October has traditionally been the best month for local fans to catch top-notch anime on the big screen, what with the Hawaii International Film Festival bringing in some of the latest and best films (and in recent years, select classics from yesteryear).
This year, though? Looks like we’re going to have two months of big-screen anime awesomeness to look forward to: October … and right now, as film distributor Eleven Arts has quietly turned this month into a three-film anime feast.
We already knew that Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo was coming here, to the Ward Stadium complex on Oahu and the Kaahumanu 6 theaters on Maui on Saturday and next Tuesday, then to the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Doris Duke Theatre Jan. 29-31. (From what I understand, free tickets are still available for anyone with Kawaii Kon three-day passes from 2013 or who have preregistered for 2014; see this post for details.) We also knew that Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie was heading to the Kaahumanu 6 theaters on Jan. 22 and 25, seemingly skipping Oahu and getting me to casually contemplate whether I should fly out to see it.
I never did buy that plane ticket. Probably a good thing, too, because a quick check of the official movie site reveals that yes, Honolulu, you’ll be getting some Anohana love as well. Same days as Maui, too, albeit at different times: 7 p.m. on Wed., Jan. 22 and 2 p.m. on Sat., Jan. 25, both at the Ward Stadium complex. Tickets are $15 for each showing.
Madoka Magica: Rebellion is also returning to Oahu, too, for those of you who might have missed the screenings last month at the Doris Duke. That’s happening … right now, in fact, as the film is in the middle of a limited engagement at the Pearlridge West theaters. While the Rebellion website lists it as running through Jan. 16, I’ve only been able to confirm it through Thursday, so the sooner you catch it, the better. Showtimes are at 11:30 a.m. and 2:05, 4:40, 7:15 and 9:50 p.m.; tickets are at standard prices ($10.50 general, $8 matinee screenings before 4 p.m., $7.50 seniors 60 and older, $8 military with valid ID, $8.50 students with valid IDs, and I’m not even going to mention the “children ages 3-11” price here, because children that age shouldn’t be watching this movie anyway).
And then there’s Evangelion 3.0, the movie that’s starting to approach “if you want to see it in theaters, you probably will somehow” levels in terms of the number of screenings these next few weeks. A total of 35 screenings have been added, to be exact, at the Pearlridge West theaters starting Friday and running through the 16th. Showtimes are at 12:20, 2:45, 5:15, 7:45 and 10:05 p.m., and here’s your ticket link (ticket pricing structure is the same as Rebellion).
See you at the movies, folks. Indulge in some popcorn while you’re there, too. C’mon, you deserve it.
It’s been a while since tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. has raved to me about wanting to see any anime, so when she does, you bet I’m going to perk up and take notice.
In this particular case, it’s Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, an 11-episode series that aired in Japan in 2011 and is currently available for free on Crunchyroll. In the series, a girl’s death ends up being the wedge that drives a group of childhood friends apart, but her ghostly return — and her haunting of the group’s leader — could end up being the key to them coming to terms over the guilt they felt about that tragic day. And a flower is probably involved. (Hey, I only saw the first episode of Kill La Kill on Wednesday. I have a lot of anime series catching-up to do.)
A feature-length film retelling the story was released in Japan in August; a few months later, in November, Aniplex of America announced it would be bringing the film to U.S. theaters, with Eleven Arts distributing. If you remember my first post on Evangelion 3.0 a few weeks ago, your sixth sense should be tingling right about now, considering that I said that pretty much anything with Eleven Arts attached to it has shown up locally as of late.
Well, an Aniplex press release announcing that a theater list was now available rattled into my inbox this morning … and there’s good and bad news. The good news is that the Anohana movie is, indeed, coming to Hawaii. The bad news? As of now, if you’re reading this somewhere that isn’t Maui, it’s going to cost you, at a bare minimum, round-trip airfare, a round-trip cab ride and a ticket to see it. That’s because, for the first time that I can remember this happening in all my years on this beat, Anohana is skipping Honolulu entirely and screening exclusively at the Kaahumanu 6 theaters in Kahului.
So here’s the deal, Mauians: There will be two showings, one at 2 p.m. on Wed., Jan. 22, the other at 7 p.m. Sat., Jan. 25. Fandango ticket links are embedded in that last sentence; tickets cost $15 each. Ticketholders will have an opportunity to score cool gifts, including “Letters From Menma” replicas and movie posters. And in case you’re still on the fence, here, have a trailer.
For more information on the movie, visit www.AniplexUSA.com/anohanamovie. In the meantime, I’ll be sitting over here, alternating between being jealous of those of you on Maui and seriously contemplating whether I should hop over for a day and indulge in Komoda Store cream puffs, guri guri from the Tasaka shop, and pretty much everything Sam Sato’s in Wailuku serves up. That’s good eatin’.
Evangelion 3.0, update 3.0
While I was poking around on Fandango, I decided to check in on whether the Eva 3.0 screenings for the Kaahumanu 6 and Ward Stadium theaters finally materialized. And they have! Ticket links and prices are below. (Note: “Seniors” refers to anyone ages 60 and older; “children” refers to anyone ages 3-11.)
Those screenings are more than two weeks earlier than the Doris Duke Theatre screenings at the Honolulu Museum of Art that I’ve written about before, so if you’re really itching to see Eva 3.0 sooner rather than later, here’s your chance. If not, tickets are still available for all those screenings. As far as I know, tickets are also still available for the Kawaii Kon screening at 7:30 p.m. Thurs., Jan. 30, for free to those who have a three-day badge from 2013 or who already preregistered for 2014. Details for that offer are in this post.
Unless some major news breaks in the next few days, I expect this will be the last Ota-cool Incoming! update for 2013. It’s been a very fruitful year for the local anime/manga fan community … and the first few months of 2014 are already shaping up to be fun ones as well. So let’s get to it!
Honolulu Gift Fair: We already knew that Stacey Hayashi, author of the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team graphic novel Journey of Heroes, would be one of the vendors in attendance. Now comes word that she’ll have copies of the fresh-off-the-press second printing of the book as well. The new edition contains four additional pages — featuring letters from veterans and a list of donors to schools — and a redesigned cover. Well, okay, so the title bar just changed from red to blue, as you can see in the picture to the right. But hey, it’s something. Stacey will also have shirts featuring the chibis and buttons available for sale as well. Admission is free. Blaisdell Exhibition Hall; 3-9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
Aiea Library Anime Club: This month, librarian Diane Masaki is screening … well … something holiday-themed, that’s for sure. Could be polar bears. Could be something about three homeless friends and an abandoned baby. Just show up and act pleasantly surprised, okay? At the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail email@example.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.
MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists usually meets every second and fourth Sunday of the month at the Honolulu Museum of Art School (1111 Victoria St., room 200). Visit www.manga-bento.com. Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
New Year’s Ohana Festival: Kick off 2014 with the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii in an event guaranteed to be filled with food, games, entertainment, cultural activities and a Kawaii Kon booth, where preregistrations will be taken and Eva 3.0 tickets will be given away. At the center (2454 S. Beretania St.) and nearby Moiliili Field. Jan. 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Honolulu Festival: It’s the 20th anniversary edition of the festival promoting harmony between Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific region; the theme: “Jubilation, One Heart, One Pacific, One World.” Just as in previous years, Kawaii Kon will have an exhibit, and the Nagaoka Fireworks display will put a bow on the proceedings. Hawai’i Convention Center and other venues around Waikiki, March 7-9.
Kawaii Kon 2014: Guests for the 10th anniversary edition include voice actors Jim Cummings, Grey DeLisle, Ayumi Fujimura, Quinton Flynn, Richard Horvitz, Tetsuya Kakihara, Michael Sinterniklaas and Stephanie Sheh; professional cosplayer Leah Rose; and local comedian Augie T., serving as emcee. Preregistration open now; $37 for a three-day pass for children ages 5-12, $42 general admission. Hawai’i Convention Center, April 4-6.
Next time in Otaku Ohana
And there are a lot more pictures from where that came from, too.
The most intriguing mystery hovering over January’s screenings of Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo at the Doris Duke Theatre has been solved.
A brief recap: As I noted in my last post, online ticket sales for Eva 3.0 went on sale in the past few days, but with one notable gap — the screening scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30 (one of three to be in Japanese with English subtitles, one of five overall) had already sold out. To thicken the plot, when I posted a link to that post in my usual social media circles, I got a response from Brady Evans, who works at the Honolulu Museum of Art. He told me that the screening was sold out before he even posted the ticket page on the museum’s website.
Question is, who would buy out the entire theater like that? Industry staff, looking for a Hawaii vacation? Overeager fanboys, with their shrines to Asuka, Rei and Mari? Overeager fangirls, hoping for more story shreds to fuel their Shinji x Kaworu boys’ love fanfics? And were some combination of all those factions camped out in front of the theater box office, waiting for the second someone hung out an “ON SALE NOW” sign?
Turns out the explanation is a lot simpler: Kawaii Kon bought out that particular showing. And as their just-released December newsletter points out, they’re opening the doors and letting in any three-day badge holders from Kawaii Kon 2013 and/or already preregistered for the anime con’s 10th anniversary edition next year at no additional cost. (First come, first served, of course.) Here’s how attendees can claim their tickets:
Email KawaiiKon.Evangelion.firstname.lastname@example.org; include your full name and a picture/scan of your 2013 badge or 2014 registration confirmation.
Bring your ID and badge/confirmation to the theater on Jan. 30 — again, for the 7:30 p.m. screening only.
That’s it! Easy peasy. I should note that the Doris Duke Theatre has a listed seating capacity of 280, so you’ll want to get on that sooner rather than later.
Not registered yet for 2014? Current three-day pass rates are $52 general admission (ages 13 and up), $42 children ages 5-12. If you really want to splurge, VIP packages for singles and couples, including a three-night stay at the Ala Moana Hotel, T-shirts, special 1oth-anniversary lanyards and priority in seating and various queues, also remain available ($655 singles, $752 couples). There also will be opportunities to win tickets at the various Madoka Magica: Rebellion screenings later this month and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s Ohana Festival on Jan. 19.
It seems these days that if a theatrical screening that may be of interest to local anime fans has Eleven Arts attached to it, it’s a reasonably safe bet that it’ll be making its way to Hawaii eventually. That’s proven to be the case with features including The Mystical Laws, the Madoka Magica trilogyand the live-action Ryujin Mabuyer and Space Battleship Yamato.
The latest movie to follow this trend: Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo, the third of four films designed to sell more Asuka/Rei/Mari merchandise refresh the story of Neon Genesis Evangelion, perhaps this time with an ending that makes more sense and/or doesn’t leave Asuka to go crazy, Rei to get big and everyone to die. Here’s the official synopsis to recap where we are in the saga:
Fourteen years after the third impact, Shinji awakens to a world he does not recognize and his body has not aged a single day. Earth lies in ruins and those he once fought valiantly to protect have cruelly turned against him. Nerv is nothing but a distant memory. Trapped in a harrowing cycle of death and rebirth, Shinji continues to courageously battle the angels—even as the world spirals down towards what could be a tragic end.
After a brief, two-screening run at the Hawaii International Film Festival in October, Eva 3.0 is back for more, beginning with a three-day run at the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Doris Duke Theatre next month. Tickets for that Jan. 29-31 engagement recently went on sale, in fact.
… aaaaaaaand the screening at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30 promptly sold out.
It’s definitely a downer for people who wanted to see this movie in Japanese with English subtitles and can only see movies on weekday evenings, to be sure. The only other subtitled screenings are at 1 p.m. Jan. 30 and 31, while both screenings on Jan. 29 — at 1 and 7:30 p.m. — will introduce the English dubbed version to Hawaii audiences. Perhaps it isn’t an optimal situation for fans who prefer their anime subbed, but, well, it is what it is. Tickets are $12 general admission ($10 art museum members) and can be purchased at ow.ly/rGTnn.
If you can’t make any of those screenings, don’t despair just yet: There are screenings planned for Consolidated’s Ward Stadium 16 theaters and, for those of you who may be reading this blog on Maui, Consolidated’s Kaahumanu 6 theaters in Kahului. Those times and dates have yet to be determined, so just sit tight.
While we’re talking about movie screenings, there are still tickets remaining for all screenings of Madoka Magica: Rebellion, in both three-film marathon and single-film servings, at the Doris Duke Theatre. For Madoka fans who may still be on the fence, there’s a little more incentive to lure you out: There will be drawings for replica shikishi, or autograph boards, with artwork from character designer Ume Aoki at every screening. You can get a closer look at some of the designs — and marvel at how much people are willing to pay for what are supposed to be giveaway items! — on this eBay page.
Let’s get the lead item out of the way: The Wind Rises, one of the Hawaii International Film Festival’s showcase Opening Night films and the Studio Ghibli production that is purportedly Hayao Miyazaki’s filmmaking swan song, is sold out online.
That’s not to say that you’re completely out of luck. It remains to be seen how many “rush,” or standby, tickets will be available, or whether there will be any encore screenings later in the festival. There’s also the prospect of sometime around next February, when Disney — picking up Ghibli film distribution again after letting From Up on Poppy Hill go to GKids — will likely send the film to theaters in wide release. (Just, y’know, prepare yourself for the two leads, Jiro and Naoko, to be played by the young stars or relatives of stars from current Disney Channel programming, like Noah Cyrus and Frankie Jonas in Ponyo or Bridgit Mendler in The Secret World of Arrietty.)
But Wind Rises aside, there are other films to keep local otaku happy, some with anime/manga roots, others that just seem … interesting. Here’s what’s on my list of highlights. Tickets are still available for all of these; hiff.org has information on how you can pick them up, whether online or in person. Unless otherwise noted, all films will be screening at the Regal Theatres Dole Cannery 18 complex:
Animation Maestro Gisaburo: Gisaburo Sugii has worked in the anime industry for longer than many (if not all) of you reading this have been alive. Consider this: He was an in-between animator for Hakujaden. Hakujaden, which was released in Japan in 1958, was the first Japanese feature-length animated film in color. And when Globe Pictures localized it as Panda and the Magic Serpent in 1961, it became the first anime to be screened for American audiences.
So yeah, he’s been around for a long time. He’s had a hand in directing installments in a number of notable franchises over the years, including Captain Tsubasa, Lupin III, Glass Mask, Street Fighter II and Touch. His latest movie, Guskou Budori no Denki, was released in Japan in July 2012. And this movie chronicles all of his career highlights.If that doesn’t make for a fascinating documentary, I don’t know what does. (Pair it with Night on the Galactic Railroad for the optimal Gisaburo weekend experience.) Screening Oct. 20 at 4 p.m.
Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo: Shinji, NERV and the Angels are back in the third of director Hideaki Anno’s planned quadrology, and they’re doing what they do best: giving fans reasons to buy more variations of Rei, Asuka and Makinami toy figuresfueling another round of Shinji x Kaworu yaoi fanfics bringing us one step closer to finding out if this version of Evangelion will give fans the definitive ending they’ve been looking for since 1996. Looking at HIFF’s promo images and this line of the synopsis:
Trapped in a harrowing cycle of death and rebirth, Shinji continues to courageously battle the angels, even as the world hurtles towards what could ultimately be its tragic end.
… it looks like we’re firmly in original-canon Evangelion: Death and Rebirth territory. You know, the movie that a Newtype USA reviewer once summarized as “Asuka goes crazy, Rei gets big, everyone dies.” And there’s still one more movie to go! Monday at 9 p.m. and Oct. 20 at 1:45 p.m.
The God of Ramen: Stick a steaming-hot bowl of freshly made ramen in front of tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J., and she is one happy gal. Stick a Japanese documentary about food in front of me — see Jiro Dreams of Sushi — and I’m definitely up for seeing it. So a film about a longtime ramen shop owner which plays out, as HIFF’s synopsis says, “like a 90-minute episode of Soko Ga Shiritai“? Yeah, we’re in for that. (It also helps that our schedules are such that we can actually clear time to watch it.)
I’ve also included this film in this guide because it’s the only one that’s screening for our neighbor island friends on Kauai and Hawaii island. (Yes, Parv, I saw your lament in the Ota-cool! October part 1 comments. I feel your pain.) Tuesday at 6:15 p.m., Oct. 17 at 1 p.m. at Consolidated Koko Marina, Oct. 19 at 5 p.m., Oct. 26 at 11:30 a.m. at Waimea (Kauai) Theater and Oct. 28 at 5 p.m. at Palace Theater in Hilo.
Harlock: Space Pirate: When director Shinji Aramaki (Appleseed, “The Package” in Halo Legends) was a guest at Kawaii Kon in 2010, he screened some super-spiffy CGI footage of this movie. Three years later, we’re finally getting to see his take on Leiji Matsumoto’s iconic intergalactic pirate and crew and their quest, aboard the battlecruiser Arcadia, to restore humans’ rightful place on Earth. But will he be able to overcome the corrupt Gaia Coalition standing in his way? Friday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at 8 p.m.
Hentai Kamen: Forbidden Superhero: It’s been about 10 years since I first began writing about anime and manga for what was then the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. I’ve seen a lot of weird things in Japanese live-action movies along the way —killer sushi, murderous baseball teams, giant wrestling cephalopods, a Lolita and a biker befriending each other, Hibari Misora appearing in a musical about a tanuki princess 16 years after her death, mecha-geisha assassins, stuff like that. And yet, taking all of that into account, here I am, marveling over how I never thought I’d ever be writing something about a sadomasochistic superhero who wears women’s panties as a mask and thong suspenders as a costume. Yup, this is Hentai Kamen. It’s based on a six-volume manga by Keishu Ando, published by Shueisha in Weekly Shonen Jump(!) in 1992-93, never formally translated for U.S. audiences (probably for very good reasons). Just … hide the children. Oct. 19 at 9:30 p.m. and Oct. 20 at 4:30 p.m.
Night on the Galactic Railroad: Back in 2001, Central Park Media released this 1985 Gisaburo Sugii-directed film on DVD. You probably missed it, because, well, if CPM stuff actually sold at retail in the early 2000s, they’d probably still be around today. Besides, CPM stuff didn’t exactly have visual pop sitting on retail shelves — have a look at that cover at right for proof. I certainly missed out on it. Which is too bad, because the concept behind it — boy with a fractured family life and a tough social life is invited to come aboard a universe-traversing train — certainly sounds interesting. Almost Galaxy Express 999-ish, if you will, just without Maetel. The film has a fresh remastering sheen to it, too, so if anything, it’ll probably look better than that DVD release. Oct. 19 at 1 p.m.
Nuiglumar Z (Gothic Lolita Battle Bear):I’ve repeatedly said in my HIFF mini-previews that it takes a lot for a movie from Noboru Iguchi — the man responsible for those killer sushi and mecha-geisha assassins I alluded to above — to be upstaged in my pantheon of what-the-heck-ery. Yet Hentai Kamen managed to do just that this year. Still, a movie about a gothic Lolita superhero — played by cosplay/singing idol/blogger Shoko “Shokotan” Nakagawa — battling hordes of zombies with her teddy bear is still a pretty wacky concept, even if it doesn’t seem to reach the pulp-fiction heights of Iguchi’s previous works on the surface. Oct. 18 at 9:30 p.m., and Oct. 19 at 9 p.m. at Consolidated Koko Marina.
Rurouni Kenshin: The anime and manga versions of Nobuhiro Watsuki’s story of a former assassin-turned wandering protector is fairly well-known among longtime fans. And if you loved those, you’re probably going to head out to see this regardless of what I say about it, just for the sheer curiosity factor to see how well Takeru Sato and Emi Takei pull off Kenshin and Kaoru. So here’s my Rurouni Kenshin story: Whenever I think of the anime, the Judy & Mary song “Sobakasu” always pops to mind, mostly because I learned of its existence after the Tiggy song “Freckles,” part of the DDR MAX soundtrack. “Sobakasu,” as I learned, translates into “freckles.” The translated lyrics of the former are quite different from the English lyrics of the latter, though. Saturday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at noon.