Archive for the ‘Cel Shaded’ Category

[Kawaii Kon 2015] Dawn of a new con era

March 26th, 2015
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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
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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.

 

Hop on the express lane to Kawaii Kon

March 6th, 2015
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kawaii-kon-logoAs of this post, we are now exactly three weeks away from opening day for Kawaii Kon 2015. That heavy sighing, whimpering and sobbing in the corner that you might be hearing right now? That's coming from anyone directly involved with the anime con -- staff members, vendors, Artist Alley artists, photographers, cosplayers, friendly neighborhood anime/manga bloggers -- who read that first sentence and realized that they are so very much not ready.

But it's coming, this song is playing in the backs of our minds, and someone out there, someone has to be looking forward to March 27, when our anime addiction as a crazed community united flares anew for three days at the Hawai'i Convention Center. So let's take a deep breath and take a look at some recent con-related news highlights:

A new guest! A famed Animaniacs trio is now complete with an announcement that came earlier this week. Sorry, it's probably not that trio that you're thinking of ... Tress Macneille, the voice of Dot Warner, still isn't coming. But the writer behind a bunch of classic Animaniacs episodes and songs, Randy Rogel, is coming. Not only is this Rogel's first visit to Kawaii Kon, he's also the first Emmy award-winning guest to attend; he won Daytime Emmys for Animaniacs in 1996 and 1997, and Batman: The Animated Series in 1993. I'd expect live performances of "Yakko's World" and "Wakko's America" are pretty much locks now.

Honolulu Festival graphicA preview of what's to come! The Honolulu Festival, the annual showcase of Pacific Rim cultures, is happening this weekend, and Kawaii Kon, as always, will be sharing space among the kids' games, entertainment, food and craft booths and art displays at the convention center from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. This is your final chance to pick up a three-day pass at a discounted rate ($50 general, $40 children ages 5-12). MangaBento will bring art activities and photo booth cutouts; there will also be games, activities and prizes galore. Stick around Waikiki on Sunday for the Grand Parade down Kalakaua Avenue starting at 4 p.m. and the offshore Nagaoka Fireworks show starting at 8:30 p.m.

GR 10th coverA 10th anniversary preorder! Has it really been 10 years since the adventures of Hawaii's hapless hero Gordon Rider, drawn by Star-Advertiser "Calabash" cartoonist Jon Murakami, debuted on a whiteboard sitting in Mechahawaii in Kaimuki? Yes, it has, and time flies, and I'm starting to feel really old again. To celebrate the milestone, Jon's releasing a 10th anniversary art book -- 100 full-color pages filled with tributes by 70 artists including "Luann" artist Greg Evans, "Winged Tiger" artist Phil Yeh, and "Heavy Metal" and "Elephantmen" artist Axel Medellin. (Lorenzo Trinidad, son of late great Star-Bulletin cartoonist Corky Trinidad, showed me what he submitted for the book the other week. It looked pretty sweet.) Copies are $30 and will be released on the con's first day, March 27; preorder now at www.jonjmurakami.bigcartel.com, and not only can you pick up the book at Jon's Artist Alley table, you'll also get a bonus 2.5-by-3.5-inch sketch card. Also available for preorder there: Issue 8 of the Gordon Rider comic, for $5. (Can't make it to con? You can also have those mailed out to you.)

A free-stuff reminder! You have a state library card, right? Of course you do, because while you're doing the newish-media thing and reading this blog, you also appreciate good old-school print media as well. Anyway, do not forget to bring your card to con, because you can bring it to the library table in Artist Alley -- it'll be in the same area as Jon's table and Michael Cannon's Artildawn offerings! -- and get free stuff. You'd think it would be a no-brainer by now, but you would not believe how many people I've seen that don't have one while I've been sitting in with Aiea young adult librarian Diane Masaki at that table. Kids these days, I tell ya.

Flash mini con to benefit ailing anime fan

February 26th, 2015
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TJ fundraiser bannerWhenever an event pops up for anime/manga fans, it doesn't spring forth fully formed overnight. It takes a number of people -- staff members, volunteers, vendors, individuals/groups within the fan community -- to make something happen. Sometimes, one has the luxury of having many months to prepare for an event. Other times, one has to turn around an event in a matter of days.

This is a post about the latter kind of event. Last Friday, Kawaii Kon senior administrator Roy Bann sent along word to several groups that there was going to be a fundraiser to help a terminally ill anime fan, Tristan "TJ" Fernandez. The date for the event: this Saturday.

TJ, 14, has an inoperable brain stem tumor. From the Fernandez family's GiveForward page for TJ:

In October 2014, after a checkup with his pediatrician, TJ was rushed to Kapiolani Hospital for Children to undergo an immediate CAT scan. Results showed he had a mass at the base of his brain. The next day, he had an MRI done. Tears flowed as it showed the mass was on his brain stem. The word "inoperable" repeated over and over. No biopsy possible, no removing, no stopping, only slowing it down. TJ went through 30 days of radiation and 10 chemotherapy sessions thereafter. Even after suffering many seizures, a tracheostomy, and enduring countless check ups, he is still braving the pain and continuing to fight.

TJ's only wish was to go home to his room. His parents were finally allowed to do so but along with taking their son home, they also needed to take home all the machines he needs to stabilize his body. They now have the worry of not only their son's health but, the hospital bills, a home care nurse, and all the machines needed for him to remain home.

TJ loves anime; his favorite shows include Terra Formars, Naruto and Bleach. Hospice Hawaii approached Kawaii Kon officials with the idea of hosting event similar to the con's annual Windward Mall Anime Day as a way of raising funds for the family, and the deal was sealed rather quickly.

So here we are: The Fundraiser for TJ Fernandez, an impromptu mini-con on the road to Kawaii Kon in about a month, is happening from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Pearl City High School Cafeteria. Games, entertainment (including music, a dance troupe and taiko drummers), food and giveaways will be the fare for the day. There's also going to be a silent auction, and artists from Comic Jam Hawaii will be there with drawing activities. Cosplayers, as always, are welcome (family-friendly attire, please); there's a group photo shoot scheduled for 1 p.m.

The school is located at 2100 Hookiekie St. in upper Pearl City; here is a handy campus map I took from the PCHS website, to which I added a few annotations. (Click through for a larger version of the map.)

PCHS map revised

I'll probably stop by for a bit; hope to see at least some of you whom I know there. Can't make it? Please consider donating a few dollars to the GiveForward donation drive, which hit its $10,000 goal earlier today but could always use some extra love. Visit www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/5xk7.

Ota-cool Incoming: Be my guest, be my guest

February 18th, 2015
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One of the first things the powers that be in journalism school tell students is that every story you write should have a compelling first few paragraphs, or lead grafs, that draws readers in to a story. This edition of the Ota-cool Incoming! calendar, quite frankly, doesn't have that compelling lead, because there are only so many different ways one can say, "Wow! It's been really busy here at Otaku Ohana Central! I haven't been able to write as much as I'd like! Oh noes!" before you, dear reader, start thinking, "Yeah, yeah, whatever, blogger boy, enough gabbing about yourself, get to the news already."

So ... umm ... guests! Coming to various local events! There were a few announcements made in recent weeks, and here they are!

Toru Furuya

Best known for: Being a dream guest for old-school anime fans. Consider his resume: Tuxedo Mask in the original Sailor Moon. Amuro Ray in the Gundam franchise. Pegasus Seiya in Saint Seiya. Yamcha in Dragon Ball Z. Kyosuke Kasuga in Kimagure Orange Road. That's an impressive body of work if you loved anime in the '80s and '90s.

Appearing at: Kawaii Kon, March 27-29. Three-day passes are available online for $53 ($44 children ages 5-12) through March 14 at www.showclix.com/event/3817763/listing. And if you have some extra piles of cash around the house, I'd still like some there's still a VIP Package for one person ($750) and a VIP Package for two people ($900) available. As far as hotel rooms are concerned, the cheapest room rate at the Ala Moana Hotel, the $135/night Kona Tower rooms, are already sold out for Friday and Saturday night, so you may want to get on that ASAP as well.

Range Murata

IMG_0126Best known for: If you've ever watched Last Exile; its sequel, Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing; and/or Blue Submarine No. 6, you've seen this artist's work. You've also seen his work if you were among the three or four people who bought the Robot series of art books, first from Digital Manga Publishing (DMP), then from Udon, then not at all, since the U.S. release was canceled after the fifth volume out of 10, ostensibly due to low sales. His Like a Balance Life art book is available digitally for $6.99 on the iTunes App Store.

Appearing at: Kawaii Kon, March 27-29.

Kyle Hebert

Kyle HebertBest known for: He's the voice of Kiba in Naruto, Kamina in Gurren Lagann, the older version of Gohan and the narrator in Dragon Ball Z and Ryu in the newer Street Fighter games. He was also supposed to be the guest of honor at last summer's Taku Taku Matsuri before a pair of approaching hurricanes ended up postponing it. And, of course, he's the subject of an interview I did with him aaaaaaaallllll the way back in August that I still haven't gotten around to transcribing. (I blame regular work duties, both Candy Crush games and the Ingress Resistance.)

Appearing at: The newly announced Otaku Summer Festival, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23, at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu, 1239 Olomea St. The festival will also include the return of the AniMaid Cafe, entertainment, carnival games, food and … perhaps … more? Stay tuned. In any case, admission will be free.

Other ota-coolness

Aiea Library Polar Bear Cafe and Friends Anime Club: I've joked with young adult librarian Diane Masaki that she ought to change the name of the Anime Club to the Polar Bear Cafe and 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 action-y," as she puts it. At the library, 99-374 Pohai Place. Have I ever mentioned that there's plenty of parking now? Because there is. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or email aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.

Kawaii Kon volunteer staff general meeting: If you were interested in working as a staff member at this year's convention, this is your last chance to fulfill your required meeting quota. First-timers, don't forget to bring $30 cash (or $50 if this is going to be your first and only general meeting) to pay for your badge, refunded once you're reached your hours-worked requirement. Kakaako Waterfront Park, 11 a.m. Saturday. Details on volunteer requirements (as well as the necessary forms) are available at kawaiikon.com/information/staff/faq/.

Naruto the LastThe Last: Naruto the Movie: The moon is getting closer to the Earth, meteorites threaten to rain down on the planet, and Hinata's younger sister, Hanabi, has been kidnapped. Can Naruto and the gang save everything in time? I certainly hope so. At Consolidated's Ward Stadium 16 complex, noon Saturday and 7 p.m. Monday; both screenings will be in Japanese with English subtitles. You'll also be able to nab a free commemorative poster while supplies last. Tickets are $15 each; here's Saturday's screening, and here's Monday's screening.

Anime Swap Meet: Hosted by Kawaii Kon, this opportunity for local otaku to buy and sell assorted preowned collectibles from one another will be part of the 25th Annual Hawaii Collectors Expo at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Interested in buying? Admission is $5 or free to those with valid military ID ... or, as Courtney Kubanek at Kawaii Kon noted in the comments on my last post, cosplayers can also get in free.

Sample of Moyoco Anno artworkMoyoco Anno at the Honolulu Museum of Art: The artist behind works including Flowers & Bees (Viz), Happy Mania (Tokyopop), Sugar Sugar Rune (Del Rey), Sakuran, In Clothes Called Fat and Insufficient Direction (all from Vertical Comics), and Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen, Buffalo 5 Girls and The Diary of Ochibi (available digitally from Crunchyroll Manga) will be appearing at the Honolulu Museum of Art from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday for a talk (starting at 10:45 a.m. in the Doris Duke Theater) and art demonstration (starting at 1 p.m. down the street at the Honolulu Museum of Art School, room 200). Her appearance is in conjunction with the museum's "Modern Love: 20th-Century Japanese Erotic Art" exhibit, on display through March 15, which, God willing, I'll have some kind of post about later this week.

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. Next meeting is from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday in room 203; note that the first hour of the meeting will overlap with the Anno art demonstration (which members are encouraged to attend). Visit www.manga-bento.com.

The Anime portal keyRandom Ingress Portal of the Post: Speaking of anime-inspired art, meet "The Anime," a portal that caught my eye when I was walking around the neighborhood surrounding Punahou School during Carnival weekend. Judging by its position on the in-game map, it's a piece of art hanging somewhere in the halls of the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children; where exactly it is, I have no idea, seeing as how the last time I was at Kapiolani was when I was way too young to remember anything about my time there. The portal is reachable from Bingham Street, though, so swing by and pick up a key sometime. And keep it green, of course.

Kawaii Kon Karaoke Competition preliminary rounds: So you think you can sing, and you're planning to go to Kawaii Kon this year? Give the annual Karaoke Competition a try. There's one more preliminary round on March 15 at Nocturna Lounge, the video game/karaoke bar just downstairs from our editorial/advertising offices here at Waterfront Plaza/Restaurant Row. Sign-in for that starts at 3:30 p.m., with singing starting at 4 p.m. Full details on what you need to do to prepare are available at bit.ly/Karaoke_Prelims.

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, March 1.