Category Archives: anime

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.)

Taku Taku Matsuri hopes for a Kickstart

One 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.

In looking through my records, it seems that I failed to post a gallery of highlights from last year's festivities, so let's correct that now, shall we?

IMG_3157 IMG_3158 IMG_3162 IMG_3167 IMG_3172 IMG_3178 IMG_3187 IMG_3190 IMG_3191 IMG_3195 IMG_3197 IMG_3199 IMG_3202 IMG_3203 IMG_3204 IMG_3215

taku taku matsuri logoThis year, Taku Taku Matsuri is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 9 (it's on Primary Election Day, so don't forget to vote before you go, or at least pull an absentee ballot!). It promises 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. Yes, that Kyle Hebert, last here in the islands for HEXXP in 2011, a 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. Of course, all the accoutrements from last year's event will be back as well.

With a bigger venue and more activities come higher costs. While last year's event featured free admission, there will be an admission fee charged at this year's event. Yuka told me that 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 Annual Taku Taku Matsuri Kickstarter comes in. Launched about a week and a half ago, the campaign has to date raised $130 ... a decent amount, but there's a good amount of work that needs to be done to reach the goal of $2,000 by June 7. The pledge tiers are simple enough that I can actually include them here on the blog for once:

  • A pledge of $10 and up gets you a ticket at the lowest preregistration price available. (Preregistration tickets outside of the Kickstarter campaign will be $13, while the at-the-door cost will be $15.)
  • A pledge of $25 and up gets you a ticket and a special Taku Taku Matsuri T-shirt.
  • The top tier, at $100 and up, nets you not only a ticket and a shirt, but also an invitation to a special meal (time/place to be determined) with Kyle Hebert the next day, Aug. 10. There are only 10 slots available for that perk, though, so you'll want to jump on that sooner rather than later if you're interested in that.

Of course, you could also throw a few bucks in the campaign's direction even if you can't make it, just as a way of showing your support for events like these in our community.

The thing about Kickstarter is that unless you have the built-in draw of being a known commodity like the Rifftrax trio or can go viral with a clever idea like this guy who's simply printing shirts with his final Kickstarter stats on it, it's so tricky to find enough people who believe in what you're selling to sign on. In the past few years, I've covered successful campaigns and not-so-successful ones in this space. As I understand it, the fate of whether this event takes place as planned depends on how this campaign does; here's hoping this one turns out to be a success story.

If you want to keep tabs on the Kickstarter campaign, visit ow.ly/wUtKl; general news about all things Taku Taku Matsuri can be found at www.facebook.com/taku2matsuri (Facebook login not required). Also, if you're interested in being a vendor or exhibiting artist at the event, email taku2matsuri at yahoo dot com, and Yuka will be happy to help set that up.

Ota-cool incoming!

"Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawaii": The Brady Evans-curated exhibit is back, this time at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii's Community Gallery. Here's my post about the exhibit. From 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Patsy Iwasaki and Avery Berido, the team behind Hamakua Hero, will be speaking; that'll be followed next Saturday by a talk by Journey of Heroes author Stacey Hayashi at the same time, while the Comic Jam Hawaii artists will be hanging out from 1 to 3 p.m. May 31. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays; admission is free. Visit hawaiimanga.com. Exhibit on display through June 7.

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.

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. May 25.

Oni-Con Hawaii: The discussion continues

Imagine, if you will, EVERYTHING you see on this table, PLUS a good stack of Final Fantasy 14 posters and Tak Sakaguchi autographed photos, raffled off one at a time. That was 90% of closing ceremonies, folks.I'm amazed by and pleased with how much discussion my last post on the vague future of Oni-Con Hawaii generated, particularly on Facebook. It's not often that I get feedback on what I've written other than Facebook "likes" and that little widget below the post headline that shows how many times it's been shared, so it's nice knowing that there are people out there who are still checking out this humble corner of the Star-Advertiser online network.

I can't help but think that it also inspired this official statement, posted to the OCH Facebook page around 10:30 p.m. Friday:

We’re glad to see, from recent Facebook and media posts, that you’re so anxious to see what Oni Con Hawaii II has in store for y’all and that you’re eagerly awaiting the date and venue to be announced. And, while we are honored that so many of you have expectations of us that one would usually expect of a 10+ year convention, please remember that this is still only our second year. Nonetheless, we will always strive to bring you the best convention with “A” List guests, more vendors and artists, and entertaining events. Our goal is to keep growing and improving, each year. We're learning how things work in Hawaii and hope you’ll be there with us, for the journey.

We did suffer some unexpected changes, early on and that set us back a bit, so we are having make up some ground, but we should have some very interesting announcements, soon. We know you all deserve better, so although we could cut corners and get some things out faster, we’d rather take the time and do things right. We owe you that. Among the changes we’re excited about is a brand new website with a much better registration system. It’s still under construction, so please follow us for updates on Facebook and Twitter. The activity will be picking up, fairly soon.

We truly appreciate your patience and hope you’ll agree it was worth the wait!

A few thoughts:

  • Okay, so let's keep our expectations in check. It's a valid point: OCH in year two shouldn't be compared with present-day Kawaii Kon, with the latter having recently held its 10th annual show. But consider this: Kawaii Kon in year two was much further along than OCH is now, given the same six-month time frame. The first Kawaii Kon was held on April 22-24, 2005. I reported specifics on the second Kawaii Kon in Cel Shaded six months later, including the venue (the Ala Moana Hotel, and more of it!) and some guests (Robert and Emily DeJesus! Vic Mignogna! Stan Sakai! Jennifer Sekiguchi! David Williams!). And that event was held on April 14-16, 2006.
  • Last week's statement noted that the venue and date would be narrowed down "by the end of next week." This week's statement went back to using the term "soon."
  • I still have yet to be contacted directly by whoever has been posting these statements. I don't think I'm that hard to get a hold of; anyone can comment on these posts, and you don't even have to be a Star-Advertiser subscriber to do so. (Believe me, I have to clean the spam filter regularly to purge dozens of bot comments offering cheap designer-label apparel and health "supplements.") I'm on Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram, too. Swing by sometime. Let's chat. I won't bite.

The statement's already generated its fair share of comments, but I think the one that nailed some of the sentiment out there was posted by user Ming Chi, who ... well, here's the post:

If we want to be more involved, with some of the initial planning, volunteer recruitment and training, and helping Onicon move forward, what exactly would we need to do? I attended as an Artist Alley vendor last year and thought, over all, it was a good experience for my crew and I. However, there did seem to be some miscommunication initially (e.g. I was e-mailed information that became outdated and was updated on Facebook, which I did not know existed at the time), and the conference staff seemed very confused at points with little or no answers as to the overall leadership of the con.

Amanda Maguire brings up a good point, who was running the convention? Folks from Hawaii or folks from Texas? What happened to some of the Hawaii leadership last year? Some of the volunteers seemed very miffed by the whole experience and thought Onicon was not coming back.

Likewise, at least one local gaming/comic store was really put off by their experience at Onicon last year. Instead of staying all three days, they packed up Saturday night and called it quits. Damaging the relationship with a local store probably did not do well for Onicon's reputation here in Hawaii.

It was unfortunate that Hexx-Con disbanded. There were issues there that were not handled in time, and it was starting to bud as a promising con. I do know folks are planning Hawaii Con around the same time, but unfortunately, it's held on the Big Island (Hawaii, not Oahu), and seems to be geared more for mainland/continental attendees as opposed to locals. It is quite cost prohibitive, especially for the younger folks here locally.

I'm commenting here because I do believe that folks in Hawaii would love to have another anime/sci-fi/nerdy/geeky con run tandem of Kawaii Kon annually. Where as Hexx-Con once existed, and Hawaii Con is probably too cost prohibitive for folks on Oahu, Onicon had a good fit when it was hosted last year (although Halloween might not have been the best weekend for it). I want something better, as with many others that are posting. We are concerned based on what we experienced and heard. And we would like to improve on that.

And thus, I am wondering in what ways can we help, and have possible input into Onicon here in Hawaii.

I'm interested in seeing if any of this generates another official response. Let's keep the conversation going, folks.

The search for clarity amid Oni-Confusion

The last time I wrote anything about Oni-Con Hawaii (OCH) in this space, I was stressing the importance of communication for the fledgling anime convention, particularly for the people who believed in it enough to buy into this.

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That was more than six months ago. The fact that I'm addressing this here for the first time since then ought to say a fair amount about how much the story has advanced: not much at all.

onicon screenshotSee, after the end of last year's event, OCH just kind of ... disappeared. The website became a single placeholder page (seen at right) that has offered the same message: "A very heartfelt 'Mahalo gozaimasu, y'all!' to everyone who attended and participated in Oni-Con Hawaii 2013 and to our awesome volunteer, staff, and friends who made our first year a big success!! We'll see you all next year, at Oni-Con Hawaii 2014!" Several opportunities to promote OCH at other events -- the New Year's Ohana Festival and Kodomo no Hi at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, the Honolulu Festival and Kawaii Kon immediately come to mind -- have passed without a peep. We know more about Taku Taku Matsuri 2 (Aug. 9, Manoa Grand Ballroom at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii; voice actor Kyle Hebert attending, monthlong Kickstarter preregistration campaign underway) and Kawaii Kon 2015 (March 27-29; first announced guest: voice actor Bryce Papenbrook) than we do about OCH 2014.

Only two official statements have emerged from the OCH camp, both posted within the past few weeks. This statement went up on the OCH Facebook page on April 20:

Sorry all for the long wait. Unfortunately the venue and time frame we wanted is not available. However we are currently looking at different venues and time frames. Which now comes to you. Where would you like to see OCH be next? We look forward to hearing from you! Also updates to the website will be done shortly! Thanks for all your patience!

And this on May 1:

Had some great meetings all this week, and should have narrowed down to a venue and date by the end of next week. Thanks again for all your patience! We are currently already getting our guest all lined up and once the date and venue are secured, announcements will be made!

There was already some buzz on social media about the fate of OCH soon after Kawaii Kon ended early last month, before that first statement was posted. I emailed inquiries to info@oniconhawaii.com and the "parent" convention, Oni-Con in Galveston, Texas, around then; neither have responded as of this posting. Whoever's running the Facebook page has been sporadic in responding to posted comments as well; responding only to say that yes, it won't be long before a date is posted, and no, there's no truth to the rumor that someone ran off with the preregistration money.

There were, as far as I know, three men involved locally in putting together OCH 2013. On Jan. 7, Kell Komatsubara announced on his Facebook page that he would be stepping away from OCH and Babel Entertainment, wishing the volunteer Babel staff well in their future endeavors. Shion Francois, head of Babel Entertainment, told me via email that Oni-Con has been booking guests through his company but couldn't tell me more than that.

It was the third person and one of the most public faces of last year's convention, Steve Okubo, who shed the most light on the matter. Steve told me via email last week that he hasn't had access to the convention's social media accounts and email since December, "so I assume that my services are no longer required with OCH." He believes the Oni-Con Texas board is running those communication channels now and has expressed his concerns to Shion that someone take charge in answering inquiries.

A few other answers from Steve follow. On the matter of why the Facebook page sprung to life only now, and in general, why the information coming from it since last year's event ended has been so vague:

I do not know. I tend to be the naturally trusting type, so my initial thought would be that it is as they said, that they are having trouble finding a venue the right size to accommodate the dates they need for whatever guests they might have lined up, as I understand.

In regards to what happened to the preregistration money:

All the pre-reg money taken in at OCH was collected by JSHOXX/Babel Entertainment, because they had staff available to take care of this at their table and they had the means to take credit card payments. Babel will still be working with OC Texas, booking guests for both Texas and Hawaii. In a conversation I had with Babel, they said that OC Texas told them they will be honoring all the pre-reg sales made at OCH 2013.

And as for whether OCH 2014 will go off as intended:

Again, since I've have no access and have had no communication with whomever is calling the shots, I can't say, for sure, but it is my understanding that they plan to hold the event in the later part of the year.

So that's the story as best I know it at this point.Will any new news show up as promised toward the end of this week? We are in that time frame right now, so we shall see, I suppose.

Truth be told, I'm not sure how this post will be taken by whoever is running OCH. If it gets me blacklisted from attending their future shows, I can live with that. I just think I, as well as anyone who has a stake in whatever they have planned, deserve better treatment, as well as more concrete information, than what's been demonstrated in these past six months.

Local manga exhibit crosses over to JCCH

One of the highlights of last year's otaku calendar was "Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawaii," an exhibit curated by Pen & Ink Works founder Brady Evans that traced the history of manga locally, from its origins in Japan to its influences on the local fan community. I spotlighted it twice in this space during its run, once before it opened, once before it closed. It was a great opportunity to look at original artwork from the featured artists and learn about their creative processes.

I'm still trying to figure out how they let this dork in the building to be part of the exhibit, though.

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CrossCul-JCCH-Invitation-1But let's say you weren't able to make it out to see the exhibit last year. It happens; maybe you were too busy during the time it was up between Sept. 6 and Oct. 2, or maybe the drive over the Koolaus to the Windward side didn't agree with you. Fortunately for you, there's a second chance coming up to see it, as the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii over in Moiliili hosts its revival starting Saturday. (Members and invited guests can get a sneak peek at 5:30 p.m. Friday, with Brady leading a walkthrough at 6 p.m.)

Brady recently told me that there's been a healthy chunk of new content added to the exhibit to make a visit worthwhile to those of you who did visit last year. The highlights:

  • Kyunyo, the doujinshi artist featured in the Kawaii Kon section last year, is getting her own spotlight space this year. Pages from her latest work, "Define" -- inspired by the anime series Magi -- and a copy of the book itself will be on display.
  • Last year's exhibit had a "Guide by Cell" feature, where visitors could call a number and hear some of the artists talk about their work. New recordings have been added, so this year, you can listen to Audra Furuichi (nemu*nemu), Jordan Takemoto and Tara Tamayori (Hachi Maru Hachi) and Stacey Hayashi (Journey of Heroes) along with last year's lineup of Brady, Rose Dela Cruz (exhibition label illustrator), Jon Murakami (Gordon Rider), Roy Chang (Cacy & Kiara and the Curse of the Ki'i) and Patsy Iwasaki and Avery Berido (Hamakua Hero).
  • Roy and Audra have painted new murals. Here, have some photos Brady took of their work in progress.

  • The Kikaida section has been beefed up, with more memorabilia -- including vintage Kamen Rider, Go-Ranger and Kikaida figurines! -- from Scott Shinsato on display.
  • The Alphonse Elric and Persona Teddy costumes have been retired in favor of Voltron, also by the same artist. You might have seen it walking around Kawaii Kon last month.
  • "Meet the Artist/Author" sessions include Patsy and Avery (both of whom are flying in from Hawaii island!) to talk about Hamakua Hero (May 17. 2-3 p.m.) and Stacey talking about Journey of Heroes (May 24, 2-3 p.m.) There's also going to be a Comic Jam & Artists Showcase with the artists from Comic Jam Hawaii from 1 to 3 p.m. May 31.

The exhibit runs through June 7 at JCCH (2454 S. Beretania St.), The community gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays; admission is free. Ingress players, there's a portal on site as well as several others within walking distance (all of which consistently hit max-level 8 under Resistance control, sigh). For more on the exhibit, visit hawaiimanga.com.

Ota-cool Incoming!
(special weekend of May 3-4 edition)

The return of "Crossing Cultures" is just one of the events happening in what's turned out to be a really busy weekend not just for events with an element of otaku-ness in them, but in general. Unrelated to our discussion here, there's Spam Jam, AARP's paper-shredding event in Aiea, a craft and gift fair at Recreation Center 5 in Mililani, a neighborhood garage sale in Waipahu mauka of the Leeward Y, near Waipahu Uka Neighborhood Park ... yeah, there's a lot of stuff going on. And that doesn't even count the fact that Sunday's Star Wars Day (May the 4th, get it?). Here are the highlights.

Ninth Annual Hawaii Book & Music Festival: It's going to be a busy weekend for Brady and some of the other "Crossing Cultures" artists/authors, as Hawaii Manga -- with Brady, Stacey, Roy and the Hachi Maru Hachi gang -- will have a booth as part of the annual celebration of local authors and musicians. Swing by the festival's Author's Pavilion around 4 p.m. Sunday and you can see Brady, Stacey and Jon talking about the exhibit and manga in Hawaii, too. On the Civic Center grounds near Honolulu Hale; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

FCBD_nodateFree Comic Book Day: Stefanie Nakasone did a good job in our print edition (subscription required) summarizing what's going on, but for those of you who don't want to click through, here's a quick, Twitter-attention-span summary: Saturday. Free comics. Four stores (Westside Comics and Games, Gecko Books, Collector Maniacs, Other Realms), 17 libraries (12 on Oahu, plus Hilo and Thelma Parker Memorial on Hawaii island, Kihei and Lahaina on Maui, and Princeville on Kauai). Go get some (keeping in mind that not all of these books will be available at all locations).

And now, courtesy of The Face of Hawaii Ingress (tm), Diane Masaki, here's who's showing up where for Free Comic Book Day at the libraries. Unless otherwise noted, all appearances will be at 10 a.m.:

Aiea: Hellboy, Powergirl, Supergirl, White Power Ranger, maybe Cyclops
Aina Haina: Batman and Kamen Rider
Kalihi-Palama: Angel (X-Men: First Class edition), Neil Gaiman's Sandman, maybe Cyclops
Mililani: Wolverine (plus two surprise guests), Batman, maybe Luigi
Lahaina: Scout Trooper from the 501st Imperial Legion
Kapolei: Members of the 501st Imperial Legion (2-4 p.m.)
Salt Lake: Member of Team Rocket, Jubilee, maybe Cyclops

idkwhat2wear T-shirt blowout: The (take a deep breath here) 17th Islandwide Spring Crafts and Food Expo for Mother's Day (aaaaaand exhale) is also happening this weekend. I mention this here is because frequent anime con exhibitor/friend of the blog idkwhat2wear will be clearing out T-shirts at this event for $5 each. To drive this point home, this picture appeared on the idk Facebook page late Wednesday afternoon.

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... yeeeeeaaaaah, that's a lot of shirts.

Find them in booth 705 at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. $4 general admission, $3 military members and seniors 65 and older, free for children ages 13 and under. 4-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Kodomo no Hi: Sure, Children's Day is technically on Monday, but Sunday's as good a time as any to welcome back a JCCH event that skipped last year. Jon will be exhibiting at this event, and MangaBento will have a booth set up with various activities for the kiddies. Audra's also going to be there to promote the Crossing Cultures exhibit from 11 a.m. to noon. They'll be part of a day that will also feature entertainment, cultural and martial arts demonstrations, the traditional children's kimono dressing and a keiki kendama tournament. (Your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger once tried one of those kendamas at the behest of the Otaku Ohana Anonymous Director of Forced Social Interaction. It ... didn't go very well.) At the center, 2454 S. Beretania St.; admission is free. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

Hawaii Comic & Toy Expo: More than 20 dealers will be on hand to happily take all the money you have ... umm, I mean, heartily encourage and nourish your various collectible and comic passions. Also in attendance will be artists Sam Campos, Andy Lee, Theodore Lee, Kevin Sano and Kanila Tripp. Admission is $3; children under 5 are free. Visit www.hawaiicomictoyexpo.com. Ala Moana Hotel (Garden Lanai room), 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

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). 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The great cat-alog of Oahu’s Doraemon statues

It was Jan. 20 -- around when word was just starting to trickle out about "Meet Doraemon: Japan's Time-Traveling Cat" opening at Bishop Museum a little less than a month away -- when MidWeek cartoonist/Aiea Intermediate art teacher Roy Chang posted this picture to his Facebook timeline.

Where a cat and a dog can coexist together.

Random life-size Doraemon statue at Ward Warehouse was truly random! And there was nothing around at the time to indicate what it was for, who put it there, or why Doraemon was hanging around with a determined-looking dog under the escalators to and from The Old Spaghetti Factory. Since I was working on the museum exhibit preview with tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J., I asked my contact at the museum whether they had anything to do with it; she replied that they did not.

A few days passed before a picture of a second Doraemon statue popped up on my Facebook timeline, this one at Kahala Mall … along with a sign explaining that it was part of something called the "Doraemon Wakuwaku Stamp Rally." I knew right then that I had to pay that statue, along with the Ward statue, a visit.

What I learned on that trip was twofold. First, that Kahala statue was really tucked away in a corner.

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That's the stairwell in the theater wing of the mall, next to Kuru Kuru Sushi. You'll note that to the right of the statue, there's a black table with something on it. Here's what it looks like close up:

002-Kahala Mall B

It turned out that this statue, along with the Ward statue, were both part of the aforementioned "Doraemon Wakuwaku Stamp Rally," a promotion hosted by HIS Hawaii's Lea Lea Trolley. As  I understand it -- sadly, I haven't been able to get anyone from HIS to formally comment on what's going on -- Japanese visitors who sign up for a certain tour package get a stamp card and go around town collecting seven stamps at various locations. (That's one of the stamp pads on the table.) Here's what some of those stamps look like.

stamps

They can turn in the stamp card for some cool Doraemon-themed prizes, as seen on a table at the HIS Hawaii office at the Waikiki Beach Marriott. (For the record, I REALLY wish I could have a box of Doradamia Nuts. I know they're just regular Hawaiian Host chocolates, but still! That box!)

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Sadly, I don't think we regular folk are eligible to win these prizes, but HIS is currently running a contest via social media: Through April 30, you can post pictures of the statues around town to Instagram and use the hashtag "#doraemonhi" to be eligible to win gift certificates to Ruth's Chris Steak House, the Prince Court Restaurant at Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki, and the Magic of Polynesia.

It took me a few months (and repeat visits; you can't imagine how I felt when I learned that (a) some of the statues later had informational placards added to them and (b) three more statues had appeared when I thought I had found all of them), but I've managed to track down the locations of at least 13 statues that are part of this promotion, placed between downtown and Kahala Mall. They really are all over the place, next to information booths ...

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...tucked away in shopping malls ...

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... and, of course, in HIS Hawaii offices.

009-HIS DQ Kaheka B

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Add in the 10 that will be on the Bishop Museum campus through Sunday, and the number of Doraemon statues on the island rises to 23. Without further ado, here are the Doraemon 23; while each Doraemon is holding a different gadget, they aren't always identified or explained fully. I've tried to include whatever information was available nearby in the captions.

Doraemon #1, "Man's Best Friend." Location: Ward Warehouse, base of the escalators to/from Old Spaghetti Factory. Doraemon #2, "Tester Badges." Location: Kahala Mall, under the stairwell near Kuru Kuru Sushi. Doraemon #3, gadget unidentified. Location: Lea Lea Lounge, Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, third floor. Doraemon #4, gadget unidentified. Location: HIS Hawaii office, Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, third floor. Doraemon #5, gadget unidentified. Location: HIS Hawaii office, Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, third floor. Doraemon #6, "Leaftector." Location: Market City Shopping Center, next to Upnext Wireless, between Anyplace Cafe and Duck Lee Chinese Express. Doraemon #7, "Honest Thomas." Location: King's Village Shopping Center, Waikiki; second floor, in front of Pipeline Leather. Doraemon #8, gadget unidentified. Location: HIS Hawaii downtown office, Executive Center, 1046-A Bishop St. (street level). Doraemon #9, "Say & Obey Cap." Location: HIS Hawaii office at the Don Quijote on Kaheka Street, near Yummy's Korean BBQ. Doraemon #10, "Pass Loop." Location: Ala Moana Shopping Center, Nordstrom wing, third floor, near the information booth. Doraemon #11, gadget unidentified. Location: HIS Hawaii office, Hilton Hawaiian Village, across from Diamond Head Tower and next to a Lanikai Juice store. Doraemon #12, gadget unidentified. Location: HIS Hawaii staff office, Waikiki. Doraemon #13, gadget unidentified. Location: HIS Hawaii office, Waikiki Beach Marriott, Paoakalani Tower, first floor. Doraemon #14, "Super Gloves" -- "These pair of gloves will make you super-strong." Location: Bishop Museum, near the ticket booth. Doraemon #15, "Translation Gummy" -- "When you eat this, the language you speak will automatically be translated into the listener's native language and vice versa." Location: Bishop Museum, near Hawaiian Hall. Doraemon #16, "Sonic Solidifier" -- "Your voice becomes solid when you drink this potion. Effects will last until the next day." Location: Bishop Museum, near the Native Hawaiian Garden. Doraemon #17, "Ace Cap" -- "This cap can make even the worst pitcher become an instant ace, letting them strike out any batter." Location: Bishop Museum, outside Castle Memorial Hall. Doraemon #18, "Time Kerchief" -- "People or animals wrapped in this cloth will turn younger or older. If it's an object, it becomes new or old." Location: Bishop Museum Doraemon exhibit. Doraemon #19, "Maximizer Ray" -- "Any object will get larger, simply by shining this light on it." Location: Bishop Museum Doraemon exhibit. Doraemon #20, "Instant Wardrobe Cam" -- "Insert the picture or drawing of the fashion design you like into the camera and press the shutter button toward the person, and you can instantly change their clothes to the one in the camera." Location: Bishop Museum Doraemon exhibit. Doraemon #21, "Air Cannon" -- "A gadget that you put on your forearm to emit a powerful blast of air." Location: Bishop Museum Doraemon exhibit. Doraemon #22, "The Tripinator" -- "By inserting 10 yen into its back and stating the name of the person you want to get revenge on, this gadget will go and trip your target up to three times. Canceling your request will require you to pay an additional 100 yen." Location: Bishop Museum Doraemon exhibit. Doraemon #23, "Memory Bread" -- "This bread lets you memorize anything." Location: Bishop Museum Doraemon exhibit.

So where are all these statues coming from? A quick Internet search found a handful of posts about "100 Years Before the Birth of Doraemon," an exhibition that showed up in Hong Kong in 2012 and Taiwan in 2013 that featured 100 Doraemon statues. It's very likely our visiting friends came from that exhibit; see if you can find some of them in this Alvinology II post.

A few other notes and pictures I picked up while I was running around finding all of these statues:

>> The trickiest ones for the general public to get to are #3 and #12. #3 is in the Lea Lea Lounge, which is technically open only to visitors using HIS Hawaii's services, but ask someone at the counter really nicely, and they'll probably let you in. #12, meanwhile, is actually located inside an HIS Hawaii staff office; if you were to walk past, you can see its feet behind a frosted "STAFF ONLY" door. Again, I asked nicely and was allowed to take a few pictures, but I really don't feel comfortable about sending a bunch of people who read this post to do the same, which is why I left the exact location intentionally vague.

>> The most abused statue easily has to be Leaftector Doraemon at Market City Shopping Center. Shopping center patrons, you should be ashamed of yourselves for doing this to poor Doraemon. Fortunately, it's been cleaned up before, and it'll be cleaned up again, but this is just embarrassing:

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>> Photo ops with the statues abound, as it did when a family with a baby was taking pictures with Honest Thomas Doraemon and a group of Japanese tourists showed up. Much cooing and cuteness ensued.

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>> There was also a bit of photo traffic over at Pass Loop Doraemon when I visited.

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As I mentioned earlier, the Doraemon exhibit at Bishop Museum closes on Sunday, but the remaining 13 statues will be around through the end of the HIS Hawaii promotion on Nov. 30, so you'll have plenty of time to visit those.

A trek through Bishop Museum’s Anywhere Door

And now, the post that's taken far too long for me to write.

Waaaaaaaay back in mid-February, "Meet Doraemon: Japan's Time-Traveling Cat" took up residence at Bishop Museum. In the time it's been here, this town has gone robo-cat crazy, partly because of the exhibit, partly because of an unrelated visitor stamp rally hosted by HIS Hawaii. So sure, you'll come across a banner heralding the exhibit's presence at the museum's campus in Kalihi ...

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... but you may also see Doraemon and friends on the side of a LeaLea Trolley on streets near Ala Moana and Waikiki.

Doraemon trolley

Or, if you were watching the Honolulu Festival's Grand Parade last month, you could see him being wheeled along the parade route.

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It's been a fun past few months, but you only have nine days left to see it -- the Doraemon statues, Fujiko F. Fujio artwork, Anywhere Door and a whole bunch of other stuff will be packed up and head back to Japan after April 20.

I could go into excruciating detail as to why it's taken so long for this post to be written -- the cold! the writer's block! Kawaii Kon prep! But the main point is that time is running short, there's another museum free-admission day right around the corner -- YMCA Healthy Kids Day on Saturday; kamaaina and military with valid ID, step right up -- and I wanted to get something posted on the record before then.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention that if you sign up to be a museum member now, you'll get a special Doraemon-edition membership card. Annual memberships start at $50 general, $45 seniors and $35 students and net you admission to the museum, along with a number of other perks that pile up at higher tiers. But c'mon, is this not the coolest museum membership card you've ever seen?

membership card

It should be noted that it's possible to see Doraemon at a number of points between Kalihi and Kahala right now. I'll go into that in more detail in my next post (along with details about a contest this month that's quietly unfolded on Instagram), but today's post focuses more on what's on display at the museum. Whether you've already visited, have yet to do so or can't make it out here before it closes, I hope you'll enjoy this virtual tour of 67 percent of the exhibit.

Super Gloves Doraemon here greets visitors as they enter the museum campus from the admission window. He's quite photogenic, sitting in front of the recently remodeled Hawaiian Hall. Speaking of photogenic, there's a second statue that, if angled juuuuust so, offers a nice view of the Honolulu skyline in the background. These two statues are along the walkway leading to Castle Memorial Hall, where the exhibit is located. Hey, Sonic Solidifier Doraemon in the foreground looks familiar ... Sonic Solidifier Doraemon has a nice view of Punchbowl and the Nuuanu area, too. The four Doraemon statues also apparently had problems with people climbing all over them. These warning signs went up somewhat late in the exhibit's run. A sign at the entrance provides an overview for the exhibit, talking about Doraemon's cultural significance and the influence of artist Fujiko F. Fujio. And here's the first thing you see when you enter the exhibit hall -- five Doraemon statues, the Anywhere Door, a giant banner hanging from the ceiling, and character cutouts on the walls. The Anywhere Door, that portal to other places that's been a starting point for many of Doraemon and Noby's adventures, is the focal point of the exhibit (and a great place for photo ops, too!). Memory Bread Doraemon gets a prominent place at the center of the exhibit. Many of the characters are identified by the names used in the official English translation of the manga. So while Doraemon is still Doraemon ... Nobita is now "Noby" ... Suneo is now "Sneech" ... Gian is now "Big G" ... ... and Shizuka is ... well ... Shizuka. One wing of Castle Hall has tables for drawing and coloring, a display about the Fujiko F. Fujio Museum in Japan, and the F Theater, screening an exclusive Doraemon anime episode. This wall spotlights the Fujiko F. Fujio Museum and its exhibits. You'd think that this would have been a static display for the duration of the exhibit, but you'd be wrong ... Here's the original poster I saw, the same one seen on the left in the previous picture. And here's the poster that I saw when I visited the museum on Thursday. WAUGH COMPLETELY DIFFERENT The rest of the display has remained the same throughout, though. Here's the first panel, with a Fujio timeline and some information about visiting the museum. The facility guide is presented in two parts. Here's part 1. with a panel that talks about seeing the "pretty Gian." See? "Pretty Gian." Here's the second part of the facility guide, in which visitors can explore the "slightly wondrous world" of the Fujio museum. See? "Slightly wondrous world." Not ALL the way wondrous, mind. SLIGHTLY wondrous. Here's what one of the tables in the drawing/coloring area looks like, along with one of the handouts available to color. Near the drawing/coloring tables, an original Doraemon anime plays on loop in the "F Theater" corner. A sign nearby notes the title of the 10-minute feature: "Doraemon & Perman Have a Close Shave!?" Naturally, the anime prominently features Doraemon. Yay happy Doraemon! This scene, shown before the actual feature begins, shows Fujio's characters parading past a screen showing highlights In "Doraemon and Perman Have a Close Shave!?" Doraemon uses a gadget that eventually sucks him and Noby into a TV program they're watching. ANOTHER gadget -- that pink phone to the left -- is what they use to get help. I actually missed these the first few times I visited the exhibit, but off to the side of the drawing/coloring tables are a set of three motion boxes. Slide a lever on the bottom of two of them and watch the characters -- in this case, Doraemon -- come to life. The museum also set up this lightbox. Twirl it and look through the slots on the side, and you can see an animated Doraemon scroll past. Over in another wing of Castle Hall sit more statues as well as the Manga Library. The Manga Library features several iPads with the English translation of Doraemon volume 1 loaded onto them (available now at the Kindle store!) as well as volumes of translated Doraemon manga from all over the world. Visitors are invited to browse through the books. A close-up of one of the iPads with Doraemon volume 1. That's Time Kerchief Doraemon in the background. Close-up view of some of the translated Doraemon manga available to read. More of the translated Doraemon manga available to read. It's times like these that I wish I could read more foreign-language material. No visit to a limited-run museum exhibit would be complete without a selection of souvenir swag to choose from, and Bishop Museum's gift shop has a lot of that, most of it shipped in from Japan. The first shipment sold so well, Bishop Museum asked for -- and eventually got -- a second shipment. Get your plushies, T-shirts and other Fujio museum gifts now! Here's a close-up of one of the T-shirt designs available (and the only one available in adult sizes). There are other shirt designs for kids, too. And here's a close-up of one of the oh-so-adorable giant plushies. Sorry, but you're going to have to sew your own aloha shirt and haku lei -- only the display plushie gets to look this good.

As for that other 33 percent: You're going to have to figure out some way to see that for yourself. The gallery portion of the exhibit, featuring manga pages drawn by Fujio, is off-limits for photography and video recording. This much can be said about it, though: In that section, there's a timeline of Fujio's career, a giant photo of his desk, and five themed galleries, each one based on a Doraemon movie: Nobita's Dinosaur (1980), Nobita's Great Adventure Into the Underworld (1983), Record of Nobita's Spaceblazer (1980), Nobita and the Steel Troops (1985) and Nobita and the Haunts of Evil (1981).

It's a pretty even split between Fujio originals and reproductions on display — 36 of the exhibit's 70 pages are originals, 34 are copies — but it takes a really close look at each piece to tell which is which.

That, of course, and the assistance of the handy Copy Robot icon.

Copy Robot

Next time in Otaku Ohana: Noticed all those statues sitting around the exhibit? There are 10 at the museum ... and another 13 (that I know of so far, anyway) out in the wild. I'll have a guide to where you can find all of them ... if you're as obsessed as I am about such things, anyway.