Archive for June, 2013

A star is scorned: The driving pulse of "Skip Beat!"

By
June 24th, 2013



Skip Beat 1

Today’s profile: Skip Beat! vols. 1-3
Author: Yoshiki Nakamura
Publisher: Viz
Suggested age rating: Teen 13+
Availability: In print & readily available

It's been a while since I last participated in the monthly blogger celebration of manga creators and/or series known as the Manga Movable Feast. A looooooooooong while. So long, in fact, that I can't remember offhand the last post I contributed to an MMF. (For the record, it was this post from the "thankful" MMF back in November.)

So why come back now for this month's Skip Beat! MMF, hosted by Laura over at Heart of Manga? Part of it was because I was curious if I could still turn around one of these kinds of posts seven months since the last one. Part of it was because I'm a bit sad to see the low participation in this month's MMF -- owing, perhaps, to the shifting priorities of many of us longtime manga bloggers (myself included).

But the main reason is that I've been curious for a long time about whether Skip Beat! is worth the sizable investment. Let's face it: Once a manga series goes past 20 volumes with no signs of stopping any time soon these days, you either start worrying that (a) it's going to go on forever (see: 67 volumes of One Piece, 61 volumes of Naruto, 56 volumes of Bleach) or (b) sales are going to drop as the series meanders along, to the point that the publisher pulls the plug, leaving you with a really long story with no resolution whatsoever unless you learn Japanese (I don't think tag-team in partner Wilma J. has forgiven anyone yet for leaving Initial D stalled at 32 volumes). The U.S. just got volume 31 of Skip Beat!; Japan is up to volume 32 and a handful of chapters beyond that as Yoshiki Nakamura and her team of assistants continue to plug away in the pages of Hana to Yume.

It's certainly proven popular enough -- volumes 18 through 31 have all landed on the New York Times manga bestseller list within a week of their releases, and Viz has seen fit to re-release earlier volumes in its 3-in-1 VizBig format. (Omnibus 5, containing volumes 13-15, is due out next week, in fact.) So cancellation isn't really a concern. But with that many volumes, that first taste you get of it had better be good enough to justify future purchases.

After reading what Laura's characterized as the series' first arc -- volumes 1-3 -- it's safe to say that I'll probably end up buying the rest of the series. (Those screams of despair you may be hearing now are coming from my wallet.) What really makes this series fun in these first volumes is the main character.

Meet Kyoko Mogami.

Kyoko 1

... no, no, not that Kyoko. This Kyoko.

Kyoko 2

Or perhaps more specifically, this Kyoko.

Kyoko 3

How Kyoko goes from a sweetly smiling fast-food clerk to the living embodiment of that classic saying about hell and fury and scorned women happens over the course of one chapter. For most of her 16 years of life, she's been eager to please others, even if it means sacrificing her own well-being. And the person she adores and wants to please the most is her friend since childhood, Sho Fuwa. She spent a lot of time at his parents' inn growing up, learning many of their methods of serving guests in the process. When he rejected his destiny to take over the inn, moved to Tokyo to pursue a career in show biz and asked her to come with him, she happily accepted. Sure, it would eventually mean juggling two jobs to pay for a luxury apartment that he rarely visits, and he becomes increasingly distant to her as he becomes more and more famous, but who cares -- he's a prince, she's that plain girl in tatters whom he'll eventually sweep up and turn into a princess, and they'll live happily ever after, right?

Wrong. Ohhhhhhh so very wrong.

When Kyoko catches Sho talking about how he's just using her as a maid and never really liked her and sees him ogling his hot female manager, to boot ... well, that's when the fun begins. Anyone who's ever sacrificed so much of themselves for someone, only to see that someone betray them in the end, will feel a sense of delicious satisfaction in seeing Kyoko's demonic rage explode against Sho. From that point on, she's hell-bent on gaining her pound of revenge-filled flesh. And to do that, she gets a physical and emotional makeover -- goodbye long black hair, hello short, sassy dyed 'do -- and decides to break into show business herself to become an even bigger star than he is, decisively proving in the process that he gave up something pretty special when he betrayed her trust.

Passion can only carry one so far in the competitive entertainment industry, though. For every subsequent step forward that she takes in these first three volumes, there's always some corresponding event that knocks her back a bit. She has the dogged determination to land a tryout at the prestigious L.M.E. talent agency and manages to impress the judging panel without a lick of experience … yet she still can't get in on her first try. The agency president likes her enough to create a new agency division just for her and people like her … but that Love Me Division is also the most lightly regarded in the whole organization. Her drive to succeed is enough to elevate her standing in the minds of some of the more important players within the agency … yet her victories are rather small when compared to her ultimate goals, and helping others succeed more than she does, to boot. And then there's the matter of Sho's rival, Ren Tsuruga, whom Kyoko is conditioned to hate out of principle ... but who is also represented by L.M.E. and shows her some flashes of kindness, to boot.

Yet to characterize these developments as an endless hamster wheel for Kyoko to run would ignore the greatest asset Skip Beat! has: the way the story slowly, organically nurtures growth in its main characters. We readers are going to root for Kyoko regardless of what happens -- that's a given, especially after the events of that first chapter. She'll also have her comically explosive demon-summoning moments from time to time. But we also see her quietly shift her focus a bit from straight-up "RAAAAAWR I WANT REVENGE ON SHO RAAAAAAAGE" to "Hmm, I want to try hard, get better at this acting thing, be the best person I can be at this ... oh yeah, and RAAAAAWR I WANT REVENGE ON SHO RAAAAAAAGE." It makes her character that much more compelling. And while Sho and Ren seem like mere foils for her at the moment, I get the sense that they'll get their time to shine, their characters more fully fleshed out, over the course of the series.

Seems like it'll be a fun ride. I, for one, can't wait to take more of it.

The Cel Shaded Report, 6/14: Bento box weekend

By
June 14th, 2013



To get the obvious first thought out of your mind right away: No, Bento Rakugo is not, as I first thought when the offer came in from my freshly minted Otaku Ohana Anonymous Director of Forced Social Interaction, a new place in town where you can pick up a plastic box with some teriyaki chicken, assorted tsukemono and rice with a nice dusting of furikake and an ume stuck in the middle.

What Bento Rakugo is, though, is a nifty local troupe that shares humorous stories in the style of traditional Japanese rakugo. In rakugo, a single storyteller sits on a pillow before an audience and creates a compact narrative world -- sometimes with multiple characters -- with just a few intonation shifts and a paper fan and a cloth as props.

Here's what it looked like at Waipahu Library on Wednesday.

rakugo

It's a show that can appeal to audiences young and old, people who may wander into the room just curious about what's going on and friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger trying to huddle incognito in the back alike. If the format holds for future performances, artistic director/group co-founder/emcee Yasu Ishida will introduce the concept of rakugo and perform some magic tricks, then the storytellers will go up and perform three to four stories, all within the span of an hour that passes way too quickly. They're a bit like long-form jokes building up to a big punch line, but the storytelling aspect adds so much more depth to it.

Here's what it looks like in action with one of the Bento Rakugo players who also showed up at the Waipahu performance, Serina Dunham.

Love her voice. I feel like she could be a great anime voice actor, in the vein of, say, Hilary Haag. But I digress.

Bento Rakugo has two more performances this weekend on Oahu -- 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Aiea Library (99-143 Moanalua Road) and 3 p.m. Sunday at Kaneohe Library (45-829 Kamehameha Highway). Then it's the neighbor islands' turn -- Molokai Library on Monday, Mountain View and Kona libraries on Hawaii island on June 26, Lanai Library on June 27, and Keaau and Naalehu libraries on Hawaii island on July 17. Check with those libraries for times. And if you want to learn more about the group, visit bentorakugo.wix.com/home.

By sheer coincidence, this weekend is a big one for another group with "bento" as part of its name: MangaBento.

665456_4744792900474_448085781_o

Sunday -- which also happens to be Father's Day, so best wishes to all you dads out there -- is opening day for the anime/manga artist collective's annual exhibit, Tomo-E-Ame: Friends-Drawings-Candy. I've seen some of the setup pictures that the group's been posting to its Facebook page, and the display area looks very similar to previous years. (You can find my recap of last year's Nakamaboko exhibit here, here and here.) I, for one, can't wait to see the new artwork and share it with you in my annual series of Flickr galleries

The group will be hosting an opening reception from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Art School's mezzanine gallery ... and as those of you who are veterans of the opening reception circuit know, such events mean there will be food. In this case, your servers will be coming from Yu x Me: Maid Cafe and Host Club, cosplaying as characters from Adventure Time. And they will be serving, among other delectables, bacon-wrapped meat "cupcakes" with a mashed potato "frosting." If that doesn't say "perfect food item to share with Dad on Father's Day afternoon," I don't know what does.

If you can't make it to the reception, you have through July 14 to see the exhibit. As I mentioned in last week's Cel Shaded Report, you can visit Tomo-E-Ame as a free complement to the Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor exhibit over in the Honolulu Museum of Art. For more information, visit www.manga-bento.com.

Ota-cool incoming!

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

Aiea Library Anime Club: This month, librarian Diane Masaki is screening Summer Wars at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists is on the road again for its second meeting in June, heading to Aiea Library (99-143 Moanalua Road) to put their own spin on the young adult summer reading program theme, "Beneath the Surface." They're taking July off, so this will be your last chance to jam with a bunch of talented artists for a while. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 22.

Friends of the Library of Hawaii 66th Annual Book Sale: Every summer for about a week, the McKinley High School cafeteria turns into an oasis for fans of classic media like books, CDs, DVDs, videotapes ... you know, all that stuff that people say the digital age is steamrolling over. Cherish the classics and support the Friends, I say. FLH members get two days' worth of preview sales, June 20 and 21; Hawaii State Federal Credit Union members can join in on the preview sale fun on June 21; for the rest of us, the sale runs June 22-30. Visit www.friendsofthelibraryofhawaii.org/index.php/fundraising/annual-booksale and start planning your trip.

Future attractions

Dave Thorne Celebration of Life: Remembering the life and work of the "father of Hawaii cartooning" with a gathering at Bay View Golf Course (45-285 Kaneohe Bay Drive). July 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

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; $40 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.

The Cel Shaded Report, 6/6: Summer of samurai

By
June 6th, 2013



samurai series copy

There was a time, back in the "before your tag-team partners in fandom existed and/or were aware of such things" days, when there were local theaters with names like Toyo and Nippon that regularly screened Japanese movies for eager matinee audiences.

The Toyo Theatre, sadly, has been demolished, replaced by a rather nondescript credit union complex. The Nippon, well, info on that one's harder to come by; I think it used to be on the corner of Beretania and Keeaumoku streets, where a gas station sits now, but don't quote me on that. The point is that we've reached that point in the modern day where we can look back on that time -- usually with a sepia-tone filter, perhaps with a song like Kyu Sakamoto's "Ue o Muite Arukou (Sukiyaki)" playing in your mind as a "HEY! NOSTALGIA~!" cue a la From Up on Poppy Hill -- with a wistful longing for that bygone era.

It's with that in mind that the Honolulu Museum of Art, in conjunction with its incoming exhibit Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor, will be hosting "The Sword and the Screen: A Summer Samurai Film Festival" later this month, spotlighting films by noted directors Akira Kurosawa, Kihachi Okamoto and Masaki Kobayashi at the Doris Duke Theatre. And to sweeten the deal for local anime fans, Kawaii Kon -- in its second collaboration with the art museum, on the heels of the successful two-night run of the Madoka Magica movies in February -- will be screening select episodes of Samurai 7 before most of these movies for the price of absolutely free.

Now, you're going to have to pay to see the movies themselves. You'll also have to pick up the DVDs or Blu-rays or find some (legal!) streaming sites to finish up the rest of Samurai 7, but you could conceivably catch almost the entire first half of the series on the big screen for free. Of course, if you really want to score some extra good karma points, you'll pay to stick around and catch the classic samurai movie that will screen afterward. (Plus you get $2 off the ticket, so you can see what normally would be a $10 movie for the museum member price, $8. Good times.)

Samurai 7 cover. The Blu-ray collection. Because that's how I roll.

Episodes 1 and 2: Sat., June 22, 2:30 p.m. (before Samurai Rebellion at 4 p.m.) and 6 p.m. (before Kill! at 7:30 p.m.)

Episodes 3 and 4: Sun., June 23, 2:30 p.m. (before The Hidden Fortress at 4 p.m.)  and 6 p.m. (before Harakiri at 7:30 p.m.)

Episodes 5 and 6: Tues., June 25, 6 p.m. (before Samurai Rebellion at 7:30 p.m.)

Episodes 7 and 8: Wed., June 26, 6 p.m. (before Yojimbo at 7:30 p.m.)

Episodes 9 and 10: Thurs., June 27, 6 p.m. (before Kill! at 7:30 p.m.)

Episodes 11 and 12: Tues., July 2, 6 p.m. (before The Hidden Fortress at 7:30 p.m.) and Wed., July 3, 6 p.m. (before Sword of Doom at 7:30 p.m.)

If your schedule only allows for early afternoon screenings and you don't need to see the anime, you can catch 1 p.m. showings of Kill! (June 25),  Sword of Doom (June 26), Yojimbo (July 2) and Harakiri (July 3) There's also the classic Kurosawa film that inspired Samurai 7 in the first place, The Seven Samurai, which will kick off the film festival at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 21, with an opening reception from 6 to 7:30 p.m. (Seven Samurai tickets are $15 general admission, $12 museum members; food from Nippon Bento also will be available for purchase in the lobby.)

All of this, as I mentioned earlier, is linked to an exhibit running in the museum proper of pieces that include full suits of armor, helmets, warrior hats, face masks, long and short swords, daggers and rifles -- 63 works from 30 master craftsmen in total, ranging from the 13th through the 20th centuries. The exhibit just opened on Thursday and runs through Aug. 18; general admission is $10 adults, $5 children ages 4-17 through June 30 (after that, children up to age 17 get free admission). And hey, if you're in the area between June 16 and July 14, why not head around the corner to check out the MangaBento exhibit at the art school? (Details on that in Ota-cool Incoming! below.)

The Doris Duke Theatre is at 901 Kinau St.; the art museum at 900 S. Beretania St. For more information on the films and exhibits, visit www.honolulumuseum.org.

Ota-cool incoming!

("***" indicates entries added this week.)

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. Saturday.

Tomo-E-Ame: Friends-Drawings-Candy: MangaBento's 2013 exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art School (1111 Victoria St., room 200); final art submissions (in any media) will be accepted Sunday in the art school's mezzanine gallery. Opening reception is on June 16, and the exhibit itself runs through July 14.

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

Aiea Library Anime Club: This month, librarian Diane Masaki is screening Summer Wars at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday, June 15.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists is on the road again for its second meeting in June, heading to Aiea Library (99-143 Moanalua Road) to put their own spin on the young adult summer reading program theme, "Beneath the Surface." They're taking July off, so this will be your last chance to jam with a bunch of talented artists for a while. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 22.

***Friends of the Library of Hawaii 66th Annual Book Sale: Every summer for about a week, the McKinley High School cafeteria turns into an oasis for fans of classic media like books, CDs, DVDs, videotapes ... you know, all that stuff that people say the digital age is steamrolling over. Cherish the classics and support the Friends, I say. FLH members get two days' worth of preview sales, June 20 and 21; Hawaii State Federal Credit Union members can join in on the preview sale fun on June 21; for the rest of us, the sale runs June 22-30. Visit www.friendsofthelibraryofhawaii.org/index.php/fundraising/annual-booksale and start planning your trip.

Future attractions

***Dave Thorne Celebration of Life: Remembering the life and work of the "father of Hawaii cartooning" with a gathering at Bay View Golf Course (45-285 Kaneohe Bay Drive). July 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

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; $40 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.

IMG_2494

By
June 3rd, 2013



To put a bow on the event that I highlighted in my last post, the wedding of tag-team partner in fandom Wilma Jandoc and Zarli Win: It happened. Ohhhhhh, did it ever happen, in a simple yet elegant ceremony Sunday morning at the Honolulu Country Club. And IMG_2494 -- the file name my trusty camera assigned to this picture and, as I've been telling pretty much anyone who'd listen to me over the past 24 hours or so, my absolute favorite of the whole bunch --  serves as testament to that.

This, dear readers, is true love.

IMG_2494

That picture, along with a bunch of other highlights, are included in this handy-dandy Flickr slideshow that I've embedded below. Click through to find commentary on each picture. (Or should I say, please read the commentary. I spent many hours Sunday afternoon and evening writing captions for those 34 photos. *sniffle*)

As always, thank you for your continued readership of Otaku Ohana. Regular programming will resume shortly.

The greatest of these is love

By
June 1st, 2013



This past week has been a week of endings, one with no shortage of topics for me to talk about in this space. Curiosity -- which I can only describe as "iOS/Android virtual bubble wrap, except with cubes instead of bubbles to pop" -- ended. From Up on Poppy Hill's run at the Kahala 8 theaters wrapped up on Thursday (although as I mentioned before, it'll be back on DVD and Blu-ray in September, and it'll come packing that Japanese-language soundtrack that's frustratingly eluded me thus far). On Thursday night, JManga transitioned from being one of the largest legal venues to read manga online to being one of the largest legal venues to view manga covers and nothing else. And Barnes & Noble will be closing its Kahala store, leaving just its Ala Moana store, as well as a scattered handful of comic stores between Aiea and Kaimuki, as the only places left on the island to buy first-run manga.

I may return to one of those topics in due time. Truth be told, I've been struggling all week to hit my writing stride and form anything resembling a coherent post. Part of it is the usual time-constraint problem that's been plaguing this blog since way back in forever. But it's mostly because I've been thinking a lot about something else that'll be ending on Sunday ... and, more importantly, the big ol' katamari ball o' wonderful that will emerge as a result.

To properly discuss this, let's cue up some appropriate music.

As you might note from the embedded title, the song above is "Theme of Love," the version off the Distant Worlds: Music From Final Fantasy album. Final Fantasy Wiki notes that "'Theme of Love' is a leitmotif from Final Fantasy IV for the relationship between Cecil Harvey and Rosa Joanna Farrell."

Now, I've never played FF4. I have no idea whether Cecil and Rosa actually live happily ever after, or if some Aeri(s/th)-esque event happens and one of them ends up at the wrong end of a giant sword wielded by the Ultimate Evil Who Threatens the World They Hold Dear. Sacrilege for an anime/manga blogger, I know. (It is in my Big Horking Pile of Games to Play Eventually if I Ever Stop Getting Distracted by Bejeweled Blitz and Candy Crush Saga, but that's beside the point.). But I do know enough about this song to know that (a) it's a song from the Final Fantasy franchise, and (b) it has the word "love" in it. That's more than enough for me to deem it appropriate as a tribute to my longtime tag-team partner in fandom -- and quietly dedicated ffmusic.info CD chronicler for many years -- Wilma Jandoc.

On Dec. 12, 2009, at an event that was disguised as a karaoke get-together among friends at GS Studios in Waikiki, Wilma got engaged to her longtime boyfriend, Zarli Win, a guy who, among other things, is known as a really good photographer around local cosplay circles. Longtime readers of Otaku Ohana may remember this post that I wrote shortly after the events of the evening. Here's one of the only shots I've ever gotten of our happy couple since then, shortly after Wilma's first and only modeling gig at the Japanese Street Fashion Show at HEXXP 2011. I think this is the first time I've ever publicly published this shot. (Like I've said many times before: WAY behind on posting things. WAAAAAAAAY behind.)

Wilma and Zarli

Three years, five months and 20 days later, we're on the verge of reaching the pinnacle of that journey. On Sunday, before their closest family members, friends, coworkers and a certain dorky blogger who'll probably end up chronicling a good chunk of what goes on somewhere, Wilma and Zarli are finally getting married.

Which means that it's the end of an era of sorts: In her personal affairs, she'll be taking Zarli's last name in marriage and becoming Wilma Win. I'm sure she's heard all the possible permutations of "epic Win," "full of Win," "Winning" and "for the Win" by now ... most of them, probably, from her husband-to-be, to which she's probably responded by playfully whacking him. Because that's how she rolls. So yeah, you'll probably want to get that out of your system pretty quickly and move on. Here at Otaku Ohana, though, she'll always be tag-team partner in fandom Wilma Jandoc to us. (She's already committed to keeping that name in print.)

In any case, it's certainly going to take a bit of getting used to on my part. Then again, so much has changed in our respective worlds over the lifespan of this engagement, changes that I think have been reflected in the ongoing evolution of Otaku Ohana into the blog that you see today, that another change is really par for the course. Her role with Otaku Ohana has evolved over the years, as evidenced by the handful of posts she's contributed during our time on the staradvertiserblogs.com server: more posts about video games and video game-related entities, less about anime and manga. And for good reason: With Gunslinger Girl wrapping up its manga run next month, I think the only two continuing series left for which she's eagerly awaiting new installments are Case Closed and the Vampire Hunter D novels. (Well, okay, that and hoping beyond all hope that someone eventually resurrects Initial D and Musashi #9, but with JManga going pfft and U.S. publishers thumbing their noses at long series, those seem like impossible dreams at this stage.) Anime's been pretty much limited to theatrical productions like From Up on Poppy Hill.

And yet ... it would take a lot for me to rebrand this blog in my mind as anything but "Otaku Ohana by Wilma Jandoc and Jason S. Yadao," her name always coming first, even though I've been the primary writer here for a while now. Because as I noted in that 2009 post, I owe my entire side career of writing about anime and manga and the local community of cartoonists and artists and fans to her and our friendship over the years, and I never want to stop paying tribute to that. Sure, our fandoms may change, and her name may be changing, but when it gets right down to it, she's just Wilma, my dearest friend, a cool gal who loves her ramen and shoyu chicken and chocolate, and someone who's just a few hours away from marrying the love of her life.

Again, congratulations, Wilma and Zarli. Now if you'll excuse me, I must go work on writing their card ... and stock up on some packets of tissue.

Because I can pretty much guarantee you that I'll be bawling like a baby on Sunday.

P.S. Looking for the Ota-Cool Incoming! calendar? It's right here, the same edition I posted last week. (Just mentally shift the MangaBento meeting in your mind to June 9.) I did get word of some new events, but that's happening later this month and deserves its own post, so there you go.

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