By Jason S. Yadao
It took a few weeks for me to confirm the news, but now that all the players have been properly notified and the signs printed, I can now type this with authority: Both Toys N Joys stores -- the store in Kaimuki, as I noted in the September Ota-cool Incoming! calendar, and the Aiea store, at 98-150 Kaonohi St. in the Westridge Shopping Center -- will be closing on Sept. 23.
The Aiea store hasn't been around as long as the Kaimuki store -- 25 years compared to Kaimuki's 30 -- and it only had a fraction of the selection, but it's always held a closer, more cherished spot in my heart. Part of it is because it's physically closer to where I've lived all my life (central Oahu represent!). But it's mostly because back in the days before one-click Internet shopping and a GameStop in every large neighborhood, it was the place to go to feed a budding local otaku's ever-growing hunger for video games (both domestic and import) and anime collectibles. There's a clerk there, Steve, who's also been there for what's seemed like forever. I don't think he's been there all 25 years -- kinda hard to remember who was behind the counter when you're 11 or 12, which is how old I would've been when the store opened -- but it's most assuredly been a long time. Friendly smile, always chats with me whenever I come in ... great guy to know, really. I wish him and the other staffers nothing but the best in their future endeavors.
Here's the current Aiea clearance sale breakdown:
- All toys 25 percent off (plushies 50 percent off)
- All video games 10 percent off
- All DVDs 15 percent off
- All Airsoft guns 20 percent off
- All replica swords 25 percent off
There's a good chance that the percentages will go higher the closer we get to closing day, so if you want to gamble on your preferred item of choice still being around for an extended period of time, it's your call. You aren't going to find anything super popular -- it doesn't seem like the merchandise mix has been updated for several months -- but hey, you can think of it as your last chance to have a vintage otaku treasure hunt of sorts.
After the jump: some additional notes on events in September and October that have hit my radar after I published that Ota-cool calendar.
Ota-cool Incoming! ... continued!
"Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawaii": I mentioned a few days ago that there would be a curator's walk-through and artist talks from 2 to 4 p.m. every Sunday. I'm sorry I didn't have time to note appearances by Roy Chang and Audra Furuichi last Sunday, but here's the schedule of remaining appearances:
- Sunday: Stacey Hayashi (Journey of Heroes)
- Sept. 22: Jordan Takemoto and Tara Tamayori (Hachi Maru Hachi)
- Sept. 29: Jon Murakami (Gordon Rider, Ara-Rangers) and Kyunyo ("Emperor's Seal")
Also, a certain exhibit contributor may be showing up on Sunday to chronicle the exhibit as well. Just putting that out there.
The exhibit is on display at Gallery 'Iolani on the Windward Community College campus through Oct. 2; again, you can check out the September Ota-cool post for more details.
Japanese Superhero Mania: Costumed Japanese superheroes! Kikaida actor Ban Daisuke signing autographs! New Kikaida merchandise! Free balloons! And, of course, photo ops and Kikaida-oke a-plenty! Switch on the fun in 1 ... 2 ... 3! 2-3:30 p.m. Sunday at Shirokiya Ala Moana.
Aiea Library Anime Club: Young adult librarian Diane Masaki will be screening episodes of Hetalia Axis Powers at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or email email@example.com. 3 p.m. Sept. 21.
Hawaii International Film Festival: A schedule already loaded with Harlock: Space Pirate, Night on the Galactic Railroad, Rurouni Kenshin and Animation Maestro Gisaburo (*cough* and Hentai Kamen *cough*) got even more laden with anime-related goodness in recent days with a pair of big acquisitions: Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo and Hayao Miyazaki's swan song, The Wind Rises. The latter film is even helping kick off the festival ... which is giving it the ticket prices to match: $20 general admission, $15 HIFF members. 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.