Archive for February, 2010

An education in manga

February 25th, 2010

Okay, I confess: It’s been a while since we last updated this blog. Like several-weeks-ago a while. Trying to decipher what goes where in the Tenchi Muyo! universe while being continually distracted by The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks play sessions, the siren calls of various iPod Touch apps and the day-to-day duties of being a Star-Bulletin copy editor/page designer eats up a considerable amount of time, after all.

Hopefully you’ll see us around a bit more in the coming days, though. One reason is because I need to fill my time writing something in the slightly-longer-than-usual break before the next Cel Shaded sees print (remember, now, it’s on Sundays starting March 7). And another … well … is because I finally got a chance to meet Aiea Library young adult librarian Diane Masaki in person on Wednesday, after I borrowed pretty much the entire run (save a few volumes) of the No Need for Tenchi! manga from her branch. (Which, now that I think about it, is an amazing coincidence … I mean, meeting a Masaki on the same day I borrowed books chronicling the adventures of another Masaki — namely, Tenchi? Okay, that was an incredibly nerdy otaku thought, let’s quickly move on.) Diane, as regular Cel Shaded readers will know, has been running an anime club since 2007 that meets every third Saturday of the month at the library. It was great talking to her, but as I was about to leave, she said, “Oh, and I read Otaku Ohana! But recently I’ve been clicking there thinking, ‘Did he put something new up? … Aww, he didn’t.’”

Duly noted. Far be it for me to disappoint a regular reader, so Diane, here’s your new post, with more in store for the near future. I hope.

Something she told me during our conversation, though, got me checking the library system’s online catalog. As it turns out, what she told me was something I completely missed: My book, The Rough Guide to Manga, is now available to borrow through the Hawaii State Public Library System. (The companion book, Simon Richmond’s The Rough Guide to Anime, is available as well.) For those of you somewhere in the state reading this, this now leaves no excuse for checking out the book, so go go go! (And while you’re at it, please donate some amount to our libraries … they need all the help they can get, and then some.)

And that would be the end of this post if not for a Google Alert that chirped into my inbox a few hours ago. Yes, I admit, I have a “vanity search” that sends me any new instances of when my name pops up around the Web. For the most part it pulls up links to columns and articles I’ve written (and the occasional months-old Tweet … yeah, I don’t know what’s up with that, either).

Every once in a while, though, I get a hit that turns out to be quite worthwhile. That link comes courtesy of the Daily Telegraph in Australia, which publishes a weekly educational page, “Classmate,” that focuses on a particular topic. The Feb. 16 topic? Manga. And while I’d consider the fact that my book’s listed among the sources cool in and of itself, I must say the entire editorial package looks fantastic, and an easy recommendation to share with friends who may not know what this whole manga thing is about. Click on the thumbnail image to the right to grab the PDF of the page from the Telegraph’s site. (Fair warning for those of you on slower connections, though: The file size is 2 MB.)

Kawaii Kon 2010′s final guests

February 13th, 2010

Yes, that’s right — this is the final group of guests scheduled to appear at Kawaii Kon April 16-18 at the Hawaii Convention Center. It just seems like a little while ago that I learned that Johnny Yong Bosch was among the first group of guests announced on Christmas Day, and now … it’s over for another year. Sniffle.

There’s certainly no crying over the guests, though. Here are the final three guests, announced this morning on the Kawaii Kon Web site:

  • Masakazu Morita, the voice of Ichigo in Bleach, Pegasus Seiya in Saint Seiya (Knights of the Zodiac) and Tidus in Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X-2, Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy Dissidia (first U.S. anime convention appearance)
  • Hideo Ishikawa,  the voice of Itachi Uchiha in Naruto, Jushiro Ukitake in Bleach and Squall (Leon) in the Kingdom Hearts series and Final Fantasy Dissidia (first U.S. anime convention appearance)
  • ALT/AIR, a new local band with an upbeat, dance-style sound making its public debut

Further details, as usual, to come in Tuesday’s Cel Shaded.

And the winner is … NOT Ponyo.

February 2nd, 2010

© 2009 Nibariki-GNDHDDT© 2008 Nibariki-GNDHDDT. All Rights Reserved.

© 2009 Nibariki-GNDHDDT© 2008 Nibariki-GNDHDDT. All Rights Reserved.

The nominees for the 82nd Academy Awards were announced earlier this morning, and anime won’t be part of the Best Animated Feature Film party. Ponyo, while pretty and very Hayao Miyazaki-esque in style, has instead earned the distinction of being the first Miyazaki film in seven years not to be nominated for an Oscar. It’s understandable, perhaps, given how the consensus is that it felt like it was missing a certain … something, some sort of spark that separates exceptional films from merely charming ones.

The films that made it in are certainly no slouches. Up, Disney/Pixar’s annual contribution (and often odds-on favorite to win) to the category, was the only film I’ve seen, and it was excellent. (I can never make it through the Carl/Ellie montage without crying, though.) I’ve only seen Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Princess and the Frog through trailers, but those are films I have in my viewing queue as well. The only one I hadn’t heard of until this morning was The Secret of Kells, but judging from the quiet but overwhelmingly positive buzz, I’m going to have to find a way to watch that somehow.