Category Archives: anime

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.

More “Wind” and a quick “Peace”

 

THE WIND RISES. © 2013 Nibariki - GNDHDDTKTrying to figure out what's going on with the upcoming screening schedule for The Wind Rises, Hayao Miyazaki's final film expanding into more theaters on Friday, could be a fitting metaphor for the movie itself: There's a certainly a thing of beauty in there, but trying to find it may take repeat viewings. Fandango sorts Consolidated theater listings into ill-defined "VIP Room" and "Five-Star Lounge" categories, some screenings listed on Fandango aren't reflected on Consolidated's site, and Regal's Windward Stadium listing actually changed completely between Tuesday and Wednesday ... and remains incomplete, to boot.

It took a fair amount of staring — this post has been in the works for three days now! — but I think I finally have a handle on the schedule. As I noted in my last post, the film's expanding to more theaters starting Friday. Three of those — Consolidated's Pearlridge and Kahala complexes on Oahu and the Kaahumanu complex on Maui — will be joining Consolidated Ward in offering both the subtitled and English-dubbed versions. Consolidated's Mililani and Kapolei theaters (and as far as I know, the Regal Windward and Dole Cannery theaters) will be showing the dub exclusively.

As for that whole "VIP Room" and "Five-Star Lounge" thing on Fandango? It seems like the "room" listings match up with the subbed screenings, while the "lounge" listings match up with the dubbed screenings. Weird, I know, especially considering "English dubbed" and "English subtitles" headers are on the Consolidated Ward listings, but it is what it is.

Without further ado, here are your local screenings, for the most part starting Friday and running through Thursday, March 6:

The Wind Rises promotional poster (courtesy Disney)Consolidated Ward: Sub 1:10, 7:30 and 10:25 p.m. daily; dub 10:45 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. daily

Consolidated Mililani (dub only): Friday-Sunday 11:05 a.m. and 1:50, 7:30 and 10:15 p.m.; Friday 4:35 p.m; Monday-Thursday 12:45, 3:40, 7 and 9:45 p.m. (4:35 p.m. Saturday/Sunday listings on Fandango are not available.)

Consolidated Pearlridge: Sub Friday-Sunday 4:50 and 10:20 p.m., Monday-Thursday 4:35 and 10 p.m.; dub Friday-Sunday 11:20 a.m. and 2:05 and 7:35 p.m., Monday-Thursday 11:15 a.m. and 1:55 and 7:20 p.m.

Consolidated Kapolei (dub only): 11:30 a.m. and 2:10, 4:50, 7:30 and 10:10 p.m. daily

Consolidated Kahala: Sub 4:15 p.m. daily, Friday and Saturday 9:45 p.m.; dub 1:30 and 7 p.m. daily, Friday-Sunday 10:45 a.m.

Consolidated Kaahumanu (Maui): Sub 11:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. daily; dub 10:45 a.m. and 1:30, 4:15, 7 and 9:45 p.m. daily

Regal Windward Stadium: Friday-Sunday 1, 4:10,  7:20 and 10:20 p.m.

Regal Dole Cannery: Friday-Sunday 11 a.m. and 1:50, 4:40, 7:30 and 10:20 p.m.; Monday-Wednesday 12:40, 3:50, 7:15 and 10:20 p.m.

If you're curious as to how the English dub turned out, the Wall Street Journal's "Speakeasy" blog posted an exclusive clip.

That would be the end of today's cinematic anime update if not for the fact that another feature quietly showed up on the schedule. Short Peace from Katsuhiro Otomo (the man behind Akira and Steamboy) is actually a package of four short films:

  • In the 2013 Oscar-nominated short "Possessions (Tsukumo)," a lone traveler meets some unusual spirits at an abandoned shrine.
  • In "Gambo," a mysterious white bear protects the royal family from an advancing demon. Featuring character designs from Evangelion designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto.
  • In "Combustible (Hi-no-Youjin)," love, honor and firefighting come together in a tale from ancient Japan.
  • "A Farewell to Weapons" features men battling robotic tanks in apocalyptic Tokyo.

Sound interesting? You'll have all of one shot to see it in a theater (as long as that theater is at Consolidated Ward or Kaahumanu), on Monday at 7 p.m. Prices are standard non-matinee rates. Here's the Ward ticket link; here's the Kaahumanu ticket link. If you miss that, the shorts will be available exclusively on the PlayStation Network later this year.

For more on Short Peace, visit shortpeace-movie.com.

 

 

‘The Wind Rises’ tickets go on sale

The Wind Rises promotional poster (courtesy Disney)I was shuffling between the Mililani Town Center gazebo and a Jamba Juice store on Monday -- why, exactly, is not really important to this discussion (*cough*takingoverIngressportals*cough*) -- when I spotted something in the window of the Mililani Stadium 14 theaters that I've been waiting to see for a while now.

There was a poster for The Wind Rises, director Hayao Miyazaki's feature film swan song (or maybe not, who knows) and Oscar-nominated animated historical drama about airplane designer Jiro Horikoshi.

And a sign underneath: "ADVANCE TICKETS NOW ON SALE."

Indeed, for those of you who like preparing ahead for such things, tickets are now available on Fandango for screenings starting Friday, Feb. 21, at least through Sunday, March 2, at most theaters. The bulk of the screenings available are for Feb. 21-27 at the Consolidated Ward Stadium complex, but shows are also available Feb. 28-March 2 at the aforementioned Mililani theaters as well as Consolidated's Pearlridge West and Kahala 8 theaters and the Regal Dole Cannery 18 complex. Consolidated's Kaahumanu 6 theaters in Kahului have tickets available for Feb. 28-March 6.

For the first week, at least, the Ward theaters will be switching between the English-subtitled and dubbed versions, so for those of you who don't care about Joseph Gordon-Leavitt's take on Jiro and would much rather prefer to hear the voice of Evangelion director Hideaki Anno in the role, you'll have the option to watch that version. Catch the dubbed version at 10:45 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. or the subbed version at 1:40, 7:30 and 10:25 p.m. daily through Feb. 27.

It's unknown as of now whether the subtitled version will make an appearance at the other theaters, but here's the rundown of screenings available. Unless otherwise noted, the times shown cover the weekend of Feb. 28 only:

Mililani: 11:05 a.m. and 1:50, 4:40, 7:30 and 10:15 p.m.
Pearlridge: 11:15 a.m. and 2, 4:45, 7:30 and 10:15 p.m.
Dole (Feb. 28 only for now): 11 a.m. and 1:50, 4:40, 7:30 and 10:20 p.m.
Kahala: 10:45 a.m. and 1:30, 4:15 and 7 p.m. (9:45 p.m. showing on Feb. 28 and March 1 only)
Kaahumanu: 10:45 a.m. and 1:30, 4:15, 7 and 9:45 p.m. (Feb. 28-March 6)

Here's the official trailer to get you ready to see it, where not a single word is spoken. See you at the theater.

‘Tiger & Bunny,’ c’mon and raise up

It's been a while since we last updated this blog … credit this cartoon cat from another dimension for pulling a Time Vacuum from his four-dimensional pouch and sucking up all the free time that we'd usually allocate toward writing posts here.

This Doraemon statue may accurately reflect how I'm going to look after finding all the Doraemon statues around town. Just sayin'.

Yes, that's a Doraemon statue, one of three sitting in the lobby of H.I.S. Travel's Lea Lea Lounge on the third floor of the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. No, it has no direct promotional relationship with "Meet Doraemon: Japan's Time-Traveling Cat," the Bishop Museum/Fujiko F. Fujio Museum exhibit opening next Saturday. Yes, H.I.S. Travel and the Lea Lea Trolley do have something to do with the statues and a few others spotted around town. And yes, we're busy working on pieces about the statues and the exhibit, and at least one of those will be showing up next week.

Tiger and Bunny The Rising movie posterBut while we're focusing on working on all things Doraemon, news keeps on trickling in to Otaku Ohana Central. One of those items maintains Eleven Arts' early streak so far this year of screening all their theatrical anime acquisitions in Hawaii. The latest pickup: Tiger & Bunny: The Rising, the latest film in the Tiger & Bunny franchise that's opening in Japan on Saturday.

Those of you unfamiliar with the Tiger & Bunny franchise, you have a little over a month and a half to catch up before The Rising comes here. (Your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger will be joining you in doing so.) The complete subtitled series is available for free streaming on Hulu. Viz has the license for the anime and manga, so you could also watch the series on DVD or Blu-ray, read the manga or watch it on their Neon Alley streaming service on PC, Playstation 3 or Xbox 360. (The latter service is also the only outlet I know of where you can watch the first movie, Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning legally online.)

For those of you who are familiar with the franchise, here's the official Eleven Arts synopsis:

Picking up after the events of the Maverick incident, Kotetsu T. Kaburagi, a.k.a. Wild Tiger, and Barnaby Brooks Jr. resume their careers as heroes fighting crime in HERO TV’s Second League. But their partnership comes to a sudden end when Apollon Media’s new owner Mark Schneider fires Kotetsu and moves Barnaby back into the First League, pairing him up with Golden Ryan, a new hero with awesome powers and a huge ego to match.

When the heroes are sent to investigate a string of strange incidents tied closely to the city’s Goddess Legend, they discover three superpowered NEXTs plotting to bring terror and destruction to Stern Bild. With the lives of millions hanging in the balance, Barnaby and Golden Ryan must overcome their differences to contain the approaching doom, while a jobless Kotetsu’s resolve as a hero is put to the test as he struggles to help his fellow heroes from the sidelines.

And here's a trailer filled with heroes and villains flying all over the place and EXPLOSIONS.

Locally, we're getting this movie all nice and English-subtitled for two showings, at noon Sunday, March 23, and 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, at the Ward Stadium theaters. Tickets are $15 each and available here ... and there may be a few promotional giveaways as well, seeing as how the autograph prints and "Letters From Menma" packs made their way to the Anohana movie screenings a few weeks ago.

Oh, and before you ask: No, there isn't any update yet on The Wind Rises screenings. A bit weird how that works, that we can get info on a limited-run show next month before the info about the cinematic centerpiece for this month -- but I suppose that's how the industry operates.

First local ‘Wind Rises’ screening tidbits emerge

As far as anime-related movie screenings are concerned locally, this week belongs to Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie, showing at the Ward Stadium theaters on Oahu and the Kaahumanu 6 theaters on Maui at 7 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Saturday.

The Wind Rises promotional poster (courtesy Disney)But here at Otaku Ohana, we like looking forward to the Next Big Thing. And if October's sellout of a single showing in two large auditoriums at the Dole Cannery theaters during the Hawaii International Film Festival was any indication, that Next Big Thing is the wide release of The Wind Rises, the latest Studio Ghibli movie to be localized for American audiences. As director Hayao Miyazaki's feature film swan song (or maybe not, who knows), the historical drama about airplane designer Jiro Horikoshi has already garnered raves from most people who have seen it and an Oscar nomination for best animated feature. (Confession: I felt a little "meh" about it after that initial October viewing. It may take another viewing for me to come around on that.)

It was never a question of if The Wind Rises would make it back here. Disney picked up distribution rights again after ceding From Up on Poppy Hill to GKids and brought in an all-star cast — that all-grown-up guy from Third Rock From the Sun! That actress from The Devil Wears Prada who isn't Anne Hathaway or Meryl Streep! Frodo! Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride! A bunch of others! — and already promised it would release the film nationwide. It was more a matter of where it would show up and how Disney would market it, considering (a) there isn't too much of the fantasy/whimsy that has given many Ghibli releases widespread appeal, (b) it's a mature story that encompasses the Great Kanto Earthquake, the tuberculosis epidemic and Japan's march toward World War II, and (c) Jiro and his friend, Honjo, suck back enough cigarettes to make any anti-tobacco movement cringe.

The film's been given a PG-13 rating and is being released under the Touchstone Pictures banner, so at least the distinction that this movie is for older audiences is there. As for where it's playing, Consolidated Theatres' website quietly added some insight into that over the past few days. Mark your calendars now, because The Wind Rises is currently listed to open at the Ward Stadium complex on Friday, Feb. 21, then expand out to the Kahala, Mililani and Pearlridge theaters on Oahu and the Kaahumanu 6 theaters in Kahului a week after, on Feb. 28.

No showtimes listed yet, but I'm sure those will show up in due time. The fact that it's on Consolidated's radar in and of itself is a good sign, so get excited, Hawaii anime fans.

Ota-cool incoming!

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.

Kawaii Kon Karaoke Kompetition: The road to KKX continues with this, the first of three preliminary rounds for the anime convention's annual karaoke contest. Aspiring singers, read up on the rules at http://kawaiikon.com/events/karaoke/karaoke-preliminary-rounds/ (and don't forget to submit your form by 11 59 p.m. Saturday!) then make your way to Orvis Auditorium on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus. Check-in starts at 12:30 p.m. Sunday; the singing itself takes place from 1 to 3 p.m.

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. Feb. 2.

DJ Append promotional video shoot: Did you go to the Oni-Con Hawaii dance party on the first night and enjoy the vibe? Did you not go, yet don't mind actin' the fool while a camera's rolling? DJ Append, the deejay mixing the tunes at that dance party, will be filming his first video, and you're invited to attend. Free food and drinks, too! RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/1394457884137527. 609 Keawe St., Sat., Feb. 8.

"Meet Doraemon: Japan's Time-Traveling Cat": Yup, the Fujiko F. Fujio Museum's created a traveling exhibit about the blue guy and decades-old Japanese icon, and Bishop Museum is where it's going to make its first stop. You know I'm going to have much, much more to say about this down the line, but for now, here, have the museum's official preview. Bishop Museum (1525 Bernice St.), Feb. 15-April 20.

Anime Swap Meet: Hosted by Kawaii Kon, this opportunity for local otaku to buy and sell assorted preowned collectibles from one another will be part of the the 24th Annual Hawaii Collectors Expo on Sat. Feb. 22 and Sun., Feb. 23. Interested in selling? Check out http://www.kawaii-kon.org/index.php?cID=263 for all the details; registration deadline is Feb. 12 at midnight. (Worth noting: It'll cost $25 to sell on Saturday, $20 on Sunday; one person per 5-square-foot space; everything must be displayed on the ground.) Interested in buying? Start saving your pennies now. (There's also a $5 admission charge, but it's free for members of the military with valid ID ... and for those of you who cosplay, too!)

Future attractions

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. Hawai'i Convention Center and other venues around Waikiki, March 7-9.

Kawaii Kon 2014: Guests for the 10th anniversary edition include voice actors Jim Cummings, Grey DeLisle, Ayumi Fujimura, Quinton Flynn, Richard Horvitz, Tetsuya Kakihara, Vic Mignogna, Michael Sinterniklaas and Stephanie Sheh; musical guests Kagemaya Hironobu and Yoko Ishida; professional cosplayer Leah Rose; the Chalk Twins, traveling performance artists who will be crafting a giant chalk mural; and local comedian Augie T., serving as emcee. Preregistration open now; $37 for a three-day pass for children ages 5-12, $42 general admission. Hawai'i Convention Center, April 4-6.

 

“Anohana,” more “Madoka” and “Eva 3.0″ coming to Oahu

October has traditionally been the best month for local fans to catch top-notch anime on the big screen, what with the Hawaii International Film Festival bringing in some of the latest and best films (and in recent years, select classics from yesteryear).

This year, though? Looks like we're going to have two months of big-screen anime awesomeness to look forward to: October ... and right now, as film distributor Eleven Arts has quietly turned this month into a three-film anime feast.

anohanaWe already knew that Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo was coming here, to the Ward Stadium complex on Oahu and the Kaahumanu 6 theaters on Maui on Saturday and next Tuesday, then to the Honolulu Museum of Art's Doris Duke Theatre Jan. 29-31. (From what I understand, free tickets are still available for anyone with Kawaii Kon three-day passes from 2013 or who have preregistered for 2014; see this post for details.) We also knew that Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie was heading to the Kaahumanu 6 theaters on Jan. 22 and 25, seemingly skipping Oahu and getting me to casually contemplate whether I should fly out to see it.

I never did buy that plane ticket. Probably a good thing, too, because a quick check of the official movie site reveals that yes, Honolulu, you'll be getting some Anohana love as well. Same days as Maui, too, albeit at different times: 7 p.m. on Wed., Jan. 22 and 2 p.m. on Sat., Jan. 25, both at the Ward Stadium complex. Tickets are $15 for each showing.

Madoka Magica: Rebellion is also returning to Oahu, too, for those of you who might have missed the screenings last month at the Doris Duke. That's happening ... right now, in fact, as the film is in the middle of a limited engagement at the Pearlridge West theaters. While the Rebellion website lists it as running through Jan. 16, I've only been able to confirm it through Thursday, so the sooner you catch it, the better. Showtimes are at 11:30 a.m. and 2:05, 4:40, 7:15 and 9:50 p.m.; tickets are at standard prices ($10.50 general, $8 matinee screenings before 4 p.m., $7.50 seniors 60 and older, $8 military with valid ID, $8.50 students with valid IDs, and I'm not even going to mention the "children ages 3-11" price here, because children that age shouldn't be watching this movie anyway).

And then there's Evangelion 3.0, the movie that's starting to approach "if you want to see it in theaters, you probably will somehow" levels in terms of the number of screenings these next few weeks. A total of 35 screenings have been added, to be exact, at the Pearlridge West theaters starting Friday and running through the 16th. Showtimes are at 12:20, 2:45, 5:15, 7:45 and 10:05 p.m., and here's your ticket link (ticket pricing structure is the same as Rebellion).

See you at the movies, folks. Indulge in some popcorn while you're there, too. C'mon, you deserve it.

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)

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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.

Ani-Mele Kalikimaka from Honolulu Hale

Ahh, Honolulu City Lights. Now in its 29th year, the sights of the city's annual Christmas display have become familiar to anyone driving through the government district on King and Beretania streets during the holiday season -- Shaka Santa and Mrs. Claus dipping their toes into the fountain, the giant Norfolk pine sitting in front of Honolulu Hale, the snowman family, giant blocks spelling out "MELE KALIKIMAKA" (Merry Christmas) on one side and "HAUOLI MAKAHIKI HOU" (Happy New Year) on the other, the Board of Water Supply's animated light displays hanging between palm trees. If you're interested in getting a sense of what those look like, we have a whole bunch of pictures shot by Kat Wade over at our sister site, Honolulu Pulse.

Tucked away from the drive-by sightseers, sitting in the courtyard of Honolulu Hale, is a festival of trees, each one decorated by a city agency and following a general theme. That, along with the display of entries in the city's holiday wreath contest, would be worth the extra effort to walk through every year on its own merits. But there's something about this year's theme that makes it particularly appealing to us here at Otaku Ohana. A few weeks ago, tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. nudged me to read a section of this preview by Stefanie Nakasone:

The annual display, consisting of trees decorated by different city departments, this year has a theme of anime.

WILL WE see some Pokemon, Naruto or maybe even Sailor Moon?

“The departments are pretty hushed about that,” Kaji­wara said of this year’s designs. “We’re excited to see what people put together.”

Now, I have to admit, I was a bit guarded in my enthusiasm about the news. Sure, an "anime" theme is great, but at the same time, if it ended up being a bunch of trees with all 718 Pokemon and generic big-eyed caricatures, I probably would've lamented the missed opportunities.

As it turns out, I needn't have worried. There was a truck with Anpanman, Goku, Hello Kitty, Badtz-Maru, Totoro and Pikachu in the opening night's electric light parade, after all -- if any other American city has ever featured something like that in a parade, I'd love to see a picture of it. There is, indeed, a thrill about stepping inside and having this as one entryway view.

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And from another entryway, this view.

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And if you go during normal government business working hours, you could also go upstairs and get this view.

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Of course, you know what all that meant: I had to go down and get enough shots for the customary embedded Flickr gallery. Before I get to that, though, here are some fun tree display facts:

  • Twenty-two city departments and agencies are represented. Of those, five -- Enterprise Services, Information Technology, Design & Construction, the Board of Water Supply and Customer Services -- don't have any direct ties to anime. (Still nice trees, though.) The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit's display technically isn't anime-related, either, but their characters do look somewhat sorta anime-ish, so I'll let that slide.
  • All of the trees are artificial due to city fire codes.
  • Five trees, a giant Pikachu and a firefighting Pikachu sitting next to the Honolulu Fire Department's firefighting-themed tree testify to the mainstream appeal of Pokemon.
  • Three trees are Totoro-themed — add in Transportation Services' Ponyo-themed tree, and you have four inspired by the work of Studio Ghibli.
  • Some other anime characters making appearances: Goku, Naruto, Tony Tony Chopper, Doraemon, Hatsune Miku, Astro Boy, Mokona (black and white!) and Asuna from Sword Art Online. There are also a few boxed Gundam model kits.

It's been a while since I last gave these instructions on viewing Flickr galleries, so here's a refresher. To start the slideshow, just press the "play" button in the middle of the frame below. Pause and restart using the button on the lower left. If you want a larger view, click on the icon on the lower right; in that full-screen view, you can also see the captions I've written for each picture (using the "Show Info" link) or slow down the automatic scrolling (using the "Options" link). Finally, if you're viewing this blog on an iOS device (iPad/iPod Touch) and can't view Flash plug-ins, or if you just want to skip all the slideshow fiddling and go straight to the gallery, here's the direct gallery link: www.flickr.com/photos/sumiyoshi/sets/72157638671273743 And if you want to see the display in person, the trees will be up at Honolulu Hale through the end of the month. Check it out any time between 7:45 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily.

Enough of my gabbing ... here's the gallery. Merry Christmas!

“Anohana”: The flower we’re seeing on Maui

anohanaIt's been a while since tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. has raved to me about wanting to see any anime, so when she does, you bet I'm going to perk up and take notice.

In this particular case, it's Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, an 11-episode series that aired in Japan in 2011 and is currently available for free on Crunchyroll. In the series, a girl's death ends up being the wedge that drives a group of childhood friends apart, but her ghostly return -- and her haunting of the group's leader -- could end up being the key to them coming to terms over the guilt they felt about that tragic day. And a flower is probably involved. (Hey, I only saw the first episode of Kill La Kill on Wednesday. I have a lot of anime series catching-up to do.)

A feature-length film retelling the story was released in Japan in August; a few months later, in November, Aniplex of America announced it would be bringing the film to U.S. theaters, with Eleven Arts distributing. If you remember my first post on Evangelion 3.0 a few weeks ago, your sixth sense should be tingling right about now, considering that I said that pretty much anything with Eleven Arts attached to it has shown up locally as of late.

Well, an Aniplex press release announcing that a theater list was now available rattled into my inbox this morning ... and there's good and bad news. The good news is that the Anohana movie is, indeed, coming to Hawaii. The bad news? As of now, if you're reading this somewhere that isn't Maui, it's going to cost you, at a bare minimum, round-trip airfare, a round-trip cab ride and a ticket to see it. That's because, for the first time that I can remember this happening in all my years on this beat, Anohana is skipping Honolulu entirely and screening exclusively at the Kaahumanu 6 theaters in Kahului.

So here's the deal, Mauians: There will be two showings, one at 2 p.m. on Wed., Jan. 22, the other at 7 p.m. Sat., Jan. 25. Fandango ticket links are embedded in that last sentence; tickets cost $15 each. Ticketholders will have an opportunity to score cool gifts, including "Letters From Menma" replicas and movie posters. And in case you're still on the fence, here, have a trailer.

For more information on the movie, visit www.AniplexUSA.com/anohanamovie. In the meantime, I'll be sitting over here, alternating between being jealous of those of you on Maui and seriously contemplating whether I should hop over for a day and indulge in Komoda Store cream puffs, guri guri from the Tasaka shop, and pretty much everything Sam Sato's in Wailuku serves up. That's good eatin'.

Evangelion 3.0, update 3.0

eva3_posterB_B1_org_OK_RGBWhile I was poking around on Fandango, I decided to check in on whether the Eva 3.0 screenings for the Kaahumanu 6 and Ward Stadium theaters finally materialized. And they have! Ticket links and prices are below. (Note: "Seniors" refers to anyone ages 60 and older; "children" refers to anyone ages 3-11.)

Those screenings are more than two weeks earlier than the Doris Duke Theatre screenings at the Honolulu Museum of Art that I've written about before, so if you're really itching to see Eva 3.0 sooner rather than later, here's your chance. If not, tickets are still available for all those screenings. As far as I know, tickets are also still available for the Kawaii Kon screening at 7:30 p.m. Thurs., Jan. 30, for free to those who have a three-day badge from 2013 or who already preregistered for 2014. Details for that offer are in this post.

Ota-cool incoming!

Unless some major news breaks in the next few days, I expect this will be the last Ota-cool Incoming! update for 2013. It's been a very fruitful year for the local anime/manga fan community ... and the first few months of 2014 are already shaping up to be fun ones as well. So let's get to it!

journey of heroes 2Honolulu Gift Fair: We already knew that Stacey Hayashi, author of the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team graphic novel Journey of Heroes, would be one of the vendors in attendance. Now comes word that she'll have copies of the fresh-off-the-press second printing of the book as well. The new edition contains four additional pages -- featuring letters from veterans and a list of donors to schools -- and a redesigned cover. Well, okay, so the title bar just changed from red to blue, as you can see in the picture to the right. But hey, it's something. Stacey will also have shirts featuring the chibis and buttons available for sale as well. Admission is free. Blaisdell Exhibition Hall; 3-9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Aiea Library Anime Club: This month, librarian Diane Masaki is screening ... well ... something holiday-themed, that's for sure. Could be polar bears. Could be something about three homeless friends and an abandoned baby. Just show up and act pleasantly surprised, okay? 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.

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.

Future attractions

New Year's Ohana Festival: Kick off 2014 with the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii in an event guaranteed to be filled with food, games, entertainment, cultural activities and a Kawaii Kon booth, where preregistrations will be taken and Eva 3.0 tickets will be given away. At the center (2454 S. Beretania St.) and nearby Moiliili Field. Jan. 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

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. Hawai'i Convention Center and other venues around Waikiki, March 7-9.

Kawaii Kon 2014: Guests for the 10th anniversary edition include voice actors Jim Cummings, Grey DeLisle, Ayumi Fujimura, Quinton Flynn, Richard Horvitz, Tetsuya Kakihara, Michael Sinterniklaas and Stephanie Sheh; professional cosplayer Leah Rose; and local comedian Augie T., serving as emcee. Preregistration open now; $37 for a three-day pass for children ages 5-12, $42 general admission. Hawai'i Convention Center, April 4-6.

Next time in Otaku Ohana

This.

Indeed, a Kawaii Christmas is the only Christmas for me.

And there are a lot more pictures from where that came from, too.

Evangelion: Death and rebirth … of a screening

eva3_posterB_B1_org_OK_RGBThe most intriguing mystery hovering over January's screenings of Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo at the Doris Duke Theatre has been solved.

A brief recap: As I noted in my last post, online ticket sales for Eva 3.0 went on sale in the past few days, but with one notable gap -- the screening scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30 (one of three to be in Japanese with English subtitles, one of five overall) had already sold out. To thicken the plot, when I posted a link to that post in my usual social media circles, I got a response from Brady Evans, who works at the Honolulu Museum of Art. He told me that the screening was sold out before he even posted the ticket page on the museum's website.

Question is, who would buy out the entire theater like that? Industry staff, looking for a Hawaii vacation? Overeager fanboys, with their shrines to Asuka, Rei and Mari? Overeager fangirls, hoping for more story shreds to fuel their Shinji x Kaworu boys' love fanfics? And were some combination of all those factions camped out in front of the theater box office, waiting for the second someone hung out an "ON SALE NOW" sign?

Turns out the explanation is a lot simpler: Kawaii Kon bought out that particular showing. And as their just-released December newsletter points out, they're opening the doors and letting in any three-day badge holders from  Kawaii Kon 2013 and/or already preregistered for the anime con's 10th anniversary edition next year at no additional cost. (First come, first served, of course.) Here's how attendees can claim their tickets:

  • Email KawaiiKon.Evangelion.03@kawaiikon.com; include your full name and a picture/scan of your 2013 badge or 2014 registration confirmation.
  • Bring your ID and badge/confirmation to the theater on Jan. 30 -- again, for the 7:30 p.m. screening only.

That's it! Easy peasy. I should note that the Doris Duke Theatre has a listed seating capacity of 280, so you'll want to get on that sooner rather than later.

Not registered yet for 2014? Current three-day pass rates are $52 general admission (ages 13 and up), $42 children ages 5-12. If you really want to splurge, VIP packages for singles and couples, including a three-night stay at the Ala Moana Hotel, T-shirts, special 1oth-anniversary lanyards and priority in seating and various queues, also remain available ($655 singles, $752 couples). There also will be opportunities to win tickets at the various Madoka Magica: Rebellion screenings later this month and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii's Ohana Festival on Jan. 19.

For all things Kawaii Kon, keep watching this space or visit www.kawaii-kon.org.