By Jason S. Yadao
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:
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.
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.