Archive for the ‘Jason S. Yadao’ Category

The Mini-ficent Seven

By
September 22nd, 2016



A number of you who use Facebook probably know about its Memories/On This Day feature, where their little algorithmic thingamabobs and doohickeys dig down deep in your timeline and pull up posts that you might've forgotten existed about a week after you posted them.

Today, this memory popped up on my timeline.

Four years ago already ... maaaaaaaaaan ... Photo by Jason S. Yadao.

Four years ago already? Maaaaaaaaaan. We've gotten so much more ... umm, *vintage* since then. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.

And it reminded me, "Welp, blogger boy, your HawaiiCon vacation's over, time to get back to work and write a new post."

Here's why: The latest edition of Mini Con will be held four years and two days after I posted that picture. This is one of those events that your friendly neighborhood otaku blogger's been covering for a long time -- this is its seventh year, in fact, making it the second longest continually running event I've covered, behind only Kawaii Kon.

This year's edition of the Mini Con flyer, by Audra Furuichi. Courtesy image.

This year's edition of the Mini Con flyer, by Audra Furuichi. Courtesy image.

The formula that McCully-Moiliili Library branch manager Hillary Chang has followed every year is simple, yet effective: Bring in artists Jon Murakami, Audra Furuichi and Kevin Sano as the foundation; supplement with at least one more rotating guest; host a stamp rally and give away prizes throughout the day; give patrons a chance to cosplay.  (This year's rotating guest is artist Mark Gould, a member of the Hawaiian Comic Book Alliance who's done a fair amount of freelance work over the last few years, including covers for Slave Labor Graphics' Model A and contributions to Christopher Caravalho's Aumakua: Guardians of Hawaii books.)

Not everyone has the time, money and/or energy to attend one or (for the most hard-core crazy among us) several of the otaku conventions held around the state every year; Mini Con's existed as an option for people to get a free taste of convention life, a slice of Artist Alley in a library setting. This is also going to be Audra's last event as a vendor for this year, so this will be your last chance to pick up some nemu*nemu merchandise or some of her lovely, lovely original artwork from her in person until ... well, Kawaii Kon next spring, I reckon.

All of this is happening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the library, 2211 S. King St.; parking at the library is limited, so either plan on showing up early, go across the street to Ross Dress For Less (which has graciously opened up its lot for use by library patrons) or bring a handful of coins to feed the meters. For more information, call 973-1099.

HawaiiCon! We're here!

By
September 15th, 2016



WAIKOLOA, Hawaii >> Sometimes you just have to break with the status quo to make things finally work.

Case in point: this post. For a few weeks now, I'd been planning to publish a post around this time featuring the fourth participant in Con-athon 2016 and the only one to be held on one of the neighbor islands: HawaiiCon. It starts today around 3 p.m. and runs through Sunday; the 30+ guests include actors Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols and Jonathan Frakes from the Star Trek franchise, voice actor Vic Mignogna, Futurama artist and Bongo Comics co-founder Bill Morrison, and Hawaiian Comic Book Alliance members Sam Campos, Christopher Caravalho and Bryan Revell. Passes are $25 general, $10 children ages 6-12 today; $66 general, $35 children for single-day passes Friday-Sunday; and $169 general, $79 children for four-day passes.

Mauna Lani gives all its guests leis like this on check-in. Also, the key cards are con-branded. So cool! Photo by Jason S. Yadao.

Mauna Lani gives all its guests leis like this on check-in. Also, the key cards are con-branded. So cool! Photo by Jason S. Yadao.

So why is this post not written in the style of other Con-athon posts? The biggest enemies of anything Otaku Ohana-related as of late, free time and the corresponding energy to write anything, certainly are factors. But here's the bigger factor: I've already checked in to HawaiiCon's host hotel for this year, the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows. Here's the view from my room.

Lovely poolside view. Kinda wish I swam a little more, heh. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.

Lovely poolside view. Kinda wish I swam a little more, heh. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.

Those of you who have been fortunate enough to attend HawaiiCon -- and as far as I know, that's about three or four of you who read this blog -- know that this event operates on a different level from the other Con-athon events. Sure, there are the usual elements -- panels, autographs and photo ops with guests, a cosplay contest, an Artist Alley and dealers room. But there's also the feeling that this is designed to be more of an intimate vacation experience for everyone involved. The dealers room offerings are more upscale. Attendees are willing to pay more to go on excursions like snorkeling and zip-lining with their favorite guests, things like that. HawaiiCon's also out here in the lush resort stretch of the Kona Coast, while the other Con-athon participants are all within a few blocks of the retail/condo-dense Ala Moana district.

It's a con where, last year, voice actors Steve Blum and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn went snorkeling in the morning, showered and walked in to do their panel (an actual thing that happened last year). It's also a con where voice actor Melissa Fahn brought her young son up to sit in on her panel and have him utterly steal the show with his pinpoint rendition of the Yakko Warner "Nations of the World" song from Animaniacs, from memory. (I have that video somewhere. I probably ought dig it up and post it somewhere.) I've also heard that guests, staff and attendees often adjourn to the hotel bar after con events wrap up around 8 p.m. (something I've never experienced for myself, because shyyyyyy).

It's just a different, more relaxed state of mind out here. And that's a good thing. It's one that I already settled into on Wednesday, taking a long road trip with a friend from Kona to Hilo for some yummy mochi (Two Ladies, because of course), lunch with one of our friends and Ingress-ing at Liliuokalani Gardens, and then hightailing it out of there to outrun a cluster of thunderstorms. Aside from the whole "KYAAAAAAH the rain is coming down in sheets and I'm having trouble seeing and KYAAAAAAH that lightning bolt looked like it flashed REALLY CLOSE" thing, it's the most relaxed I've felt in weeks. And there will be the usual dispatches from here -- be sure to follow my Instagram/Facebook and Twitter feeds for the usual con randomness.

But if it seems a bit quieter than usual, please understand: I'm not slacking! I'm just soaking up the atmosphere.

Ota-cool Incoming: All the anime. ALL. THE. ANIME.

By
September 9th, 2016



Gera gera po, gera gera po ... Courtesy PRNewsFoto/LEVEL-5 abby Inc.

Gera gera po, gera gera po ... Courtesy PRNewsFoto/LEVEL-5 abby Inc.

News tends to travel in cycles around these parts. There are times when not much is going on, allowing me time to play my phone games and plot out points on the Pokemon GO Hawaii Guides map (1,800+ Pokestops and gyms on five islands mapped so far, another 700+ in the queue!), and times when ALL THE THINGS ARE HAPPENING AT ONCE AAAAAAAHHHHHH.

Welp, we’re now in one of those ALL THE THINGS periods. It started Tuesday when Tsum Tsum partner in fandom Wilma W. reminded me that there were screenings for Rurouni Kenshin II: Kyoto Inferno and Digimon Adventure tri Chapter 1: Reunion next week. Then nemu*nemu: Blue Hawaii cartoonist Audra Furuichi noted on Facebook that there were a buncha anime movies on deck at the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Doris Duke Theatre. And then Funimation and Crunchyroll announced they were joining forces to create one huge Voltron-esque anime distribution machine, the Aiea Library Anime Club finally laid to rest my close-to-3-year-old “Polar Bear Café and Friends Club” running joke, and Shin Godzilla and Yo-kai Watch tickets for local screenings.

This, of course, came around the same time Marvel Tsum Tsum (for Android and iPhone!), Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice (Nintendo 3DS/2DS) Touhou Genso Rondo: Bullet Ballet (PlayStation 4) and Trails of Cold Steel 2 (Vita) were released, regular Tsum Tsum launched its “battle against Jafar” event for in-game items and a pile of Abu Tsums, and Ingress introduced a monthlong “Via Lux Adventurer” badge for agents who visit at least 300 new, unique portals this month. And, of course, I’m getting ready to fly out to the Big Island next week for whatever adventures await at HawaiiCon.

So, well, goodbye for a little bit, games. (You better show up when I get back, elusive Pokemon Go Dragonite.) It’s time to get to work. Because there’s a lot of anime and anime-related stuff to watch to watch over the next few months, and you’re going to want to know where to go to catch all of it.

Coming to theaters

Rurouni Kenshin II: Kyoto Inferno: Noted here more for completionists' sake, as both screenings at the Consolidated Ward theaters -- 7:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday -- are sold out online. Sorry about that.

Digimon Adventure tri. Chapter 1: ReunionIt's been 16 years since a Digimon movie made it stateside. Technically, what we got here in the U.S. wasn't even one movie; it was three movies mashed together, with about 40 minutes of content lopped off along the way. So here it is: the first Digimon feature to make the jump from Japan to the U.S. intact, with an English dub to keep those nostalgic feelings intact. It's the next chapter in the lives of Tai and the DigiDestined, who've finally made it to high school. The gate to the Digital World has been closed, too. But their lives are about to Digi-volve in a big way once again ... Regal Dole Cannery theaters, 7 p.m. Thursday.

Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie: Speaking of the whole "gotta catch 'em all" ethos, here's Yo-Kai Watch, featuring the adventures of Nate, the boy who can see otherwise invisible yokai everywhere, and his yokai companions Whisper and Jibanyan as they help wayward spirits with their problems. In this, the English-dubbed version of the first movie, the watch gets stolen! Oh noes! Nate and the gang must travel back in time with a new yokai, Hovernyan, to save the world. Those of you who collect Yo-Motion Yo-Kai Medals will want to pick up the Hovernyan medal, too, while supplies last. Regal Dole Cannery theaters, 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15.

Shin Godzilla (Godzilla Resurgence): As we continue to wait for any word on whether Evangelion 4.0: You Will (Not) Be Happy (or whatever the subtitle to that movie will be) has gone into production, Eva director Hideaki Anno's latest project is coming to theaters stateside. It features the return of everyone's favorite city-stomping giant lizard. And guess what -- the King of the Monsters isn't happy. Which means deliciously entertaining chaos and destruction are about to follow. Hold on tight, Tokyo. Consolidated Ward theaters, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, Oct. 11-13.

Honolulu Museum of Art's Japanese Cinema spotlight: More details to come in a future post for what's turning out to be a busy otaku October at the art museum -- I should know; I'm part of the programming -- but for those of you who want to get a head start and buy your tickets now, there are 13 Japanese movies screening at the Doris Duke Theatre. Five of them are anime:

>> Miss Hokusai (making its Hawaii premiere!), 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1

>> Tekkonkinkreet, 1 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5

>> Millennium Actress, 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27

>> Paprika, 7: 30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25

>> Tokyo Godfathers, 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26

Tickets for Miss Hokusai are $25 general admission, $20 museum members, and includes preshow pupus from 6 to 7:30 p.m. (definitely go for the tenderloin with ponzu sauce if it's offered; I had some at the opening reception for the Takaya Miou manga exhibit, and that stuff was heavenly) and koto music from Darin Miyashiro. For the others, it's $10 general admission, $8 museum members.

Pokemon: The First Movie and Pokemon: The Movie 2000: Tickets ($15 general, $12 museum members) aren't on sale yet for this double feature, but we do know this much: The First Movie is screening at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30, while The Movie 2000 will follow at 4:30 p.m. Also, I'm pretty sure someone will deploy Pokemon Go lures on the museum's two Pokestops at some point. Because everyone wants to catch more Pidgeys.

Elsewhere around town

Aiea Library Hot Swimmer Dudes and Friends Anime Club: We're in uncharted territory here, folks: a world where young adult librarian / Face of Hawaii Ingress (tm) Diane Masaki has run out of Polar Bear Cafe episodes to screen. So by popular demand, Diane will be screening episodes of Free! Iwatobi Swim Club for, umm, free. Kancolle will be continuing, too, for those of you who'd rather watch battleships personified as cute girls. At the library, 99-374 Pohai Place, where there's still plenty of parking and a giant sugar molecule out front, to boot. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or email aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.

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, 1111 Victoria St. Next meeting is from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday in room 200. Visit www.facebook.com/groups/mangabento/

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, Sept. 18.

15 minutes of fame: A chat with "Kubo" director Travis Knight

By
August 26th, 2016



Beetle, Kubo, and Monkey emerge from the forest and take in the beauty of the landscape in "Kubo and the Two Strings." Courtesy Laika Studios/Focus Features.

Beetle, Kubo, and Monkey emerge from the forest and take in the beauty of the landscape in "Kubo and the Two Strings." Courtesy Laika Studios/Focus Features.

It was on my first day back at work after my recent Comic-Con Honolulu vacation that I got the offer from our features editor, Christie Wilson: Would I be interested in doing an interview with Travis Knight, director of Kubo and the Two Strings?

Was I ever.

I mean, it's not every day that your friendly neighborhood anime/manga/cartooning blogger gets handed an opportunity to pick the brain of someone tied in with a major national theatrical release. And not just any someone; this was Travis Knight, CEO of Laika, the stop-motion/computer animation studio behind Coraline, Paranorman and The Boxtrolls, and the son of Nike founder Phil Knight. That's a resume that makes someone a virtual lock on my "people I will talk to no matter what, as long as the offer remains on the table" list.

That "no matter what" clause did come into play a few times. There were a few missed connections, and the publication venue shifted from print to online.  But it finally came to pass that last Thursday -- the morning after I attended the Hawaii premiere of Kubo -- I got to spend 15 minutes on the phone with Knight himself. And ... wow. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be talking about manga and Japanese culture with an animation studio CEO and director of what would turn out to be the No. 4 movie in the nation at the weekend box office, younger me probably would have freaked the freak out. 

Kubo's certainly a great movie over which to start a conversation. The titular character is a boy who spends his days as a storyteller in a Japanese fishing village, crafting fantastic tales and enlivening origami pieces with his trusty shamisen, and his nights atop a peak, caring for his ailing mom who slips in and out of a trance that seems to be tied in to the rising and setting moon. When Kubo accidentally unleashes a vengeful spirit upon the village, it's up to the boy, a monkey charm brought to life and a quixotic insect samurai to take it out ... and perhaps solve the mystery of what happened to his fallen father along the way. It's the best movie I've seen this year to date, full of Laika's trademark eye-popping animated charm (be sure to stick around for the end credits for a cool behind-the-scenes shot!) and if you haven't seen it yet, you should correct that as soon as possible.

The film marks Knight's debut as director, the natural next stop in a 20-year career in animation that's seen him serve as a production assistant, scheduler, coordinator and producer, taking ideas from conception and development all the way through completion; work as a stop-motion and computer animator; and run a major animation studio. During that time, there was always a part of him that wanted to direct a feature -- "I think it’s sort of a cliche that every animator wants to direct something, and so I guess I am a cliche," he said.

It was just a matter of timing.

"Those early days at Laika, we were trying to get the place up and running, so a lot of the energy early on was just making sure that the place could function," Knight said. "So I’ve been involved heavily on every single film that we’ve done. But once I felt like a) the company was in decent shape, and b) I’d have enough experience that I could bring to bear to direct one of these things properly, and c) that I had enough of an emotional connection with it, that I could honor the story in the best way and bring a unique point of view and perspective to it, all of those things had to align before I was ready to take something on. And on this project, it did."

"Kubo and the Two Strings" director Travis Knight works with Kubo on the "Kubo's Village" set. Courtesy Laika Studios/Focus Features.

"Kubo and the Two Strings" director Travis Knight works with Kubo on the "Kubo's Village" set. Courtesy Laika Studios/Focus Features.

The project featured the convergence of several factors. Directing drew upon every experience Knight had in the industry to date -- "It required an animator’s eye for detail and attention, the ability to focus on the granularity of something," he said. "But at the same time, to not lose sight of the bigger picture." (Even with that, it was the hardest thing he had done in his career, he said.) The story of Kubo's epic journey is a callback to the kinds of fantasy epics Knight enjoyed during his childhood. Sometimes his mom told him those stories, like Kubo's mom shares with her son in the movie. They were tales woven by legends of the genre -- L. Frank Baum, C.S. Lewis, Lewis Carroll. J.R.R. Tolkien was a particular favorite, perhaps owing to the fact that Knight's mom was reading Lord of the Rings while pregnant with him and during postpartum recovery.

And then there was the Japan factor. When Knight was 8, his dad let him tag along with him on one of his business trips there. For a kid who'd grown up in Portland, Ore., going to Japan was a life-changing experience.

"From the moment I set foot in Japan, it really was like I’d been transported to another world," Knight said. "It was so incredibly different, but also just beautiful and breathtaking and almost otherworldly. It was so completely unlike anything I had ever experienced growing up in Portland, everything from the food to the style of dress to the music and the architecture and the art and the movies and the TV shows and the comic books. Everything about it was so totally different from anything I had ever seen before, and I was enthralled by it.

"It really was a revelation for me, and I came back home with a backpack full of manga and art and little artifacts from my journey in Japan, and it really was the beginning of a lifetime love affair that I’ve had with this great and beautiful culture."

Kubo’s story brings magic to life as Little Hanzo, an enchanted origami piece, takes center stage. Courtesy Laika Studios/Focus Features

Kubo’s story brings magic to life as Little Hanzo, an enchanted origami piece, takes center stage. Courtesy Laika Studios/Focus Features

Knight cited the samurai-and-son epic Lone Wolf and Cub and the missions taken on by the titular stoic assassin of Golgo 13 as two series that made an impression on him, the former having a huge influence on Kubo's development. Having grown up on a steady diet of American and British comics, the artistic and storytelling style of manga appealed to him, even if it was all in Japanese and widespread American familiarity with manga's right-to-left, back-to-front format was still more than a decade away at that point.

"I think that’s the mark of how extraordinary these storytellers were that it transcended language," he said. "It was something that could speak to you, even if you couldn’t speak the actual language."

The work of two of Japan's most revered filmmakers, Akira Kurosawa and Hayao Miyazaki, also helped shape Kubo. Knight sees Japan as the birthplace of the modern cinematic epic, with Kurosawa -- a "pictorial Shakespeare," as labeled by Steven Spielberg and affirmed by Knight -- being the director who led the way.

"He was certainly an aesthetic muse for the film, just in terms of how he made films -- composition, cutting, lighting, movement, staging," Knight said. "You could basically take any frame of a Kurosawa film and put it on a wall, I mean, it’s that gorgeous. They look like paintings. I don’t think there’s a filmmaker alive that hasn’t been directly or indirectly influenced by Kurosawa. I mean, you could just look at all of the things … Yojimbo was a huge influence. I mean, I saw Sergio Leone’s Fistful of Dollars and loved it before I even knew that Yojimbo existed. But then of course you find out later that it’s a remake of a Kurosawa film, as so many Western films are."

There are a number of nods to the director's work throughout Kubo. Kubo's dad is modeled after frequent Kurosawa muse Toshiro Mifune, and Kubo's broken home is a callback to the ruined fortress in Rashomon. Several themes that ran through Kurosawa's films are also explored here -- "the exploration of humanism, of existentialism, the role of the ideal, what it means to be a family, what it means to stand up to family sometimes to make the world a better place," as Knight put it.

As for Miyazaki?

"I think that most modern animators ... worship at the altar of Miyazaki," Knight said. "I mean, I love his films, they’re just exquisite. Everything from My Neighbor Totoro to Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service. I mean, they’re all just lovely films that are so different from each other."

Knight applied two elements common in Miyazaki's films to Kubo. The first features characters that act in shades of gray rather than black and white. Anyone who's seen the movie might be nodding in agreement here over the character arcs, particularly when it comes to Kubo's scene in the graveyard and the moment when the Moon King reveals his motivations.

"I love how Miyazaki approaches films and protagonists and antagonists where there are shades of gray all throughout his filmmaking," Knight said. "Even the villains are not pure evil; oftentimes they’re misunderstood or they have a different perspective or they have shades of light within them. And then the heroes are not completely noble; they have problems of their own. I just love that approach, that there’s empathy toward people who may be misunderstood."

Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson from "Game of Thrones") takes in the scenery below as he sets off on a journey to his village. Courtesy Laika Studios/Focus Features.

Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson from "Game of Thrones") takes in the scenery below as he sets off on a journey to his village. Courtesy Laika Studios/Focus Features.

Those characters dwell in a Japan that certainly feels like Japan, even if it's not a direct reflection of any one time in particular. Knight compared it to Miyazaki's fascination for Europe and how it's depicted in his movies, rendering the continent more as an impressionist painting rather than a photograph or a documentary.

"Our version of Japan, it’s a period fantasy, it’s not a photograph," Knight said. "Even though we do incredible, extensive research into regional and historical history, it is a period fantasy. But we want to make sure that our fairy tale has one foot in the real world.

"And so, very much like Miyazaki is, the prism he applies to Europe, that’s what I wanted to do to Japan, is to effectively make an impressionist painting of Japan so that we can capture the feeling, the experience that I had when I was a kid exposed to Japan for the first time, this wondrous, beautiful, magical, breathtaking place. I wanted to try to infuse the film with that kind of spirit, and hopefully it does that."

So as we head into the movie's second weekend in theaters, why see Kubo (which I'd highly recommend you do) or see it again (which I'd highly recommend you do as well)? It's hard for me to summarize it without leaving something out, so here's his complete response:

"On one level I think it operates as just a big, sprawling epic fantasy. It’s a lot of fun, there’s action, there’s adventure, there’s humor, there’s heart. I think what I love about the movie more than the beauty of the images is what’s underneath it. I mean, it is cinematic pageantry, there’s a lot of glorious things to the whole, it does dazzle the eye. But I love the strong beating heart that it has underneath it all. That really gets to the core issue and the core themes that we explore in the movie. Fundamentally it’s a film about loss, it’s about grief. It’s about things that are typically shied away from in films geared toward family, how we confront and deal with significant loss and death and what grief can do to us.

"But at the same time it’s also a film about healing. I mean, we explore this, we have this motif of scars in this movie, where every single central character in the film is physically scarred in one way and emotionally scarred as well. And you know for Kubo, he’s ashamed of his scar. He combs his hair not because he’s trying to be a cool goth kid, he covers his eye not because he wants to have an awesome hairstyle, but because he’s ashamed of what his hair is covering. And he believes like so many of us believe, that a scar is a symbol of injury. But as we go through the film, we also get to this other notion,  come through the other side, that while a scar is a symbol of hurt, it’s also a symbol of healing, after we’ve been ripped to shreds, the scar is something that makes us whole. So by the end of the film, he’s no longer ashamed. He’s an open wound who’s been made whole by this whole experience.

"So fundamentally it’s an exploration of loss, but also of healing. It’s a meditation on compassion and forgiveness and empathy, which I think in this fractured world that we live in, we could all use a bit more of."

kubo5

And that was where our conversation ended ... or at least it would have been, had the studio's PR rep not mentioned that I had time for one last question. So I asked him: "You have the opportunity to sit down with Kurosawa and Miyazaki and talk to them about whatever you want. What do you talk about?"

Knight paused for a moment.

"Oh my goodness," he said. "I don’t even know if I can answer that! I mean, where to begin? They tell you never meet your heroes, never meet your idols, that you’ll be disappointed."

He went on to say that he'd been fortunate enough to have the opposite experience in working on Coraline with two people he admired: author Neil Gaiman -- "a master and a genius who just oozes genius out of his pores" -- and director Henry Selick, who also directed The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach.

"But that was a working relationship," Knight said. "If I met them as a fanboy for the first time, I would probably be stricken and not be able to say a word. I don’t know … I really don’t know how to answer that question. I wish I had a clever, quippy response, but it’s … when you’ve admired someone’s work for so long and you’ve been drinking it your entire life, the notion of being in the same room and talking with those guys, I don’t even know where I’d begin."

And that was my conversation with Travis Knight. Looking back on the experience a week later, I'd have to say I felt like he would in meeting his filmmaking idols -- total fanboyish glee threatening to turn me into a blubbering pile of squee-ing goo. Throughout this writing cycle, I felt a sense of "OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD ... OK, let's get to work ... OK, interview's done OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD." I hope this post captured the essence of what was really an enlightening chat with him.

Oh yeah, and go see Kubo and the Two Strings. Sometime. Definitely.

Ota-cool Incoming: Art and squeeeee~!

By
August 4th, 2016



So many events! So little time. So much Pokemon! So little happiness.

To the calendar!

Special events

draw story logo

Draw Story: Art and Process of Visual Storytelling: If you've ever wondered about how your favorite comics develop into something you can read, or if you're just a fan of work generated by our local community of comic artists, this is your show. The Honolulu Museum of Art is hosting an exhibit collecting work from a selection of artists from the Hawaiian Comic Book Alliance (including MidWeek cartoonist Roy Chang, Con-athon 2016 standard-bearer Jon Murakami, Pineapple Man creator Sam Campos and Mana Comics founder Chris Caravalho) along with several comic-inspired artists (Brady Evans, Devin Oishi). The opening reception is at the art school from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday (be advised that the art museum will be hosting its August Moon food and wine event around the same time, and the Pacific Ink & Art Expo will be going on at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall, so neighborhood parking will probably be tight), while the exhibit itself runs through Aug. 29.

Pokemon Go Fest at SALT: Coral Street sits a few blocks away from Star-Advertiser Tower in Kakaako. It's rather industrial in nature; there are a bunch of warehouses lining it, and you can also find Highway Inn and Hank's Haute Dogs there. Ever since Pokemon Go launched a few weeks ago, I keep seeing a few players adding confetti-spewing lures to at least eight of the area Pokestops every night and wandering over to claim the nearby Paradise Mural Gym for the glory of Team Instinct or the other two teams that aren't Team Instinct. (Just kidding, Valors and Mystics, you know I love ya. Mostly because I've given up on holding a gym for more than 20 minutes at a time.) Here's the scene on a recent night.

Yeeeeeeeaaaaah. There are a LOT of people playing Pokemon Go. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.

Yeeeeeeeaaaaah. There are a LOT of people playing Pokemon Go. Photo by Jason S. Yadao.

... yeah, it's a nightly PokeStreetParty. And now SALT at Our Kaka'ako -- the development that has Coral Street as its eastern border -- is getting in on the action with a daytime party, featuring live music from DJ Romeo Valentine, a cosplay contest, an Instagram raffle, photo ops with the Hawaii Pokemon Go girls (wait, there are Pokemon Go girls now? Quite a world we live in these days ...) and discounts at various SALT merchants. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

otaku summer festival logo

Otaku Summer Festival: This single-day event is back for a second year with food, games and vendors (including Jon!) offering items that'll make fans of anime, manga and Japanese culture happy. Planned entertainment includes music from The Otakus and a cosplay contest (with prizes!)

Here, have a commercial.

Video Gamers Hawaii will be feeding the shrine's Pokestop with lures regularly and, in conjunction with the Hawaii Video Gamers League, will be hosting Street Fighter V and Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator tournaments. As for that food? Look forward to five kinds of musubi (fried rice, shoyu chicken, kabayaki eel, furikake salmon and sweet sekihan) for $2.50 each, and three kinds of bentos (chicken katsu, katsu curry, salmon yakisoba) for $7.50 each. Admission is free. Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu (1239 Olomea St.), 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

Kenshin Part I: Origins: The live-action adaptation of Nobuhiro Watsuki's wandering swordsman manga starring Takeru Sato as Himura Kenshin and Emi Takei as Kamiya Kaoru is making its way back to theaters courtesy of fresh stateside licensing by Funimation. Yes, it's the same movie that first came to town via the Hawaii International Film Festival in 2013. But a) you get to see it on the big screen again and b) there are two more movies in the series that will be making their way down here in the next few months as well. That counts for something, right? In Japanese with English subtitles. General admission: $12.25. Consolidated Ward Stadium theaters, 7:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday.

Pokemon: The First Movie: It's the first big-screen adventure for Ash, Pikachu and the rest of their PokeBuddies, the debut of Mew and Mewtwo in animated series canon, and it's back on the big screen once again ... and it's in a venue where you can't play Pokemon Go. (Seriously, I'm not sure if it's just my cell phone provider or what, but I've never been able to get any sort of data signal in the Doris Duke Theater. It's just too deep underground.) You can, however, cosplay and enter a trivia contest to win fabulous prizes. Sponsored by Kawaii Kon; tickets are $10 general admission, $8 Honolulu Museum of Art members. 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15.

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's "friends" remain the ship-gals of KanColle.) Well, it's the end of an era, because the club will be finishing off the series at this meeting (and this running gag in the process). Oh, well. At least I can still call Diane the Face of Hawaii Ingress (tm), right? At the library, 99-374 Pohai Place, where there's still plenty of parking ... and now a giant sugar molecule out front. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or email aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.

Comic Jam Hawaii: This group of collaborative cartoon artists meets every first and third Sunday of the month ... and this month, they're back at Pearlridge Center! Happy day! Visit www.facebook.com/groups/ComicJamHawaii (Facebook login required). Next meeting: Pearlridge Downtown (Center Court area), 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

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