Archive for the ‘anime’ Category

Otaku culture goes Worldwide (Pants)

September 24th, 2014
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For a good chunk of years now, CBS has been home to two Worldwide Pants-produced late night talk shows: The Late Show With David Letterman and The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson. During that time, guests from a variety of walks of life have graced the stages of the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York for Letterman and the CBS Television Studios in Los Angeles for Ferguson. TV and movie stars are a given. And, of course, there's The Manga Cookbook and Hatsune Miku.

... wait, what?

Indeed, in what seems to be a total booking coincidence, two properties with ties to anime/manga fandom will make their way to the same mainstream American broadcast TV station within a span of a month. Earlier this month, the Manga University-published cookbook, which features recipes for Japanese dishes from chef and registered nutritionist Yoko Ishihara coupled with illustrations by Chihiro Hattori, showed up on the lectern of Ferguson's cyborg sidekick, Geoff Peterson. The two even bantered about it during the show's ending "What Did We Learn on the Show Tonight, Craig?" segment:

manga cookbookAccording to Glenn Kardy, Manga University publisher, the story of The Manga Cookbook's journey to the show began back in April, when Ferguson announced he would be leaving The Late Late Show in December. Kardy subsequently tweeted the following on Manga University's Twitter account:

Those of you who follow The Late Late Show know that Ferguson has joked in the past that "Super Happy Fun Time Hour With Robot and Old Man" is what his show's called in Japan.

Let's let Kardy take the story from here, as told to me via email:

I guess he took notice, because he started following Manga University on Twitter. Which meant I could now send him a private message. And I knew just what I wanted to ask.

Every night on the show, a different book can be seen atop the lectern where Ferguson’s sidekick, the robot-skeleton Geoff Peterson, stands. I’d always thought how cool it would be to see a Manga University book there. Now I had my chance. I contacted him to see if he’d help us get a book onto his show. And he agreed!

I chose to send him “The Manga Cookbook” because I thought he’d find its quirkiness appealing. So, I knew that the book was going to be on the show, but I had no idea Ferguson would actually talk about it on the air.

Kardy was "blown away" by the mention. "His comment was priceless — 'I like this. This is like Pokemon for hungry people,'" Kardy said. "He also tried to teach Geoff how to hold the chopsticks, which  was hilarious. I couldn’t have asked for a better script!"

Sales of the book -- which you can buy on the Manga University website, by the way -- have been robust since the book's appearance.

"Now, if I can only figure out how to get “The Manga Cookbook” an appearance on 'The Big Bang Theory' …" Kardy said.

Meanwhile, over on The Late Show, the most famous of the virtual Vocaloid superstars is scheduled to perform on Oct. 8, ostensibly to promote "Hatsune Miku Expo" events in New York, including an art exhibit running Oct. 9-19 and a concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom Oct. 17-18. (There's also a concert and a Halloween party Oct. 11-12 in Los Angeles.) Now, I'm really curious to see what kind of reception Miku gets -- unless I'm mistaken, I'm inclined to believe that most of the younger audiences who understand her appeal are more inclined to watch The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, or Jimmy Kimmel Live!, or Conan O'Brien's show on TBS. Whatever happens, though, I'm sure it'll be quite entertaining.

Kawaii Kon reaches out to Oni-Con Hawaii attendees

September 14th, 2014
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This post is coming to you from Otaku Ohana Mobile HQ, a different room at the Ala Moana Hotel than in April, yet with the same lovely view of the yacht harbor between the Hawaii Prince Hotel and another building, the name of which I still wouldn't be able to tell you without Googling it first.

kawaii-kon-logoThe last time your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger stayed here, as you might have figured out if you deigned to click on that link above, was for Kawaii Kon. This time? It's just a humbler staycation retreat, some time to relax and catch up and plot out a few more work-intensive posts for down the line. And yet somehow, Kawaii Kon has managed to generate some news that's drawn me back to the keyboard sooner than I expected. It feels somewhat ... appropriate, in a way.

On Sunday afternoon, Kawaii Kon posted a rather lengthy update to its Facebook page. The big big news, which I won't be going into much detail here because we barely have enough time to cover all things anime/manga/cartooning, never mind adding sci-fi to the mix, is that the dates for sister sci-fi spinoff Hoku Kon have been set. The preview day will be Dec. 7 at the Doubletree Alana Waikiki's Pikake Room, while the full convention is happening July 24-26 at the Hawai'i Convention Center. (Side note: I haven't really heard anything bad coming out of the just-completed first edition of HawaiiCon, the sci-fi convention on Hawaii island held over the weekend, so it looks like we may have another winner there. They have dates for next year, too: Sept. 10-13.)

But then there's the matter of the final two paragraphs, which directly addresses the silent elephant in the room on the local convention scene: Oni-Con Hawaii. Right now, given what we've seen in May (original post here, reactions here) and in August, I'd be very surprised to see anything emerge from the brand this year ... or ever again, for that matter. Here's what Kawaii Kon had to say about the situation:

On another note, last year when we heard that Oni-Con Texas expanding their convention to Hawaii under the title of OniCon Hawaii, we wished them the best of luck in their new adventure. As a first year convention, OniCon Hawaii did an admirable job overcoming many challenges. Right now it looks like there may not be another OniCon Hawaii this year and we think that is unfortunate for the fans. As much as a convention puts in work to make a successful event, the fans too put in a lot of effort and planning as well. 

While we don’t have any contact with the main organizers of OniCon Hawaii, we at Kawaii Kon wanted to see if there was anything we could do for the fans that were looking forward to OniCon Hawaii 2014. What we came up with was this: If you pre-registered for OniCon 2014 and bring proof to our Windward Mall Anime Day on October 11, 2014 we will give you a free DVD (while supplies last).

So, would-have-been Oni-Con attendees (or even those of you who've been keeping an eye on this whole situation from afar): What do you think of the offer? I'd love to hear your reactions, whether in comments below or over on Facebook.

Ota-cool Incoming: Mini con carnival, 2014 edition

September 5th, 2014
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August was a month dominated by news about anime movies, with three of them -- Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, My Neighbor Totoro and Naruto: Road to Ninja -- arriving in the state. This month, news tidbits about small anime-related events have been filling my "what to talk about in Otaku Ohana" inbox (well, that and that interview with Kyle Hebert that I talked about a few posts ago, which I'll finally get around to transcribing when my birthday staycation kicks in around the middle of next week ... fingers crossed). Here's what's happening in coming weeks ...

cristina veeThe first stop on our tour of mini cons is a return visit to Taku Taku Matsuri, where organizer Yuka Nagaoka has found a new guest of honor for her event postponed from August: voice actor Cristina Valenzuela, better known as Cristina Vee. (That's her on the right.) Some of Vee's more prominent anime roles include Mio in K-ON!, Homura in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Rei/Sailor Mars in Viz's new Sailor Moon English dub, and Alisa Bosconovitch in Tekken: Blood Vengeance. She's also voiced various characters in video games including the BlazBlue franchise, Skullgirls and Ar Tonelico. This will be her first con-related visit to Hawaii.

Summer Taku Taku Matsuri: In Fall! is happening Sat., Nov. 22; the GoFundMe campaign with $10 presale tickets and $20 ticket/T-shirt packages will run through Oct. 25 at www.gofundme.com/dbi0fc.

This week, details also began emerging about the fifth annual Mini Con, the anime con in the handy petite size at McCully-Moiliili Public Library. Library manager Hillary Chang's rounded up her by-now standard roster of all-star artists ready to meet and greet patrons -- Gordon Rider artist Jon Murakami, nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi, Crazy Shirts designer and Kikaidaverse fan artist Kevin Sano, and the Hachi Maru Hachi creative crew. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sat., Sept. 27, at the library, 2211 S. King St.

Audra designed a set of virtual flyers that double as mobile phone wallpapers; click the thumbnails below to download art from, from left, Jonathan Pinches' "You Are Not Alone" (from Hachi Maru Hachi vol. 3), Jon and Kevin.

WP14-HMH1-Mobile WP14-JJM-Mobile WP14-KS-mobile

Last but certainly not least is Kawaii Kon's third annual Anime Day at Windward Mall in Kaneohe. Nothing really new to report on this front, but I'd still imagine Kawaii Kon's usual assortment of games, art events, cosplay contests, free anime screenings and a mini Artist Alley will be the order of the day. You'll probably be able to get discounted three-day passes for next year's convention (March 14-16) as well. The latest news on that can be found on the Facebook event page, https://www.facebook.com/events/912506692099432/.

Other Ota-coolness

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 globe portalRandom Ingress portal of the post: If you missed the first installment in this new recurring feature in all my "Ota-cool Incoming!" calendar posts, here's my profile of the portal "Ringy Dingy." Today's spotlight: "Down Town Pearlridge Globe."

Those of you who have been around at least as long as I have remember a time when the two halves of Pearlridge Center were called "Phase I" and "Phase 2." I'm not sure when exactly it happened, but there was some point where someone probably said, "Hey! Let's make this center more contemporary and stuff!" So the side anchored by Liberty House and JCPenney became "Uptown Pearlridge," and the side anchored by Sears became "Downtown Pearlridge." Uptown was the more distinguished, sophisticated side. Downtown was the side with a splash of urban flair, all neon signs and a giant video screen hanging over that side's central hub. And the monorail ... well, I'm sorry, but that thing looked like what happens before and after someone ingests certain mind-altering substances, with half of it looking like a yellow taxicab and the other half covered in splashy, colorful graffiti.

Well, the monorail's all one uniform design now, the screen's gone, and you'd be hard-pressed to find much distinguishing the two sides. This Ingress portal, stationed right around where Comic Jam Hawaii regularly meets, features one of the leftover relics of the era. It's usually well-contested, but if it's a Comic Jam Sunday, you can pretty much expect the Face of Hawaii Ingress (tm) will be making it Resistance blue. After which someone else will come along and make it Enlightened green again. Circle of life, people. Circle of life.

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. Sept. 14.

10636109_561435233979790_6832920851635999729_nArashi in concert: Tickets are still available to see the five-member boy band in concert at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 19 and 20 at Ko Olina's Naia Lagoon 3, and they're still $150 per ticket ($75 for children under 15)? Or would we be better off heading over to Shirokiya and its pop-up Arashi Shop to get  and calling it a day? Pick them up exclusively at Ticketmaster.com, and be sure to check out Tom Moffatt Productions' Facebook event page to see all the rules and procedures involved. (Key elements to note are that there's a four-ticket limit, sales are limited to customers in the United States and Canada, and you're going to have to bring the credit card you used to order the tickets to the show itself.) Don't want to shell out that much, or can't make it to the concert? The pop-up Arashi Shop is open now at Shirokiya, featuring CDs "and other items not normally available in Hawaii."

Kikaider Reboot screenings on Oahu: Shotaro Ishinomori's tale of the android Kikaida and his battles against Professor Gill and DARK has been revamped and prettied up for a new generation, and Honolulu -- home to some of the most die-hard Kikaida fans on the planet -- will be the first place people in North America can see it. (Yes, I know we're on a rock in the middle of the Pacific, thousands of miles from North America. But the Kikaider Reboot USA Facebook page is calling this the "North American Premiere," so I'm running with that.) The film will be running for a week -- Oct. 10-16, to be exact -- at Consolidated's Ward Stadium complex. Showtimes have yet to be announced, but here, have an English-subtitled trailer to tide you over until that info comes through.

Ice, ice buckets, baby

August 27th, 2014
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Unless you've been living in an all-things-media-related black hole for the past few weeks (in which case, welcome back to civilization, I'm happy you've chosen Otaku Ohana as your reintroduction to society), you've probably heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It seems like pretty much everyone in the Internet-connected world, from ordinary people to celebrities like Kermit the Frog and George W. Bush, is being doused with buckets of ice water or eventually will be called out to do the same. (Some people, of course, have done it better than others.) By the time you read this, the total amount raised in the name of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, research is likely to be very close to, if not already over, $100 million.

Granted, you may already be burnt out on seeing people do Ice Bucket Challenges. The world moves at Internet speed these days, which means many of us have already moved on to discussing what Hello Kitty is if she's neither a cat nor a human girl. (I'm going to say she's the same species as the Warners, Yakko, Wakko and Dot -- cute.) But if you're still up for watching a few more videos, several members of our local community have posted some in the past week or so. Click the screengrabs to watch the videos:

A bunch of Kawaii Kon staffers took the challenge; the video is a compilation of their efforts.

kawaii kon IBC

MidWeek cartoonist / Cacy & Kiara author took the challenge as well, adding a plug for the Hawaii Foodbank in the process.

roy IBC still

And then there's "Calabash" cartoonist Jon Murakami's video, a two-minute live-drawing treat.

jon IBC still

Your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger, meanwhile, has not been challenged to do the Ice Bucket Challenge. It's for the best, because (a) I usually turn into a stuttering mess on camera, ice water poured on me would only make that worse and no one would want to see that; and (b) if I was called out to do it, I'd prefer to go the Patrick Stewart route. All I can say is, if you have a favorite cause, whether it be ALS research or something else, if you have a few extra dollars to give to it, please do so. A lot of people need a lot of help out there.

 

The second second coming of Taku Taku Matsuri

August 22nd, 2014
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taku taku matsuri logoOne 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.

This year, Taku Taku Matsuri was scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 9. It promised 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. But the tournaments were quietly dropped, DJ E2D pulled out ... and then the dual threat of Hurricanes Iselle and Julio took care of the rest.

The show, however, will go on. Yuka said as much, announcing a new date -- Saturday, Nov. 22 -- along with a new rallying cry, "We will make it happen." But there's still the venue, activities and higher costs to deal with. As she told me before, 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 Second Annual Taku Taku Matsuri crowdfunding campaign comes in. If this all sounds familiar to you, you're right; we're looking at another $2,000 funding goal to reach and more $10 pre-sale tickets and $20 ticket/T-shirt bundles available, albeit this time on the GoFundMe platform instead of Kickstarter. The change removes the nail-biting element from the first campaign -- Yuka told me she switched because she gets to keep whatever she raises regardless of whether the goal is met by Oct. 25, unlike Kickstarter's all-or-nothing approach.

But the importance of hitting her goal remains.

TTM November teaser"If I don't get enough, as before, it'll come out of my pocket and/or me trying to get a business loan from a bank," she told me via email. "Sadly for attendees, this may result in me having to hike up the entrance fee, even for people that supported us on Kickstarter and GoFund."

Those of you who bought in during the Kickstarter campaign, don't worry: You don't have to give any more during this round. Yuka will honor all tickets sold during that campaign. For those of you who chose the $100 perk, she's also trying to book a replacement guest that will be able to make a special meal appearance as well.

Which brings us to the other unknown about Summer Taku Taku Matsuri in Fall: who, if anyone, will fill the "guest of honor" slot. It's already been confirmed that Kyle Hebert will not be returning for the make-up event (stick around for a bit of Otaku Ohana-related news about that at the end of this post, though). Yuka's trying to find a replacement guest, but with three months between now and the event itself and many other conventions and events being booked with guests far in advance, she's not sure she can pull it off.

Several artists and craft vendors have had to pull out of the rescheduled event as well, most likely because the new date is in the heart of the lucrative holiday craft fair season. So if you're an artist or vendor looking for some exposure, spaces are now available.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/taku2matsuri or email taku2matsuri@yahoo.com.

Ota-cool incoming!

10636109_561435233979790_6832920851635999729_nArashi in concert: Judging by my Facebook friends' timeline, the arrival of five-member boy band Arashi for concerts at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 19 and 20 at Ko Olina's Naia Lagoon 3 is a Pretty Big Deal. Is it worth paying $150 per ticket ($75 for children under 15)? Or would we be better off heading over to Shirokiya and its pop-up Arashi Shop to get CDs "and other items not normally available in Hawaii" and calling it a day? We'll find out starting Saturday, when tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. exclusively at Ticketmaster.com. Be sure to check out Tom Moffatt Productions' Facebook event page to see all the rules and procedures involved; the key elements to note are that there's a four-ticket limit, sales are limited to customers in the United States and Canada, and you're going to have to bring the credit card you used to order the tickets to the show itself.

Aiea Library Anime Club: It's back! The new conference room is really nice! And as I'll probably point out until the library moves to a new location, there's plenty of parking! This month, young adult librarian Diane Masaki is screening Appleseed: Alpha, the latest computer-animated film in the franchise directed by two-time Kawaii Kon guest Shinji Aramaki. At the library, 99-374 Pohai Place. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.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.), room 200. Visit www.manga-bento.com. Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Random Ingress portal of the post: With Ingress arriving on iOS, it's now available to almost everyone with a smartphone (sorry, Windows Phone and Blackberry users). I think it's about time to introduce this new recurring feature to the Ota-cool calendar.

Let's start with this portal.

Ringy Dingy

Yes, ol' Ringy Dingy is actually Pass Loop Doraemon from my statue cat-alog earlier this year, located on the third floor of Ala Moana, in the Nordstrom wing. Please note that while Doraemon is blue, his portal should be green. Just sayin'.

Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie: Screening Sunday, Aug. 31 at noon and Monday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Ward Stadium 16 theaters on Oahu and the Kaahumanu 6 theaters in Kahului. Tickets are available on Fandango.

Anime Day at Windward Mall: Kawaii Kon is back for its third year of mini-con craziness across the Koolaus. I'd imagine more details will be released in coming weeks, but I'd expect art events, cosplay contests, free anime screenings and a mini Artist Alley to be part of the day. Also, it's coinciding again with Star Wars Reads Day, which makes Diane sad because she can't go again this year. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11.

Coming up in Otaku Ohana

As I mentioned earlier, Kyle Hebert won't be coming back for Summer Taku Taku Matsuri in Fall. He did, however, make it down to Hawaii. Two people got to sit down with him for formal interviews while he was here. One of them was Kell Komatsubara, as part of his ongoing "Ramblings About Something Close to Nothing" video blog series.

The other? Your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger.

Kyle Hebert: The Otaku Ohana interview. (Still) coming somewhat sorta soonish. (Hey, transcribing audio recordings are hard when you have a bazillion other things to do. Sigh. Sob.)