Archive for May, 2013

Ota-cool Incoming! for May 25 and beyond

By
May 25th, 2013



Kinda short on time to write anything substantive this week -- heading out to watch a movie that's NOT From Up on Poppy Hill in a bit! -- so here's your weekly Ota-cool Incoming! roundup. New to this edition: Comic Jam hits the road, Malice Mizer gets a tribute, the most awesomest movie not to be screened at Aiea Library finally gets screened ... and wait, is that someone new in the Oni-Con Hawaii listing? Hmm.

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. Sunday.

Anime Manga Society at UH-Manoa: Meetings during Summer Session 1 are every Friday through June 28. in Kuykendall Hall, room 306. Screenings TBA. 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists is hitting the road for its two meetings in June, and their first stop will be the University of Hawaii at Manoa Art Building, at the tables and chairs near the Commons Gallery. Those of you who want to tag on some extra drawing experience can go to the life drawing class on the third floor from 9:30 a.m. to noon (cost is $5; the CJH gathering is free, though). Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. June 2.

Visual Kei Dark Castle presents "A Tribute to Malice Mizer": Celebrate the music and the style of the '90s visual kei band fronted at one time by Gackt. Dress up in your best Malice Mizer-inspired or goth-lolita outfit, and you could win a $50 certificate to Tea Farm Cafe. Cover is $5 for those 21 and older; $10 for those 18 to 21. Loft Gallery & Lounge in Chinatown, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. June 8.

Tomo-E-Ame: Friends-Drawings-Candy: We're now in the submissions period for MangaBento's 2013 exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art School, with 2-D pieces that are 11 inches by 17 inches or smaller now being accepted during MangaBento meetings. Larger 2-D pieces and art in other media will be accepted on June 9 in the art school's mezzanine gallery. As for the exhibit itself? That's June 16-July 14.

Aiea Library Anime Club: Librarian Diane Masaki is screening Summer Wars at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road, in June. My heart just swelled three sizes. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday, June 15.

Future attractions

Taku Taku Matsuri: A summer festival with an anime/manga slant at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu. Aug. 25.

Oni-Con Hawaii: Featuring guests Yuko Ashizawa, a fashion designer with Atelier Pierrot, and the return of Nobuo Uematsu and the Earthbound Papas in concert. Also featuring the Cosplay Chess Brigade and Yu x Me Maid Cafe & Host Club. Preregistration open now; $35 for a three-day pass (price goes up June 1, so sign up now!). Artist Alley applications also being accepted (it's $110 per table, which includes two three-day passes). Hawai'i Convention Center, Nov. 1-3.

Kawaii Kon 2014: Guests include voice actors Michael Sinterniklaas and Stephanie Sheh. Preregistration open now; $37 for a three-day pass for children ages 5-12, $42 general admission. Hawai'i Convention Center, April 4-6, 2014.

"Poppy Hill's" subtle seeds

By
May 23rd, 2013



poppy hill poster v3Let's get the news out of the way first: From Up on Poppy Hill is going into its seventh week of screenings at the Kahala 8 theaters. From Friday through next Thursday, it'll be showing there daily at 11 a.m. It's now managed to outlast the local theatrical runs of Scary Movie 5, The Big Wedding, and some movie called Peeples, and it's lasted more than three times as long as Goro Miyazaki's previous Ghibli film, Tales From Earthsea, did at the Ward theaters.

I've had the … privilege? … of watching Poppy Hill on my own dime four times. I'd hoped that at least one of those times would be in Japanese, but nope … always in English, every single time. For those of you keeping score, that's a whole lot of repeat viewings of the trailers for Epic (meh), Despicable Me 2 (yay Minions!), Monsters University (yay Mike and Sully!), Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 (yay colorful, imaginative venues!) and Turbo (which I believe pushes the tally of CGI family films released by Hollywood this year to 500 bazillion).

When you see it as often as I have, you start noticing subtle things here and there, neat little details that make the movie that much cooler. I've shared some of my favorite bits below. Suffice it to say there are numerous spoilers for those of you who haven't seen the movie yet, but if you have, they'll make for some neat things to look for in a repeat viewing, whether at the Kahala or later this year on home video.

1. Ooh. Girls. Dur hur hur hur.

It's pretty obvious from the first time that Umi and Sora set foot in the Latin Quarter that girls have been a rare sight there for quite a while. The two Astronomy Club boys out in front comment on it, and Shiro, the student council president, offers to accompany Sora out when Umi and Shun decide to stay back for a while. Umi eventually leaves when the various clubs are called to a meeting on the first floor. As she's heading out the door, though, just before the scene changes, you can barely hear someone say, "Hey, look! X chromosome!"

2. If at first you don't succeed, squeak and honk 'til you do

Sure, there's quite a bit of important dialogue that goes on between Umi and Shun in the Archaeology Club/Latin Quarter Weekly room. But if you listen carefully to the background noise during their first meeting, you can also hear two people -- one on a xylophone, one on a recorder -- practicing musical scales. The highest note, though, seems to be elusive for that poor recorder player, the clear top tone on the xylophone followed by a high-pitched squeak that doesn't quiiiiiiiiiite reach the same heights. Persistence does pay off, though, as in a later visit, we finally hear the notes match ... and even later, if you listen carefully to the music mix on "The Indigo Waves," the song that everyone sings in the Latin Quarter, you can hear a recorder providing some of the instrumental backing.

3. The eating machines of Coquelicot Manor

Umi's younger brother Riku, as we see in the movie's opening minutes, is a growing boy with an appetite to match. Sachiko, the boarding house's resident starving artist, is always happy with a plate of food in front of her (even if her spaciness does cause her to misidentify things every now and then, thinking the bag of beef jerky that Umi's mom brings back from America is a pork product). Put them together, and you get a situation like the one during Miki's going-away party: A new platter of something -- I'm going to assume it's some lovely sashimi slices, although it's really hard to say -- arrives, and Sachiko hurriedly switches out the empty platter in front of herself and Riku with the full one. But for every one piece Sachiko snags with her chopsticks, Riku manages to sweep up five or six.

Growing boy, indeed.

4. A quiet Giant homage

Poppy Hill is a cinematic love letter to the Japan of 1963, with the era's architecture, the run-up to the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and Kyu Sakamoto's "Ue O Muite Arukou" -- the song we know here in the U.S. as "Sukiyaki" -- being the most obvious nods. There's also a more subtle tribute, though: When Shun comes home from Miki's party, his dad is watching a baseball game. Listen carefully, and you can hear the play-by-play announcer describing an at-bat where a player named Nagashima, batting for the Giants, strikes out. Later, as Umi, Shun and Shiro are waiting outside the Tokyo office of the high school chairman, Tokumaru, three men walk by talking about Nagashima and his MVP potential. (One guy's a bit confused, though, saying he'll score a lot of goals.)

It turns out this Nagashima guy was a big deal in Japan in 1963. In fact, he's Shigeo Nagashima, the Yomiuri Giants' other big star during the time that another player who may be more familiar to hard-core baseball fans, worldwide home run leader Sadaharu Oh, played for the team. Looking at that Wikipedia article I linked with his name as well as this Japan Times article from last month, when he and more recent baseball star Hideki Matsui were announced as this year's joint recipients of the Japanese prime minister's People's Honor Award, you can see just how much of a big deal he was over his career -- 1958 Central League Rookie of the Year, six batting titles, five Central League MVP awards, five Japan Series MVP awards, 13 Central League championships and 11 Japan Series championships. It was in 1963 that he snagged one of those Central League MVP awards and Central League and Japan Series championships.

Oh yeah, I should also mention that he retired in 1974, took over as Giants manager and won five more Central League titles and two more Japan Series titles. Makes you wonder what he could have done major leagues in the U.S. had the Japanese exodus -- the one that's included players like Hideo Nomo, Ichiro Suzuki, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Yu Darvish -- happened during his era instead.

5. The parting shots

So everyone's sung "The Indigo Waves," Tokumaru's announced that the Latin Quarter will be preserved, Umi and Shun are about to get the definitive final words about their fathers, and we're heading headlong toward our "happily ever after" ending. But there are two things of note in the closing minutes. First, when everyone's celebrating over saving the Latin Quarter, one of the things that gets tossed up is a daruma, that round, red doll typically used to wish for a certain goal. And second -- and I'm giving tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. credit for spotting this detail before I did -- there's a certain plaque on the Koyo Maru, the ship captained by Onodera, that the camera lingers on for a few seconds.

The plaque has one word on it.

"GHIBLI."

The Cel Shaded Report, 5/17: Rock the cosplay or comic vote

By
May 17th, 2013



Ahhh, Anime Expo. Largest anime convention in the U.S., usually held Fourth of July weekend in Los Angeles, tons of people lining up for everything, enough that I'll probably never go to it (Fanime's probably the largest show I'll ever willingly visit, thankyewverymuch ... and after last year's experience, even that is a bit iffy now).

This year is AX's 22nd year, and along with the usual pre-con activities -- guest announcements! Room expansions! Preregistration deals! -- they're currently hosting a cosplay photography contest on their Facebook page. The winner will receive $250 and a badge for AX 2014 and have their photo reprinted in the AX 2013 program guide, while the top 15 photos will be on display at this year's convention.

Normally this wouldn't be of much interest save for the hardest of hard-core AX devotees, but there's a local angle to this contest: The fourth picture in the gallery was taken at Kawaii Kon, with a bunch of local cosplayers, in the Hawai'i Convention Center parking garage. Here's the picture and the listed description:

Via the Anime Expo Facebook page. Click on the photo to jump over to Facebook and vote!

Photographer’s Name: Chris Kwock
Photo Title: Wolf Pack
Cosplay Model’s Name: Kim Mazyck, Jon Minami, Shaughnessy Birgado, Gina Maeda-Caluya, Anthony Ragil, Jolene Kanesaki
Character and series: Bertha, Beltway, Spectre, Lupo, Vector, Four Eyes / Resident Evil

As of Thursday night, when I was writing this post, Team Wolf Pack was running in 11th place with 251 votes -- 15 behind Kirito & Silica from Sword Art Online in 10th, 24 ahead of the Onceler from The Lorax. Now, I freely admit that this blog can't muster up enough votes to push Team Wolf Pack into the top spot, with this Diablo 3 Demon Hunter already at 1,241 votes. We have only a few dozen loyal readers, plus I've had experience pushing for something in the past, only to have it fall way, way, way, way, waaaaaaaay short of its goal. But if this post can help nudge our local cosplayers up a space, I've done my job.

To vote, just go to the contest page on Facebook -- I've direct-linked the photo above to their page, or you can click here -- and "like" it. You have until May 22 to vote, so have at it.

Phantom Ice Cream truckMeanwhile, over in the world of kids' comics, Audra Furuichi's nemu*nemu is up for a pair of awards in the 2013 Kids Comic Revolution comic awards: "Favorite Webcomic" and "Special Award for Excellence in Drawing Delicious-Looking Food" (the latter for the Phantom Ice Cream Truck strip in February 2012). Babymouse and Squish artist Matthew Holm -- in town a few months ago as a guest at McCully-Moiliili Library -- is also up for a few awards, including "Favorite Graphic Novel" (for Squish volume 4), "Favorite Cartoonist/Author" (with his sister Jennifer) and "Cutest Comic Character" (Babymouse).

Now, I would say to go out and vote for Audra and Matt just as I voted for them, but there's just one small problem: I'm not a kid. Perhaps my mental age is such, what with all these anime and manga and video games and other firmly-young-adult material surrounding me at the moment, but physically, I haven't been a kid in years. And that's the thing: The Kids Comic Revolution awards can only be voted on by kids. And I'm not sure if anyone regularly reading this blog -- save, perhaps, the librarian faction -- has access to anyone in that valuable voter demographic. But if you do know any kids, send them over to mlatcomics.com/krc/kcrawards13 to vote. You can also find a PDF version of the ballot there, which you can fill out and mail in; details on where to send it are available on the site.

Poppy Hill: The saga continues

poppy hill newYup, From Up on Poppy Hill is still here, screening for a sixth week at the Kahala 8 theaters and a second at the Koolau Stadium 10. The question is whether you'll be able to see it in Japanese; your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger tried on Wednesday, visiting both the Koolau theaters and the Laie Palms Cinemas, and the net result is that he has now seen it four times in English. It's probably a good thing that Anime News Network reported on Thursday that Amazon has listings for DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo packs from Cinedigm, the home video branch of Poppy Hill distributor GKids. (Main takeaways: Release date is Sept. 3; retail price is $29.95 for the DVD, $34.95 for the combo pack, but you can save 30 percent by preordering now; and if you're a Blu-ray guy or gal, while you're at it, why not throw in orders for Howl's Moving Castle and My Neighbor Totoro, out on Tuesday.)

On the bright side, watching it that many times, one starts noticing certain subtle things about the movie. More details on that after the weekend.

Fandango showtimes!

Kahala
Friday-Saturday: 11:45 a.m.
Sunday: 12:30 p.m.
Monday-Wednesday: Noon

Koolau Stadium 10
Friday-Wednesday: 11:05 a.m. and 1:05 and 3:20 p.m.

And as always, you can buy your tickets in advance here.

Ota-cool incoming!

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center; locations within the mall may vary. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Anime Manga Society at UH-Manoa: Meetings during Summer Session 1 are every Friday starting May 24 through June 28. in Kuykendall Hall, room 306. Screenings TBA. 5:30 to 7 p.m.

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. May 26.

Tomo-E-Ame: Friends-Drawings-Candy: We're now in the submissions period for MangaBento's 2013 exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art School, with 2-D piece that are 11 inches by 17 inches or smaller now being accepted during MangaBento meetings. Larger 2-D pieces and art in other media will be accepted on June 9 in the art school's mezzanine gallery. As for the exhibit itself? That's June 16-July 14.

Summer Reading Program at public libraries: Register. Read books. Win prizes. Yay! I'm pretty sure more details will emerge about special programs at the various branches in coming days, but if I may just offer this initial thought: McCully-Moiliili branch manager Hillary Chang's already claimed the prize for coolest regular Summer Reading Program incentive EVER. LOOK AT THESE:

mccully exclusive buttons

Five nemu*nemu pins. Exclusive designs. Exclusively at McCully-Moiliili. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaant. General program runs June 2-July 6, with registration beginning May 28; check your local library for exact dates.

Future attractions

Taku Taku Matsuri: A summer festival with an anime/manga slant at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu. Aug. 25.

Oni-Con Hawaii: With guest Yuko Ashizawa, a fashion designer with Atelier Pierrot. Also featuring the Cosplay Chess Brigade and Yu x Me Maid Cafe & Host Club. Preregistration open now; $35 for a three-day pass. Artist Alley applications also being accepted (it's $110 per table, which includes two three-day passes). Hawai'i Convention Center, Nov. 1-3.

Kawaii Kon 2014: Guests include voice actors Michael Sinterniklaas and Stephanie Sheh. Preregistration open now; $37 for a three-day pass for children ages 5-12, $42 general admission. Hawai'i Convention Center, April 4-6, 2014.

Even MORE on 'Poppy Hill': The unexpected venue

By
May 10th, 2013



I thought I was done talking about From Up on Poppy Hill at least until next week's Cel Shaded Report ... that is, until fate and one of my few dozen loyal readers intervened, sending along a tidbit that I couldn't possibly hold on to until next week.

This tweet came in from T.N., aka @ArcturusFlyer, Friday afternoon:

Here's the website of the Laie Palms Cinemas. I know I've been working in news for close to 12 years now, but I completely missed the story about how this two-screen complex stayed in business after the last owner that I remembered for 'em, Wallace Theaters, left the island. But indeed, Don and Alice Nielsen took over in 2009, spruced up the place, started screening mostly G, PG and a few PG-13 movies, and they've managed to make a go of it ever since.

And now they're screening Poppy Hill. Go fig. How cool is that?

So if you're looking for a nighttime Poppy Hill screening -- and don't mind driving all the way out to Laie to do so and buying your tickets there, because you certainly aren't going to find them on Fandango -- it looks like the perfect opportunity has arrived. Looks like it'll be there until Wednesday; here's the schedule:

Saturday: 3:45, 6:45 and 9:45 p.m.
Sunday: Closed (being Laie, it's to be expected; the whole town shuts down on Sundays, given its close proximity and ties to the Mormon Church there)
Monday-Wednesday: 6:45 and 9:45 p.m.

And, of course, it's still screening at the Kahala 8 and Koolau Stadium 10 theaters. But you already knew that.

The Cel Shaded Report, 5/10: 'Poppy Hill.' Again. Yup.

By
May 9th, 2013



poppy hill newFrom Up on Poppy Hill -- the film that, if you don't know it's the latest Studio Ghibli film to reach U.S. shores by now, you clearly haven't been reading this blog -- opened on April 5 at the Consolidated's Kahala 8 theater complex. Two other movies opened their nationwide runs on that day: the Evil Dead remake and the Jurassic Park 3-D-make.

Here we are, five weeks later. Evil Dead was apparently bad enough that it's already gone from theaters. (You know it's bad when two films that debuted before it, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and The Croods, are still being screened around town.) Jurassic Park was designed for a brief theatrical run before popping up on 3-D Blu-ray. And Poppy Hill? Despite all my prior predictions that it would be leaving soon, it's still there, with Umi's flags wishing passing boats a pleasant journey flapping for at least one screening daily.

So now that we've established that I'm more psycho than psychic, I've concluded that if I don't make any more predictions on whether Poppy Hill will stay or go, maybe it'll just quietly walk away on its own. Not that we want it to leave, of course, but seeing as it's already pretty much defied all my expectations on its longevity at Kahala, I'm willing at this stage to just let it do whatever it wants.

Oh yes, and good news for those of you who missed out on the Japanese-with-English subtitles version of Poppy Hill (as your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger sadly raises his hand, as that's the main reason why there still isn't a review up of that movie yet, *sob*): You have another chance, as Consolidated's Koolau Stadium 10 theaters in Kaneohe -- that's at the Temple Valley Shopping Center at 47-260 Hui Iwa St. -- will be screening that version over the next week. Better get down there quickly to watch it, though, because Star Trek Into Darkness opens next week. And as Iron Man 3 proved last week, theaters kinda like making money over screening niche anime. Just sayin'.

Fandango showtime time!

Kahala
Friday-Sunday: 10:40 a.m.
Monday through Wednesday: 11:45 a.m.

Koolau Stadium 10
Friday-Wednesday: 12:15, 2:30 and 4:45 p.m.

And as always, you can buy your tickets in advance here.

Ota-cool incoming!

We've hit a bit of a pre-summer lull as far as events for the otaku community are concerned. But that's okay ... more time to watch anime and read manga, right?

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. Sunday.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center; locations within the mall may vary. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. May 19.

Future attractions

Tomo-E-Ame: Friends-Drawings-Candy: MangaBento's 2013 exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art School, June 16-July 14.

Taku Taku Matsuri: A summer festival with an anime/manga slant at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu. Aug. 25.

Oni-Con Hawaii: With guest Yuko Ashizawa, a fashion designer with Atelier Pierrot. Also featuring the Cosplay Chess Brigade and Yu x Me Maid Cafe & Host Club. Preregistration open now; $35 for a three-day pass. Artist Alley applications also being accepted (it's $110 per table, which includes two three-day passes). Hawai'i Convention Center, Nov. 1-3.

Kawaii Kon 2014: Guests include voice actors Michael Sinterniklaas and Stephanie Sheh. Preregistration open now; $37 for a three-day pass for children ages 5-12, $42 general admission. Hawai'i Convention Center, April 4-6, 2014.

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