Capitol exhibit shows club’s heart
It's all about the cowbell for the Aiea Intermediate School Manga and Anime Club.
That would be the cowbell referred to in that classic "Saturday Night Live" sketch, where Christopher Walken, playing the manager of a rock band, implored his charges to give the cowbell player more room to play, no matter how ridiculous it sounded in the song. "I need more cowbell," he'd often beg.
The club, advised by art teacher (and Midweek cartoonist) Roy Chang, has a different take on the word, using it to refer to the effort that they put into their work. "Cowbell" is also incorporated in their logo. And there's plenty more to go around in an exhibit of their work on display in the chamber (basement) level of the state Capitol. It's part of the Capitol Arts Program hosted by Sen. David Ige, where schools exhibit student work.
I had the opportunity to see the exhibit of 24 pieces and was impressed. These seventh- and eighth-graders love their art, anime and manga.
There's original artwork and fan art in several different types of media, from simple pen-and-ink sketches to pastels and watercolors to Photoshop work. Current fan-favorite ninja series "Naruto" is well represented in the pieces, as is the supernatural action series "Bleach."
It's hard to pick favorites -- I'm sure everyone put a fair amount of effort into their work -- but I was rather impressed with the pieces by eighth-grader Melissa Buck. There's quite a bit of intricate detail in HER drawings, particularly "The Sweetest Things," with its "chibified" (super-cute) versions of "Naruto" characters surrounded by pastel-colored confections. Her page layout also looks like it could have been done by a professional artist.
The exhibit will be on display through April 15; the best way to get to it is to take the street-level public elevator on the Senate side of the Capitol down to the chamber level, then walk straight ahead. The artwork will be on the right toward the end of the hallway, near the drinking fountain and across from the snack shop.
When a super-powered amnesiac, A self-proclaimed special female, AN undercover high school detective and a delinquent get together, it can only mean one of two things: It's time for another "X-Men" spinoff or a comedy manga.
This is "Cel Shaded" you're reading, though, so it's definitely the latter. More specifically, it's "Harukaze Bitter*Bop," a new series from Tokyopop.
The first volume hits most of the standard comedic chords -- there's an obsessive crush, a character that plays the straight man to the rapid-fire jokes, a token buxom character, even countless references to "Kinnikuman" (the series that became "Ultimate Muscle" in the United States). But there also seem to be skeletons lingering in everyone's closets.
It'll be interesting to see how things pan out in future volumes. Count me in for now.
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao