By Jason S. Yadao
One of the breakthrough otaku-targeted events last year was the Taku Taku Matsuri's natsu matsuri, or summer festival, where about 300 people showed up at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu on a sunny Sunday in August to cosplay, play games, buy Japanese-themed merchandise and food from a number of vendors, enjoy entertainment and just have a fun time overall. As I wrote last year, organizer Yuka C. Nagaoka started Taku Taku Matsuri to give local fans of anime and manga culture another venue where they could gather, similar to the events she took part in growing up in Japan.
In looking through my records, it seems that I failed to post a gallery of highlights from last year's festivities, so let's correct that now, shall we?
This year, Taku Taku Matsuri is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 9 (it's on Primary Election Day, so don't forget to vote before you go, or at least pull an absentee ballot!). It promises to be bigger -- a one-day mini-anime con of sorts being held at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii's Manoa Grand Ballroom, with a Star Trek-themed cafe, video game tournaments, a dance party featuring DJ E2D, and special guest Kyle Hebert. Yes, that Kyle Hebert, last here in the islands for HEXXP in 2011, a voice actor best known for his roles as Kiba in Naruto, Kamina in Gurren Lagann, the older version of Gohan in Dragon Ball Z and Ryu in the newer Street Fighter games. Of course, all the accoutrements from last year's event will be back as well.
With a bigger venue and more activities come higher costs. While last year's event featured free admission, there will be an admission fee charged at this year's event. Yuka told me that without any sponsors, she has to pay for everything out of pocket ... and those costs add up pretty quickly.
And that's where the Second Annual Taku Taku Matsuri Kickstarter comes in. Launched about a week and a half ago, the campaign has to date raised $130 ... a decent amount, but there's a good amount of work that needs to be done to reach the goal of $2,000 by June 7. The pledge tiers are simple enough that I can actually include them here on the blog for once:
- A pledge of $10 and up gets you a ticket at the lowest preregistration price available. (Preregistration tickets outside of the Kickstarter campaign will be $13, while the at-the-door cost will be $15.)
- A pledge of $25 and up gets you a ticket and a special Taku Taku Matsuri T-shirt.
- The top tier, at $100 and up, nets you not only a ticket and a shirt, but also an invitation to a special meal (time/place to be determined) with Kyle Hebert the next day, Aug. 10. There are only 10 slots available for that perk, though, so you'll want to jump on that sooner rather than later if you're interested in that.
Of course, you could also throw a few bucks in the campaign's direction even if you can't make it, just as a way of showing your support for events like these in our community.
The thing about Kickstarter is that unless you have the built-in draw of being a known commodity like the Rifftrax trio or can go viral with a clever idea like this guy who's simply printing shirts with his final Kickstarter stats on it, it's so tricky to find enough people who believe in what you're selling to sign on. In the past few years, I've covered successful campaigns and not-so-successful ones in this space. As I understand it, the fate of whether this event takes place as planned depends on how this campaign does; here's hoping this one turns out to be a success story.
If you want to keep tabs on the Kickstarter campaign, visit ow.ly/wUtKl; general news about all things Taku Taku Matsuri can be found at www.facebook.com/taku2matsuri (Facebook login not required). Also, if you're interested in being a vendor or exhibiting artist at the event, email taku2matsuri at yahoo dot com, and Yuka will be happy to help set that up.
"Crossing Cultures: The Art of Manga in Hawaii": The Brady Evans-curated exhibit is back, this time at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii's Community Gallery. Here's my post about the exhibit. From 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Patsy Iwasaki and Avery Berido, the team behind Hamakua Hero, will be speaking; that'll be followed next Saturday by a talk by Journey of Heroes author Stacey Hayashi at the same time, while the Comic Jam Hawaii artists will be hanging out from 1 to 3 p.m. May 31. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays; admission is free. Visit hawaiimanga.com. Exhibit on display through June 7.
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. Sunday.
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. May 25.