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Star-studded anime roster to descend on Kawaii Kon

By Jason Yadao

LAST UPDATED: 8:34 p.m. HST, Apr 25, 2015

With eight days to go until Kawaii Kon kicks off at the Hawai‘i Convention Center for a weekend of fun, there's still a lot to discuss about the anime convention's seventh annual edition.

Of course, there are the featured anime and manga industry guests coming in from the mainland. This year's roster includes:

» Wendee Lee, the English voice of Faye Valentine in "Cowboy Bebop," Haruhi in "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" and Ururu in "Bleach."

» Scott McNeil, the English voice of Duo Maxwell in "Mobile Suit Gundam Wing" and Koga in "Inu-Yasha."

» Kappei Yamaguchi, the Japanese voice of Ranma in "Ranma ?," the titular character of "Inu-Yasha," L in "Death Note" and Usopp in "One Piece."

» Jonathan Tarbox, owner of Arashi Productions, which helps develop manga, anime and other Japanese content for the United States.

» David Williams, anime producer who's worked with ADV Films and Sentai Filmworks.

» Doug Smith, a freelance artist and an English voice actor in various anime, most of them in the 1990s.

Also coming to Kawaii Kon will be costume designer and professional cosplayer Yaya Han.

While she won't be doing any formal programs at the con — her appearance has been several years in the making, and, as Han told me via email, those have been rather frustrating years in dealing with con officials, at that — she will be in the dealers' room, selling such cosplay accessories as cat-ear headbands, steampunk hats and fantasy elf ears. You can look at her designs at

The tragedies inJapanare still relatively fresh on everyone's minds, and to that end there will be several fundraising efforts for disaster relief.

The convention itself will host two events. The first, a charity auction, will feature original art from Smith, "nemu*nemu" artist Audra Furuichi and Star-Advertiser "Calabash" cartoonist Jon J. Murakami, along with other donated art pieces, with all proceeds going toward disaster relief.

The second event will be a game challenge between two local podcasting groups, the League of Extraordinary Geeks and Otaku 5-0.

The game? No one knows.

"We are keeping it a secret so that neither side can ‘brush up' on their skills with the game," convention co-administrator Roy Bann said via email. "But it will be a game that will be easy to learn, entertaining and hopefully will also involve the audience so they will be a part of the action, too!"

And then there's idkwhat2wear, the Artist Alley staple and craft fair circuit regular that sells cute shirts and buttons. Terri Dux from idk said that Kawaii Kon is their favorite event of the year, what with the enthusiasm they see from attendees. She estimates 60 percent of the idk lineup will be debuting at the convention. One of those items will carry a special purpose with it.

"All sales from the ‘Love Japan' button ($1.50) will be donated to the American Red Cross for Japan Earthquake/Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund," Dux wrote. "We were so touched by the images of the recent tragic events that this is our little way to help."

I'll have more next week on what some members of the local anime community are doing at Kawaii Kon … and, of course, sign off from this column for the last time. Until then, though, check out for official convention happenings, or our "Otaku Ohana" blog ( for further coverage.

Follow Jason S. Yadao on Twitter at or email him at

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