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Tuesday, October 21, 2014         

CEL SHADED


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MangaBento celebrates anime with 'Kakimochi'

By Jason Yadao

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MangaBento, the local group of anime- and manga-inspired artists, is serving up some "Kakimochi" this month at the Honolulu Academy of Arts' Linekona Art Center.

No, I'm not talking about those yummy rice crackers also known locally as arare or mochi crunch. Rather, it's the name of the group's latest exhibit, subtitled "Draw and Enjoy," which is on display now in the center's upstairs gallery.

Just as a bag of kakimochi can contain many pieces in various shapes, the "Kakimochi" exhibit will feature interpretations of anime and manga in various media. About 65 works will be featured, including sketches on paper, works on canvas and photographs. Two friends of the column are contributing pieces: Star-Advertiser cartoonist Jon J. Murakami, who did several prints of the "Ararangers" and drew a comic, and "nemu*nemu" artist Audra Furuichi. MangaBento members recently spent a day decorating the gallery with cutouts of kakimoji (sound effects) and speech balloons to make the display look like something out of a manga.

The exhibit isn't just about passively looking at pretty art, either. The term "kakimochi" also translates into "draw and have," and to that end, pens and paper will be available in the exhibition area for visitors to sketch and take home their own creations.

Those of you who want to meet some of the MangaBento artists can do so at the exhibit's opening reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday. If you can't make it, the exhibit runs through Feb. 19. The center is at 1111 Victoria St.; visit www.manga-bento.com.

VERTICAL LICENSES 2 COVETED MANGA

Fans of Osamu Tezuka's manga, as well as those who have longed for a certain manga series about wine to reach U.S. shores, got some good news last week from manga publisher Vertical.

The American home of Tezuka's medical thriller "Black Jack," the cute-kitty manga "Chi's Sweet Home" and instant sci-fi classics "Twin Spica" and "7 Billion Needles" — all of which come highly recommended from this columnist — thrilled fans by announcing it would translate and release "Princess Knight" and "Kami no Shizuku" (aka "Drops of God") this fall.

"Princess Knight," Tezuka's contribution to early shoujo (girls') manga in the early to mid-1950s, is the story of Princess Sapphire, a girl who must assume the identity of a boy so she may inherit the throne (and thwart the intentions of an evil duke in the process). If that's not enough, the girl must also contend with a cast-out angel trying to earn his wings, as well as her love for a prince in a nearby kingdom. While it's been released before in English under the Kodansha Bilingual imprint, copies have been out of print and nigh impossible to find in the used-book market. The first of two volumes collecting the series will be released in October, with the second due in December.

"Drops of God" has already garnered attention in a number of media outlets over the past few years, including oenophile publications and The New York Times, because of the way the series has driven up demand for any wine mentioned within its pages. The manga chronicles the quest of Shizuku Kanzaki to find and correctly identify 13 wines to inherit his father's vast, valuable collection. But Shizuku has two factors going against him: his relative inexperience and the fact that his dad had an adopted son, an acclaimed wine critic, who's competing against him.

The series is written by the brother-sister team of Yuko and Shin Kibayashi under the pseudonym Tadashi Agi and drawn by Shu Okimoto. Watch for the first volume of this ongoing series in September.

"Cel Shaded," a weekly look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Thursday. Follow Jason S. Yadao on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsyadao or e-mail him at jyadao@staradvertiser.com.






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