Category Archives: anime

[UPDATED] Taku Taku Matsuri postponed

taku taku matsuri logoIn case you're wondering what happened to my post from earlier this morning previewing the Taku Taku Matsuri Summer Festival, scheduled for Saturday at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii: I've pulled it from the blog on account of the event being postponed due to possible effects from Hurricanes Iselle and Julio. Here's the formal statement from organizer Yuka C. Nagaoka, posted earlier this afternoon:

!!! Attention !!!

With public transportation becoming transportation to emergency evacuation locations, Hospitals shutting down, and all the chaos happening,
I have made the decision to cancel taku taku Matsuri on August 9th, 2014.

I have thought this through for the pass few hours, and I find that, for everyone's safety, this is the best decision. 

BUT DO NOT WORRY!!!!

I have rescheduled with the venue.
I will make this happen.

So, you know what??
STAY TUNED FOR MORE UPDATES!!!!!

Please everyone, please be safe.
With many many Mahalos and Alohas,
Yuka C. Nagaoka

I'll repost any updates here as I get them. For now ... well, people in-state (particularly those of you on Hawaii island), shelter in place and stay safe. Those of you out of state ... pray for us.

Taku Taku Matsuri still on (for now)

taku taku matsuri logoThe second Taku Taku Matsuri Summer Festival is happening Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the Manoa Grand Ballroom at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (2454 S. Beretania St.).

"Umm, Jason," some of you may be saying right about now. "Iselle and Julio are inbound. A lot of events around town are being postponed, including JCCH's own Summer Craft and Collectibles Fair and Gift Wrapping Workshop on the same day. Will there be a festival left to attend?"

The simple answer is "yes ... God willing." The official statement from Taku Taku Matsuri organizer Yuka C. Nagaoka, posted to the event's Facebook page Tuesday:

About the Hurricane that is approaching Hawaii.
Because we hear from different weather websites and channels different information, we cannot say exactly what is going to happen on August 9th.
That is why, for now, it will happen as planned.
HOWEVER, if it does become a threat and dangerous for people to come, we will have to cancel.

If we have to cancel, we will figure out a way to properly refund everyone that has paid for the kickstarter and online tickets.

Please everyone, please be safe.

And another statement by Yuka, posted Wednesday:

We have received a phone call from the venue, Manoa Grand Ballroom. We were told to make the final decision by Friday morning.
So, if by Friday we see that it will be unsafe for the event this Saturday, we will cancel.
However, if it looks like it will be ok, we will chance. Of course, if the situation suddenly becomes dangerous, we will cancel ASAP.

More than anything, please, everyone be safe.

It looks like any final word will be coming Friday; I'll update here with any changes, power and an Internet connection willing.

So it's status quo for now here at Otaku Ohana Central (albeit one with plenty of extra water, batteries and other assorted emergency kit items on hand and portable gaming systems charging up). And that status quo dictates that I share with you what you can expect to get for your $15 ticket ($13 if you buy online at takutaku.ticketleap.com/summer-taku-taku-matsuri/; go go gooooooooo).

Among Yuka's postings these past few days was the long-awaited event schedule; here it is, with some additional comments from me.

10 a.m.: Registration opens.

raybaboon11 a.m.-noon: Opening ceremony and raybaboon performs. If you've never heard of raybaboon's work before ... well, I don't blame you, because I had to look up his music as soon as the announcement was made. (And yes, despite the teaser image in that link and the one I used to the right, it does sound like it's a man who does the music.) It's going to be his debut performance in the United States.  Here's his Soundcloud page; his vocals sound very ... contemplative and moody, somewhat airy. I guess that would be the best way of describing it. The accompanying instrumentals certainly defy your expectations of what instrumentals usually sound like. If you ever wondered why I've done more anime/manga reviews over the years and not music reviews ... well, the preceding sentences are why.

11 a.m.-6 p.m.: Artist/vendor room is open. Vendors include Star-Advertiser "Calabash" artist Jon J. Murakami; friends of the blog Terri Dux, Karl Miyashiro and the idkwhat2wear gang; beadsprite purveyors Dinnercrew Crafts; Plus Won Armory, which handcrafts foam and wooden blades; alexisxstetic, an artist who makes hair bows, small top hats and baby accessories; Roseanne Chan, who's selling 3D Fiber Mascara by Younique; and The Rambling Scholar's steampunk jewelry.

While you're thinking of shopping, swing by Last Outpost Hawaii's 602 Club, a Star Trek-themed cafe in the style of the maid/cosplay cafes at other events. Will bootleg Romulan Ale be served (*cough*here'sthepassword*cough*)? Will some poor, hapless red shirt be killed off every hour? You betcha.

Noon-1:30 p.m.: King of Tokyo. In case you're keeping score, we're now 0-for-2 on scheduled events that I knew about before the announcement was made. You young'uns and all your newfangled flippy-dippy thingies! This article on boardgaming.com can explain this card/dice game featuring monsters battling it out over Tokyo and the world much better than I can at this point. Take that, giant-size the board and have people -- maybe even cosplayers -- act out what's going on, and you have what'll be happening during this block. You know, it's kinda like Cosplay Chess.

Princess of Tennis cover1:30-2:30 p.m.: Princess of Tennis. In her first scheduled formal appearance locally since moving to our fair state, artist and jamieism.com blogger Jamie Lynn Lano talks about her experiences living in Japan and working for a little over a year as an assistant to manga artist Takeshi Konomi on The Prince of Tennis. Her book detailing those experiences will also be available for purchase! (Also, if you have a job to offer her or a cat-friendly, $500/month living space to rent, I think she'd love you forever.)

2:30-3:30 p.m.: Cosplay Chess. The Cosplay Chess Brigade brings its live-action role-playing chess game and giant board to Taku Taku Matsuri. You know, it's kinda like giant-sized King of Tokyo.

3:30-5 p.m.: Kyle Hebert panel. He was one of the highlighted announcements when Taku Taku Matsuri launched its Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, and now the voice actor best known for his roles as Kiba in Naruto, Kamina in Gurren Lagann, the older version of Gohan in Dragon Ball Z and Ryu in the newer Street Fighter games is here to answer questions like:

  • "Out of all the roles you played, who's your favorite character?"
  • "Can you have [INSERT NAME OF CHARACTER HERE] say [INSERT EITHER LINE FROM SHOW OR SOMETHING FROM STEAMY FANFIC THAT THE CHARACTER WOULD NORMALLY NEVER SAY HERE]?"
  • "Ya wanna try this Spam musubi I bought from the 7-Eleven up the street?"

You have two days. Please try to come up with something more original.

5-6 p.m.: Kyle Hebert autograph session.

6-8 p.m.: Cardboard Mega-Brawl. Take a bunch of enterprising people, give them some cardboard and some time to fashion armor out of it, then send them into one-on-one battle with giant foam noodles. If that sounds like fun, there's still space for one person in the men's division and all four slots in the women's division; sign up here. Also featuring DJ A-Wolf's styling of fight background music. (Remember, folks, Guile's theme goes with everything.)

8-10 p.m.: Screening of Jackie Claxton and the Battles From BeyondPart of the Jackie Claxton Project, this film introduces Jackie, a girl who has to save humanity and the universe from the supernatural forces that threaten it. A Q&A session will follow.

10 p.m.: It's over! A pinata will subsequently be sacrificed to the special events gods.

Also planned but not on the schedule: the Not So Ordinary (Flash) Costume Contest(s). No, you don't have to dress up as DC Comics' Flash, nor should you come dressed in a raincoat and nothing else. It looks like there's going to be at least one spontaneous cosplay contest happening throughout the day, judged by cosplayer Uncanny Megan. So cosplayers, be on your guard at all times. It could pay off.

See you all on Saturday ... I hope.

Former Oni-Con Hawaii chairman speaks out about show

With 149 days left in the year and no news on where, if anywhere, Oni-Con Hawaii 2014 will be held since the last time I wrote about it, the chances of the convention actually taking place this year are becoming increasingly remote, if not entirely unlikely.

Now comes word that Steve Okubo, former Oni-Con Hawaii chairman, posted a statement both to the Oni-Con Hawaii Facebook page and his personal page this morning. The statement, uncut and unedited, is reproduced below.

Regarding Oni Con Hawaii.
My apologies for the length.

I have remained largely silent about Oni Con Hawaii and the Hawaii Japanese pop culture convention scene for the past many months, partly because of a personal family loss, partly because I've had no official access to the various social media sites and email channels we setup for OCH 2013, and partly at the request of intermediaries who told me that a second year of OCH was being planned.

If this message is deleted from the OCH page, please share with others that it is also posted on my personal Facebook page.

First, I want to give a long overdue thank you to all of those who worked so hard to make OCH 2013 successful beyond everybody's expectations. I know you all sacrificed a lot and I truly appreciate everything you did. It was a great honor and privilege for me to, literally, work along side such awesome people as the members of our "Team O.H.A.Y.O."! I wish I could have done something for you, but unfortunately, the needed support from the mainland that I was promised never materialized. OCH has cost me, personally, in several ways, just to insure the inaugural convention happened at all, and unfortunately, I can currently do no more than offer you my humble, heartfelt, and long overdue thanks. Not being able to do more than that is one of my biggest regrets.

It is unfortunate that OCH never received the resources and support that were promised us and should have been provided at the outset, from Texas, but despite the lack of that support, our Hawaii 'ohana came together to create a first-year convention that was incredibly successful. Of course there were issues and things that could and should have gone better, but all things considered, we did what most thought couldn't be done. We were told by the convention center that OCH went much more smoothly in it's first year than others did after several years. This I attribute to our awesome staff, our wonderful partners, vendors, and artists, but mostly because of all the great fans who attended. I've been told that a convention is only as good as the fans make it, and I truly believe that to be the case. In my opinion, Hawaii has the best fans, anywhere, bar none!

I wish I could tell you exactly what was up with OCH, but I do not know what Texas has planned, as I've had no direct contact from them. I had heard, a couple of months ago, that they would be having another event and would honor the pre-registrations taken at OCH 2013, however, you may want to consider seeking a refund. That's up to you. I had heard of one case where someone tried to get a refund from a credit card company (I believe it was VISA) who refused to refund them, citing the reason that the "event had already occurred." Of course that is not the case, and if it would help anyone at all who wishes to have their charges reversed on the credit card they used to pay for the $20 pre-reg, I would be more than happy to speak with your credit card company, as the chair of the first year of OCH and verify with them that the event you paid for, OCH 2014, never happened.

Hawaii really needs another Japanese pop culture convention to bring our local fans what they deserve. We've grown far beyond one annual event for this genre. The unprecedented success of OCH 2013 proved how true this is. Although there are some visionless people who, unfortunately, can't understand this and continue to foster an "us or them" mentality, I feel the exact opposite is true.

Diversity fosters creativity and growth. As chair of OCH 2013 and the "new kid on the block", I reached out to try to make this happen, but ultimately, my efforts were fruitless. My philosophy, from the beginning, was for conventions here to work together for the common good of all. First and foremost, these events should be for the benefit of Hawaii's fans; the fans shouldn't be used for the benefit of the event.

We deserve better and shouldn't always have to go to the mainland to get it. It can be a total win-win situation, if you have leadership that has the clarity of vision to see it and understand it. I am hopeful an established mainland convention with local name recognition that gets it, one with commitment and integrity to make this happen, will emerge and bring Hawaii what it deserves. I know our fans will support any event done right. Hawaii is the perfect place for better such events and I can totally see us having conventions that offer our local fans, as well as those from our Asian, Pacific, and mainland neighbors, exactly that.

I look optimistically towards a better and brighter future. See you out there!

"Mahalo gozaimasu",
Steve.

This would normally be the part where I say "I've reached out to OniCon for a response," but seeing as how they never responded to my prior inquiries, I feel any further outreach from me would be moot. But if I see any formal response comes from OniCon in coming days, I'll post it in this blog.

A month of super-duper Saiyans, Totoros and ninjas

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 long time, 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.

Ryo Horikawa at Kawaii Kon 2013

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.

That's right.

Krillin.

... 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.

Tickets -- at $10 general, $8 museum members -- are available at www.honolulumuseum.org/events/films/14523-dragon_ball_z_battle_gods.

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" series of 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:

RoadToNinja NarutoTheMovieLong 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.

Joelle Lee caricature 7-26-14

And here's Joelle herself with the finished product.

Joelle Lee at Windward Mall

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.

Special ‘K’ in your movie diet

K Missing Kings posterThe 2012 anime series K was one of those series that went completely under my radar. Seriously, if there was any chatter about it on my social media networks amid all the talk about Sword Art Online, Free!, Attack on Titan, Kill la Kill and a whoooooole bunch of other series, I missed it. It was only this morning that I learned that streamed on Viz's Neon Alley online service, it was a 12-episode series, and it sounds like one of those "innocent average bystander-type person gets sucked into a wide-ranging conspiracy that involves a murder, his uncanny resemblance to someone tied to that murder, and oh yeah, there's some entity behind the scenes manipulating everything, too" shows.

The movie that continues the story, K: Missing Kings, opened in theaters in Japan last week. And now, since we're living in the age of instantaneous digital subtitling, we're getting it courtesy of Eleven Arts at the usual theaters: the Ward Stadium complex on Oahu and the Kaahumanu 6 theaters in Kahului. Here, have a trailer.

And here's the official description:

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.

Showtimes at both theaters are at noon Saturday and 7 p.m. Monday. Can't make those screenings? The Doris Duke Theater at the Honolulu Museum of Art will be showing it in October. Exact dates will be announced down the line.

Also this weekend

hero_5Get Pop-Cultured at Barnes & Noble:  With this month bookended by Anime Expo in Anaheim Los Angeles at the beginning of it and Comic-Con International in San Diego toward the end, it's pretty safe to say that this month is a pop-culture paradise. It's probably with that in mind that Barnes & Noble created their "Get Pop-Cultured" celebration, kicking off nationwide today and running through Aug. 10.

So it was a given that the last of the big-chain bookstores on Oahu would be taking part as well. And that store, in Ala Moana near the Satellite City Hall and a freshly opened Jack in the Box, is jumping in in a big way starting Saturday, with an appearance by Gordon Rider/Star-Advertiser "Calabash" cartoonist Jon Murakami at 11 a.m. and Kawaii Kon hosting a Cosplay Runway event at 2 p.m. Cosplayers, show up in costume on Saturday and get a coupon for a discount at the in-store cafe as well. Other events are planned through Aug. 10; I'll write about those next week when I have more time to do so.

Taku Taku Matsuri WATER GUN FIGHT!!!!: Bring your water guns and some food for a potluck and come on down for a fun day at the beach. Also featuring tryouts for the Taku Taku Matsuri Summer Festival Talent Show and a mini Cardboard Brawl.  More details at the Facebook event page. Ala Moana Beach Park, 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; locations within the mall may vary. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Downtown Pearlridge side, near the escalators to the theaters and food court.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu at the Waikiki Shell: There are still tickets available, although you might want to bring a poncho, considering the forecast is for heavy rain from the remnants of Tropical Storm Wali. The concert starts at 5 p.m. Sunday; details in my last post.

Your anime / manga blogger’s clearing-house clearinghouse

New posts from me in this space have been rather sporadic as of late, and for that I apologize; it's probably going to be like this probably through mid-August or so, as I take care of some projects at home and then endure … *shudder* … the primary election season at work. (Insert screams here.) I'll try to update this blog as much as I can in the meantime — there will be some kind of coverage of the MangaBento exhibit here while it's still up, I promise! — but if I disappear for weeks at a time, don't worry, I'll still be coming back. Sometime. I'll tell you when we're ready to abandon this blog, and we're definitely not ready to do that yet.

One of the things I'm doing at home is some major cleaning, clearing out some of the stuff that's been piling up to make room for new things. It's a bit like that for news involving the local anime/manga fan community, so let's make with the cleaning already and get to the news:

IMG_9289"Showme" the artwork: It's time once again for the annual exhibit by MangaBento, the group of artists inspired by anime and manga, on the second floor of the Honolulu Museum of Art School (1111 Victoria St.), with an opening reception (with refreshments!) scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday and the exhibit itself running through July 12. This year's exhibit is called "Showme"; rendered in Japanese kanji, the sound-alike phrase "shoumi" means "relish, gusto, appreciation." If this exhibit is anything like the group's past exhibits that I've covered in this blog over the years -- "Kakimochi" in 2011 (part 1, part 2), "Nakamaboko" (part 1, part 2) and "Tomo-e-Ame" (part 1, part 2, part 3) -- expect a nice blend of 2-D and 3-D art in a variety of media, a giant mural in the stairwell from the first to the second floor, and a table where visitors can sketch to their hearts' content. For more information about MangaBento, visit their website at www.manga-bento.com.

KPP in HNL: In case you aren't familiar with the work of the 21-year-old artist currently known as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, here, have one of her music videos.

And another one.

And yet another one.

10373038_10101024997209366_8916960168389356119_oWhen you can describe the one with the flying koi and mouse-head robot no jutsu! as the most normal of the three, that's ... saying quite a bit, actually. Here are more of her videos on YouTube, in case you're inclined to follow up.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu -- or "KPP," to her loyal fans and lazy anime/manga bloggers who don't want to keep typing "Kyary Pamyu Pamyu" every time they refer to her in a post -- is coming to Hawaii for the first time to wrap up her "Nanda Collection" world tour, at 5 p.m. July 20 at the Waikiki Shell. Tickets went on sale Friday ... and since I only started seriously working on this post around Wednesday, I held off on writing up this item in case demand hit Bruno Mars/Jack Johnson-esque "sneeze and you missed out" levels.

I suppose I needn't have worried. Judging by those videos above, it probably takes a fan of a certain constitution to really appreciate what KPP brings to the table. Indeed, after being AWOL due to heavy server load on the first day of ticket sales, Ticketmaster's interactive seat map finally kicked in and started working on Saturday ... and here's what it looked like as of a little after 8 p.m. Saturday. Dark dots show seats available.

Screen shot 2014-06-21 at 8.11.33 PM

That's about half of the $85 level seats and virtually all of the $60 level seats that are still available. $30 lawn seating's still readily available, too, for those of you who don't mind bringing your own mats.

So if you want to check out what all the fuss is about (and see for yourself just how much more crazy KPP can cram into a live concert), go forth and get yourself some tickets now.

My cutest as-yet-unpublished-until-now picture of the year so far: This one, taken at the "Crossing Cultures" artist meet-and-greet event late last month at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.

IMG_6949-edit

Kids love their plush pups from nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi, that's for sure.

An Oni-Con Hawaii 2014 update: Nothing to report. Let's ... just move on.

A Taku Taku Matsuri Summer Festival update: For those of you who missed the event's recent successful Kickstarter campaign, presale tickets are now available on Ticketleap (ow.ly/ygYBF) -- $13 (plus a $1.65 service charge) for anyone 16 and older, $8 (plus a $1.40 service charge) for anyone under 16. The event, which as of now features voice actor Kyle Hebert, DJ E2D, video game tournaments, a Star Trek-themed cafe and various artists and vendors, runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (2454 S. Beretania St.). Looks like more artists and vendors would be appreciated, too, so email taku2matsuri at yahoo dot com if you'd be interested in contributing to that effort.

Speaking of Taku Taku Matsuri: There's a water gun fight (or more specifically, a WATER GUN FIGHT!!!!!) scheduled for July 19. No details yet. But I'm fairly confident there will be more info posted at the event page somewhat sorta soonish.

And while we're (probably) at the beach: Any good WATER GUN FIGHT!!!!! has to take place outside … which brings us to a few other beach events being held this summer. On July 3, Jason David Frank — otherwise known as "the  tri-named Power Rangers actor not named Johnny Yong Bosch that everyone goes crazy over" — will be hosting a beach day at Duke Kahanamoku Beach starting at 11 a.m. He'll also be shooting footage for the second season of My Morphin Life.

Kawaii Kon recently announced plans for its annual beach day as well — mark your calendars for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 16 at Ala Moana Beach Park, and get ready for a day that already promises to include sand castle building and a game of Capture the Flag ("now with water balloons!" as the event page proclaims, seemingly giddily). Keep up with how that develops over on the anime con's event page.

Your anime / manga blogger’s clearing-house clearinghouse

New posts from me in this space have been rather sporadic as of late, and for that I apologize; it's probably going to be like this probably through mid-August or so, as I take care of some projects at home and then endure … *shudder* … the primary election season at work. (Insert screams here.) I'll try to update this blog as much as I can in the meantime — there will be some kind of coverage of the MangaBento exhibit here while it's still up, I promise! — but if I disappear for weeks at a time, don't worry, I'll still be coming back. Sometime. I'll tell you when we're ready to abandon this blog, and we're definitely not ready to do that yet.

One of the things I'm doing at home is some major cleaning, clearing out some of the stuff that's been piling up to make room for new things. It's a bit like that for news involving the local anime/manga fan community, so let's make with the cleaning already and get to the news:

IMG_9289"Showme" the artwork: It's time once again for the annual exhibit by MangaBento, the group of artists inspired by anime and manga, on the second floor of the Honolulu Museum of Art School (1111 Victoria St.), with an opening reception (with refreshments!) scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday and the exhibit itself running through July 12. This year's exhibit is called "Showme"; rendered in Japanese kanji, the sound-alike phrase "shoumi" means "relish, gusto, appreciation." If this exhibit is anything like the group's past exhibits that I've covered in this blog over the years -- "Kakimochi" in 2011 (part 1, part 2), "Nakamaboko" (part 1, part 2) and "Tomo-e-Ame" (part 1, part 2, part 3) -- expect a nice blend of 2-D and 3-D art in a variety of media, a giant mural in the stairwell from the first to the second floor, and a table where visitors can sketch to their hearts' content. For more information about MangaBento, visit their website at www.manga-bento.com.

KPP in HNL: In case you aren't familiar with the work of the 21-year-old artist currently known as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, here, have one of her music videos.

And another one.

And yet another one.

10373038_10101024997209366_8916960168389356119_oWhen you can describe the one with the flying koi and mouse-head robot no jutsu! as the most normal of the three, that's ... saying quite a bit, actually. Here are more of her videos on YouTube, in case you're inclined to follow up.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu -- or "KPP," to her loyal fans and lazy anime/manga bloggers who don't want to keep typing "Kyary Pamyu Pamyu" every time they refer to her in a post -- is coming to Hawaii for the first time to wrap up her "Nanda Collection" world tour, at 5 p.m. July 20 at the Waikiki Shell. Tickets went on sale Friday ... and since I only started seriously working on this post around Wednesday, I held off on writing up this item in case demand hit Bruno Mars/Jack Johnson-esque "sneeze and you missed out" levels.

I suppose I needn't have worried. Judging by those videos above, it probably takes a fan of a certain constitution to really appreciate what KPP brings to the table. Indeed, after being AWOL due to heavy server load on the first day of ticket sales, Ticketmaster's interactive seat map finally kicked in and started working on Saturday ... and here's what it looked like as of a little after 8 p.m. Saturday. Dark dots show seats available.

Screen shot 2014-06-21 at 8.11.33 PM

That's about half of the $85 level seats and virtually all of the $60 level seats that are still available. $30 lawn seating's still readily available, too, for those of you who don't mind bringing your own mats.

So if you want to check out what all the fuss is about (and see for yourself just how much more crazy KPP can cram into a live concert), go forth and get yourself some tickets now.

My cutest as-yet-unpublished-until-now picture of the year so far: This one, taken at the "Crossing Cultures" artist meet-and-greet event late last month at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.

IMG_6949-edit

Kids love their plush pups from nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi, that's for sure.

An Oni-Con Hawaii 2014 update: Nothing to report. Let's ... just move on.

A Taku Taku Matsuri Summer Festival update: For those of you who missed the event's recent successful Kickstarter campaign, presale tickets are now available on Ticketleap (ow.ly/ygYBF) -- $13 (plus a $1.65 service charge) for anyone 16 and older, $8 (plus a $1.40 service charge) for anyone under 16. The event, which as of now features voice actor Kyle Hebert, DJ E2D, video game tournaments, a Star Trek-themed cafe and various artists and vendors, runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (2454 S. Beretania St.). Looks like more artists and vendors would be appreciated, too, so email taku2matsuri at yahoo dot com if you'd be interested in contributing to that effort.

Speaking of Taku Taku Matsuri: There's a water gun fight (or more specifically, a WATER GUN FIGHT!!!!!) scheduled for July 19. No details yet. But I'm fairly confident there will be more info posted at the event page somewhat sorta soonish.

And while we're (probably) at the beach: Any good WATER GUN FIGHT!!!!! has to take place outside … which brings us to a few other beach events being held this summer. On July 3, Jason David Frank — otherwise known as "the  tri-named Power Rangers actor not named Johnny Yong Bosch that everyone goes crazy over" — will be hosting a beach day at Duke Kahanamoku Beach starting at 11 a.m. He'll also be shooting footage for the second season of My Morphin Life.

Kawaii Kon recently announced plans for its annual beach day as well — mark your calendars for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 16 at Ala Moana Beach Park, and get ready for a day that already promises to include sand castle building and a game of Capture the Flag ("now with water balloons!" as the event page proclaims, seemingly giddily). Keep up with how that develops over on the anime con's event page.

Midnight milestone: Taku Taku Matsuri hits Kickstarter goal

taku taku matsuri logoIt looks like the local anime/manga fan community will have something to do on Saturday, Aug. 9 (besides voting in the state primary election, of course) after all.

A shade before midnight Friday -- and with about four hours left in the campaign, at that -- a $15 pledge nudged the Taku Taku Matsuri Kickstarter campaign to its $2,000 funding goal. The monthlong campaign ultimately closed with $2,070. It was close, but we'll indeed be getting our second edition of the summer festival with voice actor Kyle Hebert, a Star Trek-themed cafe, video game tournaments and a dance party featuring DJ E2D.

Just how close was it? Via Kicktraq, a website that offers handy-dandy Kickstarter campaign breakdowns for stat geeks and friendly neighborhood anime/manga bloggers looking for something more meaty to write about than just "Yay! This campaign got funded," here's a graph that breaks down donation amounts by day, taken from its overall analysis of the Taku Taku Matsuri campaign. Click on the image to get a larger version (which still is a bit hard to read, so sorry, older folk).

dailypledges

Here's what's interesting about this graph: In most of the campaigns I've followed over the past few years, there's an initial burst of enthusiasm among the hard-core faithful, a loooooooooong period of little movement where pledges trickle in, and a last-minute push where people pile on, most likely because they see the goal is within reach and are more than happy to back a winner. Sometimes, the property's popularity is enough that it'll blow past its goal in a matter of hours -- the oft-cited Double Fine Adventure and Order of the Stick reprint campaigns are among those, as are the more recent Anime News Nina graphic novel and Megatokyo visual novel campaigns. Others, like the campaigns for Sweet Revenge Honolulu's pie press, Tommy Tallarico's Video Games Live! project and a new Amplitude game from Harmonix, needed that last-minute push to carry them over the top.

At least all of those performed rather decently at the outset, though. We never did see that initial enthusiasm for the Taku Taku Matsuri campaign; it raised only $100 a week in and hadn't even reached $800 by the time I wrote of it again last week. Which made that last push to the finish even more remarkable -- something clicked somewhere that made more people want to give.

Consider also:

  • The last $1,225 -- 59 percent of the total! -- was contributed over the last six days of the campaign.
  • Going by straight-up backer stats -- that is, assuming someone who contributed to a particular tier paid exactly that amount and nothing more -- the campaign would have raised only $1,160. That means backers straight-up donated $910, or close to 44 percent of the amount raised.

Kicktraq's funding progress trend chart also shows just how crazy it was tracking this campaign. The green line shows the amount the site estimated the campaign would raise based on the funding trend at the time; the blue line tracks actual funding progress.

exp-trend

Note that the only time the green line ever went above the goal line is when the blue line met it ... on the very last day. It's a frenetic pace that I have to admit I didn't see coming about a week or so ago.

So! I can write this part with much more confidence now: The second annual Taku Taku Matsuri summer festival will be taking place in the Manoa Grand Ballroom of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (2454 S. Beretania St.) Non-Kickstarter preregistration tickets, at $13, will go on sale ... ummmm ... sometime sorta soonish; I'll have more information as that becomes available. For the latest information, visit www.facebook.com/taku2matsuri.

The great Ultra-log of Oahu Ultraman statues

016-Ultraman D2Stamp rallies featuring statues of pop-culture icons seem to be a popular way of promoting our island home to visitors from Japan as of late. Regular readers of this blog already know about the "Doraemon Wakuwaku Stamp Rally," a promotion hosted by HIS Hawaii's Lea Lea Trolley that placed 13 statues of everyone's favorite blue gadget cat from the future at various locations between downtown and Kahala.  Since April, though, Doraemon's had company on Oahu, with four 2.5-meter-tall (or a little over 8 feet tall, if you're metric-averse) statues of Ultraman placed at various locations.

It's part of "Ultra Hawaii," a campaign hosted by Hawaii Tourism Japan in conjunction with Tsuburaya Productions, and it's a pretty big deal. So big, in fact, that, as the official campaign canon goes, not only have Ultraman Taro and his parents come to visit the islands, so have two of Ultraman's enemies, Alien Baltan and Pigmon. And they're all happily taking pictures at Waimea Canyon together, lounging poolside, renewing wedding vows, taking surf lessons and doing pretty much all the fun touristy things that fun touristy types do.

Need proof of this harmonious alliance? Here's the official promo video.

[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]

There are more videos where that came from. A lot more, shot on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii island — 24 in total. Among the media outlets that have covered this so far: RocketNews 24, Crunchyroll, Huffington Post, Comics Alliance, Japanator and the National Park Service's Pacific island parks blog. Going forward, Erika Engle reported in today's paper (subscription required; do read that article if you can, Ultraman fans) that Ultramen Leo, Tiga, Zero and Ginga will be part of the entertainment during the Pan-Pacific Festival June 13-15.

Of course, you know your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger had to get in on the coverage sometime. Coming off hunting down 23 Doraemon statues, finding four Ultraman statues — and perhaps learning more about the promotion in the process — should've been a snap. And it was ... for the most part, anyway.

Statue #1: Ultraman Ginga
Kualoa Ranch gift shop

001-Ultraman A1

Figuring I could pick up pictures of the two town-side statues later, I chose to begin my statue quest at the most far-flung location first, Kualoa Ranch, before going to the Polynesian Cultural Center. If you look at these statues close-up, you can really appreciate the detailed work it took to craft them.

002-Ultraman A2

It was here that I discovered that the Ultra Hawaii campaign seems more friendly in documenting what's going on to us English speakers than the Doraemon campaign. Along the Koolau-side wall toward the rear of the gift shop, I got my first glimpse of what would become a standard setup nearby: a stamp pad for rally participants ...

003-Ultraman A3

... a sign noting the locations of the other statues and a description of the campaign itself ...

004-Ultraman A4

... and several signs at the base, of which I'll provide close-up photos down the line.

In case you're wondering: No, you can't participate in the stamp rally. It's limited to visitors from Japan who purchased Ultra Hawaii packages from one of 12 tour companies. (Pity; I hear there are limited-edition figures that are being given away as part of the promo.) That doesn't mean you can't collect the stamps just for fun, though. Here's the Kualoa Ranch stamp.

005-Ultraman A5

Side note: The ranch restaurant is adjacent to the gift shop. Thanks to the smell wafting over, I ended up picking up one of their burger sampler packs, three slider-sized burgers, each one with different toppings. They're all quite tasty.

Statue #2: Ultraman Zero
Polynesian Cultural Center

006-Ultraman B1

Close-up view:

007-Ultraman B2

The most picturesque statue in the series is also the only one that's located outdoors, in front of Mahinalani Gifts. Go in through the main entrance and turn right, and boom, it'll be right in front of you. On a nice day (which it certainly was the day I visited), you can get a really good shot of the statue with the blue sky, the sign and the tikis surrounding it.

008-Ultraman B3

The stamp pad was trickier to find, located on the side of an information booth that's closer to the main entrance. But here's the stamp, which is disappointing in that it's the same design as the Kualoa stamp, except with "Polynesian Cultural Center" across the top. Don't worry, though ... it gets better from here.

009-Ultraman B4

If you're going to be like me and visit every statue, I should note that you're going to have to pay $8 to get into the parking lot. If you leave within an hour, though, you can get a refund. Mahinalani Gifts is juuuuuust outside where you have to pay to get into the park itself, so your statue pilgrimage can be free if you'd prefer. Considering the last time I visited the park proper was probably in elementary school, and anything else I remember about it is contained in a yellowing copy of Dennis the Menace Big Bonus Series issue 192, I should probably swing by again to visit that when I have more free time. (Heh. "More free time." I wish.)

Statue #3: Ultraman Mebius
Hilo Hattie flagship store, Iwilei

010-Ultraman C1

The ceiling light effect in this picture? Totally unintentional. But it looks pretty darn cool, now that I'm looking at it again.

Anyway. here's the close-up view.

011-Ultraman C2

Mebius here stands watch around the middle of the store, surrounded by a bunch of Hilo Hattie's trademark aloha wear. Its location gave me my first real opportunity to get up close and shoot those aforementioned signs at the base -- on the base's left side, a statement in English; on the right, the same statement in Japanese.

012-Ultraman C3

013-Ultraman C4

And here's the Hilo Hattie stamp. It's chibi Pigmon!

014-Ultraman C5

Statue #4: Ultraman Tiga
DFS Galleria, 2nd floor, iQ Hawaii

015-Ultraman D1

Close-up view:

016-Ultraman D2

Not gonna lie — this statue was by far the most difficult one for me to find. It took several circuits of all three floors of the Galleria — feeling incredibly poor in the process; you try walking among sterile, manicured displays of luxury designer products, the names of which I won't mention here to avoid summoning a pile of spambot comments, sometime — before I finally caved in and asked someone at an information booth if she knew where it was.

Fortunately, she did. It's up this escalator. That little black sign in front, with an iQ Hawaii logo, is the key.

017-Ultraman D3

So what is iQ Hawaii? Looking it up using the power of the Intarwebz now, it's apparently "an interactive iQ game experience" hosted by Hilton Grand Vacations Club, where visitors can play one of three touchscreen games and win small prizes and Galleria gift certificates. You can see some of those screens in this shot.

018-Ultraman D4

And unless you work for Hilton, Clarence Lee Designs Associates, Inc., the Galleria or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, you're eligible to play and win something, too! Yay!

... of course, your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger was too fixated on getting a shot of this stamp pad station, with a second sign with a picture of the stamp card that I hadn't seen before, to notice. (The iQ people are more than happy to let you just take pictures of the statue if you wish.)

019-Ultraman D5

Had to get the stamp, too, featuring ... umm ... any of you hard-core Ultraman fans out there want to help me out on identifying this one? I feel a bit like tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J., who, after watching that promo video I embedded earlier in this post, referred to Pigmon as "that red hedgehog dude." So until I hear otherwise, here's "bug-eyed anthropomorphic frog-type creature."

020-Ultraman D6

And that's it! Another successful statue hunt in the books. With two statue stamp rallies this year, I'm kinda crossing my fingers hoping some other company casts statues and brings them down here for a tourism promotion in the future. It would be neat to hunt down, say, random Pokemon statues. (Just as long as they aren't statues of all 718 Pokemon that exist now. That would be overkill ... and it would probably kill me trying to find all of them, too.)

The great Ultra-log of Oahu Ultraman statues

016-Ultraman D2Stamp rallies featuring statues of pop-culture icons seem to be a popular way of promoting our island home to visitors from Japan as of late. Regular readers of this blog already know about the "Doraemon Wakuwaku Stamp Rally," a promotion hosted by HIS Hawaii's Lea Lea Trolley that placed 13 statues of everyone's favorite blue gadget cat from the future at various locations between downtown and Kahala.  Since April, though, Doraemon's had company on Oahu, with four 2.5-meter-tall (or a little over 8 feet tall, if you're metric-averse) statues of Ultraman placed at various locations.

It's part of "Ultra Hawaii," a campaign hosted by Hawaii Tourism Japan in conjunction with Tsuburaya Productions, and it's a pretty big deal. So big, in fact, that, as the official campaign canon goes, not only have Ultraman Taro and his parents come to visit the islands, so have two of Ultraman's enemies, Alien Baltan and Pigmon. And they're all happily taking pictures at Waimea Canyon together, lounging poolside, renewing wedding vows, taking surf lessons and doing pretty much all the fun touristy things that fun touristy types do.

Need proof of this harmonious alliance? Here's the official promo video.

[There is a video that cannot be displayed in this feed. Visit the blog entry to see the video.]

There are more videos where that came from. A lot more, shot on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii island — 24 in total. Among the media outlets that have covered this so far: RocketNews 24, Crunchyroll, Huffington Post, Comics Alliance, Japanator and the National Park Service's Pacific island parks blog. Going forward, Erika Engle reported in today's paper (subscription required; do read that article if you can, Ultraman fans) that Ultramen Leo, Tiga, Zero and Ginga will be part of the entertainment during the Pan-Pacific Festival June 13-15.

Of course, you know your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger had to get in on the coverage sometime. Coming off hunting down 23 Doraemon statues, finding four Ultraman statues — and perhaps learning more about the promotion in the process — should've been a snap. And it was ... for the most part, anyway.

Statue #1: Ultraman Ginga
Kualoa Ranch gift shop

001-Ultraman A1

Figuring I could pick up pictures of the two town-side statues later, I chose to begin my statue quest at the most far-flung location first, Kualoa Ranch, before going to the Polynesian Cultural Center. If you look at these statues close-up, you can really appreciate the detailed work it took to craft them.

002-Ultraman A2

It was here that I discovered that the Ultra Hawaii campaign seems more friendly in documenting what's going on to us English speakers than the Doraemon campaign. Along the Koolau-side wall toward the rear of the gift shop, I got my first glimpse of what would become a standard setup nearby: a stamp pad for rally participants ...

003-Ultraman A3

... a sign noting the locations of the other statues and a description of the campaign itself ...

004-Ultraman A4

... and several signs at the base, of which I'll provide close-up photos down the line.

In case you're wondering: No, you can't participate in the stamp rally. It's limited to visitors from Japan who purchased Ultra Hawaii packages from one of 12 tour companies. (Pity; I hear there are limited-edition figures that are being given away as part of the promo.) That doesn't mean you can't collect the stamps just for fun, though. Here's the Kualoa Ranch stamp.

005-Ultraman A5

Side note: The ranch restaurant is adjacent to the gift shop. Thanks to the smell wafting over, I ended up picking up one of their burger sampler packs, three slider-sized burgers, each one with different toppings. They're all quite tasty.

Statue #2: Ultraman Zero
Polynesian Cultural Center

006-Ultraman B1

Close-up view:

007-Ultraman B2

The most picturesque statue in the series is also the only one that's located outdoors, in front of Mahinalani Gifts. Go in through the main entrance and turn right, and boom, it'll be right in front of you. On a nice day (which it certainly was the day I visited), you can get a really good shot of the statue with the blue sky, the sign and the tikis surrounding it.

008-Ultraman B3

The stamp pad was trickier to find, located on the side of an information booth that's closer to the main entrance. But here's the stamp, which is disappointing in that it's the same design as the Kualoa stamp, except with "Polynesian Cultural Center" across the top. Don't worry, though ... it gets better from here.

009-Ultraman B4

If you're going to be like me and visit every statue, I should note that you're going to have to pay $8 to get into the parking lot. If you leave within an hour, though, you can get a refund. Mahinalani Gifts is juuuuuust outside where you have to pay to get into the park itself, so your statue pilgrimage can be free if you'd prefer. Considering the last time I visited the park proper was probably in elementary school, and anything else I remember about it is contained in a yellowing copy of Dennis the Menace Big Bonus Series issue 192, I should probably swing by again to visit that when I have more free time. (Heh. "More free time." I wish.)

Statue #3: Ultraman Mebius
Hilo Hattie flagship store, Iwilei

010-Ultraman C1

The ceiling light effect in this picture? Totally unintentional. But it looks pretty darn cool, now that I'm looking at it again.

Anyway. here's the close-up view.

011-Ultraman C2

Mebius here stands watch around the middle of the store, surrounded by a bunch of Hilo Hattie's trademark aloha wear. Its location gave me my first real opportunity to get up close and shoot those aforementioned signs at the base -- on the base's left side, a statement in English; on the right, the same statement in Japanese.

012-Ultraman C3

013-Ultraman C4

And here's the Hilo Hattie stamp. It's chibi Pigmon!

014-Ultraman C5

Statue #4: Ultraman Tiga
DFS Galleria, 2nd floor, iQ Hawaii

015-Ultraman D1

Close-up view:

016-Ultraman D2

Not gonna lie — this statue was by far the most difficult one for me to find. It took several circuits of all three floors of the Galleria — feeling incredibly poor in the process; you try walking among sterile, manicured displays of luxury designer products, the names of which I won't mention here to avoid summoning a pile of spambot comments, sometime — before I finally caved in and asked someone at an information booth if she knew where it was.

Fortunately, she did. It's up this escalator. That little black sign in front, with an iQ Hawaii logo, is the key.

017-Ultraman D3

So what is iQ Hawaii? Looking it up using the power of the Intarwebz now, it's apparently "an interactive iQ game experience" hosted by Hilton Grand Vacations Club, where visitors can play one of three touchscreen games and win small prizes and Galleria gift certificates. You can see some of those screens in this shot.

018-Ultraman D4

And unless you work for Hilton, Clarence Lee Designs Associates, Inc., the Galleria or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, you're eligible to play and win something, too! Yay!

... of course, your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger was too fixated on getting a shot of this stamp pad station, with a second sign with a picture of the stamp card that I hadn't seen before, to notice. (The iQ people are more than happy to let you just take pictures of the statue if you wish.)

019-Ultraman D5

Had to get the stamp, too, featuring ... umm ... any of you hard-core Ultraman fans out there want to help me out on identifying this one? I feel a bit like tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J., who, after watching that promo video I embedded earlier in this post, referred to Pigmon as "that red hedgehog dude." So until I hear otherwise, here's "bug-eyed anthropomorphic frog-type creature."

020-Ultraman D6

And that's it! Another successful statue hunt in the books. With two statue stamp rallies this year, I'm kinda crossing my fingers hoping some other company casts statues and brings them down here for a tourism promotion in the future. It would be neat to hunt down, say, random Pokemon statues. (Just as long as they aren't statues of all 718 Pokemon that exist now. That would be overkill ... and it would probably kill me trying to find all of them, too.)