Archive for September, 2011

The Cel Shaded report, 9/29: Best HEXXP bets

September 29th, 2011

The Hawaii Entertainment Expo, also known in more informal circles as HEXXP (or in even more casual chats between tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. and I, “the HEXpo”), is coming up Friday and Saturday at the Blaisdell. 1-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, admission price $15 per day at the door, to be specific.

Yeah, I know, it kind of snuck up on us, too. We didn’t even register until earlier this week … and I’m covering one day of it for this blog, and Wilma’s part of the Saturday program. Nevertheless, it’s here, and as your friendly neighborhood blogger on all things anime- and manga-related here, it’s my duty to get you ready for what the two-day pop culture convention has to offer.

So here are some of the highlights I pulled from the official program, current when I checked at 10 a.m. today. Note that as with anything of this nature, the schedule is subject to change.

Both days

Before I get into the highlights, I should emphasize that the convention will be hosting a donation station for victims of the Japanese tsunami and earthquake. From the HEXXP website:

Many of the victims of the great Tohoku quake and tsunami were children. Among those who survived, some lost their parents, and most of them lost all of their possessions in the tsunami. HEXXP, along with Oahu Anime Explorer and our many partnering conventions, are working together to help bring happiness to those children who have lost everything. We will be accepting Japanese manga, music CDs, toys, DVDs (region 2 only), models (completed or not) and games. They will be distributed by our industry friends such as ALSDEAD, Takashi O’hashi and others who are constantly working with those who survived that disaster. Please help us bring happiness to those children who lost everything with a show of aloha from Hawaii.

Back to the show. The first thing you have to realize when you arrive is that the space will be compact. Those of you who went to HEXXP last year may recall that the pop-culture convention element of the show spilled over to part of the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall floor, with the car show dominating the rest of the hall floor space. This year? No cars, so no spillover into the Exhibition Hall. We’re looking at a show contained entirely within the Blaisdell Galleria. This year’s theme seems to be “keep things simpler,” and the organizers have already succeeded in that regard; there’s one place to check in once you enter the building, main events are in one room to the left, gaming and vendors are to the right, video screenings and the Animaid Cafe are upstairs, and that is it.

Speaking of those vendors, friends of the blog Jon J. Murakami, idkwhat2wear and William “Doc” Grant with the Hawaii Star Manga Project will be part of the vendors’ room/Artist Alley. So go buy lots of stuff from them (and, of course, from anyone else who catches your fancy .. buy local, yay). Also with booths: the Ghostbusters Hawaii Division and the Pacific Outpost 501st Legion of Imperial Stormtroopers.

Then there are your gaming options. Like last year, there will be two rooms — one for console gaming, presented by the Hawaii Video Gaming League, the other for PC gaming, presented by PC Gamerz. There will be tournaments throughout HEXXP for Tekken 6, League of Legends, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition and Street Fighter II Championship Edition. (Some entry fees may apply; check your program for details.)

If you get hungry, I see three viable food options available:

  1. Official Blaisdell concessions on the first floor.
  2. The Animaid Cafe, where, for $13 ($12 per ticket for parties of three or more; $10 per ticket for parties of 10 or more) you can get a meal, refillable drinks, desserts and unlimited games served to you by cosplaying maids. (That option will be available to you from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.)
  3. Jack in the Box across the street (but just remember, you can’t bring outside food into the Galleria).


Your best chance of meeting artist Phil Yeh and voice actor Kyle Hebert are on this day, with their panels taking up a three-hour block in the late afternoon/early evening (Yeh from 5 to 6 p.m. and signing from 6 to 6:30 p.m.; Hebert with a regular panel from 6:30 to 7 p.m., a voice-acting workshop from 7 to 7:30 p.m. and signing from 7:30 to 8 p.m.). Hebert has quite the sense of humor — just watch this sketch with That Guy With The Glasses for proof (warning: strong language) — so that’ll be a fun time.

Those appear to be the only official appearances the two will make as far as I can tell, although Yeh may be back for a mural-drawing session at 4 p.m. Saturday. (Editorial commentary: Having been to two mural-drawing events now, 4 p.m. seems VERY late to be starting a mural, unless they’re going late into the night. We’ll see how that pans out, I suppose.)

Aside from that, the program seems designed for offering tips to do-it-yourself cosplayers, what with the Costumers Guild and 501st talking about building armor for Halo and Star Wars cosplay (2-3 p.m.) and the Cosplay University series of lectures (3-4:30 p.m.) on topics including “Adapting Normal Clothes for Cosplay,” “Makeup for Cosplay/Runway” (presented by Bella Torre Academy) and “History of the Petticoat” (presented by the University of Hawaii at Manoa Apparel Product Design and Merchandising program).

The night belongs to J-rockers ALSDEAD, who will be in concert from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. If you’ve never heard of ALSDEAD, I’m going to make a similar recommendation to one I did when J-rockers Tsushimamire came to Kawaii Kon a few years back:

  • Pull up this YouTube video.
  • Plug in a set of good headphones.
  • Crank the volume up to maximum level.

If you can tolerate that, congratulations. You are ready to watch the ALSDEAD concert.


The second half of HEXXP looks to be a day packed with fashion presentations. Yes, Sam Campos is debuting his series Dragonfly (11 a.m.-noon), and there’s the J-Rock Music Industry Panel featuring ALSDEAD, Takahashi O’hashi and Babel Entertainment (1-2 p.m.) and an ALSDEAD autograph signing at 2 p.m.

But after that, for a good chunk of a four-hour block, there’s a whole bunch of fashion shows and panels. The Japan Street Fashion show (which, as you may recall I mentioned in a previous post, will feature Wilma as one of the models) at 3 p.m. The Lolita Fashion Show at 3:30 p.m., featuring designs by Minako McCarthy, a lecturer in the UH-Manoa apparel product design program and an award-winning student designer in 2007. The Japan Street Fashion panel at 4 p.m. And the HEXXP Cosplay Contest at 6 p.m.

Not on the printed schedule at the moment but confirmed to be happening is a steampunk-themed photo shoot at 5 p.m. You’ll find that on the second floor of the Galleria. Hopefully this won’t pull away too much of the audience from the “Hetalia: History of the World” panel going on at the same time (which may have some cool things going on, but may not, but … oh, just go take a look at the program listing online, you’ll see what I mean), but you never know how much of a crossover exists between the two fan bases.

And the night? Once more it belongs to ALSDEAD, who will be shooting their music video starting at 8 p.m. and running into the night.

Hopefully this guide will give you some ideas of what to check out, whether you can attend on one day or both. See you there?

Drawing a crowd: The Kahala Cartoon Art Mural, 3/13

September 23rd, 2011

Coming up Saturday is a real treat for those of you in Windward Oahu (or those of you who can make it over there) — as part of Windward Mall’s Kids World activities, a bunch of local artists — including Star-Advertiser cartoonists Dave Thorne and Jon J. Murakami and Midweek cartoonist Roy Chang — will gather to create a cartoon art mural through most of the day It’s part of the Cartoonists Across America and the World initiative spearheaded by Phil Yeh, creator of the Winged Tiger comics and stories … and since Phil will be a guest at the Hawaii Entertainment Expo (HEXXP) next week, he’s arriving on Oahu a bit early to help out at this mural as well.

For a proper preview of Saturday’s festivities, though, one needs only to go back to mid-March, when a bunch of artists contributed to a similar project in festivities at Kahala Mall. After the break, you’ll find the pictures I shot at that event.


‘Gordon Rider,’ the board game

September 20th, 2011

Any discussion of the history of Jon J. Murakami’s Gordon Rider comic has to start with The Board.

Gary Chun mentioned The Board back in his Gordon Rider profile in 2006, a 24-by-36-inch erasable white board at Mechahawaii in Kaimuki from which sprung many of the the Kikaida/Kamen Rider-inspired (mis)adventures of “Kaimuki’s unlikeliest superhero” over the years, drawn, photographed and later reproduced in comic book form.

But after years of faithful service — and appropriately enough, in a year filled with multiple goodbyes, including that of Mechahawaii/Sean’s Shop looming at the end of it — The Board is finally being retired. The most recent story arc, “Quest for the Helmet,” is being drawn digitally, with installments uploaded to the Gordon Rider fan page on Facebook.

But Jon has one last comic left to draw on The Board. And if fortune smiles upon you, the tale told in that comic — along with The Board itself — could be yours. All you have to do is submit a script for a single comic consisting of anywhere from two to 10 panels. That task shouldn’t be too confusing, but in case you need some guidance, your friendly neighborhood otaku blogger is here to help. Let’s say, for instance, that you wanted to submit a script for what would become strip #3 in the “Quest for the Helmet” arc. Your script would probably look something like this:


Panel 1

GORDONĀ  stands next to STEVE, who is holding a smartphone.

GORDON: So you really think your phone can find my helmet?

STEVE: Trust me …

Panel 2

STEVE studies his phone as it beeps as GORDON watches.

Panel 3

STEVE points his beeping phone up a sheer cliff.

GORDON (looking shocked): SERIOUSLY?! WE GOTTA GO UP THERE?!!!

Panel 4

STEVE points his beeping phone toward a house.

STEVE: Naw, I’m pulling your leg … it’s in that house over there …

GORDON (looking frustrated): Y’know there are some days I just wanna shove you in a sock!


Easy, right? All it takes is a bit of imagination, and you could have Jon drawing your idea in permanent marker on The Board. In turn, you’ll also own an original art piece … and who doesn’t love original artwork?

A few more contest rules:

  • Keep your script family-friendly and PG-rated. That means no swearing, nudity, blood or gore. That also means you shouldn’t submit that idea you had for a torrid Gordon-Steve furry slash yaoi fanfic. (Oh, and if you do have such a script, you are a sick, sick person and should really be ashamed of yourself.)
  • No copyrighted characters, places or products can make appearances. Ever wondered what would happen if Gordon Rider, Naruto and Jiro from Kikaida were to meet for ramen and Cokes at Tenkaippin? Keep wondering, because you can’t submit that idea.
  • Include with your entry your name, phone number and any other information you’d be willing to have posted (like a nickname, email address, website address or Facebook/Twitter/DeviantArt contact info). Also let them know if you’ll be attending the Hawaii Entertainment Expo (HEXXP) in a few weeks … Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, to be exact.

Entry deadline is Sept. 28, which means you have eight days to brainstorm an idea. So get cracking! The winner will be revealed at HEXXP on Sept. 30. For complete contest rules, visit the White Board Contest page ( To submit entries (use the subject line “Gordon Rider White Board) or ask any questions, email

Good luck! And if you win, let me know. We love showering love on winners here at Otaku Ohana.