Archive for September, 2015

Ota-cool Incoming: Cons, cons everywhere, and nary a time to breathe

By
September 24th, 2015



It's been a wild past few weeks here at Otaku Ohana Central, a time that's included voice actors conducting panels after a lovely morning swim off Hawaii island, some friendly neighborhood anime/manga/cartooning blogger dork talking for a good 40 minutes or so at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, a governor and a congressman offering proclamations and plaudits for comics legend Stan Lee, and lots and lots and lots of waiting in lines.

Also, this happened.

ban daisuke

Hello, Kikaida star Ban Daisuke. Nice to finally get to meet you. Although it was a bit awkward when the person we thought was going to take our picture wandered off to go take pictures of the other costumed characters at Kikaida Day. But I digress.

I'll have some thoughts on my recent 11-day span of otaku craziness in my next post (which I will try to post really, really soon even if it kills me in the process), but I reeeeeeaaaaaallly need to take a look at what's coming up over the next few weekends first. We're coming up on the third of five straight weekends of otaku-related activities, and keeping everything straight (and perhaps pushing you, dear reader, to attend an event or two in the process!) is what I do best. Or at least try to do best, anyway, whenever I have the time/energy to do so.

mini con poster

Our tour of events starts with Saturday and Mini Con at McCully-Moiliili Library. Branch manager Hillary Chang has been putting on this free little slice of comic-con culture for six years now -- holy cats, I feel old just typing that -- and this year's installment is, pardon the cliche, bigger and better than ever before.

Longtime exhibitors Jon Murakami (Gordon Rider, Ararangers, the Star-Advertiser's "Calabash" strip), Audra Furuichi (nemu*nemu, the Star-Advertiser's "nemu*nemu: Blue Hawaii" strip) and Kevin Sano (Crazy Shirts artist and painter of many Kikaida-themed Minion toys) will be joined this year by Christopher Caravalho, Aumakua: Guardians of Hawaii artist. Brady Evans from the Honolulu Museum of Art will host a digital painting demo at 11 a.m., where you can learn how he creates pretty prettiness like "Wisteria" here. Young adult author David Estes will give a talk at 11:45 a.m., "From Accountant to Author: Getting Started as a Writer." Collect a stamp from everyone and receive a free comic! Here's what the stamp card looks like.

mini con card

Of particular note is that this will be the last time you'll be able to pick up some of that sweet nemu*nemu merchandise in person this year; Audra's said she's going to be skipping her traditional holiday craft fair circuit in favor of travel, so stock up on those gifts now! (Or you could just go online and order anytime, but hey, I'm old-school. Personal interaction's always nice.) Cosplay, of course, is also welcomed; heck, here's Hillary cosplaying with coworker Wendy Araki at last year's event.

03 me Wendy

Mini Con runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at McCully-Moiliili Library (2211 S. King St.); as I recommend every year, you'll want to come early for the best parking opportunities. There's a new, welcomed twist this time around, though: Overflow parking will be available in the Ross Dress for Less lot across the street. Yay! Call 973-1099 for more information or if you need to make special arrangements.

anime day 2015

A week later, Kawaii Kon will be hosting its fourth annual Anime Day at Windward Mall. Everything you loved about past Anime Days will be back for another round, including the Cosplay Runway, games, art activities, discounted three-day passes for Kawaii Kon 2016, a selection of Artist Alley vendors (including the Star-Advertiser's own Erika Engle and her handcrafted jewelry!) and a mall-wide stamp rally for the chance to win a fabulous prize. All of this happens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the mall, 46-056 Kamehameha Highway. And, of course, admission is free! Visit facebook.com/events/899357246825955/ for the latest details.

QuickMechaRide

And then about a week after that, on Oct. 9-11? It's time for Anime Ohana, the fifth of our state's six-convention windfall this year. As I noted earlier this year, this convention, started by Kawaii Kon founder Stan Dahlin and Sentai Filmworks producer David Williams, will feature voice actors Jessica Calvello (Hange Zoe, Attack on Titan; Yuri, Dirty Pair), Monica Rial (Kaede Kayano, Assassination Classroom) and David Matranga (the title role in Orphen) and all the usual accouterments we've come to know and love from the other four conventions this year. (Seriously, if you have to ask what kinds of activities will be available, you really haven't been paying much attention to the con scene this year.)

All this is going down at the Pagoda Hotel at 1525 Rycroft St., just a short walk away from YogurStory, Walmart, Walgreens, Don Quijote, Like Like Drive Inn, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka ... umm, can you tell some of the places I'll be stopping by during con down time? For the latest news, visit the event page at facebook.com/events/742706302513876/; for passes (available in 1-3 day varieties for both children and adults), visit animeohana.com.

Elsewhere around town

Aiea Library Polar Bear Cafe & Friends Anime Club: Every month, I joke with young adult librarian Diane Masaki that she ought to change the name of the Anime Club to the Polar Bear Cafe & Friends Club, seeing as how the screening schedule for the past few months has consistently been two episodes of the 2012-2013 anime followed by two more episodes of something else. (This month, the "friends" part will likely be Squid Girl.) Every month, she gives me the same response: "Pfffffffft." I'll keep trying, folks. At the library, 99-374 Pohai Place, where even now, more than a year after opening, there's still plenty of parking. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or email aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.

Anime Matsuri Hawaii LUV Day: "LUV" is short for "Let Us Volunteer,"and at this event, you'll get to meet con directors John and Deneice Leigh and learn everything about volunteer opportunities at the last convention of the year, being held over Black Friday weekend (Nov. 27-29). Bonus: There will be games! And prizes! Lili'u Theater, Hawai'i Convention Center (room 310, in the corner closest to Kalakaua Avenue and the Ala Wai Canal), 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Ingress First Saturday: Ever wanted to learn how to play Niantic Labs' massively multiplayer augmented reality smartphone game? Feel like honing your skills and learning playing tips from high-level agents? Want to meet The Face of Hawaii Ingress (tm) in person? Care to see what Niantic is capable of producing before their new likely-to-be-a-megahit collaboration with Nintendo, Pokemon Go, goes live and turns what we've known for several years as the Hawaiian Netmender Fountain portal into Jigglypuff? Come to Kapiolani Park for a day of cross-factional rivalry, fellowship, and ... triangles! Lots! And lots! Of TRIANGLES~!

Meet at the Diamond Head Landmark portal (www.ingress.com/intel?ll=21.265395,-157.82058&z=17&pll=21.265395,-157.82058 for those of you with scanners; about halfway between the Waikiki Aquarium and the Natatorium on the park side of Kalakaua Avenue for those who don't). To the Enlightened, may the odds be forever in your favor. To the Resistance, umm ... enjoy the cross-factional potluck afterward? Yeah. That's it. Starts at 9 a.m. Oct. 3.

Random Ingress Portal of the Post:

Screenshot_2015-09-23-17-36-37

Meet Drainage Marker! It's ... a drainage marker! On the corner of South King Street and Ward Avenue!

(Yeah, Niantic's portal approval team was probably half-asleep when they approved this one.)

Gamer Expo 2015: The second annual edition of what's been called the state's largest video game event will feature tournaments for pretty much all the hot games out there (Super Smash Bros.! Hearthstone! Halo! Street Fighter! League of Legends! More!), a retro gaming section, and pretty much all the pew-pew-hack-slash-kick-punch-it's-all-in-the-mind action you could possibly want. Special guests include Super Smash Bros. pro players Corey "False" Shin, Larry "Larry Lurr" Holland, William "Dkwill" Walsh, Max "Max Ketchum" Krchmar and Michael "MikeKirby" Alvare, and noted Hearthstone streamer Hafu. Presented by eSports HI; $25 general admission, $43 VIP pass. The Modern Honolulu (1775 Ala Moana Blvd.); 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Oct. 3.

The big convention roundup

Yes, four out of six shows for this year are done, and it's already time to start thinking about next year. Con dates are already scheduled out through next September, in fact! Here's everything I know so far. Unless otherwise noted, con venue is the Hawai'i Convention Center:

Anime Matsuri Hawaii: Featuring guests -- deep breath in, Jason -- voice actors Johnny Yong Bosch, Crispin Freeman and Maile Flanagan; Justin Rojas, representing Funimation; Masahiko Otsuka, president of Studio Trigger (the studio behind recent hits Kill la Kill and Little Witch Academia); musical guest DaizyStripper; professional cosplayers Goldy, Yuegene Fay, Stella Chuu, Reika and Vampy Bit Me; fashion designers Shunsuke Hasegawa (Putumayo designer) and Chinatsu Taira (Metamorphose chief designer); and KERA/Gothic Lolita Bible model Yui Minakata. And exhale. Nov. 27-29.

Kawaii Kon: The 12th annual edition of Hawaii's first anime convention will feature a return visit by voice actor Johnny Yong Bosch and his band, Eyeshine, as well as the first visit by Japanese rock band Loverin Tamburin. April 8-10.

Amazing Hawaii Comic Con: Save the date! The follow-up to what may well be the biggest pop-culture convention in Hawaii now (pending the formal release of attendance numbers and what I've heard about really crowded conditions Friday and Saturday) will be May 20-22.

Comic Con Honolulu: Kawaii Kon's pop-culture con spinoff hopes to build on its strong debut with guests Erin Gray (Col. Deering, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century), Colin Ferguson (Federal Marshal Jack Carter, Eureka), Summer Glau (River Tam, Firefly/Serenity) and Kristin Bauer (Maleficent, Once Upon A Time). July 29-31.

HawaiiCon: Guests announced so far include Simpsons/Futurama artist Bill Morrison, actress Nichelle Nichols (Uhuru in the original Star Trek) and science fiction author John Scalzi.  Sept. 15-18, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel (Hawaii island).

Remember the Titans (and the idol girls, Milk Cow and ninjas)

By
September 2nd, 2015



Over the 12 years or so that I've been keeping track of the local anime/manga fan community, I've seen a number of different series rise and fall in popularity. There was the Inu-Yasha era, the Naruto era, Fruits Basket, Fullmetal Alchemist, Ouran High School Host Club, Hetalia, Adventure Time, that weird Homestuck anomaly (shudder), Minecraft. And now, we're squarely in the age of Attack on Titan, the franchise where massive vein-popping naked humanoids stomp around the planet, gobble up regular people (Eren's mom, ewwwwww nooooooo) like we eat french fries, battle with the Avengers, attend junior high school and star in spinoff after spinoff after spinoff.

One adaptation has gotten a fair amount of attention over the past few months: the Attack on Titan live-action movies, in which real-life people battle real-life CGI Titans. You can see all your favorites -- Eren! Mikasa! Armin! Levi! -- as they would appear as if they were real and dwelt among us. Here, have a trailer.

[youtube dpP4GDGovp0]

raaarghTo say English-speaking audiences have been eagerly anticipating these movies could be an understatement. The announcement that tickets were on sale came on Monday, with the Consolidated Ward Stadium 16 theaters and the Doris Duke Theater at the Honolulu Museum of Arts listed as local venues; as I'm writing this post on Wednesday, the Thursday, Oct. 1 screening is completely sold out. (Pure speculation on my part, but could Kawaii Kon or one of our other local cons have snapped up all those tickets? This happened before in 2013, when Evangelion 3.0: You Will (Never) Get This Film on Home Video sold out one screening, then promptly re-emerged as part of a Kawaii Kon promotion.)

If you were interested in seeing this film on the big screen -- Part 1 in particular -- you might want to get those tickets soon. Fair warning, though: Part 1, at least, may fall short of your expectations. And Part 2, for those of you who may have watched Part 1 through *coughother means, may not be much better. Consolidated Ward Stadium 16; 7 p.m. Sept. 30 (Part 1) and 7 p.m. Oct. 20 and Oct. 22 (Part 2). is Duke Theater screenings TBA.

Also coming soon to a theater near you (as long as "near you" is urban Honolulu):

loveliveLove Live! The School Idol Movie: Back in 2013, we first met second-year student Honoka Kosaka and her efforts to save her school from shutting down by forming a nine-member idol group, µ’s. Two anime series and a popular rhythm/card-collecting/relationship simulator/special-event-obsession-magnet game for iOS and Android later, we've reached the point where the senior members are about to graduate and µ’s is ready to dissolve … until they receive news of a special event. Is this their last hurrah? Could this be a springboard moment for the rest of their lives? Is it possible that your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger already looked at the Love Live wiki and read the entire movie plot summary because he'll be away attending HawaiiCon when this film screens on Oahu? (The answers: can't say, can't say, and OKAY YES I'M ALSO THE TYPE OF PERSON WHO CHEATS AND SKIPS AHEAD TO THE ENDS OF BOOKS BEFORE READING THE MIDDLE PARTS.) While supplies last, you can also get a randomly selected shikishi (image board) of one of the nine µ’s members! Consolidated Ward Stadium 16, noon Sept. 12 and 7 p.m. Sept. 14.

The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow: As I noted above, there aren't any screening times listed yet for the Attack on Titan movies at the Doris Duke Theater. While I was looking, though, something else caught my eye: The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow, an animated feature screening as part of Seoul Cinema 2015, a mini festival of contemporary films from South Korea. The synopsis … well, here, excerpted from the museum website:

An orbiting female satellite picks up a lovelorn pop song on her radio antenna and descends to Earth to try to discover who could be the source of such heartfelt emotions. On the way, she is transformed into the Satellite Girl, complete with Astro Boy-like rocket shoes and weapon-firing limbs, while the balladeer in question—a loser twenty-something playing at an open mic in a coffee shop—meets the fate that befalls all broken-hearted lovers: he is turned into a cow. There is more: a wizard in the form of a roll of toilet paper, an all-consuming incinerator monster, a pig witch.

And then there's this publicity still.

MILKCOW!

Omega-squee. Milk Cow for the win, people. 11:10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sept. 20 (free admission!), 1 p.m. Sept. 26 ($10 general, $8 members).

Boruto posterBoruto: Naruto the Movie: Proving that The Last: Naruto the Movie really wasn't the last Naruto movie, here comes … umm … the last Naruto movie. Until the next one, I suppose, although it really seems like series creator Masashi Kishimoto will be taking a break from ninja tales for a while. This time out, Naruto's the one tasked with the mature duties — he is the Seventh Hokage for the Hidden Leaf Village now, after all — while Boruto is playing the rebellious wild child role. But when Sasuke shows up to warn of impending doom, and said doom arrives on their doorstep … well, we've been through 11 movies and a bajillion anime episodes and manga chapters, you probably know what's coming next: camaraderie, coming-of-age, teamwork, friendship, respect, all that fun shounen manga stuff. Consolidated Ward Stadium 16, noon Oct. 10 and 7 p.m. Oct. 12.

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