The Cel Shaded Report, 6/28: A quick dip into the night

tokyo story

I’m working on quite a few posts at the moment, so this week’s edition of the Cel Shaded Report is going to have to be a quick one. Fortunately for my workload, there’s only one event catching my attention this week that has to be talked about ASAP.

That event is happening Friday at the Honolulu Museum of Art. In conjunction with “Hiroshige: An Artist’s Journey,” an exhibit featuring the woodblock prints of Utagawa Hiroshige that’s on display through Aug. 19, the museum’s monthly ARTafterDARK event will carry the theme of “Tokyo Story.” “Inspired by the exhibition … we bring the neon glitz and glam of Tokyo to ARTafterDARK,” an official blurb reads … and you know that here at Otaku Ohana, we’re all about promoting events that have Tokyo glitz and glam that involves the local art community.

Advertised as being a part of the festivities is Gordon Rider/Star-Advertiser “Calabash” cartoonist Jon Murakami and Jessica Valadez, “featured artist of Kawaii Kon.” (I’ve only had time to deduce that she’s won a past Kawaii Kon newsletter art contest and has exhibited before in Artist Alley, but nothing beyond that.) Both Jon and Jessica will be doing sketches at the event. Not advertised, but also attending, will be nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi (sketching away alongside Jon and Jessica) and HEXXP and the MangaBento artists, who’ll be manning the Harajuku Photo Booth, where attendees can take pictures using yukata and various props. You can also meet Ayumi Sugimoto, the animator from Japan whose workshops in Hawaii laid the groundwork for MangaBento’s creation.

Cost is $10 general admission and free for Museum members; visit http://honoluluacademy.org/events/art_after_dark/12869-tokyo_story to see more of the cool activities that will be available.

Okay, back into the writing cave for me, where I hope to get at least one more post up before the end of the month. Or maybe I’ll just end up being distracted by random videos. You never know.

The Cel Shaded report, 6/22: Just kickin’ it

Tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. and I are big fans of Kickstarter, the fundraising website that gives all sorts of projects, from art exhibits to state-of-the-art technological doohickeys, the chance to go from dream to reality with the help of people willing to invest a bit to make them happen.

dragonfly poster… wait, did I just write “big fans of Kickstarter” in that last paragraph? I meant to say “freakishly obsessed with Kickstarter.” If there’s a worthy cause for us to support and an affordable tier of cool swag for us to jump on, we are so. there. Rich Burlew’s Order of the Stick reprint project? Helped with that. Double Fine’s untitled adventure game? That, too. And, of course, you’ve read about one of the most prominent/successful local campaigns in this space, the nemu*nemu volume 6 Kickstarter. We’ve hopped on those and so many more.

It’s with that obsession in mind that I present to you two more Kickstarter projects in the process of pursuing funding, one local, one national. The local project is one that’s been in the works since Burl Burlingame first profiled it in the pages of the Star-Bulletin in 2007: Dragonfly, a live-action superhero show from the creator of Pineapple Man, Sam Campos. Campos has described his show in the past as “Kikaida meets X-Files,” and it’s easy to see the influence of tokusatsu (live-action superhero) series like Kikaida and Kamen Rider on the costume designs in his series. The show stars Cole Horibe as Alex Tombo, descendent of an ancient line of genetically engineered warriors that defends the world from an ancient evil that lurks within the islands. (You may have seen Horibe on TV recently, as he’s in the running in Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance with his martial arts-infused moves.)

Campos is looking to raise $50,000 to finish production of Dragonfly’s first three episodes. With that in mind, here’s the Dragonfly Kickstarter pitch video:

… as well as a link to an interview Campos did on World of Superheroes that explains a bit more about the project. Rewards include anything from digital downloads of the three episodes in production ($10 for one, $15 for two, $20 for all three) all the way up to an executive producer credit, a prototype helmet, signed copies of Pineapple Man issues 1-4 and a Dragonfly DVD (a price tier so high that I’m pretty sure the average Otaku Ohana reader wouldn’t be able to afford it without taking out a loan somewhere). You have until July 13 to contribute to the Dragonfly Kickstarter at http://ow.ly/bKJ4r.

unicoOn the national front, Digital Manga Publishing — which already has successfully Kickstarted a reprint of Osamu Tezuka’s Swallowing the Earth and the first run of Tezuka’s Barbara — is going back to the Tezuka well for its latest project: a full-color print run of Unico. The series, about a unicorn endowed with magical powers to help those to love him, was serialized from 1976 to 1979 in Sanrio’s Ririka magazine — yes, that Sanrio, better known the House of Hello Kitty. As such, this title is far more accessible to readers of all ages than Swallowing the Earth and Barbara, two series tailored for older readers. This would be the first translated run for the Unico manga in the U.S., but it’s not the first time Unico’s shown up in the states; most recently, Discotek released two animated features, The Fantastic World of Unico (1981) and Unico in the Island of Magic (1983), on DVD in May.

As I was writing this post, the campaign had just crossed over the $12,000 mark and appears well on its way to making its $20,500 goal well before its scheduled closing date of July 21. Once it hits that goal, it looks like there’s going to be an announcement of another Tezuka manga that’s joining the party, so stay tuned. For now, $35 lands a copy of Unico and either $10 worth of online manga at eManga.com or six issues of the Astro Boy online magazine, and the tiers scale upward from there to include stickers, T-shirts and posters. The always great Tezuka in English site has more background information about the Unico manga, and you can contribute to the Kickstarter, check out some sample translated pages and watch DMP’s pitch video at http://ow.ly/bKKqS.

Update 6/28: Original goal has been met! Now the DMP Kickstarter-teers is working on getting another manga, the “Astro Boy … if Astro was a cat” story ATOMCAT into publication. And if that gets successfully funded — and it’s about a shade over $1,000 to doing that — the push for another manga will begin. Stay tuned.

Anime around town

uematsuHEXXP: Online registration is continuing for the third annual edition of the pop culture convention, and so are the monthly giveaways. Those of you registered by the end of this month, in fact, have a chance to win a rather coveted item to anyone who’s a fan of one of this year’s guests, Nobuo Uematsu. See that Earthbound Papas CD to the right? See that silver scrawl on the upper left corner? That is, indeed, Uematsu’s signature, and if your name is drawn, you could very well win this signed CD. HEXXP is happening Oct. 20-21 at the Aloha Tower Marketplace; visit https://www.facebook.com/hexxphawaii for more information or http://www.hexxp.com to register (and, by extension, enter to win). 

Pen & Ink Works: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists is getting together for a Sketch Meet from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the McCully-Moiliili Public Library, 2211 S. King St., in the first-floor reading room. (If you’re attended the library’s Mini Con in the past two years, you know where that room is.) Bring your sketchbooks, get some drawing advice from senior members, and get ready for a fun afternoon. Visit peninkworks.wordpress.com.

MangaBento: The other 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 http://www.manga-bento.com for more information. Also, the group’s latest exhibit, “Nakamaboko” is on display in the art school’s second-floor gallery through July 14. I’m still working on processing the pictures I took at Sunday’s opening reception and a follow-up visit on Wednesday, but here’s a sneak Pika-peek with a ceramic piece by Chad Vilayvong.

pika peek

Comic Jam Hawaii: This month’s informal gathering of comic artists is happening Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Center Court of Kahala Mall. Artists of all skill levels are invited to draw, talk story and collaborate on cartoons like this one, also among the pieces on display at the “Nakamaboko” exhibit:

comic jam sample

The Cel Shaded report, 6/14: Returning with a boxed lunch

Well. Hello there. It’s been a while since I’ve actually written a full post in this space, hasn’t it? Yes, there was a guest post from Christina Chun on the Dragon Age movie, and tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. handled the May Manga Movable Feast post, but I haven’t written much here since May 3.

Not that I haven’t tried to write anything, of course — I have about two or three unfinished posts sitting in the Otaku Ohana drafts folder. Great topics, too. For starters, I really ought to share some of those pictures I took at an exhibit at the state Capitol in early May, so you can see all the nice artwork from the Cartooning Social Jam group at Aiea Intermediate School. Like this piece by Jessica Sato.

An intermediate school student did this, folks. INTERMEDIATE. SCHOOL. STUDENT.

It’s just that, I must admit, I haven’t felt very inspired to finish anything as of late. You could call it partly a feeling of burnout, partly that feeling of blogger mid/late-life crisis where one starts questioning why he or she still blogs and whether anyone really cares about what gets written/published anymore. It just seemed like I needed to step away for a bit and re-evaluate just why I do what I do. Rediscover the joy of writing, if you will.

So, without a word, I just took some time off. Yes, I edited Christi’s and Wilma’s posts and added some introductions,  but that was pretty much it when it came to Otaku Ohana. In the interim I also visited San Jose for FanimeCon over Memorial Day weekend, one of the largest and best anime conventions in northern California … unless, of course, you show up at your hotel on the same night that the leader of the free world is staying there and have to navigate your way through various security measures and metal detectors just to make it to the front desk, and then, less than 24 hours later, endure six hours waiting to pick up your badge (and not having any guarantee of picking it up, at that!). In which case you’d probably seriously rethink ranking Fanime among your best experiences and relying on it as your “vacation con,” too.

On the bright side, I did get to watch this sax player play songs like the Sailor Moon theme song, the Epic Sax Guy riff and, my personal favorite (because I’m old-school like that), “Baker Street,” in the hallway of the McEnery Convention Center. A YouTube search pulls up the user name “MkaliKunguru” as the man responsible for filling Fanime with his merry melodies. Assuming YouTube doesn’t take this video down on a copyright infringement charge, here’s his take on “Baker Street.”

That video is admittedly a bit dark, so here’s a clearer picture of what he looks like. You may also notice in this picture that some familiar plush pup companions were enjoying his music, too.

On a side note: I also saw this guy one night while waiting in line at popular neighborhood eatery Pizza My Heart. He was carrying Anpan with him. Those of you who read "nemu*nemu" will find that quite apropos.

So what did I conclude during my time away? I don’t think I’m quite ready to give up this gig yet. It’s just too much fun to write about what we experience in the world of anime/manga/cartooning fandom and share them with our readers — whoever they may be at this point. (Please leave a comment if you’re still reading, by the way. I’m a bit curious to see who’s out there. Don’t be shy.) Granted, tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. and I may not post as often as we’d like to — our targets have slipped from “multiple posts per week” when Otaku Ohana started, to the more recent “once per week” schedule, to the current “whenever we can scrape together 10-15 minutes out of our busy schedules to write part of a post that maaaaaaay, God willing, come out sometime in the next few months” — but then again we’ve always been more about quality than quantity ’round these parts.

Enough of my rambling, though. Let’s get to the good stuff.

“Nakamaboko” ready to serve

These past few weeks have been very, very good for local fans of anime/manga/cartoon-inspired art. It started with the aforementioned Aiea Intermediate Cartooning Social Jam exhibit. Then Comic Jam Hawaii, a group of local artists that’s been popping up on my radar quite frequently as of late, conducted several jam sessions around town. Our sister publication, MidWeek, had an article about Pancho Abalos’  “Tributes” exhibit, with his pieces influenced by the Edo period joined by student artwork on display at the ING Direct Cafe in Waikiki through June 30. Elizabeth Kieszkowski over at Honolulu Pulse also did a piece on it, and I’m going to try to make my way out there sometime before the month is out as well. (The cafe’s at 1958 Kalakaua Ave., in case you want to see it for yourself.)

nakamaboko2The rest of the month is packed with events — more details, God willing, next week — but the latest event in this recent chain just opened Tuesday at the Honolulu Museum of Art School: “Nakamaboko: Working Together,” this year’s exhibit by the anime/manga-inspired young artist collective MangaBento. Those of you who visited MangaBento’s “Kakimochi” exhibit last year know what the display space on the school’s second floor looks like; you can expect to see an all-new lineup of pieces on display this year. The group’s already posted a gallery of pre-exhibit setup photos on its Facebook page, and the space is already looking quite promising. (I’m certainly digging the octopus over the elevator.)

You have until July 14 to check out the exhibit, but in case you have some free time this Sunday, the group will be hosting an opening reception from 2 to 5 p.m. AniMaid Cafe Hawaii servers will be on hand with refreshments, and art activity stations will be set up around the gallery. Yes, it’s also Father’s Day. Just bring dear ol’ Dad along after taking him out to lunch or before taking him out to dinner, and it’ll all be good.

The Honolulu Museum of Art School is at 1111 Victoria St.; admission is free. For more about MangaBento, visit www.manga-bento.com.

Anime around town

Aiea Library Anime Club: 3 p.m. Saturday at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. This month, librarian Diane Masaki will be screening the first few episodes of Ghost Hunt. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com.

The Cel Shaded Report, 5/3: Freebies assemble!

2012 FCBD logoSo there’s this really big movie opening this weekend. Really big. Several superheroes from recent movies rolled up into one giant juggernaut of a movie big. So big that the Associated Press began its weekly box office earnings story earlier this week by talking about how many hundreds of millions of dollars it made … and it hadn’t even opened yet in the United States.

Indeed, if you haven’t seen any of the other movies that have been out for a while, this weekend might be the best time to catch some of ’em, because it’s a given that all the theaters screening The Avengers will be the ones crammed full of people. The fact that it’s a big weekend featuring a blockbuster movie based on a popular comic book series also can mean only one thing: It’s time for the return of Free Comic Book Day, that one day out of the year when most comic book stores — one three-store chain in Virginia excepted — promote sequential art by giving away books by the boxful.

Four comic book stores are participating on Saturday:

  • Collector Maniacs, 3571 Waialae Ave., ste. 102A (Kaimuki)
  • Gecko Books, 1151 12th Ave. (Kaimuki)
  • Other Realms, Ward Warehouse, 1050 Ala Moana Blvd.
  • Jelly’s, 98-023 Hekaha St. (Aiea)

If you visit any of these stores, don’t forget to throw some money at them and buy something in appreciation, too — supporting local small businesses is always a good thing.

Thirteen libraries across the state are participating as well — 10 on Oahu, two on Maui, one on Hawaii island. (Sorry, Kauai — just as with The Secret World of Arrietty screenings, looks like you’ve been shut out again.) Some will also be hosting special events. The sites:

  • Aiea (99-143 Moanalua Road) — 501st Imperial Legion visits from 10 a.m. to noon; from 3 to 5 p.m., the gang from Comic Jam Hawaii, a group of local cartoonists that meets regularly for fellowship, drawing and creative brainstorming, will be at the library for a Free Comic Day Jam. The public can join in, too.
  • Aina Haina (5246 Kalanianaole Highway) — Oahu FanForce, a group with members cosplaying as various Star Wars characters, visits from 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Hawaii Kai (249 Lunalilo Home Road)
  • Hilo (300 Waianuenue Ave)
  • Kailua (239 Kuulei Road) — 501st Imperial Legion visits from 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Kapolei (1020 Manawai St.) — Rebel Legion Hawaii visits from 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Kihei (35 Waimahaihai St.)
  • Lahaina (680 Wharf St.)
  • Liliha (1515 Liliha St.) — Rebel Legion Hawaii visits from 2 to 4 p.m.
  • McCully-Moiliili (2211 S. King St.) — Rebel Legion Hawaii visits from 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Mililani (95-450 Makaimoimo St.) — 501st Imperial Legion visits from 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Waianae (85-625 Farrington Highway)
  • Waimanalo (41-1320 Kalanianaole Highway) — 501st Imperial Legion visits from 10 a.m. to noon.

While there aren’t any giveaways of Japanese manga — you’ll just have to resort to the increasing number of chapter samples available year-round on legal manga sites like jmanga.comvizmanga.com and pretty much any manga publisher website you can think of for that — there are a few properties that manga fans may be interested in, including Archie Comics’ Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog books and OEL (original English language) manga Voltron Force: Shelter From the Storm from Viz and The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel from Yen Press. As for properties without manga ties, I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for … well … a bunch of other titles that I don’t have the time and energy to hyperlink at the moment, but you can pretty much guarantee that if it’s tied in to some cartoon, Mouse Guard or Moomins, I’m interested. A complete list is available at http://www.freecomicbookday.com/Home/1/1/27/981; note that the locations listed below won’t necessarily be carrying all these titles.

UPDATE, 5/5: I’ve gotten word of several neat online-exclusive freebies that will be available during Free Comic Book Day as well. For one day only, Audra Furuichi and Scott Yoshinaga are offering digital copies of nemu*nemu volume 1; not only do you get the first year of strips as they were printed online, you’ll also get commentary from Audra and Scott, character profiles and bonus sketches. (And trust me, Anpan and Nemu looked very different from how they look now.) Visit hensh.in/c0 and click on the banner at the top of the page.

Meanwhile, the gang over at Lime Media Hawaii is offering digital copies of Hawaii Star Manga Project issue no. 5. This giveaway’s not limited to just today; it’ll be available until the long-in-gestation sixth issue is released. Included are installments of the comics “The Hylanthean,” “The Tobias Wah Chronicles” and “Children of Aumakua,” as well as the continuing prose saga “River of Stars [:another realm].” Visit www.limemediahawaii.com and follow the links.

Anime around town

nakamaboko2MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists is hosting the “Coloring With Copics + Manga Mania” workshop from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Honolulu Museum of Art School, 1111 Victoria St., room 201. There will be demonstrations of Copic and other popular Japanese markers, as well as an art jam session in advance of the group’s “”Nakamaboko: Working Together” exhibit opening next month. (This is also a great time to remind you that you have until May 23 to submit work for that exhibit. More details in this post.) Cost is $10; bring your own drawing materials. Visit www.manga-bento.com.

The Cel Shaded Report, 4/27: Child’s play, child’s day

May 5 is just around the corner, and while the numbers of those giant koinobori wind socks that flapped on virtually every street corner when I was growing up seem to have dwindled in recent years, there’s no denying that the traditional Japanese celebration of Boys Children’s Day is coming right along with that date.

But we’re all busy people these days. You don’t want to wait until May 5. You want to celebrate the boys children now. Fortunately, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii has you covered, with the Kodomo no Hi: Keiki Fun Fest taking place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Several groups with ties to the local anime/manga fan community will be there, including MangaBento, the artist group that’ll be bringing along a bunch of arts and crafts for people to work on; Kawaii Kon, offering information on next year’s convention; and HEXXP, offering information on their event this year. (I also have it on good authority that there’s going to be an announcement of the Next Big Thing for HEXXP at the event. It’s so big, you may want to tell your world about it. Just sayin’.) NGN will be screening Doraemon and Anpanman, and Hello Kitty will be one of several mascots wandering the aisles.

Also scheduled for the event: live entertainment, demonstrations, a craft fair, food, prize giveaways and the always fun, off-the-charts-in-cuteness keiki kimono dressing booth. As of yesterday, there were still slots available; cost is $75 ($60 if you’re a JCCH member), and includes the kimono and accessories, dressing by Masako Formals staff and the King Photo Service portrait-sitting fee. (Hair and makeup are not included, and the photos are extra.) Reserve a spot by calling Derrick Iwata at 945-7633, ext. 25.

The cultural center is at 2454 S. Beretania St. in Moiliili; for more information, visit the Kodomo no Hi Facebook page.

Anime around town

The idkwhat2wear gang will be selling buttons, T-shirts and more at the Moanalua High School Spring Craft Fair, Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the school, 2825 Ala Ilima St. Normally this is the part where I’d mention something about where to go for more information, but seeing as how “more information” doesn’t seem to exist anywhere on the Intarwebz, I’ll just offer two pieces of advice: One, if you want to park on campus, show up several hours before the parking lot gates open at 8 a.m. And two, bring an empty stomach. The food stuffs they sell on campus? Deeeelicious.

    The Cel Shaded Report, 3/29: A sketching situation

    pen and ink works logo

    One of the neat things about local anime and manga fandom is how it’s spawned an entire generation of people eager to whip out their sketchbooks and draw things inspired by the series that they love. I’ve seen that talent manifest itself in the Liliha Library Anime Art Contest for the past two years now, MangaBento’s art exhibits, and the Artist Alley at Kawaii Kon and HEXXP, and the art’s been really, really nice.

    Well, it’s time once again to nurture that talent. Pen & Ink Works has a neat event coming up from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday to do just that — a Sketch Meet where artists can hang out, participate in some drawing games and trade tips with one another. All you need is a sketchbook, some drawing materials (naturally), a mat or a towel … and some good walking shoes. Some sunscreen may be in order as well.

    For while the event will be starting off in front of Shirokiya — Ala Moana, second floor, just look for them somewhere between the entrance to Macy’s and the KZOO studio — they’ll be migrating eventually to Magic Island, across the street. By the way, for the curious, as of this writing the National Weather Service forecast is for mostly sunny conditions with a 20 percent chance of showers, breezy and a high near 75. So unless you have to spend the afternoon, say, in an office working on polishing up the next day’s news for the people (sadly raises hand), it sounds like a creative, lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon and take in another nice day here on the island.

    Learn more about Pen & Ink Works at peninkworks.wordpress.com or their Facebook page.

    nakamaboko2Writing about this Sketch Meet also reminded me that I have yet to discuss in this space MangaBento’s upcoming exhibit, “Nakamaboko: Working Together.” Scheduled to run from June 12 through July 14, the exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art School (formerly the Academy Art Center at 1111 Victoria St.) will feature art pieces in various media (drawings, paintings, sculptures, photos, costumes and the like) that are inspired by anime and manga. To that end, the group will be accepting community submissions.  Most of the deadlines are in May — and I’ll include reminders in this space as we approach those deadlines — but if you want to get a head start and mail something in now, you can do so. Send your pieces in by May 23 to:

    Devin Oishi
    Art Instructor
    Kaimuki High School
    2705 Kaimuki Ave.
    Honolulu, HI 96816

    Be sure to include your name; age; school and teacher (if applicable); whether you’re a pro, amateur, or student; address; phone number; email address; and a sale price if you want to sell your piece. A complete rundown of requirements is available at the Nakamaboko page at www.manga-bento.com.

    355 days later, a festival renewed

    IMG_4492The 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.

    Let’s correct that. Just in time for the 2012 Honolulu Festival, here are highlights from those pictures I shot from the 2011 Honolulu Festival. Better late than not at all, right? Continue reading “355 days later, a festival renewed”