Archive for January, 2013

The Cel Shaded Report, 1/26: Catalog of cute

January 26th, 2013
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Hi! You've reached the desk of Jason S. Yadao, anime/manga/cartooning blogger for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Jason is currently away wrapping his head around the scholarly treatise that is Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty's Trek Across the Pacific, the book by UH-Manoa anthropology department chairwoman Christine R. Yano due out from Duke University Press this April, and is not able to produce a formal Cel Shaded Report at this time. (Nor will he be able to produce an entry for this month's Manga Movable Feast on the works of Moyoco Anno, for that matter, although he would certainly encourage you to go check it out.)

In lieu of a formal Cel Shaded Report, Jason would like to highlight the work of someone else who's on a hiatus of sorts: Audra Furuichi, who's taking a month-long break from drawing cute plush pup online comic nemu*nemu to regroup and is instead composing lovely 4x6 watercolors of whatever catches her fancy and posting them to the site, whether it be classic characters like Red Riding Hood ...

Red Riding Hood

... more modern pop culture like Celes from Final Fantasy VI or Adventure Time's Flame Princess ...

Flame Princess and Celes

... or her own characters like Mayer and Mackenzie from Pizza Hero, from the Henshin Rider/Yellow Jacket story arc.

Meyer and Mackenzie

All of these originals -- and more! -- are available for sale at the Nemu Shop, where Audra's using the proceeds to pay for her lone out-of-state nemu*nemu trip for this year, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival in May. New pieces are being added regularly (and prices were recently cut on what's been posted, too!) so Jason encourages you to check it out.

After all of that, if you would still like to leave a message, please do so at the beep. However, it is recommended that you not make any references to certain footwear, headphones, designer handbags, music players and/or pharmaceutical aids, as they will be marked as "spam" and disposed of accordingly.

*beeeeeeeeep*

The great calendar of otakudom

Otaku Fair at Shirokiya: Hosted by Hakubundo Bookstore with volunteers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa Anime Manga Society. Pick up art books, Japanese-language manga, posters and assorted character goods. Through Sunday.

Aiea Library Anime Club: This month, librarian Diane Masaki is screening the always popular Black Butler. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. today at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road.

MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists usually meets every second and fourth Sunday of the month at the Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St., Room 200. Visit www.manga-bento.com. Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Open Cosplay Shoot: Got a lovely costume that you want to show off and want to capture it on film ... err, pixels? (The digital era: changing the way we think about things since time immemorial.) Come on out to the first large-scale open cosplay shoot of the year at the Aiea Loop Trail. Cosplayers and photographers, meet at the first restroom at the head of the trail, and go from there. Happy cosplaying/shooting! 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 2.

Madoka Magica double feature: Watch the magical girl saga unfold in one big four-hour, two-film chunk comprising Beginnings and Eternal, Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Tickets are $20 general admission, $18 museum members. Visit http://www.honolulumuseum.org/events/films/13340-puella_magi_madoka_magica_parts_1_2 4 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28.

The Cel Shaded Report, 1/19: Noizi Ito? FANBOY SQUEEEEEEEE~~~

January 19th, 2013
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Yep, Noizi Ito designed all of these characters. Taken in front of the New People complex in San Francisco's Japantown district in May 2010, when this movie was playing there and I actually had thoughts of reviewing it. (Never did.)Last week, while I was in the middle of working on assorted posts related to the Liliha Library Anime Art Contest (and yes, part 3, featuring pictures from the awards ceremony last Saturday, is still coming -- probably in the next week or so), Kawaii Kon made one of the most awesomest guest announcements EVER.

You'll have to excuse me for dropping any veneer of journalistic objectivity in favor of pure fanboyish glee, because that announcement just happens to involve Noizi Ito, illustrator and character designer for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Ito also did the character designs for Shakugan no Shana, but OMG WHO CARES THIS IS THE WOMAN WHO CAME UP WITH THE LOOKS OF HARUHI, MIKURU, YUKI, KYON AND EVERYONE ELSE IN THAT SERIES. The few dozen of you who've stuck around to read this blog regularly know that I have a thing for anything related to Haruhi and will mention that fondness in this space pretty much every chance I get. (It's been just as much of a running punchline here as, you know, that book.) I love how recognizably distinct she made each of the characters look in that series. This will be Ito's second American anime con appearance; her first was at Sakura-con in Seattle in 2010.

Here's a "Drawing With Wacom" video of her in action.

Ito joins voice actors Johnny Yong Bosch (who'll also be bringing his band, Eyeshine), Todd Haberkorn, Colleen Clinkenbeard and Lisle Wilkerson as guests for this year's show, scheduled for March 15-17 at the Hawai'i Convention Center. To register, visit kawaiikon2013.eventbrite.com.

I should also note that the Kawaii Kon room rates at the Ala Moana Hotel for this year have been posted, and they're quite favorable: $125 per night in the Kona Tower, $149 in the Waikiki Tower. The lowest kamaaina rates you'll get on the hotel's website at the moment by contrast are $165 Kona, $195 Waikiki, so that's quite the deal, I must say. You can find a reservation link at www.kawaii-kon.org/hotel/

The great calendar of otakudom

A bit delayed this week -- blame a combination of "mental health preservation holiday"-related lethargy and the usual big horking pile of stories to copy-edit and/or lay out at work -- so some of these events may either be going on right now or be finished by the time you read this.

Otaku Fair at Shirokiya: Hosted by Hakubundo Bookstore with volunteers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa Anime Manga Society. Pick up art books, Japanese-language manga, posters and assorted character goods.  (I swung by there on Wednesday, and it looked like there were a lot of things related to One Piece, Dragon Quest slimes and Hatsune Miku.) Now through Jan. 27.

Aiea Library book sale: Book sales are really a media treasure hunt -- you never know what you're going to find. There could be an out-of-print manga volume that you need to complete your collection, or a Pokemon strategy guide in Japanese, or something completely different that you totally want right now. Find your passions here. Presented by the Friends of the Aiea Library and the Aiea Community Association at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. today.

"Friends, Books, Music ... The Sale!": You know all that stuff I wrote about the Aiea Library sale above? Apply it to this sale, presented by the Friends of the Library of Hawaii, except on a waaaaaaay bigger scale. Visit the Friends' warehouse in Kakaako, which is ewa (west) of the UH medical school; just go makai (south) on either Forrest Avenue or Keawe Street to the end, and you'll be there. Visit www.friendsofthelibraryofhawaii.org. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Sunday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday.

Aiea Library Anime Club: This month, librarian Diane Masaki is screening the always popular Black Butler, which beat out Summer Wars in a fan poll. (Quick blogger commentary: Don't get me wrong, I love Black Butler, but over Summer Wars? Are you kidding me? Boo, you heathens. Boooooo.) For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. next Saturday at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road.

MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists usually meets every second and fourth Sunday of the month at the Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St., Room 200. Visit www.manga-bento.com. Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 27.

Madoka Magica double feature: Watch the magical girl saga unfold in one big four-hour, two-film chunk comprising Beginnings and Eternal, Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Tickets are $20 general admission, $18 museum members. Visit http://www.honolulumuseum.org/events/films/13340-puella_magi_madoka_magica_parts_1_2 4 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28.

13 for '13: The Liliha Library Anime Art Contest winners

January 12th, 2013
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Last time in Otaku Ohana: This was happening.

OK, this picture was actually after we had already figured out who won and were trying to figure out what we liked about each of the winners. But it DOES look like we're still evaluating the pieces, right?

That's Kawaii Kon senior administrator Roy Bann on the left, nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi on the right. Behind the camera taking this picture was your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger. And the three of us were busy picking winners for the 2012 Liliha Library Anime Art Contest ... which, as we established in the last post, would be the last one.

A comment from Audra to someone last night on Facebook reminded me that I haven't said in this space why the contest is going three-and-out. It's a combination of factors, really -- it takes a lot of work for Liliha young adult librarian Linda Mediati to coordinate and run the event, sponsors aren't as generous as they used to be, and the number of entries declined between the second and third contests. Three cheers for Linda for putting this together these past few years, though, and here's hoping that someone else picks up the ball and runs with it sometime down the line (hint, hint, people reading this blog who have the power to organize such things -- there are a lot of eager young artists out there, and you know you already have three candidates as judges ... *points at myself, Audra and Roy*).

But let's get back to the matter at hand, celebrating the talented students whom the three of us picked as this year's winners. As I noted on one of the pictures in the contest gallery that went up yesterday, there was a theme  that contestants were supposed to follow this year: "Books: Imagination at Work." Some did. Many more did not.

We ended up creating four divisions: "General, Grades 6-8"; "Comic Page"; "General, Grades 9-12"; and "Theme." There were three winners in each category for a total of 12, plus one lucky 13th entrant, the grand prize winner, picked out of the "theme" pool.

I'm not going to draw out the suspense any longer than I have to, so here it is: this year's grand prize winner, by eighth grader Isabella Iwasaki.

The 2012 Liliha Library Anime Art Contest winner, a hand-drawn piece by eighth grader Isabelle Iwasaki.

There were a lot of great entries, but this particular one stood out to the three of us for its simple elegance, how it embodied the theme just with two figures: the girl reading the book, and her imagined self as a glammed-up rock star. It's a simpler composition than the grand prize winners that Audra and I have picked in the past, but certainly just as effective.

A few other trivia notes before I launch into the standard Flickr photo gallery: Two people earned the distinction of winning honors in all three contests -- Nicole Nguyen, who won the Grades 6-7 division in seventh grade for her piece "Bleach in Hawaii" and took first place in the "Best Color, Grades 6-8" division in eighth grade with "Miss Alice"; and Joelle Takayama, who earned an honorable mention as a sophomore with "On the Roof" and took first place in the "Best Color, Grades 9-12" division as a junior with "Magician." Here's Nicole's piece from this year's contest, which took third place in the "General, Grades 9-12"  division.

Hand-drawn piece by Nicole Nguyen.

And here's Joelle's piece, which earned first place in the "Theme" division.

Hand-drawn piece by senior Joelle Takayama.

Also triggering my "hey, this name looks familiar!" senses: Ming Qi Vinci, the girl who organized "Anime for Charity: A Mini-Convention" in Kaneohe back in October 2011. She's actually entered several times as well, but this is the first time she's actually won -- second place in the "General, Grades 9-12" division, for this piece.

Digital piece by senior Ming Qi Vinci.

Three familiar names out of 13 winners ... that tells me there's a lot of fresh talent out there. An encouraging sign, to be sure.

And now, the gallery of winners' artwork.

Again, congratulations to all of the winners! A reminder: If you'd like to come meet these talented students -- and the panel of judges, including myself -- you can do so today (Saturday) at the library, 1515 Liliha St., at 10:30 a.m. If you can't make it, though, sit tight -- I'm bringing tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. along for the ride, and we'll be chronicling what happens at the winners' ceremony in this blog soon.

The Anime Art Contest's last roundup

January 10th, 2013
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The flyer for the 2012 Anime Art Contest.Back in the days when music used to be awesome -- you know, the '80s -- there was a popular song that had the line "If this is it, please let me know."

Last Thursday, when nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi, Kawaii Kon senior administrator Roy Bann and I were looking at the entries for the 2012 Liliha Library Anime Art Contest, young adult librarian Linda Mediati, let us know that ... well ... that was it. After this third go-round of getting to evaluate some of the  best anime-inspired student art in the state (well, okay, mostly on Oahu, with a few glorious exceptions), our services would no longer be needed. This edition of the contest would be its swan song.

"Well, it was a good run," Audra said. Indeed, it was. Sure, the number of entries received was down from previous years -- 55 total. But at least it was much better than the number I had heard when I posted my appeal for more entries a few weeks ago -- 12.

Thus, while the tables weren't completely covered in entries as in the past, it still looked pretty darned impressive.

This is what 55 entries looks like. This is also what Audra, left, Linda, Audra's husband Scott Yoshinaga, and Roy look like looking at 55 entries.

It took 2-1/2 hours for us to choose what ended up being 13 winners. Once again, the quality of entries made it difficult for us to pick. This post, in fact, highlights all the entries that didn't win, yet still deserve to be seen.

But before we get to the by-now-standard Flickr photo gallery, I should mention that this year's contest ended up being a bit more ... personal for me.

It's because of this picture.

And yet no one ever does any pictures of people reading the Star-Advertiser. Le sigh.

It was a bit personal for all of us, really. I believe the exact words spoken were, "Look, they're trying to butter us up!" Indeed, that picture was the only one out of all the entries to prominently feature Audra's creations, plush pups Anpan and Nemu. So as I had all afternoon, I dutifully troddled over to take a picture, then flipped it over to record the name and grade of the artist.

That picture was done by eighth grader Sieri Kuranishi. Sieri loves drawing, lovebirds, her black yowling scratchy kitty, Choco Babies candy, Vocaloids and playing Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F on the PlayStation Vita. And I know all of these intricate details about her because I'm her cousin.

Now, before anyone cries foul, full disclosure: I did reveal my conflict of interest to the others, and I pretty much let them decide the fates of that picture and the other two that she entered. Well, OK, this was actually her formal second entry:

Sieri Kuranishi (8th)-02

But I couldn't help but notice that this was on the back as well.

Pretty good for a "rough sketch," if you ask me.

So you could say that fandom now officially runs into another generation in my family. Of course, if you ever asked her if she'd take over writing Otaku Ohana for me down the line, she'd probably just roll her eyes and walk away. Because, you know, I'm old and weird and like to have all of my anime and manga on physical media instead of just downloading everything off the Internet and all that. (Also, she's totally tsundere. Still adore her, though.)

But enough of my rambling; let's get to the other highlights from the non-winning entries in this year's contest, presented in handy Flickr gallery form.

Next time in Otaku Ohana: The winners! Also, a reminder: If you want to come meet the winners and see their winning entries in person, stop by Liliha Library, 1515 Liliha St., at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. We'll be there handing out the prizes, too!

The Cel Shaded Report, 1/9: A familiar festival for the new year

January 9th, 2013
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It's become a bit of a tradition here at Otaku Ohana to kick off the year talking about the annual Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii's New Year's Ohana Festival, and for good reason: Not only are there a bunch of activities that appeals to the Japanophile in all of us -- mochi pounding and other cultural demonstrations! Entertainment! Games for the kids! Maximum ono grindage with food trucks and booths galore! -- it also serves as the natural launching point for a number of groups and businesses with ties to the local anime and manga fan community.

There are a few notable gaps in this 20th annual edition of the festival -- local art group Pen & Ink Works is taking a break until Kawaii Kon, and if the website (or lack thereof) is any indication, things aren't looking good for another year of HEXXP (you'll recall that Oahu Anime Explorer was handing out info at last year's Ohana Festival ... and yes, I have heard the murmurings that the show is kaput; I'm just waiting to hear confirmation on what's next if that is, indeed, the case). But there's still a nice lineup of people who will be attending, including:

Suicchi ON! ONE! TWO! THREE! ...Kawaii Kon: Staff members from the annual anime convention will be on hand for all your convention preregistration needs ... and you may stand a good chance of winning a prize at their booth as well.

JN Productions and Generation Kikaida: Autograph sessions with Kikaida star Ban Daisuke and performances by Kikaida & Friends (at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.) are the order of the day, along with the University of Hawaii Pep Band and the other usual trimmings that come with a Generation Kikaida party: picture-taking, Kikaida-oke and discounted merchandise. Spend $100 or more and get the Kikaida vol. 1 DVD for free; spend $200 and up and get a Kamen Rider V3 case for your iPhone 4 as well (sorry, cutting-edge iPhone 5 adopters and all of you with Android phones).

MangaBento: This group of anime/manga-inspired artists will be holding their first meeting of the year at the festival, sketching activities and photo booth props likely in tow.

Yu x Me Maid Cafe & Host Club: The group formerly known as Animaid Cafe Hawaii will have their giant Jenga set and other casual games set up at their booth. Also, I've said this before about them and I'll say it again until the end of this blog, but as inevitable as death, taxes, and President Obama and his family vacationing in Kailua in late December, this dance will probably show up sometime as well.

This is a promotional image Audra shared on the nemu*nemu Facebook page. It is also the CUTEST THING EVER (until her next drawing, of course).nemu*nemu: Artist Audra Furuichi and her husband, Scott Yoshinaga, will be selling their line of super-cute plush pups and other assorted swag from the popular webcomic. (Side note: Read Audra's "Heyo 2013! State of the Comic" post on the nemu*nemu website. Then support them in whatever way you see fit. It's not easy to provide "free" entertainment in this day and age, and with their strategy of staying local save for the Toronto Comics Art Festival in mid-May, they need all the backing they can get.)

Journey of Heroes graphic novel: Author Stacey Hayashi will be bringing books, chibi T-shirts and other chibi goods based on the characters in this manga-style chronicle of the achievements of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team/100th Infantry Battalion in World War II.

Interested? It's all happening from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the center at 2454 S. Beretania St. and nearby Moiliili Field. Parking is available at the UH-Manoa lower campus parking structure, with a free shuttle running between UH and the center. (Tip: Get there before 1 p.m. to take advantage of free parking; there's a Wahine basketball doubleheader at the Stan Sheriff Center starting at 2:30 p.m., and I believe the 1 p.m. cutoff is to allow the parking guards a 90-minute window to swoop in and charge the attendees for those games.)

For more information, visit www.jcch.com.

The great calendar of otakudom

New this year to the Cel Shaded Report is this weekly feature that will highlight all of the events on my radar that may be of interest to local fans. It's kinda like "More From the Anime Desk," except featuring events that are more than a week out (and with more of an emphasis on events, period). Don't be surprised if the title of this feature changes next week, by the way; I'm ... not exactly enthusiastic about it.

Otaku Fair at Shirokiya: Hosted by Hakubundo Bookstore with volunteers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa Anime Manga Society. Pick up art books, Japanese-language manga, posters and assorted character goods.  (I swung by there on Wednesday, and it looked like there were a lot of things related to One Piece, Dragon Quest slimes and Hatsune Miku.) Now through Jan. 27.

Liliha Library Anime Art Contest 2012 Winners Reception: Fifty-five entries, 13 winners. Join Liliha young adult librarian Linda Mediati, Audra, Kawaii Kon senior administrator Roy Bann and myself as we honor those winners in a ceremony at the library, 1515 Liliha St. (And if you want to see the pretty artwork that we saw in this year's contest, stay tuned ... I'm going to be working on that two-part post immediately after I put this post to bed.) 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Aiea Library book sale: Book sales are really a media treasure hunt -- you never know what you're going to find. There could be an out-of-print manga volume that you need to complete your collection, or a Pokemon strategy guide in Japanese, or something completely different that you totally want right now. Find your passions here. Presented by the Friends of the Aiea Library and the Aiea Community Association at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 19.

"Friends, Books, Music ... The Sale!": You know all that stuff I wrote about the Aiea Library sale above? Apply it to this sale, presented by the Friends of the Library of Hawaii, except on a waaaaaaay bigger scale. Visit the Friends' warehouse in Kakaako, which is ewa (west) of the UH medical school; just go makai (south) on either Forrest Avenue or Keawe Street to the end, and you'll be there. Visit www.friendsofthelibraryofhawaii.org. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 19-20 and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 21.

Madoka Magica double feature: Watch the magical girl saga unfold in one big four-hour, two-film chunk comprising Beginnings and Eternal, Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Tickets are $20 general admission, $18 museum members. Visit http://www.honolulumuseum.org/events/films/13340-puella_magi_madoka_magica_parts_1_2 4 p.m. Feb. 27 and 28.