If you’ve read this column for some time, you know by now that anime conventions come in all shapes and sizes. Kawaii Kon gets mentioned regularly here as Hawaii’s annual local convention, while HEXXP, the Hawaii Entertainment Expo Experience, will be including an anime component next month. I’ve even talked about "Baltiport," the impromptu "convention" assembled by a handful of fans and industry figures in an airport terminal.
For three hours Saturday, the Friends of the McCully-Moiliili Public Library will be hosting an event that falls on the smaller end of that event scale. Mini Con, running from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the library, is being held in celebration of Teen Read Week, the Young Adult Library Services Association’s annual initiative to encourage literacy.
When I heard about Mini Con’s venue, I knew there was one person I had to get in touch with right away: Hillary Chang, the library’s young-adult librarian and acting branch manager. Those of you who stopped by the Hawaii State Library table at Kawaii Kon’s Artist Alley earlier this year might remember Chang as the librarian cosplaying as Yotsuba Koiwai, the eternally cheerful green-haired child star of must-read manga series "Yotsuba&!"
Chang is bringing in three local artists for a meet-and-greet:
» Audra Furuichi, co-creator and artist of the popular plush pup Web comic "nemu*nemu."
» Jon J. Murakami, Star-Advertiser cartoonist, illustrator and creator of the "Gordon Rider" comic series.
» Kevin Sano, a T-shirt designer with Crazy Shirts who’s also done some designs featuring Kikaida and Kamen Rider.
"It’s more like a ‘Mini Artist Alley,’ but ‘Mini Con’ is so much easier to say!" Chang told me via e-mail.
Those of you who want to watch some anime can check out free screenings of episodes of "Azumanga Daioh," "Nadia: Secret of Blue Water," "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" and "Lucky Star." Attendees can also enter to win a gift basket with swag donated by Collector Maniacs and Hawaiian Graphics, featuring manga, art supplies and other comics-related items.
The library is located at 2211 S. King St. I’d recommend getting there early or carpooling, as parking in the neighborhood can get a bit tight. Call 973-1099.
Speaking of Kawaii Kon, convention officials formally announced earlier this week the first two guests for next year’s show:
» Jonathan Tarbox, owner of Arashi Productions, which helps develop manga, anime and other Japanese content for the United States. He’s also worked with now-defunct manga publishers Gutsoon and CMX.
» Scott McNeil, a voice actor best known for his roles as Koga in "Inu-Yasha," Duo Maxwell in "Mobile Suit Gundam Wing" and Piccolo in "Dragon Ball Z."
Kawaii Kon will be held April 29 to May 1 at the Hawai’i Convention Center; visit www.kawaii-kon.org.
» MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists meets from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St., Room 200. Visit www.manga-bento.com.
» Aiea Library Anime Club: 3 p.m. Saturday at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. Librarian Diane Masaki will be screening the first volume of "Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle." Attendees are invited to come in costume in honor of Halloween. E-mail Masaki at email@example.com.