There haven't been many anime series that have lit the ol' "hey, pay attention, this is garnering quite a bit of attention on the fan scene" light on my anime-monitoring radar as of late. And for good reason: With the fan base as fractured as it is, more into things like Adventure Time and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and the Homestuck web comic and the Internet meme flavor of the moment than anime anime. Gone are the days when you could have big-time series like Naruto or Ouran High School Host Club or Hetalia unifying the masses; these days, it seems like there's Pokemon, and then there's a billion subsets of fandom.
I have, however, heard more than my fair share of good things about Puella Magi Madoka Magica. It's a mahou shoujo (magical girl) series that follows the triumphs and trials that high school student Madoka Kaname finds when Kyubey, a magical creature, offers her a contract to become a magical girl and fight the Witches who plague the world. Sure, she can get one wish of hers granted if she enters into the contract, but the burdens that she must take on and the despair of the world that she must see in doing so could be far too much for her to bear.
The 12-episode series is available for premium subscribers on Crunchyroll, or, if you have a few extra dollars to burn, you can also get it on DVD or Blu-ray from Aniplex of America. (Just remember, it's Aniplex, home of the four-episode, $29.99 DVD/$39.99 Blu-ray ... and that's on sale.)
But some of you may not have the time to spare to digest five hours worth of TV show. That's OK, because Shaft, the studio behind Madoka Magica, has you covered. In October, Shaft released a pair of compilation films, Beginnings and Eternal, with a total running time of ... four hours. (A third film with new story content, Rebellion, is due out in 2013.) So yeah, watch the films, and you can save an entire hour of your life for other things! Yay?
Seriously, though, whether four hours or five, Madoka Magica does seem worthy of the time investment. The question, though, was always whether the U.S. distributors -- Aniplex, in conjunction with Eleven Arts -- would see fit to give Honolulu a shot at seeing the two films. The chances seemed remote at best, even as the double feature slowly started spreading from obvious locations (Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco) out to other recognizable cities (Seattle, Atlanta, Philadelphia) and then other cities (Akron, Ohio! Raleigh, N.C.!)
And then on Thursday, two screenings popped up on the Honolulu Museum of Art website. Scheduled for 4 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28 at the Doris Duke Theatre, at that. And the people rejoiced. Oh, yeah, and if there are any readers of this blog in Greensboro, N.C., you're getting it, too. But mostly YAY US.
If you want to get in on the fun, tickets are already on sale for $20 general admission, $18 Honolulu Museum of Art members. First 20 people each night will get a limited-edition poster. Just remember, it is two movies' worth of content you're getting in one night -- with an intermission in between -- so be ready to settle in for the long haul. Point your browser of choice at http://www.honolulumuseum.org/events/films/13340-puella_magi_madoka_magica_parts_1_2 and go from there.
Kawaii Kon encore for Bosch and Eyeshine
Sunday was Anime Day at Windward Mall, where -- just as this blogger predicted -- Yu x Me: Maid Cafe & Host Club performed "Mune Mune Kyun."
More pictures to come sometime between now and 2032. The reason why I'm bringing up Anime Day here, though, is because a guest announcement for Kawaii Kon 2013 surfaced there: After a hugely successful appearance this year, voice actor Johnny Yong Bosch and his band, Eyeshine, will be returning next year for a repeat performance. Recapping Bosch's resume for those of you new to this ballgame: He was the first replacement Black Ranger in the Power Ranger franchise and is best known as the voice of Vash the Stampede in Trigun, Ichigo in Bleach, Kaneda in Akira, Lelouch Lamperouge in Code Geass, Claus in Last Exile and Renton in Eureka Seven. Eyeshine, for their part, will be debuting their new album -- 100 limited-edition copies also will be on sale -- and shooting their new music video at the convention. (And yes, con attendees will get to be part of it, too.)
Bosch and Eyeshine join previously announced guests Todd Haberkorn, Colleen Clinkenbeard and Lisle Wilkerson -- voice actors one and all. Kawaii Kon is March 15-17 at the Hawai'i Convention Center; three-day general admission passes are $48 ($38 children ages 5-11) through Feb. 28. Visit www.kawaii-kon.org.
More from the anime news desk
Roy Chang's Cacy & Kiara library tour: Learn about the creative processes behind Cacy & Kiara and the Curse of the Ki'i, the new young adult novel by Roy, an Aiea Intermediate art teacher, MidWeek cartoonist and friend of the blog. This is Roy's last scheduled library appearance for the year, so go see him if you haven't already! 1:30-2:30 p.m. Saturday at Liliha Library, 1515 Liliha St. (Speaking of Liliha Library, don't forget to submit artwork for the third annual Anime Art Contest. Deadline for that is Dec. 31.)
MangaBento: This 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.
Moanalua High School Winter Craft Fair: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the school, 2825 Ala Ilima St. It's your last chance to get your nemu*nemu swag from Audra Furuichi and Scott Yoshinaga, and your second-to-last chance to get apparel and buttons from Terri Dux, Karl Miyashiro and the gang at idkwhat2wear. (The latter group will be at one last craft fair this holiday season -- the Hawaii United Okinawa Center evening craft fair in Waipio Gentry from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday.)