It’s Stream-of-Consciousness Day here at Otaku Ohana, where I try to keep track of all the news that’s poured into Otaku Ohana Central these past few days or so and share it with y’all before the next wave of news washes in. On the road to Kawaii Kon and the beginning of Con-athon 2017, we’ve definitely hit rush hour. Set up your calendars accordingly.
Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale in review
“O. M. G. That. Was. AWESOME!” the Otaku Ohana Anonymous Director of Forced Social Interaction fan-gushed to me last night after we saw the big-screen adventures of Kirito and Asuna and their friends, and how yet another video game they’re playing goes rogue and threatens to kill all the players for realsies. (It comes complete with that buzzworthy end-credits teaser, too.) “You’re going to write something about it, right?!?”
Since I’m already writing up all these other news items, I suppose I will touch on it for a bit. If you’re a fan of video games, augmented reality games like Ingress or Pokemon Go, and/or action-adventure-dramas in general, you’ll want to watch this movie. It was $15 well spent. This applies even if you aren’t that familiar with the Sword Art Online franchise to date, and you’ve seen only a five-minute summary of season 1 (warning: the link’s a humorous commentary peppered with NSFW language and situations) like me or fewer. Also, I want a copy of the soundtrack, composed by the always-awesome Yuki Kajiura, nownownow.
If you missed last night’s screening, you have one more chance: 11 a.m. Saturday at the Consolidated Kapolei theaters. There’s also a screening at the same time at Consolidated Ward, but that’s already sold out, so get those tickets quickly. Will there be another chance to see it after that and before it inevitably ends up on home video? Hmm …
Hawaii lands rare Attack on Titan compilation screenings
This story began as most about anime being screened theatrically do: an article from Anime News Network crossing my social media feeds.
“English-dubbed screenings scheduled for 19 theaters,” a sub-headline noted.
Whenever I hear about ultra-limited runs like these, my mind automatically starts going through the usual suspects: Somewhere in Los Angeles. Somewhere in San Francisco. New York. Funimation’s hometown of Dallas, of course. Probably a bunch of Alamo Drafthouse theaters. Hawaii? Probably an afterthought.
Well … surprise! Hawaii made it on the list, landing two of what’s since grown to 22 theaters nationwide — Consolidated Ward and Kapolei, specifically. That’s more than New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco combined (one in New York, none in the other two cities). Because we rock.
So here’s the deal: The English-dubbed movies will be screened over two days — part 1, Guren no Yumiya, on Monday, March 28; part 2, Jiyuu no Tsubasa, on Tuesday, March 29. Both of them recap the events that took place in the first season of the series and offer a preview of the second season. Tickets aren’t available yet, but I’ll try to keep you updated on when that happens. Tickets are available for Kapolei now! Here’s part 1, and here’s part 2.
Your Name screening update
When last we left our coverage of Makoto Shinkai’s Oscar-ignored masterwork about two strangers whose lives are suddenly intertwined by fate, we knew that screenings in Hawaii were being set up in direct competition with Kawaii Kon weekend as part of ALL THE THINGS April. Even more details have emerged thanks to a Funimation Films update and new ticketing links, and … well, it’s looking more like you’re going to have some serious scheduling conflicts if you’re interested in seeing this movie and attending con. Consider:
Consolidated Kahala’s site has been updated with screenings listed from April 7-9 only — English dubbed at 11:40 a.m. daily; Japanese with English subtitles at 2:10, 4:40, and 7:10 p.m.; and a 9:10 p.m. show April 7-8.
Updated 2:30 p.m. 3/10! Consolidated Mililani screenings are available from April 7-9 — English dubbed at 11:20 a.m., Japanese with English subtitles at 1:45, 4:30, 7 and 9:30 p.m. daily.
Updated 2:30 p.m. 3/10! Consolidated Kapolei screenings — the first weeklong run confirmed, April 7-13! — are as follows: English dubbed at noon daily, Japanese with English subtitles at 2:25, 4:50, 7:15 and 9:45 p.m. daily.
Consolidated Ward and the Regal Dole Cannery theaters are also listed, with April 7 opening dates.
The Honolulu Festival’s otaku connection
It’s Honolulu Festival time this weekend, which means it’s time for all of the usual events that come with the annual celebration of Asian and Pacific Rim culture, including:
Entertainment on stages at the Hawai’i Convention Center, Ala Moana Center and Waikiki Beach Walk on Saturday (here’s a schedule!)
A display of mikoshi, decorative floats unique to various prefectures of Japan that are hoisted by celebrants during festivals and parades
A craft fair and children’s games in the Ennichi Corner at the convention center
Kawaii Kon representatives on hand to sell three-day badges to next month’s convention (your last chance to buy them in person before the con!)
MangaBento hosting activities in the Kawaii Kon space
The Grand Parade down Kalakaua Avenue Sunday afternoon
The spectacular Nagaoka fireworks display Sunday night
And then there’s this guy.
No, not Mad Moxxi from Borderlands on the right. We’re more concerned with Jibanyan, the spirit cat and one of the main characters from Yo-kai Watch, on the left. He’s been appointed by Hawaii Tourism Japan as children’s ambassador to Hawaii, so he’ll be making his way down to the convention center for the festival. He’ll be available for photo ops from noon to 12:30 p.m. and 3 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Cosplay 101 seminar at Pearl City Library
Do you have cosplay questions? Pearl City Library has cosplay answers for anyone interested in dressing up as their favorite characters, whether for Con-athon 2017 or beyond. Learn how to plan, modify and create your cosplay, and get some tips and tricks for a successful cosplay experience.
Interested? The seminar’s from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the library, 1138 Waimano Home Road. Call 453-6566 if you have any other questions about the event.
As of this post, we are now exactly three weeks away from opening day for Kawaii Kon 2015. That heavy sighing, whimpering and sobbing in the corner that you might be hearing right now? That’s coming from anyone directly involved with the anime con — staff members, vendors, Artist Alley artists, photographers, cosplayers, friendly neighborhood anime/manga bloggers — who read that first sentence and realized that they are so very much not ready.
But it’s coming, this song is playing in the backs of our minds, and someone out there, someone has to be looking forward to March 27, when our anime addiction as a crazed community united flares anew for three days at the Hawai’i Convention Center. So let’s take a deep breath and take a look at some recent con-related news highlights:
A new guest! A famed Animaniacs trio is now complete with an announcement that came earlier this week. Sorry, it’s probably not that trio that you’re thinking of … Tress Macneille, the voice of Dot Warner, still isn’t coming. But the writer behind a bunch of classic Animaniacs episodes and songs, Randy Rogel, is coming. Not only is this Rogel’s first visit to Kawaii Kon, he’s also the first Emmy award-winning guest to attend; he won Daytime Emmys for Animaniacs in 1996 and 1997, and Batman: The Animated Series in 1993. I’d expect live performances of “Yakko’s World” and “Wakko’s America” are pretty much locks now.
A preview of what’s to come! The Honolulu Festival, the annual showcase of Pacific Rim cultures, is happening this weekend, and Kawaii Kon, as always, will be sharing space among the kids’ games, entertainment, food and craft booths and art displays at the convention center from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. This is your final chance to pick up a three-day pass at a discounted rate ($50 general, $40 children ages 5-12). MangaBento will bring art activities and photo booth cutouts; there will also be games, activities and prizes galore. Stick around Waikiki on Sunday for the Grand Parade down Kalakaua Avenue starting at 4 p.m. and the offshore Nagaoka Fireworks show starting at 8:30 p.m.
A 10th anniversary preorder! Has it really been 10 years since the adventures of Hawaii’s hapless hero Gordon Rider, drawn by Star-Advertiser “Calabash” cartoonist Jon Murakami, debuted on a whiteboard sitting in Mechahawaii in Kaimuki? Yes, it has, and time flies, and I’m starting to feel really old again. To celebrate the milestone, Jon’s releasing a 10th anniversary art book — 100 full-color pages filled with tributes by 70 artists including “Luann” artist Greg Evans, “Winged Tiger” artist Phil Yeh, and “Heavy Metal” and “Elephantmen” artist Axel Medellin. (Lorenzo Trinidad, son of late great Star-Bulletin cartoonist Corky Trinidad, showed me what he submitted for the book the other week. It looked pretty sweet.) Copies are $30 and will be released on the con’s first day, March 27; preorder now at www.jonjmurakami.bigcartel.com, and not only can you pick up the book at Jon’s Artist Alley table, you’ll also get a bonus 2.5-by-3.5-inch sketch card. Also available for preorder there: Issue 8 of the Gordon Rider comic, for $5. (Can’t make it to con? You can also have those mailed out to you.)
A free-stuff reminder! You have a state library card, right? Of course you do, because while you’re doing the newish-media thing and reading this blog, you also appreciate good old-school print media as well. Anyway, do not forget to bring your card to con, because you can bring it to the library table in Artist Alley — it’ll be in the same area as Jon’s table and Michael Cannon’s Artildawn offerings! — and get free stuff. You’d think it would be a no-brainer by now, but you would not believe how many people I’ve seen that don’t have one while I’ve been sitting in with Aiea young adult librarian Diane Masaki at that table. Kids these days, I tell ya.
It seems there’s an unwritten rule in journalism that whenever a writer or blogger reaches the end of a year, he or she suddenly feels compelled to look back on it and remember the high points and the lows. I’m certainly not one to go against the flow, so hi! Welcome to the Otaku Ohana Year in Review!
While I’d be the first to admit that this has been a disappointing year in terms of Otaku Ohana output — for starters, I still haven’t had time to fully transcribe that interview with voice actor Kyle Hebert that I promised back in August, and let’s not even think about the last time you’ve seen a formal anime or manga review in this space — it certainly hasn’t been a disappointing year for the otaku community at large. One measure of just how vibrant we’ve had it here is the sheer volume of anime features that screened in theaters. Here’s what we saw this year:
Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods
Expelled From Paradise
Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo
K Missing Kings
Ghost in the Shell
Ghost in the Shell: Arise
Madoka Magica: Rebellion
My Neighbor Totoro
Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
Tiger and Bunny: The Rising
The Wind Rises
Throw in a bunch of live-action movies including the Studio Ghibli documentary The Kingdom of Dreamsand Madness, Thermae Romae II, Lupin the Third and Kikaider Reboot — the last of which proved so popular, the DVD’s backordered online.
Granted, there were a few bumps in the road along the way. A pair of hurricanes forced Taku Taku Matsuri to be pushed back from August to November. That’s more than can be said for Oni-Con Hawaii, which we can safely consider a lost cause with the lack of any solid communication since early May. And the deathof Sharon Sakai, wife of Usagi Yojimbo artist Stan Sakai, was a story that resonated far beyond the usual readership of this blog.
But let’s remember all the good that happened in 2014. I went through my photo files and picked out 14 memorable moments from the year. Some of these pictures you might have seen before, whether in this space or on my various social media accounts.
Dorae-mania hits home (April 20)
Fujiko F. Fujio’s mecha-cat creation was all over town this year, whether plastered on Lea Lea trolleys, in statue form at various sites from downtown to Kahala as part of HIS Hawaii’s Wakuwaku Stamp Rally, on Kindles and Kindle apps in manga form, or on Disney XD in anime form. The biggest attraction in the first few months of the year, however, was “Meet Doraemon: Japan’s Time-Traveling Cat,” an exhibition co-presented by Bishop Museum and the Fujiko F. Fujio Museum. Visitors could see pages of Fujio’s original artwork for the first time on American soil, watch a 10-minute anime short, read the English-translated Doraemon manga on iPads or the manga in other languages sitting on bookshelves nearby; and buy piles upon piles of Fujio character merchandise that also was appearing for the first time on American soil. Tripinator Doraemon looked a little shifty here in the foreground as visitors browsed through the manga at the iPad station.
Ultra-combo! (April 27)
Not to be outdone by a cartoon mecha-cat, Ultraman and several of his longtime enemies made peace and came down to cavort around Hawaii as part of a promotion by Hawaii Tourism Japan and Tsuburaya Productions. Four statues showcasing different iterations of Ultraman were placed at locations around Oahu — Polynesian Cultural Center, Kualoa Ranch, DFS Galleria and the Hilo Hattie flagship store in Iwilei — and visitors who bought certain tour packages could go around, get their cards stamped and redeem them for cool Ultraman in Hawaii merchandise. As I mentioned in my original post, I love this picture of the Hilo Hattie statue because of the way the lights in the store flared behind it.
Panel de pon! (March 12)
This is the only picture in this roundup that wasn’t shot by me (it was taken by cartoonist Roy Chang), and for good reason: I was kinda sitting on the panel at the time. I have to confess that I’m usually not one to be the center of attention — it’s the reason why I’ve never done a panel at any event on my own, and why I have an Anonymous Otaku Ohana Director of Forced Social Interaction with whom I attend a number of events these days — so when I was asked to be part of the “Made in Japan, Loved in Hawaii” panel at the Honolulu Festival, I was worried about how things would go. I needn’t have worried — panel mates Brady Evans, Jon Murakami, Roy Bann and Audra Furuichi all helped turn that panel into a lovely lengthy chat about our various fandoms. If you haven’t listened to the panel yet, the audio (which weighs in at 121 MB) remains available for download at ow.ly/uwyBr, while the slides are available at ow.ly/uwyTQ.
Eboshimaro, friend to all children (March 8)
Ahhhhhhh yes, yuru-chara, the Japanese phenomenon in which mascot characters are called upon to promote certain aspects of their prefecture, company or event. They’re also usually awesomely cute, which would explain why Eboshimaro here, the mascot representing Chigasaki, Japan, had a steady stream of people coming up to him at the Honolulu Festival asking for pictures. Apparently he was tweeting regularly from the festival, too; here are his tweets and pictures from that weekend.
And that wasn’t the only regional mascot to visit Hawaii this year. At the very beginning of Star-Advertiser photographer Krystle Marcellus’ video from the Honolulu Marathon (www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckleJBr–ns), you can catch a good look at Mojaro, the walking monjayaki from Isesaki’s annual Monja Festival. (Monjayaki is okonomiyaki’s messier-looking, higher-stacked cousin.)
That’s right. There exists a pile-of-foodmascot. And one that looks like one of the ghosts from Pac-Man had an unfortunate accident, at that.
I’ll give you some time to ponder that.
Singing in the lane (April 4)
What would a year-end roundup be without at least one highlight from what’s become the biggest event on the annual otaku calendar, Kawaii Kon? As longtime attendees know, a necessary evil of attending anime cons year after year is waiting in lines to get into the various events. This year, though, this guy made waiting for opening ceremonies more tolerable, going up and down with his guitar singing his original song about Kawaii Kon.
It’s all about the details (July 3)
MangaBento, the anime/manga-inspired group of young artists, held its annual show on the second floor of the Honolulu Museum of Art School. this year’s show, “Showme,” featured this mural lining the elevator. A nice mural, to be sure. But upon closer examination, several smaller flourishes really stood out.
That’s what I love whenever I look at art: taking in the piece as a whole, then looking close-up at the finer details. It’s an experience I hope (and pretty much expect!) to repeat next year.
Sparkle pretty “Ponponpon” party time (July 20)
Yes, super-omega-popular boy band Arashi performed out at Ko Olina to the delight of thousands of fans both from here and visiting from Japan, and they had the benefit of a pop-up store at Shirokiya and those visitors snapping pictures of pretty much every poster put up around Ala Moana. But their concert tickets were kinda pricey and I didn’t have a vacation day to spare, so this was my J-Pop concert experience for the year: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, the singer who burst onto the scene with eyeball-dotted shorts, pastel-colored human hearts and flying bread slices and has kept up a consistent pace of releasing weirdly wonderfully artsy odd music videos ever since. Her concert was an extension of that, a whirlwind of tightly choreographed sequences on a toybox-themed stage with a nice selection of her hits to date. And a giant neon-colored bear, too. (The afternoon heat was a bit much for her, though; she said during the concert that she hoped to do an arena show next time she’s in Hawaii.)
Jan-ken-po, art-to-show (May 17)
In another one of those events that I attended but have yet to write about in this space (*sob*), Patsy Iwasaki and Avery Berido, the Hawaii island-based writer-artist team behind Hamakua Hero: A True Plantation Story, came to Honolulu to talk about the book as part of the revival of the Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawaii exhibit at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii. Well, okay, so it was Iwasaki doing most of the talking while Berido drew, but it’s okay, we love them both.
Berido’s drawing was given away at the end of the talk via a series of jankenpo matches among audience members. It came down to these two, and the guy on the left won this original piece. Sweet victory, I must say.
Smiles to go, to go! (May 31)
I said back in June that this was my favorite picture of the year to date, and now, looking back on a year’s worth of pictures, it remains a favorite of mine. Taken back at the during the Crossing Cultures artist meet-and-greet, it just captures a certain joy between the boy and his newly purchased Blue plushie, and artist Audra Furuichi. Making a child smile with the fruits of what you do for a living is a heartwarming talent to possess, indeed.
Simply having a wonderful Mini Con time (Sept. 27)
I’ve noticed that at pretty much every midsize and larger event with cosplayers that I’ve attended this year, two people inevitably show up: one guy who cosplays as Deadpool (and who we’ll see later in this roundup, by the way) and Furry Red Friend, a cosplaying Elmo with his human handler. So when the Merc With a Mouth and Captain America Elmo showed up at Mini Con at McCully-Moiliili Library, with a nemu*nemu: Blue Hawaii postcard cutout just begging for a photo op? Hijinks ensued. Naturally.
Striking a pose (Oct. 11)
Kawaii Kon’s annual Anime Day event showed up at Windward Mall with a mini Artist Alley, several drawing stations and a variety of cosplay competitions. One of those contests was a “pose-off,” where contestants had to come up with choreographed poses within a time limit. Here, two cosplayers prepare to do battle with Street Fighter poses! And then they rushed into battle! Who would reign supreme?!?
… yeeeeeaaaah, okay, that didn’t end well.
We made it happen (Nov. 22)
The story of Taku Taku Matsuri 2014 was a story of perseverance on the part of organizer Yuka Nagaoka. A Kickstarter campaign succeeded after much 11th-hour nail-biting. Then Hurricanes Iselle and Julio’s approach prompted her to postpone the event, a decision that drew some criticism when Iselle hit Hawaii island and fell apart and Julio veered away from the islands. Original guest of honor Kyle Hebert and a number of vendors also couldn’t return for the rescheduled event, forcing her to find replacements. And a second crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe was … well … sluggish.
Yet despite all of that, and with a rallying cry of “We will make it happen,” the rescheduled Taku Taku Matsuri went out without any apparent hitches (although I must admit, I cringed while a full game of Quidditch took place outside the Manoa Grand Ballroom, praying the quaffle didn’t bounce off into one of the glass showcases or over the fifth-floor wall into the courtyard below). Attendees, it seemed, had a good time throughout the event. And Yuka is already proceeding with planning for the 2015 event, so we’ll see how that goes.
Cardboard carnage (Nov. 22)
The concept of the cardboard mega-brawl: Combatants craft armor and shields from cardboard, then go one-on-one in a ring trying to knock strategically placed foam cups off each other using foam bats. But what do you do when your opponent is someone who showed up at Taku Taku Matsuri wearing full-on Danbo cosplay? Simple: Flail like a bat out of hell.
“Modern Love” meets modern mangaka (Dec. 3)
We had a number of famous people in the anime and manga industries come to our fair rock in the middle of Pacific this year, among them Masako Nozawa, the voice of Goku in Dragon Ball Z; Hironobu Kageyama, who sang the Dragon Ball Z theme song “Cha-La Head-Cha-La”; Jim Cummings, the voice of Darkwing Duck and Tigger; and Cristina Vee, Mars/Rei Hino in the new Sailor Moon dub. Heck, Jamie Lynn Lano, former assistant to Takeshi Konomi on The Prince of Tennis, moved to Oahu to fulfill a lifelong dream of hers.
But the person who stands out in my mind at the moment is also the one who most recently visited Honolulu, the one whom (shameless plug) we interviewed and will be the subject of one of our first posts of 2015: josei mangaka Erica Sakurazawa, who wrote several books published by Tokyopop in the mid-2000s including The Aromatic Bitters, Angel and Between the Sheets and whose work Love Vibes is currently on display as part of the Honolulu Museum of Art’s “Modern Love” exhibit. Sakurazawa is shown here talking to exhibit curator Stephen Salel during a talk she gave at the museum in early December. Quite a bit of ground was covered in that talk and our interview, and I hope I can get all that out to you, dear readers, sooner rather than later.
So that does it for 2014! On behalf of tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. and the Anonymous Otaku Ohana Director of Forced Social Interaction, I wish you all the best for the new year. Here’s hoping for many more good memories to come.
It’s Honolulu Festival time this weekend, which means it’s time for all of the usual accoutrements that come with the annual celebration of Asian and Pacific Rim culture, including:
Entertainment on stages at the Hawai’i Convention Center, Ala Moana Center and Waikiki Beach Walk (here’s a schedule!)
A display of mikoshi, decorative floats unique to various prefectures of Japan that are hoisted by celebrants during festivals and parades
A craft fair, children’s games in the Ennichi Corner, and the Anime Corner with Kawaii Kon, MangaBento and representatives from the Doraemon exhibit at the convention center
The Grand Parade down Kalakaua Avenue Sunday afternoon
A spectacular fireworks display Sunday night
Your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger talkin’ anime during a Saturday afternoon panel WAIT WHAT
Indeed, for this 20th anniversary edition of the festival, I’m going to be part of a panel hosted by Kawaii Kon at the convention center: “Made in Japan, Loved in Hawaii,” a talk-story session exploring the history of local fandom from the days of Astro Boy in the ’60s to the present day and beyond. Joining me as hosts for this journey:
Roy Bann, Kawaii Kon senior administrator
Jon Murakami, freelance illustrator and Gordon Rider/Ara-Rangers/Star-Advertiser “Calabash” artist
We’ll be talking about various anime, manga and tokusatsu series that have shaped our work and our lives. I’ve been told that we have two hours to fill, so we hope to make it worth your while. You have options for where you could be spending your Saturday afternoon, after all; why not spend it with us, in air-conditioned comfort, learning about stuff in slides with content like this?
We’ll be in Room 301AB starting at 1 p.m. Saturday. Keep in mind that most of the festival activities are taking place on the ground level of the convention center, so you’re going to want to make your way up some set of escalators, whether from that level or the second-floor parking garage. Just branch left once you get off those escalators; the room’s just beyond the restrooms. Here, have a map.
Hope to see you there. And if you’re on Facebook, let us know you’re coming on the panel event page; it’s not mandatory that you do so, but I’d just like to know how much I should freak out over how many people show up. It’s my first formal panel-speaking gig, after all (that Oni-Con Ingress panel doesn’t count).
This week in The Wind Rises
The Oscars have come and gone, Frozen holds the statue for Best Animated Feature 2014, and Hayao Miyazaki’s latest, last film finished out of the top 10 at the box office last week. Seems like a recipe for a gradual bow-out from theaters; I’m already seeing a drop-off in screenings at Consolidated’s Pearlridge, Kapolei and Kaahumanu locations and Regal’s Windward Stadium theaters. On the bright side, owing to its head start of a week over the other theaters, Consolidated Ward will accept GMT passes for screenings starting Friday.
Consolidated Ward: Sub 1:40, 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 11:10 a.m. and 1:55, 4:45. 7:40 and 10:25 p.m.; Monday-Thursday 12:45, 3:40, 7 and 9:50 p.m.
Consolidated Pearlridge: Daily sub 3:15 and 9:15 p.m., dub 6:15 p.m.
Today’s post is brought to you by The Lego Movie. It’s not a formal sponsorship (which is too bad in a way, because after seeing that movie, I want to go out and buy every last Lego Movie set out there.) Rather, it’s because the Otaku Ohana Anonymous Director of Forced Social Interaction and I caught it Wednesday night (yes, we opted for that over The Wind Rises, but hey, I already saw it and we’re willing to wait until it hits Consolidated’s discounted GMT list starting March 7). We enjoyed it thoroughly. And then I woke up this morning with the song lyrics EVERYTHING IS AWESOME, EVERYTHING IS COOL WHEN YOU’RE PART OF A TEAM stuck in a loop in my mind and these guys menacing my laptop.
‘Sup, primary Lego Movie antagonists Lord Business and Bad Cop.
It’s strangely appropriate that that song is stuck in my mind, because there are some pretty awesome events coming up starting this weekend and running … well, into April, really. So sit back, pull up your favorite calendar-planning app, and let’s dive right in:
Taku Taku Matsuri “Friending” Party: Play games and meet people at this mixer for local otaku. Non-alcoholic “mocktails” with names like “801 Breeze,” “Ichigo Pantsu” and “Yuri Paradise” are being created exclusively for the event and will be available for $4 each. Tickets for $15 are available at takutaku.ticketleap.com/friending-party/; you get your choice of one of four mini-bentos included in that price. For ages 16 and up. Nagomi Japanese Teppan and Lounge (1687 Kapiolani Blvd.), noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.
“Anime Rocks!”: It’s Kawaii Kon’s third annual pin launch party, and they’re pulling out all the stops to make sure anyone who shows up is suitably entertained. EMKE is back to rock the house; this time they’re being joined by Streetlight Cadence, a local quartet with a cellist and accordionist, which automatically makes them one of the coolest groups ever in my book. Augie T, the official emcee of all things Kawaii Kon, will be on hand to … umm … emcee. And if the specialty drink-loving side of you didn’t get enough at Saturday’s “Friending” Party, there’s one to try here as well: Kawaii Kon Punch, in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions. (Drink responsibly, people.) Hard Rock Cafe Waikiki (280 Beachwalk Ave.), 2-5 p.m. Sunday.
Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists has just one official public gathering in March so far, and it’s coming up Sunday at Pearlridge Center. If you’re really want to see some of this group’s work, though, head out to Honolulu Hale, where there’s an exhibit in the first-floor courtyard spotlighting their work as well as that of MangaBento and late cartoonist Dave Thorne through March 13. I’ll be swinging by there and chronicling that exhibit in a future post. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii(Facebook login required). 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Kawaii Kon Karaoke Kompetition: The road to KKX continues with this, the last of three preliminary rounds for the anime convention’s annual karaoke contest. Aspiring singers, read up on the rules at kawaiikon.com/events/karaoke/karaoke-preliminary-rounds/, then make your way to Orvis Auditorium on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus. 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. March 9.
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. And there may be a special announcement involving your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger next week, too … Hawai’i Convention Center and other venues around Waikiki, March 7-9.
“All Eyes on Me”: If there’s one thing I feel guilty about not covering until now, having been up to my eyeballs in stuff related to The Wind Rises and Doraemon in recent weeks, it’s this Kickstarter project by Saki Kashimura, a local artist who’s sold some of her work in the past in Kawaii Kon’s Artist Alley. She’s looking to publish a 32-page art book with pieces she’s done from 2012 to now. With nine days left, she’s already surpassed her goal, but there’s still room to jump on board. You can see what she’s done in the past at www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=676479; check out the project at www.kickstarter.com/projects/880144282/artbook-all-eyes-on-me.
“Meet Doraemon: Japan’s Time-Traveling Cat”: Fujiko F. Fujio’s most beloved creation is here and cute-ing up the Bishop Museum campus, as you can see here.
Ten statues, a replica of the Dokodemo (Anywhere) Door, sketching and coloring stations, a manga library featuring Doraemon manga volumes from around the world and samples of the new English-language digital edition on iPads, a 10-minute animated short playing on loop, and an exhibit of original Fujio manga art … do you really need more reasons to visit? If you consider yourself an anime/manga fan, you must go. I’m even working on a photo tour of the exhibit for a future post as further proof. Admission is $19.95, $16.95 for seniors, $14.95 for ages 4-12; $12.95, $10.95 and $8.95, respectively, for Hawaii residents and military. Visit www.bishopmuseum.org. Through April 20.
Kawaii Kon 2014: Guests for the 10th anniversary edition include voice actors Jim Cummings, Ayumi Fujimura, Quinton Flynn, Richard Horvitz, Tetsuya Kakihara, Vic Mignogna, Nicki Rapp, Michael Sinterniklaas, Stephanie Sheh and Janet Varney; musical guests EMKE, Kagemaya Hironobu and Yoko Ishida; professional cosplayer Leah Rose; Misako Aoki,Lolita model and official Japanese kawaii ambassador (really, it’s a formal title); the Chalk Twins, traveling performance artists who will be crafting a giant chalk mural; and local comedian Augie T., serving as emcee. Online preregistration is open through March 22; $42 for a three-day pass for children ages 5-12, $52 general admission. Hawai’i Convention Center, April 4-6.
As far as anime-related movie screenings are concerned locally, this week belongs to Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie, showing at the Ward Stadium theaters on Oahu and the Kaahumanu 6 theaters on Maui at 7 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Saturday.
But here at Otaku Ohana, we like looking forward to the Next Big Thing. And if October’s sellout of a single showing in two large auditoriums at the Dole Cannery theaters during the Hawaii International Film Festival was any indication, that Next Big Thing is the wide release of The Wind Rises, the latest Studio Ghibli movie to be localized for American audiences. As director Hayao Miyazaki’s feature film swan song (or maybe not, who knows), the historical drama about airplane designer Jiro Horikoshi has already garnered raves from most people who have seen it and an Oscar nomination for best animated feature. (Confession: I felt a little “meh” about it after that initial October viewing. It may take another viewing for me to come around on that.)
It was never a question of if The Wind Rises would make it back here. Disney picked up distribution rights again after ceding From Up on Poppy Hill to GKids and brought in an all-star cast — that all-grown-up guy from Third Rock From the Sun! That actress from The Devil Wears Prada who isn’t Anne Hathaway or Meryl Streep! Frodo! Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride! A bunch of others! — and already promised it would release the film nationwide. It was more a matter of where it would show up and how Disney would market it, considering (a) there isn’t too much of the fantasy/whimsy that has given many Ghibli releases widespread appeal, (b) it’s a mature story that encompasses the Great Kanto Earthquake, the tuberculosis epidemic and Japan’s march toward World War II, and (c) Jiro and his friend, Honjo, suck back enough cigarettes to make any anti-tobacco movement cringe.
The film’s been given a PG-13 rating and is being released under the Touchstone Pictures banner, so at least the distinction that this movie is for older audiences is there. As for where it’s playing, Consolidated Theatres’ website quietly added some insight into that over the past few days. Mark your calendars now, because The Wind Rises is currently listed to open at the Ward Stadium complex on Friday, Feb. 21, then expand out to the Kahala, Mililani and Pearlridge theaters on Oahu and the Kaahumanu 6 theaters in Kahului a week after, on Feb. 28.
No showtimes listed yet, but I’m sure those will show up in due time. The fact that it’s on Consolidated’s radar in and of itself is a good sign, so get excited, Hawaii anime fans.
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.
Kawaii Kon Karaoke Kompetition: The road to KKX continues with this, the first of three preliminary rounds for the anime convention’s annual karaoke contest. Aspiring singers, read up on the rules at http://kawaiikon.com/events/karaoke/karaoke-preliminary-rounds/ (and don’t forget to submit your form by 11 59 p.m. Saturday!) then make your way to Orvis Auditorium on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus. Check-in starts at 12:30 p.m. Sunday; the singing itself takes place from 1 to 3 p.m.
Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center; locations within the mall may vary. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii(Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 2.
DJ Append promotional video shoot: Did you go to the Oni-Con Hawaii dance party on the first night and enjoy the vibe? Did you not go, yet don’t mind actin’ the fool while a camera’s rolling? DJ Append, the deejay mixing the tunes at that dance party, will be filming his first video, and you’re invited to attend. Free food and drinks, too! RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/1394457884137527. 609 Keawe St., Sat., Feb. 8.
“Meet Doraemon: Japan’s Time-Traveling Cat”: Yup, the Fujiko F. Fujio Museum’s created a traveling exhibit about the blue guy and decades-old Japanese icon, and Bishop Museum is where it’s going to make its first stop. You know I’m going to have much, much more to say about this down the line, but for now, here, have the museum’s official preview. Bishop Museum (1525 Bernice St.), Feb. 15-April 20.
Anime Swap Meet: Hosted by Kawaii Kon, this opportunity for local otaku to buy and sell assorted preowned collectibles from one another will be part of the the 24th Annual Hawaii Collectors Expo on Sat. Feb. 22 and Sun., Feb. 23. Interested in selling? Check out http://www.kawaii-kon.org/index.php?cID=263 for all the details; registration deadline is Feb. 12 at midnight. (Worth noting: It’ll cost $25 to sell on Saturday, $20 on Sunday; one person per 5-square-foot space; everything must be displayed on the ground.) Interested in buying? Start saving your pennies now. (There’s also a $5 admission charge, but it’s free for members of the military with valid ID … and for those of you who cosplay, too!)
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, Vic Mignogna, Michael Sinterniklaas and Stephanie Sheh; musical guests Kagemaya Hironobu and Yoko Ishida; professional cosplayer Leah Rose; the Chalk Twins, traveling performance artists who will be crafting a giant chalk mural; 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.
The Honolulu Festival, a celebration of all things Asian-and-Pacific-Rim culture, is this weekend. Having attended it for the past three years, I consider it one of those Really Big Deals on the local otaku community schedule, an event where you feel like you’re missing something if you skip it. I take a bunch of pictures and post them here, just to emphasize that fact. Yet while I went last year, all I’ve managed to post since then are a handful of pictures, the promise of more dangled like a fresh, crisp carrot in front of your eyes, just out of reach.