By Jason S. Yadao
Crowdfunding, the Internet-connected notion where people contribute to a big pot of money to help a particular project go from someone's idea to reality, has really become popular as of late. Local otaku-centered events have been become more popular as well, with events from traditional anime conventions like Kawaii Kon and Oni-Con Hawaii to what I'm calling "micro-cons," convention-like experiences on a smaller scale like the recent Mini Con at McCully-Moiliili Library, Kawaii Kon's Anime Day at Windward Mall and Taku Taku Matsuri, dotting the calendar.
But is there room for a crowdfunded micro-con in Honolulu? The University of Hawaii Anime Manga Society thought so when they launched a Kickstarter campaign for M.O.E., the Manoa Otaku Experience, on Sept. 4. And with a little over a week to go before the funding campaign ends, the answer is: Yes. Yes, there is. At $2,066, the total raised so far is a shade over the fundraising goal of $2,000, which means there will be an event on some Saturday down the line.
So tomorrow's MOE Matsuri, a collaboration between UH AMS and Taku Taku Matsuri meant to give an extra promotional/funding boost to the campaign, has turned into a celebration of sorts as well. Appropriate, because when you look at elements of the M.O.E. proposal and compare them to what happened a few months ago at Taku Taku Matsuri, the two events share similar traits. MOE Matsuri will feature a cosplay cafe, vendors (including friends of the blog Jon Murakami and idkwhat2wear, along with annastetic x candy, CAS Crafts & Collectibles, The Rambling Scholar, Bryan + Pueo, Studio Mind Ore, By Thought and Sydney & Max), games and Taku Taku Matsuri organizer Yuka Nagaoka rocking a schoolgirl uniform. (Yes, that won out over "cross-dress," "Lolita" and "nekomimi maid" in a recent poll of ... umm ... one person, it would seem.) That's all happening on the third floor of the UH-Manoa Campus Center, rooms 307-310, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
- Cosplay events -- contests, a fashion show and Cosplay Chess
- Karaoke contest
- Video game room
- AMV (anime music video) contest
Admission to MOE won't be free, but if you contribute to the Kickstarter campaign, you can pre-register for $8-$10. (There are 95 slots available at the lower price, so best get in on that now if you want to save a few bucks.) If you'd like to have a meal at the Cosplay Cafe as well, there are still 39 $30 funding packages up for purchase. Other funding options are also available. And let's not forget about stretch goals that include T-shirts and more days for the event (which admittedly seem out of reach at this late date, but who knows, maybe the several dozen of you who still read this blog will surprise me somehow and really push this thing higher). You have until 10:37 a.m. Oct. 19 to contribute, so visit ow.ly/pJYNF if you're interested.
While I'm talking about crowdfunding campaigns, there are two others of note going on at the moment:
- The Chalk Twins, sisters from Florida who have drawn chalk art at conventions nationwide, is running an Indiegogo campaign to fund trips to 16 anime cons next year ... and Kawaii Kon is on that list. Perks include bookmarks, signed prints, T-shirts and original sketches and artwork. The funding period runs through Oct. 31; visit ow.ly/pJZSn.
- Here locally, 11-year-old Mariana Agena, daughter of Twitterite Lance Agena, is selling her manga, Code: Flower Fairys, as a fundraiser for a trip to this year's Pop Warner National Cheer Competition in Orlando, Fla. $6 gets you a 110-page PDF, and while it may not have a professional sheen to it -- it's basically scans from a sketchbook -- it's still incredibly cute. Besides, buying it gives you instant karma points for helping nurture the artistic and literary creativity of an 11-year-old girl. The campaign is ongoing at gumroad.com/l/POUq.
More for the month
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 202). Visit www.manga-bento.com. Meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday and Oct. 27.
Kawaii Kon volunteer meeting #2: You've seen that there are going to be a number of great guests coming to next year's show, and you know there are going to be thousands of people who are going to show up to see those guests. So why not help out a bit? It's time for the second 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. Oct. 19.
Aiea Library Anime Club: Young adult librarian Diane Masaki will be screening episodes of I Don't Know What My Young Adult Librarian Will Be Showing At Club, But I'm Sure It'll Be Really Neat! at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. Never heard of that series? It's a romantic comedy featuring an awkward teenager surrounded by a bevy of moe-blob girls. Or I may have just made that up on the fly because the actual series has yet to be determined. But anyway. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. 3 p.m. Oct. 19.
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. Oct. 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) and all Big City Diner locations. Hawai'i Convention Center, Nov. 1-3.