Archive for March, 2014

Springing forth with HIFF and anime

By
March 27th, 2014



HIFF_HKU_logo_BLUEHaving covered the Hawaii International Film Festival in both its spring and autumn incarnations for a number of years now, I can pretty much recite the mantra by heart: There's always something for fans of anime and anime-related films to love at HIFF.

Now usually, when a fresh film schedule is released, I take a few minutes to scan through it, note everything that might be of interest to you, dear Otaku Ohana readers, then research them and post a handy-dandy guide to what's available. This year's Spring Showcase, running April 4-10, is a little different: HIFF Programming Director Anderson Le emailed me with a list of two films worth highlighting -- Ghost in the Shell: Arise -- Border 1 & 2 and Blue Bustamante -- as well as a ticket discount code, which we'll get to in a little bit.

Shorewood Blu-ray OcardLet's tackle the obvious choice first. Ghost in the Shell: Arise is the latest in a long line of adventures for Motoko Kusunagi, with this OAV series serving as a prequel to her later exploits and chronicling the beginning of her career with Public Security Section 9. Border 1 & 2 comprise the first two parts of the four-part series. Funimation licensed the series last year; these two episodes are actually available on what they're calling the "Japanese Blu-ray Collector's Edition," each episode available with a slew of special features and retailing for ... brace yourself ... $69.98 each. Sure, discounts are available at the usual Internet retail sites, and a cheaper release is coming sometime later this year, but let's face it: A HIFF ticket will probably be the cheapest way you'll be able to legally watch this for now. Plus you get it on the big screen! Ghost in the Shell: Arise will screen in Japanese with English subtitles at 9 p.m. Thurs., April 10, at the Regal Dole Cannery theaters.

Blue Bustamante, by contrast, is probably not something I would have picked up on first glance, being a film from the Philippines. A closer look at the plot, though, has Japanese culture at its core: George Bustamante and his family move from the Philippines to Japan hoping it'll improve their lives, but when he gets fired from his job, he's forced to take a job as a stuntman in a tokusatsu (live-action superhero) series ... and he has to hide his new job from his family to save face, to boot. The film will screen in Tagalog with English subtitles at 6 p.m. Sun., April 6 (perhaps something to see to cap off your weekend at Kawaii Kon?) and 4 p.m. Mon., April 7, also at the Dole theaters.

Tickets are usually $12 each, but as I mentioned earlier, Anderson also sent along a ticket discount code for your online purchasing convenience. Use the code "SPRING2014" at checkout, and you can get your tickets for these shows (or anything screening at the Dole theaters, I believe) for $8 each. Better hurry and use that, though ... it expires at midnight April 4.

For more information on the HIFF Spring Showcase, visit www.hiff.org.

Longer stay for Short Peace

If you blinked and missed the one-night-only screenings of Short Peace, the four-short-film package presented by Katsuhiro Otomo, earlier this month, no need to despair: Distributor Eleven Arts recently added a few more dates to the schedule. Short Peace will return to Consolidated's Ward theaters on Oahu and Kaahumanu theaters on Mon., April 21, at 7 p.m., then moving on to the Doris Duke Theater at the Honolulu Museum of Art on Thurs., May 1, and Friday, May 2.

Ticket links for all screenings and times for the Doris Duke screenings aren't available yet, but you may as well go ahead and mark your calendar now in case you're interested. And again, if you can't make those dates, the shorts will be available exclusively on the PlayStation Network later this year. You can catch up on what Short Peace is all about by reading the tail end of my earlier post about the film or visiting shortpeace-movie.com.

The week in panels and portals

By
March 12th, 2014



Good news, everyone: The "Made in Japan, Loved in Hawaii" panel, which I talked about in my last post, went off without a hitch. Roy Bann, Brady Evans, Audra Furuichi, Jon Murakami and I talked about anime and tokusatsu series for a little over two hours, more people were sitting in the audience than were on the panel, and I didn't die of embarrassment afterward. Victories all around! Thank you to all of you who came to visit, even if you stayed for just a little while.

Since I was sitting on the panel and couldn't exactly take pictures of myself, I've been relying on what panel attendees have posted and shared with me to see what we looked like up there. Friend/coworker/Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker reviewer Christina Chun sent along a few pictures; here are me and Audra ...

... Jon and Brady ...

... and Roy, who served as panel moderator.

Here's a full shot of the panel table taken by cartoonist Roy Chang.

And here's a shot of all five of us after the panel, taken using the official Otaku Ohana Camera of Record by McCully/Moiliili Library branch manager Hillary Chang.

In case you missed it or weren't able to stay for the whole thing, not to worry: I recorded the whole thing, and the slides we used -- created through Prezi, an online app -- are publicly available for viewing. You can download the audio file (a 121 MB download via Google Drive) at http://ow.ly/uwyBr, while the slides are available at http://ow.ly/uwyTQ. Find a comfortable seat, follow along and enjoy; I hope the audio's okay throughout. (I haven't had a chance to listen through the whole thing yet, although the portions I've heard sound pretty good.)

This week -- Thursday at 6:30 p.m., to be exact -- I'll be out at Aiea Library to help my Enlightened teammates take over the library portal yet again chime in where needed with a presentation on Ingress, the massively multiplayer augmented reality mobile online game profiled in our paper (subscription required to view) a few weeks ago. (As our writer, Steven Mark, put it, it's like "'Capture the Flag' for tech geeks," using area landmarks as capture points, or "portals.") Heck, the person who set up this panel in the first place, Aiea Library young adult librarian Diane Masaki, was front and center and pretty much became The Face of Hawaii Ingress (tm) in the picture on the Today section cover:

That's her in the black shirt in the front row.

Here's the official panel description:

The world around you is not what it seems. It's happening all around you. They aren't coming. They're already here.

Our future is at stake. And you must choose a side. A mysterious energy has been unearthed by a team of scientists in Europe. The origin and purpose of this force is unknown, but some researchers believe it is influencing the way we think. We must control it or it will control us.

"The Enlightened" seek to embrace the power that this energy may bestow upon us. "The Resistance" struggle to defend, and protect what's left of our humanity.

Find out what it's all about during Teen Tech Week!

Also significant: It's the last public program at the current library location (99-143 Moanalua Road) before they pull up stakes and head to their new building on the site of the former Aiea Sugar Mill. So if you've ever been curious about the game or some of those Ingress-related jokes that I've increasingly been including in this blog, come on out. We'd love to see you.

'Made in Japan, Loved in Hawaii,' chatted up by yours truly

By
March 6th, 2014



Honolulu Festival logoIt's Honolulu Festival time this weekend, which means it's time for all of the usual accoutrements that come with the annual celebration of Asian and Pacific Rim culture, including:

  • Entertainment on stages at the Hawai'i Convention Center, Ala Moana Center and Waikiki Beach Walk (here's a schedule!)
  • A display of mikoshi, decorative floats unique to various prefectures of Japan that are hoisted by celebrants during festivals and parades
  • A craft fair, children's games in the Ennichi Corner, and the Anime Corner with Kawaii Kon, MangaBento and representatives from the Doraemon exhibit at the convention center
  • The Grand Parade down Kalakaua Avenue Sunday afternoon
  • A spectacular fireworks display Sunday night
  • Your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger talkin' anime during a Saturday afternoon panel WAIT WHAT

Indeed, for this 20th anniversary edition of the festival, I'm going to be part of a panel hosted by Kawaii Kon at the convention center: "Made in Japan, Loved in Hawaii," a talk-story session exploring the history of local fandom from the days of Astro Boy in the '60s to the present day and beyond. Joining me as hosts for this journey:

We'll be talking about various anime, manga and tokusatsu series that have shaped our work and our lives. I've been told that we have two hours to fill, so we hope to make it worth your while. You have options for where you could be spending your Saturday afternoon, after all; why not spend it with us, in air-conditioned comfort, learning about stuff in slides with content like this?

We'll be in Room 301AB starting at 1 p.m. Saturday. Keep in mind that most of the festival activities are taking place on the ground level of the convention center, so you're going to want to make your way up some set of escalators, whether from that level or the second-floor parking garage. Just branch left once you get off those escalators; the room's just beyond the restrooms. Here, have a map.

hcc-map-B

Hope to see you there. And if you're on Facebook, let us know you're coming on the panel event page; it's not mandatory that you do so, but I'd just like to know how much I should freak out over how many people show up. It's my first formal panel-speaking gig, after all (that Oni-Con Ingress panel doesn't count).

This week in The Wind Rises

The Wind Rises promotional poster (courtesy Disney)The Oscars have come and gone, Frozen holds the statue for Best Animated Feature 2014, and Hayao Miyazaki's latest, last film finished out of the top 10 at the box office last week. Seems like a recipe for a gradual bow-out from theaters; I'm already seeing a drop-off in screenings at Consolidated's Pearlridge, Kapolei and Kaahumanu locations and Regal's Windward Stadium theaters. On the bright side, owing to its head start of a week over the other theaters, Consolidated Ward will accept GMT passes for screenings starting Friday.

Consolidated Ward: Sub 1:40, 7:30 and 10:25 p.m. daily; dub 10:45 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. daily

Consolidated Mililani (dub only): Friday-Sunday 11:10 a.m. and 1:55, 4:45. 7:40 and 10:25 p.m.; Monday-Thursday 12:45, 3:40, 7 and 9:50 p.m.

Consolidated Pearlridge: Daily sub 3:15 and 9:15 p.m., dub 6:15 p.m.

Consolidated Kapolei (dub only): Friday-Saturday 10:30 a.m.; daily 1:10, 3:50 and 6:30 p.m.

Consolidated Kahala: Friday-Saturday sub 4:10 and 9:50 p.m., dub 10:30 a.m. and 1:20 and 7 p.m.; Sunday sub 4:10 p.m., dub 1:20 and 7 p.m.; Monday-Thursday sub 7 p.m., dub 1 and 3:55 p.m.

Consolidated Kaahumanu (Maui): Sub daily 12:45 and 3:30 p.m.; dub Friday-Saturday 10 a.m, daily 6:15 p.m.

Regal Windward Stadium: 6:20 and 9:20 p.m. daily through Wednesday

Regal Dole Cannery: Friday-Sunday 11 a.m. and 1:50, 4:40, 7:35 and 10:35 p.m.; Monday-Wednesday 12:35, 3:55, 7:35 and 10:30 p.m.

Connect with cartoon art at Honolulu Hale

By
March 5th, 2014



The last time I was in the Honolulu Hale courtyard a few months ago, there were Christmas trees decorated in anime themes.

Now? There's a strip show. No, not that kind of strip show, ya pervs; it's "The Strip Show: A Celebration of Cartoon and Comic Art," an exhibit dedicated to local cartooning, with sections showcasing the work of Comic Jam Hawaii, MangaBento and late cartoonist Dave Thorne. And it's on display now through next Wednesday.

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Comic Jam Hawaii coordinator Michael Cannon shared the origins of the exhibit with the group:

When Dave Thorne passed away, the idea was floated to do an exhibit dedicated to him. Leiji (Harlock, one of the group's members) contacted Scott Goto to see what could be done. Unfortunately city policy prevented us from being able to do an exhibit for a single person. I spoke more with Scott and found that if we did it as a group then we could have a section of the exhibit dedicated to Dave. We had to come up with some sort of theme, so it's essentially a celebration of cartoon, comic, and manga art with the added tribute to Dave.

There are 32 panels in the exhibit to look at -- 16 dedicated to Comic Jam Hawaii, eight each for Dave Thorne's work and Mangabento. The courtyard is open during normal business hours, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and it's definitely worth checking out. For those of you who can't visit before next Wednesday, there are a bunch of pictures of the panels and behind-the-scenes setup work at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.548422995255374&type=1 (Facebook login required).

I also took some pictures of the exhibit and the opening reception Tuesday evening. This particular gallery also marks a bit of a testing ground for Otaku Ohana -- the powers that be recently upgraded our blogging infrastructure to enable embedded photo galleries, so I thought I'd give it a spin here for the first time. Click twice to get the full-sized image -- once to get the thumbnail, then a second time for the larger picture. Like it? Prefer I'd go back to embedding Flickr galleries? Let me know in comments.

(Update 3/5, 10:45 p.m.: Scott Shinsato of Comic Jam Hawaii posted a full video of the speeches made at the opening reception, most of which I missed. D'oh! You can see the video -- no Facebook login necessary! -- here.)

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