Kawaii Kon '07 scores
BIGGER. BETTER. Arguably more glomping, cosplaying and yaoi-obsessed fangirls per square foot than any event the Hawaii Convention Center has seen in its history.
That was the scene at the third edition of Kawaii Kon, Hawaii's annual anime convention, which drew 2,925 people to the center over the last weekend of April.
Perhaps it was only fitting that the convention kicked off with ADV producer David Williams' announcement that his company had licensed the anime series "Air," because that's exactly what the event got with its shift from the Ala Moana Hotel: more room to stretch out, breathe and do pretty much anything people wanted to do.
Yet for all its changes, a sense of familiarity prevailed over the proceedings. Some people might have viewed this as a drawback -- many of the industry guests at this year's convention were holdovers from previous years, after all, and a good portion of the main events schedule felt like an extended lovefest for ADV Films talent and voice actor Vic Mignogna. (Not that his legions of fans who showed up at his panels and concert really minded, of course.)
It was in the more intimate moments, though, that this convention really shone. Take, for instance, the Artists Alley table of Sara Deguchi and Rebecca Itokazu, where the two were selling handcrafted plush dolls of the Prince and his cousins from the "Katamari Damacy" series of video games. Or, perhaps, the Maid Cafe in the dealers room, where students in Jason Chun's class at the University of Hawaii at West Oahu dressed up as maids and butlers in a simulation of similar cafes in Japan, to raise funds for the school's new library.
MUCH OF the weekend's mayhem has been chronicled in videos posted on YouTube, with users ShadowDragon28 and Sushicrowd offering the most comprehensive coverage. Aside from those, here are a few notable highlights:
» www.youtube.com/watch?v=apwaFhkmGLQ: In "March of the Zombies '07," a parody of the video game "Resident Evil," assorted "zombified" cosplayers stalk a guy dressed as the (seriously wounded) hero of the game, Chris Redfield.
» www.youtube.com/watch?v=TN-WJQtXzXk: Voice actor Steve Blum and Mignogna have done a series of one-minute recordings online called "Real Fans of Genius," a spoof of the Budweiser "Real Men of Genius" ad campaign. In this clip, the actors do a new spot exclusive to Kawaii Kon, "Mr. Kawaii Kon Volunteer Worker Guy."
» www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nYgmMopCwQ: Voice actor Chris Sabat -- who missed the first day of the convention thanks to a bout with food poisoning -- shows up and promptly hijacks the Sushicrowd camera. Wacky hi-jinks, uncomfortable silences and a few blank stares ensue.
Next week: More from Kawaii Kon, including a look at the "State of the Industry" panel and whatever other coverage I can cram into this space ...
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao