Taku Taku Matsuri hopes for a Kickstart

One of the breakthrough otaku-targeted events last year was the Taku Taku Matsuri’s natsu matsuri, or summer festival, where about 300 people showed up at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu on a sunny Sunday in August to cosplay, play games, buy Japanese-themed merchandise and food from a number of vendors, enjoy entertainment and just have a fun time overall. As I wrote last year, organizer Yuka C. Nagaoka started Taku Taku Matsuri to give local fans of anime and manga culture another venue where they could gather, similar to the events she took part in growing up in Japan.

In looking through my records, it seems that I failed to post a gallery of highlights from last year’s festivities, so let’s correct that now, shall we?

taku taku matsuri logoThis year, Taku Taku Matsuri is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 9 (it’s on Primary Election Day, so don’t forget to vote before you go, or at least pull an absentee ballot!). It promises to be bigger — a one-day mini-anime con of sorts being held at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s Manoa Grand Ballroom, with a Star Trek-themed cafe, video game tournaments, a dance party featuring DJ E2D, and special guest Kyle Hebert. Yes, that Kyle Hebert, last here in the islands for HEXXP in 2011, a voice actor best known for his roles as Kiba in Naruto, Kamina in Gurren Lagann, the older version of Gohan in Dragon Ball Z and Ryu in the newer Street Fighter games. Of course, all the accoutrements from last year’s event will be back as well.

With a bigger venue and more activities come higher costs. While last year’s event featured free admission, there will be an admission fee charged at this year’s event. Yuka told me that without any sponsors, she has to pay for everything out of pocket … and those costs add up pretty quickly.

And that’s where the Second Annual Taku Taku Matsuri Kickstarter comes in. Launched about a week and a half ago, the campaign has to date raised $130 … a decent amount, but there’s a good amount of work that needs to be done to reach the goal of $2,000 by June 7. The pledge tiers are simple enough that I can actually include them here on the blog for once:

  • A pledge of $10 and up gets you a ticket at the lowest preregistration price available. (Preregistration tickets outside of the Kickstarter campaign will be $13, while the at-the-door cost will be $15.)
  • A pledge of $25 and up gets you a ticket and a special Taku Taku Matsuri T-shirt.
  • The top tier, at $100 and up, nets you not only a ticket and a shirt, but also an invitation to a special meal (time/place to be determined) with Kyle Hebert the next day, Aug. 10. There are only 10 slots available for that perk, though, so you’ll want to jump on that sooner rather than later if you’re interested in that.

Of course, you could also throw a few bucks in the campaign’s direction even if you can’t make it, just as a way of showing your support for events like these in our community.

The thing about Kickstarter is that unless you have the built-in draw of being a known commodity like the Rifftrax trio or can go viral with a clever idea like this guy who’s simply printing shirts with his final Kickstarter stats on it, it’s so tricky to find enough people who believe in what you’re selling to sign on. In the past few years, I’ve covered successful campaigns and not-so-successful ones in this space. As I understand it, the fate of whether this event takes place as planned depends on how this campaign does; here’s hoping this one turns out to be a success story.

If you want to keep tabs on the Kickstarter campaign, visit ow.ly/wUtKl; general news about all things Taku Taku Matsuri can be found at www.facebook.com/taku2matsuri (Facebook login not required). Also, if you’re interested in being a vendor or exhibiting artist at the event, email taku2matsuri at yahoo dot com, and Yuka will be happy to help set that up.

Ota-cool incoming!

“Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawaii”: The Brady Evans-curated exhibit is back, this time at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s Community Gallery. Here’s my post about the exhibit. From 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Patsy Iwasaki and Avery Berido, the team behind Hamakua Hero, will be speaking; that’ll be followed next Saturday by a talk by Journey of Heroes author Stacey Hayashi at the same time, while the Comic Jam Hawaii artists will be hanging out from 1 to 3 p.m. May 31. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays; admission is free. Visit hawaiimanga.com. Exhibit on display through June 7.

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.

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. May 25.

Ota-cool Incoming!: EVERYTHING IS AWESOME

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 Friending Party!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.

Ongoing

The Wind Rises screenings: Of course, you knew about these already.

photo-main“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.

A Doraemon statue with the Honolulu skyline in the background. Pretty cool, really.

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.

Future attractions

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.

13 for ’13: Otaku Ohana’s year in pictures

Happy three-days-in-but-still-relatively-newish year! It’s hard to believe that June will mark five years since this blog gained a home on starbulletin.com as an online complement to Cel Shaded. Five years, coincidentally, is also the amount of time it would probably take for me to catch up on all the anime that I’ve been meaning to review in this space if (a) every single anime producer, both in the U.S. and Japan, were to stop releasing anime at this very second, and (b) I watched anime 24/7/365. (And let’s not even think about the manga.)

I’m hoping that review situation improves this year. But before we move forward, let’s take a quick look back at some of the highlights from last year, captured by my trusty camera (and in some cases, my equally trusty smartphone). Some of these pictures have appeared in this space before. Others, I never got around to posting (curse you, real work getting in the way of fun work!). For remembering the year that was 2013, though, they’re fun jumping-off points.

Congratulation! A winner is you! (Jan. 12)

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The final edition of the Liliha Library Anime Art Contest culminated in an awards ceremony at the beginning of the year. Rachel Ruiz placed second in the grades 6-8 category with this piece, for which she won a lovely bag of prizes.

Meanwhile, at the back of the room where the awards ceremony was held, young adult librarian Linda Mediati set up a table with a pile of donated Shonen Jump issues, English and Japanese editions, free for the taking for anyone who wanted them.

Judging by how many Rachel carted off, you wouldn’t be too far off in saying she won twice that day.

The surprise of Haruhi Suzumiya (March 17)

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I’ve mentioned before in this space that I have an affinity for anything and everything related to the Haruhi Suzumiya franchise. So when Haruhi character designer Noizi Ito was announced as a guest for Kawaii Kon, I was ready to go to pretty much anything and everything at which she made an appearance. Hour-long live-drawing panel? Yes, please. Hour-long live-drawing panel where she draws Kawaii Kon mascots Ai-chan and Nami? Oh, yes, thank you very much. Hour-long live-drawing panel where she casually unveils the final cover for her newest Haruhi artbook for the first time anywhere? Oh, baby, yes.

And in case you’re wondering whether the book made it out to Japanese audiences: Yup.

Spartan assault on our hearts (March 17)

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This is the only shot in this collection that wasn’t taken by me, but by one of Kawaii Kon’s staff photographers, Zarli Win. (We’ll see more of him in the next picture.) From where I was standing during the Kawaii Kon Masquerade, my trusty-yet-lacking-in-low-light-situations camera couldn’t have gotten anything as good as this. Being there to soak up the mood was awesome, though: the announcement of the contestant, this little girl in her “Halo Kitty” outfit — a Halo Spartan suit embellished with Hello Kitty accessories — walking out on stage, the collective gasp in the audience giving way to squeals and applause and a barrage of flashbulbs going off around the room.

Wedded bliss (June 2)

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Tag-team partner in fandom Wilma Jandoc married longtime boyfriend Zarli Win in early June. It was a pretty big deal ’round these parts. Was it a ceremony that was full of Win? But of course.

Cait Sith, art guardian (June 18)

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As it has for the past few years, the Honolulu Museum of Art School’s second-floor gallery hosted MangaBento’s annual exhibit. The 2013 edition, “Tomo-E-Ame: Friends-Drawings-Candy,” featured anime-inspired art in a wide variety of media. Among the pieces was this doll of Cait Sith hand-sewn by Heidi Shimada that, when viewed at a certain angle, looked like it was gazing over the gallery.

A master immortalized (July 27)

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Cartoonist Dave Thorne — best known around these parts for his Sunday comic strip “Thorney’s Zoo” — may have died in 2012, but he left behind a body of work that remains beloved to this day. In July, several hundred people showed up for a celebration of life at Bay View Golf Park, with samples of his cartoons posted all over the clubhouse auditorium. One of the highlights was a “chalk talk,” with Alan Low narrating scenes from Dave’s life as Jon Murakami sketched on a giant pad of paper. The last drawing, done in advance: this. A fitting tribute to someone known as “the Yoda of Hawaii cartooning.”

Taku Taku dancing dancing (Aug. 25)

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Taku Taku Matsuri, spearheaded by Yuka C. Nagaoka, debuted in August with a summer festival at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu. Games were played, art was drawn, food and other collectibles were sold, cosplayers roamed the grounds and played a round of Cosplay Chess, and everyone had a good time.

True to her word in my interview with her, Yuka showed up in a bright red kimono. She even jumped on stage with some of the other cosplayers and danced to Psy’s “Gentleman.”

Crossing cosplay (Sept. 15)

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In September, Gallery Iolani on the Windward Community College campus hosted “Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawaii,” an exhibit tracing the history of manga and its influence on artists in the local community that was curated by Pen & Ink Works founder/Hachi Maru Hachi contributing artist Brady Evans. Brady also led a series of curator’s tours for four straight Sundays, where he’d talk about various exhibits … like these costumes of Alphonse Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist and Teddie from Persona 4, part of the section talking about Kawaii Kon.

Oh yes, if you missed the exhibit, don’t worry: Brady’s already told me it’ll be returning in 2014. Details to come.

When “aloha” means goodbye (Sept. 17)

Test caption goes here.

Toys N Joys, known for years to a certain generation as the go-to place for anime merchandise, domestic and imported video games, closed its doors for the last time on Sept. 23 after a 30-year run in Kaimuki and a 25-year run at the Westridge Shopping Center in Aiea. This whiteboard, sitting in the same display window where toys, replica swords and Airsoft guns once sat in the Kaimuki store, served as a sounding board for some customers to pay their respects.

Angelic consultation (Oct. 2)

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The time between Oct. 1 and Nov. 3 was one of the busiest I’ve seen for the local fan community in quite some time. The month got off to a hot start with two events taking place on the same day: Mini Con at McCully-Moiliili Library, and Kawaii Kon’s Anime Day at Windward Mall. I thought I’d be the only one crazy dedicated enough to make the drive over the Koolaus and attend both events, but it turned out there was another trio: Guardian Angels Dana Aton and Susana Choy of Cosmic Koi, makers of black and white hand-detailed angels’ wings and plasma ear pieces like these, and their adorably adorable lolita-clad daughter, Bella. Here, Bella and Susana shared a moment together at Mini Con.

The Macross miracle (Nov. 2)

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Local anime convention Oni-Con Hawaii debuted this year, and while it had its share of problems, there were some fun times to be had as well. One of those fun times was at the “Filmmaking in Hawaii” panel, where Blood of the Samurai director Aaron Yamasato and Doko Ga TV host/“Japanmania — Sugoi!” blogger Pali Kaaihue talked about some of their projects.

But then came their Fabulous Swag Giveaway. Now, you have to realize that in the upcoming season of Doko Ga TV, Pali talked to some really cool people, including Masako Nozawa, the Japanese voice of Goku in Dragon Ball Z, and Yoko Kanno, composer of anime soundtracks that fill me with warm fuzzies like Cowboy Bebop, Kids on the Slope, Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex, Wolf’s Rain and some of the newer series in the Macross franchise. Accordingly, one of the items Pali gave away was something from Macross Frontier. The winner? Milton Streeter, former leader of the Japanese Animation Society of Hawaii and co-host of the “Anime Clubs in Hawaii” panel that took place immediately preceding this particular panel.

As you can see, he was a tad bit enthused.

The art of library talks (Nov. 6)

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I’m not sure how many times over the years that I’ve attended talks by nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi about the creative process that goes into her thrice-weekly online comic strip, but one thing’s remained constant: Those talks are always fascinating, and fledgling artists could learn quite a bit from them. These two girls certainly took advantage of the opportunity, practicing sketching on Audra’s tablet after an evening talk at Kapolei Library.

The Journey continues (Dec. 22)

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Journey of Heroes, the graphic novel recounting the story of the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team in World War II, went into a second printing toward the end of the year, with the first public sale of those new books at the Honolulu Gift Fair in mid-December. That’s author Stacey Hayashi in the background … and behind the table in the foreground, helping her sell books and other merchandise chock full of chibi soldier goodness, was MidWeek cartoonist/Cacy and Kiara author Roy Chang.

And that was 2013 in a nutshell! 2014’s already getting off to a busy start with Comic Jam Hawaii returning to Pearlridge on Sunday (1-4 p.m.!) and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s Ohana Festival on Jan. 19. Is another fun year loaded with plenty of pictures in store? You betcha.

Ota-cool! October, part 3: Kickstart-a-gogo

Crowdfunding, the Internet-connected notion where people contribute to a big pot of money to help a particular project go from someone’s idea to reality, has really become popular as of late. Local otaku-centered events have been become more popular as well, with events from traditional anime conventions like Kawaii Kon and Oni-Con Hawaii to what I’m calling “micro-cons,” convention-like experiences on a smaller scale like the recent Mini Con at McCully-Moiliili Library, Kawaii Kon’s Anime Day at Windward Mall and Taku Taku Matsuri, dotting the calendar.

But is there room for a crowdfunded micro-con in Honolulu? The University of Hawaii Anime Manga Society thought so when they launched a Kickstarter campaign for M.O.E., the Manoa Otaku Experience, on Sept. 4. And with a little over a week to go before the funding campaign ends, the answer is: Yes. Yes, there is. At $2,066, the total raised so far is a shade over the fundraising goal of $2,000, which means there will be an event on some Saturday down the line.

MOE Matsuri logoSo tomorrow’s MOE Matsuri, a collaboration between UH AMS and Taku Taku Matsuri meant to give an extra promotional/funding boost to the campaign, has turned into a celebration of sorts as well. Appropriate, because when you look at elements of the M.O.E. proposal and compare them to what happened a few months ago at Taku Taku Matsuri, the two events share similar traits. MOE Matsuri will feature a cosplay cafe, vendors (including friends of the blog Jon Murakami and idkwhat2wear, along with annastetic x candy, CAS Crafts & Collectibles, The Rambling Scholar, Bryan + Pueo, Studio Mind Ore, By Thought and Sydney & Max), games and Taku Taku Matsuri organizer Yuka Nagaoka rocking a schoolgirl uniform. (Yes, that won out over “cross-dress,” “Lolita” and “nekomimi maid” in a recent poll of … umm … one person, it would seem.) That’s all happening on the third floor of the UH-Manoa Campus Center, rooms 307-310, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

Manoa Otaku Experience logoAs for MOE itself, here’s what else the organizers are hoping to incorporate:

  • Cosplay events — contests, a fashion show and Cosplay Chess
  • Karaoke contest
  • Video game room
  • AMV (anime music video) contest

Admission to MOE won’t be free, but if you contribute to the Kickstarter campaign, you can pre-register for $8-$10. (There are 95 slots available at the lower price, so best get in on that now if you want to save a few bucks.) If you’d like to have a meal at the Cosplay Cafe as well, there are still 39 $30 funding packages up for purchase. Other funding options are also available. And let’s not forget about stretch goals that include T-shirts and more days for the event (which admittedly seem out of reach at this late date, but who knows, maybe the several dozen of you who still read this blog will surprise me somehow and really push this thing higher). You have until 10:37 a.m. Oct. 19 to contribute, so visit ow.ly/pJYNF if you’re interested.

While I’m talking about crowdfunding campaigns, there are two others of note going on at the moment:

  • The Chalk Twins, sisters from Florida who have drawn chalk art at conventions nationwide, is running an Indiegogo campaign to fund trips to 16 anime cons next year … and Kawaii Kon is on that list. Perks include bookmarks, signed prints, T-shirts and original sketches and artwork. The funding period runs through Oct. 31; visit ow.ly/pJZSn.
  • Here locally, 11-year-old Mariana Agena, daughter of Twitterite Lance Agena, is selling her manga, Code: Flower Fairys, as a fundraiser for a trip to this year’s Pop Warner National Cheer Competition in Orlando, Fla. $6 gets you a 110-page PDF, and while it may not have a professional sheen to it — it’s basically scans from a sketchbook — it’s still incredibly cute. Besides, buying it gives you instant karma points for helping nurture the artistic and literary creativity of an 11-year-old girl. The campaign is ongoing at gumroad.com/l/POUq.

More for the month

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 202). Visit www.manga-bento.com. Meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday and Oct. 27.

Kawaii Kon volunteer meeting #2: You’ve seen that there are going to be a number of great guests coming to next year’s show, and you know there are going to be thousands of people who are going to show up to see those guests. So why not help out a bit? It’s time for the second of several volunteer staff meetings over the next few months. Prospective volunteers must attend two meetings, so why procrastinate? Start now. Learn more about volunteering and download the proper forms at www.kawaii-kon.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=7788; the meeting, at Kakaako Waterfront Park, will be from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 19.

Aiea Library Anime Club: Young adult librarian Diane Masaki will be screening episodes of I Don’t Know What My Young Adult Librarian Will Be Showing At Club, But I’m Sure It’ll Be Really Neat! at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. Never heard of that series? It’s a romantic comedy featuring an awkward teenager surrounded by a bevy of moe-blob girls. Or I may have just made that up on the fly because the actual series has yet to be determined. But anyway. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or email aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Oct. 19.

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. Oct. 20.

Oni-Con Hawaii: Guests include Yuko Ashizawa, a fashion designer with Atelier Pierrot; Final Fantasy series composer Nobuo Uematsu and his band, the Earthbound Papas; Hiroshi Takahashi, voice of Ryu in the later Street Fighter games, Eiji Kikumaru in Prince of Tennis and Japan in Hetalia; Sana, visual kei musician; and J. Michael Tatum, voice of Sebastian in Black Butler and France in Hetalia. Also featuring the Cosplay Chess Brigade and Yu x Me Maid Cafe & Host Club. Preregistration open now; $45 for a three-day pass, or buy a la carte: $20 for Friday, $30 for Saturday, $25 for Sunday. Three-day passes are also available at MiniQ (98 Kauhale St., Aiea) and all Big City Diner locations. Hawai’i Convention Center, Nov. 1-3.

August on the road: Anime art and festival fun

For many local fans of anime (Japanese animation) and manga (Japanese comics), the social calendar is divided into two seasons: “Kawaii Kon” and “waiting for the next Kawaii Kon.”
Me, in my Taku Taku Matsuri preview from Friday

I love “waiting for the next Kawaii Kon” seasons like the one we’re in right now. We just wrapped up a busy August with the ’90s Anime Art Exhibit and Taku Taku Matsuri, and it looks like anime and manga fans will have plenty of opportunities to stay busy through November with the exhibit “Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawaii” at Windward Community College next month; Mini Con at McCully-Moiliili Library, Kawaii Kon’s Anime Day at Windward Mall and the Hawaii International Film Festival in October; and of course the inaugural edition of Oni-Con Hawaii in November. And those are just the big events.

I’ll have a new edition of the Ota-cool Incoming! calendar posted in a few days with all the details, but for now I have a camera full of pictures begging to be shared. So before we move forward, let’s look back at the two big events in August.

The ’90s Anime Art Exhibit

I’m still a bit hard-pressed to explain why this exhibit, at the Loading Zone gallery downtown, was called a “’90s” anime art exhibit. Sure, there were a number of pieces by artists Julie Feied, Dennis Imoto, Devin Oishi and Chanel Tanaka that showed influences from shows of that era (Dragon Ball Z! Sailor Moon! Crayon Shinchan!), but it wasn’t the be-all, end-all theme of the show that I was expecting. Heck, the reception I attended on Aug. 9 featured anime music videos with Madoka Magica footage in them. And then there was the improv troupe (they were good, albeit a bit out of place). There were a handful of cosplayers, but not enough for me to stick around for the cosplay contest later that evening. Besides, talking to Dennis and Devin, I got the sense that there was a much more vibrant crowd the previous week, during First Friday. Such is life, I suppose.

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Taku Taku Matsuri

The brainchild of Yuka Nagaoka acquitted itself quite nicely its first time out of the gate. Aside from a tight parking situation and the fact that the sound system speakers were located near the dealer area, making it difficult to conduct transactions any time there was music playing or performances going on, it was a nice little festival with a healthier-than-anticipated turnout, and it seemed like everyone was having a good time. And yes, just as she mentioned in that article I referenced above, Yuka did, indeed, wear her bright red kimono. She even danced to Psy’s “Gentleman” in it … not an easy feat in the warm weather we’ve been having lately, I’d think. Other highlights included artists — including some of the Comic Jam Hawaii regulars! — at the MangaBento table, doing their thing; the Yu x Me Maid Cafe & Host Club dancers filling their recommended event quota of “Mune Mune Kyun”-ing; and (not pictured) me buying waaaaaay too much Azumanga Daioh swag for my own good (but those chibi figures were sooooooooo cute, I swear!).

There aren’t very many pictures mostly because (a) I had to leave before the Cosplay Chess Brigade got to do their thing so I could go to work and (b) as I grow older, I’m finding that I’m becoming more and more of a hopeless introvert and don’t feel comfortable asking total strangers to take their pictures. But still I soldier on. Somehow.

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984

More Taku Taku talk-talk with Yuka Nagaoka

Taku Taku MatsuriThe first Taku Taku Matsuri is happening from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu, and I’ve whipped up a little primer to it in today’s TGIF. You can read about it in the print edition (for all you classic-media types) or you can check it out over on Honolulu Pulse (bonus: since it’s in Pulse, it’s free to read!).

As is usually the case for something written for print, though, I ended up with about 95 percent of what I talked about with festival organizer/founder Yuka Nagaoka just … well … sitting here, all neatly transcribed and ready to go and with nowhere else to put it. Thus, it’s time for a nice little bonus feature here on Otaku Ohana.

After the jump, you can find out more about Yuka and her background, learn some more about the present and future of Taku Taku Matsuri, see some of the things she’ll be selling at her booth, and find out the answer to the question: Where are you going to park, anyway?

Continue reading “More Taku Taku talk-talk with Yuka Nagaoka”

Ota-cool Incoming! for August 2013

Surprise! It’s August already, and 2013 is just whipping on through. Seems like only yesterday that I was pondering whether to start marathoning all of the Marvel Comics movies that I haven’t seen to prepare myself for Iron Man 3 (for the record, that’s Iron Man 2, Captain America, Thor and The Avengers … yes, I’m just as behind on my live-action movie watching as I am with my anime watching and manga reading, sigh) … and before I realized it, I had missed the theatrical run of not only that, but also Star Trek: Into Darkness AND Man of Steel. AND I’m going to have to hurry to catch Monsters University, too. I did manage to catch Despicable Me 2 (human characters were okay, Minions were awesome) and Pacific Rim (human characters were okay, Jaegers versus Kaiju were awesome), though, so at least there was that.

The summer movie blockbuster season may be winding down, but it seems like the Ota-cool Incoming! calendar is heating up, with no less than five, count ’em, five events taking place over the weekend starting on Friday. I think this pretty much covers all the high points for the next few weeks; of course, if anything new worth noting arrives here at Otaku Ohana Central, I’ll try to let you all know as soon as my schedule allows.

To the calendar!

Close-up detail of Julie Feied's "Tomo-e-Ame," which will be part of the exhibit. Yes, if you've been paying attention, this was part of MangaBento's exhibit as well.

’90s Anime Art Exhibit: The Loading Zone (47 N. Hotel St.) in the Chinatown art district is hosting this artistic tribute to the days of Evangelion, Escaflowne, Sailor Moon, Cowboy Bebop and countless other series that I’ve loved that now officially qualify as “vintage” anime. Sigh. MangaBento Tomo-e-Ameparticipating artists Julie Feied, Devin Oishi and Dennis Imoto will have work in this exhibit, as will artist Chanel Tanaka.

From 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, as part of First Friday, there will be music by VJ Christian Berg, a dance performance by Blank Canvas, a fashion show presented by Visual Kei Dark Castle at 9 p.m., and Aloha Beer Company specialty beer on tap.

From 7 p.m. to midnight Aug. 9, you can meet the artists and enjoy an improv show by Mr. Aaron Presents from 8 to 10 p.m. and a cosplay contest at 10 p.m.

Both events will feature caricatures by Andy Lee and an art workshop; cover at each event is $5. And if you can’t make either event, the exhibit itself will be up through Aug. 26. Gallery hours are 3 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, or by appointment. Visit www.facebook.com/events/205760262908791 (no Facebook login required).

Aiea Library Anime Club: Young adult librarian Diane Masaki will be screening episodes of Hetalia Axis Powers at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.

Kawaii Kon Beach Day: Watermelon smashing! Sand-castle building contests! Watermelon smashing! The Cosplay Runway! Watermelon smashing! A game of Capture the Flag! And did I mention the watermelon smashing? Indulge your inner Gallagher and have some fun in the sun at Magic Island Beach Park. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Comic Jam Hawaii: They’re baaaaaack! After a one-month break, this group of collaborative cartoon artists is back at Pearlridge Center for their regular first-and-third-Sunday-of-the-month gatherings at Pearlridge Center. As usual, locations within the mall may vary; visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Summer Smash 2013: It’s the island’s biggest Airsoft shoot-em-up event of the summer, presented by Impact Games and Ash Bash Productions at Hawaii All-Star Field off Nimitz Highway (someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that’s the patch of land just after the entrance to the Disabled American Veterans Hall). So how did this make it into Ota-cool Incoming!? Kawaii Kon will be there, preregistering attendees for the 2014 convention (preregister at Summer Smash, get an exclusive patch!) and hosting a cosplay contest, to boot. (I’m kinda hoping one team shows up as Social Welfare Agency Special Ops Section 2. Just because.) For more information on the event and where to register, visit www.facebook.com/events/357207584390708/ (no Facebook login required). Sunday.

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. Aug. 11.

Taku Taku Matsuri: A summer festival with an anime/manga slant featuring food, games, artists and vendors selling all sorts of cultural swag, photo shoots, live music, and the Cosplay Chess Brigade and Yu x Me Maid Cafe and Host Club, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 25 at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu (1239 Olomea St.). Volunteers also needed; training sessions are at 1-3 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m.-noon, 1-3 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. Aug 18. Meet at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu for that, too.

Future Attractions

Mini Con 2013: The comic con in the handy petite size returns for its fourth year at McCully-Moiliili Library, 2211 S. King St. nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi has already confirmed her participation … and the date also happens to coincide with Star Wars Reads Day, so could a tie-in with that be forthcoming, too? Hmm. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 5.

Oni-Con Hawaii: Guests include Yuko Ashizawa, a fashion designer with Atelier Pierrot; Final Fantasy series composer Nobuo Uematsu and his band, the Earthbound Papas; Hiroshi Takahashi, voice of Ryu in the later Street Fighter games, Eiji Kikumaru in Prince of Tennis and Japan in Hetalia; and Sana, visual kei musician. Also featuring the Cosplay Chess Brigade and Yu x Me Maid Cafe & Host Club. Preregistration open now; $45 for a three-day pass. Hawai’i Convention Center, Nov. 1-3.

Kawaii Kon 2014: Guests include voice actors Michael Sinterniklaas and Stephanie Sheh and professional cosplayer Leah Rose. Preregistration open now; $37 for a three-day pass for children ages 5-12, $42 general admission. Hawai’i Convention Center, April 4-6, 2014.

Taku Taku Matsuri hangs out “help wanted” sign

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Nestled between Kawaii Kon and Oni-Con Hawaii on this year’s “major and majorly cool events that local anime and manga fans ought to attend this year” calendar is the inaugural edition of Taku Taku Matsuri, being held Aug. 25 at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu (1239 Olomea St.). If there was a checklist of things that you’d want at a summer festival celebrating otaku-ism, this event would pretty much hit all the highlights on that list: food, games, artists and vendors selling all sorts of cultural swag, photo shoots, live music, and the Cosplay Chess Brigade and Yu x Me Maid Cafe and Host Club holding court.

Any event of this scale, though, is going to need volunteers to help it run smoothly. To that end, Taku Taku Matsuri is putting out the call for volunteers for both night-before setup on Aug. 24 and day-of event staffing. You’ll need to be over the age of 18 before Aug. 25 and, if you’re interested in working on the day of the event, attend at least one training session. And that’s why I’m bringing this up now — the first two training opportunities are happening on Sunday. Here’s the full list of training days and times:

Sunday: 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m.
Aug. 3: 1-3 p.m.
Aug. 18: 10 a.m.-noon, 1-3 p.m. and 4-6 p.m.

Interested? Email taku2matsuri@yahoo.com for the appropriate forms.

Also, a reminder for those of you who may not have seen the last Ota-cool Incoming! calendar: The Mini Mini Taku Taku Water Gun Fight is still on for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Ala Moana Beach Park … and now, because any good water gun fight can work up quite the appetite, there’s going to be a potluck as well. You bring the food; they’ll supply the water and juice. I’m not sure at this point which part of the park they’ll be setting up shop, but I’ll update this post with that info if/when I hear back from people in the know about such things.

Update 7/27: Meet at the tennis courts at 10 a.m.! There also will be watermelon smashing! And a Taku Taku Matsuri prize raffle at 4 p.m.! Exclamation points!

“Tomo-e-Ame” part 3 + Ota-Cool Incoming: The return!

IMG_2999

As I promised a few days ago, it’s time now to delve into the most substantive part of Tomo-e-Ame, this year’s MangaBento exhibit: the 2-D artwork posted around the gallery. Missed my earlier posts? Here’s part 1, featuring the gallery layout, and part 2, with the 3-D pieces.

This, however, is where things get a little tricky. If you delve into the actual gallery hosted on Flickr and look at the captions (which I must admit is a more difficult task ever since the site was redesigned a few months ago), you may have noticed that the information I have is either vague or nonexistent. If you or anyone you know has any additional information on those pieces, please let me know! I’d love to give credit where credit’s due.

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984

You have through Saturday to see the exhibit in person at the Honolulu Museum of Art School, 1111 Victoria St.. I’d definitely recommend stopping by if you have a chance. If you can’t make it, though? There are more art events in store in coming weeks. Which brings us to the return of …

Ota-cool incoming!

The eagle-eyed readers among you may have noticed that the last Cel Shaded Report, along with Ota-Cool Incoming!, came almost a month ago. Truth be told, there really hasn’t been all that much over the past month or so to talk about, and it just seemed like I’d be forcing myself to ramble about that not-much-of-anything every week. And that wouldn’t be fun for any of us.

So the Cel Shaded Report is in semi-retirement — maybe it’ll come back someday; we’ll see how I feel — but the Ota-Cool Incoming! calendar has been refilled with a fresh batch of upcoming events, plenty to keep local anime and manga fans busy in coming weeks.

Anime Manga Society at UH-Manoa: Meetings during Summer Session 1 are Fridays through Aug. 9 in Kuykendall Hall, room 306. Screenings TBA. 5:30 to 7 p.m.

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.

pen and ink works logo

Pen & Ink Works: Time for a summer Sketch Meet! This one, at Kaimuki Library (1041 Koko Head Ave.), will feature a short tutorial by the Hachi Maru Hachi artists, and copies of the local manga anthology also will be available for sale. A portion of the sales will benefit the Friends of the Kaimuki Public Library, so buy multiple copies. Because, y’know, we love libraries around these parts. Paper and pencils will be provided; parental supervision is advised for children under 12. Visit peninkworks.wordpress.com. 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Dave Thorne Celebration of Life: Remembering the life and work of the “father of Hawaii cartooning” with a gathering at Bay View Golf Course (45-285 Kaneohe Bay Drive). I’ve been monitoring the buzz on the Dave Thorne Tribute Page (Facebook login required), and it looks like a fair number of cartoonists worldwide will be attending. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. July 27.

mini mini taku taku

Mini Mini Taku Taku Water Gun Fight!!!: Somehow my mind wants to read this as “Mini Mini Taku Taku Water Gun Water Gun Fight!!! Fight!!!” My mind also works in really weird ways sometimes, because that revised name is also unnecessarily long. In any case, it’s a water gun fight at Ala Moana Beach Park, brought to you by the people who are organizing Taku Taku Matsuri in August (see Future Attractions). It’s also scheduled for a six-hour block of time. Better bring lots of waterproof sunscreen. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 27.

’90s Anime Art Exhibit: The Loading Zone (47 N. Hotel St.) in the Chinatown art district is hosting this artistic tribute to the days of Evangelion, Escaflowne, Sailor Moon, Cowboy Bebop and countless other series that I’ve loved that now officially qualify as “vintage” anime. Sigh. Tomo-e-Ame participating artists Julie Feied and Dennis Imoto will have work in this exhibit, as will artist Chanel Tanaka. From 7 to 11 p.m. Aug. 2, as part of First Friday, there will be music by VJ Christian Berg, a dance performance by Blank Canvas, a fashion show presented by Visual Kei Dark Castle at 9 p.m., and Aloha Beer Company specialty beer on tap. From 7 p.m. to midnight Aug. 9, you can meet the artists and enjoy an improv show by Mr. Aaron Presents from 8 to 10 p.m. and a cosplay contest at 10 p.m. Both events will feature caricatures by Andy Lee and an art workshop; cover at each event is $5. And if you can’t make either event, the exhibit itself will be up Aug. 2-26. Gallery hours are 3 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, or by appointment. Visit www.facebook.com/events/205760262908791 (no Facebook login required).

Aiea Library Anime Club: No meeting this month, but next month librarian Diane Masaki will be screening episodes of Hetalia at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. Stockpile your supplies of celebratory pasta until then. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Aug. 3.

Kawaii Kon Beach Day: Watermelon smashing! Sand-castle building contests! Watermelon smashing! The Cosplay Runway! Watermelon smashing! A game of Capture the Flag! And did I mention the watermelon smashing? Indulge your inner Gallagher and have some fun in the sun at Magic Island Beach Park. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 3.

Summer Smash 2013: It’s the island’s biggest Airsoft shoot-em-up event of the summer, presented by Impact Games and Ash Bash Productions at Hawaii All-Star Field off Nimitz Highway (someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that’s the patch of land just after the entrance to the Disabled American Veterans Hall). So how did this make it into Ota-cool Incoming!? Kawaii Kon will be there, preregistering attendees for the 2014 convention (preregister at Summer Smash, get an exclusive patch!) and hosting a cosplay contest, to boot. (I’m kinda hoping one team shows up as Social Welfare Agency Special Ops Section 2. Just because.) For more information on the event and where to register, visit www.facebook.com/events/357207584390708/ (no Facebook login required). Aug. 4.

Future Attractions

Taku Taku Matsuri: A summer festival with an anime/manga slant at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu. Aug. 25.

Oni-Con Hawaii: With guest Yuko Ashizawa, a fashion designer with Atelier Pierrot. Also featuring the Cosplay Chess Brigade and Yu x Me Maid Cafe & Host Club. Preregistration open now; $45 for a three-day pass. Hawai’i Convention Center, Nov. 1-3.

Kawaii Kon 2014: Guests include voice actors Michael Sinterniklaas and Stephanie Sheh and professional cosplayer Leah Rose. Preregistration open now; $37 for a three-day pass for children ages 5-12, $42 general admission. Hawai’i Convention Center, April 4-6, 2014.