Archive for February, 2012

The Cel Shaded Report, 2/23: Staples singers

February 23rd, 2012

Less than a month now separates us from this year’s edition of Kawaii Kon, the anime convention that’s brought a growing number of great guests from the anime and manga industry, both in Japan and the United States, to this giant rock in the middle of the Pacific since 2005. And while some of us (your friendly neighborhood Otaku Ohana blogger, tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J., pretty much anyone directly connected with the convention) will be running around like headless chickens getting ready for it, many of you out there are probably getting seriously excited about what’s coming up in a few weeks.

It’s going to be difficult to ignore the countdown this year, with two out of the next three weekends featuring events with some link to Kawaii Kon. There’s the Honolulu Festival, which I’ll discuss more next week, but there’s also an event happening from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday that’s a pre-convention first: “Anime Rocks,” the official Kawaii Kon 2012 pin launch event at the Hard Rock Cafe in Waikiki (280 Beachwalk Ave.). Cosplayers, dress up in your finest rocker costumes, and you could win prizes that include a free three-day pass to Kawaii Kon. Pin collectors, this is your chance to pick up this year’s pin for cheap — $10.20, to be exact, a savings of $1.80 off the regular price. Savings also await for non-pin collectors — those of you who’ve procrastinated until now in preregistering will be pleased to know that you’ll be able to do so at a cost of $35 for general admission and $25 for children ages 6-12. (That’s cheaper than even the current online “valentine” promo code will get you!) And while admission to “Anime Rocks” is free, it would certainly be nice if you could support the Hard Rock Cafe for being such gracious hosts;  to that end, all food and drinks will be 15 percent off during the event. (Get the nachos. They’re delish.)

Of course, any event called “Anime Rocks” has to feature a group that’ll bring the beats, so taking center stage will be a band familiar to recent convention attendees: Eleven Staples, the six-member group that thrilled audiences at the 2010 and 2011 conventions. I wrote a profile of the band in 2010, one that also featured my favorite picture of vocalist Erin Tamura, keyboardist/vocalist Megan Teruya, drummer Ryan Teruya, bassist Nolan Teruya and guitarist Jennifer Nose, which was taken by staff photographer Cindy Ellen Russell. And here’s a more recent photo of the group from last year, including sixth member Kyla, the rhythm guitarist.

While we’re talking about music and rocking out, I’d be remiss in not mentioning the final guests named to the Kawaii Kon 2012 roster: bless4, the four-member sibling group from Japan by way of Utah and Arizona. Akino is the featured singer on “Sousei no Aquarion” (“Genesis of Aquarion”) the theme song from Aquarion. Anyone who’s watched the Disney Channel for a considerable amount of time (yay Phineas and Ferb!) will also recognize the group as the Japanese representatives on Pass the Plate, 3-to-5-minute-long segments that discuss the health benefits of foods like bananas, fish and rice. Disney’s Stitch! anime also featured two bless4 songs, “Stitch is Coming” and “Hitori Ja Nai” (“You Are Not Alone”). To my knowledge, this is bless4′s first appearance at a U.S. anime convention.

Kawaii Kon is March 16-18 at the Hawai’i Convention Center; visit

‘Arrietty’ encore

After posting a $6.4 million opening weekend — good enough for ninth place at the U.S. box office, the best opening ever for a Studio Ghibli movie in the United States — The Secret World of Arrietty is charging headlong into another week at local theaters. This means it’s time once again for the Cel Shaded Report Obligatory Pretty Arrietty Promotional Film Still of the Week:

Tiny but tenacious Arrietty (voice of Bridgit Mendler) comes face to whiskers with the menacing household cat, but won't allow herself to be intimidated by this fussy feline, in "The Secret World of Arrietty." (Courtesy Disney & GNDHDDTW)

No theaters have dropped off the list yet, so here’s the full list of showtimes, according to Fandango (please note that times are subject to change):

Dole Cannery: 10:45 a.m. and 1:15, 3:45, 6:55 and 9:25 p.m. (Tuesday and Thursday: Open-captioned screenings at 1:15 and 9:25 p.m.; Wednesday: open-captioned screenings at 10:45 a.m. and 6:55 p.m.)

Kaahumanu (Maui): 10:20 a.m. and 12:30, 2:40, 4:50 and 7 p.m; 9:10 p.m. (Friday-Saturday)

Kahala: 11 a.m. and 1:15, 3:30, 5:45 and 8 p.m. (Friday-Sunday); 11:30 a.m. and 1:40, 3:50, 6 and 8:10 p.m. (Monday-Thursday); 10:15 p.m. (Friday-Saturday)

Kapolei: 10:40 a.m. (Friday-Saturday); 12:50, 3, 5:10, 7:20 and 9:30 p.m.

Makalapua (Hawaii): 11:45 a.m. (Friday and Sunday); 2:05 and 4:25 p.m. (Friday and Sunday-Thursday); 6:45 and 9:15 p.m.

Mililani: 11:05 a.m. and 1:15, 3:25, 5:40, 7:55 and 10:10 p.m. (Friday-Sunday); 12:30, 2:45, 5:05, 7:35 and 9:45 p.m. (Monday-Thursday)

Pearlridge: 10:55 a.m. and 1:05 p.m. (Friday-Sunday); 3:20, 5:35 and 7:50 p.m.; 10:15 p.m. (Friday-Sunday); 10 p.m. (Monday-Thursday)

Ward: 11 a.m. (Friday-Sunday); 1:20, 3:40, 5:55, 8:10 and 10:25 p.m.

Windward Mall: 12:45, 3:05, 5:25, 7:45 and 10:10 p.m.

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

KZOO Radio: Kell Komatsubara of Oahu Anime Explorer chats with the gals with AniMaid Cafe during a live taping at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at KZOO’s Shirokiya studio at Ala Moana Center. Can’t make it to watch the taping? The interview will be broadcast on KZOO — 1210 AM on your radio dial — at 11 p.m. Tuesday. It’ll be all in English, too, so no need to worry about that.

The Cel Shaded Report, 2/16: AHHHHH!-rrietty, Second Mix

February 16th, 2012

As you may recall from last week’s Cel Shaded Report, there’s a pretty big movie coming out on Friday. No, not Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, silly (and besides, with Marvel suing and winning a $17,000 judgment against Gary Friedrich, the guy who actually created Ghost Rider in 1972 and who’s now in dire financial straits, I’m somewhat inclined to not want to see that movie, period). We’re talking about The Secret World of Arrietty, the animated film based on the novel The Borrowers which is the latest English-translated work from the house of My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and Ponyo, Studio Ghibli. And as I also established last week, any time I mention Arrietty here in Otaku Ohana, I get another excuse to post one of the pretty film stills that Disney provides to us press types. So here you go.

Although she is very tiny, Arrietty (voice by Bridgit Mendler) is a dauntless teenager who, along with her equally diminutive family, resides peacefully under the floorboards of a country house and "borrows" whatever is required to get by. (Courtesy Disney & GNDHDDTW)

Arrietty’s local screening schedule has been fleshed out considerably since my last post. On Oahu, Consolidated’s Kahala, Kapolei, Mililani, Pearlridge and Ward complexes join the list, and there are more details on showings at Regal’s Dole Cannery and Windward Mall theaters. Fans on Maui can check out screenings at Consolidated’s Queen Kaahumanu Center theaters in Kahului, while those on Hawaii island can visit Hollywood Cinema’s Makalapua Stadium complex in Kailua-Kona. As for Kauai … umm … well … three out of the four major islands isn’t too shabby, I suppose. Sorry, guys.

Here’s when you’ll want to go if you want to see Arrietty any time in the next week:

Dole Cannery: 12:01 a.m. (Friday); 11:10 a.m. and 1:45, 4:10, 7 and 9:30 p.m.

Kaahumanu (Maui): 10:40 a.m. and 12:50, 3, 5:10 and 7:30 p.m.; 9:35 p.m. (Friday-Saturday)

Kahala: 10:50 a.m. and 1:05 p.m. (Friday-Monday); 1 p.m. (Tuesday-Thursday);  3:20, 5:35 and 7:50 p.m.; 10:10 p.m. (Friday-Sunday)

Kapolei: 9:30 a.m. (Friday) SOLD OUT; 10:40 a.m. (Saturday and Monday); 12:50, 3, 5:10, 7:20 and 9:30 p.m.

Makalapua (Hawaii): 11:50 a.m. (Friday-Monday); 2:10, 4:35, 7:05 and 9:25 p.m.

Mililani: 11:05 a.m. and 1:20, 3:30, 5:40, 7:55 and 10:05 p.m. (Friday-Monday); 12:20, 2:35, 4:55, 7:25 and 9:40 p.m. (Tuesday-Thursday)

Pearlridge: 10:55 a.m. (Saturday-Monday); 12:05 p.m. (Friday and Tuesday-Thursday); 1:05 p.m. (Saturday-Monday); 3:20, 5:35 and 7:50 p.m.; 10:15 p.m. (Friday-Sunday); 10 p.m. (Monday-Thursday)

Ward: 11 a.m. (Saturday-Monday); 1:20, 3:40, 6, 8:15 and 10:30 p.m.

Windward Mall: 12:55, 3:15, 5:35, 7:55 and 10:20 p.m.

Ghibli films tend not to linger in theaters for too long, so you’ll probably want to check out Arrietty at your earliest convenience. Advance tickets for all shows are available via Fandango. Also note that while all the times above are listed on Fandango, there have been occasions where, like Lucy pulling the football out from under Charlie Brown, they have been changed without warning. (Tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. experienced this some time ago with Tales From Earthsea. She’s never seen it as a result. Thanks a lot, guys.) Enjoy the show, and please be considerate of your neighbors at the theaters.

Anime around town

“Draw the Line”: Friend of the blog and Star-Advertiser “Calabash” cartoonist Jon J. Murakami joins seven other artists for a second year at this fundraising event for Kumu Kahua Theatre. They’ll be drawing for close to two hours, and you can buy whatever they churn out during this extended art jam session for $20 apiece. Check it out from 6 to 7:45 p.m. Friday at the theater at 46 Merchant St.

“Night Shuffle”: Oahu Anime Explorer president Kell Komatsubara joins host Colleen Ogura for his second show on KZOO 1210 AM. There were a few things I didn’t expect during the first show last week — the fact that half the show featured the host translating everything Kell said into Japanese, for instance, as well as the show lasting an hour instead of the half-hour I said it would last in my post. At least we’re better prepared for what will happen this time, right? If you’re within KZOO’s broadcast range, tune in at 11 p.m. Tuesday.

The Cel Shaded Report, 2/10: AHHHHH!-rrietty

February 10th, 2012

This weekend’s movie buzz may be all about the Rock, a CIA agent on the run, horrible disappointments now rendered in 3-D and the further adventures of sparkly vampires and shirtless werewolves, but we here at Otaku Ohana have pretty much written off all of that in favor of lo0king forward to what’s happening next weekend: the debut of the latest Studio Ghibli film to hit American shores, The Secret World of Arrietty.

While the last Ghibli film to make it to the U.S., Tales From Earthsea, lasted in theaters about as long as it’ll take you to read this sentence, Disney appears to have much more confidence in Arrietty. So much so, in fact, that the film’s bowing in more than 1,200 theaters, the most of any Ghibli film to date (the previous high was Ponyo in 2009, which opened at more than 900 theaters). Even though a first-time director, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, is at the helm, there’s a solid pedigree behind it: Toshio Suzuki produced as always, Hayao Miyazaki handled the planning and screenplay, and it’s based on the classic Mary Norton novel The Borrowers. Plus, the promotional stills coming out of the film just have that lovely Ghibli sheen all over them. Here, have a picture of Shawn (renamed from the original Japanese “Sho”) and Arrietty:

Human boy Shawn (right, voice of David Henrie) is astonished when he visits the garden and discovers Arrietty (voice of Bridgit Mendler) a tiny person who lives hidden with her family under the floorboards of the house where he's staying. (Courtesy Disney & GNDHDDTW)

Pretty, huh?

While there aren’t a whole lot of details as of now as to where Arrietty is showing — Consolidated hasn’t even acknowledged the film exists on its website yet, although posters spotted at the Ward and Pearlridge complexes would seem to indicate that those two sites will be showing it, at least — there are a few sites where advance tickets are already being sold. At least one midnight showing has been confirmed, at the Regal Dole Cannery theaters as Thursday rolls over into Friday. If you don’t feel like staying up that late, the only other theater selling advance tickets as of now is the Regal Windward Stadium 10 complex, for showings at 12:55, 3:15, 5:35, 7:55 and 10:15 p.m. Feb. 17-20. I’ll have more updates on showtimes here as they’re warranted.

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

Aiea Library Anime Club: 3 p.m. Saturday at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. This month, librarian Diane Masaki will be screening Howl’s Moving Castle, the perfect Ghibli appetizer for Arrietty. For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or email

Kawaii Kon: Final orientation meeting for volunteer staff members will be held at 11 a.m. at Kakaako Waterfront Park. You have to attend two meetings to qualify as a volunteer, so if you’ve only attended one so far, this is your last chance. Visit

Whole Foods Market Kahala: Yes, Whole Foods does have something going on that may be of interest to anime fans, even though it’s not directly related to anime: the “Style Your Valentine” event, where you can buy a pair of TOMS shoes and have local artists, including friend of the blog and Star-Advertiser Calabash cartoonist Jon J. Murakami, customize them for you. And as the flyer I linked to notes, for every pair you buy, TOMS will donate a pair to a child in need. Check it out Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. near Kahala Mall’s center stage.