Ota-cool Incoming: The merry, merry month of May

If April was the month of anime, with Kawaii Kon and Consolidated Theaters’ Studio Ghibli Festival capturing the attention of local otaku, then May has to be the month where comic culture takes center stage. The Hawaii Comic & Toy Expo kicks it off, Amazing Hawaii Comic Con puts a nice little bow on it, and there’s Free Comic Book Day and a smattering of comic artist appearances in between to keep us all busy.

But that’s not to say it’s all comics; anime/manga fans have some events to look forward to this month as well — a new movie, idkwhat2wear’s annual clearance sale and the return of an annual festival on Maui are just some of the events to look forward to in the next few weeks. I’ll go into greater detail on some of these coming attractions in future posts, but there’s a really busy weekend coming up, so let’s get around to that right now:

Islandwide Spring Crafts and Food Expo: Otherwise known as “the craft fair where idkwhat2wear unloads ALL THE THINGS.” See, every year there’s one show where Karl Miyashiro and Terri Dux blow out their discontinued T-shirt styles at $6 per shirt. These are styles that usually sell for $19-$21 apiece, so yeah, that’s a pretty healthy chunk of savings change. This photo posted to the idk Facebook page reveals they have … oh, a few shirts.

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Please save Terri from impending cotton-crushing doom and buy some shirts; they’ll be at booth 705. While you’re at the show, go visit Kawaii Mono with their line of origami jewelry, charms and more at booth 408. Admission: $5 general, $4 military families and seniors ages 65 and older, free for children ages 13 and younger. (Be warned: With The Book of Mormon still at the concert hall and comedian Kevin Hart in concert at the arena Saturday and Sunday, parking in the neighborhood is going to be tight.) Blaisdell Exhibition Hall (777 Ward Ave.); 4-9 p.m. today, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

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Hawaii Comic & Toy Expo: Yes, there will be comics, toys and collectibles being sold by more than 40 dealers. But there will be special featured guests in the house, too. Guest of honor Scott Williams is a local boy and University of Hawaii alumnus who’s worked as an artist and inker for Marvel and DC, frequently collaborating with talents like Jim Lee and Frank Miller. Joining him at the show will be local artists Jon Murakami, Kevin Sano, Christopher Caravalho, Andy Lee and HeadShot Heroes. Admission: $3. Ala Moana Hotel (Hibiscus Ballroom), 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center; this time around, they’ll be in the center court on the Downtown side of the mall. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Also worth noting: The Friends of Aiea Library will be holding a book sale at the library (99-374 Pohai Place) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; there will be plenty of parking. And where there may not be anything directly related to otaku culture at this year’s Hawaii Book and Music Festival, at the Civic Grounds near Honolulu Hale downtown, it’s still worth checking out anyway. Because local literature and music never go out of style. That runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Elsewhere around town

Maui Matsuri: A kickoff celebration for Maui’s annual celebration of Japanese culture — featuring taiko performances, karate demonstrations, coloring contests and Hello Kitty — will be at the Queen Kaahumanu Center (275 W. Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului) from 6:30 to 9 p.m. today. It’s just a little taste of what will be happening a little over a week from now at UH-Maui College, with food booths, entertainment, and contests for cosplayers, video gamers and artists inspired by the anime/manga art style. Maui residents, go check out mauimatsuri.com and register for some of those contests now! Presented by the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui. Saturday, May 7, 2-9 p.m.

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Free Comic Book Day: It’s almost time for the Annual Comic Book Summer Blockbuster Movie to be released to millions of eager American fanpeeps (*cough*goTeamIronMan*cough*), which means it’s also time for your annual enticement to visit your local comic book store/distributor of choice and pick up a whole stack of free books. Various locations statewide; Saturday, May 7.

Mother’s Day: Don’t forget about your mom. She helped shape you into the person you are today. Also, eat your veggies and don’t slouch, dear. Sunday, May 8.

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Free Isabelo appearances: The founder of Live Free Die Free (LFDF) Comics; creator of The Contraptor, a steampunk-inspired tale about a Secret Service agent looking for his brother’s murderer and the conspirators behind President Lincoln’s assassination; and artist behind the “Steam Royals” series of pop culture icons reimagined with a steampunk twist will be appearing at Other Realms (1130 Nimitz Hwy, suite C140) on Free Comic Book Day and on Wednesday, May 18, and Enjoy Comics in Hilo (45 Pohaku St., unit 201) on Sunday, May 15. He’ll also be at Amazing Hawaii Comic Con … see below for some more details about that show.

Joe Rubenstein on Maui: The longtime artist/inker best known for his work on Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s four-issue Wolverine miniseries in 1982 and his inking on The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe for more than 20 years will be visiting Maui Comics and Collectibles in Kahului (333 Dairy Road, unit 102). Get your autographs and commissions there! Wednesday, May 18.

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Project Itoh: Harmony: In this theatrical anime being released stateside by Funimation Films, a mass suicide has rocked the globe, but there’s something about the motives behind the event that seem eerily similar to what Tuan Kirie and her friends attempted when they were teens. Is her old friend Miach Mirie behind the deaths? And if so, how could she be, considering she supposedly died all those years ago? Hmm. Consolidated Ward Stadium 16 theaters, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, and Wednesday, May 18. (I must say, May 18 is shaping up to be a really busy day.)

Cosplay Figure Drawing: Join Mangabento’s Devin Oishi as he leads a six-session series on figure drawing with a key twist: All of the models will be cosplayers. Students can cosplay and interact with the models as well. It’s a fun, informative way to brush up on skills including visual measurement, selecting materials and anatomy. Cost: $150; preregister at https://secure.honolulumuseum.org/auxiliary/Reserve.aspx?p=260. Honolulu Museum of Art School (1111 Victoria St.), room 200; 6-9 p.m. Fridays starting May 20 through June 24.

Amazing Hawaii Comic Con: It’s the second stop of the unofficial official Con-athon 2016! This year’s edition may not have Stan Lee, but it does count among its guests Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, DC Comics everything extraordinaire Jim Lee, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman, and amazing/astonishing/uncanny/fill-in-your-own-adjective-here X-Men writer Chris Claremont. They’re also targeting us otaku this year, with guests who’ve done voice work for Dragon Ball Z (Sean Schemmel, the voice of Goku! Chris Sabat, the voice of Vegeta! Chuck Huber, the voice of Android 17!) and Street Fighter. Hawai’i Convention Center, Friday, May 20-Sunday, May 22.

And the Windward skies bring cosplay vibes to me

anime dayI’ll get back to part 2 of the otaku film feast-ival next week, but for now there are more pressing matters at hand: namely, there’s an Anime Day coming up at Windward Mall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and, aside from how I’ve said that a) it’s totally a thing and b) those of you who preregistered for Oni-Con Hawaii will want to bring proof of registration to pick up your free DVD, I haven’t had a chance yet to fill in some of the finer details about it.

As has been the norm for the past forever now, I don’t think I got around to posting pictures from last year’s festivities, so here are a few images that show off what you can probably expect to see this year. Here’s the crowd gathered around the mall’s center stage …

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… some Naruto charms being sold by our columnist following the business buzz around town, Erika Engle …

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… someone playing Dance Central on a Kinect-enabled Xbox 360 …

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… the always busy art wall …

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… and participants in the Iron Cosplay contest.

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This year, professional cosplayer Leah Rose will be presiding over the festivities at center stage, with activities including:

11 a.m.: Anime ID
11:30 a.m.: Iron Cosplay
1 p.m.: Pose-Off Challenges
1:30 p.m.: Spin-the-Wheel!
2:30 p.m.: Cosplay Runway
3:30 p.m.: Stamp Rally winners announced and final announcements

KK stamp cardMany of those games/events have been run at various other events; Anime ID, however, is debuting here. As for that Stamp Rally: Pick up a card (a facsimile is at right), collect stamps from the six retailers listed (Gyu-Kaku, Animation Magic, Hot Topic, Gamestop, Journeys, Spencer Gifts) and turn it for the chance to win fabulous prizes! (What those prizes are haven’t been mentioned yet, but I’d be very surprised if one wasn’t a free three-day pass to Kawaii Kon 2015.)

Other Anime Day notes of note:

  • The vendors room — again across from Glow Putt Mini Golf on the second floor, in what I think was the old Suncoast Video space — will feature a number of local crafters, including Gordon Rider/Star-Advertiser “Calabash” cartoonist Jon Murakami and idkwhat2wear.
  • Artists can participate in a number of activities as well. Roy Chang, MidWeek cartoonist, Aiea Intermediate art teacher and keeper of Pepe the chihuahua, will offer tips on improving art at his portfolio review booth. Comic Jam Hawaii is hosting the sketch wall, while MangaBento will have tables with coloring and craft worksheets.
  • You can preregister for Kawaii Kon 2015, too!

For the latest info on all things Kawaii Kon, visit www.kawaii-kon.org or www.facebook.com/kawaiikon.

Local manga exhibit crosses over to JCCH

One of the highlights of last year’s otaku calendar was “Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawaii,” an exhibit curated by Pen & Ink Works founder Brady Evans that traced the history of manga locally, from its origins in Japan to its influences on the local fan community. I spotlighted it twice in this space during its run, once before it opened, once before it closed. It was a great opportunity to look at original artwork from the featured artists and learn about their creative processes.

I’m still trying to figure out how they let this dork in the building to be part of the exhibit, though.

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CrossCul-JCCH-Invitation-1But let’s say you weren’t able to make it out to see the exhibit last year. It happens; maybe you were too busy during the time it was up between Sept. 6 and Oct. 2, or maybe the drive over the Koolaus to the Windward side didn’t agree with you. Fortunately for you, there’s a second chance coming up to see it, as the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii over in Moiliili hosts its revival starting Saturday. (Members and invited guests can get a sneak peek at 5:30 p.m. Friday, with Brady leading a walkthrough at 6 p.m.)

Brady recently told me that there’s been a healthy chunk of new content added to the exhibit to make a visit worthwhile to those of you who did visit last year. The highlights:

  • Kyunyo, the doujinshi artist featured in the Kawaii Kon section last year, is getting her own spotlight space this year. Pages from her latest work, “Define” — inspired by the anime series Magi — and a copy of the book itself will be on display.
  • Last year’s exhibit had a “Guide by Cell” feature, where visitors could call a number and hear some of the artists talk about their work. New recordings have been added, so this year, you can listen to Audra Furuichi (nemu*nemu), Jordan Takemoto and Tara Tamayori (Hachi Maru Hachi) and Stacey Hayashi (Journey of Heroes) along with last year’s lineup of Brady, Rose Dela Cruz (exhibition label illustrator), Jon Murakami (Gordon Rider), Roy Chang (Cacy & Kiara and the Curse of the Ki’i) and Patsy Iwasaki and Avery Berido (Hamakua Hero).
  • Roy and Audra have painted new murals. Here, have some photos Brady took of their work in progress.

  • The Kikaida section has been beefed up, with more memorabilia — including vintage Kamen Rider, Go-Ranger and Kikaida figurines! — from Scott Shinsato on display.
  • The Alphonse Elric and Persona Teddy costumes have been retired in favor of Voltron, also by the same artist. You might have seen it walking around Kawaii Kon last month.
  • “Meet the Artist/Author” sessions include Patsy and Avery (both of whom are flying in from Hawaii island!) to talk about Hamakua Hero (May 17. 2-3 p.m.) and Stacey talking about Journey of Heroes (May 24, 2-3 p.m.) There’s also going to be a Comic Jam & Artists Showcase with the artists from Comic Jam Hawaii from 1 to 3 p.m. May 31.

The exhibit runs through June 7 at JCCH (2454 S. Beretania St.), The community gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays; admission is free. Ingress players, there’s a portal on site as well as several others within walking distance (all of which consistently hit max-level 8 under Resistance control, sigh). For more on the exhibit, visit hawaiimanga.com.

Ota-cool Incoming!
(special weekend of May 3-4 edition)

The return of “Crossing Cultures” is just one of the events happening in what’s turned out to be a really busy weekend not just for events with an element of otaku-ness in them, but in general. Unrelated to our discussion here, there’s Spam Jam, AARP’s paper-shredding event in Aiea, a craft and gift fair at Recreation Center 5 in Mililani, a neighborhood garage sale in Waipahu mauka of the Leeward Y, near Waipahu Uka Neighborhood Park … yeah, there’s a lot of stuff going on. And that doesn’t even count the fact that Sunday’s Star Wars Day (May the 4th, get it?). Here are the highlights.

Ninth Annual Hawaii Book & Music Festival: It’s going to be a busy weekend for Brady and some of the other “Crossing Cultures” artists/authors, as Hawaii Manga — with Brady, Stacey, Roy and the Hachi Maru Hachi gang — will have a booth as part of the annual celebration of local authors and musicians. Swing by the festival’s Author’s Pavilion around 4 p.m. Sunday and you can see Brady, Stacey and Jon talking about the exhibit and manga in Hawaii, too. On the Civic Center grounds near Honolulu Hale; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

FCBD_nodateFree Comic Book Day: Stefanie Nakasone did a good job in our print edition (subscription required) summarizing what’s going on, but for those of you who don’t want to click through, here’s a quick, Twitter-attention-span summary: Saturday. Free comics. Four stores (Westside Comics and Games, Gecko Books, Collector Maniacs, Other Realms), 17 libraries (12 on Oahu, plus Hilo and Thelma Parker Memorial on Hawaii island, Kihei and Lahaina on Maui, and Princeville on Kauai). Go get some (keeping in mind that not all of these books will be available at all locations).

And now, courtesy of The Face of Hawaii Ingress ™, Diane Masaki, here’s who’s showing up where for Free Comic Book Day at the libraries. Unless otherwise noted, all appearances will be at 10 a.m.:

Aiea: Hellboy, Powergirl, Supergirl, White Power Ranger, maybe Cyclops
Aina Haina: Batman and Kamen Rider
Kalihi-Palama: Angel (X-Men: First Class edition), Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, maybe Cyclops
Mililani: Wolverine (plus two surprise guests), Batman, maybe Luigi
Lahaina: Scout Trooper from the 501st Imperial Legion
Kapolei: Members of the 501st Imperial Legion (2-4 p.m.)
Salt Lake: Member of Team Rocket, Jubilee, maybe Cyclops

idkwhat2wear T-shirt blowout: The (take a deep breath here) 17th Islandwide Spring Crafts and Food Expo for Mother’s Day (aaaaaand exhale) is also happening this weekend. I mention this here is because frequent anime con exhibitor/friend of the blog idkwhat2wear will be clearing out T-shirts at this event for $5 each. To drive this point home, this picture appeared on the idk Facebook page late Wednesday afternoon.

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… yeeeeeaaaaah, that’s a lot of shirts.

Find them in booth 705 at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. $4 general admission, $3 military members and seniors 65 and older, free for children ages 13 and under. 4-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Kodomo no Hi: Sure, Children’s Day is technically on Monday, but Sunday’s as good a time as any to welcome back a JCCH event that skipped last year. Jon will be exhibiting at this event, and MangaBento will have a booth set up with various activities for the kiddies. Audra’s also going to be there to promote the Crossing Cultures exhibit from 11 a.m. to noon. They’ll be part of a day that will also feature entertainment, cultural and martial arts demonstrations, the traditional children’s kimono dressing and a keiki kendama tournament. (Your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger once tried one of those kendamas at the behest of the Otaku Ohana Anonymous Director of Forced Social Interaction. It … didn’t go very well.) At the center, 2454 S. Beretania St.; admission is free. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

Hawaii Comic & Toy Expo: More than 20 dealers will be on hand to happily take all the money you have … umm, I mean, heartily encourage and nourish your various collectible and comic passions. Also in attendance will be artists Sam Campos, Andy Lee, Theodore Lee, Kevin Sano and Kanila Tripp. Admission is $3; children under 5 are free. Visit www.hawaiicomictoyexpo.com. Ala Moana Hotel (Garden Lanai room), 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

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). 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Season of giving, season of sales

Isle-born Stan Sakai, creator of the comic book Usagi Yojimbo and longtime letterer for Groo the Wanderer, is highly regarded as one of the Really Nice Guys in the comic industry. Tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. and I found this out firsthand back in 2006, when we sent him a bunch of questions for a Kawaii Kon preview article and he sent back enough material to write that article, an online-exclusive supplement with his travel journal and artwork that ended up gracing our weekend section cover for our con coverage that year. He’s been a guest at two Kawaii Kons — 2006 and 2009 — and I’m sure anyone who sat in on one of his panels would agree that he’s quite an engaging fellow. Here’s a picture of him at Kawaii Kon ’09 with a sketch of Usagi, his most famous creation.

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What many people probably didn’t know, though, was that around two years before Stan’s first Kawaii Kon appearance, his wife, Sharon, had been diagnosed with a benign meningnoma brain tumor. And while radiation treatment and regular MRIs seemed to keep it in check in subsequent years, according to Stan, it started growing aggressively again in 2010.

The story since then, from Stan’s post to his Facebook page on Tuesday:

She has facial paralysis on the left side (everything happens on the left side). The paralysis includes her throat, vocal chords, and it has even deteriorated her neck bones. She had lost almost 40% of her body weight in a year. She is undergoing chemotherapy. Doctors don’t see any end in sight for this. There are complications because of the tumor, medications, or just coincidence–diabetes, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, compromised immune system. She has a tracheostomy tube for breathing and a G-tube connected to her stomach for a liquid diet. She can take nothing through her mouth. She is bed-bound, but we try to give her daily physical therapy–walking a couple hundred feet with a walker and/or sitting in a wheelchair.

She had been in the hospital and nurse care from April to September, but we are glad she is home. She requires 24 hour care, so daughter Hannah and her family moved in with us. This includes 18 month old grandson Leo, and another grandchild due in February/early March.

While there have been regular updates on Sharon’s condition on Stan’s page, friends and colleagues have largely shown their support by sharing their thoughts, prayers and well-wishes with the couple. Now, however, a more formal campaign to help pay for the mounting medical bills has emerged: CAPS, the Cartoon/Comic Art Professional Society, is organizing a charity art auction and is now soliciting donations from artists worldwide. The actual auction itself will be announced at a later date. Artists, you can find a form that you can download, fill out and send in with your contribution at www.garageartstudio.blogspot.com/2013/11/help-stan-sakai.html. If you aren’t artistically inclined but still want to donate to the cause … well, this part of the post was where I was supposed to write that you could go to that same Garage Art Studio post and donate via PayPal, but the link is broken at the moment. Stay tuned either here or to my Twitter feed for any further updates.

To Black Friday and beyond!

This special holiday shopping edition of the Ota-cool Incoming! calendar, spotlighting one special anime-themed shopping event and craft fairs where regular local anime con vendors like idkwhat2wear, Bit of Sugar and Team nemu*nemu, Audra Furuichi and Scott Yoshinaga, will be selling stuff over the next few weeks, is unofficially brought to you by “Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday,” a classic nemu*nemu comic strip from 2009.

Can’t make it to any of these events? Vendor websites are linked in the paragraph above. It should be noted that nemu*nemu has their holiday sale running through Dec. 16 (might I recommend the $25 e-book bundle with all six volumes, freshly recolored volumes 2-4 and introductions by industry luminaries including a certain friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger?). Audra’s taking commission requests, to boot; I’ve always had to restrain myself from buying every single piece Audra’s ever drawn, so now’s your chance to have that very same conundrum of choosing what you want to buy. Meanwhile, over at idk’s site, you can only buy their shirts at the moment, but every order comes with two randomly chosen buttons.

BLACK_FRIDAY_FrontArt+Flea Presents “Totoro Black Friday”: The monthly “destination for creatives, by creatives” takes a Ghibli turn this month. Shop for one-of-a-kind handcrafted items from dozens of vendors. and celebrate the works of Hayao Miyazaki, to boot. Swing by the Photo Ops Hawaii photo booth or watch Andy Lee of Charisma Industries work his drawing magic live, too! Admission: $3, but you can take $1 off if you come dressed as your favorite Ghibli character and another $1 if you bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. Fresh Cafe (831 Queen St.); 5-10 p.m. Friday.

27th Islandwide Christmas Crafts and Food Expo: With idkwhat2wear and Bit of Sugar. Admission: $4 general, $3 military families and seniors 65 and older, free for children 12 and under. Neal Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall; 4-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Hawaii United Okinawa Association Winter Craft Fair: With idkwhat2wear (yup, it’s a split-squad weekend for them!), the nemu*nemu crew and all the fresh-out-of-the-fryer andagi and other tasty Japanese treats that you can afford to eat. Admission: Free, but $5 will get you into the banquet hall (where idk and nemu*nemu are) 30 minutes before the formal opening time. Hawaii Okinawa Center (94-587 Ukee St., Waipio Gentry); 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

“An Evening in Waipio”: With idkwhat2wear. Think of it as like the Winter Craft Fair mentioned above — right down to the $5 early-bird offer — except in the dark of night. Hawaii Okinawa Center; 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 11.

Moanalua High School Winter Craft Fair: With idkwhat2wear, the nemu*nemu crew and Bit of Sugar. Admission is free, but bring your walking shoes if you’re not there at the crack of dawn waiting for parking, because you’ll probably be hiking from somewhere in the surrounding Salt Lake neighborhood. At the high school, 2825 Ala Ilima St.; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 14.

Honolulu Gift Fair: Stacey Hayashi, author of the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team graphic novel Journey of Heroes (now heading into a second printing!), will be one of the vendors in attendance. Admission is free. Blaisdell Exhibition Hall; 3-9 p.m. Dec. 20, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Dec. 21 and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 22.

[Kawaii Kon 2013] The final countdown! (dada daaah da, dadadada daaah)

For optimal effect, please press “play” on this video and let the audio play as you read through this post. (Please note, this should only be done in your personal space or with headphones.)

… how about that ’80s hair? Umm. Anyway.

kawaii-kon-logoSo. Kawaii Kon. Those of you who preregistered can pick up your passes at the convention center from 7 to 10 p.m. today; the convention itself runs from Friday through Sunday; and then you won’t have to read about it again here until some point in the future when there’s either a con-related announcement or your friendly neighborhood tag team in fandom, Wilma J. and/or myself, get around to writing about this year’s con experiences, whichever comes first. (We’re really hoping for the latter, but considering I’m usually exhausted by the end of the weekend and poor Wilma is also caught up in the whirlwind that is wedding planning, all bets are off at this point.)

There are far more stories to tell going in to Kawaii Kon than I have time to write up. One of them, about the three-year journey between the first and second issues of local manga anthology Hachi Maru Hachi and the creative talents behind its revival — Jordan Takemoto, Tara Tamayori, Rose Dela Cruz and Brady Evans — is in today’s paper. (For those of you checking out Otaku Ohana for the first time from that article, welcome! Here’s hoping I can update this blog enough times in the future to hold your interest and keep you reading it.) You can get what Brady, Pen & Ink Works, idkwhat2wear, Jon Murakami and the Hawaii State Library people have planned for the convention in that preview, too.

But there were other things that I just didn’t have the place or the space to properly fit into the preview. News stories are by their nature evolutionary creatures, the final product sometimes bearing little to no resemblance to the original idea. So there are fragments lingering with no real place to go, like these comments from one of this weekend’s guests, voice actor Todd Haberkorn:

Most exciting things I’m looking forward to:

— Fresh sushi
— Fans at the con that I haven’t seen before! Fans have expressed their interest in wanting to meet me face to face one day and I’m glad that is finally getting to happen.
— Swimming with sea life — Sharks! Dolphins! I’ve got my chain mail ready to go and partly, its an excuse to get to enjoy the beautiful, crystal clear blue waters of Hawaii!
— Fresh coconut juice — Not coconut milk, juice! I was a fan of coconut juice before it was hip! And to get it from one of coconut’s HQs is gonna be rad.

And here’s a comment from Johnny Yong Bosch, answering the same question of what he’s looking forward to:

This time around we didn’t get a chance to extend our stay, but a stop at the beach is mandatory. I don’t recall the name of the pancake place we stopped at, but we’ll have to make a trip there again. … The Hawaiian fans are very generous and supportive, we’ve made a few friends for life there.

There was also something Tara said during our recent interview that I thought was cute, so I’m including it here. Those of you who are either artists in Artist Alley or who have to tend to some kind of table during the convention will probably be able to relate to what she said when I asked about their con experiences every year:

I’m just stuck at my table. Like a mushroom. Slaving away, cutting out, laminating, coloring … everything I should have done beforehand.

So here we are, on the brink of the ninth annual edition of what’s become the premier celebration of the local anime and manga fan community. While there may be a bit of last-minute flailing around as everyone gets ready and gets settled, it’s shaping up to be a fun weekend — albeit a bit wet, if the weather forecasts hold true.

As promised, here are a few more of those last-minute tidbits that have gotten my attention over the past few days:

  • Today is the final day to get stamps in the Kawaii Kon Stamp Rally at 7-Eleven stores statewide. (I finished mine with a post-work store-hopping run through Kalihi and Iwilei a few nights ago!) If you’re leaving your stamping to the last minute, I’d recommend not getting a stamp from the 7-Eleven nearest to the convention center as there is one clerk there who seems to think that the stamps only should be given out with purchase of a Red Bull product. (No purchase is actually necessary.) And if you happen to end up at the same 7-Eleven in Aiea where one of my readers asked for a new stamp card and the clerk proceeded to stamp all six spaces before handing it over, well, lucky you.
  • MangaBento, one of two local groups of anime/manga-inspired artists around town these days, will be stationed in their usual corner of Artist Alley — tables 9-12, to be exact — and they’ll be bringing their usual array of art materials and sketch sheets to the convention. Join them and draw all three days!
  • Life Wallets! Courtesy idkwhat2wear.The UH-Manoa Anime and Manga Society will be demonstrating their new app for Android phones and tablets — an electronic guide to memorable anime quotes, with handy translations and explanations. It’s a work in progress, with a beefier version targeted for completion by 2014. (It already looks pretty spiffy, though.) Members will also be helping Jayson Chun and UH-West Oahu students with their annual Cosplay Cafe, which of course was the featured topic of last year’s Kawaii Kon preview.
  • I’ve already profiled much of what idkwhat2wear will be selling, but Terri Dux introduced a new piece of merchandise Wednesday night that’s certainly worth noting as well: Life Wallets, fabric wallets with silk-screened sketches by Karl Miyashiro lining the insides. You can see a sample of one to the right. They’re cute, they’re $9, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go toward helping family member Pam Dux in her continuing struggle against breast cancer. Get the full Life Wallet story at lifewallet.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/6/

Internet connection willing, I’ll try to update this blog throughout the weekend. Follow me on Twitter, too, at @jsyadao, if that’s your social media cup of tea. Here we go!

The Cel Shaded Report, 12/7: “Madoka Magica” films make contract with Honolulu

There haven’t been many anime series that have lit the ol’ “hey, pay attention, this is garnering quite a bit of attention on the fan scene” light on my anime-monitoring radar as of late. And for good reason: With the fan base as fractured as it is, more into things like Adventure Time and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and the Homestuck web comic and the Internet meme flavor of the moment than anime anime. Gone are the days when you could have big-time series like Naruto or Ouran High School Host Club or Hetalia unifying the masses; these days, it seems like there’s Pokemon, and then there’s a billion subsets of fandom.

Madoka and Kyubey, Nendoroid style. REVEL IN THE PUDGY CUTE.I have, however, heard more than my fair share of good things about Puella Magi Madoka Magica. It’s a mahou shoujo (magical girl) series that follows the triumphs and trials that high school student Madoka Kaname finds when Kyubey, a magical creature, offers her a contract to become a magical girl and fight the Witches who plague the world. Sure, she can get one wish of hers granted if she enters into the contract, but the burdens that she must take on and the despair of the world that she must see in doing so could be far too much for her to bear.

The 12-episode series is available for premium subscribers on Crunchyroll, or, if you have a few extra dollars to burn, you can also get it on DVD or Blu-ray from Aniplex of America. (Just remember, it’s Aniplex, home of the four-episode, $29.99 DVD/$39.99 Blu-ray … and that’s on sale.)

But some of you may not have the time to spare to digest five hours worth of TV show. That’s OK, because Shaft, the studio behind Madoka Magica, has you covered. In October, Shaft released a pair of compilation films, Beginnings and Eternal, with a total running time of … four hours. (A third film with new story content, Rebellion, is due out in 2013.) So yeah, watch the films, and you can save an entire hour of your life for other things! Yay?

Seriously, though, whether four hours or five, Madoka Magica does seem worthy of the time investment. The question, though, was always whether the U.S. distributors — Aniplex, in conjunction with Eleven Arts — would see fit to give Honolulu a shot at seeing the two films. The chances seemed remote at best, even as the double feature slowly started spreading from obvious locations (Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco) out to other recognizable cities (Seattle, Atlanta, Philadelphia) and then other cities (Akron, Ohio! Raleigh, N.C.!)

And then on Thursday, two screenings popped up on the Honolulu Museum of Art website. Scheduled for 4 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28 at the Doris Duke Theatre, at that. And the people rejoiced. Oh, yeah, and if there are any readers of this blog in Greensboro, N.C., you’re getting it, too. But mostly YAY US.

If you want to get in on the fun, tickets are already on sale for $20 general admission, $18 Honolulu Museum of Art members. First 20 people each night will get a limited-edition poster. Just remember, it is two movies’ worth of content you’re getting in one night — with an intermission in between — so be ready to settle in for the long haul. Point your browser of choice at http://www.honolulumuseum.org/events/films/13340-puella_magi_madoka_magica_parts_1_2 and go from there.

Kawaii Kon encore for Bosch and Eyeshine

Sunday was Anime Day at Windward Mall, where — just as this blogger predicted — Yu x Me: Maid Cafe & Host Club performed “Mune Mune Kyun.”

Mune mune kyun, mune kyun, mune kyun kyun ...

More pictures to come sometime between now and 2032. The reason why I’m bringing up Anime Day here, though, is because a guest announcement for Kawaii Kon 2013 surfaced there: After a hugely successful appearance this year, voice actor Johnny Yong Bosch and his band, Eyeshine, will be returning next year for a repeat performance. Recapping Bosch’s resume for those of you new to this ballgame: He was the first replacement Black Ranger in the Power Ranger franchise and is best known as the voice of Vash the Stampede in Trigun, Ichigo in Bleach, Kaneda in Akira, Lelouch Lamperouge in Code Geass, Claus in Last Exile and Renton in Eureka Seven. Eyeshine, for their part, will be debuting their new album — 100 limited-edition copies also will be on sale — and shooting their new music video at the convention. (And yes, con attendees will get to be part of it, too.)

Bosch and Eyeshine join previously announced guests Todd Haberkorn, Colleen Clinkenbeard and Lisle Wilkerson — voice actors one and all. Kawaii Kon is March 15-17 at the Hawai’i Convention Center; three-day general admission passes are $48 ($38 children ages 5-11) through Feb. 28. Visit www.kawaii-kon.org.

More from the anime news desk

Roy Chang’s Cacy & Kiara library tour: Learn about the creative processes behind Cacy & Kiara and the Curse of the Ki’i, the new young adult novel by Roy, an Aiea Intermediate art teacher, MidWeek cartoonist and friend of the blog. This is Roy’s last scheduled library appearance for the year, so go see him if you haven’t already! 1:30-2:30 p.m. Saturday at Liliha Library, 1515 Liliha St. (Speaking of Liliha Library, don’t forget to submit artwork for the third annual Anime Art Contest. Deadline for that is Dec. 31.)

MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists meets from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Honolulu Museum of Art School, 1111 Victoria St., Room 200. Visit www.manga-bento.com for more information.

Moanalua High School Winter Craft Fair: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the school, 2825 Ala Ilima St. It’s your last chance to get your nemu*nemu swag from Audra Furuichi and Scott Yoshinaga, and your second-to-last chance to get apparel and buttons from Terri Dux, Karl Miyashiro and the gang at idkwhat2wear. (The latter group will be at one last craft fair this holiday season — the Hawaii United Okinawa Center evening craft fair in Waipio Gentry from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday.)

The Cel Shaded Report, 11/30: Kawaii Kon ‘cross the Koolaus

anime dayThe reasons for me to visit Windward Mall have admittedly dwindled over the past few years. First, the Borders store closed last year; then the Suncoast Video store followed suit earlier this year. Earlier this month, we learned that the Marukai Discount store there will be shutting down as well. That pretty much leaves Ben & Jerry’s, Ono Cheese Steak, the theaters and a GameStop … and it would take something reeeeeaaally good going on at one of those to convince me to make my way out there.

Or, of course, you could just put on an Anime Day, like the one that Kawaii Kon is hosting on Sunday.

“Basically, the idea is taking just a small ‘slice’ of Kawaii Kon and bringing it to the Windward side,” Roy Bann, Kawaii Kon senior administrator, told me in an email. Looking at the lineup of activities, it’s a small slice all right … if you think of it like a small slice of the lemon crunch cake at the Alley Restaurant at Aiea Bowl, which is a thick wedge packed chock full of awesome. And even better, it’s absolutely free to attend! Here’s a list of what you can see and do on Sunday:

  • A mini dealers room/Artist Alley will feature stuff for sale from idkwhat2wear and steampunk accessories from Mad House Mind Works, among others.
  • A stamp rally with select Windward Mall merchants will give you the opportunity to win special prizes, including a three-day pass to Kawaii Kon 2013.
  • Local artist group MangaBento will be hosting a photo booth with props to help you look like you’re in a living manga panel.
  • The other local artist group, Pen & Ink Works, will be offering a “make your own manga” activity as well as drawing contests throughout the day.
  • Comic Jam Hawaii will have artists collaborating on cartoons from 10 a.m. to noon.
  • The Hawaii Video Gaming League will be hosting a Tetris tournament.
  • Yu x Me: Maid Cafe & Host Club, freshly rebranded from their former identity as Animaid Cafe Hawaii, will be hosting a panel at 11:30 a.m. and performing several dances on stage. (“Mune Mune Kyun” performance? Probably a lock.)
  • Also on stage: “Cosplay Runway,” a showcase of several talented cosplayers in these fair islands of ours.
  • Kaneohe Library will be showcasing some of the anime and manga available to borrow there.

Add to that an anime theater where you can watch a few series and games to play throughout the day, and you have a whole bunch of activities guaranteed to please any anime fan and regular Kawaii Kon attendee. Special rates for con passes will be available, too. It’s all happening from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the mall, at 46-056 Kamehameha Highway in Kaneohe.

More from the anime news desk

cacy coverCacy & Kiara on tour: Author/Aiea Intermediate art teacher/MidWeek cartoonist/friend of the blog Roy Chang will be promoting his book Saturday on the Perry & Price Show live from Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant. Your friendly neighborhood blogger confesses that he had no idea that Perry & Price moved to Jade Dynasty, having last listened to their live show regularly back when it was in the Hanohano Room, 30 stories above the beach in the Sheraton Waikiki, then noting their subsequent moves to John Dominis and Jimmy Buffett’s in Waikiki. But I digress. No word on exactly when in the show Roy will be on, so you’ll just have to listen to the show on KSSK 590 AM or 92.3 FM between 8 and 11 a.m. and hope for the best.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists is going to be everywhere this weekend. Anime Day aside, they’re also going to be at Liliha Library (1515 Liliha St.) from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, and they’re going to be holding down their regular slot in front of Hot Unique Imaging, on the Uptown side of Pearlridge Center, from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. My hand would be falling off after just an hour of drawing, if not sooner, so I really have to give props to the artists who end up showing up at all three events. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/147779161986428 (Facebook login required).

Hello Kitty designer visits: Swing by Shirokiya at Ala Moana between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. today through Sunday, and you can meet, and get an autograph from, lead Hello Kitty designer Yuko Yamaguchi. Take pictures with Hello Kitty, learn how to make cute lunchboxes, get a cute character manicure and just bask in the glory of super-sugary Sanrio CUTE. Be one of the first 50 people in line each day, and you could even get a $5 gift card for Hello Kitty beauty products at Sephora.

idkwhat2wear: Terri Dux, Karl Miyashiro and the gang are sitting out this weekend’s batch of craft fairs. (So are nemu*nemu‘s Audra Furuichi and Scott Yoshinaga.) But they’ll be back in action Tuesday at Wabi Sabi’s Christmas in Honolulu Craft Fair from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, 2454 S. Beretania St., in the fifth floor ballroom. Adopt a “musubi angel,” and you can get in early at 4 p.m.