Singer Utada postpones her Honolulu visit


POSTED: Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Utada Hikaru, Japan's reigning queen of pop music, was supposed to visit Honolulu this weekend.

Anime and video game fandom are certainly familiar with Utada's work—two songs in the “;Kingdom Hearts”; franchise, the opening theme to “;Freedom”; and a version of “;Fly Me to the Moon”; for the “;Rebuild of Evangelion”; films. Hard-core fans even bought her modest-selling English-language CD, “;Exodus.”;

The plans were all in place: Her new English-language CD, “;This is the One,”; is being released today. One song in particular from that album, “;Come Back to Me,”; has been getting heavy airplay on local radio. To promote her CD, she was set to make appearances here as well as in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.

An autograph signing, CD release party and a meet-and-greet brunch were planned locally. I had even based an earlier draft of this column around these events, my enthusiasm a bit measured because all of them carried restrictions that limited the number of fans who could see and greet her.

But all that is moot now. Yesterday, Utada's official Web site released a statement saying that the singer would be postponing all her U.S. appearances due to a throat ailment. (It's “;an acute case of left relapsing peritonsillitis,”; for those of you who'd like to Google it.)

According to the statement, her doctors have advised her not to travel or use her voice for at least two weeks. A full recovery is expected, but no make-up dates have been announced yet.

So, for those of you who were making plans to see her this weekend, you're now free to do other things. Might I suggest some of the events listed below?

Kikaida celebration

Ever since “;Kikaida”; debuted on KIKU-TV in February 1974, the show has become a fondly remembered part of local cultural lore. Come Sunday, JN Productions will be breaking out the party hats.

“;Kikaida”; star Daisuke Ban will be a part of the 35th anniversary celebration from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Shirokiya, signing autographs and posing for pictures.

All the usual elements that make this party a “;Kikaida”; party will also be in place—photo opportunities with fellow costumed androids Hakaida and Sanagiman, karaoke for fans of all ages, and a drawing for some cool series-related swag.

Visit www.generationkikaida.com for more details.

Meeting roll call

» Oahu Anime Explorer: 6 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at HMC Academy, 555 N. King St. Visit www.oahuanimeexplorer.com.

» Aiea Library Anime Club: 3 p.m. Saturday at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. Librarian Diane Masaki will screen the first volume of “;Trinity Blood.”; For more information or to RSVP, e-mail Masaki at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Cel Shaded is a weekly look at the world of Japanese anime and manga. Follow Jason S. Yadao on Twitter at twitter.com/jsyadao or e-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).