Archive for the ‘Jason S. Yadao’ Category

1 day, Sunday, Otaku Fest fun day

August 21st, 2015
By



OSF-2015 flyerWe've reached that part of the otaku calendar where we won't be able to go more than three weeks without a major event popping up. Starting with the Otaku Summer Festival on Sunday, we have HawaiiCon (kicking off in three weeks), Amazing Hawaii Comic Con (the week after HawaiiCon), McCully-Moiliili Public Library's annual Mini Con (the week after AHCC) and Anime Ohana (two weeks after Mini Con).  Whew! I really hope I don't get sick again during that stretch; because that ... would not be good. It seems like I've had colds during the most inopportune times this year.

But I digress; there's an Otaku Summer Festival being hosted by Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu (1239 Olomea St.; it's that shrine you see off the freeway approaching the Vineyard Boulevard exit going eastbound) that needs to be discussed. It's seven hours on Sunday crammed with stuff fans like to see. Let's run down the lineup:

Special guests: Headlining the event is Kyle Hebert, the actor best known as 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'll host an hourlong panel starting at 10:30 a.m. and be available for autographs and photos throughout the day at the Hawaii Video Gaming League table. Also scheduled to appear is author Ryter Rong, who will be talking about her new book, Ireland Calls My Name, from noon to 12:30 p.m.

A number of performers will be on hand throughout the day as well; Ryusei Taiko will help kick off the festivities, and the Hanayagi Dance Academy comes in to perform around 10 a.m. Closing out the festival will be Crimson Apple, the local band with a debut album Kickstarter, which is less than $2,000 away from their goal with six days left (come on, people, let's make this happen).

OSF-animaid cafe logoFood: The festival marks the formal return of The AniMaid Cafe, where servers dressed as maids and butlers serve patrons snacks and drinks and even play tabletop games for a small fee. (They'll also do a dance routine around 11:30 a.m.) If that's not your thing, Simply Ono will have a truck parked outside serving up ramen burgers, shoyu pork, kalua pig, poke bowls and more, and a second truck will have yakitori and takoyaki available.

Tons o' merch: Charisma Industries, Sewing Dragon (hand-sewn plushies) and Shironekoya (kimono and collectible miniature dolls) will be selling their wares, and artists Jon J. Murakami, Devin Oishi, Dennis Imoto and Andy Lee will have tables as well. There also will be a "swap meet" table, so surely there's something you'll want to buy, yes?

Competitive opportunities: Cosplayers will want to get in on the cosplay contest at 1 p.m. -- register with the AniMaid Cafe by noon! -- with prizes in categories including Best Craftsmanship and Best in Character. The grand prize winner will get a photoshoot with Canaan Kutzen of Adept Productions at the Byodo-In Temple at Valley of the Temples Memorial Park in Kaneohe.

Not into cosplay? There will be other festival games to play (including goldfish scooping!), with a good reason to play all of them: the official Otaku Summer Festival Stamp Card Rally.

OSF-2015 stamp card

Fill out a card and turn it in, and you could be eligible for fabulous prizes, including the official banner hanging outside the shrine right now signed by all the guests and invitations to the staff-only after-party.

The Otaku Summer Festival runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday; parking will be available both near the shrine and at Damien Memorial High School. We'll see if The Cold That Refuses to Die (one week and counting, *sigh*) allows me to attend; right now I'd say the chances are looking pretty remote, but then again I did say in this space that I wouldn't be at Comic Con Honolulu and I ended up showing up there anyway, so we shall see, I guess. For the most up-to-date information, visit fb.com/otakusummerfestival.

Movies and myths and meanings, oh my!

August 18th, 2015
By



Throw me a good story rooted in Japanese mythology, and I will make every effort to try to watch or read it. It worked with Studio Ghibli favorites like Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Pom Poko and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, other series/movies like Mushi-shi, Summer Days With Coo and (GeGeGe no) Kitaro, and probably countless other series that I'd love to get around to eventually.

YO_headshot 8 (2015)Japanese mythology also happens to be 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 and the aforementioned Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, and the live-action Onmyoji, Onmyoji 2, Dororo, Mushi-shi and Departures. But before you click away to go watch, say, Himouto! Umaru-chan, scared off by the phrases "semiotic" and "scholarly approach" in the last sentence, I should note that the book's written for pretty much anyone who knows anything about Japanese films and mythology. If that's your thing, then you'll probably want to check out this book. Here's a link; you can get 30 percent off cover price by using the code "LEX30AUTH15" at checkout.

book cover (color)But let's say paying $60-$85 for a book is a tad out of your price range at the moment. No worries; you can still get a taste of what she wrote about through a series of talks she's going to be giving on four major islands in the next few months. Her first talk is actually coming up … ummmm … Wednesday from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Hilo Public Library. Which is less than 24 hours from when this post is going live. Apologies for the really late notice; I've been dealing with (yet another) cold these past few days. Here's the list of other confirmed appearances to date:

Kauai

  • Sept. 19: Hanapepe Public Library, 10-11 a.m.; Princeville Public Library, 3-4 p.m.
  • Sept. 21: Kauai Community College, Office of Continuing Education and Training (OCET), room 106 C/D, noon-1:30 p.m.; Lihue Public Library, conference room, 5-6 p.m.

Maui

  • Sept. 22: Kahului Public Library, 6-7 p.m.
  • Sept. 23: Wailuku Public Library, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
  • Sept. 24: UH-Maui College, noon-1 p.m.

Oahu

  • Oct. 2: UH-Manoa Center for Japanese Studies Seminars, Moore Hall, room 319, 3-4 p.m.

There are a few other tentative dates as well; I'll add them to the Ota-cool Incoming calendar as I receive them.

By the way, while I'm talking about Ms. Okuyama, let me throw in this quiet announcement and see if anyone notices: I recently accepted her invitation to speak for an hour at UH-Hilo about things related to the local anime/manga fan community. It'll be on Tuesday, Sept. 15 — a few days after HawaiiCon wraps up, and on the last birthday of my 30s, to boot! Exact time and location have yet to be determined. It'll either be fun or a total train wreck ... hopefully more of the former than the latter. Fingers crossed!

Revisiting the legacy of 'Barefoot Gen'

August 6th, 2015
By



Today in Otaku Ohana, your friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger is going to do something he hasn't done in a long time: actually write about manga. Gasp!

barefoot gen coverToday also marks 70 years since the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, killing tens of thousands of people. It's a story that was told in Barefoot Gen, a manga by Keiji Nakazawa that relied on many of his personal experiences in telling the story of Gen Nakaoka, a boy who survived the blast.

I've talked about Barefoot Gen twice in my career on the otaku beat -- once in February 2011, in an essay in an earlier version of this blog that was part of a larger Manga Movable Feast effort, the other as part of The Canon, a roundup of 50 essential manga series to read, in The Rough Guide to Manga (available at a library or secondhand bookstore/website near you). Since Last Gasp is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to put copies of Barefoot Gen in schools and libraries across the United States (19 percent funded as of this writing, come on, people, start giving more already), I thought it would be nice to resurrect what I wrote in the Rough Guide.

And by "resurrect," I mean "reprint the entire section, right here, for free."

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this in print before, but the full rights to the text of the manga guide legally reverted to me about three years ago, when Rough Guides shut down its reference guide division. I'd love to write more on this topic down the line -- particularly given how Andrea Lipinski at the School Library Journal recently was kind enough to include it as one of her picks for essential reading in her "Manga 101" article -- but the bottom line is that I now have an entire pile of text that I can distribute however I see fit. Seeing as how I'll probably never have enough free time to properly update the whole thing in one go -- as you've probably seen by my erratic update schedule here, I barely have enough time/energy to update this blog, never mind 265 pages or so of text -- I felt the best way to use it would be to publish excerpts here, whenever relevant, every so often.

So let's jump right in, shall we? (more…)

Ota-cool Incoming: Convention life's just beachy

July 31st, 2015
By



So contrary to what I wrote in my last post, I did manage to make it out to Comic Con Honolulu for a few hours last weekend -- thanks to con staff for having a press badge ready to go! -- and managed to catch the Art Improv panel, which ... well, in the spirit of 50 Shades Totoro, here's ... umm ... Magic Mike Baymax.

edit IMG_8911

Was it fun? Of course. Looks like the next Art Improv panel will be at Kawaii Kon 2016, so you'll want to check that out.

I also got to chat with a bunch of the usual Friends of the Blog, including Ivan Sanidad on the right -- you may know him as "that guy who's been conducting surveys at Kawaii Kon since the dawn of con time" -- and reader Max Ogasawara-Fukumoto.

edit 20150725_122055_5

Con staff announced at closing ceremonies that first-year attendance was 5,280, a nice number for a first-year con. If you're interested in attending next year, dates have already been announced; save space on your social calendar for July 29-31, 2016.

Back in the days when there was one, maaaaaaybe two or three major cons in the state, this week would be a time to recover and reset for the next event, usually several months away. But this year? The year of All the Things? Let's put it this way: There are two con-hosted beach days coming up in August, one of them happening on Saturday.

Anime Matsuri logoThe more immediate beach day is being hosted by an incoming show, Anime Matsuri Hawaii. The Anime Matsuri Beach and LUV Day will serve two purposes: Not only can attendees cosplay, join a potluck lunch, enjoy some fun activities (Water balloon fights! Relay races! Capture the Flag! "Senpai Says," a version of Simon Says with an anime twist! Watermelon smashing!) and maybe possibly perhaps even win some prizes, they can also learn about volunteer opportunities for the upcoming convention. (Hence the "LUV" part of the event name, an acronym for "Let Us Volunteer.") That's happening from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday near the center part of Ala Moana Beach Park; just aim for the area directly across from Piikoi Street, and you should be able to find them. Here's a map for more exact positioning.

Fifteen days later, on Sunday, Aug. 16, Kawaii Kon will be hosting its annual beach day, also at Ala Moana Beach Park, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. That's pretty much all the information released to date, but if previous years have been any indication, attendees will have a chance to cosplay, eat lunch, enjoy some fun activities (Water balloon fights! Capture the Flag! Sand sculpture building! Watermelon smashing!) and maybe possibly perhaps even win some prizes.

Can't make it to either beach day? Perhaps the idea of being out in the sun-baked real world gives you the heebie-jeebies? Other cons are hosting pre-show events in coming weeks as well. Amazing Hawaii Comic Con is hosting another informal meet-and-greet at Dave & Buster's (1030 Auahi St., in the Ward Entertainment Complex) starting at 8 p.m. Aug. 12. After my experience at the first event -- and given how that day's also featuring half-price games in the arcade -- I think I'm going to sit this one out unless the Otaku Ohana Anonymous Director of Forced Social Interaction insists I go. If you do go, though, maybe you can play a few round of that new Angry Birds machine for me. Plus your first drink is free courtesy of the con crew.

HawaiiCon logoOver on Hawaii island, HawaiiCon is hosting a pair of cosplay contests in coming weeks. The first -- and what likely will be the cutest -- event will be their Keiki Cosplay Contest, part of downtown Hilo's First Friday festivities, from 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 7 at Kapohokine Adventures, 224 Kamehameha Ave. (If anyone goes to that, please send me a link to your photos. I want to revel in the cuteness. Also, don't forget to fill out this registration form.) The second cosplay contest, for participants ages 14 and older, will run from 7 to 10 p.m. Aug. 14 at Yamada Technologies, 25 Waianuenue St., also in Hilo. Food trucks will be around, so bring an appreciation for cosplay and a hearty appetite.

Elsewhere around town

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.

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection of 'F': The latest cinematic installment in the Dragon Ball Z franchise will be in theaters next week, and it's a pretty hot Dragon Ball tale, what with the resurrection of F(rieza) and yet another evolution for Goku, known as Super Hyper Turbo Champion Omega Mondo Extreme Over 9,000 Saiyan God Mode Plus Edition Now With Bears Goku. Well, okay, it's actually only Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan mode, but with a new TV series on the way, it's only a matter of time before more convoluted power levels like that come in to play.

Here, have a trailer.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

This movie is enjoying what's been the widest distribution statewide for an anime-related film this year, playing on three major islands (sorry, Kauai, you've been left out yet again). Check Fandango for the latest updates, but here's the list I have of dates and locations:

  • Ward: Tuesday and Wednesday, 7 p.m.; Aug. 8, noon
  • Dole: Tuesday and Wednesday, 7 p.m.; Aug. 8, 11 a.m.
  • Pearlridge: Tuesday and Wednesday, 7 p.m.; Aug. 8, noon
  • Mililani: Tuesday-Thursday, 7 p.m.; Aug. 8, noon
  • Kapolei: Tuesday-Thursday, 7 p.m.; Aug. 8, noon
  • Kaahumanu (Kahului): Tuesday and Wednesday, 7 p.m.; Aug. 8, noon
  • Makalapua Stadium 10 (Kona): Thursday, 7 p.m.; Aug. 8, 11 a.m.
  • Regal Prince Kuhio 9 (Hilo): Aug. 8, 11 a.m.

The reign of Hoku Comic Kon Honolulu is nigh

July 22nd, 2015
By



CCH logoThe second stop on our yearlong parade of local conventions, Comic Con Honolulu, is coming up on Friday, and ... okay, real talk: Just like how people keep calling the Don Quijote on Kaheka Street "Daiei" or "Holiday Mart," or people in Waipahu still think of the Don Quijote store there as the old GEM store, or a whole bunch of other "Remember when ______ was ______?" conversations that fill #ThrowbackThursday threads on social media every week, a lot of you out there still think of Comic Con Honolulu as Hoku Kon, right? Even though we went over why the name changed earlier this year? It's okay; I find myself switching between the two as well.

Whatever you prefer to call it, the convention launched as the all-the-things offspring of Kawaii Kon is ready to show con-goers what it has to offer. While it may not be as big as Kawaii Kon -- the entire show's only taking up the top floor of the Hawai 'i Convention Center --the enthusiast spirit of the long-running anime convention certainly remains a core element here. Unfortunately I won't be able to attend this year -- we're still working on taming the beast that is our new editorial computer system -- but if I could go, here are what would be some of my highlights.

The Anime portal keyThe intro to Ingress panel! Hear about Niantic's free-to-play massively multiplayer augmented reality game for almost every smartphone out there (sorry, Blackberry and Windows Phone users). Learn about the convoluted back story -- something about a battle for Exotic Matter, aliens that either ought to be welcomed with a platter of cookies or repelled like con attendees who forgot to shower, and a buncha researchers, shadowy types and weird artificial intelligence constructs who have died, shattered into shards and been resurrected more times than the Hawaiian Netmender portal changes hands daily. You can also learn why the Enlightened is awesome (lovely greenish hues over everything; "think green" projects a solid environmental message; noodles) and why the Resistance is … umm … equally awesome (hey, they consistently build my portal at work to level 6-8 with a multihack and heat sink that I quietly hack, happily gearing up to go blow up their portals, links and fields elsewhere, so I'm not complaining).

If you decide to attend and subsequently begin playing, I should note two things. First, apologies in advance for all the free time and gas it ends up sucking up. Second -- and I cannot stress this enough -- please sign up for the Enlightened. You don't know how many times I've talked about these intro to Ingress panels and ended up having readers join ... only for them to become my biggest in-game rivals (*waves at agent ArcturusFlyer*). Sigh. 6:30 p.m. Friday, Panel Room.

Comic Jam Hawaii represents! Some of you may remember the Sketch Improv panel during Kawaii Kon, during which artists from Comic Jam Hawaii improvised sketches based on certain themes and ideas shouted out by the audience. It's where the world first got to see a fire-breathing Slap Chop chicken ...

IMG_7905

... the adventures of a side job-taking samurai ...

IMG_7926

... Winnie the Deadpool ...

IMG_7963

... a Totoro/Fast and Furious mashup ...

IMG_7943

... and, of course, 50 Shades of Totoro.

20150327_121939

Sketch Improv is back for another go-round, this time with a slightly tweaked name (it's Art Improv in your programs now) and a bigger venue (the Main Events room) but likely with the same sketchy hijinks. It should be a fun morning. That's from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday.

memorabilia showcase 1Several Comic Jam artists will be over in Artist Alley as well. Roy Chang, MidWeek cartoonist and Pepe the Chihuahua's kalbi handler, will set up his art board and offer free art portfolio critiques. Jon J. Murakami, Star-Advertiser "Calabash" cartoonist and creator of Gordon Rider, the Ara-Rangers, and Edamame Ninjas, will be selling a number of new items, including prints of his work from Udon's upcoming Capcom Fighting Tribute artbook, original sketches, reusable shopping bags with customized hand-drawn art, and -- assuming the books come back from the printer on time -- Ara-Rangers issue #2. (Hopefully he gets over his cold in time for con, too ... get well soon, Jon!) Kevin Sano and Michael Cannon will each have tables and will be selling prints and original artwork as well. (By the way, to the right, you can see a set of four Minions that Kevin custom-painted in the colors and outfits of various Kikaida characters, which I stuck in my new home office showcase. Clearly I love them. Bonus points to anyone who can identify the other things in the showcase at the moment.) 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

Gates McFadden and Edward James Olmos! Not gonna lie; these are the only two guests I recognize straight out without having to resort to Google, one being Dr. Beverly Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation, the other one being an Academy Award nominee for best actor (Stand and Deliver, 1988). I'm very much a comic/sci-fi blogger in training; heck, when NPR recently released its list of top 100 sci-fi/fantasy books as voted on by listeners, I found I had read ... exactly one of them. (Animal Farm. For school. Great book, A++++++ WOULD READ ORWELL AGAIN.) That's not to say the rest of the guest list, which includes actors Adam Baldwin, Erin Gray, Mira Furlan, Sean Maher and J. August Richards and comic artist Khary Rudolph, is anything to dismiss; it's a respectable roster that any startup convention would love to have.

It should be noted that the autograph policies were released Wednesday afternoon, and for those of you accustomed to lining up for free autographs and photo ops at Kawaii Kon, there's going to be a bit of sticker shock involved -- if you want a complete collection of Year One Comic-Con Honolulu guest autographs, it's going to cost you $290. Olmos is the highest at $60, followed by McFadden at $50; Baldwin, Maher and Richards at $40 each; and Furlan and Gray at $30 each. (Rudolph will offer free autographs all weekend.) Want pictures of your experiences? It's going to cost even more. Welcome to the modern-day convention economy, folks. Strap in your wallets and prepare for the ride.

IMG_8501_editCosplay cosplay cosplay! I'll readily admit cosplay has become the modern-day equivalent of "Hey! Manga's a thing! OMG, girls are reading comics now!" in modern-day con culture, the go-to topic mainstream media chooses whenever they want to talk about all those anime/manga/sci-fi/fantasy/comic book/whatever fans converging on Big Convention Spot for the Weekend. Heck, our paper covered that angle on Sunday (premium content; subscribers, please read that article, Mike Gordon and Jamm Aquino did a good job with the words and pictures, respectively). That said, people love to dress up, and cosplayers of all skill levels will be showing up during the weekend, from average fans all the way up to our most prominent local cosplayers (Uncanny Megan, shown above with tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. at this year's Kawaii Kon! Leah Rose!). For you do-it-yourselfers, I count at least six cosplay-related panels, from Megan and Leah's Cosplay Q&A (10-11 a.m. Saturday, Panel Room) to cosplay photography (3-4 p.m. Friday, Panel Room) and a whole variety of topics in between. And that doesn't even take into account the Cosplay Competition, running from 6-7 p.m. Saturday in Main Events.

Interested in attending? Online registration has ended, but you can buy three-day passes ($55) and single-day passes (Friday, $35; Saturday, $40; Sunday, $30) starting at 9 a.m. Friday on the fourth floor of the convention center. Pre-registered attendees can pick up their passes at the same place starting at 8 a.m. Friday; it's worth noting that unlike Kawaii Kon, passes will not be available for pickup Thursday night.

Want more information? Visit the con site at comicconhonolulu.com. Questions? Lob 'em at the con's Facebook page.