Ota-cool! October, part 1: Petite con love

Mini Con 2013 posterWelcome to October, the month where, if you can’t find some event that interests you, you have to start questioning whether your heart’s really still into this anime/manga fandom.

A bunch of major players are hosting events this month: Kawaii Kon. The Hawaii International Film Festival. Taku Taku Matsuri. Oni-Con Hawaii (yes, I’m counting them now even though it’s a November event, because I’m checking in to my hotel Halloween afternoon and will probably be too busy covering it to be able to write them into the November Ota-cool! calendar, so yay). McCully-Moiliili Library manager Hillary Chang. That’s not even factoring in regular meetings of groups like Comic Jam Hawaii and MangaBento, or the Space Battleship Yamato live-action film from 2010 screening at the Ward theaters toward the end of the month.

There’s something going on pretty much every week — so much, in fact, that I ended up breaking up my customary beginning-of-the-month Ota-cool Incoming! post into three parts, for easier reading. And part 1 focuses on the big-bang kickoff to the month, what I saw as one crazy busy day several months ago: Saturday.

About a 30-minute, 14-mile drive separates the Kawaii Kon-hosted Anime Day at Windward Mall and Mini-Con at McCully-Moiliili Library. That information will come in handy for the truly hard-core fans among you, as both of those events are happening at roughly the same time — Anime Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mini Con from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Nemu *loves* the library. Cute Audra Furuichi art courtesy of Hillary Chang.If time and/or parking are your priority, perhaps Mini Con, sponsored by the library, Collector Maniacs and the Ross Dress for Less across the street (in the old Longs building!) ought to be your first stop. Now in its fourth year, Hillary Chang has invited her by-now standard roster of all-star artists ready to meet and greet patrons — Gordon Rider / Ararangers artist Jon Murakami, nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi, Crazy Shirts designer and Kikaidaverse fan artist Kevin Sano, and Brady Evans and Tara Tamayori with their dual Pen & Ink Works / Hachi Maru Hachi attack. (It’s super-effective!)

Jon, Audra and Kevin will all have stuff for sale — Audra in particular will have another lineup of I-wanna-buy-them-aaaaaaaaaaaall original artwork — and Pen & Ink Works will host a workshop at 11 a.m. There also will be free swag to collect (bookmarks! pencils!) and free anime screenings throughout the day. Cosplayers also will receive special prizes just for cosplaying, so go for it! Besides, Hillary’s always unveiled a costume of her own every year. You wouldn’t want her to feel all alone in her creative endeavors.

Weird (but given my recent history with covering such events, totally not expected) thing: I don’t think I ever posted a Flickr gallery of last year’s Mini Con. So if you want a taste of what this year’s event will probably look like, here you go:

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

Anime Day 2013 logoThe larger of the two events is Anime Day, which took over a bunch of empty storefronts and the centerstage area of Windward Mall last year. Most of the accoutrements from last year’s event are back this year: cosplay contests, free anime screenings and a dealers room / Artist Alley hybrid (where one of the vendors, I understand, will be a certain beading enthusiast who also writes a popular Star-Advertiser business column, selling anime- and video game-themed jewelry). The Comic Jam Hawaii gang will be hosting the Art Wall and sketching stations as well. The only thing that’s missing is that giant Christmas tree that regularly spewed out artificial “snow” in the centerstage area, but that Anime Day was also held in early December, so there’s that.

There’s also the promise of a “few surprises.” If you’ve been keeping track of the Kawaii Kon Facebook page in recent weeks, for starters, there has been that whole “here’s a picture of a particular character … what does this all mean?” running bit … I’m only speculating here, but could we finally be getting some confirmed answers to that question? And will it be, as your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger thinks, the announcement of the voice acting trio of Rob Paulsen, Grey DeLisle and Quinton Flynn as guests for Kawaii Kon 2014? We shall see, I suppose.

Weird (but given my recent history with covering Mini Con 2012, totally not expected) thing: I don’t think I ever posted a Flickr gallery of last year’s Anime Day, either. So if you want a taste of what this year’s event will probably look like, here you go:

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

And that’s still not everything going on this weekend. Some other events of note:

Star Wars Reads Day: May the force of literacy be with you! Eight libraries — Aiea, Aina Haina, Hawaii Kai, Kahuku, Kapolei and Mililani on Oahu, Makawao on Maui and Princeville on Kauai — will be hosting Star Wars-themed giveaways and activities. Aiea will host members of the 501st Imperial Legion and the Mandalorian Mercs, as well as offer activities for the kids, between 10 a.m. and noon. Kapolei will also have 501st members and kids’ activities between 10 a.m. and noon, while Mililani will have a bunch of giveaways between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Cap it off with a screening of Star Wars: The Clone Wars from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at Hawaii Kai.

Visual Kei Dark Castle: A Halloween Party: To get a sense of the vibe this regular visual kei club event is going for this month, please watch this video.

And then watch this locally produced homage.

Got it? Awesome. Be a v-kei creature of the night and come out to play at Nextdoor (43 N. Hotel St.) from 9 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This Sunday is the first one of the month, which means it’s time for another Pearlridge sketch session. Join this group of collaborative cartoon artists from 1 to 4 p.m. and draw to your heart’s content. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii.

Keep in mind, this is just what’s happening on one weekend this month. Next time, there’s a whole film festival’s worth of material to delve into. And then after that, there’s the rest of the month to cover.

It’s going to be a wild ride, folks. Strap in and enjoy.

Ota-cool Incoming! for May 25 and beyond

Kinda short on time to write anything substantive this week — heading out to watch a movie that’s NOT From Up on Poppy Hill in a bit! — so here’s your weekly Ota-cool Incoming! roundup. New to this edition: Comic Jam hits the road, Malice Mizer gets a tribute, the most awesomest movie not to be screened at Aiea Library finally gets screened … and wait, is that someone new in the Oni-Con Hawaii listing? Hmm.

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.

Anime Manga Society at UH-Manoa: Meetings during Summer Session 1 are every Friday through June 28. in Kuykendall Hall, room 306. Screenings TBA. 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists is hitting the road for its two meetings in June, and their first stop will be the University of Hawaii at Manoa Art Building, at the tables and chairs near the Commons Gallery. Those of you who want to tag on some extra drawing experience can go to the life drawing class on the third floor from 9:30 a.m. to noon (cost is $5; the CJH gathering is free, though). Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. June 2.

Visual Kei Dark Castle presents “A Tribute to Malice Mizer”: Celebrate the music and the style of the ’90s visual kei band fronted at one time by Gackt. Dress up in your best Malice Mizer-inspired or goth-lolita outfit, and you could win a $50 certificate to Tea Farm Cafe. Cover is $5 for those 21 and older; $10 for those 18 to 21. Loft Gallery & Lounge in Chinatown, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. June 8.

Tomo-E-Ame: Friends-Drawings-Candy: We’re now in the submissions period for MangaBento’s 2013 exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art School, with 2-D pieces that are 11 inches by 17 inches or smaller now being accepted during MangaBento meetings. Larger 2-D pieces and art in other media will be accepted on June 9 in the art school’s mezzanine gallery. As for the exhibit itself? That’s June 16-July 14.

Aiea Library Anime Club: Librarian Diane Masaki is screening Summer Wars at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road, in June. My heart just swelled three sizes. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday, June 15.

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: Featuring guests Yuko Ashizawa, a fashion designer with Atelier Pierrot, and the return of Nobuo Uematsu and the Earthbound Papas in concert. Also featuring the Cosplay Chess Brigade and Yu x Me Maid Cafe & Host Club. Preregistration open now; $35 for a three-day pass (price goes up June 1, so sign up now!). Artist Alley applications also being accepted (it’s $110 per table, which includes two three-day passes). Hawai’i Convention Center, Nov. 1-3.

Kawaii Kon 2014: Guests include voice actors Michael Sinterniklaas and Stephanie Sheh. 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.