Archive for the ‘anime’ Category

'Kikaider' reloads; 'Kaguya' comes in

October 16th, 2014
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kikaider reloadedIt seems a bit gauche for me to be going into full chatty blogger mode when there's a tropical storm/likely Category 1 hurricane bearing down on our island home and something else I'll talk about in a moment, so here are the highlights from what was supposed to be "Otaku Film Feast-ival Part 2."

>> Kikaider Reboot had its run on Oahu extended; the movie will now be screening at Consolidated's Kahala 8 theaters for a week starting Friday. Of course, the schedule is likely to change in case Kahala Mall decides to close in advance of Ana, but for now here are Fandango's listed showtimes.

>> On Tuesday, film distributor GKIDS revealed that Studio Ghibli's latest film to be translated for U.S. audiences, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, will be opening for a limited engagement at the Kahala 8 starting Oct. 31. Exact showtimes have yet to be posted, but I'll update you on that whenever I'm able.

And now, a quick housekeeping note: This post is dedicated to the memory of my grandma, Virginia Yadao, who died Tuesday night at the age of 88. (To answer the likely follow-up question: I'm doing fine now, probably because I've had many other things on my mind, but I'm definitely bringing a pile of tissues to the funeral next week.) I'm going to be taking a few days off from blogging, but I hope to be back to write about the films of interest to otaku at the Hawaii International Film Festival by late next week. In case I take longer than that to return, here's the list of films I'm keeping an eye on so you can buy your tickets now:

Stay safe until then, folks.

And the Windward skies bring cosplay vibes to me

October 10th, 2014
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anime dayI'll get back to part 2 of the otaku film feast-ival next week, but for now there are more pressing matters at hand: namely, there's an Anime Day coming up at Windward Mall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and, aside from how I've said that a) it's totally a thing and b) those of you who preregistered for Oni-Con Hawaii will want to bring proof of registration to pick up your free DVD, I haven't had a chance yet to fill in some of the finer details about it.

As has been the norm for the past forever now, I don't think I got around to posting pictures from last year's festivities, so here are a few images that show off what you can probably expect to see this year. Here's the crowd gathered around the mall's center stage ...

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... some Naruto charms being sold by our columnist following the business buzz around town, Erika Engle ...

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... someone playing Dance Central on a Kinect-enabled Xbox 360 ...

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... the always busy art wall ...

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... and participants in the Iron Cosplay contest.

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This year, professional cosplayer Leah Rose will be presiding over the festivities at center stage, with activities including:

11 a.m.: Anime ID
11:30 a.m.: Iron Cosplay
1 p.m.: Pose-Off Challenges
1:30 p.m.: Spin-the-Wheel!
2:30 p.m.: Cosplay Runway
3:30 p.m.: Stamp Rally winners announced and final announcements

KK stamp cardMany of those games/events have been run at various other events; Anime ID, however, is debuting here. As for that Stamp Rally: Pick up a card (a facsimile is at right), collect stamps from the six retailers listed (Gyu-Kaku, Animation Magic, Hot Topic, Gamestop, Journeys, Spencer Gifts) and turn it for the chance to win fabulous prizes! (What those prizes are haven't been mentioned yet, but I'd be very surprised if one wasn't a free three-day pass to Kawaii Kon 2015.)

Other Anime Day notes of note:

  • The vendors room -- again across from Glow Putt Mini Golf on the second floor, in what I think was the old Suncoast Video space -- will feature a number of local crafters, including Gordon Rider/Star-Advertiser "Calabash" cartoonist Jon Murakami and idkwhat2wear.
  • Artists can participate in a number of activities as well. Roy Chang, MidWeek cartoonist, Aiea Intermediate art teacher and keeper of Pepe the chihuahua, will offer tips on improving art at his portfolio review booth. Comic Jam Hawaii is hosting the sketch wall, while MangaBento will have tables with coloring and craft worksheets.
  • You can preregister for Kawaii Kon 2015, too!

For the latest info on all things Kawaii Kon, visit www.kawaii-kon.org or www.facebook.com/kawaiikon.

Oahu's otaku film feast-ival (part 1 of 2)

October 2nd, 2014
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Back in January, three theatrical anime releases made their way to Hawaii: Evangelion 3.0, Madoka Magica: Rebellion and Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie.

"Okay, this is as good as it gets," I remember thinking at the time.

A few more films trickled in here and there in the ensuing months. Then in August, another set of three movies showed up: Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, My Neighbor Totoro and Naruto: Road to Ninja.

"Okay, fine. This is as good as it gets. Really," I remember thinking at the time.

Now there's October and November, and … well, folks, we've finally hit the fireworks factory. If you were to count the various pieces of Ghost in the Shell: Arise as separate entities, 12 theatrical anime releases were screened in local theaters between January and September.

This month and next month, eight anime, five live-action movies based on manga, the Kikaida revival, a documentary about Studio Ghibli and the Japan-flavored Disney animated feature Big Hero 6 are due for screenings. Indeed, these months will have more otaku film content crammed into it than the rest of this year combined.

Two film festivals are driving most of this boom. The first, "Hello Tokyo!" starting Saturday and running through Oct. 12 at the Honolulu Museum of Art's Doris Duke Theater, is the anime-heavy one; the 34th annual Hawaii International Film Festival from Oct. 30 through Nov. 9 will be bringing the live-action love (and Big Hero 6 a few days before its scheduled wide release on Nov. 7). Bridging the two will be Kikaider Reboot, screening Oct. 10-16 in the Ward Stadium 16's Titan XC auditorium. In this post, let's take a look at the Art Museum's offerings and the new Kikaider movie.

'Hello Tokyo!'

Single tickets are $10, $8 for museum members; the Ghost in the Shell marathon is $25 general, $20 museum members. Visit honolulumuseum.org/14657-hello_tokyo for more information and ticket links.

ghost in the shellThe Ghost in the Shell marathon: To screen all the elements of the Ghost in the Shell would take far longer than one night would allow, so this marathon hits just the essentials: the 1995 classic directed by Mamoru Oshii, which introduced the future world of Tokyo Public Security Section Nine and cyborg Major Motoko Kusanagi to moviegoers, and three out of four parts of the 2013 prequel series Ghost in the Shell Arise, which ... well ... introduces the future world of Tokyo Public Security Section Nine and cyborg Major Motoko Kusanagi to viewers, except before the movie as far as the franchise's timeline is concerned.

You have one shot to catch all of this in one place, and that's on the film festival's opening day on Saturday. Ghost in the Shell screens at 2 p.m., followed by Arise Border 1: Ghost Pain at 4 p.m. and the Arise Border 2: Ghost Whispers Arise Border 3: Ghost Tears combo at 6:30 p.m. There's also an opening-night reception between Arise showings, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., featuring entertainment, games, and sales of bentos and beverages (both of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic variety). Cosplayers, you're invited to come on down as well. To get in to the reception, just buy a ticket for the marathon or, if you can't fathom sitting through all of that, for either of the Arise screenings.

If you can't make it to the marathon, Ghost in the Shell will be shown by itself at 1 p.m. Oct. 11 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12.

RoadToNinja NarutoTheMovieRoad to Ninja -- Naruto the Movie: Your favorite orange jump-suited ninja and his friends are back for their latest big-screen adventure again after a two-day limited engagement earlier this year at the Ward Stadium 16 theaters. As a reminder, 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!

Screening at 4 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

K Missing Kings posterK: Missing Kings: Another film playing a return engagement in Honolulu -- this one showed up on Oahu and Maui for two days in July -- this extension of the anime series K continues the story of seven kings who rule over their clansmen on an Earth different from our own. Again, a synopsis refresher:

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.

Screening at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and 1 p.m. Oct. 9.

WELCOME-TO-THE-SPACESHOW-pic-2Welcome 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 this movie sounds familiar, then you probably remember that HIFF screened the film back in 2010. (Here's my review in Honolulu Pulse.) Space Show's return comes via GKids, which will also be releasing the film on DVD and Blu-ray on Oct. 14. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, 1 p.m. Wednesday and 4 p.m. Oct. 11.

patema-invertedPatema Inverted: The titular character is a princess who finds everything she thought she knew about life turned upside down one day. And I mean that quite literally; this is a story of two people who live in societies separated by opposing gravitational forces. It's up to her and the student she meets, Age, to figure out exactly what it is that's keeping their worlds apart. This, along with Ghost in the Shell Arise Border 3: Ghost Tears, is making its Hawaii debut. Screening at 1 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11 and 4 p.m. Oct. 12.

Kikaider Reboot

kikaider rebootIt's the movie so big, it merited its own breakout section in this roundup. (Well, that and the fact that it's the only one being screened independent of any film festivals.) In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Kikaida in Hawaii, JN Productions/Generation Kikaida is bringing the cinematic revival of Shotaro Ishinomori's classic character to Hawaii -- and North America, for that matter -- for the first time. The cast may be different -- Irie Jingi plays Jiro/Kikaider here, although original actor Ban Daisuke does return here in a new role -- but the story remains the same: A cyborg with a Conscience Circuit crafted by the late Dr. Komyoji is tasked with protecting the doctor's children, Mitsuko and Masaru, and their knowledge that is key to completing the ARK Project.

Tickets for reserved seating in Ward's Titan XC auditorium are $15.25 general, $12.75 children ages 3-11, and $12.25 seniors ... and if you click through Fandango's ticket page, there are still plenty of tickets available for the film's Oct. 10-16 engagement. (Don't procrastinate for too long, though.)

While we're talking about Kikaida 40th anniversary celebrations, I should also mention that another Kikaida Day is taking place at Shirokiya at Ala Moana Center from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday. You can try your luck at winning tickets to a private screening of Kikaider Reboot, buy new merchandise, get autographs from Ban Daisuke, meet Kutmaster Spaz of Dis N Dat and enjoy all the usual accoutrements of Kikaida Days past: Kikaida-oke, costumed superheroes wandering around for photo ops, DVD giveaways and free balloons.

Next time in Otaku Ohana: The Otaku Ohana guide to the Hawaii International Film Festival. There's a Studio Ghibli documentary!

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.