Archive for the ‘manga’ Category

Ota-cool Incoming: La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la, Halloween party

October 29th, 2015

Those of you who are J-pop fans probably mourned a little bit when local FM radio content went from 24/7 to a few hours every week on the K-pop station with DJ Chikapin's "J-Morning Saturday" (woo-hoo!). I was sad, but I eventually adjusted; K-pop does have its fair share of catchy tunes, after all (and equally weird music videos, too; hello, Orange Caramel). It's only when I was writing this Halloween edition of the Ota-Cool Incoming calendar that I realized the biggest void KORL 97.1's conversion from J-pop to hip-hop left on the local radio landscape.

Namely, we aren't getting Halloween Junky Orchestra's "Halloween Party" played several times a day, every day, during this month anymore.

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But we will soldier on, dear readers. Mostly because in the Year of All the Things, there's not much time to sit around and mourn — there's just too much to do. This particular round starts with what I like to call National Cosplay Recognition Day on Saturday, and Halloween Comicfest. Think of it as being exactly like Free Comic Book Day, except with more orange and spooooooky motifs in the promotional logos.


There's quite a bit of anime/manga-fan-friendly stuff being handed out this time around, including "Birth of Kitaro" from Drawn & Quarterly (hey, more translated GeGeGe no Kitaro is being released! Yay!), Junji Ito's "Fragments of Horror" from Viz,  and a mini Yo-kai Watch comic, also from Viz. Fans of more traditional comics have Archie, Harley Quinn, Doctor Strange, Batman, Spider-man and Avengers stories to look forward to, among others.

Participating stores around the state include:

  • Other Realms (The Nimitz Center, 1130 N. Nimitz Highway, suite C-140, Iwilei)
  • Gecko Books & Comics (1151 12th Ave., Kaimuki)
  • Dragon's Lair (95-1840 Meheula Parkway, space E-10, Mililani)
  • Westside Comics and Games (590 Farrington Highway, #538, Kapolei)
  • Maui Comics and Collectibles (333 Dairy Road, #102, Kahului)

Selection will vary depending on what each individual retailer orders, so don't get too upset if what you're looking for isn't available. Make sure to buy something else from the store, too; they may be free to you, but they certainly aren't free for the people providing them.

In the afternoon, there's the AMHI Halloween Walk. Anime Matsuri Hawaii and KZOO Radio are co-hosting this stroll through Ala Moana Center. Dress to impress in your finest cosplay or J-fashion coordinates, and you could win an upgrade to a Superpass -- the convention's VIP pass -- or a free autograph session with a guest who'd normally have a paid session. The fun starts in front of the KZOO studio in Shirokiya at 2 p.m. Saturday and runs through 4 p.m.

After the walk, you have several options: Stick around to hand out treats in front of the KZOO studio between 5 and 6 p.m. (download the security release form here); position yourself for nighttime Halloween hijinks in Waikiki; or head over to the Blaisdell Concert Hall for the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra's live performance of the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Or if you prefer (or live closer toward west or central Oahu and don't feel like driving aaaaaaaaall the way into town),  you could hop into your vehicle of choice and head on over to attend the Halloween Cosplay Runway at Pearlridge Center. Kawaii Kon and Comic Con Honolulu are hosting this kickoff to Pearlridge Center's Trick-or-Treat Extravaganza. Talk about your costume, then just work it on stage, baby. That's taking place at the Pearlridge Uptown Center Court from 5 to 6 p.m.

Have fun and stay safe out there, folks. And don't eat too much candy. You'll rot your teeth out.

Elsewhere around town

Anime Matsuri Hawaii: I'll have a full update on all the upcoming cons in my next post, but for now I should mention that the deadline for online preregistration for AMHI is fast approaching; cutoff time is 11:59 p.m. local time Saturday. So if you've been on the fence about attending this convention on Thanksgiving weekend, now's the time to decide if you're going to pay $55 for a three-day pass for it (or $20 if there's a child ages 6-12 involved, or $150 if you'd like to go the VIP Superpass route). Tickets for the Grand Tea Party at the Ala Moana Hotel ($35; Sunday, Nov. 29, noon-3 p.m.) are also running scarce. Guests include voice actors Maile Flanagan, Johnny Yong Bosch and Crispin Freeman; Justin Rojas from Funimation; Masahiko Otsuka, Studio Trigger president; professional cosplayers Vampy, Goldy, Yuegene Fay, Stella Chuu and Reiko; Yui Minakata, fashion model featured in KERA and the Gothic Lolita Bible; and fashion designers Shunsuke Hasegawa (Putumayo) and Chinatsu Taira (Metamorphose). Visit


The Anthem of the Heart: From the makers of Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day: The Movie: The One Based on the Anime Series: Which They Also Did comes another tale of emotionally scarred youths which, judging by the official synopsis, seems like it could be another tearjerker:

Jun is a girl whose words have been sealed away. She was once a happy girl, but because of a certain thing she said when she was very young, her family was torn apart. One day, the egg fairy appeared in front of her and sealed away her ability to talk in order to stop her from hurting anybody else. Since this traumatic experience, Jun lives in the shadows away from the limelight. But, one day she is nominated to become an executive member of the "community outreach council." On top of that, Jun is also appointed to play the main lead in their musical...

Bring your tissues or handkerchiefs to the Consolidated Ward Stadium 16 theaters at 7 p.m. Monday and noon Nov. 7.  For more info on the movie, visit

Revisiting the legacy of 'Barefoot Gen'

August 6th, 2015

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…)

[Kawaii Kon 2015] Dawn of a new con era

March 26th, 2015

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.

The Jamie Lano File, part 4: Kawaii Kon ahoy!

March 25th, 2015

Chibis drawn by Jamie LanoThis week, in the days leading up to Kawaii Kon Day 0, I'm publishing excerpts from my conversation with manga artist/blogger/Princess of Tennis author Jamie Lano, who moved to Oahu last year and will be hosting three panels at Kawaii Kon. In case you missed it -- and maybe you did, you never know; I mean, I kinda missed promoting on social media the fact that Part 3 of this series went live yesterday, whoops -- and subscribe to the Star-Advertiser, you can check out my profile of her that ran in Sunday's paper. You can also check out the other parts of the series below:

Part 1 (Sunday): The great adventurer
Part 2 (Monday): Making a market
Part 3 (Tuesday): The Prince of Tennis legacy
Part 4 (Wednesday): Kawaii Kon ahoy!

In this installment: Kawaii Kon! It's a thing! It starts in two days! And Jamie talks about what she's going to talk about there. There are also a few more notes about her life in Japan and her manga philosophy, for those of you who can't make it to con but still want to learn more about her.


The Jamie Lano File, part 3: The "Prince of Tennis" legacy

March 24th, 2015

Jamie working in Konomi studioThis week, in the days leading up to Kawaii Kon Day 0, I'm publishing excerpts from my conversation with manga artist/blogger/Princess of Tennis author Jamie Lano, who moved to Oahu last year and will be hosting three panels at Kawaii Kon. In case you missed it -- and you'd better have been out claiming Ingress portals in the name of the Enlightened if you did -- and subscribe to the Star-Advertiser, you can check out my profile of her that ran in Sunday's paper. You can also check out the other parts of the series below:

Part 1 (Sunday): The great adventurer
Part 2 (Monday): Making a market
Part 3 (Tuesday): The Prince of Tennis legacy
Part 4 (Wednesday): Kawaii Kon ahoy!

In this installment, Jamie talks about her manga assistants, how she'll treat them differently from how Prince of Tennis artist Takeshi Konomi treated her and his assistants, why The Princess of Tennis will never be printed in Japanese … and a certain Konomi character that bears a striking resemblance to her.