It looks like that cluster of Studio Ghibli movies screening at Consolidated’s Kahala 8 complex — first noticed a few weeks ago while I was looking into Regal Cinema’s Studio Ghibli Fest — has, indeed, blossomed into A Thing.
Last Monday, Consolidated Theatres promoted Facebook events for two movies — Ponyo and Whisper of the Heart — branded with a “Studio Ghibli Summer Festival” logo. Events have since been created for all the movies screening through June. It isn’t related to the Studio Ghibli Fest, and it still isn’t as comprehensive as Consolidated’s all-theater-encompassing Studio Ghibli Festival last year, but the 11 movies being shown are key pieces of Ghibli lore … with, of course, Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro included. We’re probably at the point where you’re either really tired of seeing these same movies over and over again or just can’t get enough of seeing them on the big screen. For those of you who lean toward the latter, welcome back.
Your starting lineup:
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: May 31 and June 1
Spirited Away: June 7-8
Ponyo: June 14-15
Whisper of the Heart: June 21-22
Princess Mononoke: June 28-29
The Cat Returns: July 5-6
Howl’s Moving Castle: July 12-13
The Wind Rises: July 19-20
My Neighbor Totoro: July 26-27
When Marnie Was There: Aug. 2-3
Kiki’s Delivery Service: Aug. 9-10
The English-subtitled versions of each movie will screen at 7 p.m. on the first day of their runs, followed by the English-dubbed versions at 2 p.m. on the second day. All of them are screening on Wednesdays and Thursdays, which makes it great for friendly neighborhood otaku bloggers who just happen to have those days off, perhaps not so much for people who have traditional weekday work shifts. Find out more and order tickets by visiting consolidatedtheatres.com/programs-and-events, clicking on a month and “Studio Ghibli Festival,” and proceeding from there.
A few final notes on the Regal Ghibli festival: You have until Wednesday to order Regal’s $60 series pass; the link changed since the last time I wrote about it, so you can find it here. Also, Hilo finally has confirmed screening dates! Yay!
It’s been an … interesting past few weeks since I last posted something here on the Otaku Ohana blog. The first half away was spent working on a profile of Hitbox Music Ensemble (here’s the link for you subscribers out there) in advance of Kawaii Kon. The second half has been spent a) taking time to recover the introvert life-hearts I drained socializing at Kawaii Kon (trust me, it takes a lot out of me), b) finally seeing Your Name with the Otaku Ohana Anonymous Director of Forced Social Interaction on Wednesday, and c) rigging up what I had intended to be a travel netbook computer as my primary computer after my former primary computer died a horrible, meltdown-y death … on the day before Kawaii Kon began. Fortunately, I’ve kept multiple backups of my archive of photos from events I’ve attended throughout my blogging career, so those are safe. But it’s probably going to be slow going for a while until I get things up to speed and pull enough pennies from my couch to get a new computer.
I’m finally back, though! And I come bearing news that there’s going to be another Studio Ghibli film festival rolling through our fair state. Here, have a trailer.
(By the way, is it just me, or does it sound like the voice-over guy says “Hi-yo Miyazaki?” Hi-yoooooooooo~~~! Ahem. Sorry. Pronunciation pet peeve.)
Granted, the lineup for the GKids Studio Ghibli Fest isn’t nearly as comprehensive as Consolidated’s screen-all-the-things Ghibli Film Festival last year, but it’s still a chance to catch six favorites from the studio’s vault on the big screen. My Neighbor Totoro leads off on June 25-26, followed by Kiki’s Delivery Service July 23-24, Castle in the Sky Aug. 27-28, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Sept. 24-25, Spirited Away Oct. 29-30, and Howl’s Moving Castle Nov. 26-27. Those are all Sunday-Monday date combos; the English-dubbed versions will be screening locally at 12:55 p.m. on the Sundays, with the English-subtitled versions screening at 7 p.m. on the Mondays.
Three Regal theaters will be hosting the festivities this time around: Dole Cannery Stadium 18 in Iwilei, Makalapua Stadium 10 in Kona, and the lusciously luxe Kapolei Commons 12, with its reclining plush seating, upscale food offerings and Eating House 1849, La Tour Cafe and Gyu-Kaku just outside. Yum.
(It should be noted that Regal’s theater list includes a fourth venue, the Prince Kuhio 9 in Hilo, but no tickets are listed for sale there on Fandango for any of the series films. It’s not listed in the GKids site listings, either. Curious.)
Tickets are $12.50 each, but if you really want to go all in and commit to seeing every movie, Regal’s offering a $60 series pass that comes with what they’re calling “an exclusive decommissioned Spirited Away 35mm film cell,” plus 6,000 bonus points for Regal Crown Club members. There is a shipping cost involved; the cheapest that I can see is $2.50 for USPS first-class shipping, which keeps the cost per ticket lower than buying each show individually.
That would be the end of the story if not for an anomaly I stumbled upon while I was poking around to see what was up with the Prince Kuhio listing: Tickets seem to be available for another Ghibli fest, this one at the Consolidated Kahala 8 theaters. Screenings of the English-subtitled movies begin May 31 and run most Wednesdays after that through Aug. 9 at 7 p.m., and include:
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, May 31
Spirited Away, June 7
Ponyo, June 14
Howl’s Moving Castle, July 12 (with the dubbed version screening July 13 at 11 a.m.)
The Wind Rises, July 19
My Neighbor Totoro, July 26
When Marnie Was There, Aug. 2
Kiki’s Delivery Service, Aug. 9
The inclusion of Ponyo thrills me, because now I can stick this picture into the post. Call it a tradition of sorts around here.
For tickets, visit ow.ly/utmN30bh0hR. Open the “pre-sale tickets” column on the right for the full listing of movies.
Keep an eye on that page and Consolidated’s social media in general, too … call it a hunch, but you’ve got to think some kind of formal acknowledgment of this is coming down the line. More theaters, perhaps? Are these the first shards we’re seeing of Consolidated Ghibli Film Festival 2017? And why is there almost a one-month gap between Ponyo and Howl’s Moving Castle? I can’t wait to find out …
Remember all those times I’ve said in the past few years that [INSERT MONTH/YEAR HERE] is going to be the best month ever for theatrical anime being screened locally? First of all, congratulations, you have a very good memory. Second, you may now forget I ever said that before, because April 2016 is claiming that title of best month ever now and forever.
The reason: Starting Saturday and running through May 5, for every day except Fridays (gotta make that new-release box office bank, after all!), Consolidated’s theaters across Oahu and their Kaahumanu complex in Kahului will be home to the Studio Ghibli Festival, screening every major Studio Ghibli film ever made. That’s everything from 1984’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Hayao Miyazaki’s pre-Ghibli feature that led to the creation of the studio, through 2014’s When Marnie Was There, plus the live-action Kingdom of Dreams and Madness documentary for good measure. That’s 22 good-to-great movies and Tales From Earthsea — which was kind of a disappointment for me — over roughly a month.
… yeah, I’ll just leave this meme here.
Most of the films will be screened two or three times each over the month, with English-dubbed and English-subtitled versions available. The more popular films — Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away — will be shown four times each.
But the real rarity in the group is Ocean Waves (Umi ga Kikoeru), the 1993 made-for-TV movie that is the only major Ghibli project never to see wide release in the U.S. now that GKids finally picked up Only Yesterday. The film’s rights belong to Disney, which kinda has biggerfishtopromote, so we probably won’t be seeing that in wide release any time soon, either. Ocean Waves will be shown exactly once — mark your calendars for 7 p.m. Thursday, April 14, and set your GPSes for the Koolau 10 complex, across from the Valley of the Temples cemetery in Windward Oahu.
Breaking down the numbers further, the big winner in terms of number of screenings is the Kapolei 16 complex, which will be showing 15 out of the 23 movies available, all of them subtitled. The Koolau, Mililani 14 and Pearlridge 16 theaters come in tied for second with 10 apiece, in both subbed and dubbed flavors at the first two and all subbed at Pearlridge.
Here’s the full screening schedule organized by theater, with GhibliWiki links in case you’d like to learn more about each movie. (Trust me, if I had to write 23 synopses and attach 23 trailers like I usually do with these previews, this post would have been posted sometime in February 2022.) Prefer to see what’s on deck chronologically? Here’s Consolidated’s “coming soon” list. Tickets, at $10 each, are available now on Fandango (except for the April 30 Kahala screening of The Wind Rises for some weird reason). Sorry, no passes are being accepted.
All films dubbed; screenings at 11 a.m. Saturdays.
My Neighbor Totoro: April 2, 11 a.m., April 7, 7 p.m.
Kiki’s Delivery Service: April 9, 11 a.m., April 14, 7 p.m.
Princess Mononoke: April 16, 11 a.m., April 21, 7 p.m.
Spirited Away: April 23, 11 a.m., April 28, 7 p.m.
Howl’s Moving Castle: April 30, 11 a.m., May 5, 7 p.m.
Elsewhere around town
Aiea Library Polar Bear Cafe & Friends Anime Club: Every month, I joke with young adult librarian Diane Masaki that she ought to change the name of the Anime Club to the Polar Bear Cafe & Friends Club, seeing as how the screening schedule for the past few months has consistently been two episodes of the 2012-2013 anime followed by two more episodes of something else. (April’s “friends” are the ship-gals of KanColle.) The response this time around: Crisis! Diane’s approaching the end of the Polar Bear run! And there aren’t very many KanColle episodes left, either! What will the club screen next? And what will be the next running gag for this item?!? At the library, 99-374 Pohai Place, where, yes, there’s still plenty of parking. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or email email@example.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.
Sanrio Ala Moana Anniversary Party: Head out to Ala Moana Center and take pictures (or selfies, if you’re alone) with a giant Hello Kitty mascot character and also enjoy: Special product promotions! Free face painting and Hello Kitty hat with any purchase! And a special gift with any $75 purchase! 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center; check their Facebook page for where in the mall they’ll be meeting. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii(Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Back when I was in my formative years as an anime fan in the early 2000s and wanted to get out to watch anything animated coming out of Japan, it wasn’t easy to catch anime in theaters. The Hawaii International Film Festival had a few, and on occasion one or two might have shown up at the Varsity or Wallace’s Restaurant Row art house complex (anyone remember when those were actual things?) (of course you do; I mean, wow, some of you reading this are old enough to remember the older Japanese theaters, which is way cool), but those were few and far between.
The month we’re entering now shows just how much things have changed. This month brings word of three anime features screening in local theaters this month, including — whoa! — the first time I can recall in a longtime, if ever, that several Hawaii island theaters are included in a limited-run anime screening.
The film that’s getting this relatively widespread distribution is Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, otherwise known as “that Dragon Ball Z movie for which they were carrying around the poster everywhere Ryo Horikawa, the Japanese voice of Vegeta, appeared during Kawaii Kon 2013.” Here he is with panelists Lisle Wilkerson and Pali Kaaihue … and that poster.
One of the gods of Battle of Gods is Beerus, the God of Destruction who has the power to make everyone drunk and post incriminating selfies of themselves on various social media outlets. (A portion of that last sentence may be more what I imagine a character described as “Beerus, the God of Destruction” to be and not reflect reality.) Beerus is on his way to Earth, which means it’s up to you-know-who to input his “God mode” cheat code and face him.
… no, of course it’s Goku. Much screaming and KAMEHAMEHA~!-ing and sock-biff-powing and explosions will likely ensue, and … well, you probably know what you’re in for with a Dragon Ball Z-series movie, so you’re either already eager to check it out or moved ahead to look at the details of the My Neighbor Totoro screenings a bit further down.
So when can you see Battle of Gods? The first big day is Tuesday, when four theaters — Consolidated’s Ward Stadium 16 complex on Oahu and the Kaahumanu 6 complex in Kahului, and Regal’s Makalapua Stadium 10 complex in Kona and Prince Kuhio 9 complex in Hilo — will be showing it at 7 p.m. The Kona and Hilo theaters will also have screenings at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets for those screens are available on Fandango.
The film then moves on for an longer run starting Aug. 9 at the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Doris Duke Theatre. The showtimes:
Sat., Aug. 9: 1 p.m.
Sun. Aug. 10: 5 and 7:30 p.m.
Tues., Aug. 12 through Thurs., Aug. 14: 1 and 7:30 p.m.
Around the middle of this month, Consolidated’s Kahala 8 theaters will host screenings of My Neighbor Totoro as part of the ongoing “GKIDS: Animated World” seriesof animated features “for kids of all ages” … which I just learned about while writing this post Thursday night, so I’m a bit sad about missing features like The Secret of Kells, A Cat in Paris and Tales of the Night.Totoro will screen Sat. Aug. 16, at 11 a.m., Mon., Aug. 18, at 3:30 p.m. and Tues., Aug. 19, at 11:30 a.m.; presale tickets are available now on Fandango.
Finally, for you Naruto fans, your favorite orange jump-suited ninja and his friends are back for their latest big-screen adventure, Road to Ninja — Naruto the Movie. It’s a movie that seems to hearken back to his roots; here’s the synopsis:
Long ago, a mysterious masked shinobi unleashed the Nine-Tailed Fox onto the Village Hidden in the Leaves to spread chaos and destruction. But the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, and his wife Kushina Uzumaki sealed the Tailed Beast into their newborn son Naruto to save the village, foiling the shinobi’s plan.
Years later, Naruto and his friends succeed in driving away the infamous Akatsuki, who have mysteriously returned from the dead. Upon returning to the village, the young shinobi are praised by their families for completing a dangerous mission. Reminded of how alone he is, Naruto begins to wonder what it’s like to have parents, when a strange masked figure appears before him – the same masked shinobi responsible for the death of his parents!
Road to Ninja has thus far been confirmed for screenings at the Ward Stadium 16 theaters at noon Sun., Aug. 31, and 7 p.m. Sept. 1; tickets for the Aug. 31 showing are already available on Fandango.
Also this weekend
Get Pop-Cultured at Barnes & Noble: Another weekend, another set of artist appearances and Kawaii Kon-hosted activities at the Ala Moana store. The fun kicks off Saturday at 1 p.m. with appearances by MidWeek cartoonist/Cacy & Kiara and the Curse of the Ki’i author Roy Chang and artist Theo Lee (one of the featured artists in our Sakai Project profile (subscription required to read) on Sunday!). That will be followed by cosplayers dressed as Marvel Comics characters at 2 p.m.; Kawaii Kon’s “Iron Cosplay” costuming-on-the-fly event at 3 p.m.; and Comic Jam Hawaii’s Marvel sketch session at 5 p.m., where artists will draw various characters and the pieces will be raffled off to lucky patrons at the end of the hour.
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.
As for last weekend …
Remember that Kids Inc. Business Showcase I wrote about in my last post, where I highlighted Joelle Lee and her “Joelle’s Custom Artwork” booth? I swung by Windward Mall and commissioned her to draw a caricature of me, and boy, did she ever deliver. I happened to be wearing a chibi Attack on Titan shirt at the time, so she drew me as one of that series’ soldiers.
And here’s Joelle herself with the finished product.
I liked the drawing so much, I’ve been gradually uploading it as my new avatar on pretty much all the social media networks I’ve been frequenting. (Except Instagram. I kinda like that “me with Doraemon plushie” look.) I would highly recommend getting something from her if she sets up another booth sometime in the future … I’ll definitely try to keep tabs on when/if she makes another appearance.
About a month and a half ago — Sept. 7, to be exact — a bunch of artists gathered on the Civic Center grounds during the First Responders Fair to paint art boards for Fire Prevention Month, using the theme of “Prevent Kitchen Fires.” One of those artist groups was MangaBento, the anime- and manga-inspired young artist group featured regularly in this space.
Those boards have been up at Oahu’s fire stations this month. Probably will be up for a few more days, at that. And where did MangaBento’s board end up? At the corner of Leoole and Leonui streets in Waipahu, sitting near what’s formally known as Honolulu Fire Department Station 12, you’ll find … this.
And here’s the board close up.
The Totoro cast plus Howl’s Moving Castle‘s Calcifer, advocating fire prevention? Yeah, that’s a message I can get behind.
I know it’s become a tired cliche to say that an event that brings a bunch of wonderful things for a certain set of fans is like Christmas in [FILL IN MONTH HERE, AS LONG AS IT’S NOT DECEMBER, BECAUSE THEN IT WOULDN’T MAKE MUCH SENSE], but I’m going to say it here anyway: The Hawaii International Film Festival’s getting started in two days, and when it does, it’s going to be like Christmas in October for fans of anime and Japanese cinematic pop culture. And all you have to do, dear otaku, is buy your tickets from www.hiff.org or the HIFF box office near the Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 theaters, make your way over to that theater complex (save one case, which I’ll get to in a little bit), get whatever snacks you’re craving, and enjoy.
The big anime-related event at this year’s festival is the Studio Ghibli Retrospective, a six-pack of classics from throughout the anime studio’s storied history. All of them are the original 35mm prints, in Japanese with English subtitles; there’s a nice cross-section of the studio’s work represented in these films, with four directed by Hayao Miyazaki (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Porco Rosso, My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away); one by Isao Takahata, with Miyazaki getting screenwriter and executive producer credits (Pom Poko); one rarely screened in the States and never released on home video here (Ocean Waves … although Australia and the United Kingdom both got English-subtitled DVD releases, those lucky ducks); and none from Goro Miyazaki (sorry, those of you hoping for From Up on Poppy Hill). Your screening time roundup:
Totoro: 11:30 a.m. Saturday
Pom Poko: 2 p.m. Saturday
Ocean Waves: 11:45 a.m. Sunday
Spirited Away: 2 p.m. Sunday
Porco Rosso: 11 a.m. Oct. 20
Nausicaa: 1:30 p.m. Oct. 20
That’s a potential Ghibli double-feature on Saturday, Sunday and Oct. 20. If you’re really feeling adventurous, though, you could turn Saturday into a Ghibli triple play, watching three movies for the price of two. You’ll have to leave Dole Cannery after Pom Poko to do so, but it’s certainly worth it: HIFF will be screening Spirited Away at Kakaako Makai Gateway Park for the low, low price of absolutely free. The “Pop-Up at the Park” gets underway at 5 p.m. with Eat the Street organizers Street Grindz rallying a bunch of food trucks to satisfy all your noshing needs, and the film unspools starting at 6 p.m. Cosplay is also encouraged, and there will be prizes for people decked out in the finest Ghibli-inspired gear.
It should be noted that the site’s changed from the original location of Mother Waldron Park, which is not what’s currently shown on HIFF’s event page. (10/10 update: It’s been fixed! We don’t believe in radically changing posts once they’ve gone up, though, so the original text of this post follows.) This is the image that you currently see there. If you go there on Saturday, what you see here in this picture is all you’ll see — no film, no food trucks, no cosplay, nothing. (There are some rather lovely wall murals, though.)
That’s the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center to the left and Kakaako Waterfront Park waaaaaaay in back. The University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, not pictured, is to the right.
Pray for nice weather (or at least weather that’ll clear out this stifling vog we’ve had blanketing the island lately, ugh), and come on down.
The rest of the festival is certainly no slouch, either. My picks for fellow otaku cinephiles:
The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki:Director Mamoru Hosoda has been on a roll in recent years. I never did see, nor have I ever have any inkling of seeing, Digimon: The Movie in 2000, but his take on The Girl Who Leapt Through Time in 2006 was good, and Summer Wars, whichscreened at HIFF in 2010 … well, that was one of the best, if not the best, film I saw that year. His latest film follows Ame and his sister Yuki, two half-wolf, half-human children who lose their wolf-man father in an accident and subsequently move with their mom to a rural village. Now, both children are faced with the choice of whether to embrace the wolf or the human side of their heritage. Ame’s leaning one way; Yuki, in the other. And, of course, mom Hana has her own issues to deal with as well. 9 p.m. Oct. 17 and 12:30 p.m. Oct. 21.
Dead Sushi:Director Noboru Iguchi has been on a roll in recent years as well, but for a completely different genre of Japanese film: the 1,000 percent what in the WORLD am I watching and WHY?!?!? genre. For your consideration, the following trailers, which should not be viewed at any time except, perhaps, in a darkened room in the middle of the night:
The Machine Girl:A normal high school girl with a normal family and a normal life has it all taken away by a ninja yakuza clan … so she straps on a machine gun to replace the arm that was neatly and oh-so-visceral-sprayingly was chopped off, as well as a drill bra and other assorted weapons of maximum carnage, to gain her revenge. Blood goes spraying, limbs go flying, sushi with fingers as a topping get consumed, and females get scantily clad.
Robogeisha: “Geisha is … Japanese girl. Geisha is … beautiful. Geisha is … wild. Geisha is … robot.” Normal geisha with normal lives get transformed into cyborg assassins … so they use their mouth chainsaws and katanas and guns protruding from pretty much every natural orifice and tank-transforming abilities and battle it out. Blood goes spraying, limbs go flying, fried shrimp gets impaled in someone’s eyes, and females get scantily clad.
And now we have the trailer for Dead Sushi, featuring the same creepy Engrish narrator from the Robogeisha trailer and starring delicious slabs of rice and seafood that have themselves turned carnivorous and seeking human flesh. And you guessed it: Blood goes spraying, sushi do something at the end that I can’t even describe lest this blog go from a PG rating to somewhere between R and NC-17, and females get scantily clad. Give it to Iguchi: The guy knows his niche. 9:15 p.m. Saturday and 9 p.m. Sunday.
Thermae Romae: The first two-volumes-in-one omnibus collection of the manga by Mari Yamazaki is due from Yen Press next month, but local audiences will get a chance to see this film adaptation first. The film, like the manga, follows the adventures of Lucius, a harried architect in ancient Rome who finds his calling in life when he’s sucked through a drain doubling as a time portal, ends up in modern-day Japan, takes what he learns about bathhouse design, returns to his time and builds the most fabulous bathhouse in all the land.
Yes, that premise would probably be the craziest were it not for Dead Sushi’s presence in this year’s film festival. But hey, if you wanted normal, go pick up Jiro Dreams of Sushi or something. 9 p.m. Saturday and 9:15 p.m. Monday.
Eight Rangers: In a future world where Japan is teetering on the edge of ruin (if it’s not there already), the only thing standing between relative order and absolute chaos inflicted by a terrorist group is a ragtag bunch of ordinary citizens dressed in colorful costumes rallied by superhero Captain Silver. Sounds a bit cliched to me at face value, but you never know for sure what delightful twists and turns lie beneath the surface, so who knows? It could be worth a look. 3 p.m. Oct. 19 and 9:15 p.m. Oct. 20.
Ultraman Saga: Speaking of costumed superheroes, this year marks the 45th anniversary of one of Japan’s most enduring heroes: Ultraman. To celebrate, here’s Ultraman — or to be more specific, the Ultraman Zero version of the hero — like you’ve never seen him before: battling alongside members of super-popular J-pop girl group AKB48. In a future world where Tokyo’s in ruins and multiple dimensions are in danger, the only thing standing between relative order and absolute chaos inflicted by an invading alien force is a ragtag alliance formed with the AKB48-staffed Earth Defense Force Team U, Ultraman Zero and a defense team pilot named Taiga. No sign of the Eight Rangers, though. 11:30 a.m. Saturday.