Archive for the ‘Jason S. Yadao’ Category

Ota-cool incoming: Dressed to impress

February 4th, 2016

Cosplay doesn't exist in a vacuum. As much as we'd like to twitch our noses and *poof* a lovely costume of Sailor Moon or Tuxedo Mask into existence a la Samantha in Bewitched (note: this is what I'm talking about, for those of you who may not be old enough to remember Bewitched), the truth is that it takes a lot of work to craft a costume that turns heads at conventions and other special events.

One of the tools of the trade that cosplayers use is the dress form. Think of it as a mannequin torso on a stand; here's a selection of what's available on Amazon. Of course, getting a dress form means spending more money, something that may be in short supply when taking into account all the other supplies one needs to create a high-quality costume.

That's where a workshop happening this weekend at Aiea Public Library comes in.


Representatives from Anime Matsuri Hawaii will be on hand to show workshop attendees how to create their own dress forms without having to order the real thing; apparently all you need is some duct tape, some plastic wrap and a willing victim partner. They'll provide the tape, wrap and some fabric that can be used to stuff mannequins or for other crafts and cosplay; you can bring your own partner, as well as a T-shirt that you don't mind cutting up to make a complete dress form.

Interested? The workshop runs from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday. It's free, but be sure to RSVP to if you're interested so the workshop organizers can bring enough supplies. Aiea Library's at 99-374 Pohai Place, where there's still plenty of parking as well as a certain Face of Hawaii Ingress (tm) who's on the final stretch to hitting max-level 16 in the game (in spite of Enlightened efforts to slow her down, too, *sigh*). Call 483-7333.

Elsewhere around town

Kawaii Kon / Comic Con Honolulu volunteer staff meetings: The third session for Kawaii Kon volunteers and the second for Comic Con Honolulu volunteers are coming up, a checkpoint worth noting for those of you interested in helping take care of all the behind-the-scenes things that keep the two events running smoothly every year. Prospective volunteers have to attend a minimum of two staff meetings to qualify for work, after all, and the clock's ticking ... louder for Kawaii Kon in particular, of course, but ticking nonetheless. For more details on volunteering (as well as an enrollment form for anyone joining the party), visit or Saturday at the Ala Moana Hotel Plumeria Room; 1:30 p.m. for Kawaii Kon, 3 p.m. for Comic Con Honolulu.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month at Pearlridge Center. Yes, there are other things going on on Sunday -- the 50th Superb Owl will be overseeing some panthers and horses playing sportsball on one channel, puppies will be romping around on another channel, and it's the only day of the year when people actually want to watch commercials. If none of those catch your fancy, though, perhaps some drawing is in order. Visit (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Downtown section of the mall.

TJ Fernandez services set for February

January 21st, 2016

TJ at AHCC (by Stella)

(Hat tip to Stella Marie Jacang Kepo'o for sharing this picture of TJ Fernandez at Amazing Hawaii Comic Con last year on my Facebook timeline.)

A few updates on memorial plans for Tristan "TJ" Fernandez, the teen I talked about in my last post:

  • Earlier today, Jaret Fernandez, TJ's father, posted information on the Celebration of Life Services. They will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 27-28, at Mililani Memorial Park and Mortuary in Central Oahu (take the H-2 Freeway to the Waipio exit, then turn right if you're coming from the south or left from the north, then follow the road all the way to the end), mauka chapel. On Feb. 27, visitation starts at 5:30 p.m., with services at 6:30 p.m.; visitation on Feb. 28 starts at 10 a.m., with the celebration of life at 11 a.m. Casual attire.
  • The University of Hawaii men's basketball team was a big part of last year's Fundraiser for TJ, showing up to give him autographed memorabilia and inviting him to be an honorary coach at the team's final home game in early March. A tweet from our intrepid hoops reporter / Court Sense blogger Brian McInnis noted that the team plans a tribute to TJ at an upcoming game.

One final thought: On Wednesday, Jaret Fernandez shared something TJ posted on Facebook on May 4, 2013, something to make us all cherish life a bit more every day:

"When you think that your life is worthless think again you were born in this world for a reason you may not no what that reason is yet but there is a reason you just have to find it by walking your own path."

Rest in peace, TJ

January 19th, 2016

TJ with 501st

There's no easy way for me to write this, so if this post seems a little more rambling than normal, I apologize. But I'm sad to report that Tristan "TJ" Fernandez, the teen diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in October 2014 and subsequently was the guest of honor at a benefit mini-con organized on his behalf last February, died this morning.

From a Facebook post by Jaret Fernandez, Tristan's dad:

It's with a heavy heart that we regret to say after a very hard fought battle with a brain stem tumor; TJ passed away this morning.
TJ was at home among close friends and family which was his final wish.
We wanted to thank all of you for your prayers this past year and will let you know about funeral services later this week.
God Bless...

I took the photo above, of TJ with members of the Pacific Outpost of the 501st Legion, at that fundraiser last year. Shared it in a post soon after the event, too. To see the local fan community rally around this ailing teen and offer him support, comfort and joy — both at the event and a tribute site, Wish for TJ (, which remains up to this day — was truly inspiring. Equally inspiring was the word I got during Amazing Hawaii Comic Con in September, that TJ was able to make it out to attend that convention for a few hours.

An article by our Rob Shikina (subscription only) noted that when TJ got his cancer diagnosis, he was given one to three months to live.

He ended up living for 15 months.

Nineteen days into this new year, there have already been a number of notable deaths -- David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Lemmy Kilmister, Glenn Frey. Not gonna lie … this one hurts the most. My condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to the Fernandez family.

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

January 15th, 2016

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

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

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.


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 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

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 (Facebook login required). Next meeting: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.


The Anime Matsuri Hawaii preview: It's kinda con-plicated

November 26th, 2015

There have been six major conventions this year in our state. I know I keep writing that fact in this space over and over again, but it's something that's boggled my mind all this year. It's a profound time for the local otaku community, one that's grown from roots in anime and manga to encompass general animation and sci-fi/comic culture as well.

You'd think a friendly neighborhood anime/manga blogger would be having the time of his life with all these cons coming in. Yet as the year's worn on -- and it HAS been wearing on me; note how I've only had the energy to write fragments of posts about Con-athon 2015, that period between September and October where we had events going on for five straight weekends -- the storylines, and figuring out what to write about and not write about here, have become increasingly complicated.

Sure, the first half was just fine -- Kawaii Kon was Kawaii Kon, Comic Con Honolulu was a nice sci-fi/comic twist on the Kawaii Kon formula, and HawaiiCon was the vacation-with-some-con-fun of my dreams that I'd really love to return to next year. But then things took a turn for the strange. Amazing Hawaii Comic Con proved that at my age, there really IS a cap on how many attendees and lines one can tolerate before wanting to run screaming back to the safety and solitude of the Otaku Ohana home office. A few weeks after that, Anime Ohana went in the opposite direction, snatching the title of "the state's most intimate con of the year" away from HawaiiCon (albeit likely unintentionally).

amhi logo

And now we've come to the year's last major convention: Anime Matsuri Hawaii, the local spin-off of a convention that's been held in Houston since 2007. On the one hand, it's an anime convention with a heavy dash of professional cosplay and J-fashion. Guests include voice actors Crispin Freeman, Johnny Yong Bosch and Maile Flanagan; Masahiko Otsuka, president of Studio Trigger (Kill la Kill, Little Witch Academia); professional cosplayers Vampy, Goldy, Stella Chuu and Reika; music guests Brilliant Kingdom and DaizyStripper; Shunsuke Hasegawa, Putumayo designer; Chinatsu Taira, Metamorphose designer; and Yui Minakata, KERA and Gothic Lolita Bible model. Over in the exhibitor area, you'll see a number of familiar faces including Gordon Rider/Star-Advertiser "Calabash" cartoonist Jon J. Murakami, Crazy Shirts artist Kevin Sano, Lorenzo Trinidad and Trinigrafx Comics, Charisma Industries, the MangaBento gang, A Bit of Sugar, Crappy Kids, and ... umm ... Hen Da Ne, otherwise known as "that dealers room space with that guy who always shouts about 'fresh hot yow-weeeeeee' and stuff." Other highlights include:

  • Two screenings of Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade (touted as the "U.S. premiere" on the schedule, although Trigger representatives screened the finished OAV at Anime Expo earlier this year), at 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday.
  • The first formal Funimation industry panels at a local convention, hosted by company representative Justin Rojas.
  • The J-Fashion show (8 p.m. Friday) and Cosplay Showcase (4 p.m. Saturday).
  • DaizyStripper, with opening act Brilliant Kingdom, performs live in concert at 9 p.m. Saturday.

You can find the full schedule at

On the other hand, there are a number of factors that have hurt the convention. It's going up against Black Friday and the opening weekend of the Christmas shopping season. Two major craft fairs -- the Winter Craft Fair at the Hawaii Okinawa Center in Waipio Gentry, and the Islandwide Christmas Crafts and Food Expo at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall -- will also be running over the weekend, meaning some vendors who might have been all-in for AMHI are instead either selling at those craft fairs or splitting staff and merchandise among shows.

Then there are the events touted on the convention's website in March that disappeared over the next eight months and aren't on the final schedule -- Club AM (advertised as a late-night dance party for the first two nights of the convention), AM Idol (a talent competition), a formal dance, an anime music video competition and a car show among them. A few days ago, the maid cafe was converted to a cosplay recovery lounge. "Nerdlesque," a show combining burlesque performance with geek culture, morphed into "Intro to Nerdlesque," a panel in which Chuu talks about the show. Finally, while I was working on this post early Thanksgiving afternoon, it was announced that cosplayer Yuegene Fay would be canceling her previously announced appearance due to problems with her U.S. customs and immigration paperwork.

Those are easily chalked up to, and forgiven by, logistical issues. But perhaps the biggest elephant in the room, the one that's spawned an online petition calling for a boycott of everything Anime Matsuri LLC touches and a fair amount of discussion in social media, are the allegations of sexual harassment and general malfeasance levied against con directors John and Deneice Leigh based on what's happened in Houston and several other places. The Houston Press, an alternative weekly newspaper (think of it as being like the old Honolulu Weekly), ran a pair of articles on the subject; you can read them here and here. You can look up many of the main players and their blogs elsewhere on the Internet if you so choose.

It is what it is. I respect those people's views, and I can understand why they would want to boycott the show. I also know there are volunteers on the AMHI staff -- people who have joined and have stayed on despite knowing this info -- who are working hard to present the best show to their attendees this weekend.  If I were a full-time blogger rather than a full-time copy editor/page designer who fits blogging in between Tsum Tsum and Ingress sessions and trying to rest and recuperate from all that editing and designing, I certainly would have liked to have had a sit-down with the Leighs to talk about the allegations. But I'm not, and as a journalist by trade,  I don't feel it's fair for me to pass judgment on covering or not covering a show unless I gave them a chance to respond first.

And so, the show goes on, and I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for now. If I hear anything otherwise, though ... we'll see. If you'd like to join me at the show, prices at the door are $60 for general-admission 3-day passes; $25 for children's 3-day passes; $30 for Friday passes; $35 for Saturday passes; and $25 for Sunday passes.

And after that I'm going on another mini-vaca... wait, what? Kawaii Kon has a bazillion guests now? Comic Con Honolulu's built a respectable guest roster, too? And HawaiiCon has Chekov, Uhura and Troi on their 2016 guest list, and they're moving to the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows? Well. Otaku blogger better blog...