POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Nov 11, 2010
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not sure what to expect from the inaugural Hawaii Entertainment Expo Experience (HEXXP), the six-pronged pop culture convention happening this weekend at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall.
But if there's anything I've learned from six years of covering Kawaii Kon, it's that it takes a mix of formal programming, organization and attendee enthusiasm to really make the show work. And while there are a few gaps here and there on the schedule posted online, it looks like there's enough there to keep anime and manga fans occupied throughout the weekend.
HEXXP will be the first local convention attended by Glenn Kardy, a former journalist who is the founder and CEO of Japanime Co. Ltd., a publishing company based in Kawaguchi, Japan.
While you may not have heard of Japanime, perhaps you've heard of its educational imprint: Manga University, publishers of the "How to Draw Manga" series, the "Kanji de Manga" series of illustrated guides to reading and writing Japanese characters, and manga-influenced books like "The Manga Cookbook" and "Manga Moods."
"Manga University is really looking forward to attending HEXXP," Kardy told me via e-mail. "Our fans in Hawaii have always been on the cutting edge of manga, anime and cosplay, and we can't wait to meet some of them in person!"
Kardy will be selling copies of "The Manga Cookbook" and a three-volume "Kanji de Manga" set at $10 and $20, respectively, a third off their regular cover prices.
He's also scheduled to host a panel discussing a series of interviews he conducted with anime and manga personalities including "Ghost in the Shell" director Mamoru Ishii, "Lupin III" creator Monkey Punch, the late director Satoshi Kon and Ikue Otani, the voice of Pikachu. A time for Kardy's panel hadn't been set as of press time.
Cosplayers and cosplay fans will be happy to know that "Bleach," "Naruto" and "Axis Powers Hetalia" gatherings are on Saturday, while "Chobits," "One Piece" and "Kingdom Hearts" get their turns on Sunday. ("Hetalia" fans may want to prepare for a late night, though, as their get-together isn't scheduled until 10 p.m.)
» Professional driver Ken Maeda will compare real-life drift racing with racing depicted in anime and video games in a panel from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
» "Pineapple Man" artist Sam Campos will host a comic book and movie production workshop from 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday and screen episodes of his live-action, "Kikaida"-transforming-superherolike show "Dragonfly" from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.
» Aaron Yamasato, director of "Blood of the Samurai" and "Ninja EX," will discuss filmmaking at a panel Sunday from 3 to 4 p.m.
HEXXP runs from 1 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Passes are available online now for $12; cost at the Blaisdell will be $15. Visit www.hexxp.com.
Audra Furuichi and Scott Yoshinaga, co-creators of the online comic "nemu*nemu," will be taking their parade of plush pup swag to the Noelani School Noelani Winter Craft Fair, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the school, 2655 Woodlawn Drive in Manoa. Visit www.nemu-nemu.com.
» 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.