Welcome to this month's edition of Ota-cool Incoming! ... which technically should have come out a few days ago, ideally before Sept. 1, so that I could have gotten one more Comic Jam Hawaii meeting in here. What can I say; work the past few nights, ever since I last posted something here, has been cah-ray-zy.
This month's spotlight event is one for which yours truly served as an adviser: "Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawaii." The exhibit, at Gallery 'Iolani on the Windward Community College campus, is a journey through the history of manga locally, from its origins in Japan through its influences on the local fan community.
There's a veritable who's who of local artists and writers spotlighted, including Audra Furuichi (nemu*nemu), Roy Chang (Cacy & Kiara), Jon Murakami (Gordon Rider), Marisa Torigoe ("Children of Aumakua" from the Hawaii Star Manga Project), Stacey Hayashi and Damon Wong (Journey of Heroes), Patsy Y. Iwasaki and Avery Berido (Hamakua Hero), Tara Tamayori ("Eternal Blade" from Hachi Maru Hachi) and Kyunyo ("Emperor's Seal"). All of this is curated by Brady Evans, Pen & Ink Works founder and Hachi Maru Hachi contributor.
The number of special activities tied in to this exhibit could probably fill an average Ota-cool Incoming! calendar by themselves. Start with the opening reception, running from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday. Every Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. for the duration of the exhibit will feature the curator's walk-through and artist talks, where you can meet some of the participating artists. And as part of the Windward Hoolaulea (10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 28), the Honolulu Printmakers will be hosting a hands-on manga printmaking activity from noon to 2 p.m., and the gallery will be open on what will be the only Saturday it'll be open for the exhibit's run.
If you can only make it out to see the exhibit, it runs through Oct. 2; there's an area where you can sketch to your heart's content, so at least you'll have that. Gallery hours are 1-8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays and 1-5 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.
After the break: the rest of this month's highlights! And stuff beyond that, too!
From Up on Poppy Hill released on U.S. DVD/Blu-ray: At which point your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger will finally, finally get to hear the original Japanese soundtrack. Yes, I'm still bitter about that. Locally, Walmart has the DVD available for $19.96 and the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack for $24.96 (prices may be higher on the neighbor islands); while Best Buy in Iwilei only has the DVD listed in stock, for $19.99. Out now.
Anime Manga Society at UH-Manoa: Meetings during the fall semester will be every Thursday and Friday, starting this Thursday, through Dec. 13 in Kuykendall Hall, room 310. Screenings TBA. 4:30 to 7 p.m.
Hero Drawing Workshop: When I first started writing up this item, this song popped into my head. And then this one. This one, too, for you Dance Dance Revolution fans. And now that I've successfully passed on those earworms, you can head out to Aiea Library (99-143 Moanalua Road), join the artists of Comic Jam Hawaii and pick up some tips on drawing your favorite heroes, whether they're original creations or ripped straight from the pages of your favorite comic books or manga. Paper and art supplies will be provided, or bring your own. Free; recommended for ages 8 and up. 1 p.m. Saturday.
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. Meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday and Sept. 22.
Shriners Hospital for Children 90th Anniversary Celebration: This sort of event usually wouldn't get my attention, but Kawaii Kon and Pen & Ink Works are on board for the day's activities -- the former debuting some new games, the latter hosting sketching sessions -- so hey, welcome to the Ota-cool Incoming! lineup, Shriners Hospital, and happy 90th anniversary. There will also be educational games led by hospital staff, face painting and caricature artists (presented by Hard Rock Cafe), and free refreshments. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 14.
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. Sept. 15.
Kawaii Kon volunteer meeting #1: The road to the 10th anniversary edition of Hawaii's largest anime convention technically started right around the closing ceremonies of this year's show, but planning really starts in earnest with this, the first of several volunteer staff meetings over the next few months. Prospective volunteers must attend two meetings, so why procrastinate? Start now. Learn more about volunteering and download the proper forms at www.kawaii-kon.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=7788; the meeting, at Kakaako Waterfront Park, will be from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 21.
Toys N Joys Kaimuki closing sale: So this is it: After 30 years of being one of the premier sources of import video games and anime-related swag on the island, the Le family is calling it quits, shutting down one of the anchors of the Waialae Avenue Otaku Triangle (the other two stores, for the record, are Collector Maniacs and Gecko Books & Comics). When I visited last week, used games were at 15 percent off, new games at 25 percent off, and other goods were at varying percentages up to 75 percent off. The last official day of business is Sept. 23, though I wouldn't be surprised if all the good stuff gets sold sooner than that (if you were looking for some of the later Beatmania IIDX games or a giant Mikuru Asahina-in-nurse outfit figure, for example, too late, I already bought those).
Mini Con 2013: The comic con in the handy petite size returns for its fourth year at McCully-Moiliili Library, 2211 S. King St. nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi has already confirmed her participation ... and the date also happens to coincide with Star Wars Reads Day, so could a tie-in with that be forthcoming, too? Hmm. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 5.
Anime Day presented by Kawaii Kon: Now here's a showdown in the making: Happening on the same day as Mini Con is Kawaii Kon's own mini-anime convention at Windward Mall, featuring entertainment, games, anime screenings, vendors, art spaces, cosplay contests and a stamp rally. This leaves several questions: Will you stay on the town side of the island for Mini Con, or venture over the Koolaus for Anime Day? Are you hard-core otaku enough to attend both? And will this year's breakout sensation of Kawaii Kon, Screen, be making an appearance somehow? 10 a.m. Oct. 5.
Hawaii International Film Festival: Cinemaphiles, rejoice -- the 33rd annual edition of Hawaii's premier film festival is near. For anime fans, there are screenings of Shinji Aramaki's CGI film Harlock: Space Pirate; the live-action Rurouni Kenshin; the freshly remastered Night on the Galactic Railroad; and Animation Maestro Gisaburo, a documentary on the work of Night of the Galactic Railroad director Gisaburo Sugii. For fans of the bizarre, I present to you Hentai Kamen: Forbidden Superhero. Trust me, when you have a Noboru Iguchi film on the schedule and it's not the most "WHAT THE HECK WERE THEY THINKING?!?" movie on the schedule, it's ... pretty crazy. View the full schedule at program.hiff.org/films/. Member tickets go on sale at 5 p.m. Sept. 19; general admission tickets go on sale Sept. 24; and the festival itself runs Oct. 10-20.
Oni-Con Hawaii: Guests include Yuko Ashizawa, a fashion designer with Atelier Pierrot; Final Fantasy series composer Nobuo Uematsu and his band, the Earthbound Papas; Hiroshi Takahashi, voice of Ryu in the later Street Fighter games, Eiji Kikumaru in Prince of Tennis and Japan in Hetalia; Sana, visual kei musician; and J. Michael Tatum, voice of Sebastian in Black Butler and France in Hetalia. Also featuring the Cosplay Chess Brigade and Yu x Me Maid Cafe & Host Club. Preregistration open now; $45 for a three-day pass, or buy a la carte: $20 for Friday, $30 for Saturday, $25 for Sunday. Three-day passes are also available at MiniQ (98 Kauhale St., Aiea). Hawai'i Convention Center, Nov. 1-3.
Kawaii Kon 2014: Guests include voice actors Michael Sinterniklaas and Stephanie Sheh and professional cosplayer Leah Rose. Preregistration open now; $37 for a three-day pass for children ages 5-12, $42 general admission. Rooms at the Ala Moana Hotel are also available at the special con rate of $129/night for the Kona tower, $159/night for the Waikiki tower. Hawai'i Convention Center, April 4-6, 2014.