New Aiea Library steps up to Bat(man)

July 25th, 2014
By

When you've been writing columns and blogs about the local anime/manga/cartooning community for as long as I have, you tend to fall into a rhythm when writing about certain recurring items.

It used to be that way with events taking place at Aiea Library: throw in a mention that the event was the brainchild of young adult librarian Diane Masaki; add where the library was located (99-143 Moanalua Road); submit column to editor or push "publish" button on blog; wander off to enjoy a nice strawberry smoothie with tapioca pearls somewhere. Heck, it was reliable to the point where the place was even Ingress portal-ized.

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Well, as of last Saturday, that's no longer the case. Meet the new Aiea Library, now a left turn and an up-the-street-past-Aiea-Bowl-and-its-yummy-lemon-crunch-cake away from the old location.

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Our reporter Leila Fujimori and photographer Bruce Asato wrote about last Saturday's grand opening in Sunday's paper (subscription required). But this is Otaku Ohana, where you want to know about what really matters about the new library, like how the manga shelves look. (They're quite compact.)

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Or where the anime collection is. (It's near a pillar with a Comic Jam Hawaii "Chibi Heroes" card-poster.)

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Or whether local events like Kawaii Kon and Taku Taku Matsuri already have informational postcards available.

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Or -- perhaps the most important detail of all -- if there's more parking.

20140723_140000I swung by on Wednesday to check out the place and get all those pictures above, and everything has that nice, new library sheen to it ... and yes, there is more parking than the old library, and it is glorious. (Gonna miss seeing all those chickens wandering around nearby, though.) That parking will come in handy Saturday as the library hosts its first big event since the grand opening: Batman Day, a celebration of 75 years' worth of Caped Crusader adventures. (Yes, anime/manga fans, a Batman event totally counts as something worth mentioning here, too.)

Young adult librarian Diane Masaki (See? There's that auto-fill instinct kicking in again ...) has a full day of activities planned, including:

  • Cosplayers dressed up as various characters from the DC Universe will be wandering around for photo ops starting at 10 a.m.
  • Artists from Comic Jam Hawaii will be drawing Batman-related artwork on 11-by-14-inch sheets at noon; at 1 p.m., the pieces will be raffled off to attendees.
  • A special Comic Jam Hawaii session will be held starting at 1 p.m. Join in and draw with some of Hawaii's top cartoonists!

Aiea Library is now located at 99-374 Pohai Place; for more information, call 483-7333.

Also this weekend

Joelle Lee self-portraitKids Inc. Business Showcase: I've been keeping an eye on the work of teen artist Joelle Lee; she (along with proud mom Lisa, on her behalf) has posted samples of her work on the Comic Jam Hawaii, and ... well, it's hard to describe exactly what I like about her artwork, but I just know that I really like it. (I think that's one of her self-portraits I've posted to the right.) I see a bright future for her, that's for sure.

Windward Mall recently held a public vote to choose a dozen young entrepreneurs (ages 6-15) to set up shop in the mall's center court and sell merchandise and services for a few hours, and Joelle was one of the kids voted in. She'll be drawing chibi portraits at her booth, "Joelle's Custom Artwork," from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Stop by, say hi, and support her and the other young businesspeople.

Kawaii Kon's "Caramelldansen" flash mob: Dance to the beat, wave your hands together / come feel the heat, forever and forever / listen and learn, it is time for prancing / now we are here, we're Caramell Dancing ...

If you could (a) tolerate listening to that entire song and (b) want to do that little dance in the aisles of Barnes & Noble Ala Moana for a few minutes, then Kawaii Kon staff wants you to join them for their flash mob at 2 p.m. Sunday. It's part of the store's ongoing "Get Pop-Cultured" campaign running through Aug. 10; other events in the campaign coming soon include appearances by artists Roy Chang (1 p.m. Saturday), Cheryl Nagata (1 p.m. Sunday) and Devin Oishi (4 p.m. Sunday). Cosplayers from the League of Shadows group will also be with Roy starting from 1 p.m. Saturday.

Oh yeah, and while you're there, take advantage of the store's "Buy 2, Get 1 Free" sale on Viz manga. Deadman Wonderland, Naruto, One Piece, Vampire Knight and oh-so-many-more titles are on sale through Aug. 10.

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.). This time around, they'll be meeting in room 202 instead of their customary room 200. Visit www.manga-bento.com. Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The Sakai Project profile: It's a thing. It'll be in Sunday's paper. Tag-team partner Wilma J. and I worked countless hours to write it. Please pick up a paper or spring for digital subscriber access to read it.

To preview what we were in the middle of writing about, I picked up copies for ourselves on Wednesday, the first day the book was available for sale. Of course, the first thing I had to look for was the piece by the lone Hawaii artist featured in the book, nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi. Now, you have to realize that while this book grew from a planned 100 pages to 160 pages, not all the art featured could get a full page. A number of pages feature two or three art pieces. Everything still looks gorgeous, of course, in a glossy, full-color 9-by-12-inch hardcover book; just a bit more compact.

Audra's piece was one that got a full page. That's hers on the left.

Sakai Project-Audra's page

Go pick up a copy at your local comic book store (only $29.99! Plus some stores offer discounts!). All proceeds from book sales go toward helping pay for Sharon Sakai's medical bills. You'll want to see Sunday's article for the full story behind the book, though. It's quite inspiring.

Special 'K' in your movie diet

July 18th, 2014
By

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

June 21st, 2014
By

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.

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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.

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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

June 7th, 2014
By

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).

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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.

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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.

Stretching toward home

May 30th, 2014
By

CrossCul-JCCH-Invitation-1The month of May is winding down, and so too are a pair of events that I've talked about in this space in recent weeks: the "Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawaii" exhibit at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, and the Kickstarter campaign for the second Taku Taku Matsuri summer festival. Both of them are wrapping up on June 7, and both of them have some new news tidbits emerging that make them worth mentioning here again.

The last event being held in conjunction with the "Crossing Cultures" exhibit is also the biggest one yet, a live drawing session featuring much of the island's top talent -- and perhaps you, too, if  you're artistically inclined. That's because the cartoonists from Comic Jam Hawaii, the group that usually gets together every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center, will be setting up shop at JCCH from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday outside the gallery, drawing manga-themed pieces and offering inspiration for attendees to do so as well. Drawing materials will be provided.

Joining them will be some of the artists featured in the exhibit -- Roy Chang, Audra Furuichi, Jon Murakami and Kyunyo. They'll be taking a limited number of commissions for $15 each -- come early to secure your spot. Or if you consider yourself a lucky person, just show up, and you can enter a raffle to win original artwork from them. Roy's piece features his characters, Cacy and Kiara, on paper fans:

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Audra has a watercolor piece with her plush pup creations -- Anpan, Nemu, Enchilada and Blue -- with a giant Pollo:

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Jon's marker piece features Gordon Rider, sidekick Steve the Monkey, and a whole bunch of Edamame Ninjas and Geckos:

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And Kyunyo has a lovely Kuroko's Basketball print:

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There also will be other prizes up for grabs, including a Chewbacca backpack. Yup. That's apparently a thing. If you ever wanted to bear the burden of a Wookie on your back, this is your time.

If you haven't had a chance to take in the exhibit yet, you can do so as well, with curator Brady Evans, Journey of Heroes author Stacey Hayashi and the Hachi Maru Hachi gang participating in a gallery walk-through. And yes, you'll probably see your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger around as well -- I couldn't possibly miss the biggest celebration of local manga culture since Kawaii Kon last month, could I?

JCCH  is located at 2454 S. Beretania St.; again, the event runs from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday. If you can't make it, 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. For more on the exhibit, visit hawaiimanga.com.

Taku Taku Matsuri's last stand

taku taku matsuri logoOver in Taku Taku Matsuri land, the news is ... well, a bit more sobering at this point. With a bit less than eight days left, the Kickstarter campaign has raised less than 40 percent of its goal, sitting at $735 out of $2,000. The $100 "meal with voice actor Kyle Hebert" tier has gotten a bit sweeter with the addition of a $20 gift certificate for Correct Distortion, purveyors of kimonos, contemporary Japanese fashion and accessories like wigs and jewelry.

But at this point, it would take a lot more than a sellout at that tier to push this campaign over the top ... and it's definitely running out of time. As an official comment posted May 23 on the Taku Taku Matsuri Facebook page noted:

Remember~ even if you pledge, if we don't get fully funded, won't happen~ SO! Share the link and get more people interested!! (≧▽≦)

... so in keeping with Kickstarter's "all or nothing" approach, if this campaign fails, that'll be the end of the discussion about this year's event, and I'll have to find something else to talk about that month, like ... I dunno ... episode-by-episode reviews of Cardcaptor Sakura on Blu-ray or something like that. While that may be fun, it also won't be quite the same. Visit ow.ly/wUtKl to check out the campaign.

Ota-cool incoming!

ARTafterDARK: Rakugaki: A blend of graffiti and traditional Japanese art makes its way to the Honolulu Museum of Art's monthly evening art party, and four of the "Crossing Cultures" artists -- Roy, Jon, Brady and Rose Dela Cruz -- will be part of it as well. Use their drawings, add in a few of your own, and you can create your own souvenir manga to take home. You can also enjoy the Light from Shadow: Gold in Japanese Art exhibit currently on display, sample Japanese foods, and sip on shochu from Iichiko, event sponsors touting "Japan's best-selling genuine shochu." Yum. Learn more about the event at www.honolulumuseum.org/events/art_after_dark/
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 The museum is at 900 S. Beretania St. General admission $10; free for museum members. 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.

Comic Jam Hawaii: Too much drawing over the weekend? Naaaaaaaah. The Comic Jammers will be reconvening for their regular first-Sunday-of-the-month meeting at Pearlridge Center. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

"Otsukare-sama" Party: Regardless of whether Taku Taku Matsuri reaches its funding goal, organizer Yuka Nagaoka already has another event lined up: a party to let off some steam following the long slog of the academic year. Some of the musical acts who would be performing at Taku Taku Matsuri if the event takes place will be showing up; activities include ... ummm ... table flipping. Hopefully not with the pupus and drinks still on them. That would be kinda bad. For ages 18 and older. Visit www.facebook.com/events/443091685828142/ (no Facebook login required). Ong King Arts Center (184 N. King St.), 5 to 9 p.m. June 7.

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.comNext meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. June 8.