Ota-cool Incoming: I’ve been waiting for this day!

Last week in Otaku Ohana: Your friendly neighborhood anime/manga/cartooning blogger jots down every known detail of every upcoming event he knows about. “Yay! That’s done!” he says. “Now I can finally start working on those HawaiiCon and Amazing Comic Con wrap-up reports!”

This week in Otaku Ohana: The Honolulu Museum of Art, in conjunction with Kawaii Kon, announces its lineup for “Japanese Cinema Spotlight,” a month’s worth of Japanese film screenings at the Doris Duke Theatre — including many popular anime and anime-related films screened in Honolulu this year — as a way of leading up to a major exhibit on Japanese street fashion opening at the museum next month. Blogger weeps openly.

Indeed, local otaku, your busy October — which, as you may recall from previous posts, includes an Anime Day, an Anime Ohana, Ingress First Saturday, a Gamer Expo, Boruto and live-action Attack on Titans, and of course National Cosplay Recognition Day Halloween, has just gotten even busier.

Thirteen films will be shown as part of the Spotlight throughout the month; the five relevant to our Otaku Ohana interests here are:

raaargh

Attack on Titan: Live-action humans taking on CGI Titans? Sure, the movies have been getting skewered by awful reviews, but you know what? We’ve been waiting for this day! (Hopefully with fixed subtitles. Sorry for your misfortune, San Francisco, but thanks for something that will be endlessly meme-able for a 24-hour cycle.) Part 1, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday; Part 2, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20, 22 and 27.

marnie

When Marnie Was There: Studio Ghibli’s last film for the foreseeable future had a short run at the Hawaii International Film Festival’s Spring Showcase in April, then a wider theatrical release in June. It’s actually out on home video on Tuesday, but hey, the theater experience is always better, right? Based on the novel by Joan G. Robinson, the story follows Anna, a foster child and a bit of a loner who finds a mysterious new friend, Marnie, during a summer stay in Hokkaido. 1 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday and Oct. 10.

ushiko

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness: A documentary profiling Ushiko, the Studio Ghibli cat. Oh yeah, and you also get a behind-the-scenes look at Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki and directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata around the time they were working on The Wind Rises and The Tale of Princess Kaguya, respectively. My priorities may be reversed here. Because caaaaaaaaaaaat. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, 1 p.m. Thursday and 4 p.m. Oct. 10.

lovelive

Love Live: The School Idol Movie: Back in 2013, we first met second-year student Honoka Kosaka and her efforts to save her school from shutting down by forming a nine-member idol group, µ’s. Now we’ve reached the point where the senior members are about to graduate and µ’s is ready to dissolve … until they receive news of a special event. Is this their last hurrah? Could this be a springboard moment for the rest of their lives? 4 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Oct. 15 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28.

Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 for museum members. For tickets and a complete listing of films and showtimes (the original Godzilla is in there, too!), visit honolulumuseum.org/pages/15342-japanese_cinema_spotlight_2015

Elsewhere around town

“Japanese Mythology in Film”: Japanese mythology is at the core of a new book by Yoshiko Okuyama, an associate professor of Japanese studies at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The book, Japanese Mythology in Film: A Semiotic Approach to Reading Japanese Film and Anime, takes a scholarly approach of analyzing films with such themes, including anime like Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, and the live-action Onmyoji, Onmyoji 2, Dororo, Mushi-shi and Departures. Join her for a talk on these topics — and maybe more! — at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Moore Hall room 258, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Friday. The talk is free and open to the public.

Ingress First Saturday: Ever wanted to learn how to play Niantic Labs’ massively multiplayer augmented reality smartphone game? Feel like honing your skills and learning playing tips from high-level agents? Want to meet The Face of Hawaii Ingress in person? Care to see what Niantic is capable of producing before their new likely-to-be-a-megahit collaboration with Nintendo, Pokemon Go, goes live and turns what we’ve known for several years as the Hawaiian Netmender Fountain portal into Jigglypuff? Come to Kapiolani Park for a day of cross-factional rivalry, fellowship, and … triangles! Lots! And lots! Of TRIANGLES~!

Meet at the Diamond Head Landmark portal (www.ingress.com/intel?ll=21.265395,-157.82058&z=17&pll=21.265395,-157.82058 for those of you with scanners; about halfway between the Waikiki Aquarium and the Natatorium on the park side of Kalakaua Avenue for those who don’t). To the Enlightened, may the odds be forever in your favor. To the Resistance, umm … enjoy the cross-factional potluck afterward? Yeah. That’s it. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.

Anime Day at Windward Mall: Everything you loved about Kawaii Kon’s past Anime Days will be back for another round, including the Cosplay Runway, games, art activities (including the giant art wall!), discounted three-day passes for Kawaii Kon 2016, a selection of Artist Alley vendors (including artists Jon J. Murakami and Roy Chang, and the Star-Advertiser’s own Erika Engle and her handcrafted jewelry!) and a mall-wide stamp rally for the chance to win a fabulous prize. All of this happens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the mall, 46-056 Kamehameha Highway. And, of course, admission is free!

Gamer Expo 2015: Remember when I said last week that the second annual edition of what’s been called the state’s largest video game event would be happening Saturday at the Modern Honolulu? Hit the giant virtual reset button on those plans, because now the event is taking place a full 25 hours later, from noon to 10 p.m. Sunday at the Ala Moana Hotel. Aside from that very-important-albeit-coming-at-short-notice change, everything else remains the same: tournaments for pretty much all the hot games out there (Super Smash Bros.! Hearthstone! Halo! Street Fighter! League of Legends! More!), a retro gaming section, and pretty much all the pew-pew-hack-slash-kick-punch-it’s-all-in-the-mind action you could possibly want. Special guests include Super Smash Bros. pro players Corey “False” Shin, Larry “Larry Lurr” Holland, William “Dkwill” Walsh, Max “Max Ketchum” Krchmar and Michael “MikeKirby” Alvare, and noted Hearthstone streamer Hafu. Professional cosplayers Leah Rose and Uncanny Megan will also be there! Presented by eSports HI; $25 general admission, $43 VIP pass.

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. Sunday.

Keiki Courtyard Cinema presents My Neighbor Totoro: Twenty-seven years(!) after it was first released in Japan, the Hayao Miyazaki-directed tale of two girls and oh-so-huggable furry creatures of all sizes remains one of anime’s most beloved showcases. For proof, let’s go back to this year’s Kawaii Kon Art Auction.

totoro01

This is “Flower Crown Totoro,” a canvas print by Amanda Coronado. It sold for $270.

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This is “Green Totoro,” a watercolor canvas print by Cari Corene. It sold for $300.

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This is “Totoro Trio Happy Days,” a stack of plushies by I’m Sew Stuffed. It sold for $300.

… you get the idea. Popular. Eminently bankable. And it’ll be screening for free at the Ward Village Courtyard — the revamped area by the IBM Building — as part of Ward’s ongoing Courtyard Cinema series. A food truck will be there, free popcorn will be available, fun and educational activities will be going on … sounds like a great time for the young and young-at-heart. Sure, it’s the English dubbed version, but it’s free Totoro. Come on. You have to love that. While the screening’s free, tickets are required and can be obtained via the Hawaii International Film Festival ticket site, hiff.tix.com/schedule.aspx?OrgNum=2034&VenueCode=14757. Gates open at 6 p.m. Wednesday; film starts at sundown.

Anime Ohana: This convention, started by Kawaii Kon founder Stan Dahlin and Sentai Filmworks producer David Williams, will feature voice actors Jessica Calvello (Hange Zoe, Attack on Titan; Yuri, Dirty Pair), Monica Rial (Kaede Kayano, Assassination Classroom) and David Matranga (the title role in Orphen) and all the usual accouterments we’ve come to know and love from the other four conventions so far this year. Oct. 9-11, Pagoda Hotel, 1525 Rycroft St. For the latest news, visit the event page at facebook.com/events/742706302513876/; for passes (available in 1-3 day varieties for both children and adults), visit animeohana.com.

Remember the Titans (and the idol girls, Milk Cow and ninjas)

Over the 12 years or so that I’ve been keeping track of the local anime/manga fan community, I’ve seen a number of different series rise and fall in popularity. There was the Inu-Yasha era, the Naruto era, Fruits Basket, Fullmetal Alchemist, Ouran High School Host Club, Hetalia, Adventure Time, that weird Homestuck anomaly (shudder), Minecraft. And now, we’re squarely in the age of Attack on Titan, the franchise where massive vein-popping naked humanoids stomp around the planet, gobble up regular people (Eren’s mom, ewwwwww nooooooo) like we eat french fries, battle with the Avengers, attend junior high school and star in spinoff after spinoff after spinoff.

One adaptation has gotten a fair amount of attention over the past few months: the Attack on Titan live-action movies, in which real-life people battle real-life CGI Titans. You can see all your favorites — Eren! Mikasa! Armin! Levi! — as they would appear as if they were real and dwelt among us. Here, have a trailer.

raaarghTo say English-speaking audiences have been eagerly anticipating these movies could be an understatement. The announcement that tickets were on sale came on Monday, with the Consolidated Ward Stadium 16 theaters and the Doris Duke Theater at the Honolulu Museum of Arts listed as local venues; as I’m writing this post on Wednesday, the Thursday, Oct. 1 screening is completely sold out. (Pure speculation on my part, but could Kawaii Kon or one of our other local cons have snapped up all those tickets? This happened before in 2013, when Evangelion 3.0: You Will (Never) Get This Film on Home Video sold out one screening, then promptly re-emerged as part of a Kawaii Kon promotion.)

If you were interested in seeing this film on the big screen — Part 1 in particular — you might want to get those tickets soon. Fair warning, though: Part 1, at least, may fall short of your expectations. And Part 2, for those of you who may have watched Part 1 through *coughother means, may not be much better. Consolidated Ward Stadium 16; 7 p.m. Sept. 30 (Part 1) and 7 p.m. Oct. 20 and Oct. 22 (Part 2). is Duke Theater screenings TBA.

Also coming soon to a theater near you (as long as “near you” is urban Honolulu):

loveliveLove Live! The School Idol Movie: Back in 2013, we first met second-year student Honoka Kosaka and her efforts to save her school from shutting down by forming a nine-member idol group, µ’s. Two anime series and a popular rhythm/card-collecting/relationship simulator/special-event-obsession-magnet game for iOS and Android later, we’ve reached the point where the senior members are about to graduate and µ’s is ready to dissolve … until they receive news of a special event. Is this their last hurrah? Could this be a springboard moment for the rest of their lives? Is it possible that your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger already looked at the Love Live wiki and read the entire movie plot summary because he’ll be away attending HawaiiCon when this film screens on Oahu? (The answers: can’t say, can’t say, and OKAY YES I’M ALSO THE TYPE OF PERSON WHO CHEATS AND SKIPS AHEAD TO THE ENDS OF BOOKS BEFORE READING THE MIDDLE PARTS.) While supplies last, you can also get a randomly selected shikishi (image board) of one of the nine µ’s members! Consolidated Ward Stadium 16, noon Sept. 12 and 7 p.m. Sept. 14.

The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow: As I noted above, there aren’t any screening times listed yet for the Attack on Titan movies at the Doris Duke Theater. While I was looking, though, something else caught my eye: The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow, an animated feature screening as part of Seoul Cinema 2015, a mini festival of contemporary films from South Korea. The synopsis … well, here, excerpted from the museum website:

An orbiting female satellite picks up a lovelorn pop song on her radio antenna and descends to Earth to try to discover who could be the source of such heartfelt emotions. On the way, she is transformed into the Satellite Girl, complete with Astro Boy-like rocket shoes and weapon-firing limbs, while the balladeer in question—a loser twenty-something playing at an open mic in a coffee shop—meets the fate that befalls all broken-hearted lovers: he is turned into a cow. There is more: a wizard in the form of a roll of toilet paper, an all-consuming incinerator monster, a pig witch.

And then there’s this publicity still.

MILKCOW!

Omega-squee. Milk Cow for the win, people. 11:10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sept. 20 (free admission!), 1 p.m. Sept. 26 ($10 general, $8 members).

Boruto posterBoruto: Naruto the Movie: Proving that The Last: Naruto the Movie really wasn’t the last Naruto movie, here comes … umm … the last Naruto movie. Until the next one, I suppose, although it really seems like series creator Masashi Kishimoto will be taking a break from ninja tales for a while. This time out, Naruto’s the one tasked with the mature duties — he is the Seventh Hokage for the Hidden Leaf Village now, after all — while Boruto is playing the rebellious wild child role. But when Sasuke shows up to warn of impending doom, and said doom arrives on their doorstep … well, we’ve been through 11 movies and a bajillion anime episodes and manga chapters, you probably know what’s coming next: camaraderie, coming-of-age, teamwork, friendship, respect, all that fun shounen manga stuff. Consolidated Ward Stadium 16, noon Oct. 10 and 7 p.m. Oct. 12.