Beast into their newborn son Naruto to save the village, foiling the shinobi’s plan.
Years later, Naruto and his friends succeed in driving away the infamous Akatsuki, who have mysteriously returned from the dead. Upon returning to the village, the young shinobi are praised by their families for completing a dangerous mission. Reminded of how alone he is, Naruto begins to wonder what it’s like to have parents, when a strange masked figure appears before him – the same masked shinobi responsible for the death of his parents!
Road to Ninja has thus far been confirmed for screenings at the Ward Stadium 16 theaters at noon Sun., Aug. 31, and 7 p.m. Sept. 1; tickets for the Aug. 31 showing are already available on Fandango.
Also this weekend
Get Pop-Cultured at Barnes & Noble: Another weekend, another set of artist appearances and Kawaii Kon-hosted activities at the Ala Moana store. The fun kicks off Saturday at 1 p.m. with appearances by MidWeek cartoonist/Cacy & Kiara and the Curse of the Ki’i author Roy Chang and artist Theo Lee (one of the featured artists in our Sakai Project profile (subscription required to read) on Sunday!). That will be followed by cosplayers dressed as Marvel Comics characters at 2 p.m.; Kawaii Kon’s “Iron Cosplay” costuming-on-the-fly event at 3 p.m.; and Comic Jam Hawaii’s Marvel sketch session at 5 p.m., where artists will draw various characters and the pieces will be raffled off to lucky patrons at the end of the hour.
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.
As for last weekend …
Remember that Kids Inc. Business Showcase I wrote about in my last post, where I highlighted Joelle Lee and her “Joelle’s Custom Artwork” booth? I swung by Windward Mall and commissioned her to draw a caricature of me, and boy, did she ever deliver. I happened to be wearing a chibi Attack on Titan shirt at the time, so she drew me as one of that series’ soldiers.
And here’s Joelle herself with the finished product.
I liked the drawing so much, I’ve been gradually uploading it as my new avatar on pretty much all the social media networks I’ve been frequenting. (Except Instagram. I kinda like that “me with Doraemon plushie” look.) I would highly recommend getting something from her if she sets up another booth sometime in the future … I’ll definitely try to keep tabs on when/if she makes another appearance.