The Summer of Stuff, part 1: See you at the movies
It's never a good time to get sick, but for your friendly neighborhood anime/manga/cartooning blogger in particular, getting sick last week came at a really inopportune time. I'm still shaking the last remnants of what was diagnosed as a viral infection (the formal medical term for "yup, you're coughing and congested; here, have some codeine and get some rest") I missed the Mini Comic Con at Aiea Library, which saddened me. At one point, between swigs of codeine, I even considered tweeting, "Otaku community newsmakers, please hold off on breaking any juicy news until I have a chance to get better."
Naturally, otaku community newsmakers broke a lot of juicy news while I was sick.
So now I have quite a few announcements to catch up on -- movie screenings! Special events! New convention guests! -- and I'll be starting in on it with this series of posts, "The Summer of Stuff." Because let's face it: If you can't find anything that you're interested in doing in the next few months from everything I've been told about, you're doing the summer wrong.
Take this summer's lineup of movie screenings for Japanese cultural aficionados, for instance. A lot of it is being generated by GKids, working overtime with a weeks-long presentation of animated films from around the world (that is, if your definition of "around the world" is 75 percent Japan, 25 percent France/Italy) and the wide release of When Marnie Was There. There's also a pair of free screenings at Aiea Library in coming weeks.
Let's go to the calendar for some dates, synopses and trailers ...
Today through Thursday: When Marnie Was There. Studio Ghibli's last film for the foreseeable future had a short run at the Hawaii International Film Festival's Spring Showcase in April, and now it's back for its wider theatrical release thanks to GKids (see — they are working overtime this summer). Based on the novel by Joan G. Robinson, the story follows Anna, a foster child and a bit of a loner who finds a friend, Marnie, during a summer stay in Hokkaido. English dubbed (featuring the voices of Hailee Steinfeld as Anna, Kiernan Shipka as Marnie, and a cast that includes Kathy Bates, Geena Davis, John C. Reilly and that actress from Disney's Austin and Ally), 10:30 a.m. and 12:50, 3:10 and 5:30 p.m.; Japanese with English subtitles, 7:50 and 10:10 p.m. Kahala 8 theaters (Kahala Mall); $11 general, $8.75 general matinees before 4 p.m., $8.25 seniors age 60 and over, $7.50 children ages 3-11.
Monday: A Letter to Momo. "Momo is a smart, family-friendly film, a hand-animated production seven years in the making that showcases the simple charm and emotion that anime can carry," wrote some blogger dork back in 2011, when he actually had the time/energy to watch things and subsequently review them in this space. (This whole being an adult thing is haaaaard.) Momo, a bit of a loner who's dealing with the sudden death of her father, meets a trio of mischievous goblins that only she can see. 11 a.m., Kahala 8; $5 admission. Repeats 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Thursday: Under the Blood-Red Sun. In this live-action film, Tomi, a Japanese-American boy, is not a bit of a loner. He does, however, live in interesting times: Oahu, 1941, in a time when both his parents and grandpa embrace traditional Japanese ways. It's December 7. The bombs are falling on Pearl Harbor. And his life is about to profoundly change ... Based on the novel by Graham Salisbury. 5:30 p.m., Aiea Library (99-374 Pohai Place). Free admission. And plenty of parking.
June 29: Patema Inverted. A princess, Patema, finds her life turned upside down one day -- literally, as she discovers a society with a flipped gravitational force and philosophies different from her own. It's up to her and Age, a student she meets, to figure out what's keeping their worlds apart. 11 a.m., Kahala 8; $5 admission. Repeats 4 p.m. June 30.
July 6: Welcome to the Space Show. It's your typical "kids go to summer camp, lose a rabbit, find a talking dog instead, rocket off to intergalactic adventures, and then Susan Boyle sings" story ... which is to say it's filled with plenty of elements of fantasy and sci-fi and what the heck did I just watch here-ness. If that last sentence sounds familiar, then you have a really good memory and remember that from my summary in October. 11 a.m., Kahala 8; $5 admission. Repeats 4 p.m. July 7.
July 16 (tentative): Kikaider Reboot. The darker cinematic revival of the popular '70s TV series dispenses with the whole setup of "android protector of his creator's children battles Giant Rubber Monster of the Week as he takes on an evil creepy blue guy who knows how to cripple him with a creepy flute song" and gets right to the good butt-kicking stuff: Kikaider! Hakaider! Someone else who'll probably be the main antagonist in Kikaider Re-Reboot or whatever they call the sequel that kinda has to happen. 5:30 p.m., Aiea Library. Free admission.
July 20: Summer Wars. Just go watch it. I really, really liked it. If you really want a synopsis, though, here: Socially awkward math prodigy Kenji Koiso agrees to role-play as the boyfriend of one of the most popular girls in school, Natsuki Shinohara. When he gets sucked in to the battle for one of the Internet's most popular social networks, her eccentric family is more than happy to join the fight as well. 11 a.m., Kahala 8; $5 admission. Repeats 4 p.m. July 21.
July 27: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. Ahh, Kaguya, Studio Ghibli's hand-drawn tale of a princess who sprouted from a bamboo shoot. It played for a time last year opposite Big Hero 6, and the contrasts were quite striking: the glitzy CGI of the San Fransokyo of Hiro and Baymax versus the traditional Japan portrayed in a style that looked like classic woodblock prints come to life. Both were great movies. 11 a.m., Kahala 8; $5 admission. Repeats 4 p.m. July 28.
Aug. 4-12 (estimated window): Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection "F." Our look at summer movies closes with the only wildcard of the bunch; no actual screening times or locations have been announced yet. Considering the last Dragon Ball theatrical release, Battle of Gods, made it here, I'd be surprised if this film didn't show up sometime as well. Should be a pretty hot Dragon Ball tale, though, what with the resurrection of F(rieza) and yet another evolution for Goku, known as Super Hyper Turbo Champion Omega Mondo Extreme Over 9,000 Saiyan God Mode Plus Edition Now With Bears Goku. Well, okay, it's actually only Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan mode, but with a new TV series on the way, it's only a matter of time before more convoluted power levels like that come in to play.