‘Kaguya’ is a go for Kahala

First of all, I’d like to humbly thank all of you who offered condolences here, on Facebook and in person for my grandma’s recent passing. Truth be told, the only reason I haven’t picked up blogging again until now isn’t because I’ve been in mourning ever since the funeral last Wednesday, but because I’ve been gradually sinking deeper into the depths of what’s turned out to be one gollywhomper of a cold. I’ll probably be flopping into bed and chatting with friends on my iPad until I pass out in a fever-ridden blob after I finish this post.

kaguyaSo while there’s a lot of news to discuss that I haven’t gotten around to discussing here yet, I’ll just quickly address the most pressing item at the moment in what’ll probably be one of the shortest news posts in Otaku Ohana history. Here we go:

Remember The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, the latest film from Studio Ghibli to be translated for American audiences? The one that I said in my last post was opening on Friday at Consolidated’s Kahala 8 theaters?

Well, tickets are on sale now. Available showtimes run through Tuesday. There are English-subbed and dubbed screenings, too, yay! (The daytime screenings are dubbed; while evening screenings are subbed.)

The premiere’s been pushed up a day, too, so if you want to go see the English-subbed version at 7 p.m. Thursday, you can now do that. Want to do a cross-town double feature on Saturday with The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, the Studio Ghibli documentary screening at the Dole Cannery theaters as part of the Hawaii International Film Festival at 2:45 p.m. Saturday? You can do that with Kaguya’s evening screenings on Saturday, too.

Oh, yes, and here’s a trailer that shows off the film’s rather distinct animation style.

See you at the movies … hopefully when I heal up from this cold.

‘Kikaider’ reloads; ‘Kaguya’ comes in

kikaider reloadedIt seems a bit gauche for me to be going into full chatty blogger mode when there’s a tropical storm/likely Category 1 hurricane bearing down on our island home and something else I’ll talk about in a moment, so here are the highlights from what was supposed to be “Otaku Film Feast-ival Part 2.”

>> Kikaider Reboot had its run on Oahu extended; the movie will now be screening at Consolidated’s Kahala 8 theaters for a week starting Friday. Of course, the schedule is likely to change in case Kahala Mall decides to close in advance of Ana, but for now here are Fandango’s listed showtimes.

>> On Tuesday, film distributor GKIDS revealed that Studio Ghibli’s latest film to be translated for U.S. audiences, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, will be opening for a limited engagement at the Kahala 8 starting Oct. 31. Exact showtimes have yet to be posted, but I’ll update you on that whenever I’m able.

And now, a quick housekeeping note: This post is dedicated to the memory of my grandma, Virginia Yadao, who died Tuesday night at the age of 88. (To answer the likely follow-up question: I’m doing fine now, probably because I’ve had many other things on my mind, but I’m definitely bringing a pile of tissues to the funeral next week.) I’m going to be taking a few days off from blogging, but I hope to be back to write about the films of interest to otaku at the Hawaii International Film Festival by late next week. In case I take longer than that to return, here’s the list of films I’m keeping an eye on so you can buy your tickets now:

Stay safe until then, folks.

More “Wind” and a quick “Peace”

 

THE WIND RISES. © 2013 Nibariki - GNDHDDTKTrying to figure out what’s going on with the upcoming screening schedule for The Wind Rises, Hayao Miyazaki’s final film expanding into more theaters on Friday, could be a fitting metaphor for the movie itself: There’s a certainly a thing of beauty in there, but trying to find it may take repeat viewings. Fandango sorts Consolidated theater listings into ill-defined “VIP Room” and “Five-Star Lounge” categories, some screenings listed on Fandango aren’t reflected on Consolidated’s site, and Regal’s Windward Stadium listing actually changed completely between Tuesday and Wednesday … and remains incomplete, to boot.

It took a fair amount of staring — this post has been in the works for three days now! — but I think I finally have a handle on the schedule. As I noted in my last post, the film’s expanding to more theaters starting Friday. Three of those — Consolidated’s Pearlridge and Kahala complexes on Oahu and the Kaahumanu complex on Maui — will be joining Consolidated Ward in offering both the subtitled and English-dubbed versions. Consolidated’s Mililani and Kapolei theaters (and as far as I know, the Regal Windward and Dole Cannery theaters) will be showing the dub exclusively.

As for that whole “VIP Room” and “Five-Star Lounge” thing on Fandango? It seems like the “room” listings match up with the subbed screenings, while the “lounge” listings match up with the dubbed screenings. Weird, I know, especially considering “English dubbed” and “English subtitles” headers are on the Consolidated Ward listings, but it is what it is.

Without further ado, here are your local screenings, for the most part starting Friday and running through Thursday, March 6:

The Wind Rises promotional poster (courtesy Disney)Consolidated Ward: Sub 1:10, 7:30 and 10:25 p.m. daily; dub 10:45 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. daily

Consolidated Mililani (dub only): Friday-Sunday 11:05 a.m. and 1:50, 7:30 and 10:15 p.m.; Friday 4:35 p.m; Monday-Thursday 12:45, 3:40, 7 and 9:45 p.m. (4:35 p.m. Saturday/Sunday listings on Fandango are not available.)

Consolidated Pearlridge: Sub Friday-Sunday 4:50 and 10:20 p.m., Monday-Thursday 4:35 and 10 p.m.; dub Friday-Sunday 11:20 a.m. and 2:05 and 7:35 p.m., Monday-Thursday 11:15 a.m. and 1:55 and 7:20 p.m.

Consolidated Kapolei (dub only): 11:30 a.m. and 2:10, 4:50, 7:30 and 10:10 p.m. daily

Consolidated Kahala: Sub 4:15 p.m. daily, Friday and Saturday 9:45 p.m.; dub 1:30 and 7 p.m. daily, Friday-Sunday 10:45 a.m.

Consolidated Kaahumanu (Maui): Sub 11:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. daily; dub 10:45 a.m. and 1:30, 4:15, 7 and 9:45 p.m. daily

Regal Windward Stadium: Friday-Sunday 1, 4:10,  7:20 and 10:20 p.m.

Regal Dole Cannery: Friday-Sunday 11 a.m. and 1:50, 4:40, 7:30 and 10:20 p.m.; Monday-Wednesday 12:40, 3:50, 7:15 and 10:20 p.m.

If you’re curious as to how the English dub turned out, the Wall Street Journal’s “Speakeasy” blog posted an exclusive clip.

That would be the end of today’s cinematic anime update if not for the fact that another feature quietly showed up on the schedule. Short Peace from Katsuhiro Otomo (the man behind Akira and Steamboy) is actually a package of four short films:

  • In the 2013 Oscar-nominated short “Possessions (Tsukumo),” a lone traveler meets some unusual spirits at an abandoned shrine.
  • In “Gambo,” a mysterious white bear protects the royal family from an advancing demon. Featuring character designs from Evangelion designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto.
  • In “Combustible (Hi-no-Youjin),” love, honor and firefighting come together in a tale from ancient Japan.
  • “A Farewell to Weapons” features men battling robotic tanks in apocalyptic Tokyo.

Sound interesting? You’ll have all of one shot to see it in a theater (as long as that theater is at Consolidated Ward or Kaahumanu), on Monday at 7 p.m. Prices are standard non-matinee rates. Here’s the Ward ticket link; here’s the Kaahumanu ticket link. If you miss that, the shorts will be available exclusively on the PlayStation Network later this year.

For more on Short Peace, visit shortpeace-movie.com.

 

 

‘The Wind Rises’ tickets go on sale

The Wind Rises promotional poster (courtesy Disney)I was shuffling between the Mililani Town Center gazebo and a Jamba Juice store on Monday — why, exactly, is not really important to this discussion (*cough*takingoverIngressportals*cough*) — when I spotted something in the window of the Mililani Stadium 14 theaters that I’ve been waiting to see for a while now.

There was a poster for The Wind Rises, director Hayao Miyazaki’s feature film swan song (or maybe not, who knows) and Oscar-nominated animated historical drama about airplane designer Jiro Horikoshi.

And a sign underneath: “ADVANCE TICKETS NOW ON SALE.”

Indeed, for those of you who like preparing ahead for such things, tickets are now available on Fandango for screenings starting Friday, Feb. 21, at least through Sunday, March 2, at most theaters. The bulk of the screenings available are for Feb. 21-27 at the Consolidated Ward Stadium complex, but shows are also available Feb. 28-March 2 at the aforementioned Mililani theaters as well as Consolidated’s Pearlridge West and Kahala 8 theaters and the Regal Dole Cannery 18 complex. Consolidated’s Kaahumanu 6 theaters in Kahului have tickets available for Feb. 28-March 6.

For the first week, at least, the Ward theaters will be switching between the English-subtitled and dubbed versions, so for those of you who don’t care about Joseph Gordon-Leavitt’s take on Jiro and would much rather prefer to hear the voice of Evangelion director Hideaki Anno in the role, you’ll have the option to watch that version. Catch the dubbed version at 10:45 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. or the subbed version at 1:40, 7:30 and 10:25 p.m. daily through Feb. 27.

It’s unknown as of now whether the subtitled version will make an appearance at the other theaters, but here’s the rundown of screenings available. Unless otherwise noted, the times shown cover the weekend of Feb. 28 only:

Mililani: 11:05 a.m. and 1:50, 4:40, 7:30 and 10:15 p.m.
Pearlridge: 11:15 a.m. and 2, 4:45, 7:30 and 10:15 p.m.
Dole (Feb. 28 only for now): 11 a.m. and 1:50, 4:40, 7:30 and 10:20 p.m.
Kahala: 10:45 a.m. and 1:30, 4:15 and 7 p.m. (9:45 p.m. showing on Feb. 28 and March 1 only)
Kaahumanu: 10:45 a.m. and 1:30, 4:15, 7 and 9:45 p.m. (Feb. 28-March 6)

Here’s the official trailer to get you ready to see it, where not a single word is spoken. See you at the theater.

Fire prevention a la Ghibli

About a month and a half ago — Sept. 7, to be exact — a bunch of artists gathered on the Civic Center grounds during the First Responders Fair to paint art boards for Fire Prevention Month, using the theme of “Prevent Kitchen Fires.” One of those artist groups was MangaBento, the anime- and manga-inspired young artist group featured regularly in this space.

Those boards have been up at Oahu’s fire stations this month. Probably will be up for a few more days, at that. And where did MangaBento’s board end up? At the corner of Leoole and Leonui streets in Waipahu, sitting near what’s formally known as Honolulu Fire Department Station 12, you’ll find … this.

Waipahu Fire Station

And here’s the board close up.

ghibli closeup

The Totoro cast plus Howl’s Moving Castle‘s Calcifer, advocating fire prevention? Yeah, that’s a message I can get behind.

Ota-cool! October, part 2: The “Wind Rises”-less guide to HIFF

"The Wind Rises" may be sold out, but this part of the post looked a bit gray without a picture here, so here you go.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.

The cover to Dark Horse's "Evangelion: Shinji Ikari Raising Project" vol. 1. Also an accurate visual portrayal of the popularity of Eva characters.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 figures fueling 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-galactic-railroad-2Night 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.

Aloha, Toys N Joys (and other Ota-cool calendar additions)

toys n joys aiea

It took a few weeks for me to confirm the news, but now that all the players have been properly notified and the signs printed, I can now type this with authority: Both Toys N Joys stores — the store in Kaimuki, as I noted in the September Ota-cool Incoming! calendar, and the Aiea store, at 98-150 Kaonohi St. in the Westridge Shopping Center — will be closing on Sept. 23.

The Aiea store hasn’t been around as long as the Kaimuki store — 25 years compared to Kaimuki’s 30 — and it only had a fraction of the selection, but it’s always held a closer, more cherished spot in my heart. Part of it is because it’s physically closer to where I’ve lived all my life (central Oahu represent!). But it’s mostly because back in the days before one-click Internet shopping and a GameStop in every large neighborhood, it was the place to go to feed a budding local otaku’s ever-growing hunger for video games (both domestic and import) and anime collectibles. There’s a clerk there, Steve, who’s also been there for what’s seemed like forever. I don’t think he’s been there all 25 years — kinda hard to remember who was behind the counter when you’re 11 or 12, which is how old I would’ve been when the store opened — but it’s most assuredly been a long time. Friendly smile, always chats with me whenever I come in … great guy to know, really. I wish him and the other staffers nothing but the best in their future endeavors.

Here’s the current Aiea clearance sale breakdown:

  • All toys 25 percent off (plushies 50 percent off)
  • All video games 10 percent off
  • All DVDs 15 percent off
  • All Airsoft guns 20 percent off
  • All replica swords 25 percent off

There’s a good chance that the percentages will go higher the closer we get to closing day, so if you want to gamble on your preferred item of choice still being around for an extended period of time, it’s your call. You aren’t going to find anything super popular — it doesn’t seem like the merchandise mix has been updated for several months — but hey, you can think of it as your last chance to have a vintage otaku treasure hunt of sorts.

After the jump: some additional notes on events in September and October that have hit my radar after I published that Ota-cool calendar.

Continue reading “Aloha, Toys N Joys (and other Ota-cool calendar additions)”