The Amazing Hawaii Comic Con photo-ops schedule

Here we are, a little over an hour after Amazing Hawaii Comic Con opened today, and there has yet to be anything posted online from the con’s various social media channels about schedules for photo ops (aside from William Shatner, Jason David Frank and Kevin Eastman) or autographs.

Well, I’ve taken matters into my own hands. Thanks to Facebook user Ayame Takahara, who snapped pictures of the photo-ops board posted on the exhibit hall floor,, I’ve been able to cobble together a version of this weekend’s photo-ops schedule at the convention for anyone needing it, along with relevant prices. Still waiting for an autograph schedule, but I have people keeping an eye out for that as well.

So here you go, the first proof that, yes, the Star Trek: The Next Generation stars will be made available outside of Saturday’s $65 panel:

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 4.12.38 PM

Coming to terms with an Amazing weekend

The third entry in Con-athon 2017, Amazing Hawaii Comic Con, is this weekend. And … well, I’ll be honest: It’s the event for which I’ve held the most mixed emotions.

amazing-hawaii-comic-con-logo-ahcc.jpgOn the one hand, it’s become to the local comic fan community what Kawaii Kon has been to the local anime/manga fan community for years: the premier event at which comic fans can showcase their work. Members of the Hawaiian Comic Book Alliance will be out in full force and will have a special print available for a minimum $5 purchase. (You can see what the print looks like in the featured image for this post.) A good number of the state’s comic shops, including Dragon’s Lair, Choice Comics, Westside Comics and Other Realms on Oahu, Maui Comics & Collectibles and Hilo’s Enjoy Comics will be represented there.

On the other hand … man, I am still so torn about these extra-cost, premium a la carte fan experiences. I said it last year when I wrote about this convention, and I’ll say it again: The people willing to shell out extra money are the ones likely to get the most enjoyment out of this show, from the VIP passes promising early admission, express lines and priority seating at general admission panels to the “Ultimate Fan Experiences” tailored to certain guests.

This year, there’s an added wrinkle: One of the biggest panels, a “Star Trek Generations” panel Saturday night hosted by William Shatner that features Star Trek: The Next Generation stars Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, LeVar Burton, Gates McFadden and Brent Spiner, will cost an extra $65 to attend ($95 if you want premium seating, $200 if you want to buy it as part of an Ultimate Fan Package that also includes premium seating for the Shatner panel on Sunday, a Shatner autograph ticket, a priority pass for other autograph sessions, an exclusive lanyard and badge, and other Star Trek con-exclusive merchandise).

This wouldn’t bother me so much if I knew what kind of accessibility the general public will be getting to these stars outside of this panel. As of this writing at 8 a.m. today, with the con starting in seven hours, I’ve only seen autograph information posted for Shatner, Power Rangers star Jason David Frank and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creator Kevin Eastman. I’m one of those people who likes planning where I’m going and roughly how much I’m going to be spending, and to not have this information available before I show up is pretty frustrating.

Anyway, enough from my soapbox. Let’s get to the nitty-gritty fast facts!

Amazing Hawaii Comic Con

When/where: Friday-Sunday, Hawai’i Convention Center

It’s the one with: William Shatner. The actor. Who. Everyone knows played. Captain James. T. Kirk. In the original. Star Trek. And whose. Speaking style. Has been parodied by. Countless people over. The years.

Other notable guests (full roster at amazinghawaiicomiccon.com/guests):

Jason David Frank, the Green/White Power Ranger in the Power Ranger franchise and guy who’s lobbying hard to fight former WWE Superstar ™ CM Punk in MMA combat.

Alan Tudyk, K-2SO in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Wash in Firefly/Serenity, voice of Hei Hei the derpy chicken in Moana, and, as the Otaku Ohana Anonymous Director of Forced Social Interaction likes to remind me, Steve the Pirate in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.

Todd McFarlane, creator of Spawn, founding member of Image Comics, and guy who bought the record-breaking home run balls hit by Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds.

Anime fans won’t feel left out at this year’s show, either; scheduled to attend are Bryce Papenbrook and Trina Nishimura, the voices of Eren and Mikasa, respectively, in Attack on Titan; Bonnie Gordon, the voice of R. Mika in Street Fighter V; and anime YouTubers TheAnimeMan and akidearest.

Other notes of note: As I mentioned earlier, the Hawaiian Comic Book Alliance is going to play a major role in this show. The group will be hosting a “meet the creators” panel at 11 a.m. Saturday, followed by various “Making a Comic Book” panels over the weekend — part 1, “Characters and Story,” at 3 p.m. Saturday; part 2, “Sequential Art,” at 4 p.m. Saturday; and part 3, “Getting Published,” at 11 a.m. Sunday. All panels will be held in Panel Room B.

Also attending this weekend: Stacey Hayashi, author of the Journey of Heroes graphic novel about the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team and its accomplishments during World War II. Stacey’s now producer/writer of Go for Broke, a movie chronicling those accomplishments, and she’ll be on a panel with director Alex Bocchieri and several local cast members to talk about the movie and preview footage at noon Saturday in Panel Room A. Visit her at booth 319 in the main exhibit hall, too!

How much? Three-day passes are $60; single-day passes are $25 for Friday, $35 for Saturday and $25 for Sunday. VIP packages and select Ultimate Fan Packages start at $150. Children under 10 are free with paying adult, as are all Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in uniform.

Website: amazinghawaiicomiccon.com

Con-athon 2017 hits ludicrous speed

Welcome back to the escalating arms race that is Con-athon 2017. It’s been pretty quiet as far as conventions and convention-like activities go since Kawaii Kon in early April, save for a smattering of events. Heck, you’ve probably noticed I haven’t written about anything in this space since last month’s MangaBento exhibit. (Long story. We’ve been trying to keep Otaku Ohana on Facebook active, though!)

But here we are, on the verge of kicking off a string of five conventions over the next four months. I know it’s difficult to keep track of which one is slotted where, so I’m hoping to untangle that confusion as we go along. But there’s a show staring us in the face for this weekend, so let’s get things started with …

 

Comic Con Honolulu

When/where: Friday-Sunday, Hawai’i Convention Center

Princess BrideIt’s the one with: Cary Elwes, whose lines from Princess Bride you can probably recite from memory if you’re like all the fans of that movie I know who absolutely adore it … and him. He’ll be signing autographs ($40) and doing photo ops ($40) on Saturday and Sunday, and his single panel of the weekend will be from 11:15 a.m. to noon Sunday in room 316ABC. (You’re going to want to catch this live, because video/audio recording has been banned from that session. So no social media dispatches, sorry!)

And not: Ming-Na Wen, who had to cancel due to an injury suffered filming the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. finale earlier this year. She’s already confirmed as the first guest for Comic Con Honolulu 2018, though, so yay!

Also withdrawing in recent days are actresses Katrina Law and Candice Patton; replacing them are Willa Holland (Thea Queen in Arrow) and Danielle Panabacker (Caitlin Snow in The Flash).

Other notable guests (full roster at comicconhonolulu.com/guests/):

Colin Baker, the Sixth Doctor and the first major Doctor Who cast member to visit Hawaii in the modern con era.

David Gallaher, Honolulu-born comic artist/writer who’ll be selling a con-exclusive variant of his current comic, The Only Living Boy.

Nolan North, voice of Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series on the Sony PlayStation 3 and 4 and Desmond Miles.

Kevin Sorbo, TV’s Hercules.

Other notes of note: In addition to the Elwes panel, audio/video recording and photography also won’t be allowed at the Willa Holland panel (11:15 a.m.-noon Saturday) or the Danielle Panabacker panel (2:45-3:30 p.m. Saturday). Both are in room 316ABC.

CCH Logo BubbleWant to see something other than the guests this weekend? Hitbox Music Ensemble will be performing in concert from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Friday in room 316ABC. (Their performances of various Pokemon Go soundtrack selections already sound pretty good.) The Cardboard Megabrawl, in which people build cardboard armor and then beat the bejeebers out of each other in an attempt to knock off their opponents’ armor, will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday in room 313ABC. The Art Improv panel, in which local artists will be drawing quick sketches using suggestions from the audience, will be from 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday in room 312 (and it’s a great place to get some cool free art!). If you’d like to buy some nice pieces of predrawn/crafted artwork, the Charity Art Auction will be held from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday in room 315. And everybody’s favorite event, the Cosplay Showcase, will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday in room 316ABC.

The full schedule is available at comicconhonolulu.com/events/schedule-2017/

How much? Three-day passes are $65; single-day passes are $40 for Friday, $55 for Saturday and $40 for Sunday.

Website: comicconhonolulu.com

Coming up next for Con-athon 2017

Amazing Hawaii Comic Con (Aug. 25-27, Hawai’i Convention Center) features original Star Trek captain William Shatner and Green/White Power Ranger Jason David Frank as its headliners. amazinghawaiicomiccon.com

HawaiiCon (Sept. 14-17, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows, Big Island) has a quartet of Buffy the Vampire Slayer actors (Nicholas Brendon, Charisma Carpenter, Emma Caulfield, Amber Benson); Paul Blake, Star Wars’ Greedo; and Temuera Morrison, Jango Fett in Star Wars Episode 2, on its sizable guest roster. hawaiicon.com

Anime Ohana (Oct. 6-8, Pagoda Hotel): Voice actors Christina Marie Kelly, Molly Searcy and David Wald, who’ve all voiced roles in Akame Ga Kill, are the main attractions at this anime con. There’s also going to be a live Food Wars!-style competition … and if you have any cooking skills that you want to show off in that, you’re going to want to get over to animeohana.com and register right away. (The cutoff to enter that competition is on Monday.)

Maui Comic Con (Oct. 28-29, UH-Maui campus, Kahului): Inker Joe Rubinstein, artist Mark Texeira and actress Galyn Gorg are on board for the second edition of Maui’s contribution to the local con scene. facebook.com/mauicomiccon/

Anime Ohana postpones upcoming convention

Anime Ohana logo

It looks like the finish line of Con-athon 2016 is coming up sooner than anyone expected.

Anime Ohana, the show co-founded by former Kawaii Kon director Stan Dahlin and former Sentai Filmworks producer/director David Williams, announced this morning that it would be delaying this year’s show, scheduled for Nov. 4-6, by 11 months. The new dates are Oct. 6-8, 2017, to be exact. The venue, the Pagoda Hotel, will remain the same, as will the guests announced to date — voice actors Christina Marie Kelly, Molly Searcy and David Wald, all involved with Akame ga Kill.

From the official statement:

“In order to bring you the best possible event, we feel we need to build more awareness. We are now working with a new marketing and promotions group to help get the word out about Anime Ohana and want to give them time to properly promote the event. … We know that this could affect some fans ability to attend the event and we will be contacting everyone who have already purchased tickets with the option of obtaining a refund if you like or applying it to the new dates.

This means that if you want to get your con fun time on, this weekend’s Special Edition of Amazing Hawaii Comic Con will be your last chance to do so on Oahu this year. It’s not the end of the otaku calendar by any means, though; there are several smaller events planned in coming weeks, including Kawaii Kon’s Anime Day at Shirokiya Japan Village Walk Oct. 15, Neet at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii Oct. 21, and Maui Comic Con Nov. 5-6.

Anime Ohana’s withdrawal from 2016 marks the second show to do so after Anime Matsuri Hawaii’s announcement earlier this year. Unlike Anime Matsuri, though, there’s at least some expectation that there will be a 2017 show. Anime Ohana was the smallest convention in the state by a wide margin last year — we’re talking three-digit attendance over the weekend run, whereas everyone else recorded at least four — and not many people I’ve talked to recently were aware there was a convention after Amazing this year, despite the show’s increased promotional efforts.

Here’s hoping the extra time makes 2017 a better experience for everyone involved.

The Mini-ficent Seven

A number of you who use Facebook probably know about its Memories/On This Day feature, where their little algorithmic thingamabobs and doohickeys dig down deep in your timeline and pull up posts that you might’ve forgotten existed about a week after you posted them.

Today, this memory popped up on my timeline.

Four years ago already ... maaaaaaaaaan ... Photo by Jason S. Yadao.
Four years ago already? Maaaaaaaaaan. We’ve gotten so much more … umm, *vintage* since then. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.

And it reminded me, “Welp, blogger boy, your HawaiiCon vacation’s over, time to get back to work and write a new post.”

Here’s why: The latest edition of Mini Con will be held four years and two days after I posted that picture. This is one of those events that your friendly neighborhood otaku blogger’s been covering for a long time — this is its seventh year, in fact, making it the second longest continually running event I’ve covered, behind only Kawaii Kon.

This year's edition of the Mini Con flyer, by Audra Furuichi. Courtesy image.
This year’s edition of the Mini Con flyer, by Audra Furuichi. Courtesy image.

The formula that McCully-Moiliili Library branch manager Hillary Chang has followed every year is simple, yet effective: Bring in artists Jon Murakami, Audra Furuichi and Kevin Sano as the foundation; supplement with at least one more rotating guest; host a stamp rally and give away prizes throughout the day; give patrons a chance to cosplay.  (This year’s rotating guest is artist Mark Gould, a member of the Hawaiian Comic Book Alliance who’s done a fair amount of freelance work over the last few years, including covers for Slave Labor Graphics’ Model A and contributions to Christopher Caravalho’s Aumakua: Guardians of Hawaii books.)

Not everyone has the time, money and/or energy to attend one or (for the most hard-core crazy among us) several of the otaku conventions held around the state every year; Mini Con’s existed as an option for people to get a free taste of convention life, a slice of Artist Alley in a library setting. This is also going to be Audra’s last event as a vendor for this year, so this will be your last chance to pick up some nemu*nemu merchandise or some of her lovely, lovely original artwork from her in person until … well, Kawaii Kon next spring, I reckon.

All of this is happening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the library, 2211 S. King St.; parking at the library is limited, so either plan on showing up early, go across the street to Ross Dress For Less (which has graciously opened up its lot for use by library patrons) or bring a handful of coins to feed the meters. For more information, call 973-1099.

HawaiiCon! We’re here!

WAIKOLOA, Hawaii >> Sometimes you just have to break with the status quo to make things finally work.

Case in point: this post. For a few weeks now, I’d been planning to publish a post around this time featuring the fourth participant in Con-athon 2016 and the only one to be held on one of the neighbor islands: HawaiiCon. It starts today around 3 p.m. and runs through Sunday; the 30+ guests include actors Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols and Jonathan Frakes from the Star Trek franchise, voice actor Vic Mignogna, Futurama artist and Bongo Comics co-founder Bill Morrison, and Hawaiian Comic Book Alliance members Sam Campos, Christopher Caravalho and Bryan Revell. Passes are $25 general, $10 children ages 6-12 today; $66 general, $35 children for single-day passes Friday-Sunday; and $169 general, $79 children for four-day passes.

Mauna Lani gives all its guests leis like this on check-in. Also, the key cards are con-branded. So cool! Photo by Jason S. Yadao.
Mauna Lani gives all its guests leis like this on check-in. Also, the key cards are con-branded. So cool! Photo by Jason S. Yadao.

So why is this post not written in the style of other Con-athon posts? The biggest enemies of anything Otaku Ohana-related as of late, free time and the corresponding energy to write anything, certainly are factors. But here’s the bigger factor: I’ve already checked in to HawaiiCon’s host hotel for this year, the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows. Here’s the view from my room.

Lovely poolside view. Kinda wish I swam a little more, heh. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.
Lovely poolside view. Kinda wish I swam a little more, heh. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.

Those of you who have been fortunate enough to attend HawaiiCon — and as far as I know, that’s about three or four of you who read this blog — know that this event operates on a different level from the other Con-athon events. Sure, there are the usual elements — panels, autographs and photo ops with guests, a cosplay contest, an Artist Alley and dealers room. But there’s also the feeling that this is designed to be more of an intimate vacation experience for everyone involved. The dealers room offerings are more upscale. Attendees are willing to pay more to go on excursions like snorkeling and zip-lining with their favorite guests, things like that. HawaiiCon’s also out here in the lush resort stretch of the Kona Coast, while the other Con-athon participants are all within a few blocks of the retail/condo-dense Ala Moana district.

It’s a con where, last year, voice actors Steve Blum and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn went snorkeling in the morning, showered and walked in to do their panel (an actual thing that happened last year). It’s also a con where voice actor Melissa Fahn brought her young son up to sit in on her panel and have him utterly steal the show with his pinpoint rendition of the Yakko Warner “Nations of the World” song from Animaniacs, from memory. (I have that video somewhere. I probably ought dig it up and post it somewhere.) I’ve also heard that guests, staff and attendees often adjourn to the hotel bar after con events wrap up around 8 p.m. (something I’ve never experienced for myself, because shyyyyyy).

It’s just a different, more relaxed state of mind out here. And that’s a good thing. It’s one that I already settled into on Wednesday, taking a long road trip with a friend from Kona to Hilo for some yummy mochi (Two Ladies, because of course), lunch with one of our friends and Ingress-ing at Liliuokalani Gardens, and then hightailing it out of there to outrun a cluster of thunderstorms. Aside from the whole “KYAAAAAAH the rain is coming down in sheets and I’m having trouble seeing and KYAAAAAAH that lightning bolt looked like it flashed REALLY CLOSE” thing, it’s the most relaxed I’ve felt in weeks. And there will be the usual dispatches from here — be sure to follow my Instagram/Facebook and Twitter feeds for the usual con randomness.

But if it seems a bit quieter than usual, please understand: I’m not slacking! I’m just soaking up the atmosphere.

[Comic Con Honolulu 2016] The day is Takei’s

Takei at CCH (courtesy Comic-Con Honolulu)

Today is George Takei Day.

I’m not just writing that because the venerable actor/activist/probable reason why a lot of people are going to be attending Comic Con Honolulu has a panel this afternoon (2:30 p.m.!) and autograph and photo sessions throughout the day. I’m writing that because Mayor Kirk Caldwell made it so.

Indeed, just as the mayor turned an entire weekend in April into Kawaii Kon Days, he’s mayorally proclaimed today is Takei’s day. Here’s a copy of the proclamation; click on it to make it bigger:

George Takei proclamation

A few other con schedule and notes as we head into day 2:

–The Dr. Who panel at 7 p.m. today, originally scheduled to be Whovian trivia, is now the “Russell T. Davies Years vs. the Steven Moffat Years” panel that was originally slotted for 11 p.m. Friday. I know this because I was sitting in the room when the switch was made. Knew none of the answers to the questions. But at least it was informative!

–Some schedule highlights that I missed in my last post: The Cardboard Megabrawl, in which teams have an hour to build cardboard armored suits and then another hour to beat the bejeebers out of one another (within reason) is from 2 to 4 p.m. today in room 313A. There’s a preview of the upcoming movie Kubo and the Two Stringsthe latest project from Laika, the studio behind Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls — from 7:30 to 8 p.m. today in Panel Room 315. (Free movie posters will be given out to the first 50 people!) Finally, for those of you who want to publish your own comics, William “Doc” Grant and Wendell Hong with Lime Media Hawaii will be hosting a “Basics of Comic Publishing” panel from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday in Panel Room 312.

–Weedle is waiting.

Yup, he's here. Along with a buncha Magikarps, Psyducks and Slowpokes. Also, a Pikachu cameo. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.
Yup, he’s here. Along with a buncha Magikarps, Psyducks and Slowpokes. Also, a Pikachu cameo. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.

See y’all there.