In case you're wondering what happened to my post from earlier this morning previewing the Taku Taku Matsuri Summer Festival, scheduled for Saturday at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii: I've pulled it from the blog on account of the event being postponed due to possible effects from Hurricanes Iselle and Julio. Here's the formal statement from organizer Yuka C. Nagaoka, posted earlier this afternoon:
!!! Attention !!!
With public transportation becoming transportation to emergency evacuation locations, Hospitals shutting down, and all the chaos happening, I have made the decision to cancel taku taku Matsuri on August 9th, 2014.
I have thought this through for the pass few hours, and I find that, for everyone's safety, this is the best decision.
BUT DO NOT WORRY!!!!
I have rescheduled with the venue. I will make this happen.
So, you know what?? STAY TUNED FOR MORE UPDATES!!!!!
Please everyone, please be safe. With many many Mahalos and Alohas, Yuka C. Nagaoka
I'll repost any updates here as I get them. For now ... well, people in-state (particularly those of you on Hawaii island), shelter in place and stay safe. Those of you out of state ... pray for us.
With 149 days left in the year and no news on where, if anywhere, Oni-Con Hawaii 2014 will be held since the last time I wrote about it, the chances of the convention actually taking place this year are becoming increasingly remote, if not entirely unlikely.
Regarding Oni Con Hawaii.
My apologies for the length.
I have remained largely silent about Oni Con Hawaii and the Hawaii Japanese pop culture convention scene for the past many months, partly because of a personal family loss, partly because I've had no official access to the various social media sites and email channels we setup for OCH 2013, and partly at the request of intermediaries who told me that a second year of OCH was being planned.
If this message is deleted from the OCH page, please share with others that it is also posted on my personal Facebook page.
First, I want to give a long overdue thank you to all of those who worked so hard to make OCH 2013 successful beyond everybody's expectations. I know you all sacrificed a lot and I truly appreciate everything you did. It was a great honor and privilege for me to, literally, work along side such awesome people as the members of our "Team O.H.A.Y.O."! I wish I could have done something for you, but unfortunately, the needed support from the mainland that I was promised never materialized. OCH has cost me, personally, in several ways, just to insure the inaugural convention happened at all, and unfortunately, I can currently do no more than offer you my humble, heartfelt, and long overdue thanks. Not being able to do more than that is one of my biggest regrets.
It is unfortunate that OCH never received the resources and support that were promised us and should have been provided at the outset, from Texas, but despite the lack of that support, our Hawaii 'ohana came together to create a first-year convention that was incredibly successful. Of course there were issues and things that could and should have gone better, but all things considered, we did what most thought couldn't be done. We were told by the convention center that OCH went much more smoothly in it's first year than others did after several years. This I attribute to our awesome staff, our wonderful partners, vendors, and artists, but mostly because of all the great fans who attended. I've been told that a convention is only as good as the fans make it, and I truly believe that to be the case. In my opinion, Hawaii has the best fans, anywhere, bar none!
I wish I could tell you exactly what was up with OCH, but I do not know what Texas has planned, as I've had no direct contact from them. I had heard, a couple of months ago, that they would be having another event and would honor the pre-registrations taken at OCH 2013, however, you may want to consider seeking a refund. That's up to you. I had heard of one case where someone tried to get a refund from a credit card company (I believe it was VISA) who refused to refund them, citing the reason that the "event had already occurred." Of course that is not the case, and if it would help anyone at all who wishes to have their charges reversed on the credit card they used to pay for the $20 pre-reg, I would be more than happy to speak with your credit card company, as the chair of the first year of OCH and verify with them that the event you paid for, OCH 2014, never happened.
Hawaii really needs another Japanese pop culture convention to bring our local fans what they deserve. We've grown far beyond one annual event for this genre. The unprecedented success of OCH 2013 proved how true this is. Although there are some visionless people who, unfortunately, can't understand this and continue to foster an "us or them" mentality, I feel the exact opposite is true.
Diversity fosters creativity and growth. As chair of OCH 2013 and the "new kid on the block", I reached out to try to make this happen, but ultimately, my efforts were fruitless. My philosophy, from the beginning, was for conventions here to work together for the common good of all. First and foremost, these events should be for the benefit of Hawaii's fans; the fans shouldn't be used for the benefit of the event.
We deserve better and shouldn't always have to go to the mainland to get it. It can be a total win-win situation, if you have leadership that has the clarity of vision to see it and understand it. I am hopeful an established mainland convention with local name recognition that gets it, one with commitment and integrity to make this happen, will emerge and bring Hawaii what it deserves. I know our fans will support any event done right. Hawaii is the perfect place for better such events and I can totally see us having conventions that offer our local fans, as well as those from our Asian, Pacific, and mainland neighbors, exactly that.
I look optimistically towards a better and brighter future. See you out there!
This would normally be the part where I say "I've reached out to OniCon for a response," but seeing as how they never responded to my prior inquiries, I feel any further outreach from me would be moot. But if I see any formal response comes from OniCon in coming days, I'll post it in this blog.
Back when I was in my formative years as an anime fan in the early 2000s and wanted to get out to watch anything animated coming out of Japan, it wasn't easy to catch anime in theaters. The Hawaii International Film Festival had a few, and on occasion one or two might have shown up at the Varsity or Wallace's Restaurant Row art house complex (anyone remember when those were actual things?) (of course you do; I mean, wow, some of you reading this are old enough to remember the older Japanese theaters, which is way cool), but those were few and far between.
The month we're entering now shows just how much things have changed. This month brings word of three anime features screening in local theaters this month, including -- whoa! -- the first time I can recall in a longtime, if ever, that several Hawaii island theaters are included in a limited-run anime screening.
The film that's getting this relatively widespread distribution is Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, otherwise known as "that Dragon Ball Z movie for which they were carrying around the poster everywhere Ryo Horikawa, the Japanese voice of Vegeta, appeared during Kawaii Kon 2013." Here he is with panelists Lisle Wilkerson and Pali Kaaihue ... and that poster.
One of the gods of Battle of Gods is Beerus, the God of Destruction who has the power to make everyone drunk and post incriminating selfies of themselves on various social media outlets. (A portion of that last sentence may be more what I imagine a character described as "Beerus, the God of Destruction" to be and not reflect reality.) Beerus is on his way to Earth, which means it's up to you-know-who to input his "God mode" cheat code and face him.
... no, of course it's Goku. Much screaming and KAMEHAMEHA~!-ing and sock-biff-powing and explosions will likely ensue, and ... well, you probably know what you're in for with a Dragon Ball Z-series movie, so you're either already eager to check it out or moved ahead to look at the details of the My Neighbor Totoro screenings a bit further down.
So when can you see Battle of Gods? The first big day is Tuesday, when four theaters -- Consolidated's Ward Stadium 16 complex on Oahu and the Kaahumanu 6 complex in Kahului, and Regal's Makalapua Stadium 10 complex in Kona and Prince Kuhio 9 complex in Hilo -- will be showing it at 7 p.m. The Kona and Hilo theaters will also have screenings at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets for those screens are available on Fandango.
The film then moves on for an longer run starting Aug. 9 at the Honolulu Museum of Art's Doris Duke Theatre. The showtimes:
Sat., Aug. 9: 1 p.m.
Sun. Aug. 10: 5 and 7:30 p.m.
Tues., Aug. 12 through Thurs., Aug. 14: 1 and 7:30 p.m.
Around the middle of this month, Consolidated's Kahala 8 theaters will host screenings of My Neighbor Totoro as part of the ongoing "GKIDS: Animated World" seriesof animated features "for kids of all ages" ... which I just learned about while writing this post Thursday night, so I'm a bit sad about missing features like The Secret of Kells, A Cat in Paris and Tales of the Night.Totoro will screen Sat. Aug. 16, at 11 a.m., Mon., Aug. 18, at 3:30 p.m. and Tues., Aug. 19, at 11:30 a.m.; presale tickets are available now on Fandango.
Finally, for you Naruto fans, your favorite orange jump-suited ninja and his friends are back for their latest big-screen adventure, Road to Ninja -- Naruto the Movie. It's a movie that seems to hearken back to his roots; here's the synopsis:
Long ago, a mysterious masked shinobi unleashed the Nine-Tailed Fox onto the Village Hidden in the Leaves to spread chaos and destruction. But the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, and his wife Kushina Uzumaki sealed the Tailed Beast into their newborn son Naruto to save the village, foiling the shinobi’s plan.
Years later, Naruto and his friends succeed in driving away the infamous Akatsuki, who have mysteriously returned from the dead. Upon returning to the village, the young shinobi are praised by their families for completing a dangerous mission. Reminded of how alone he is, Naruto begins to wonder what it’s like to have parents, when a strange masked figure appears before him – the same masked shinobi responsible for the death of his parents!
Road to Ninja has thus far been confirmed for screenings at the Ward Stadium 16 theaters at noon Sun., Aug. 31, and 7 p.m. Sept. 1; tickets for the Aug. 31 showing are already available on Fandango.
Also this weekend
Get Pop-Cultured at Barnes & Noble: Another weekend, another set of artist appearances and Kawaii Kon-hosted activities at the Ala Moana store. The fun kicks off Saturday at 1 p.m. with appearances by MidWeek cartoonist/Cacy & Kiara and the Curse of the Ki'i author Roy Chang and artist Theo Lee (one of the featured artists in our Sakai Project profile (subscription required to read) on Sunday!). That will be followed by cosplayers dressed as Marvel Comics characters at 2 p.m.; Kawaii Kon's "Iron Cosplay" costuming-on-the-fly event at 3 p.m.; and Comic Jam Hawaii's Marvel sketch session at 5 p.m., where artists will draw various characters and the pieces will be raffled off to lucky patrons at the end of the hour.
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.
As for last weekend ...
Remember that Kids Inc. Business Showcase I wrote about in my last post, where I highlighted Joelle Lee and her "Joelle's Custom Artwork" booth? I swung by Windward Mall and commissioned her to draw a caricature of me, and boy, did she ever deliver. I happened to be wearing a chibi Attack on Titan shirt at the time, so she drew me as one of that series' soldiers.
And here's Joelle herself with the finished product.
I liked the drawing so much, I've been gradually uploading it as my new avatar on pretty much all the social media networks I've been frequenting. (Except Instagram. I kinda like that "me with Doraemon plushie" look.) I would highly recommend getting something from her if she sets up another booth sometime in the future ... I'll definitely try to keep tabs on when/if she makes another appearance.
When you've been writing columns and blogs about the local anime/manga/cartooning community for as long as I have, you tend to fall into a rhythm when writing about certain recurring items.
It used to be that way with events taking place at Aiea Library: throw in a mention that the event was the brainchild of young adult librarian Diane Masaki; add where the library was located (99-143 Moanalua Road); submit column to editor or push "publish" button on blog; wander off to enjoy a nice strawberry smoothie with tapioca pearls somewhere. Heck, it was reliable to the point where the place was even Ingress portal-ized.
Well, as of last Saturday, that's no longer the case. Meet the new Aiea Library, now a left turn and an up-the-street-past-Aiea-Bowl-and-its-yummy-lemon-crunch-cake away from the old location.
Our reporter Leila Fujimori and photographer Bruce Asato wrote about last Saturday's grand opening in Sunday's paper (subscription required). But this is Otaku Ohana, where you want to know about what really matters about the new library, like how the manga shelves look. (They're quite compact.)
Or where the anime collection is. (It's near a pillar with a Comic Jam Hawaii "Chibi Heroes" card-poster.)
Or whether local events like Kawaii Kon and Taku Taku Matsuri already have informational postcards available.
Or -- perhaps the most important detail of all -- if there's more parking.
I swung by on Wednesday to check out the place and get all those pictures above, and everything has that nice, new library sheen to it ... and yes, there is more parking than the old library, and it is glorious. (Gonna miss seeing all those chickens wandering around nearby, though.) That parking will come in handy Saturday as the library hosts its first big event since the grand opening: Batman Day, a celebration of 75 years' worth of Caped Crusader adventures. (Yes, anime/manga fans, a Batman event totallycounts as something worth mentioning here, too.)
Young adult librarian Diane Masaki (See? There's that auto-fill instinct kicking in again ...) has a full day of activities planned, including:
Cosplayers dressed up as various characters from the DC Universe will be wandering around for photo ops starting at 10 a.m.
Artists from Comic Jam Hawaii will be drawing Batman-related artwork on 11-by-14-inch sheets at noon; at 1 p.m., the pieces will be raffled off to attendees.
A special Comic Jam Hawaii session will be held starting at 1 p.m. Join in and draw with some of Hawaii's top cartoonists!
Aiea Library is now located at 99-374 Pohai Place; for more information, call 483-7333.
Also this weekend
Kids Inc. Business Showcase: I've been keeping an eye on the work of teen artist Joelle Lee; she (along with proud mom Lisa, on her behalf) has posted samples of her work on the Comic Jam Hawaii, and ... well, it's hard to describe exactly what I like about her artwork, but I just know that I really like it. (I think that's one of her self-portraits I've posted to the right.) I see a bright future for her, that's for sure.
Windward Mall recently held a public vote to choose a dozen young entrepreneurs (ages 6-15) to set up shop in the mall's center court and sell merchandise and services for a few hours, and Joelle was one of the kids voted in. She'll be drawing chibi portraits at her booth, "Joelle's Custom Artwork," from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Stop by, say hi, and support her and the other young businesspeople.
Kawaii Kon's "Caramelldansen" flash mob:Dance to the beat, wave your hands together / come feel the heat, forever and forever / listen and learn, it is time for prancing / now we are here, we're Caramell Dancing ...
If you could (a) tolerate listening to that entire song and (b) want to do that little dance in the aisles of Barnes & Noble Ala Moana for a few minutes, then Kawaii Kon staff wants you to join them for their flash mob at 2 p.m. Sunday. It's part of the store's ongoing "Get Pop-Cultured" campaign running through Aug. 10; other events in the campaign coming soon include appearances by artists Roy Chang (1 p.m. Saturday), Cheryl Nagata (1 p.m. Sunday) and Devin Oishi (4 p.m. Sunday). Cosplayers from the League of Shadows group will also be with Roy starting from 1 p.m. Saturday.
Oh yeah, and while you're there, take advantage of the store's "Buy 2, Get 1 Free" sale on Viz manga. Deadman Wonderland, Naruto, One Piece, Vampire Knight and oh-so-many-more titles are on sale through Aug. 10.
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.). This time around, they'll be meeting in room 202 instead of their customary room 200. Visit www.manga-bento.com. Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The Sakai Project profile: It's a thing. It'll be in Sunday's paper. Tag-team partner Wilma J. and I worked countless hours to write it. Please pick up a paper or spring for digital subscriber access to read it.
To preview what we were in the middle of writing about, I picked up copies for ourselves on Wednesday, the first day the book was available for sale. Of course, the first thing I had to look for was the piece by the lone Hawaii artist featured in the book, nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi. Now, you have to realize that while this book grew from a planned 100 pages to 160 pages, not all the art featured could get a full page. A number of pages feature two or three art pieces. Everything still looks gorgeous, of course, in a glossy, full-color 9-by-12-inch hardcover book; just a bit more compact.
Audra's piece was one that got a full page. That's hers on the left.
Go pick up a copy at your local comic book store (only $29.99! Plus some stores offer discounts!). All proceeds from book sales go toward helping pay for Sharon Sakai's medical bills. You'll want to see Sunday's article for the full story behind the book, though. It's quite inspiring.
The 2012 anime series K was one of those series that went completely under my radar. Seriously, if there was any chatter about it on my social media networks amid all the talk about Sword Art Online, Free!, Attack on Titan, Kill la Kill and a whoooooole bunch of other series, I missed it. It was only this morning that I learned that K streamed on Viz's Neon Alley online service, it was a 12-episode series, and it sounds like one of those "innocent average bystander-type person gets sucked into a wide-ranging conspiracy that involves a murder, his uncanny resemblance to someone tied to that murder, and oh yeah, there's some entity behind the scenes manipulating everything, too" shows.
The movie that continues the story, K: Missing Kings, opened in theaters in Japan last week. And now, since we're living in the age of instantaneous digital subtitling, we're getting it courtesy of Eleven Arts at the usual theaters: the Ward Stadium complex on Oahu and the Kaahumanu 6 theaters in Kahului. Here, have a trailer.
And here's the official description:
Based on the hit anime K, K MISSING KINGS picks up where the series left off. Featuring the same director and scriptwriter as the series, this movie brings the characters that you’ve grown to love in the same spirit of action, honor, and loyalty. K MISSING KINGS also sees the return of popular voice actors such as Daisuke Namikawa, Daisuke Ono, and Tomokazu Sugita, reprising their roles for the first time on the big screen.
The story starts some time after the Island Academy Incident, in which four of the seven great Kings crossed paths. Since this time, silver clansmen Kuroh Yatogami and Neko have been searching for their master, Yashiro Isana, the Silver King. Their search having turned up fruitless, the two begin to give up hope, until they encounter Anna Kushina and Rikio Kamamoto, two members of the red clan HOMRA being chased by someone.
Showtimes at both theaters are at noon Saturday and 7 p.m. Monday. Can't make those screenings? The Doris Duke Theater at the Honolulu Museum of Art will be showing it in October. Exact dates will be announced down the line.
Also this weekend
Get Pop-Cultured at Barnes & Noble: With this month bookended by Anime Expo in Anaheim Los Angeles at the beginning of it and Comic-Con International in San Diego toward the end, it's pretty safe to say that this month is a pop-culture paradise. It's probably with that in mind that Barnes & Noble created their "Get Pop-Cultured" celebration, kicking off nationwide today and running through Aug. 10.
So it was a given that the last of the big-chain bookstores on Oahu would be taking part as well. And that store, in Ala Moana near the Satellite City Hall and a freshly opened Jack in the Box, is jumping in in a big way starting Saturday, with an appearance by Gordon Rider/Star-Advertiser "Calabash" cartoonist Jon Murakami at 11 a.m. and Kawaii Kon hosting a Cosplay Runway event at 2 p.m. Cosplayers, show up in costume on Saturday and get a coupon for a discount at the in-store cafe as well. Other events are planned through Aug. 10; I'll write about those next week when I have more time to do so.
Taku Taku Matsuri WATER GUN FIGHT!!!!: Bring your water guns and some food for a potluck and come on down for a fun day at the beach. Also featuring tryouts for the Taku Taku Matsuri Summer Festival Talent Show and a mini Cardboard Brawl. More details at the Facebook event page. Ala Moana Beach Park, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
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, Downtown Pearlridge side, near the escalators to the theaters and food court.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu at the Waikiki Shell: There are still tickets available, although you might want to bring a poncho, considering the forecast is for heavy rain from the remnants of Tropical Storm Wali. The concert starts at 5 p.m. Sunday; details in my last post.