By Jason S. Yadao
If you wanted any indication of how wildly successful Kawaii Kon was this year, all you needed to do was look at the closing ceremonies.
Yes, this means we're continuing our ongoing Kawaii Kon retrospective by jumping straight to the end of it. Yes, I realize that this is a bit like reading part of the beginning of a book, then flipping ahead to see how it all ends, then going back to where you left off to see how everything unfolds. But when you get a turnout like this, you can understand why I'd want to get to talking about this right away.
That's a view of the audience at this year's closing ceremonies. What you have to realize is that past ceremonies have been rather staid affairs -- the guests say their final goodbyes, there's a Q&A/feedback session that's either quick and painless ("We have online forums! Please share your opinions there!") or long and excruciatingly painful to sit through ("Can you repeat the question? We can't hear you from up here!"), and, in recent years, con co-administrator Angel Rumbaoa and some staff members have done a dance number. Here, in fact, is a picture of Rumbaoa getting ready to perform in this year's number.
There were, indeed, animal costumes involved. And K-pop.
This year, though, felt more like a party, the crowning celebration of a whirlwind weekend. There were 6,077 people who attended Kawaii Kon this year, an attendance increase for the seventh straight year. Think about it: Ever since the convention began in 2005, attendance has never dropped. This despite the fact that the anime industry's down, the manga industry's down, there really isn't any single overwhelmingly popular series that people are following at the moment, and the number of places where fans can buy anime and manga locally has dropped off dramatically. Shows you what kind of community we have here out on a rock in the middle of the Pacific that can perpetuate itself like that.
To keep the party going, there were two announcements made:
- Kawaii Kon 2013 will be held March 15-17, once again at the Convention Center. If memory serves, this is the first time we've ever known the date of next's year's con immediately coming out of this year's con. The timing has once again been placed to coincide with spring break -- why change what served so well this year, after all?
- The first guest for next year is voice actor and Kawaii Kon first-timer Todd Haberkorn, who's had a number of prominent roles over the years: Allen Walker in D.Gray Man, Italy in Hetalia Axis Powers, Keisuke Takahashi in Initial D, Keroro in Sgt. Frog and Kimihiro Watanuki in xxxHolic among them.
Online preregistration isn't available yet, but keep checking back at www.kawaii-kon.org for whenever that goes live. I'll also post a heads-up on my Twitter feed and here on the blog when that happens.
Anime around town
Aiea Library Anime Club: 3 p.m. Saturday at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. This month, librarian Diane Masaki will be screening Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists meets from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St., Room 200. Visit www.manga-bento.com.