The weekend of WOW! has arrived

There are times when one wishes human cloning could be a reality outside of science fiction.

This weekend would be one of those times for me. For some inexplicable reason, Sunday in particular has become one of the busiest, non-convention-related days I’ve seen in quite some time. Saturday has some pretty cool stuff, too, which could be impacted by presidential travel closing key routes to people trying to go places.

There’s quite a bit to get to, so let’s get to the rundown!

Saturday

Stan Sakai visits McCully-Moiliili Library:  Fresh off an appearance at Maui Comic Con, the kamaaina creator of rabbit ronin Usagi Yojimbo will be giving a talk at 10:30 a.m., signing autographs ($5 for up to three signatures) and doing quick sketches ($5 each) in a benefit for the library. Collector Maniacs will also have four rare Usagi Yojimbo individually numbered, hardcover collections for sale for $125 each: “Fox Hunt” (vol, 25, no. 202 of 350), “Traitors of the Earth” (vol. 26, 94 of 350), “A Town Called Hell” (vol. 27, 136 of 350) and “Red Scorpion” (vol. 28, 109 of 350). Also, see those Usagi dolls at the top of this post? You can enter to win one of those. The library is at 2211 S. King St.; arrive early to grab some parking.

Artists’ corner: Cacy & Kiara / Highball & Pepe author Roy Chang will be selling things at the Aiea High School PTSO Craft Fair from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the high school at 98-1276 Ulune St. Marisa and Carole Gee of Kawaii Mono will be selling their jewelry on the Uptown side of Pearlridge Center from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Sunday

anime day 4.0Anime Day 4.0: Kawaii Kon’s mini-con experience is back for a fourth year (and its second at the Shirokiya Japan Village Walk complex at Ala Moana Center). Trivia master extraordinaire Remy Zane will be presiding over a number of games and activities, including a cosplay contest. Comic Jam Hawaii will host the art wall, where anyone can pick up a pen and sketch whatever they want (within acceptable family-friendly parameters, of course). A bunch of artists and crafters (including Jon Murakami and Kawaii Mono!) will be selling their wares as well. Take advantage of Kawaii Kon’s preregistration special and pick up a three-day pass for next year’s con for $55, too! 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

toyfair nov17

Hawaii Toy Fair: If you’re looking for some rare, hard-to-find collectible or just want to stare slack-jawed at just how many Funko Pop figures have been produced over the past few years, this event, packed with more than 50 dealers, can probably help you out. Special guests include Marvel and DC artist Mark Texeira and Game of Thrones storyboard artist Mog Park. Ala Moana Hotel, Hibiscus Ballroom. Admission is $3, but children 5 and under, as well as all cosplayers, can get in free. Visit hawaiitoyfair.com8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Japanese voice actors visit Waikiki Yokocho: This is one of the more surprising events to come down the pipe in some time, so here’s the deal: Voice actors Ryo Horikawa (Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z, Andromeda Shun in Saint Seiya, Heiji Hattori in Detective Conan/Case Closed) and Takumi Kamada (Frederick Ando in Ame-iro Cocoa Series: Ame-Con!!, currently streaming on Crunchyroll) will join musician Kaoru Kondou for a special event at Waikiki Yokocho, the Japanese food alley in the basement of the Waikiki Shopping Plaza (2250 Kalakaua Ave.). The common thread between the three: All of them worked on an anime series about a coffee shop called Rainy Cocoa, which, in its third season, featured a branch opening in Hawaii. So there you go. They’ll be doing a talk show, an autograph session and a mini concert starting at 1 p.m. You can get full details about the event from this flyer.

pikachu movie

Movie screenings: Fathom Events’ first showing of Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You!, a retelling of the origin stories of Ash and Pikachu, and the Hawaii International Film Festival’s first showing of Napping Princess, where a girl’s mysterious dream world is the key to saving her father after he’s arrested for stealing technological secrets, will be at 12:55 and 2:30 p.m., respectively, at the Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 complex.

Ota-cool incoming: November rain, cinematic reign

After the flurry of activities that was Con-athon 2015 — five straight weekends between September and October, five convention or convention-like festivals — you’d think we’d be getting a breather with the holidays approaching.

You’d be wrong. Ohhhhhhh so very wrong.

From the beginning of this month’s free-movie roster at Kahua Cafe through Anime Matsuri Hawaii at the end of this month, this has become yet another “want something to do THIS week? Here ya go!” month in an endless parade of such months. This edition of the Ota-cool Incoming calendar starts off with a roundup of all the movies screening in the next few weeks, starting with …

Ponyo

Wednesday Family Nights at Kahua Cafe: All this month, Kahua Cafe will be screening Hayao Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli favorites. It’s a family-friendly event, so the movies will be the English-dubbed versions, and they’ll be screening from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The lineup:

  • Wednesday: Kiki’s Delivery Service
  • Nov. 11: Ponyo
  • Nov. 18: Spirited Away
  • Nov. 25: Howl’s Moving Castle

Kahua Cafe is in the back of Na Mea/Native Books Hawaii, on the first floor of Ward Warehouse below The Old Spaghetti Factory. They have a pretty yummy-looking menu, too. Questions? Hit them up on their Facebook event page (they were prompt in answering my questions!) or call 990-0384.

(And if that photo above looks familiar, you have a very good memory.)

Anthem of the Heart: There’s one more screening of this tale from the Anohana creative team of a girl with words sealed away in her heart: noon Saturday at the Consolidated Ward Stadium 16 theaters. Here’s a trailer.

I already mentioned this in my last post, but since then a new review has popped up on Fandom Post. Spoiler alert: It gets an A+. A home video release can’t arrive soon enough for me.

GitS

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie: Not to be confused with Ghost in the Shell: The Original Movie, Ghost in the Shell 2: The Kinda Confusing Sequel to the Original Movie, or Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society: And This One’s Based on the TV Seriesthis particular installment follows up on the events of the four-part Arise OAV. The prime minister of Japan is dead, the Fire-Starter virus continues to infect Ghosts, and Major Motoko Kusanagi and the members of Section 9 must untangle the complex web of government corruptions and shadowy figures to figure out what’s going on.

Here, have another trailer.

The movie has a limited run at the Consolidated Ward theaters before moving to the Honolulu Museum of Art for nine, count ’em, nine screenings. Your showtimes:

  • Consolidated Ward Stadium 16: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10, 11 and 16
  • Doris Duke Theater (Honolulu Museum of Art): 4 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15, 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21, 1 p.m. Nov. 22, 1 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 27

Tickets are available on Fandango for Ward ($12.25 general, $9 seniors, $8.75 children) and the art museum website ($10 general admission, $8 museum members) for the Doris Duke screenings.

boy and beast

Hawaii International Film Festival: There’s only one anime in this year’s HIFF Fall Showcase (Nov. 12-22). Fortunately, it’s the latest project from one of the best creators still around since Studio Ghibli went dormant: Mamoru Hosoda, director of the great The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, the sublime Summer Wars and the sounds-great-but-it’s-still-on-my-pile-of-things-to-watch Wolf Children. His latest movie, The Boy and the Beastfeatures loner Kyuta (side note: I seem to be writing a lot of synopses these days where the main character is described as a loner of some sort, aren’t I?) embarking on an adventure-filled journey with Kumatetsu, a supernatural beast also isolated in an imaginary world.

Third trailer time!

The Boy and the Beast screens at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 21 and 5 p.m. Nov. 22, with both screenings at the Regal Dole Cannery theaters.

Also, for those of you who enjoyed Journey of Heroes, the comic book recounting the achievements of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and 100th Infantry Battalion with chibi characters, author Stacey Hayashi has a pair of projects screening as part of this year’s “Made in Hawaii Shorts” roundup: “The Surrender Call,” based on Military Intelligence Service linguist Herbert Yanamura’s actions to save civilians during the bloody Battle of Okinawa, and “The Herbert Yanamura Story,” in which he shares his story and reunites with someone whom he saved from that battle nearly 70 years later. “Made in Hawaii Shorts” screens at 5:45 p.m. Nov. 16 and 10:45 a.m. Nov. 21 at the Dole Cannery theaters, and 3 p.m. Nov. 22 at the Consolidated Koko Marina theaters. If anyone reads this blog on Kauai, you guys can see these shorts, too, at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 21 at the Waimea Theatre.

HIFF tickets are $14 general, $12 students, seniors and military members. Memberships are also available for those of you who really love your movies. Visit hiff.org.

Elsewhere around town

“Short Story: Drawings by Brady Evans”: I’ve been covering the work of Brady Evans for quite a while now, from his days winning MangaBento art contests to starting art groups to curating an exhibit about manga in Hawaii to buying pretty artwork by him on display in art shows downtown, and probably a whole bunch of other things in between. Now Brady’s going to have an exhibit of his drawings on display at my alma mater, Punahou School, and I’m thrilled not only because I get to swing by there and see his work, but also because I can stop by the lily pond near Thurston Chapel. Fishies! Turtles! The occasional confused duck! I usually only plan on visiting once a year during the school’s annual malasada fundraiser for scholarships — you know, the Punahou Carnival — so this is a bonus visit for me. Kirsch Gallery (next to Cooke Library); opening reception 3:30-6 p.m. Thursday, exhibit on display through Nov. 19 (gallery hours 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays). Call 943-3247.

keiki con

Keiki Con: KYAAAAAAAAH IT’S ANOTHER CONVENTION-TYPE EVENT IN THE HANDY PETITE SIZE *runs away*

… just kidding. I’m just feeling guilty that I have yet to do any write-ups for the events that were part of that five-week Con-athon 2015 I mentioned earlier in this post. This event up in Central Oahu seems like it’s going to be a really fun time for keiki of all ages, with food trucks, games, various activities, a cosplay contest (register by 1 p.m. the day of the event); the Hawaii Game Truck; and an Artist Zone featuring make-and-take activities and Pineapple Man artist Sam Campos, Gordon Rider/Ara-Rangers/Edamame Ninjas/Star-Advertiser “Calabash” artist Jon Murakami, and Aumakua: Guardians of Hawaii artist Christopher Caravalho. Kawaii Kon will be on hand to give away free three-day passes (update 11/6, 5:30 p.m.: a pass will be awarded to the winner of the cosplay contest), too. Mililani Recreation Center 7 (take the H-2 Freeway to the Mililani Mauka exit, then shoot pretty much close to the top of Meheula Parkway; it’s at 95-1333 Lehiwa Drive, for you GPS types), 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Comic Jam Hawaii: It’s the holiday season, which means this group of collaborative cartoon artists, ousted by preparations for Santa Claus and giant holiday trains at Pearlridge, is hitting the road this month. They’ll be at Aiea Library — home of the monthly Polar Bear Cafe & Friends Anime Club and the Face of Hawaii Ingress ™ — on Saturday and Nov. 21, from 1 to 4 p.m. The library is at 99-374 Pohai Place … and have I mentioned there’s still plenty of parking? What’s that? I mention that every time I mention there’s something at Aiea Library? Well, then. Call 483-7333.

Springing forth with HIFF and anime

HIFF_HKU_logo_BLUEHaving covered the Hawaii International Film Festival in both its spring and autumn incarnations for a number of years now, I can pretty much recite the mantra by heart: There’s always something for fans of anime and anime-related films to love at HIFF.

Now usually, when a fresh film schedule is released, I take a few minutes to scan through it, note everything that might be of interest to you, dear Otaku Ohana readers, then research them and post a handy-dandy guide to what’s available. This year’s Spring Showcase, running April 4-10, is a little different: HIFF Programming Director Anderson Le emailed me with a list of two films worth highlighting — Ghost in the Shell: Arise — Border 1 & 2 and Blue Bustamanteas well as a ticket discount code, which we’ll get to in a little bit.

Shorewood Blu-ray OcardLet’s tackle the obvious choice first. Ghost in the Shell: Arise is the latest in a long line of adventures for Motoko Kusunagi, with this OAV series serving as a prequel to her later exploits and chronicling the beginning of her career with Public Security Section 9. Border 1 & 2 comprise the first two parts of the four-part series. Funimation licensed the series last year; these two episodes are actually available on what they’re calling the “Japanese Blu-ray Collector’s Edition,” each episode available with a slew of special features and retailing for … brace yourself … $69.98 each. Sure, discounts are available at the usual Internet retail sites, and a cheaper release is coming sometime later this year, but let’s face it: A HIFF ticket will probably be the cheapest way you’ll be able to legally watch this for now. Plus you get it on the big screen! Ghost in the Shell: Arise will screen in Japanese with English subtitles at 9 p.m. Thurs., April 10, at the Regal Dole Cannery theaters.

Blue Bustamante, by contrast, is probably not something I would have picked up on first glance, being a film from the Philippines. A closer look at the plot, though, has Japanese culture at its core: George Bustamante and his family move from the Philippines to Japan hoping it’ll improve their lives, but when he gets fired from his job, he’s forced to take a job as a stuntman in a tokusatsu (live-action superhero) series … and he has to hide his new job from his family to save face, to boot. The film will screen in Tagalog with English subtitles at 6 p.m. Sun., April 6 (perhaps something to see to cap off your weekend at Kawaii Kon?) and 4 p.m. Mon., April 7, also at the Dole theaters.

Tickets are usually $12 each, but as I mentioned earlier, Anderson also sent along a ticket discount code for your online purchasing convenience. Use the code “SPRING2014” at checkout, and you can get your tickets for these shows (or anything screening at the Dole theaters, I believe) for $8 each. Better hurry and use that, though … it expires at midnight April 4.

For more information on the HIFF Spring Showcase, visit www.hiff.org.

Longer stay for Short Peace

If you blinked and missed the one-night-only screenings of Short Peace, the four-short-film package presented by Katsuhiro Otomo, earlier this month, no need to despair: Distributor Eleven Arts recently added a few more dates to the schedule. Short Peace will return to Consolidated’s Ward theaters on Oahu and Kaahumanu theaters on Mon., April 21, at 7 p.m., then moving on to the Doris Duke Theater at the Honolulu Museum of Art on Thurs., May 1, and Friday, May 2.

Ticket links for all screenings and times for the Doris Duke screenings aren’t available yet, but you may as well go ahead and mark your calendar now in case you’re interested. And again, if you can’t make those dates, the shorts will be available exclusively on the PlayStation Network later this year. You can catch up on what Short Peace is all about by reading the tail end of my earlier post about the film or visiting shortpeace-movie.com.

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)”

Ota-cool! September: Manga’s story, our story

Welcome to this month’s edition of Ota-cool Incoming! … which technically should have come out a few days ago, ideally before Sept. 1, so that I could have gotten one more Comic Jam Hawaii meeting in here. What can I say; work the past few nights, ever since I last posted something here, has been cah-ray-zy.

Art of Manga flyerThis month’s spotlight event is one for which yours truly served as an adviser: “Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawaii.” The exhibit, at Gallery ‘Iolani on the Windward Community College campus, is a journey through the history of manga locally, from its origins in Japan through its influences on the local fan community.

There’s a veritable who’s who of local artists and writers spotlighted, including Audra Furuichi (nemu*nemu), Roy Chang (Cacy & Kiara), Jon Murakami (Gordon Rider), Marisa Torigoe (“Children of Aumakua” from the Hawaii Star Manga Project), Stacey Hayashi and Damon Wong (Journey of Heroes), Patsy Y. Iwasaki and Avery Berido (Hamakua Hero), Tara Tamayori (“Eternal Blade” from Hachi Maru Hachi) and Kyunyo (“Emperor’s Seal”). All of this is curated by Brady Evans, Pen & Ink Works founder and Hachi Maru Hachi contributor.

The number of special activities tied in to this exhibit could probably fill an average Ota-cool Incoming! calendar by themselves. Start with the opening reception, running from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday. Every Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. for the duration of the exhibit will feature the curator’s walk-through and artist talks, where you can meet some of the participating artists. And as part of the Windward Hoolaulea (10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 28), the Honolulu Printmakers will be hosting a hands-on manga printmaking activity from noon to 2 p.m., and the gallery will be open on what will be the only Saturday it’ll be open for the exhibit’s run.

If you can only make it out to see the exhibit, it runs through Oct. 2; there’s an area where you can sketch to your heart’s content, so at least you’ll have that. Gallery hours are 1-8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays and 1-5 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

After the break: the rest of this month’s highlights! And stuff beyond that, too! Continue reading “Ota-cool! September: Manga’s story, our story”

HIFF snags “Captain Harlock,” “Rurouni Kenshin” for fall

As far as I can remember, early August traditionally hasn’t been the time to start thinking about the Hawaii International Film Festival. We usually got a few showcase film teasers followed by a big horking roster reveal sometime in September, leaving us to soak up the final few weeks of the summer season and ponder countless “what-ifs” and dream selections in the meantime.

The 33rd annual installment, slated this year for Oct. 10-20, is shaking up that thinking in a big way. For the past two weeks over on the HIFF blog, Christopher Hall has been releasing information about this year’s film roster in blocks of 10 films. (It looks like the reveals will be continuing Thursdays through the month.) And among this week’s films is quite the eye-opener: the CGI-animated 2013 revival of Space Pirate Captain Harlock.

Harlock, based on the classic Leiji Matsumoto manga and directed by two-time Kawaii Kon guest Shinji Aramaki, will be appearing a little over a month after it premieres in Japan on Sept. 7. A quick check online finds only one other international venue screening this film at the moment — the Venice International Film Festival in Italy, being held from Aug. 28 through Sept. 7, according to this Anime News Network post — meaning HIFF may well mark Harlock’s U.S. premiere. We’ll see if that distinction holds. Here’s the film’s official website (in Japanese), and here’s a trailer:

Last week’s reveal wasn’t lacking for otaku-magnet material, either: Rurouni Kenshin, the live-action adaptation of Nobuhiro Watsuki’s wandering swordsman manga starring Takeru Sato as Himura Kenshin and Emi Takei as Kamiya Kaoru, will also be screening at HIFF. It’s been making the global rounds ever since it debuted in Japan last August; it has been licensed for distribution in more than 60 countries, after all. Here’s another trailer.

Exact screening dates and times for these films will be released around Sept. 1; ticket sales for members starts Sept. 20, with general sales starting on Sept. 24. Keep an eye on www.hiff.org in the meantime … this year’s shaping up to be another exciting one, methinks.