A number of you who use Facebook probably know about its Memories/On This Day feature, where their little algorithmic thingamabobs and doohickeys dig down deep in your timeline and pull up posts that you might've forgotten existed about a week after you posted them.
Today, this memory popped up on my timeline.
Four years ago already? Maaaaaaaaaan. We've gotten so much more ... umm, *vintage* since then. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.
And it reminded me, "Welp, blogger boy, your HawaiiCon vacation's over, time to get back to work and write a new post."
Here's why: The latest edition of Mini Con will be held four years and two days after I posted that picture. This is one of those events that your friendly neighborhood otaku blogger's been covering for a long time -- this is its seventh year, in fact, making it the second longest continually running event I've covered, behind only Kawaii Kon.
This year's edition of the Mini Con flyer, by Audra Furuichi. Courtesy image.
The formula that McCully-Moiliili Library branch manager Hillary Chang has followed every year is simple, yet effective: Bring in artists Jon Murakami, Audra Furuichi and Kevin Sano as the foundation; supplement with at least one more rotating guest; host a stamp rally and give away prizes throughout the day; give patrons a chance to cosplay. (This year's rotating guest is artist Mark Gould, a member of the Hawaiian Comic Book Alliance who's done a fair amount of freelance work over the last few years, including covers for Slave Labor Graphics' Model A and contributions to Christopher Caravalho's Aumakua: Guardians of Hawaii books.)
Not everyone has the time, money and/or energy to attend one or (for the most hard-core crazy among us) several of the otaku conventions held around the state every year; Mini Con's existed as an option for people to get a free taste of convention life, a slice of Artist Alley in a library setting. This is also going to be Audra's last event as a vendor for this year, so this will be your last chance to pick up some nemu*nemu merchandise or some of her lovely, lovely original artwork from her in person until ... well, Kawaii Kon next spring, I reckon.
All of this is happening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the library, 2211 S. King St.; parking at the library is limited, so either plan on showing up early, go across the street to Ross Dress For Less (which has graciously opened up its lot for use by library patrons) or bring a handful of coins to feed the meters. For more information, call 973-1099.
WAIKOLOA, Hawaii >> Sometimes you just have to break with the status quo to make things finally work.
Case in point: this post. For a few weeks now, I'd been planning to publish a post around this time featuring the fourth participant in Con-athon 2016 and the only one to be held on one of the neighbor islands: HawaiiCon. It starts today around 3 p.m. and runs through Sunday; the 30+ guests include actors Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols and Jonathan Frakes from the Star Trek franchise, voice actor Vic Mignogna, Futurama artist and Bongo Comics co-founder Bill Morrison, and Hawaiian Comic Book Alliance members Sam Campos, Christopher Caravalho and Bryan Revell. Passes are $25 general, $10 children ages 6-12 today; $66 general, $35 children for single-day passes Friday-Sunday; and $169 general, $79 children for four-day passes.
Mauna Lani gives all its guests leis like this on check-in. Also, the key cards are con-branded. So cool! Photo by Jason S. Yadao.
So why is this post not written in the style of other Con-athon posts? The biggest enemies of anything Otaku Ohana-related as of late, free time and the corresponding energy to write anything, certainly are factors. But here's the bigger factor: I've already checked in to HawaiiCon's host hotel for this year, the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows. Here's the view from my room.
Lovely poolside view. Kinda wish I swam a little more, heh. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.
Those of you who have been fortunate enough to attend HawaiiCon -- and as far as I know, that's about three or four of you who read this blog -- know that this event operates on a different level from the other Con-athon events. Sure, there are the usual elements -- panels, autographs and photo ops with guests, a cosplay contest, an Artist Alley and dealers room. But there's also the feeling that this is designed to be more of an intimate vacation experience for everyone involved. The dealers room offerings are more upscale. Attendees are willing to pay more to go on excursions like snorkeling and zip-lining with their favorite guests, things like that. HawaiiCon's also out here in the lush resort stretch of the Kona Coast, while the other Con-athon participants are all within a few blocks of the retail/condo-dense Ala Moana district.
It's a con where, last year, voice actors Steve Blum and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn went snorkeling in the morning, showered and walked in to do their panel (an actual thing that happened last year). It's also a con where voice actor Melissa Fahn brought her young son up to sit in on her panel and have him utterly steal the show with his pinpoint rendition of the Yakko Warner "Nations of the World" song from Animaniacs, from memory. (I have that video somewhere. I probably ought dig it up and post it somewhere.) I've also heard that guests, staff and attendees often adjourn to the hotel bar after con events wrap up around 8 p.m. (something I've never experienced for myself, because shyyyyyy).
It's just a different, more relaxed state of mind out here. And that's a good thing. It's one that I already settled into on Wednesday, taking a long road trip with a friend from Kona to Hilo for some yummy mochi (Two Ladies, because of course), lunch with one of our friends and Ingress-ing at Liliuokalani Gardens, and then hightailing it out of there to outrun a cluster of thunderstorms. Aside from the whole "KYAAAAAAH the rain is coming down in sheets and I'm having trouble seeing and KYAAAAAAH that lightning bolt looked like it flashed REALLY CLOSE" thing, it's the most relaxed I've felt in weeks. And there will be the usual dispatches from here -- be sure to follow my Instagram/Facebook and Twitter feeds for the usual con randomness.
But if it seems a bit quieter than usual, please understand: I'm not slacking! I'm just soaking up the atmosphere.
Gera gera po, gera gera po ... Courtesy PRNewsFoto/LEVEL-5 abby Inc.
News tends to travel in cycles around these parts. There are times when not much is going on, allowing me time to play my phone games and plot out points on the Pokemon GO Hawaii Guides map (1,800+ Pokestops and gyms on five islands mapped so far, another 700+ in the queue!), and times when ALL THE THINGS ARE HAPPENING AT ONCE AAAAAAAHHHHHH.
Welp, we’re now in one of those ALL THE THINGS periods. It started Tuesday when Tsum Tsum partner in fandom Wilma W. reminded me that there were screenings for Rurouni Kenshin II: Kyoto Inferno and Digimon Adventure tri Chapter 1: Reunion next week. Then nemu*nemu: Blue Hawaii cartoonist Audra Furuichi noted on Facebook that there were a buncha anime movies on deck at the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Doris Duke Theatre. And then Funimation and Crunchyroll announced they were joining forces to create one huge Voltron-esque anime distribution machine, the Aiea Library Anime Club finally laid to rest my close-to-3-year-old “Polar Bear Café and Friends Club” running joke, and Shin Godzilla and Yo-kai Watch tickets for local screenings.
This, of course, came around the same time Marvel Tsum Tsum (for Android and iPhone!), Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice (Nintendo 3DS/2DS) Touhou Genso Rondo: Bullet Ballet (PlayStation 4) and Trails of Cold Steel 2 (Vita) were released, regular Tsum Tsum launched its “battle against Jafar” event for in-game items and a pile of Abu Tsums, and Ingress introduced a monthlong “Via Lux Adventurer” badge for agents who visit at least 300 new, unique portals this month. And, of course, I’m getting ready to fly out to the Big Island next week for whatever adventures await at HawaiiCon.
So, well, goodbye for a little bit, games. (You better show up when I get back, elusive Pokemon Go Dragonite.) It’s time to get to work. Because there’s a lot of anime and anime-related stuff to watch to watch over the next few months, and you’re going to want to know where to go to catch all of it.
Coming to theaters
Rurouni Kenshin II: Kyoto Inferno: Noted here more for completionists' sake, as both screenings at the Consolidated Ward theaters -- 7:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday -- are sold out online. Sorry about that.
Digimon Adventure tri. Chapter 1: Reunion: It's been 16 years since a Digimon movie made it stateside. Technically, what we got here in the U.S. wasn't even one movie; it was three movies mashed together, with about 40 minutes of content lopped off along the way. So here it is: the first Digimon feature to make the jump from Japan to the U.S. intact, with an English dub to keep those nostalgic feelings intact. It's the next chapter in the lives of Tai and the DigiDestined, who've finally made it to high school. The gate to the Digital World has been closed, too. But their lives are about to Digi-volve in a big way once again ... Regal Dole Cannery theaters, 7 p.m. Thursday.
Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie: Speaking of the whole "gotta catch 'em all" ethos, here's Yo-Kai Watch, featuring the adventures of Nate, the boy who can see otherwise invisible yokai everywhere, and his yokai companions Whisper and Jibanyan as they help wayward spirits with their problems. In this, the English-dubbed version of the first movie, the watch gets stolen! Oh noes! Nate and the gang must travel back in time with a new yokai, Hovernyan, to save the world. Those of you who collect Yo-Motion Yo-Kai Medals will want to pick up the Hovernyan medal, too, while supplies last. Regal Dole Cannery theaters, 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15.
Shin Godzilla (Godzilla Resurgence):As we continue to wait for any word on whether Evangelion 4.0: You Will (Not) Be Happy (or whatever the subtitle to that movie will be) has gone into production, Eva director Hideaki Anno's latest project is coming to theaters stateside. It features the return of everyone's favorite city-stomping giant lizard. And guess what -- the King of the Monsters isn't happy. Which means deliciously entertaining chaos and destruction are about to follow. Hold on tight, Tokyo. Consolidated Ward theaters, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, Oct. 11-13.
Honolulu Museum of Art's Japanese Cinema spotlight: More details to come in a future post for what's turning out to be a busy otaku October at the art museum -- I should know; I'm part of the programming -- but for those of you who want to get a head start and buy your tickets now, there are 13 Japanese movies screening at the Doris Duke Theatre. Five of them are anime:
>> Miss Hokusai (making its Hawaii premiere!), 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1
>> Paprika, 7: 30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25
>> Tokyo Godfathers, 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26
Tickets for Miss Hokusai are $25 general admission, $20 museum members, and includes preshow pupus from 6 to 7:30 p.m. (definitely go for the tenderloin with ponzu sauce if it's offered; I had some at the opening reception for the Takaya Miou manga exhibit, and that stuff was heavenly) and koto music from Darin Miyashiro. For the others, it's $10 general admission, $8 museum members.
Pokemon: The First Movie and Pokemon: The Movie2000: Tickets ($15 general, $12 museum members) aren't on sale yet for this double feature, but we do know this much: The First Movie is screening at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30, while The Movie 2000 will follow at 4:30 p.m. Also, I'm pretty sure someone will deploy Pokemon Go lures on the museum's two Pokestops at some point. Because everyone wants to catch more Pidgeys.
Elsewhere around town
Aiea Library Hot Swimmer Dudes and Friends Anime Club: We're in uncharted territory here, folks: a world where young adult librarian / Face of Hawaii Ingress (tm) Diane Masaki has run out of Polar Bear Cafe episodes to screen. So by popular demand, Diane will be screening episodes of Free! Iwatobi Swim Club for, umm, free. Kancolle will be continuing, too, for those of you who'd rather watch battleships personified as cute girls. At the library, 99-374 Pohai Place, where there's still plenty of parking and a giant sugar molecule out front, to boot. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or email email@example.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.
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. Next meeting is from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday in room 200. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/mangabento/
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, Sept. 18.