Convention adds cosplay and rock flair
IT WOULD SEEM that holidays and Kawaii Kon guest announcements have gone hand in hand recently.
A few days before Thanksgiving, you might recall, the local anime convention announced it would be bringing the Japanese and English voices of Asuka from "Neon Genesis Evangelion," Yuuko Miyamura and Tiffany Grant, to next year's convention.
Today's Christmas Eve, but it seems fans of Japanese rock 'n' roll and costumed masquerades will get their Christmas gifts a day early: The Emeralds, a three-member band from Yokohama, and noted cosplayer Yaya Han have been confirmed for appearances next year.
Your friendly neighborhood columnist is admittedly more accustomed listening to the happy peppy mainstream sounds of Japanese artists like Utada Hikaru and Morning Musume. I never even knew the Emeralds before convention founder and co-director Stan Dahlin sent me a heads-up about the announcement.
A visit to the group's MySpace page, at www.myspace.com/theemeralds, though, fixed that ignorance quickly. In short, judging from the songs posted there, the guys can rock. Their appearance at the annual South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, for four years straight would certainly testify to that.
If I do attend their concert, it will be with earplugs, quivering in a corner, fearing for my life as fans start impromptu slamdancing ... not that there's anything wrong with that, of course. It's good music. I just have tender, aged ears, that's all.
Han, meanwhile, has garnered a considerable amount of international attention for her costumes. All that coverage is available on her Web site, www.angelicstar.net, along with pictures of many of her designs.
"She will be doing a couple of cosplay related panels that I am sure the local cosplayers will find informative," Dahlin said via e-mail.
For more information on the convention, to be held April 18-20 at the Hawaii Convention Center, visit www.kawaii-kon.org ...
Here's a little bit of creative insight into the "Random Plugging" feature, and my choices for what goes into it: In most cases, I'll get review copies of a certain anime or manga series, and I'll get around to reviewing them whenever I have the time and space to write them up.
This week, though, I'm making an exception to that normally lengthy process with "Japan Ai: A Tall Girl's Adventures in Japan," by Aimee Major Steinberger and published by Go!Comi.
Technically speaking, it's not manga. It's more of a sketchbook diary by Steinberger, an animator and self-proclaimed 6-foot-tall geek, and her adventures in Japan -- including watching the Takarazuka all-female revue, going to a hot springs inn, and visiting the offices of VOLKS, a ball-jointed doll manufacturer.
I bought this book a little less than a week ago and was instantly smitten by its blend of cute art and information about Japanese culture. Highly recommended ...
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao