By Jason S. Yadao
There was a time, back in the "before your tag-team partners in fandom existed and/or were aware of such things" days, when there were local theaters with names like Toyo and Nippon that regularly screened Japanese movies for eager matinee audiences.
The Toyo Theatre, sadly, has been demolished, replaced by a rather nondescript credit union complex. The Nippon, well, info on that one's harder to come by; I think it used to be on the corner of Beretania and Keeaumoku streets, where a gas station sits now, but don't quote me on that. The point is that we've reached that point in the modern day where we can look back on that time -- usually with a sepia-tone filter, perhaps with a song like Kyu Sakamoto's "Ue o Muite Arukou (Sukiyaki)" playing in your mind as a "HEY! NOSTALGIA~!" cue a la From Up on Poppy Hill -- with a wistful longing for that bygone era.
It's with that in mind that the Honolulu Museum of Art, in conjunction with its incoming exhibit Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor, will be hosting "The Sword and the Screen: A Summer Samurai Film Festival" later this month, spotlighting films by noted directors Akira Kurosawa, Kihachi Okamoto and Masaki Kobayashi at the Doris Duke Theatre. And to sweeten the deal for local anime fans, Kawaii Kon -- in its second collaboration with the art museum, on the heels of the successful two-night run of the Madoka Magica movies in February -- will be screening select episodes of Samurai 7 before most of these movies for the price of absolutely free.
Now, you're going to have to pay to see the movies themselves. You'll also have to pick up the DVDs or Blu-rays or find some (legal!) streaming sites to finish up the rest of Samurai 7, but you could conceivably catch almost the entire first half of the series on the big screen for free. Of course, if you really want to score some extra good karma points, you'll pay to stick around and catch the classic samurai movie that will screen afterward. (Plus you get $2 off the ticket, so you can see what normally would be a $10 movie for the museum member price, $8. Good times.)
Episodes 1 and 2: Sat., June 22, 2:30 p.m. (before Samurai Rebellion at 4 p.m.) and 6 p.m. (before Kill! at 7:30 p.m.)
Episodes 3 and 4: Sun., June 23, 2:30 p.m. (before The Hidden Fortress at 4 p.m.) and 6 p.m. (before Harakiri at 7:30 p.m.)
Episodes 5 and 6: Tues., June 25, 6 p.m. (before Samurai Rebellion at 7:30 p.m.)
Episodes 7 and 8: Wed., June 26, 6 p.m. (before Yojimbo at 7:30 p.m.)
Episodes 9 and 10: Thurs., June 27, 6 p.m. (before Kill! at 7:30 p.m.)
Episodes 11 and 12: Tues., July 2, 6 p.m. (before The Hidden Fortress at 7:30 p.m.) and Wed., July 3, 6 p.m. (before Sword of Doom at 7:30 p.m.)
If your schedule only allows for early afternoon screenings and you don't need to see the anime, you can catch 1 p.m. showings of Kill! (June 25), Sword of Doom (June 26), Yojimbo (July 2) and Harakiri (July 3) There's also the classic Kurosawa film that inspired Samurai 7 in the first place, The Seven Samurai, which will kick off the film festival at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 21, with an opening reception from 6 to 7:30 p.m. (Seven Samurai tickets are $15 general admission, $12 museum members; food from Nippon Bento also will be available for purchase in the lobby.)
All of this, as I mentioned earlier, is linked to an exhibit running in the museum proper of pieces that include full suits of armor, helmets, warrior hats, face masks, long and short swords, daggers and rifles -- 63 works from 30 master craftsmen in total, ranging from the 13th through the 20th centuries. The exhibit just opened on Thursday and runs through Aug. 18; general admission is $10 adults, $5 children ages 4-17 through June 30 (after that, children up to age 17 get free admission). And hey, if you're in the area between June 16 and July 14, why not head around the corner to check out the MangaBento exhibit at the art school? (Details on that in Ota-cool Incoming! below.)
The Doris Duke Theatre is at 901 Kinau St.; the art museum at 900 S. Beretania St. For more information on the films and exhibits, visit www.honolulumuseum.org.
("***" indicates entries added this week.)
Visual Kei Dark Castle presents "A Tribute to Malice Mizer": Celebrate the music and the style of the '90s visual kei band fronted at one time by Gackt. Dress up in your best Malice Mizer-inspired or goth-lolita outfit, and you could win a $50 certificate to Tea Farm Cafe. Cover is $5 for those 21 and older; $10 for those 18 to 21. Loft Gallery & Lounge in Chinatown, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday.
Tomo-E-Ame: Friends-Drawings-Candy: MangaBento's 2013 exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art School (1111 Victoria St., room 200); final art submissions (in any media) will be accepted Sunday in the art school's mezzanine gallery. Opening reception is on June 16, and the exhibit itself runs through July 14.
Anime Manga Society at UH-Manoa: Meetings during Summer Session 1 (through June 28) in Kuykendall Hall, room 306. Screenings TBA. Fridays, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Aiea Library Anime Club: This month, librarian Diane Masaki is screening Summer Wars at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail email@example.com. 3 p.m. Saturday, June 15.
Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists is on the road again for its second meeting in June, heading to Aiea Library (99-143 Moanalua Road) to put their own spin on the young adult summer reading program theme, "Beneath the Surface." They're taking July off, so this will be your last chance to jam with a bunch of talented artists for a while. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 22.
***Friends of the Library of Hawaii 66th Annual Book Sale: Every summer for about a week, the McKinley High School cafeteria turns into an oasis for fans of classic media like books, CDs, DVDs, videotapes ... you know, all that stuff that people say the digital age is steamrolling over. Cherish the classics and support the Friends, I say. FLH members get two days' worth of preview sales, June 20 and 21; Hawaii State Federal Credit Union members can join in on the preview sale fun on June 21; for the rest of us, the sale runs June 22-30. Visit www.friendsofthelibraryofhawaii.org/index.php/fundraising/annual-booksale and start planning your trip.
***Dave Thorne Celebration of Life: Remembering the life and work of the "father of Hawaii cartooning" with a gathering at Bay View Golf Course (45-285 Kaneohe Bay Drive). July 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Taku Taku Matsuri: A summer festival with an anime/manga slant at Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu. Aug. 25.
Oni-Con Hawaii: Featuring guests Yuko Ashizawa, a fashion designer with Atelier Pierrot, and the return of Nobuo Uematsu and the Earthbound Papas in concert. Also featuring the Cosplay Chess Brigade and Yu x Me Maid Cafe & Host Club. Preregistration open now; $40 for a three-day pass. Artist Alley applications also being accepted (it's $110 per table, which includes two three-day passes). Hawai'i Convention Center, Nov. 1-3.
Kawaii Kon 2014: Guests include voice actors Michael Sinterniklaas and Stephanie Sheh. Preregistration open now; $37 for a three-day pass for children ages 5-12, $42 general admission. Hawai'i Convention Center, April 4-6, 2014.