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:
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.
On 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.
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.
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.
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
It’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).
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.
Want 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 Gosoundtrackselections 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.
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/
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 morningthat 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 Strings — the 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.
We’ve made it to the midpoint of Con-athon 2016, our coverage of this year’s major local anime/manga/pop-culture conventions, and … whoof. Man. I don’t remember Con-athon 2015 being as much of a grind as we’re seeing this year. A quick recap: Kawaii Kon kicked off the convention season strong in April; Amazing Hawaii Comic Con returned in May, but while they announced a second, smaller event for October, the accounts I’ve heard seem to indicate that attendance was down this year; and Anime Matsuri retreated back to Houston. Meanwhile, planning for HawaiiCon (in September) and Anime Ohana (in November) continue apace. So while there are still six major conventions planned for this year, the faces have shifted somewhat.
Next up to the starting block: year 2 of Comic Con Honolulu, the pop-culture con from the organizers of Kawaii Kon.
Confession time: Among the six conventions that comprised Con-athon 2015, Comic Con Honolulu was the event at which I spent the least amount of time. Three hours, to be exact, enough time to sit in on the Art Improv panel, say hi to a bunch of friends, make a few quick purchases in the Dealer’s Room/Artist Alley, and then dash off to work.
Part of it was out of necessity. There’s only so much vacation time I get every year, after all, so I have to be choosy about which events I commit to visiting for the full run and which ones only get a commitment of a day or shorter. But part of it was also the fact that there wasn’t much of a “wow” factor there for me. Sure, there was a decent guest lineup over which people got excited, but nothing that really grabbed me and said that I absolutely had to go. Besides, Amazing already had Stan Lee in their corner, HawaiiCon convinced me to give them a try based on their booking of three Cowboy Bebop voice actors, and Anime Ohana and Anime Matsuri Hawaii had the whole “hey, we’re new, and we’re right in your anime/manga-loving wheelhouse, please come check us out” sparkle-sheen to them. It’s just the way things work out sometimes.
This year, though? Different story. HawaiiCon and Anime Ohana have joined Kawaii Kon in my con rotation, Anime Matsuri Hawaii went *poof*, and I felt I needed to prioritize a full weekend visit to CCH over braving Amazing again. CCH’s guest roster and the show’s smaller size certainly helped in that decision. Now, of course, the key is in holding my attention …
When/where: Friday-Sunday, Hawai’i Convention Center
Admission: Three-day passes, $65; Friday- or Sunday-only pass, $30 each day; Saturday-only pass, $40. Pass prices apply to attendees ages 5 and up.
How will CCH try to distinguish itself from Amazing, its biggest competition in the market, and draw sufficient numbers to remain a viable show in the process? CCH’s main advantage may lie in its programming diversity — there are far more fan panels and more activities available than just “shop,” “buy themed VIP packages and convention-exclusive comics” and “sit in giant space and listen to featured guests talk.” CCH has also been doing well promoting local talent selling their wares in Artist Alley on their social media accounts … and let’s not forget about the support they’re throwing toward neighborhood eateries with their list of con weekend discounts.
But there’s also no denying that the buzz for the show on my Facebook feed has been more muted. Or maybe that’s just because everyone on my Facebook news feed is talking about the upcoming elections and Pokemon GO and my news feed algorithm is horrifically screwed up as a result. In any case, a quick look at the Dealer’s Room and Artist Alley listings reveal only a fraction of the local vendors and artists that Amazing had in May.
Five Six guests to get hyped for
In past Con-athon roundups, I would’ve used this space for a complete roundup of all the guests appearing at a particular show. But let’s face it: Kawaii Kon had more than 20 guests. Amazing had more than 25. Faced with the prospect of writing another 22 mini-bios for this convention and another 100 gazillion for HawaiiCon, I finally tapped out and said, “OK, I’m just hitting the high points and picking five guests I’m most excited about seeing going forward.”
And then I went and picked six people anyway. Because the sixth person really deserved to be mentioned. Plus I’m writing this blog, so I get to make up all the rules and then break them, right? The full guest list is available at comicconhonolulu.com/guests.
George Takei: Every convention has its “OMG moment” during the guest announcement phase, that one guest over whom people rub their eyes over and over again and pinch themselves and wonder, “Holy cats, is that guy really going to be part of my hometown convention?” Takei is this year’s OMG moment for Comic-Con Honolulu … and arguably the entirety of Con-athon 2016, to boot. Whether you know him as Sulu from Star Trek, a gay rights advocate, the man behind Allegiance (a musical set in the Japanese-American internment camps during World War II) or a huge social media influencer, you know who he is. And you’ll have exactly one chance to see him speak: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday in Main Events (Room 316 ABC). Good luck, folks.
Grant Imahara: Spoiler alert: Our Steven Mark got to chat with the animatronics engineer, modelmaker and Mythbuster in an interview running in Friday’s paper. Definitely worth checking out if you have a chance. Scheduled to appear at two panels: “Bustin’ Myths and Building Robots: The Story of Grant Imahara,” 11 a.m.-noon Saturday in Main Events, and “Discover Grant Imahara,” 11 a.m.-noon Sunday, also in Main Events.
Sean Astin: He’s been a Goonie and a Hobbit. He’s the son of Patty Duke and John Astin, who played Gomez in the original Addams Family. And he’s the voice of Raphael in the ongoing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series. If you need any more convincing than that to see him, then man, you’re tough to please. Scheduled to appear at two panels: “Face to Face With Sean Astin,” 4-5 p.m. Friday in Main Events; and the Voice Actor Round Table (with Jennifer Hale, the voice of female Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect video games, and Phil LaMarr, the voice of Hermes Conrad in Futurama and Samurai Jack) from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, also in Main Events.
John Barrowman: Until last week, he was best known as Captain Jack Harkness in Doctor Who and the spinoff Torchwood, as well as the Dark Archer in Arrow. Since then, he’s been that guy who dressed up as Squirrel Girl, Futurama’s Zap Brannigan, Harley Quinn and a dress-wearing Kylo Ren in San Diego. Here’s hoping he has more antics planned for Honolulu this weekend. Scheduled to appear at one panel: “Getting to Know John Barrowman,” 4-5 p.m. Saturday in Main Events.
Fabian Nicienza: Rob Liefeld was a guest at Amazing, so now it’s time for Liefeld’s partner in creating Deadpool to have his say. Nicieza also helped create Shatterstar, the X-Force and Cable; has more than 1,000 comic book writing credits; and is currently working with Stan Lee on Cosmic Crusaders. Scheduled to appear at three panels: “Breaking the Fourth Wall,” 3:15-4:15 p.m. Friday in Panel Room 315; “Behind the Snark,” 5:15-6:15 p.m. Saturday in Main Events; and “Comic Editing and Character Creation,” 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in Panel Room 315.
Leah Rose: The talented cosplayer and host with the most who’s been featured in this blog before deserves a mention here, as this will be her last local convention as an isle resident before she moves on to Seattle. With Dasha Cosplay, Uncanny Megan and now Leah leaving or about to leave from Hawaii in the past handful of months, all I can say is whyyyyyyyy are the cosplayers all leaving do you not love usanymoooooooore. Umm. *ahem*. You can see her doing hosting duties all weekend or offer hugs and leis at her Artist Alley table, F11.
Will cartoonist Jon Murakami be here?
Three for three, yup! Look for him in Artist Alley, table E12, with his new collection of comic strips from the Hawaii Herald, Generation Gap:Are You Sure These Are Our Grandkids (pictured above), as well as a sale on Gordon Rider back issues, original sketches, and an array of shirts, prints, books and buttons. Can’t make it to con? You still have a few more hours today to get in on the book preorder; visit www.jonjmurakami.bigcartel.com.
(Also, Jon’s still our measuring stick for Con-athon 2016, considering he’s going to almost all the things.)
Anyone else of note?
There’s a guy doing these portraits, that’s for certain.
That artist is MidWeek cartoonist and Cacy & Kiara / Highball & Pepe creator Roy Chang, and he drew that Funko Pop-ified portrait of me last week during a special “Get Pop-Cultured” event at Barnes & Noble Ala Moana. And now it’s my Instagram profile picture, so w00t w00t to that. You can get your own Funkofied portrait — $5 black and white, $10 color — the newest Aloha Pepe issue, and more in Artist Alley, table A3.
Elsewhere in Artist Alley, you’ll find Marisa and Carole Gee with their handmade jewelry and charms at Kawaii Mono (C1); beadspriters extraordinare Dinner Crew Crafts (C11-12); longtime comic creators/anime aficionados Lime Media Hawaii (E9), the anime/manga-inspired artist collective MangaBento (D12), comic artist Christopher Caravalho and Mana Comics (B7),and artists Andy Lee (B1), Reid Kishimoto (E2), Tara Tamayori (F4), Headshot Heroes (C7) and Michael Cannon (E12). Hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
Over in the adjacent dealer’s room, Terri Dux and Karl Miyashiro’s one-stop shop for local apparel with clever phrase twists, idkwhat2wear, will be at table 55 with some new cute, clever designs. Pono Comics (52), Dragon’s Lair (42) and Other Realms (46, 47, 57, 58) represent local comic shops this time around. Familiar Kawaii Kon mainstays Anime Palace (25, 36), Hakubundo (50), Michi’s Toy Box (27) and Crappykids (7) will be there, as will everyone’s favorite snack vendors, Brug Bakery (41) and Paradise Kettle Corn (44). Hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
Other schedule highlights
Introducing Hitbox Music Ensemble:7:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, Main Events. An ensemble of classical and jazz instrumental and choral musicians performs music from video games, anime, TV shows and movies. Think of it like those Legend of Zelda concerts that have been coming to town, except on a wider scale.
Art Improv,10-11:30 a.m. Saturday,Panel Room 312. One of my must-see panels of the con, it’s what happens when you take a group of Comic Jam Hawaii artists and throw crazy ideas at them in the style of the classic comedy improv show Whose Line is it Anyway? Plus as a bonus, the sketches they draw are up for grabs at the end — you can nab some pretty cool free artwork that way. If you have some time to fill afterward, stick around for a series of drawing tutorials, including Kaci Horimoto on drawing (11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.), Reid Kishimoto on inking (12:15-1 p.m.), Rich Rodriguez on drawing from basic shapes (1-1:45 p.m.) and Wynette Sabalburo on coloring with markers (1:45-2:30 p.m.).
Ingress: It’s Time to Move!6-7:30 p.m. Saturday, Panel Room 312. Learn how to play the augmented reality game that I like to think of as the Pokemon GO beta beta as a noble agent of the Enlightened! (oryoucouldjointheResistanceIsuppose) Things that will be discussed at this panel: how the game works, the convoluted backstory that hardly anyone pays attention to, and how the game’s brought together agents from both factions at large events worldwide. Things that will not be discussed at this panel: triangles (lots and lots of them), creepy vans, and Pokemon GO. Seriously, the panelists would like to focus on Ingress, so no PoGo questions, please. Besides …
Pokemon GO Hawaii:8-9 p.m. Saturday, Panel Room 315. … you trainers who’ve taken the parts of the world where Niantic actually has servers up and running (for the most part, *crosses fingers*) by storm get a panel all to yourselves. Meet other players, wave a virtual banner for your team (Instinct! The other two teams who aren’t Instinct!), share your stories, and catch the occasional Rattata or Pidgey or Zubat that happens to wander into the area. Note: Panel will be called off if a 1,000+ CP Mewtwo suddenly spawns down the street. Just kidding; I doubt anything short of the usual “circumstances beyond our control” is going to be canceling this party.
Cosplay Contest:7:30-9 p.m. Saturday, Main Events. You know the drill by now: People show off their craftsmanship with fabulous costumes; the audience oohs and ahhs (and awwwws if the cosplayer happens to be a really cute child); prizes are awarded. And a good time is had by all.
Cardcaptor Sakura: A 20-Year Celebration:1:30-2 p.m. Sunday, Panel Room 312. You thought all the anime/manga panel ideas were exhausted at Kawaii Kon? You were wrong. The fact that this panel is covering one of CLAMP’s classic series makes it even more appealing.
There isn’t much time to explain why I’ve been away for so lo–
… OK, fine, so there’s that. But seriously, there isn’t much time to explain why I’ve be–
… yeah, OK, that too. But that’s really everything that’s been distracting me at the mo–
… umm, let’s just get to this month’s event calendar, shall we?
The Miyazaki Ghibli Film Festival: “But I thought we just had a Ghibli film festival in April!” you say. Ahh, but that one didn’t feature films being screened in the historic Hawaii Theatre. Nor did it feature a festival-exclusive Ghibli-themed T-shirt, a cosplay contest (2 p.m. Sunday), entertainment from the Drowning Dreamers Band (7-7:30 p.m. Friday) and Makkuro KurO.K. (7-7:30 p.m. Saturday), food vendors Pig & the Lady (Friday) and Onomono (Saturday and Sunday) or an Art+Flea-hosted room full of crafters, including friends of the blog Marisa and Carole Gee of Kawaii Mono, who’ll be selling all these Ghibli-themed charms at the event:
Related to that, Kawaii Mono is giving away a Miyazaki prize pack valued at $50; visit instagram.com/kawaiimono808 for details. (If you win, though, you’ll have to pick up your prize at the festival; keep that in mind before you enter.) Best of all, if you just want to skip the movies and enjoy the festivities, admission to that is free. You can visit the crafters in the theater’s Weyand Room from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Keiki Con: Central Oahu’s largest con-style event is back for a second year in Mililani Mauka, and it’s boasting quite a lineup of guests in the Artist Zone: Pineapple Man creator Sam Campos, Mana Comics creator Christopher Caravalho, Gordon Rider/Ara-Rangers/Edamame Ninjas creator Jon Murakami will all be there Members of Comic Jam Hawaii will be hosting a table with drawing activities (and they’ll be drawing as well!), and Headshot Heroes will be doing a live painting demo (when he’s not giving kids a chance to visit with Elmo, of course). Kawaii Kon/Comic Con Honolulu representatives will be on hand with ticket specials, and they’ll also be giving away two 3-day passes to CCH later this month. And no mini-con would be complete without a cosplay contest, taking place at 11:45 a.m. (and if you’re interested in participating in that, be sure to check in no later than 11:30 a.m.). Food booths, entertainment, and, of course, plenty of activities for the kids round out the event. Mililani Recreation Center 7 (95-1333 Lehiwa Dr.), 10 a.m.-3 p.m. July 9.
Hawaii Geek Meet: If it’s geeky, it’ll probably show up somewhere during this 9th-annual meet-up — cosplayers, a Quidditch team, the Last Outpost and the Pacific Outpost of the 501st Legion being among those who are planning to show up. Also notable: Just four days after the game overwhelmed Android and iOS networks nationwide, there’s already a Pokemon Go farming meetup planned. Geeks are super-efficient! Kapiolani Park, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.
Comic Con Honolulu: George Takei, original Star Trek actor and overseer of everything viral on the Internet, is the headliner at this, the next stop for Con-athon 2016. Other key guests from the 22-person lineup include Sean Astin, Sam Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy; John Barrowman, Capt. Jack Harkness in Torchwood and the Dark Archer in Arrow; Mythbuster Grant Imahara; Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicienza; and Kristin Bauer, currently starring as Maleficent in Once Upon A Time. Hawai’i Convention Center, Friday-Sunday, July 29-31.
One of the biggest burning questions of Con-athon 2016 — aside from “Can our otaku community really support six major conventions in one year?” and “Should I get the Cardcaptor Sakura Blu-ray box set or four Nendoroid figures?” — has been “What’s going on with Anime Matsuri Hawaii?”
Sure, there was the promise that they would be back this year, made — as these promises usually are — at the end of last November’s show. But while Kawaii Kon, Amazing Hawaii Comic Con, Comic Con Honolulu, HawaiiCon and Anime Ohana were announcing dates and/or fleshing out their guest lists, AMHI had … well, that promise, along with a few occasional “hi, this page is still being updated, at least!” types of updates on the Facebook fan page. And people were starting to wonder about what was going on. And wonder some more. And some more. And … well, let’s just say I broke out the popcorn (with mochi crunch and furikake!) for the most recent flare-up. I was getting a lot of behind-the-scenes, off-the-record buzz speculating on what was going on, but there really wasn’t anything formal.
That changed tonight, when AMHI co-chairman Deneice Leigh posted this statement:
In the interest of the restructuring and expansion of Anime Matsuri Houston, we have decided not to host Anime Matsuri Hawaii this year. This was an extremely difficult decision to make. However, with our anticipated growth and changes this year, it is necessary for us to give our full focus to the Houston show in order to provide our attendees with the best experience possible. We are incredibly grateful for the support and enthusiasm from our Hawaii fans and staff, and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience. John and I were honored to host our show in beautiful Honolulu, and we look forward to potentially returning in 2017.
As a thank you to everyone who has been with us, we are offering a 15% discount to Anime Matsuri Houston 2017. The discount code will be sent out to all who registered to AM Hawaii last year.
More historical perspective and analysis to come …