Archive for June, 2011

The Cel Shaded report, 6/30: Pen & Ink Works’ fresh page

June 30th, 2011
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As an artist, perhaps one of the most exciting, scary times in the art creation process may be when you’re presented with a fresh page in your sketchbook that you can fill with whatever your creative little heart desires. It’s exciting because you have the power to create vast, infinite worlds — or perhaps an intimate, intensely personal piece — with just a few strokes of your pen, pencil or digital stylus. It’s scary because sometimes you’re never quite sure how the final product will turn out — masterpiece, wastebasket filler, or something in between.

I started thinking about the other day when I received an email from Brady Evans. If you’ve read this blog regularly, you’ve seen Brady. He’s the guy you saw helping out at MangaBento’s Manga Mayhem event last July.

And the one who had some of his art featured in MangaBento’s Kakimochi exhibit in February.

Not to mention the guy under attack at the MangaBento/Kawaii Kon table at the Honolulu Festival (new estimated release date for that post: sometime before Duke Nukem Forever comes out … wait, it’s already out? Dagnabbit.)

And, of course, we last saw him trading books with Jon Murakami at Kawaii Kon.

It was at the con, in fact, that Brady told me something that made my jaw drop. You’ll note that in many of the above pictures, I’ve noted his connection with MangaBento. Imagine my surprise when he said he had split with the group and was working on starting a new art group … and one formally affiliated with Kawaii Kon, at that. You could call it his “fresh page” moment.

Details were still sketchy (no pun intended) when he told me that on May 1, but since then the details have filled in quite nicely … to the point that his new group, Pen & Ink Works, is ready to have its coming-out party. And that party is hitching its wagon to one of the larger free-admission events on the art community calendar: ArtSpree 2011, the Contemporary Museum’s annual open house and family day on July 9.

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The slow, wild ride to appreciating “Wild Adapter”

June 25th, 2011
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Today’s profile: Wild Adapter vols. 1-6 (complete)
Publisher: Tokyopop
Suggested age rating: Mature 18+

One of the things I love about the Manga Movable Feast is that it gives bloggers like me a chance to look at series that I otherwise might not have considered. We saw that a few months ago with Karakuri Odette, and even before that with the Color trilogy.

But if you want the now-reigning king of second chances, look no further than this month’s subject, hosted by Melinda Beasi and Michelle Smith over at Manga Bookshelf: Wild Adapter. When it first came out in 2007, the series didn’t catch my attention. Sure, it was by Kazuya Minekura — “the creator of Saiyuki,” as a cover blurb helpfully pointed out (and in a manner much more subtle than those Rumiko Takahashi stickers I dissected back in April, at that) — but I had yet to experience a single moment of Saiyuki, although it was on my list of series that I wanted to get around to looking at eventually. (Yes, I still have yet to look at Saiyuki to this day. It’s a common, sad trend.)

Wild Adapter was just one of many, many books that Tokyopop was throwing at us manga reviewers and bloggers every few weeks, in thick envelopes filled with 10-12 debut volumes of series. It wasn’t so much the “manga revolution” that the publisher had dubbed it as it was a “manga, manhwa, light novel, original English manga and whatever else had black imprints on white paper and had some tenuous relationship to manga as long as it fit into a 5 x 7-3/8-inch-trim paperback revolution” being crammed down our throats. We could either sit and dutifully read every single volume we got — giving up any hope of carrying on with anything else in life aside from breathing in the process — or pick and choose what looked interesting and donate the rest to a nice library somewhere. I liked having a life beyond breathing, so off Wild Adapter went, into the donation bin of the beyond.

Whoever got my original review copy of Wild Adapter lucked out. It took four years, but after re-buying that first volume and finding copies of the other five volumes online, I can say that I made a mistake in passing it up back then.

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The Cel Shaded report, 6/16: Messages in a bottle (updated)

June 16th, 2011
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Aloha! You’ve reached the Otaku Ohana weekly Cel Shaded report. Unfortunately, all our operators are busy right now; Jason is marathon-reading through Kazuya Minekura’s Wild Adapter in hopes of joining in on the fun of the June Manga Movable Feast running next week, while Wilma is super-busy as well. Please hold while we process the following news tidbits for your convenience (as well as your planning purposes over the next week):

  • Borders Express stores in the Mililani Town Center and the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center in Waikiki are currently running “buy four, get one free” sales on all books — manga included. This could be the last pre-closeout hurrah for the stores, considering they (as well as the Pearlridge Borders) are on the “might close” list, that June 22 date is looming larger, and subsequent reprieves have failed to ease those concerns. So if you have your eye on fleshing out a few series and would prefer not to have your bar codes slashed through with giant markers, now may be the time to act for the best selection. [Updated 7:30 a.m. 6/16: Looks like we can call off the dogs — the Wall Street Journal is reporting a deal to stave off immediate closure. Getting manga for cheaper is always nice, though.]
  • Remember Trigun: Badlands Rumble? Of course you do; there was an item here just yesterday about voting to demand that Funimation and Eventful bring that movie to Honolulu for a theatrical screening. That vote’s still going on — the count was up to 22 people as of this writing; yay, power of the press and social media! — but even if we don’t get it in a theater, you’ll at least be able to view it in the comfort of your own home: Funimation scheduled a Sept. 27 release date for the DVD ($29.98 MSRP) and Blu-ray ($34.98). Still, though, keep voting. Because watching anime on the big screen is cool, and support now sends a positive message that we want more experiences like this later (crosses fingers and hopes the CGI Space Pirate Captain Harlock comes our way after that’s released).
  • Linda Mediati, young adult librarian at Liliha Library, called attention to another in the growing list of free library summer activities: The library will be celebrating International Game Day on Saturday by setting up a bunch of board games to play, including Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, Parcheesi, chess and many more. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the library, 1515 Liliha St. Oh, and while you’re over there, you may as well turn in some entries for the Anime Art Contest, too. (Sure, you have until July 15, but seize the day!)
  • Also gathering on Saturday: The Aiea Library Anime Club, meeting at 3 p.m. at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. This month, librarian Diane Masaki will be screening Kaleido Star. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail aiealibraryanimeclub@yahoo.com.
  • Finally, the Art & Flea Market returns to Fresh Cafe (831 Queen St.) next Thursday, June 23, from 5 to 10 p.m. This month’s theme: superheroes! Come dressed as a favorite superhero and take on the Superhero Arm Wrestling Challenge (the winner receiving a $100 In4mation), or sign up to be a real-life superhero and mentor to a young person at the Big Brothers Big Sisters booth. [Updated 7:30 a.m. 6/16: It should be noted that there’s a $2 admission fee. Credit the eagle eyes of tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. for spotting that. I will now go sit in the “time out” corner for bad copy editors.] Visit www.artandflea.com.