Archive for January, 2014

First local 'Wind Rises' screening tidbits emerge

By
January 22nd, 2014



As far as anime-related movie screenings are concerned locally, this week belongs to Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie, showing at the Ward Stadium theaters on Oahu and the Kaahumanu 6 theaters on Maui at 7 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Saturday.

The Wind Rises promotional poster (courtesy Disney)But here at Otaku Ohana, we like looking forward to the Next Big Thing. And if October's sellout of a single showing in two large auditoriums at the Dole Cannery theaters during the Hawaii International Film Festival was any indication, that Next Big Thing is the wide release of The Wind Rises, the latest Studio Ghibli movie to be localized for American audiences. As director Hayao Miyazaki's feature film swan song (or maybe not, who knows), the historical drama about airplane designer Jiro Horikoshi has already garnered raves from most people who have seen it and an Oscar nomination for best animated feature. (Confession: I felt a little "meh" about it after that initial October viewing. It may take another viewing for me to come around on that.)

It was never a question of if The Wind Rises would make it back here. Disney picked up distribution rights again after ceding From Up on Poppy Hill to GKids and brought in an all-star cast — that all-grown-up guy from Third Rock From the Sun! That actress from The Devil Wears Prada who isn't Anne Hathaway or Meryl Streep! Frodo! Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride! A bunch of others! — and already promised it would release the film nationwide. It was more a matter of where it would show up and how Disney would market it, considering (a) there isn't too much of the fantasy/whimsy that has given many Ghibli releases widespread appeal, (b) it's a mature story that encompasses the Great Kanto Earthquake, the tuberculosis epidemic and Japan's march toward World War II, and (c) Jiro and his friend, Honjo, suck back enough cigarettes to make any anti-tobacco movement cringe.

The film's been given a PG-13 rating and is being released under the Touchstone Pictures banner, so at least the distinction that this movie is for older audiences is there. As for where it's playing, Consolidated Theatres' website quietly added some insight into that over the past few days. Mark your calendars now, because The Wind Rises is currently listed to open at the Ward Stadium complex on Friday, Feb. 21, then expand out to the Kahala, Mililani and Pearlridge theaters on Oahu and the Kaahumanu 6 theaters in Kahului a week after, on Feb. 28.

No showtimes listed yet, but I'm sure those will show up in due time. The fact that it's on Consolidated's radar in and of itself is a good sign, so get excited, Hawaii anime fans.

Ota-cool incoming!

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.

Kawaii Kon Karaoke Kompetition: The road to KKX continues with this, the first of three preliminary rounds for the anime convention's annual karaoke contest. Aspiring singers, read up on the rules at http://kawaiikon.com/events/karaoke/karaoke-preliminary-rounds/ (and don't forget to submit your form by 11 59 p.m. Saturday!) then make your way to Orvis Auditorium on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus. Check-in starts at 12:30 p.m. Sunday; the singing itself takes place from 1 to 3 p.m.

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. Feb. 2.

DJ Append promotional video shoot: Did you go to the Oni-Con Hawaii dance party on the first night and enjoy the vibe? Did you not go, yet don't mind actin' the fool while a camera's rolling? DJ Append, the deejay mixing the tunes at that dance party, will be filming his first video, and you're invited to attend. Free food and drinks, too! RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/1394457884137527. 609 Keawe St., Sat., Feb. 8.

"Meet Doraemon: Japan's Time-Traveling Cat": Yup, the Fujiko F. Fujio Museum's created a traveling exhibit about the blue guy and decades-old Japanese icon, and Bishop Museum is where it's going to make its first stop. You know I'm going to have much, much more to say about this down the line, but for now, here, have the museum's official preview. Bishop Museum (1525 Bernice St.), Feb. 15-April 20.

Anime Swap Meet: Hosted by Kawaii Kon, this opportunity for local otaku to buy and sell assorted preowned collectibles from one another will be part of the the 24th Annual Hawaii Collectors Expo on Sat. Feb. 22 and Sun., Feb. 23. Interested in selling? Check out http://www.kawaii-kon.org/index.php?cID=263 for all the details; registration deadline is Feb. 12 at midnight. (Worth noting: It'll cost $25 to sell on Saturday, $20 on Sunday; one person per 5-square-foot space; everything must be displayed on the ground.) Interested in buying? Start saving your pennies now. (There's also a $5 admission charge, but it's free for members of the military with valid ID ... and for those of you who cosplay, too!)

Future attractions

Honolulu Festival: It's the 20th anniversary edition of the festival promoting harmony between Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific region; the theme: "Jubilation, One Heart, One Pacific, One World." Just as in previous years, Kawaii Kon will have an exhibit, and the Nagaoka Fireworks display will put a bow on the proceedings. Hawai'i Convention Center and other venues around Waikiki, March 7-9.

Kawaii Kon 2014: Guests for the 10th anniversary edition include voice actors Jim Cummings, Grey DeLisle, Ayumi Fujimura, Quinton Flynn, Richard Horvitz, Tetsuya Kakihara, Vic Mignogna, Michael Sinterniklaas and Stephanie Sheh; musical guests Kagemaya Hironobu and Yoko Ishida; professional cosplayer Leah Rose; the Chalk Twins, traveling performance artists who will be crafting a giant chalk mural; and local comedian Augie T., serving as emcee. Preregistration open now; $37 for a three-day pass for children ages 5-12, $42 general admission. Hawai'i Convention Center, April 4-6.

 

"Anohana," more "Madoka" and "Eva 3.0" coming to Oahu

By
January 7th, 2014



October has traditionally been the best month for local fans to catch top-notch anime on the big screen, what with the Hawaii International Film Festival bringing in some of the latest and best films (and in recent years, select classics from yesteryear).

This year, though? Looks like we're going to have two months of big-screen anime awesomeness to look forward to: October ... and right now, as film distributor Eleven Arts has quietly turned this month into a three-film anime feast.

anohanaWe already knew that Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo was coming here, to the Ward Stadium complex on Oahu and the Kaahumanu 6 theaters on Maui on Saturday and next Tuesday, then to the Honolulu Museum of Art's Doris Duke Theatre Jan. 29-31. (From what I understand, free tickets are still available for anyone with Kawaii Kon three-day passes from 2013 or who have preregistered for 2014; see this post for details.) We also knew that Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie was heading to the Kaahumanu 6 theaters on Jan. 22 and 25, seemingly skipping Oahu and getting me to casually contemplate whether I should fly out to see it.

I never did buy that plane ticket. Probably a good thing, too, because a quick check of the official movie site reveals that yes, Honolulu, you'll be getting some Anohana love as well. Same days as Maui, too, albeit at different times: 7 p.m. on Wed., Jan. 22 and 2 p.m. on Sat., Jan. 25, both at the Ward Stadium complex. Tickets are $15 for each showing.

Madoka Magica: Rebellion is also returning to Oahu, too, for those of you who might have missed the screenings last month at the Doris Duke. That's happening ... right now, in fact, as the film is in the middle of a limited engagement at the Pearlridge West theaters. While the Rebellion website lists it as running through Jan. 16, I've only been able to confirm it through Thursday, so the sooner you catch it, the better. Showtimes are at 11:30 a.m. and 2:05, 4:40, 7:15 and 9:50 p.m.; tickets are at standard prices ($10.50 general, $8 matinee screenings before 4 p.m., $7.50 seniors 60 and older, $8 military with valid ID, $8.50 students with valid IDs, and I'm not even going to mention the "children ages 3-11" price here, because children that age shouldn't be watching this movie anyway).

And then there's Evangelion 3.0, the movie that's starting to approach "if you want to see it in theaters, you probably will somehow" levels in terms of the number of screenings these next few weeks. A total of 35 screenings have been added, to be exact, at the Pearlridge West theaters starting Friday and running through the 16th. Showtimes are at 12:20, 2:45, 5:15, 7:45 and 10:05 p.m., and here's your ticket link (ticket pricing structure is the same as Rebellion).

See you at the movies, folks. Indulge in some popcorn while you're there, too. C'mon, you deserve it.

13 for '13: Otaku Ohana's year in pictures

By
January 3rd, 2014



Happy three-days-in-but-still-relatively-newish year! It's hard to believe that June will mark five years since this blog gained a home on starbulletin.com as an online complement to Cel Shaded. Five years, coincidentally, is also the amount of time it would probably take for me to catch up on all the anime that I've been meaning to review in this space if (a) every single anime producer, both in the U.S. and Japan, were to stop releasing anime at this very second, and (b) I watched anime 24/7/365. (And let's not even think about the manga.)

I'm hoping that review situation improves this year. But before we move forward, let's take a quick look back at some of the highlights from last year, captured by my trusty camera (and in some cases, my equally trusty smartphone). Some of these pictures have appeared in this space before. Others, I never got around to posting (curse you, real work getting in the way of fun work!). For remembering the year that was 2013, though, they're fun jumping-off points.

Congratulation! A winner is you! (Jan. 12)

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The final edition of the Liliha Library Anime Art Contest culminated in an awards ceremony at the beginning of the year. Rachel Ruiz placed second in the grades 6-8 category with this piece, for which she won a lovely bag of prizes.

Meanwhile, at the back of the room where the awards ceremony was held, young adult librarian Linda Mediati set up a table with a pile of donated Shonen Jump issues, English and Japanese editions, free for the taking for anyone who wanted them.

Judging by how many Rachel carted off, you wouldn't be too far off in saying she won twice that day.

The surprise of Haruhi Suzumiya (March 17)

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I've mentioned before in this space that I have an affinity for anything and everything related to the Haruhi Suzumiya franchise. So when Haruhi character designer Noizi Ito was announced as a guest for Kawaii Kon, I was ready to go to pretty much anything and everything at which she made an appearance. Hour-long live-drawing panel? Yes, please. Hour-long live-drawing panel where she draws Kawaii Kon mascots Ai-chan and Nami? Oh, yes, thank you very much. Hour-long live-drawing panel where she casually unveils the final cover for her newest Haruhi artbook for the first time anywhere? Oh, baby, yes.

And in case you're wondering whether the book made it out to Japanese audiences: Yup.

Spartan assault on our hearts (March 17)

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This is the only shot in this collection that wasn't taken by me, but by one of Kawaii Kon's staff photographers, Zarli Win. (We'll see more of him in the next picture.) From where I was standing during the Kawaii Kon Masquerade, my trusty-yet-lacking-in-low-light-situations camera couldn't have gotten anything as good as this. Being there to soak up the mood was awesome, though: the announcement of the contestant, this little girl in her "Halo Kitty" outfit -- a Halo Spartan suit embellished with Hello Kitty accessories -- walking out on stage, the collective gasp in the audience giving way to squeals and applause and a barrage of flashbulbs going off around the room.

Wedded bliss (June 2)

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Tag-team partner in fandom Wilma Jandoc married longtime boyfriend Zarli Win in early June. It was a pretty big deal 'round these parts. Was it a ceremony that was full of Win? But of course.

Cait Sith, art guardian (June 18)

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As it has for the past few years, the Honolulu Museum of Art School's second-floor gallery hosted MangaBento's annual exhibit. The 2013 edition, "Tomo-E-Ame: Friends-Drawings-Candy," featured anime-inspired art in a wide variety of media. Among the pieces was this doll of Cait Sith hand-sewn by Heidi Shimada that, when viewed at a certain angle, looked like it was gazing over the gallery.

A master immortalized (July 27)

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Cartoonist Dave Thorne -- best known around these parts for his Sunday comic strip "Thorney's Zoo" -- may have died in 2012, but he left behind a body of work that remains beloved to this day. In July, several hundred people showed up for a celebration of life at Bay View Golf Park, with samples of his cartoons posted all over the clubhouse auditorium. One of the highlights was a "chalk talk," with Alan Low narrating scenes from Dave's life as Jon Murakami sketched on a giant pad of paper. The last drawing, done in advance: this. A fitting tribute to someone known as "the Yoda of Hawaii cartooning."

Taku Taku dancing dancing (Aug. 25)

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Taku Taku Matsuri, spearheaded by Yuka C. Nagaoka, debuted in August with a summer festival at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu. Games were played, art was drawn, food and other collectibles were sold, cosplayers roamed the grounds and played a round of Cosplay Chess, and everyone had a good time.

True to her word in my interview with her, Yuka showed up in a bright red kimono. She even jumped on stage with some of the other cosplayers and danced to Psy's "Gentleman."

Crossing cosplay (Sept. 15)

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In September, Gallery Iolani on the Windward Community College campus hosted "Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawaii," an exhibit tracing the history of manga and its influence on artists in the local community that was curated by Pen & Ink Works founder/Hachi Maru Hachi contributing artist Brady Evans. Brady also led a series of curator's tours for four straight Sundays, where he'd talk about various exhibits ... like these costumes of Alphonse Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist and Teddie from Persona 4, part of the section talking about Kawaii Kon.

Oh yes, if you missed the exhibit, don't worry: Brady's already told me it'll be returning in 2014. Details to come.

When "aloha" means goodbye (Sept. 17)

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Toys N Joys, known for years to a certain generation as the go-to place for anime merchandise, domestic and imported video games, closed its doors for the last time on Sept. 23 after a 30-year run in Kaimuki and a 25-year run at the Westridge Shopping Center in Aiea. This whiteboard, sitting in the same display window where toys, replica swords and Airsoft guns once sat in the Kaimuki store, served as a sounding board for some customers to pay their respects.

Angelic consultation (Oct. 2)

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The time between Oct. 1 and Nov. 3 was one of the busiest I've seen for the local fan community in quite some time. The month got off to a hot start with two events taking place on the same day: Mini Con at McCully-Moiliili Library, and Kawaii Kon's Anime Day at Windward Mall. I thought I'd be the only one crazy dedicated enough to make the drive over the Koolaus and attend both events, but it turned out there was another trio: Guardian Angels Dana Aton and Susana Choy of Cosmic Koi, makers of black and white hand-detailed angels' wings and plasma ear pieces like these, and their adorably adorable lolita-clad daughter, Bella. Here, Bella and Susana shared a moment together at Mini Con.

The Macross miracle (Nov. 2)

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Local anime convention Oni-Con Hawaii debuted this year, and while it had its share of problems, there were some fun times to be had as well. One of those fun times was at the "Filmmaking in Hawaii" panel, where Blood of the Samurai director Aaron Yamasato and Doko Ga TV host/"Japanmania -- Sugoi!" blogger Pali Kaaihue talked about some of their projects.

But then came their Fabulous Swag Giveaway. Now, you have to realize that in the upcoming season of Doko Ga TV, Pali talked to some really cool people, including Masako Nozawa, the Japanese voice of Goku in Dragon Ball Z, and Yoko Kanno, composer of anime soundtracks that fill me with warm fuzzies like Cowboy Bebop, Kids on the Slope, Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex, Wolf's Rain and some of the newer series in the Macross franchise. Accordingly, one of the items Pali gave away was something from Macross Frontier. The winner? Milton Streeter, former leader of the Japanese Animation Society of Hawaii and co-host of the "Anime Clubs in Hawaii" panel that took place immediately preceding this particular panel.

As you can see, he was a tad bit enthused.

The art of library talks (Nov. 6)

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I'm not sure how many times over the years that I've attended talks by nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi about the creative process that goes into her thrice-weekly online comic strip, but one thing's remained constant: Those talks are always fascinating, and fledgling artists could learn quite a bit from them. These two girls certainly took advantage of the opportunity, practicing sketching on Audra's tablet after an evening talk at Kapolei Library.

The Journey continues (Dec. 22)

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Journey of Heroes, the graphic novel recounting the story of the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team in World War II, went into a second printing toward the end of the year, with the first public sale of those new books at the Honolulu Gift Fair in mid-December. That's author Stacey Hayashi in the background ... and behind the table in the foreground, helping her sell books and other merchandise chock full of chibi soldier goodness, was MidWeek cartoonist/Cacy and Kiara author Roy Chang.

And that was 2013 in a nutshell! 2014's already getting off to a busy start with Comic Jam Hawaii returning to Pearlridge on Sunday (1-4 p.m.!) and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii's Ohana Festival on Jan. 19. Is another fun year loaded with plenty of pictures in store? You betcha.

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