By Jason S. Yadao
Back on Feb. 8, Ron Kaneshige, founder of the Hawaii Entertainment Expo (otherwise known as the Hawaii Entertainment Expo Experience, HEXXP, the "HEX-po," and "the con that pretty much made only lateral progress over the years from this"), posted the following statement to his convention's Facebook page:
For the past 3 years I have poured my heart and all of my finances into building HEXXP. I no longer have the funds necessary to keep it going. As of today, I am officially stepping down from HEXXP.
A handful of condolence messages ensued. But a proper obituary for HEXXP will have to wait for another day (and believe me, there's much to say about the faults and ultimate failure of that con). It took all of eight days before a new challenger entered the local convention arena: This morning, a website and Facebook page launched for Oni-Con Hawaii ... and unlike HEXXP and its nebulous "pop culture convention" designation, it looks like the people behind it are aiming squarely at the Kawaii Kon market, fans of anime, manga and Japanese culture. In other words, you, dear Otaku Ohana readers.
To solidify the transition, the following message was posted to the HEXXP Facebook page this morning:
Dear attendees of HEXXP,
First, we want to thank you for all your support these past three years. It has been a wonderful ride and an awesome experience for all of us. We also want to thank our great guests, vendors, and artist alley participants who have helped HEXXP grow over the years. We have had a chance to meet some amazing artist from Japan, Hawaii, and the mainland and the memories from these past three years will stay with us forever.
Unfortunately, it is time for HEXXP to say goodbye.
But, even as the sun must set on HEXXP, a new day is dawning here, in Hawaii, for fans of Japanese Pop Culture. A new convention will be coming in the Fall of 2013. A collaboration between the Hawaii, the mainland, and Japan, it promises to bring fresh energy to the fans of this genre, here in the 808. For more information please visit www.oniconhawaii.com as well as their official facebook page Onicon Hawaii www.facebook.com/oniconhawaii
And, for those who had already pre-registered for HEXXP 2013, you will be contacted in the next few days. Please watch for it in your email.
Mahalo and aloha.
There's not much information to go on right now, but here's what I do know about Oni-Con Hawaii so far:
- The image above is pretty much the only official information that's been released so far; indeed, there is no confirmation yet as to when and where Oni-Con Hawaii will be taking place. The timing of this announcement would suggest that the actual event is at least six months away ... perhaps even around the old HEXXP window of sometime in the fall months of September and November.
- This new convention does have an affiliation with Oni-Con, the Galveston, Texas, anime con that is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. How exactly this parent con will be involved, I'm not sure; I'll be sending out a few inquiries shortly. Also involved: Babel Entertainment, the promoter that brought over many of HEXXP's Japanese guests. It would not surprise me if other former HEX-patriates -- minus Ron, of course -- were part of this venture as well.
- Yu x Me Maid Cafe & Host Club (home of the "Mune Mune Kyun!") is the first group to officially sign on with this new venture, announcing via its Facebook page that Oni-Con Hawaii will feature its showcase cafe event for this year.
Stay tuned, folks. If Oni-Con Hawaii makes even a little bit of improvement over HEXXP, the local convention scene could get pretty interesting.