By Jason S. Yadao
It took less than 24 hours for my attention to shift from Oni-Con Hawaii's debut back to Kawaii Kon with the convention's unveiling of this year's events schedule, which is always a fascinating read for an anime blogger getting ready to run back and forth between the Ala Moana Hotel and the Hawai'i Convention Center for four days. Download your copy at goo.gl/PBeoJ. Standard disclaimers apply — schedule subject to change, keep checking back for any changes between now and March 15, consult the official program that you'll receive at the convention as well as the vast Kawaii Kon social media network for the most up-to-date information.
Two of the panels also tie in to announcements made in the past few days. Noizi Ito -- the artist over whom I FANBOY SQUEEEEE~~~~~d over a few weeks ago, will be hosting an art portfolio review from 3 to 4 p.m. March 15 in Panel Room 3, and applications are now being accepted to be one of the three artists whose work she'll review. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday and await further instructions.
The second panel -- "Vocaloids Live," from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. March 17 in the Main Events room -- will bring those popular virtual idols to life in a concert at Kawaii Kon for the first time, courtesy of a fan group from Japan. Refresh your memory on how the technology works with my earlier post on DJ Livetune and Hatsune Miku.
I've been told that more detailed panel descriptions are coming soon, but here are a few other quick observations for now:
- The Kawaii Lounge, the new panel room at the Ala Moana Hotel that I've talked about in the past, is coming into play much more than I originally thought. Not only is there the late-night programming that I talked about, there are daytime and evening panels being held there as well throughout the convention, making it the convention's fifth panel room.
- The anime industry will be represented with panels by Crunchyroll (11 a.m-noon March 15, Panel Room 1); Aniplex of America (1-2 p.m. March 16, Panel Room 2) and Sentai Filmworks (1:30-2:30 p.m. March 16, Panel Room 3).
- Panels featuring groups and/or individuals I've been following here in Otaku Ohana include the Visual Kei Dark Castle panel (11 p.m. to midnight March 15, Main Events); "Yume no Teien Host Club" (hosted by Yu x Me Maid Cafe & Host Club, 4-5 p.m. March 16, Ballroom); a nemu*nemu panel (1-2 p.m. March 17, Panel Room 3); and "Otaku Pictionary" (hosted by MangaBento, 4-5 p.m. March 17, Kawaii Lounge).
- And the "Best Title for a Panel That Really Makes You Wonder What It's About" award goes to … "Kawaii Kon Trail: You Have Died of Dysentery," happening in the Kawaii Lounge from 10:30 to 11:30 p.m.March 16.
In other con news, fans of the Johnny Yong Bosch-led band Eyeshine will want to keep an eye on the Kawaii Kon Facebook page on Monday, as the convention is promising to post a link for tickets to the band's pre-con gig at the Oceanic Time Warner Cable VIP Music Hall at Dole Cannery (650 Iwilei Road, suite 400). Buying a ticket will grant access to the band for autographs, first crack at buying their new album, and (for preregistered con attendees) a chance to avoid the lines and pick up badges and programs early. You'll want to get on that quickly, though, as only 35 tickets will be available. (Update 2/18, 7:30 a.m.: Here's the ticket sale link. Concert starts at 8 p.m. March 14. Good luck.)