Every time I think I've finally covered every last bit of pre-Kawaii Kon information that there is to cover, something else comes merrily skipping down the path, commanding my attention and ultimately becoming the lead item in the Cel Shaded Report every week, forcing me to come up with yet another play on "Kawaii Kon" for each blog post title. So if you're getting tired of all the pre-con talk, apologies ... perhaps you could just skip ahead to this week's installment of "Ota-cool Incoming!" All of this will be over in a few weeks, at which point we'll either shift gears to post-con talk or the Cel Shaded Report will go on a weeks-long hiatus because there won't be as much fun stuff to talk about anymore.
What caught my attention this week was the news that the con's stamp rally -- usually contained within the walls of the Hawai'i Convention Center, with people bouncing from one event to the next to fill their stamp cards for a chance to win fabulous prizes -- is bursting out to envelop every single 7-Eleven store across the state, thanks to a new alliance formed with 7-Eleven Hawaii, Red Bull and Star 101.9. And all you have to do starting on Monday is visit six different stores, get a stamp at each store, turn it in to the Red Bull table (fourth floor of the convention center, near the dealers room) during the convention, and attend closing ceremonies on March 17. Easy peasy ... if you live on Oahu or the eastern part of Hawaii island, that is. Those of you on Maui with its one store in Kahului; Kauai with its two stores; and living anywhere that's not within the Keaau/Hilo/Pahoa/Kurtistown zone on Hawaii island will probably have to find some way to make up the difference when you come over for con. (I'd imagine that the 7-Eleven at Atkinson Drive and Kapiolani Boulevard -- which is already a war zone during con; ever tried getting their usual assortment of ready-made food there? -- will see even more traffic as a result. That one's pretty much a slam dunk for stamp seekers.)
What's at stake? The grand prize winner -- and a friend! -- gets to go to Anime Expo in Los Angeles in July, with round-trip airfare and a five-night hotel stay also included. (In case you're wondering, guests announced so far include voice actors Johnny Yong Bosch, Kyle Hebert, Chris Sabat and Eric Vale; Bosch's band, Eyeshine; and anime writer Mari Okada.) Those of you not fortunate enough to be the grand prize winner or the winner's friend have a chance to win Kawaii Kon passes and T-shirts or other cool swag like posters and gift cards. For more details (and an additional chance to win), visit www.star1019.com/cc-common/contests/index.html?id=218070.
Also tripping my "hot Kawaii Kon news" alert this week was the announcement that Dante Basco -- the voice of Prince Zuko in Avatar: The Last Airbender, General Iroh in The Legend of Korra and Jake Long in American Dragon: Jake Long, will be stopping by the convention from 6 to 8 p.m. March 16. Basco's in town to help promote three Kinetic Films productions -- Paradise Broken, Hang Loose and 6B -- that will be playing at the Pearlridge West 16 theaters for one week starting March 15. Look for him at a table on the main concourse (the third floor of the convention center).
So. Thirteen days left. Getting excited yet? Visit www.kawaii-kon.org to preregister.
Honolulu Festival: The 19th annual edition of this festival celebrating the cultures of Asia and the Pacific rim promises to feature all the elements that have made it so much fun for local anime/manga fans in the past: Kawaii Kon's anime corner, the UH-West Oahu Cosplay Cafe, MangaBento's photo booth and games for the kids at the Hawai'i Convention Center; the parade down Kalakaua Avenue late Sunday afternoon; and to top it all off, the Nagaoka Fireworks from Niigata, Japan, on Sunday night. It's also your last chance to preregister in person at a discounted rate for Kawaii Kon in a few weeks. And don't forget about the cultural displays -- the mikoshi are always impressive -- and entertainment at the convention center, DFS Galleria and Waikiki Beachwalk, too! Visit www.honolulufestival.com. Today and Sunday.
Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month on the Uptown side of Pearlridge Center. This month, with Easter displays up, they'll be meeting in the first floor center court area, conveniently located near cupcakes, caffeine and soft-serve ice cream. If the drawings end up predominantly food-themed, you'll know why.Visit www.facebook.com/groups/147779161986428 (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
"How to Draw Manga Faces": If you can't figure out what participants are going to be learning at this workshop at Treehouse (250 Ward Ave., suite 233) presented by MangaBento, you're really reading the wrong blog. Recommended for ages 8 and older; cost is $10, art materials included. Feel free to bring your own, too, if you prefer. Details and a link to register are at treehouse-shop.com/how-to-draw-manga-faces-workshop. 10 to 11 a.m. March 9.
"Court of Hearts": Visual Kei Dark Castle has been around for just a few months, but this themed dance party presented by Nephilim Hall Productions has already made inroads in courting local fans of visual kei, J-rock and goth loli fashion. This upcoming event at The Loft Gallery & Lounge (115 N. Hotel St., #2) features an Alice in Wonderland theme, a lolita/kodona fashion show and contest, and special guests Yu x Me: Maid Cafe & Host Club. $10 for ages 21 and up; $15 ages 18-20. Visit www.facebook.com/pages/Visual-kei-Dark-Castle/301847309932258?fref=ts (no Facebook login required). 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. March 9.
Kawaii Kon's Karaoke Kompetition preliminary round: Show off your vocal chops for a chance to be one of nine participants in Kawaii Kon's annual karaoke contest, with a chance to win … well … something. Presented by the University of Hawaii Anime & Manga Society. 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 10.
MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists usually meets every second and fourth Sunday of the month at the Honolulu Museum of Art School (1111 Victoria St., room 200). Visit www.manga-bento.com. Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. March 10.
Aiea Library Anime Club: This month, you wanted more Black Butler, so you're getting more Black Butler from librarian Diane Masaki. Club meets at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. 3 p.m. March 23.