By Jason S. Yadao
It was last Saturday morning, just a handful of hours before Manga Swap was about to kick off, when I first heard the name. At the time, my mind wasn't really registering what it meant. Tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. and I were busily setting up this and this. Plus my would-be information giver and name-dropper, Yoshiki Takahashi from the Hawaii Entertainment Expo (HEXXP), was wheeling his own cart of stuff from the elevators to the HEXXP table at the time.
"Wait, what? Who?" I said.
"Yao Kazuki. He's the last guest. You know, Franky from One Piece."
And so, six days after the announcement debuted at Manga Swap -- and with our wallets a bit fuller, our storage boxes a bit emptier, and our sanity lost and found again (well, sorta, on that last one) -- I finally have the time and energy to write and confirm that, yes, seiyuu (Japanese voice actor) Kazuki Yao is one of the last guest announcements for HEXXP 2012. Yao is, as mentioned earlier, best known as the voice of One Piece's Franky, the cyborg leader of the Franky Family group of ship dismantlers who becomes a valuable member of Luffy's Straw Hat Pirates. He's also voiced the hypnotist Marine Jango and the cross-dressing Baroque Works agent Mr. 2 Bon Kurei in the series. Other characters he's voiced include Koichiro Iketani in Initial D, Marco in Gunslinger Girl, Hideki Kurohagi in the recent Wolverine anime and Ginji Kawai, Sasami's dad, in Magical Project S. (Yes, folks, if there is ever an excuse to shoehorn Magical Project S into a post, and doing so is actually relevant, I will do it.)
Yao will perform Friday night as part of the "Seiyuu Meets Visual Kei" concert ... which, of course, means that someone with visual kei chops had to join him. And so the final final guest announcement is Sana, current guitarist for Kain, former guitarist for Mask and someone who's a bit difficult to find any English-language info on via Google. This translated interview from 2007 on Shattered-Tranquility.net, however, would indicate that Sana enjoys Giorgio Armani perfume, French movies, Hayao Miyazaki and making stray cats run away. So there is that.
Recapping the rest of the guest list:
- Angel Anatomy, musical duo with a style that's "ambient, classical, industrial, and a touch of opera"
- Akiakane, noted Nico Nico Douga/YouTube utaite (cover artists who perform Vocaloid songs and other anime/video game /J-Pop pieces)
- Atelier Pierrot, a clothing brand known for its EGL (elegant gothic lolita) styles
- Andy Lee, modern zen painter and illustrator who's done work for DC and Marvel Comics
- Livetune, music mastermind behind the Hatsune Miku Re:package and Tell Your World albums
- DJ MaRia, Avex Entertainment's resident DJ for House Nation, "the most famous house music party in Japan"
- N.S.D.P., J-rock band
- Royalvana, online purveyors of Japanese GAL fashion
- Nobuo Uematsu, music composer for many games in the Final Fantasy franchise, who'll be performing with his band, the Earthbound Papas
- Joji Yoshida, local actor
Major events at HEXXP include the World Cosplay Summit regional qualifying round on Oct. 21, and a Macross 30th Anniversary exhibit and maid cafe service from AniMaid Hawaii throughout the weekend. For those of you who don't quite feel like you have what it takes to enter the WCS qualifier, you can take part in the just-announced Costume Masquerade cosplay contest on Oct. 20. Want to know exactly what to do when? Why, the complete programming schedule just got posted Thursday night. (For starters, if you're an Earthbound Papas fan, be prepared to have a late Sunday.)
HEXXP is taking place Oct. 19-21 at Aloha Tower Marketplace. Yes, that means that HEXXP's Friday night will run right up against the Slopes of Diamondhead Hui's annual "Crazy, Sexy, Ghoul" Halloween party/Make-A-Wish Hawaii fundraiser. Yes, contingency plans are in the works. Yes, with a reported 3,000 people attending CSG 2011, that will make getting navigating that area for the latter part of HEXXP's programming verrrry interesting.
For more information or to preregister, visit www.hexxp.com.
More from the anime news desk
Aiea Library Anime Club: 3 p.m. Saturday at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. This month, librarian Diane Masaki will be screening episodes of Fruits Basket. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kikaida at Shirokiya: Aaaaaaaallllll the way back in 1662, Shirokiya opened its first store in Tokyo. Fast forward through 350 years of business ebbs and flows, and things have pretty much come full circle as far as the number of stores that exist in the world is concerned: There is one store left, and it's the one with the Book-Off, the KZOO satellite studio, the yummy Saint Germain's blueberry muffins and the second-floor foodie's paradise at Ala Moana. (Raise your hand if you remember the Shirokiyas at Pearlridge and on Maui. Now, as I'm on the cusp of celebrating my birthday on Saturday, please join me in feeling old.)
The store's been celebrating its 350th anniversary since August, but an event coming up on Sunday brings another anniversary into the mix: 40 years of Japanese superheroes in Hawaii. Which means it's time for another recent Shirokiya tradition -- a good old-fashioned Generation Kikaida party -- to make an encore appearance. There will be stars (Kikaida's Ban Daisuke! Kamen Rider V3's Miyauchi Hiroshi!) signing autographs, balloons, photo ops and "Kikaida-oke."
Mini-Con 2012: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 22 at McCully-Moiliili Public Library, 2211 S. King St. I hope to post at least one post on the topic next week (and look for the Kalakoa brief in Saturday's Today section!), but nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi posted this on the Mini Con Facebook event page, and I just had to share it because OMG SO CUUUUUUTE:
Katamari Damacy gets webcomic treatment: Word out of ShiftyLook, the webcomics portal devoted to resurrecting obscure Namco video game properties, is that Katamari Damacy, that wonderfully quirky game that Wilma and I both adore that involves the Prince of All Cosmos rolling up everything in said cosmos into giant balls to be turned into stars, is going to become a regular comic. It debuts on Monday; Destructoid has a preview. Suffice it to say that with that, the upcoming Klonoa being drawn by The Big O/Mega Man Megamix manga artist Hitoshi Ariga, the upcoming Mappy web animation, and my current faves Bravoman, Dragon Spirit, Rocket Fox and Wonder Momo, ShiftyLook's become quite the hotbed of artistic talent ... and a must-stop site in my daily web wanderings.