Category Archives: anime

Ota-cool Incoming: Mini con carnival, 2014 edition

August was a month dominated by news about anime movies, with three of them -- Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, My Neighbor Totoro and Naruto: Road to Ninja -- arriving in the state. This month, news tidbits about small anime-related events have been filling my "what to talk about in Otaku Ohana" inbox (well, that and that interview with Kyle Hebert that I talked about a few posts ago, which I'll finally get around to transcribing when my birthday staycation kicks in around the middle of next week ... fingers crossed). Here's what's happening in coming weeks ...

cristina veeThe first stop on our tour of mini cons is a return visit to Taku Taku Matsuri, where organizer Yuka Nagaoka has found a new guest of honor for her event postponed from August: voice actor Cristina Valenzuela, better known as Cristina Vee. (That's her on the right.) Some of Vee's more prominent anime roles include Mio in K-ON!, Homura in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Rei/Sailor Mars in Viz's new Sailor Moon English dub, and Alisa Bosconovitch in Tekken: Blood Vengeance. She's also voiced various characters in video games including the BlazBlue franchise, Skullgirls and Ar Tonelico. This will be her first con-related visit to Hawaii.

Summer Taku Taku Matsuri: In Fall! is happening Sat., Nov. 22; the GoFundMe campaign with $10 presale tickets and $20 ticket/T-shirt packages will run through Oct. 25 at www.gofundme.com/dbi0fc.

This week, details also began emerging about the fifth annual Mini Con, the anime con in the handy petite size at McCully-Moiliili Public Library. Library manager Hillary Chang's rounded up her by-now standard roster of all-star artists ready to meet and greet patrons -- Gordon Rider artist Jon Murakami, nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi, Crazy Shirts designer and Kikaidaverse fan artist Kevin Sano, and the Hachi Maru Hachi creative crew. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sat., Sept. 27, at the library, 2211 S. King St.

Audra designed a set of virtual flyers that double as mobile phone wallpapers; click the thumbnails below to download art from, from left, Jonathan Pinches' "You Are Not Alone" (from Hachi Maru Hachi vol. 3), Jon and Kevin.

WP14-HMH1-Mobile WP14-JJM-Mobile WP14-KS-mobile

Last but certainly not least is Kawaii Kon's third annual Anime Day at Windward Mall in Kaneohe. Nothing really new to report on this front, but I'd still imagine Kawaii Kon's usual assortment of games, art events, cosplay contests, free anime screenings and a mini Artist Alley will be the order of the day. You'll probably be able to get discounted three-day passes for next year's convention (March 14-16) as well. The latest news on that can be found on the Facebook event page, https://www.facebook.com/events/912506692099432/.

Other Ota-coolness

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 globe portalRandom Ingress portal of the post: If you missed the first installment in this new recurring feature in all my "Ota-cool Incoming!" calendar posts, here's my profile of the portal "Ringy Dingy." Today's spotlight: "Down Town Pearlridge Globe."

Those of you who have been around at least as long as I have remember a time when the two halves of Pearlridge Center were called "Phase I" and "Phase 2." I'm not sure when exactly it happened, but there was some point where someone probably said, "Hey! Let's make this center more contemporary and stuff!" So the side anchored by Liberty House and JCPenney became "Uptown Pearlridge," and the side anchored by Sears became "Downtown Pearlridge." Uptown was the more distinguished, sophisticated side. Downtown was the side with a splash of urban flair, all neon signs and a giant video screen hanging over that side's central hub. And the monorail ... well, I'm sorry, but that thing looked like what happens before and after someone ingests certain mind-altering substances, with half of it looking like a yellow taxicab and the other half covered in splashy, colorful graffiti.

Well, the monorail's all one uniform design now, the screen's gone, and you'd be hard-pressed to find much distinguishing the two sides. This Ingress portal, stationed right around where Comic Jam Hawaii regularly meets, features one of the leftover relics of the era. It's usually well-contested, but if it's a Comic Jam Sunday, you can pretty much expect the Face of Hawaii Ingress (tm) will be making it Resistance blue. After which someone else will come along and make it Enlightened green again. Circle of life, people. Circle of life.

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. Sept. 14.

10636109_561435233979790_6832920851635999729_nArashi in concert: Tickets are still available to see the five-member boy band in concert at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 19 and 20 at Ko Olina's Naia Lagoon 3, and they're still $150 per ticket ($75 for children under 15)? Or would we be better off heading over to Shirokiya and its pop-up Arashi Shop to get  and calling it a day? Pick them up exclusively at Ticketmaster.com, and be sure to check out Tom Moffatt Productions' Facebook event page to see all the rules and procedures involved. (Key elements to note are that there's a four-ticket limit, sales are limited to customers in the United States and Canada, and you're going to have to bring the credit card you used to order the tickets to the show itself.) Don't want to shell out that much, or can't make it to the concert? The pop-up Arashi Shop is open now at Shirokiya, featuring CDs "and other items not normally available in Hawaii."

Kikaider Reboot screenings on Oahu: Shotaro Ishinomori's tale of the android Kikaida and his battles against Professor Gill and DARK has been revamped and prettied up for a new generation, and Honolulu -- home to some of the most die-hard Kikaida fans on the planet -- will be the first place people in North America can see it. (Yes, I know we're on a rock in the middle of the Pacific, thousands of miles from North America. But the Kikaider Reboot USA Facebook page is calling this the "North American Premiere," so I'm running with that.) The film will be running for a week -- Oct. 10-16, to be exact -- at Consolidated's Ward Stadium complex. Showtimes have yet to be announced, but here, have an English-subtitled trailer to tide you over until that info comes through.

Ice, ice buckets, baby

Unless you've been living in an all-things-media-related black hole for the past few weeks (in which case, welcome back to civilization, I'm happy you've chosen Otaku Ohana as your reintroduction to society), you've probably heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It seems like pretty much everyone in the Internet-connected world, from ordinary people to celebrities like Kermit the Frog and George W. Bush, is being doused with buckets of ice water or eventually will be called out to do the same. (Some people, of course, have done it better than others.) By the time you read this, the total amount raised in the name of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, research is likely to be very close to, if not already over, $100 million.

Granted, you may already be burnt out on seeing people do Ice Bucket Challenges. The world moves at Internet speed these days, which means many of us have already moved on to discussing what Hello Kitty is if she's neither a cat nor a human girl. (I'm going to say she's the same species as the Warners, Yakko, Wakko and Dot -- cute.) But if you're still up for watching a few more videos, several members of our local community have posted some in the past week or so. Click the screengrabs to watch the videos:

A bunch of Kawaii Kon staffers took the challenge; the video is a compilation of their efforts.

kawaii kon IBC

MidWeek cartoonist / Cacy & Kiara author took the challenge as well, adding a plug for the Hawaii Foodbank in the process.

roy IBC still

And then there's "Calabash" cartoonist Jon Murakami's video, a two-minute live-drawing treat.

jon IBC still

Your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger, meanwhile, has not been challenged to do the Ice Bucket Challenge. It's for the best, because (a) I usually turn into a stuttering mess on camera, ice water poured on me would only make that worse and no one would want to see that; and (b) if I was called out to do it, I'd prefer to go the Patrick Stewart route. All I can say is, if you have a favorite cause, whether it be ALS research or something else, if you have a few extra dollars to give to it, please do so. A lot of people need a lot of help out there.

 

The second second coming of Taku Taku Matsuri

taku taku matsuri logoOne of the breakthrough otaku-targeted events last year was the Taku Taku Matsuri's natsu matsuri, or summer festival, where about 300 people showed up at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu on a sunny Sunday in August to cosplay, play games, buy Japanese-themed merchandise and food from a number of vendors, enjoy entertainment and just have a fun time overall. As I wrote last year, organizer Yuka C. Nagaoka started Taku Taku Matsuri to give local fans of anime and manga culture another venue where they could gather, similar to the events she took part in growing up in Japan.

This year, Taku Taku Matsuri was scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 9. It promised to be bigger -- a one-day mini-anime con of sorts being held at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii's Manoa Grand Ballroom, with a Star Trek-themed cafe, video game tournaments, a dance party featuring DJ E2D, and special guest Kyle Hebert. But the tournaments were quietly dropped, DJ E2D pulled out ... and then the dual threat of Hurricanes Iselle and Julio took care of the rest.

The show, however, will go on. Yuka said as much, announcing a new date -- Saturday, Nov. 22 -- along with a new rallying cry, "We will make it happen." But there's still the venue, activities and higher costs to deal with. As she told me before, without any sponsors, she has to pay for everything out of pocket ... and those costs add up pretty quickly.

And that's where the second Second Annual Taku Taku Matsuri crowdfunding campaign comes in. If this all sounds familiar to you, you're right; we're looking at another $2,000 funding goal to reach and more $10 pre-sale tickets and $20 ticket/T-shirt bundles available, albeit this time on the GoFundMe platform instead of Kickstarter. The change removes the nail-biting element from the first campaign -- Yuka told me she switched because she gets to keep whatever she raises regardless of whether the goal is met by Oct. 25, unlike Kickstarter's all-or-nothing approach.

But the importance of hitting her goal remains.

TTM November teaser"If I don't get enough, as before, it'll come out of my pocket and/or me trying to get a business loan from a bank," she told me via email. "Sadly for attendees, this may result in me having to hike up the entrance fee, even for people that supported us on Kickstarter and GoFund."

Those of you who bought in during the Kickstarter campaign, don't worry: You don't have to give any more during this round. Yuka will honor all tickets sold during that campaign. For those of you who chose the $100 perk, she's also trying to book a replacement guest that will be able to make a special meal appearance as well.

Which brings us to the other unknown about Summer Taku Taku Matsuri in Fall: who, if anyone, will fill the "guest of honor" slot. It's already been confirmed that Kyle Hebert will not be returning for the make-up event (stick around for a bit of Otaku Ohana-related news about that at the end of this post, though). Yuka's trying to find a replacement guest, but with three months between now and the event itself and many other conventions and events being booked with guests far in advance, she's not sure she can pull it off.

Several artists and craft vendors have had to pull out of the rescheduled event as well, most likely because the new date is in the heart of the lucrative holiday craft fair season. So if you're an artist or vendor looking for some exposure, spaces are now available.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/taku2matsuri or email taku2matsuri@yahoo.com.

Ota-cool incoming!

10636109_561435233979790_6832920851635999729_nArashi in concert: Judging by my Facebook friends' timeline, the arrival of five-member boy band Arashi for concerts at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 19 and 20 at Ko Olina's Naia Lagoon 3 is a Pretty Big Deal. Is it worth paying $150 per ticket ($75 for children under 15)? Or would we be better off heading over to Shirokiya and its pop-up Arashi Shop to get CDs "and other items not normally available in Hawaii" and calling it a day? We'll find out starting Saturday, when tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. exclusively at Ticketmaster.com. Be sure to check out Tom Moffatt Productions' Facebook event page to see all the rules and procedures involved; the key elements to note are that there's a four-ticket limit, sales are limited to customers in the United States and Canada, and you're going to have to bring the credit card you used to order the tickets to the show itself.

Aiea Library Anime Club: It's back! The new conference room is really nice! And as I'll probably point out until the library moves to a new location, there's plenty of parking! This month, young adult librarian Diane Masaki is screening Appleseed: Alpha, the latest computer-animated film in the franchise directed by two-time Kawaii Kon guest Shinji Aramaki. At the library, 99-374 Pohai Place. 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.

Random Ingress portal of the post: With Ingress arriving on iOS, it's now available to almost everyone with a smartphone (sorry, Windows Phone and Blackberry users). I think it's about time to introduce this new recurring feature to the Ota-cool calendar.

Let's start with this portal.

Ringy Dingy

Yes, ol' Ringy Dingy is actually Pass Loop Doraemon from my statue cat-alog earlier this year, located on the third floor of Ala Moana, in the Nordstrom wing. Please note that while Doraemon is blue, his portal should be green. Just sayin'.

Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie: Screening Sunday, Aug. 31 at noon and Monday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Ward Stadium 16 theaters on Oahu and the Kaahumanu 6 theaters in Kahului. Tickets are available on Fandango.

Anime Day at Windward Mall: Kawaii Kon is back for its third year of mini-con craziness across the Koolaus. I'd imagine more details will be released in coming weeks, but I'd expect art events, cosplay contests, free anime screenings and a mini Artist Alley to be part of the day. Also, it's coinciding again with Star Wars Reads Day, which makes Diane sad because she can't go again this year. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11.

Coming up in Otaku Ohana

As I mentioned earlier, Kyle Hebert won't be coming back for Summer Taku Taku Matsuri in Fall. He did, however, make it down to Hawaii. Two people got to sit down with him for formal interviews while he was here. One of them was Kell Komatsubara, as part of his ongoing "Ramblings About Something Close to Nothing" video blog series.

The other? Your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger.

Kyle Hebert: The Otaku Ohana interview. (Still) coming somewhat sorta soonish. (Hey, transcribing audio recordings are hard when you have a bazillion other things to do. Sigh. Sob.)

[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.