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?

One Response to “The Cel Shaded report, 9/29: Best HEXXP bets”

  1. William "Doc" Grant:

    Mahalo for the Plug Jason! We did our best ever at Hexxpo! We also sold lots of old comics to kids who did’nt realize comics were’nt always violent fanboy fansservice product. It was great fun watching them chortle over comics that were printed before they were born (or even their parents in some cases…. hard to believe my first published comic was in 1977… seems like yesterday!) We’ll be at the new one Oct 20 & 21st so stop by and say HI and we’ll drop some more news on you! Issue 6 will be up when we finish setting up our new studio!

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