I'm working on quite a few posts at the moment, so this week's edition of the Cel Shaded Report is going to have to be a quick one. Fortunately for my workload, there's only one event catching my attention this week that has to be talked about ASAP.
That event is happening Friday at the Honolulu Museum of Art. In conjunction with "Hiroshige: An Artist's Journey," an exhibit featuring the woodblock prints of Utagawa Hiroshige that's on display through Aug. 19, the museum's monthly ARTafterDARK event will carry the theme of "Tokyo Story." "Inspired by the exhibition ... we bring the neon glitz and glam of Tokyo to ARTafterDARK," an official blurb reads ... and you know that here at Otaku Ohana, we're all about promoting events that have Tokyo glitz and glam that involves the local art community.
Advertised as being a part of the festivities is Gordon Rider/Star-Advertiser "Calabash" cartoonist Jon Murakami and Jessica Valadez, "featured artist of Kawaii Kon." (I've only had time to deduce that she's won a past Kawaii Kon newsletter art contest and has exhibited before in Artist Alley, but nothing beyond that.) Both Jon and Jessica will be doing sketches at the event. Not advertised, but also attending, will be nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi (sketching away alongside Jon and Jessica) and HEXXP and the MangaBento artists, who'll be manning the Harajuku Photo Booth, where attendees can take pictures using yukata and various props. You can also meet Ayumi Sugimoto, the animator from Japan whose workshops in Hawaii laid the groundwork for MangaBento's creation.
Tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. and I are big fans of Kickstarter, the fundraising website that gives all sorts of projects, from art exhibits to state-of-the-art technological doohickeys, the chance to go from dream to reality with the help of people willing to invest a bit to make them happen.
It's with that obsession in mind that I present to you two more Kickstarter projects in the process of pursuing funding, one local, one national. The local project is one that's been in the works since Burl Burlingame first profiled it in the pages of the Star-Bulletin in 2007: Dragonfly, a live-action superhero show from the creator of Pineapple Man, Sam Campos. Campos has described his show in the past as "Kikaida meets X-Files," and it's easy to see the influence of tokusatsu (live-action superhero) series like Kikaida and Kamen Rider on the costume designs in his series. The show stars Cole Horibe as Alex Tombo, descendent of an ancient line of genetically engineered warriors that defends the world from an ancient evil that lurks within the islands. (You may have seen Horibe on TV recently, as he's in the running in Fox's So You Think You Can Dancewith his martial arts-infused moves.)
Campos is looking to raise $50,000 to finish production of Dragonfly's first three episodes. With that in mind, here's the Dragonfly Kickstarter pitch video:
... as well as a link to an interview Campos did on World of Superheroesthat explains a bit more about the project. Rewards include anything from digital downloads of the three episodes in production ($10 for one, $15 for two, $20 for all three) all the way up to an executive producer credit, a prototype helmet, signed copies of Pineapple Man issues 1-4 and a Dragonfly DVD (a price tier so high that I'm pretty sure the average Otaku Ohana reader wouldn't be able to afford it without taking out a loan somewhere). You have until July 13 to contribute to the Dragonfly Kickstarter at http://ow.ly/bKJ4r.
On the national front, Digital Manga Publishing -- which already has successfully Kickstarted a reprint of Osamu Tezuka's Swallowing the Earth and the first run of Tezuka's Barbara -- is going back to the Tezuka well for its latest project: a full-color print run of Unico. The series, about a unicorn endowed with magical powers to help those to love him, was serialized from 1976 to 1979 in Sanrio's Ririka magazine -- yes, that Sanrio, better known the House of Hello Kitty. As such, this title is far more accessible to readers of all ages than Swallowing the Earth and Barbara, two series tailored for older readers. This would be the first translated run for the Unico manga in the U.S., but it's not the first time Unico's shown up in the states; most recently, Discotek released two animated features, The Fantastic World of Unico (1981) and Unico in the Island of Magic (1983), on DVD in May.
As I was writing this post, the campaign had just crossed over the $12,000 mark and appears well on its way to making its $20,500 goal well before its scheduled closing date of July 21. Once it hits that goal, it looks like there's going to be an announcement of another Tezuka manga that's joining the party, so stay tuned. For now, $35 lands a copy of Unico and either $10 worth of online manga at eManga.com or six issues of the Astro Boy online magazine, and the tiers scale upward from there to include stickers, T-shirts and posters. The always great Tezuka in English site has more background information about the Unico manga, and you can contribute to the Kickstarter, check out some sample translated pages and watch DMP's pitch video at http://ow.ly/bKKqS.
Update 6/28: Original goal has been met! Now the DMP Kickstarter-teers is working on getting another manga, the "Astro Boy ... if Astro was a cat" story ATOMCAT into publication. And if that gets successfully funded -- and it's about a shade over $1,000 to doing that -- the push for another manga will begin. Stay tuned.
Anime around town
HEXXP: Online registration is continuing for the third annual edition of the pop culture convention, and so are the monthly giveaways. Those of you registered by the end of this month, in fact, have a chance to win a rather coveted item to anyone who's a fan of one of this year's guests, Nobuo Uematsu. See that Earthbound Papas CD to the right? See that silver scrawl on the upper left corner? That is, indeed, Uematsu's signature, and if your name is drawn, you could very well win this signed CD. HEXXP is happening Oct. 20-21 at the Aloha Tower Marketplace; visit https://www.facebook.com/hexxphawaii for more information or http://www.hexxp.com to register (and, by extension, enter to win).
Pen & Ink Works: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists is getting together for a Sketch Meet from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the McCully-Moiliili Public Library, 2211 S. King St., in the first-floor reading room. (If you're attended the library's Mini Con in the past two years, you know where that room is.) Bring your sketchbooks, get some drawing advice from senior members, and get ready for a fun afternoon. Visit peninkworks.wordpress.com.
MangaBento: The other group of anime- and manga-inspired artists meets from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Honolulu Museum of Art School, 1111 Victoria St., Room 200. Visit www.manga-bento.com for more information. Also, the group's latest exhibit, "Nakamaboko" is on display in the art school's second-floor gallery through July 14. I'm still working on processing the pictures I took at Sunday's opening reception and a follow-up visit on Wednesday, but here's a sneak Pika-peek with a ceramic piece by Chad Vilayvong.
Comic Jam Hawaii: This month's informal gathering of comic artists is happening Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Center Court of Kahala Mall. Artists of all skill levels are invited to draw, talk story and collaborate on cartoons like this one, also among the pieces on display at the "Nakamaboko" exhibit:
Not that I haven't tried to write anything, of course -- I have about two or three unfinished posts sitting in the Otaku Ohana drafts folder. Great topics, too. For starters, I really ought to share some of those pictures I took at an exhibit at the state Capitol in early May, so you can see all the nice artwork from the Cartooning Social Jam group at Aiea Intermediate School. Like this piece by Jessica Sato.
It's just that, I must admit, I haven't felt very inspired to finish anything as of late. You could call it partly a feeling of burnout, partly that feeling of blogger mid/late-life crisis where one starts questioning why he or she still blogs and whether anyone really cares about what gets written/published anymore. It just seemed like I needed to step away for a bit and re-evaluate just why I do what I do. Rediscover the joy of writing, if you will.
So, without a word, I just took some time off. Yes, I edited Christi's and Wilma's posts and added some introductions, but that was pretty much it when it came to Otaku Ohana. In the interim I also visited San Jose for FanimeCon over Memorial Day weekend, one of the largest and best anime conventions in northern California ... unless, of course, you show up at your hotel on the same night that the leader of the free world is staying there and have to navigate your way through various security measures and metal detectors just to make it to the front desk, and then, less than 24 hours later, endure six hours waiting to pick up your badge (and not having any guarantee of picking it up, at that!). In which case you'd probably seriously rethink ranking Fanime among your best experiences and relying on it as your "vacation con," too.
On the bright side, I did get to watch this sax player play songs like the Sailor Moon theme song, the Epic Sax Guy riff and, my personal favorite (because I'm old-school like that), "Baker Street," in the hallway of the McEnery Convention Center. A YouTube search pulls up the user name "MkaliKunguru" as the man responsible for filling Fanime with his merry melodies. Assuming YouTube doesn't take this video down on a copyright infringement charge, here's his take on "Baker Street."
That video is admittedly a bit dark, so here's a clearer picture of what he looks like. You may also notice in this picture that some familiar plush pup companions were enjoying his music, too.
So what did I conclude during my time away? I don't think I'm quite ready to give up this gig yet. It's just too much fun to write about what we experience in the world of anime/manga/cartooning fandom and share them with our readers -- whoever they may be at this point. (Please leave a comment if you're still reading, by the way. I'm a bit curious to see who's out there. Don't be shy.) Granted, tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. and I may not post as often as we'd like to -- our targets have slipped from "multiple posts per week" when Otaku Ohana started, to the more recent "once per week" schedule, to the current "whenever we can scrape together 10-15 minutes out of our busy schedules to write part of a post that maaaaaaay, God willing, come out sometime in the next few months" -- but then again we've always been more about quality than quantity 'round these parts.
Enough of my rambling, though. Let's get to the good stuff.
"Nakamaboko" ready to serve
These past few weeks have been very, very good for local fans of anime/manga/cartoon-inspired art. It started with the aforementioned Aiea Intermediate Cartooning Social Jam exhibit. Then Comic Jam Hawaii, a group of local artists that's been popping up on my radar quite frequently as of late, conducted several jam sessions around town. Our sister publication, MidWeek, had an article about Pancho Abalos' "Tributes" exhibit, with his pieces influenced by the Edo period joined by student artwork on display at the ING Direct Cafe in Waikiki through June 30. Elizabeth Kieszkowski over at Honolulu Pulse also did a piece on it, and I'm going to try to make my way out there sometime before the month is out as well. (The cafe's at 1958 Kalakaua Ave., in case you want to see it for yourself.)
The rest of the month is packed with events -- more details, God willing, next week -- but the latest event in this recent chain just opened Tuesday at the Honolulu Museum of Art School: "Nakamaboko: Working Together," this year's exhibit by the anime/manga-inspired young artist collective MangaBento. Those of you who visited MangaBento's "Kakimochi" exhibit last year know what the display space on the school's second floor looks like; you can expect to see an all-new lineup of pieces on display this year. The group's already posted a gallery of pre-exhibit setup photos on its Facebook page, and the space is already looking quite promising. (I'm certainly digging the octopus over the elevator.)
You have until July 14 to check out the exhibit, but in case you have some free time this Sunday, the group will be hosting an opening reception from 2 to 5 p.m. AniMaid Cafe Hawaii servers will be on hand with refreshments, and art activity stations will be set up around the gallery. Yes, it's also Father's Day. Just bring dear ol' Dad along after taking him out to lunch or before taking him out to dinner, and it'll all be good.
The Honolulu Museum of Art School is at 1111 Victoria St.; admission is free. For more about MangaBento, visit www.manga-bento.com.
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 the first few episodes of Ghost Hunt. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.