Another year of memories at Kawaii Kon


POSTED: Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Once again, local anime and manga fans, old and young alike, have survived the annual edition of Kawaii Kon.

If it felt like there were more people roaming the halls of the Hawai'i Convention Center over the three-day Easter weekend and breaking into impromptu “;Caramelldansen”; dance sessions, that's because attendance increased for a fifth straight year — 4,479 people attended this year, a nearly 20 percent increase over last year's 3,739. Things seemed to be running smoothly from my perspective; the only problem I heard about all weekend was an attempted robbery at the dealers' room that resulted in it closing a half-hour early on Sunday.

I could only attend the convention on Friday and Saturday, but here are some observations:

» Conspicuous by their absence were artists Robert and Emily DeJesus, last-minute scratches from the guest list due to the death of Emily's grandfather. Condolences to the couple.

» This year's most popular cosplay seemed to be the powder-blue-coat-and-tie ensemble of the main characters of “;Ouran High School Host Club.”; The charm of the pretty boys in the series has clearly rubbed off on female fans.

» Whether you love voice actor Vic Mignogna or hate him, there's no denying that even after four consecutive Kawaii Kon appearances, he still draws big audiences. He did not, however, eat a Spam musubi, as “;Fullmetal Alchemist”; co-star Travis Willingham gamely did during his panel to the audience's delight. (Willingham's verdict: It smelled awful, but it wasn't as bad as he thought it would be.)

Other voice actors' panels were less well attended, but the stories they told of working in the industry were no less captivating. One request, though: Next year, can we please cut the number of requests for voice actors to say certain lines?

» Tsu Shi Ma Mi Re rocked the house, singing of tea and brain-eating and Powerpuff Girls. They're definitely entertaining and worth seeing live, whenever you get a chance.

Equally as fascinating was watching how the audience split between those standing up front, headbanging and bouncing away — making the floor shake in the process — and those in the back, sitting politely while watching those up front.

Pups on the Road

Audra Furuichi and Scott Yoshinaga, co-creators of the online comic “;nemu*nemu,”; will be at the Hawaii United Okinawa Association's Spring Craft Fair, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Hawaii Okinawa Center, 94-587 Ukee St.

They'll be bringing their usual selection of T-shirts, pins, plushies and their newest books, “;nemu*nemu”; Vol. 3 and “;The Art of nemu*nemu”; Vol. 2. I picked up both at Kawaii Kon, and they're excellent as always, entertaining books recommended for all ages.

For more information, visit www.nemu-nemu.com.



”;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).