Archive for the ‘Cel Shaded’ Category

Ota-cool Incoming: The merry, merry month of May

April 29th, 2016
By



If April was the month of anime, with Kawaii Kon and Consolidated Theaters' Studio Ghibli Festival capturing the attention of local otaku, then May has to be the month where comic culture takes center stage. The Hawaii Comic & Toy Expo kicks it off, Amazing Hawaii Comic Con puts a nice little bow on it, and there's Free Comic Book Day and a smattering of comic artist appearances in between to keep us all busy.

But that's not to say it's all comics; anime/manga fans have some events to look forward to this month as well -- a new movie, idkwhat2wear's annual clearance sale and the return of an annual festival on Maui are just some of the events to look forward to in the next few weeks. I'll go into greater detail on some of these coming attractions in future posts, but there's a really busy weekend coming up, so let's get around to that right now:

Islandwide Spring Crafts and Food Expo: Otherwise known as "the craft fair where idkwhat2wear unloads ALL THE THINGS." See, every year there's one show where Karl Miyashiro and Terri Dux blow out their discontinued T-shirt styles at $6 per shirt. These are styles that usually sell for $19-$21 apiece, so yeah, that's a pretty healthy chunk of savings change. This photo posted to the idk Facebook page reveals they have ... oh, a few shirts.

13015602_10153367361886784_3389696133795402742_n

Please save Terri from impending cotton-crushing doom and buy some shirts; they'll be at booth 705. While you're at the show, go visit Kawaii Mono with their line of origami jewelry, charms and more at booth 408. Admission: $5 general, $4 military families and seniors ages 65 and older, free for children ages 13 and younger. (Be warned: With The Book of Mormon still at the concert hall and comedian Kevin Hart in concert at the arena Saturday and Sunday, parking in the neighborhood is going to be tight.) Blaisdell Exhibition Hall (777 Ward Ave.); 4-9 p.m. today, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

12799257_1038858139491309_3144862761216137121_n

Hawaii Comic & Toy Expo: Yes, there will be comics, toys and collectibles being sold by more than 40 dealers. But there will be special featured guests in the house, too. Guest of honor Scott Williams is a local boy and University of Hawaii alumnus who's worked as an artist and inker for Marvel and DC, frequently collaborating with talents like Jim Lee and Frank Miller. Joining him at the show will be local artists Jon Murakami, Kevin Sano, Christopher Caravalho, Andy Lee and HeadShot Heroes. Admission: $3. Ala Moana Hotel (Hibiscus Ballroom), 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center; this time around, they'll be in the center court on the Downtown side of the mall. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Also worth noting: The Friends of Aiea Library will be holding a book sale at the library (99-374 Pohai Place) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; there will be plenty of parking. And where there may not be anything directly related to otaku culture at this year's Hawaii Book and Music Festival, at the Civic Grounds near Honolulu Hale downtown, it's still worth checking out anyway. Because local literature and music never go out of style. That runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Elsewhere around town

Maui Matsuri: A kickoff celebration for Maui's annual celebration of Japanese culture -- featuring taiko performances, karate demonstrations, coloring contests and Hello Kitty -- will be at the Queen Kaahumanu Center (275 W. Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului) from 6:30 to 9 p.m. today. It's just a little taste of what will be happening a little over a week from now at UH-Maui College, with food booths, entertainment, and contests for cosplayers, video gamers and artists inspired by the anime/manga art style. Maui residents, go check out mauimatsuri.com and register for some of those contests now! Presented by the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui. Saturday, May 7, 2-9 p.m.

174851_848428_30

Free Comic Book Day: It's almost time for the Annual Comic Book Summer Blockbuster Movie to be released to millions of eager American fanpeeps (*cough*goTeamIronMan*cough*), which means it's also time for your annual enticement to visit your local comic book store/distributor of choice and pick up a whole stack of free books. Various locations statewide; Saturday, May 7.

Mother's Day: Don't forget about your mom. She helped shape you into the person you are today. Also, eat your veggies and don't slouch, dear. Sunday, May 8.

13063407_10154182303734529_7781381833196818440_o

Free Isabelo appearances: The founder of Live Free Die Free (LFDF) Comics; creator of The Contraptor, a steampunk-inspired tale about a Secret Service agent looking for his brother's murderer and the conspirators behind President Lincoln's assassination; and artist behind the "Steam Royals" series of pop culture icons reimagined with a steampunk twist will be appearing at Other Realms (1130 Nimitz Hwy, suite C140) on Free Comic Book Day and on Wednesday, May 18, and Enjoy Comics in Hilo (45 Pohaku St., unit 201) on Sunday, May 15. He'll also be at Amazing Hawaii Comic Con ... see below for some more details about that show.

Joe Rubenstein on Maui: The longtime artist/inker best known for his work on Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's four-issue Wolverine miniseries in 1982 and his inking on The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe for more than 20 years will be visiting Maui Comics and Collectibles in Kahului (333 Dairy Road, unit 102). Get your autographs and commissions there! Wednesday, May 18.

harmony_sPV02_006

Project Itoh: Harmony: In this theatrical anime being released stateside by Funimation Films, a mass suicide has rocked the globe, but there's something about the motives behind the event that seem eerily similar to what Tuan Kirie and her friends attempted when they were teens. Is her old friend Miach Mirie behind the deaths? And if so, how could she be, considering she supposedly died all those years ago? Hmm. Consolidated Ward Stadium 16 theaters, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, and Wednesday, May 18. (I must say, May 18 is shaping up to be a really busy day.)

Cosplay Figure Drawing: Join Mangabento's Devin Oishi as he leads a six-session series on figure drawing with a key twist: All of the models will be cosplayers. Students can cosplay and interact with the models as well. It's a fun, informative way to brush up on skills including visual measurement, selecting materials and anatomy. Cost: $150; preregister at https://secure.honolulumuseum.org/auxiliary/Reserve.aspx?p=260. Honolulu Museum of Art School (1111 Victoria St.), room 200; 6-9 p.m. Fridays starting May 20 through June 24.

Amazing Hawaii Comic Con: It's the second stop of the unofficial official Con-athon 2016! This year's edition may not have Stan Lee, but it does count among its guests Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, DC Comics everything extraordinaire Jim Lee, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman, and amazing/astonishing/uncanny/fill-in-your-own-adjective-here X-Men writer Chris Claremont. They're also targeting us otaku this year, with guests who've done voice work for Dragon Ball Z (Sean Schemmel, the voice of Goku! Chris Sabat, the voice of Vegeta! Chuck Huber, the voice of Android 17!) and Street Fighter. Hawai'i Convention Center, Friday, May 20-Sunday, May 22.

Ota-cool Incoming: Comic night for ladies, comic day for Hilo

January 15th, 2016
By



This week's showcase events in the Ota-cool Incoming roundup will, I confess, appeal/apply to only a fraction of you reading this post, namely:

  • Women and girls who can make it to a comic store in Mililani Mauka Saturday night
  • People living in or near Hilo or can make it out there Jan. 24

If neither of those interest you, please feel free to skip down to the "Elsewhere around town" section below, which is already filling up with a number of events in the next few weeks (and I'm already working hard on the Con-a-thon 2016 previews, to boot!). For those of you who are still around, though, there are a pair of comic-centric events worth noting.

ladies night

Out in Mililani Mauka, Dragon's Lair -- the best little comic and collectibles store in Central Oahu, according to me and cartoonist Jon Murakami's Instagram feed (seriously! all those pictures of cool things he posts! *grabby hands*) -- will be hosting its second Ladies Night from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Ladies, expect a night full of special discounts, snacks, gift bags and just a good time of hanging out with fellow geeky gals like yourself. Guys, Starbucks, McDonald's, Wing Stop and Taps & Apps are all available for your gathering purposes. Dragon's Lair is at 95-1840 Meheula Parkway, space E-10; call 597-6981 or visit facebook.com/dragonslaircomics.

enjoy comics flyer

Meanwhile, Hilo -- already home to tasty mochi, loco mocos, a candy store managed by an Ingress Resistance agent and awesomely cute Life is Wabi-Sabi cats -- now has its own comic store. Enjoy Comics has been open since late November, but they'll finally be hosting a formal grand opening on Sunday, Jan. 24, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The aforementioned Jon Murakami will join fellow local artists Bryan Makana Revell (The Unseen), Christopher Caravalho (Aumakua: Guardians of Hawaii) and DJ Keawekane (Exillion: Creed of the Knightenhawke) to sign their books and do sketches. There will also be giveaways and food, and probably special sales and other surprises, too. Enjoy Comics is at 45 Pohaku St., suite 201; call 955-3534 or visit enjoycomicshilo.club.

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 Fairy Tail.) Lately, she's just sent me this sticker in Google Hangouts.

meh_image

I'll keep trying, folks. At the library, 99-374 Pohai Place, where, yes, there's still plenty of parking. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or email aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.

Kawaii Kon Karaoke Competition preliminary round #1: So you think you can sing, and you're planning to go to Kawaii Kon this year? Give the annual Karaoke Competition a try. This year, all three preliminary rounds will be held at Nocturna Lounge, the video game/karaoke bar just downstairs from our editorial/advertising offices here at Waterfront Plaza/Restaurant Row. Top three singers from each preliminary round move on to the semifinals at the convention itself. The first-round fun starts at 3 p.m. Sunday; full details on what you need to do to prepare are available at kawaiikon.com/events/karaoke-kompetition/

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.

 

Ota-cool Incoming: I've been waiting for this day!

October 1st, 2015
By



Last week in Otaku Ohana: Your friendly neighborhood anime/manga/cartooning blogger jots down every known detail of every upcoming event he knows about. "Yay! That's done!" he says. "Now I can finally start working on those HawaiiCon and Amazing Comic Con wrap-up reports!"

This week in Otaku Ohana: The Honolulu Museum of Art, in conjunction with Kawaii Kon, announces its lineup for "Japanese Cinema Spotlight," a month's worth of Japanese film screenings at the Doris Duke Theatre -- including many popular anime and anime-related films screened in Honolulu this year -- as a way of leading up to a major exhibit on Japanese street fashion opening at the museum next month. Blogger weeps openly.

Indeed, local otaku, your busy October -- which, as you may recall from previous posts, includes an Anime Day, an Anime Ohana, Ingress First Saturday, a Gamer Expo, Boruto and live-action Attack on Titans, and of course National Cosplay Recognition Day Halloween, has just gotten even busier.

Thirteen films will be shown as part of the Spotlight throughout the month; the five relevant to our Otaku Ohana interests here are:

raaargh

Attack on Titan: Live-action humans taking on CGI Titans? Sure, the movies have been getting skewered by awful reviews, but you know what? We've been waiting for this day! (Hopefully with fixed subtitles. Sorry for your misfortune, San Francisco, but thanks for something that will be endlessly meme-able for a 24-hour cycle.) Part 1, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday; Part 2, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20, 22 and 27.

marnie

When Marnie Was There: Studio Ghibli's last film for the foreseeable future had a short run at the Hawaii International Film Festival's Spring Showcase in April, then a wider theatrical release in June. It's actually out on home video on Tuesday, but hey, the theater experience is always better, right? Based on the novel by Joan G. Robinson, the story follows Anna, a foster child and a bit of a loner who finds a mysterious new friend, Marnie, during a summer stay in Hokkaido. 1 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday and Oct. 10.

ushiko

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness: A documentary profiling Ushiko, the Studio Ghibli cat. Oh yeah, and you also get a behind-the-scenes look at Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki and directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata around the time they were working on The Wind Rises and The Tale of Princess Kaguya, respectively. My priorities may be reversed here. Because caaaaaaaaaaaat. 7:30 p.m. Sunday, 1 p.m. Thursday and 4 p.m. Oct. 10.

lovelive

Love 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. Now 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? 4 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Oct. 15 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28.

Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 for museum members. For tickets and a complete listing of films and showtimes (the original Godzilla is in there, too!), visit honolulumuseum.org/pages/15342-japanese_cinema_spotlight_2015

Elsewhere around town

"Japanese Mythology in Film": Japanese mythology is at the core of a new book by Yoshiko Okuyama, an associate professor of Japanese studies at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The book, Japanese Mythology in Film: A Semiotic Approach to Reading Japanese Film and Anime, takes a scholarly approach of analyzing films with such themes, including anime like Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, and the live-action Onmyoji, Onmyoji 2, Dororo, Mushi-shi and Departures. Join her for a talk on these topics -- and maybe more! -- at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Moore Hall room 258, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Friday. The talk is free and open to the public.

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. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.

Anime Day at Windward Mall: Everything you loved about Kawaii Kon's past Anime Days will be back for another round, including the Cosplay Runway, games, art activities (including the giant art wall!), discounted three-day passes for Kawaii Kon 2016, a selection of Artist Alley vendors (including artists Jon J. Murakami and Roy Chang, and 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. Saturday at the mall, 46-056 Kamehameha Highway. And, of course, admission is free!

Gamer Expo 2015: Remember when I said last week that the second annual edition of what's been called the state's largest video game event would be happening Saturday at the Modern Honolulu? Hit the giant virtual reset button on those plans, because now the event is taking place a full 25 hours later, from noon to 10 p.m. Sunday at the Ala Moana Hotel. Aside from that very-important-albeit-coming-at-short-notice change, everything else remains the same: 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. Professional cosplayers Leah Rose and Uncanny Megan will also be there! Presented by eSports HI; $25 general admission, $43 VIP pass.

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.

Keiki Courtyard Cinema presents My Neighbor Totoro: Twenty-seven years(!) after it was first released in Japan, the Hayao Miyazaki-directed tale of two girls and oh-so-huggable furry creatures of all sizes remains one of anime's most beloved showcases. For proof, let's go back to this year's Kawaii Kon Art Auction.

totoro01

This is "Flower Crown Totoro," a canvas print by Amanda Coronado. It sold for $270.

totoro2

This is "Green Totoro," a watercolor canvas print by Cari Corene. It sold for $300.

totoro3

This is "Totoro Trio Happy Days," a stack of plushies by I'm Sew Stuffed. It sold for $300.

... you get the idea. Popular. Eminently bankable. And it'll be screening for free at the Ward Village Courtyard -- the revamped area by the IBM Building -- as part of Ward's ongoing Courtyard Cinema series. A food truck will be there, free popcorn will be available, fun and educational activities will be going on ... sounds like a great time for the young and young-at-heart. Sure, it's the English dubbed version, but it's free Totoro. Come on. You have to love that. While the screening's free, tickets are required and can be obtained via the Hawaii International Film Festival ticket site, hiff.tix.com/schedule.aspx?OrgNum=2034&VenueCode=14757. Gates open at 6 p.m. Wednesday; film starts at sundown.

Anime Ohana: 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 so far this year. Oct. 9-11, Pagoda Hotel, 1525 Rycroft St. 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.

[Kawaii Kon 2015] Dawn of a new con era

March 26th, 2015
By



Day 0 program and badgeWell, folks, we made it to the fireworks factory. Again. We're standing here on Kawaii Kon Day 0, preregistration and dealer/Artist Alley load-in night, ready for another three-day weekend packed full of cosplay, entertainment, special guests from the animation industry and music world, panels, games and pretty much what you'd imagine otaku heaven to be like without actually moving to Japan itself. And there's your annual look at the convention guide and your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger's press credentials at right.

There's a bit of a different feel to this year, though ... and not just because registration ops has moved to the ground floor, next to the hall with the dealers room and Artist Alley. It's because this year, Kawaii Kon isn't just the big event on the local otaku community calendar, but the first event in a string of big events. As I mentioned in my post introducing Anime Matsuri Hawaii, it's a remarkable time to be a local fan of anime, manga, science fiction and/or comics, with Hoku Kon (July), Amazing Hawaii Comic-Con (September) and Anime Matsuri Hawaii (November) all on deck on Oahu, and HawaiiCon (September) on Hawaii island. I mean, heck, Amazing Hawaii Comic-Con unveiled its first four guests -- living legend Stan Lee and artists George Perez, Mark Kubert and Adam Bagley -- on Wednesday, and the shares pretty much lit up my Facebook feed all day.

But the people still show up at Kawaii Kon. Ohhhhhh, do they ever show up. Here's the sea of otakuness that descended on the convention for preregistration tonight, as seen from the escalators leading to/from the second-floor parking garage.

Day 0 lines

A final number will probably come at closing ceremonies as it has in previous years. By my estimates, though, there are about a bazillion people attending this year. Some of whom are even carting around replica basketball backboards.

Some last-minute notes as we head into this year's event:

  • The policy change that's generated the most social media discussion: For the first time, convention center staff will be checking for con badges on the ground floor, near the escalators to the third floor. That effectively ends the practice of nonpaying attendees lounging around the public areas outside the panel rooms, soaking up the atmosphere and taking pictures of their favorite cosplayers. It also makes complete sense from a security standpoint; as much as we'd like to think that the convention environment is a bubble world that protects us from all the bad things that go on outside, there are trolls out there who just want to come in and disrupt things for their own amusement, Besides, if you really wanted to socialize with your non-con-going friends, there's always Ala Moana Center down the street.
  • The Great Hawaiian Rubber Duckie Race, the annual fundraiser for United Cerebral Palsy of Hawaii that sends a swarm of yellow ducks down the Ala Wai Canal, is happening Saturday. (The ducks launch at 1:28 p.m. from the Kalakaua Avenue bridge, if any of you want to head down from the convention center and watch.) So is the Prince Kuhio Day Parade in Waikiki, traveling down Kalakaua Avenue between Saratoga Road and Kapiolani Park between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Expect heavy traffic congestion if you're aren't already at an area hotel and are going to be driving.
  • Kawaii Kon flyerI'm pleased to note that despite a vehicle plowing into the 7-Eleven at the corner of Atkinson Drive and Kapiolani Boulevard Wednesday evening, the store remains open (albeit a bit boarded up) and ready to sell completely out of all their bentos, nori rolls, musubis, hot dogs and whatever other prepared foods you can think of to hungry, budget-conscious con-goers on all three days. (If you go late, hope you like chewing on breath mints for your dinner!) As a bonus, if you have your badge, go to that store starting at 10 a.m. and are one of the first 200 people to do so on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you'll get a free limited-edition Kawaii Kon lanyard. Look for the flyer in-store that looks like the one at right -- psst, look above the hot-foods warmer! -- and scan the QR code for a chance to win a trip for two to Las Vegas. Winner will be announced at closing ceremonies on Sunday. (Bonus trivia note: The artwork for this flyer was drawn by none other than Jamie Lano. You might have heard of her.) There is also a large Naruto wallscroll hanging over the ice cream freezer, so you know they're into the mood.
  • Buy all the things in Artist Alley. All. The. Things. To go through and list-link everything I've seen crossing my Facebook news feed over the past few days would probably last me well past midnight, and I'd kinda like to get some sleep before stopping in at Jamie's drawing panel around 10 a.m.-ish Friday. Also of note: nemu*nemu artist Audra Furuichi's limited-edition 10-card set, the "Modern Kitsuke" series (color drawings of girls in kimono) for $25, which 39 of you must go out and buy immediately. Maybe fewer of you, if some of you buy multiples. But the 40th set must be miiiiiiiine.

Time to rest up. See y'all tomorrow for Day 1. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram, too (both @jsyadao) for all my spur-of-the-moment updates over the weekend ahead. It's gonna be crazy. But fun! But crazy.

Anime Matsuri Hawaii schedules post-Thanksgiving treat

March 16th, 2015
By



Anime Matsuri logoIt looks like 2015 will be the year you snarf down your turkey, brave the sea of humanity descending on various retail establishments for the sake of cheap TVs and bath towels ... and then turn around and attend an anime convention.

Anime Matsuri Hawaii -- they of the website countdown -- took a bit of time after that countdown expired to do some internal housekeeping, but they finally launched their website, hawaii.animematsuri.com, this afternoon. With that launch, we now know that the newest player in the local pop-culture convention scene will be operating out of the Hawai'i Convention Center during the first few days of the Christmas shopping season -- Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 27-29.

Some of the other highlights:

  • Heidi Shimada, who's been part of Yu x Me Maid Cafe & Host Club locally, is listed as Anime Matsuri Hawaii liaison. She's also been serving as Anime Matsuri's guest relations director.
  • Look for the standard anime con accouterments, including a Japanese fashion show, a tea party, a concert, a cosplay contest and a maid cafe. There's also going to be a car show; "AM Idol," a talent showcase equivalent to Kawaii Kon's Karaoke Competition; and "Club AM," a nightly rave running from midnight to 3 a.m. I just hope the car show's in a separate area from the convention proper, because the last time there was a convention/car show hybrid, it didn't really mesh well.
  • The first two guests listed on the website are cosplayers Stella Chuu and Reika.

Pre-registration prices for three-day passes have also been released; the sooner you get your passes, the better, of course. That page I linked to in the last sentence shows a table of increasing rates as the con nears, but here's what you need to know for now: Through April 15, adult passes will cost $40; the rate for groups of 10 or more people start at $35 per person; and the VIP-level Superpass, limited to 150 attendees, is $110. Passes for children ages 6-12 will be $20 through Oct. 15. Would-be vendors and Artist Alley sellers, we're still waiting for registration information for you.

Obviously, there's much more content to dig through, but I have a Kawaii Kon preview article that I need to write. Busy busy busy! A full press release is below. (3/20 note: Press release has been revised to the latest info.)

Houston, TX, March 20, 2015 – Anime Matsuri, the ninth largest anime convention in North America, is proud to announce the debut of its second convention. Anime Matsuri Hawaii (AMHI) will take place on November 27-29, 2015, at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. Pre-registration will open with the launch of the new convention’s website for individuals interested in purchasing their passes in advance.

Anime Matsuri is excited to bring the production value it offers to attendees of its Houston convention, out to Hawaii. AMHI main events will include a Japanese fashion show, tea party, car show, concert, cosplay contest, and Club AM. Also featured will be a maid cafe, various panels and workshops, vendors, industry guests, voice actors, and cosplay guests from all over the world. With this expansion comes many opportunities to provide unique experiences to individuals who are unfamiliar with the company, as well as the most dedicated fans. Anime Matsuri is fortunate enough to enjoy a fantastic community of attendees that it hopes to extend to AMHI.

“My husband, John Leigh, and I founded Anime Matsuri almost a decade ago. We have been privileged to be among the pioneers promoting anime and Japanese culture over the years, connecting people and companies in the East to the West. During a work trip to Hawaii a few years ago, we were astounded by the hospitality and general care that we received from complete strangers. Our growing friendship with the local communities in Hawaii have helped connect us to networks that have allowed us to expand our event. Thank you for this opportunity to further strengthen anime and Japanese culture in Hawaii. We look forward to working with existing organizations, cultural events, charities, local businesses, and fans to bring a new and unique experience to Hawaii,” said Deneice Leigh, founder and chairman of Anime Matsuri.

Anime Matsuri is an annual anime, Japanese culture and related arts convention based in Houston, Texas. We strive to bring the latest and greatest from Japan’s catwalks, anime studios, and concert stages to our own backyard here in the United States. Anime Matsuri’s inaugural event began in 2007. Since then, the convention has grown to over 19,000 unique attendees. With so many in attendance, we have recently made the George R. Brown Convention Center our permanent home. Here we will host our three-day festival on April 3-5th, 2015.