Back in January, three theatrical anime releases made their way to Hawaii: Evangelion 3.0, Madoka Magica: Rebellion and Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie.
"Okay, this is as good as it gets," I remember thinking at the time.
A few more films trickled in here and there in the ensuing months. Then in August, another set of three movies showed up: Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, My Neighbor Totoro and Naruto: Road to Ninja.
"Okay, fine. This is as good as it gets. Really," I remember thinking at the time.
Now there's October and November, and … well, folks, we've finally hit the fireworks factory. If you were to count the various pieces of Ghost in the Shell: Arise as separate entities, 12 theatrical anime releases were screened in local theaters between January and September.
This month and next month, eight anime, five live-action movies based on manga, the Kikaida revival, a documentary about Studio Ghibli and the Japan-flavored Disney animated feature Big Hero 6 are due for screenings. Indeed, these months will have more otaku film content crammed into it than the rest of this year combined.
Two film festivals are driving most of this boom. The first, "Hello Tokyo!" starting Saturday and running through Oct. 12 at the Honolulu Museum of Art's Doris Duke Theater, is the anime-heavy one; the 34th annual Hawaii International Film Festival from Oct. 30 through Nov. 9 will be bringing the live-action love (and Big Hero 6 a few days before its scheduled wide release on Nov. 7). Bridging the two will be Kikaider Reboot, screening Oct. 10-16 in the Ward Stadium 16's Titan XC auditorium. In this post, let's take a look at the Art Museum's offerings and the new Kikaider movie.
Single tickets are $10, $8 for museum members; the Ghost in the Shell marathon is $25 general, $20 museum members. Visit honolulumuseum.org/14657-hello_tokyo for more information and ticket links.
The Ghost in the Shell marathon: To screen all the elements of the Ghost in the Shell would take far longer than one night would allow, so this marathon hits just the essentials: the 1995 classic directed by Mamoru Oshii, which introduced the future world of Tokyo Public Security Section Nine and cyborg Major Motoko Kusanagi to moviegoers, and three out of four parts of the 2013 prequel series Ghost in the Shell Arise, which ... well ... introduces the future world of Tokyo Public Security Section Nine and cyborg Major Motoko Kusanagi to viewers, except before the movie as far as the franchise's timeline is concerned.
You have one shot to catch all of this in one place, and that's on the film festival's opening day on Saturday. Ghost in the Shell screens at 2 p.m., followed by Arise Border 1: Ghost Pain at 4 p.m. and the Arise Border 2: Ghost Whispers / Arise Border 3: Ghost Tears combo at 6:30 p.m. There's also an opening-night reception between Arise showings, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., featuring entertainment, games, and sales of bentos and beverages (both of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic variety). Cosplayers, you're invited to come on down as well. To get in to the reception, just buy a ticket for the marathon or, if you can't fathom sitting through all of that, for either of the Arise screenings.
If you can't make it to the marathon, Ghost in the Shell will be shown by itself at 1 p.m. Oct. 11 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12.
Road to Ninja -- Naruto the Movie: Your favorite orange jump-suited ninja and his friends are back for their latest big-screen adventure again after a two-day limited engagement earlier this year at the Ward Stadium 16 theaters. As a reminder, 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!
Screening at 4 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
K: Missing Kings: Another film playing a return engagement in Honolulu -- this one showed up on Oahu and Maui for two days in July -- this extension of the anime series K continues the story of seven kings who rule over their clansmen on an Earth different from our own. Again, a synopsis refresher:
Based on the hit anime K, K MISSING KINGS picks up where the series left off. Featuring the same director and scriptwriter as the series, this movie brings the characters that you’ve grown to love in the same spirit of action, honor, and loyalty. K MISSING KINGS also sees the return of popular voice actors such as Daisuke Namikawa, Daisuke Ono, and Tomokazu Sugita, reprising their roles for the first time on the big screen.
The story starts some time after the Island Academy Incident, in which four of the seven great Kings crossed paths. Since this time, silver clansmen Kuroh Yatogami and Neko have been searching for their master, Yashiro Isana, the Silver King. Their search having turned up fruitless, the two begin to give up hope, until they encounter Anna Kushina and Rikio Kamamoto, two members of the red clan HOMRA being chased by someone.
Screening at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and 1 p.m. Oct. 9.
Welcome to the Space Show: It's your typical "kids go to summer camp, lose a rabbit, find a talking dog instead, rocket off to intergalactic adventures, and then Susan Boyle sings" story ... which is to say it's filled with plenty of elements of fantasy and sci-fi and what the heck did I just watch here-ness. If this movie sounds familiar, then you probably remember that HIFF screened the film back in 2010. (Here's my review in Honolulu Pulse.) Space Show's return comes via GKids, which will also be releasing the film on DVD and Blu-ray on Oct. 14. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, 1 p.m. Wednesday and 4 p.m. Oct. 11.
Patema Inverted: The titular character is a princess who finds everything she thought she knew about life turned upside down one day. And I mean that quite literally; this is a story of two people who live in societies separated by opposing gravitational forces. It's up to her and the student she meets, Age, to figure out exactly what it is that's keeping their worlds apart. This, along with Ghost in the Shell Arise Border 3: Ghost Tears, is making its Hawaii debut. Screening at 1 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11 and 4 p.m. Oct. 12.
It's the movie so big, it merited its own breakout section in this roundup. (Well, that and the fact that it's the only one being screened independent of any film festivals.) In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Kikaida in Hawaii, JN Productions/Generation Kikaida is bringing the cinematic revival of Shotaro Ishinomori's classic character to Hawaii -- and North America, for that matter -- for the first time. The cast may be different -- Irie Jingi plays Jiro/Kikaider here, although original actor Ban Daisuke does return here in a new role -- but the story remains the same: A cyborg with a Conscience Circuit crafted by the late Dr. Komyoji is tasked with protecting the doctor's children, Mitsuko and Masaru, and their knowledge that is key to completing the ARK Project.
Tickets for reserved seating in Ward's Titan XC auditorium are $15.25 general, $12.75 children ages 3-11, and $12.25 seniors ... and if you click through Fandango's ticket page, there are still plenty of tickets available for the film's Oct. 10-16 engagement. (Don't procrastinate for too long, though.)
While we're talking about Kikaida 40th anniversary celebrations, I should also mention that another Kikaida Day is taking place at Shirokiya at Ala Moana Center from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday. You can try your luck at winning tickets to a private screening of Kikaider Reboot, buy new merchandise, get autographs from Ban Daisuke, meet Kutmaster Spaz of Dis N Dat and enjoy all the usual accoutrements of Kikaida Days past: Kikaida-oke, costumed superheroes wandering around for photo ops, DVD giveaways and free balloons.
Next time in Otaku Ohana: The Otaku Ohana guide to the Hawaii International Film Festival. There's a Studio Ghibli documentary!