Archive for October, 2012

The Cel Shaded Report, 10/19: Manga-style local style sale file

October 19th, 2012
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Let's start off this edition of the Cel Shaded Report with a quick reminder: The Hawaii Entertainment Expo, aka HEXXP, is this weekend. Here's a post summarizing pretty much everything that's going on, here's the schedule, here's the website, I'll be popping in and out maybe today, more likely on Saturday, definitely sticking around for a good chunk of Sunday. If you're going today, by the way, please do stop by the "How to Survive Single-Day and Multi-Day Conventions" panel scheduled for 3 p.m.; it's hosted by Ray Nagar of Project 760 Productions, who regaled me with tales from the California anime convention circuit Thursday during what started out as a lunch outing but ended up being a five-hour conversation. That's right, people, five hours. And I was thoroughly entertained for every minute of it. Now, Ray's panel won't last for five hours, but I'm sure he can fill his allotted one hour quite nicely, thank you very much.

Not much more to say beyond that, except I hope to see you there and maybe, just maybe, I'll have a few pictures of what goes on posted here sometime between Monday and the end of the age (and with the way my non-fandom-related to-do list has been lately, it'll probably be closer to the latter than the former).

Today, however, our focus is on local books with a twist of manga (or, in the case of one of the books profiled here, MangaBento) that have recently gone on sale or are about to hit the market. The first book is one that I profiled in this space a few weeks ago: Journey of Heroes, the graphic novel recounting the story of the all-Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Infantry Battalion and their service during World War II. Author Stacey Hayashi invited me to a reception held for the veterans and their families before the formal debut event; here's a small gallery of pictures (as in seven!) that I shot while I was there.

journey of heroesOne thing that I wasn't able to answer with much certainty in my last post was where people could pick up a copy of this fine publication, whether locally or abroad. I recently learned that the book is available to order for $10 plus shipping and tax at 442comicbook.com/shop.html (please be patient, though, they have a lot of things to take care of at the moment). Those of you locally can buy the book in person at the Noelani Craft & Children's Fair at Noelani Elementary School in Manoa on Nov. 10. (By sheer coincidence, the Noelani fair's also going to be the craft fair season kickoff for the nemu*nemu crew, so that's two reasons right there for you to go.) For the latest updates on all things related to Journey of Heroes, visit www.facebook.com/442comicbook.

As for what I think of the book? I haven't had a chance to look closely at it yet, but I have given copies to a coworker as well as my esteemed tag-team partner in fandom. Wilma's read it, and already she's impressed enough to start working on a review of it. We may have a joint essay for y'all sometime down the line. My coworker, meanwhile, loved the art and the story. She also pointed out one panel that caught her eye in particular to pretty much everyone on our universal copy/design desk that night:

An exact replica of the paper's cover during that time, she tells me.

I think you can understand why she'd be giddy about it.

cacy coverThe second book is Cacy & Kiara and the Curse of the Ki'i, the new young adult novel by Aiea Intermediate art teacher, MidWeek cartoonist and occasional art portfolio/sketchbook reviewer Roy Chang. Cacy & Kiara is the story of two cousins -- one a free-spirited public school gal, the other a rather buttoned-up product of a private school -- who, while on a field trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, get flung together on an adventure of a lifetime involving an ancient Hawaiian artifact and a bunch of bad guys who want to get their hands on it. I've been reading through it in my spare time -- chapter 8 of 38, so a more extensive review of this book will be coming down the pipeline soon as well -- and my first-glance impressions are that Roy's manga-style illustrations nicely complement the story.

You can check out Cacy & Kiara for yourself starting sometime next week at both Barnes & Noble stores; look in the children/youth "local interests" section. Or, if you're more inclined to order digitally, you can find it at Amazon, The Islander Group and barnesandnoble.com. Retail price is $11.95. Roy also recently spoke with Pastor Danny Yamashiro on his radio program, "The Good Life Hawaii," about the book, his story as an artist, and his newfound Christian faith; that hourlong conversation can be downloaded at ow.ly/eBkOw.

pualaniFinally, we have the book that's worth mentioning simply for its connection to the anime/manga-inspired art group that's mentioned frequently in this space, MangaBento. Adviser Devin Oishi has released a children's e-book that gives a local spin to the classic "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" tale, Pualani and the 3 Mano. Pualani is the Goldilocks of this story, a surfing prodigy who, following a massive wipeout, wanders into the cave of three mano, or sharks. Full disclosure: I was one of the people who helped Devin copy-edit the book, so I've seen the advance proofs ... and the watercolor images included within are quite lovely. Pualani and the 3 Mano is available for $5 on Kindle and its affiliated apps at ow.ly/eBnw5.

More from the anime news desk

Kawaii Kon: We're in that part of the pre-convention calendar where guest announcements for next year start trickling out. The latest news came a few days ago, when it was revealed that the next guest joining the already announced Todd Haberkorn at next year's event, happening March 15-17, is Colleen Clinkenbeard, a Funimation voice actor, director and line producer who's best known as the voice of Luffy in One Piece and Riza Hawkeye in Fullmetal Alchemist. Clinkenbeard's no stranger to Kawaii Kon, having last visited our fair island home back in 2008. For more information, visit www.kawaii-kon.org.

Hawaii International Film Festival: HIFF is wrapping up this weekend, and with it comes your last chance (for now) of seeing Eight Rangers (9:15 p.m. Saturday) and The Wolf Children Ami and Yuki (12:30 p.m. Sunday). Earlier this week, though, one screening was added to the schedule: the tale of the time-traveling bathhouse architect, Thermae Romae, now has a bonus screening at 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Readers in Hilo, get ready, because Thermae Romae is headed your way as well, at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29. Visit www.hiff.org for most of your ticketing needs (Hilo folk will probably want to wait a few days, though.)

Rose of Versailles hits the Internet: And that's legal, free streaming of the classic 1979-80 anime, too -- no bootleg pirated uploads here. Anyway, to whet your whistle for their upcoming DVD release, Nozomi Entertainment has partnered with Viki to post the entire series online for free ... in December. But the first episode, fresh off an advance screening at New York Comic Con last week, is now available, both on Viki and YouTube. Anyone who considers himself (or herself) a scholar of the anime classics owes it to himself to see this episode whenever he can.

HIFF's Ghibli jubilee and other anime-related delights

October 9th, 2012
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Ghibli 4 packI know it's become a tired cliche to say that an event that brings a bunch of wonderful things for a certain set of fans is like Christmas in [FILL IN MONTH HERE, AS LONG AS IT'S NOT DECEMBER, BECAUSE THEN IT WOULDN'T MAKE MUCH SENSE], but I'm going to say it here anyway: The Hawaii International Film Festival's getting started in two days, and when it does, it's going to be like Christmas in October for fans of anime and Japanese cinematic pop culture. And all you have to do, dear otaku, is buy your tickets from www.hiff.org or the HIFF box office near the Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 theaters, make your way over to that theater complex (save one case, which I'll get to in a little bit), get whatever snacks you're craving, and enjoy.

The big anime-related event at this year's festival is the Studio Ghibli Retrospective, a six-pack of classics from throughout the anime studio's storied history. All of them are the original 35mm prints, in Japanese with English subtitles; there's a nice cross-section of the studio's work represented in these films, with four directed by Hayao Miyazaki (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Porco Rosso, My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away); one by Isao Takahata, with Miyazaki getting screenwriter and executive producer credits (Pom Poko); one rarely screened in the States and never released on home video here (Ocean Waves ... although Australia and the United Kingdom both got English-subtitled DVD releases, those lucky ducks); and none from Goro Miyazaki (sorry, those of you hoping for From Up on Poppy Hill). Your screening time roundup:

  • Totoro: 11:30 a.m. Saturday
  • Pom Poko: 2 p.m. Saturday
  • Ocean Waves: 11:45 a.m. Sunday
  • Spirited Away: 2 p.m. Sunday
  • Porco Rosso: 11 a.m. Oct. 20
  • Nausicaa: 1:30 p.m. Oct. 20

spirited awayThat's a potential Ghibli double-feature on Saturday, Sunday and Oct. 20. If you're really feeling adventurous, though, you could turn Saturday into a Ghibli triple play, watching three movies for the price of two. You'll have to leave Dole Cannery after Pom Poko to do so, but it's certainly worth it: HIFF will be screening Spirited Away at Kakaako Makai Gateway Park for the low, low price of absolutely free. The "Pop-Up at the Park" gets underway at 5 p.m. with Eat the Street organizers Street Grindz rallying a bunch of food trucks to satisfy all your noshing needs, and the film unspools starting at 6 p.m. Cosplay is also encouraged, and there will be prizes for people decked out in the finest Ghibli-inspired gear.

It should be noted that the site's changed from the original location of Mother Waldron Park, which is not what's currently shown on HIFF's event page. (10/10 update: It's been fixed! We don't believe in radically changing posts once they've gone up, though, so the original text of this post follows.) This is the image that you currently see there. If you go there on Saturday, what you see here in this picture is all you'll see -- no film, no food trucks, no cosplay, nothing. (There are some rather lovely wall murals, though.)

mother_waldron_park_1

Here's the new, actual location, as seen from Google Street View, looking makai from Ilalo Street.

kakaako

That's the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center to the left and Kakaako Waterfront Park waaaaaaay in back. The University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, not pictured, is to the right.

Pray for nice weather (or at least weather that'll clear out this stifling vog we've had blanketing the island lately, ugh), and come on down.

The rest of the festival is certainly no slouch, either. My picks for fellow otaku cinephiles:

The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki: Director Mamoru Hosoda has been on a roll in recent years. I never did see, nor have I ever have any inkling of seeing, Digimon: The Movie in 2000, but his take on The Girl Who Leapt Through Time in 2006 was good, and Summer Wars, which screened at HIFF in 2010 ... well, that was one of the best, if not the best, film I saw that year. His latest film follows Ame and his sister Yuki, two half-wolf, half-human children who lose their wolf-man father in an accident and subsequently move with their mom to a rural village. Now, both children are faced with the choice of whether to embrace the wolf or the human side of their heritage. Ame's leaning one way; Yuki, in the other. And, of course, mom Hana has her own issues to deal with as well. 9 p.m. Oct. 17 and 12:30 p.m. Oct. 21.

Dead Sushi: Director Noboru Iguchi has been on a roll in recent years as well, but for a completely different genre of Japanese film: the 1,000 percent what in the WORLD am I watching and WHY?!?!? genre. For your consideration, the following trailers, which should not be viewed at any time except, perhaps, in a darkened room in the middle of the night:

  • The Machine Girl: A normal high school girl with a normal family and a normal life has it all taken away by a ninja yakuza clan ... so she straps on a machine gun to replace the arm that was neatly and oh-so-visceral-sprayingly was chopped off, as well as a drill bra and other assorted weapons of maximum carnage, to gain her revenge. Blood goes spraying, limbs go flying, sushi with fingers as a topping get consumed, and females get scantily clad.
  • Robogeisha: "Geisha is ... Japanese girl. Geisha is ... beautiful. Geisha is ... wild. Geisha is ... robot." Normal geisha with normal lives get transformed into cyborg assassins ... so they use their mouth chainsaws and katanas and guns protruding from pretty much every natural orifice and tank-transforming abilities and battle it out. Blood goes spraying, limbs go flying, fried shrimp gets impaled in someone's eyes, and females get scantily clad.

And now we have the trailer for Dead Sushi, featuring the same creepy Engrish narrator from the Robogeisha trailer and starring delicious slabs of rice and seafood that have themselves turned carnivorous and seeking human flesh. And you guessed it: Blood goes spraying, sushi do something at the end that I can't even describe lest this blog go from a PG rating to somewhere between R and NC-17, and females get scantily clad. Give it to Iguchi: The guy knows his niche. 9:15 p.m. Saturday and 9 p.m. Sunday.

Thermae Romae: The first two-volumes-in-one omnibus collection of the manga by Mari Yamazaki is due from Yen Press next month, but local audiences will get a chance to see this film adaptation first. The film, like the manga, follows the adventures of Lucius, a harried architect in ancient Rome who finds his calling in life when he's sucked through a drain doubling as a time portal, ends up in modern-day Japan, takes what he learns about bathhouse design, returns to his time and builds the most fabulous bathhouse in all the land.

Yes, that premise would probably be the craziest were it not for Dead Sushi's presence in this year's film festival. But hey, if you wanted normal, go pick up Jiro Dreams of Sushi or something. 9 p.m. Saturday and 9:15 p.m. Monday.

Eight Rangers: In a future world where Japan is teetering on the edge of ruin (if it's not there already), the only thing standing between relative order and absolute chaos inflicted by a terrorist group is a ragtag bunch of ordinary citizens dressed in colorful costumes rallied by superhero Captain Silver. Sounds a bit cliched to me at face value, but you never know for sure what delightful twists and turns lie beneath the surface, so who knows? It could be worth a look. 3 p.m. Oct. 19 and 9:15 p.m. Oct. 20.

Ultraman Saga: Speaking of costumed superheroes, this year marks the 45th anniversary of one of Japan's most enduring heroes: Ultraman. To celebrate, here's Ultraman -- or to be more specific, the Ultraman Zero version of the hero -- like you've never seen him before: battling alongside members of super-popular J-pop girl group AKB48. In a future world where Tokyo's in ruins and multiple dimensions are in danger, the only thing standing between relative order and absolute chaos inflicted by an invading alien force is a ragtag alliance formed with the AKB48-staffed Earth Defense Force Team U, Ultraman Zero and a defense team pilot named Taiga. No sign of the Eight Rangers, though. 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

The Cel Shaded Report, 10/4: Manga recounts 442nd heroics

October 4th, 2012
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File today's featured Cel Shaded Report item in the "man, if only I had heard about this sooner, I would've written about this a whole lot more!" department: There now exists a locally produced manga-style graphic novel that tells the story of the all-Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Infantry Battalion and their service during World War II.

And you can get your hands on it -- and meet a bunch of cool people, including author Stacey Hayashi, artist Damon Wong and several 442nd vets -- for the first time at an event downtown on Saturday.

The book is called Journey of Heroes, and it's based on the experiences of several vets. From the book's official site:

Stories are the foundation of our culture, the way we share our values and pass them along to future generations. Many of the documentaries and books about the famed 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team speak to the enduring values, heroism, and truth of their war experiences. Few, if any, tell their story within a medium that appeals to the audience that most needs to learn from and understand these lessons: our youth.

We are producing a 30-page graphic novel that tells the compelling story of these young boys who, after battling racism at home and fascism abroad, literally saved the world.

Developing the story in this medium -- a flexible, easily-consumed format -- makes it eminently accessible to younger audiences (grades 7 to 12) who might otherwise never study or learn from this most important chapter in the history of Asian Americans and our country.

I haven't seen the entire book yet, but judging by the images posted on the official site and on the book's Facebook page,  it appears that Damon's rendering his characters in chibi (super-deformed) style. Here's a sample page to give you a sense of that style.

Journey of Heroes sample page

This book has a limited print run of 10,000 copies, 5,040 of which are going to schools and libraries in two states. That number seems a bit odd until you consider that 5,000 were originally allocated to schools and libraries locally, but an email from Washington state resulted in an additional 40 copies being pledged to that school as well.

So about Saturday. You can buy the book (and get it signed, too!) for $10 starting at 3 p.m. Saturday in the courtyard of the Pacific Guardian Center -- the address is listed as 737 Bishop St., but think of it as the block bordered by Bishop, Queen and Alakea streets, and Ala Moana Boulevard. Cute character swag will also be available for purchase -- all proceeds will go toward further efforts to preserve and perpetuate the 100th/442nd's legacy --  and there will be a panel discussion of the stories featured in the book.

Learn more about the book at www.facebook.com/442comicbook -- if anything, read through the project's timeline (it's available to read by Facebook members and non-members alike); it's fascinating to see how this project has developed since January -- and 442comicbook.com. With this and MidWeek artist Roy Chang's manga-infused young adult novel Cacy & Kiara and the Curse of the Ki'i due this month, this promises to be a very good month in terms of this style of local literature.

More from the anime news desk

Pen & Ink Works: Group members Heather Matsuura and Brady Evans will be hosting "Expression Session KIDS: Drawing From the Masters of Manga," 10 a.m. to noon Sunday at Spalding House (the former Contemporary Museum), 2411 Makiki Heights Drive. Participants ages 5-12 will learn how to create characters and lay out pages for their own manga, studying works from manga artists and pieces currently on display in the A Thousand Words or More exhibit. Cost is $15, or $10 for Honolulu Museum of Art members. Reservations required; call 237-5230 or email seng@honolulumuseum.org. Learn more about Pen & Ink Works at peninkworks.wordpress.com. And since this event ends at noon ...

Comic Jam Hawaii: ... you'll have plenty of time to bring the kids over to this cartoon art group's inaugural Comic Jam at Pearlridge Center. Sit down, draw a bit, collaborate with a bunch of talented people and have a fun art-filled afternoon. 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday SUNDAY (Update 9:45 p.m. 10/4: date corrected; blast my aged, addled brain >_<) on the Uptown side of the mall, in front of Hot Unique Imaging. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/147779161986428/ (Facebook login required).

JManga: School Rumble is now in the online manga publisher's catalog. Yes, I know, it's part of the bigger news that Kodansha's signed on to provide content to Jmanga, and that also joining School Rumble will be Code:Breaker, Pumpkin Scissors, Princess Resurrection, Pastel and The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls, and that those six series haven't been seen since the Del Rey Manga imprint morphed into the Kodansha Comics imprint, but ... School Rumble! I enjoyed it! I have a copy of volume 1 autographed by Jin Kobayashi to prove it! So go buy some points from jmanga.com and read it already.