Archive for June, 2011

Rally for the “Rumble” for Honolulu

June 14th, 2011

Fans of the adventures of gunslinger Vash the Stampede, the doughnut-loving, love-and-peace-believing Humanoid Typhoon and lead character in the Trigun franchise, probably twitched a bit with glee when the new movie Trigun: Badlands Rumble made its debut at Sakura-Con in 2009. They probably twitched a bit more when they learned that Funimation formally announced that it had picked up said movie for U.S. release during its Anime Expo panel last year. And now, the moment that many fans have waited for has finally arrived: Badlands Rumble is finally seeing wide release in the U.S. Finally, fans have a chance to see the first freshly animated adventures of Vash, Milly, Meryl and Wolfwood on the big screen, and on our shores!

Well, sort of.

On Tuesday, Funimation released its initial list of U.S. theaters showing Trigun: Badlands Rumble. There are 30 locations from sea to shiny sea, with dates in July and August … and Hawaii is not one of them. People, even Anchorage has a theater showing this film. Anchorage! If our sister state in the “offer valid in the continental 48 states only … sorry, you last two outlying land masses” could get a screening, surely we, the home of modern-age theatrical anime screenings from Escaflowne to Evangelion 2.0 and one of the markets deemed worthy of the (admittedly dubious) honor of seeing Tales From Earthsea in a theater, could get at least one screening, no?

But all hope is not lost. As Funimation’s blog post noted, “We want to book more locations so if you want us to bring the film to your city, please demand it!” And so, using the power vested in me of being able to get the word out to multiple fans, I’m officially calling on you, dear Otaku Ohana readers in the 808 state, to help get Honolulu added to the official screening roster. Here’s how you can add your voice to the chorus:

  1. Visit; click on the “Demand it!” link.
  2. For the ZIP code prompt, enter any ZIP code associated with Honolulu; for the record, the Regal Dole 18 is in 96817; the Consolidated Ward Stadium complex, 96814; and the Consolidated Kahala complex, 96816. (All three have been home to anime screenings in the past.)
  3. Enter your gender, birth year and email address. (Also, handy spam-cutting tip: Uncheck that box about receiving info about special offers.)
  4. Click through and pray.

Let’s see if we can’t push that vote count up from 10 votes to … umm … 13 votes! (I’d like to think there are more readers over whom I hold influence, but it’s difficult to tell these days.) It’s probably a long shot — and if not this summer, there’s always the hope that the Hawaii International Film Festival will pick it up for its Fall Showcase — but, well, you never know. I know tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J., who raved about the original series back in 2003, voted even before I told her I was whipping up this post, and I’ve cast my vote as well.

Need more convincing? Here, have an official Funimation trailer.

The Cel Shaded report, 6/9: Tekken it to Dole (in 3-D!)

June 9th, 2011

Ahh, Tekken. Ever since the first installment of the King of Iron Fist Tournament hit arcades in 1994, gamers have beaten one another silly using humans of all nationalities and sizes, cyborgs, kangaroos, giant lizards, grizzly and panda bears, wooden dummies, and … umm … whatever the heck Azazel is (aside from “that guy I always have trouble beating in Tekken 6 even on super-easy mode”). Heck, even Gon — yes, the tiny dino-star of Masashi Tanaka’s manga, heading to its third manga imprint stateside in Kodansha Comics this summer — has joined the festivities in the past, getting the only ending that technically could go on forever in the process.

Those people who actually care about the stories behind the characters (besides “Hello, opponent, I will taunt you, now let the exchanging of blows commence”) have had quite a bit to digest over the years. In its simplest form you have the dysfunctional Mishima/Kazama family dynamic — Heihachi, the host of several tournaments, first leader of the Mishima Zaibatsu, founder and commander of the Tekken Force and a father who’s thrown son Kazuya and grandson Jin Kazama off their fair share of high points; Kazuya, who’s been killed and resurrected several times and understandably hates his father enough to throw him off a cliff; Jin, the devil-possessed guy who hates granddad Heihachi for trying to kill him and dad Kazuya for … well … being Kazuya, a not-very-pleasant person to be around in the first place. Things start getting complicated once you introduce people like the assassin-put-into-a-deep-freeze Nina Williams and her rivalry with her vain sister, Anna. Then you get the plain goofy plot points, like Kuma’s never-ending quest to date Ling Xiaoyu’s pet, Panda. And anything beyond that? Sorry, but you’re going to have to study Wikipedia’s character profile list. I gave up trying to figure out the history of tiger-masked wrestler King a long time ago.

(Also, no Tekken commentary would be complete without mentioning, and linking to, the Tekken 6 sheep stage with yodeling background music. You’re welcome.)

But any discussion of the games themselves will have to wait for GameType, where tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. and I occasionally surface, contribute something and then promptly disappear again for months at a time. Here at Otaku Ohana, we concern ourselves with talking about adaptations of favorite games into anime, manga and other media. And more often than not, they’re incredibly average or worse adaptations. Tekken, of course, is no exception to this rule; it’s had an adequate OVA, released in 1999 by ADV Films, and a blink-and-you-missed it live-action American film in 2010 that joins Street Fighter and Dead or Alive in the Fighting Games That Never Should Have Been Turned Into Live-Action American Films Hall of Shame. When the long-running director of the video game condemns the movie, you’re in trouble.

Now a new contender has entered the fray: Tekken: Blood Vengeance, a computer-animated feature that will be shown at theaters across the country in glorious 3-D for one night only … including the Regal Dole Cannery18 here in Honolulu, in case you were wondering where exactly this Cel Shaded report was going … at 7 :30 p.m. July 26. Tickets, at $15 each, recently went on sale online at Fandango; the evening will also include a 20-minute interview with the aforementioned director, Katsuhiro Harada, and screenwriter Dai Sato (whose credits also include episodes of Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex and Cowboy Bebop, as well as the Halo Legends short “The Package”).

If nothing else — as this official Bandai Entertainment trailer shows — it’ll look really, really pretty. As for what the actual movie is about? That’s a good question. NCM Fathom’s description says the movie “will give fans a look into history and motivations of the fighters who join the King of Iron Fist Tournament.” The film also is “taking place in the world and true to the characters and history of the Tekken franchise,” according to a Namco Bandai press release. And information pretty much falls off the map after that.

I have to admit, in spite of the lack of information, I’m a bit intrigued about seeing this movie. It is rather pretty CGI animation, after all. It could be all this film needs to succeed and make millions of dollars, first in theaters, then with home-video releases. I mean, look at Square Enix and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children!

… umm. Or maybe not.

Library of clarifications

Soon after last week’s post about several summer library programs, librarian Diane Masaki offered a few notes of clarification and updates on some of Aiea Library’s upcoming events. Combined with her updated Facebook note, here’s a fresh look at what’s coming up at the library:

  • It’s Thursday, which means the Harry Potter movie marathon is continuing apace. Today’s offering: Chamber of Secrets.
  • Also continuing apace: The Aiea Library Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Program. Coming up next Wednesday is the Father’s Day gift-making session. That will be followed by the “pizza garden” program on the 22nd, offering instructions on how to grow herbs and vegetables for pizzas, and a program on the 29th teaching babies how to do sign language to relay their needs to parents.
  • Irish storyteller Niall de Burca will perform at 2 p.m. June 25, while Plenty Saimin author Feng Feng Hutchins will stop by to read her book at 3:30 p.m. July 7.

Once again, the library is at 99-143 Moanalua Road; call 483-7333.

Anime around town

>> MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists meets from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St., Room 200. Visit

The Cel Shaded report, 6/2: Library of coolness

June 2nd, 2011

It’s summertime, the kids are out of school, and the weather outside is simply gorgeous (recent patches of rain notwithstanding).

With that in mind, this week’s edition of the Cel Shaded report offers plenty of suggestions for yoinking people out from under the sun and back indoors into air-conditioned environments where they belong. Because come on — the sun’s so hot, you could get sunburned or skin cancer, you could drown while swimming, playing outside means you run the risk of getting run over by cars …

All kidding aside, there are some pretty cool activities coming up at local libraries that I’ve been told about. Heck, I’m sure there are others that I haven’t been told about, so check your local library for details. Of course, you probably already know about the summer edition of the Liliha Library Anime Art Contest, which is still accepting entries … if you missed my earlier posts on this, you can find them here and here.

Coming up on Saturday, though, is another chance to hear Dave Thorne, the cartoonist who draws “Thorney’s Zoo” for us here at the Star-Advertiser, talk about cartooning. He’ll be lecturing at the Aina Haina Library (5246 Kalanianaole Highway) at 2 p.m. I attended his talk in mid-April at the McCully-Moiliili Library — yes, that’s one of several pending posts from the past six months or so currently stuck in the logjam of photo-blog/interview transcription posts — and if this talk is anything like that, people of all ages are in for a treat. He covers a whole range of topics, from facial expressions to anthropomorphic characters to other drawing basics. There are plenty of opportunities to follow along in drawing on your own, but the real treat is in watching him draw things right before your eyes. Here’s a sample from April.

If you can’t make it out to Aina Haina, he has another presentation coming up at the Waipahu Library (94-275 Mokuola St.) at 6 p.m. on Wed., June 22,

Meanwhile, over at Aiea Library, young adult librarian Diane Masaki has quite a few activities brewing over the summer. I know this because I’m one of her Facebook friends, and I’ve seen her post her list of news and notes over the past few weeks no fewer than 700 bazillion times. (Just ribbin’ ya, Diane, you know I love ya.) For those of you who have yet to get sucked into the whole Facebook thing — in which case, come to the dark side! We have Staries! — here’s her list:

  • Volunteers high school age and older are needed to man the children’s summer reading desk for a minimum of one hour. Help would be particularly appreciated on afternoons and Saturdays.
  • The Summer Reading Program is underway for three age groups — children, teens and adults — where participants can register, submit their lists of books they read every week, and receive a small prize for doing so. Teens also have a chance to win an iPod Shuffle or an iPad. (Adults, sorry. Looks like you’ll have to just join me in being jealous of  whichever lucky teen ends up winning that iPad.)
  • The Harry Potter Movie Marathon, as seen in the May 28 edition of “Kalakoa,” is on and kicking off tonight at 5 p.m. with the first movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Or “Philosopher’s Stone” Elsewhere in the World, Which Actually Sounds Spiffier, But Hey, Maybe That’s Just Me). Refreshments will be served, so please, keep the popcorn and mochi crunch at home. (Besides, this is a library, not your favorite movie house.) And come back every Thursday through July 15 for more, same Potter time, same Potter station.
  • Want to learn how to play hanafuda, the Japanese flower card game? Of course you do; it’s easy to play once you get the hang of it, plus the cards are oh so very pretty. There will be lessons coming up Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. That kicks off a series that doesn’t have a formal name but which, for convenience’s sake, I’m unofficially christening the Aiea Library Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Program. (You can probably tell that this is the exact point in writing this post that my well of creativity ran dry.) Future installments include a Father’s Day gift-making session; a lesson on how to grow a pizza garden; a meet-and-greet with Feng Feng Hutchins, author of Plenty Saimin; and sign-language lessons.
  • On Saturday, June 25, Irish storyteller Niall de Burca will be stopping by to perform.
  • And to bring this all full circle and back to the focus of this blog, the Anime Club meets on the 18th to watch Kaleido Star. (And if you’re going, please RSVP. It makes it easier to Diane to bring enough snacks.)

The library is at 99-143 Moanalua Road; call 483-7333.

Other news and notes

A few tidbits from around the anime and manga world to close out this post:

CLAMP (not) in America (anymore): I’m not sure if anyone noticed this before Lissa Pattillo over at Kuriosity did, but her post earlier this week was the first place I heard about the long-in-gestation Del Rey project CLAMP in America finally being canceled. The book, first announced in 2008, was supposed to be a look at the artists’ history and their interactions with fans in the U.S., as well as a general appreciation of the group’s work. Some have suggested Dark Horse, where many of CLAMP’s series are turning up in omnibus editions, as a possible landing spot, but I can think of one reason why it shouldn’t: Oh My Goddess! Colors, a book that was certainly gorgeous when it finally was released but was plagued with delay after delay after delay beforehand. I know I completely forgot about that book until I stumbled upon it at a bookstore one day. If that happened with that book, then who knows what could happen with CLAMP in America? It could hit Duke Nukem Forever-levels before it’s all said and done. So perhaps it’s best to just let it die in peace. Sad, though.

Free manga alert: Those of you who like free stuff — I don’t know anyone who doesn’t, really — would do well to stop by All About Manga, where Daniella Orihuela-Gruber is giving away seven random volumes of mangaSkyblue Shore, Neko Ramen, Two Flowers for the Dragon, Bizenghast, Red Hot Chili Samurai, Gakuen Alice and VB Rose being the series represented. Yes, they’re series from Tokyopop and CMX Manga. Yes, this means that the chances of them being completed in the U.S. is about as likely at this point as the chances that CLAMP in America will ever be released. But still, free is free, and the contest requirements seem reasonable, so have at it.