Kawaii Kon plots course for April date
Hard to believe it's been that long already, but 2009 will mark the fifth annual edition of Kawaii Kon, Hawaii's own anime convention.
Quite a few notable people in the anime and manga industries have come through the convention, beginning at the Ala Moana Hotel for two years, then moving to the Hawai'i Convention Center. "Usagi Yojimbo" artist and former isle resident Stan Sakai has been a guest, as has "School Rumble" artist Jin Kobayashi; Sean Schemmel, the voice of Goku in "Dragon Ball Z"; and Yuuko Miyamura, the voice of Asuka in "Neon Genesis Evangelion."
It might be August, but it's already time to start planning for what I like to call the "drive for five." And so with that comes word that next year's convention will be held on Easter weekend, April 10-12, again at the Hawai'i Convention Center.
Joining the festivities for the first time will be U.S. voice actress Laura Bailey. Bailey has several notable roles on her resume, including Tohru Honda in "Fruits Basket," Lust in "Fullmetal Alchemist," Shinnosuke "Shinchan" Nohara in "Shinchan," Henrietta in "Gunslinger Girl" and Sana Kurata in the criminally ignored "Kodocha."
She's also served as director for several English dubs from Funimation, including the "Blue Gender" movie, "Gunslinger Girl" and, once again, the criminally ignored "Kodocha." (Why yes, I am bitter about that series not selling well enough to warrant Funimation bringing out the second season. Could you tell?)
So let the countdown begin -- just a little over eight months to go! For more information, visit www.kawaiikon.org ...
This week's dip into the world of translated Japanese novels comes courtesy of official "Cel Shaded" tag-team partner in fandom Wilma Jandoc. Take it away, Wilma:
After a bevy of volumes in the "Vampire Hunter D" novel series (currently being released stateside by Digital Manga Publishing and Dark Horse Press), author Hideyuki Kikuchi followed up with "Dark Wars: The Tale of Meiji Dracula," available in the United States from Del Rey.
What the title says is exactly what you get: Count Dracula appears in Japan in the late 1800s and starts wreaking his usual havoc -- or does he?
"Dark Wars" is difficult to follow at first not only because of Japanese social mores that cause confusion over people's names, but also because of Japanese terms that go unexplained, and descriptions and historical references that attempt to set the stage but interrupt the story instead.
Most people's personalities and their sufferings seem forced, including the sad loneliness apparently felt by Dracula. There is also little of the breathtaking tension that drives horror novels, that uncertainty as to who will live and who will die.
If you're looking for more of the depth of the "D" novels, you won't find it in "Dark Wars" ...
Meeting roll call
Meetings for this group of anime- and manga-inspired artists are 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays at the Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St., Room 200. For more information, visit www.manga-bento.com
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao