Lots to talk about this week, but I’d be remiss in not addressing the top Japan-related topic on everyone’s mind: the earthquakes and tsunami that struck the country last week.
As far as how members of the anime, manga and video game industries in Japan have been faring, Anime News Network has been doing a great job keeping tabs on them as they’ve checked in via various social media at bit.ly/dKzYyy.
Some of you may also be wondering about the status of voice actor Kappei Yamaguchi in particular, one of the featured guests at Kawaii Kon next month. I was able to confirm with convention co-administrator Roy Bann that convention officials were able to get in touch with him, and that he is OK and, as of now, still committed to coming to Hawaii.
Fan-driven efforts to help earthquake and tsunami victims have been popping up faster than new Pokemon in recent days, and chronicling them all here would take up more space than I can claim on this page. If you have a favorite online anime/manga retailer, check their site; they’ll probably have a few links to charities, if they aren’t already donating a share of their profits toward the cause. Same goes for many U.S. voice actors, artists and bloggers who use Twitter regularly. You can also make donations at First Hawaiian Bank, Central Pacific Bank or Hawaii National Bank (supporting the Red Cross), or visit www.charitynavigator.org for links to other charities accepting donations.
Qualify for Kawaii Kon’s karaoke contest
The countdown to the seventh annual edition of Kawaii Kon, April 29 to May 1, is continuing apace, and another pre-convention event is coming up: the last opportunity to qualify for the Karaoke Kompetition. The winner will receive a professional recording session for one track at the Heatery Recording Studio.
Aspiring singers will want to bring a karaoke version of the song they want to sing on CD (or an MP3 player like an iPod or a Zune) to the qualifying round from 9:30 a.m. to noon Sunday at Orvis Auditorium on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus. Particularly bold singers can even sing a capella if they wish. Also, don’t forget to fill out and bring an entry form, available at www.kawaii-kon.org/forms/KaraokeEntryForm.pdf. (Please note that you’ll also need to buy a three-day pass to the convention.)
Contestants will be judged on technique, stage presence, vocal quality and appearance. The top three qualifiers will join James Wang, Koichi Saito and Janelle Macapinlac, who qualified in February, in the semifinals at the convention.
Visit bit.ly/gJk0dt for more details.
Anime around town
>> Aiea Library Anime Club: 3 p.m. Saturday at the library, 99-143 Moanalua Road. This month, with the recent promotion of Diane Masaki to library branch manager, the club welcomes a new caretaker, interim young adult librarian Tina Arakawa. Arakawa will be screening the first volume of “Bamboo Blade.” For more information or to RSVP, call 483-7333 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
>> Oahu Anime Explorer: 6 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at HMC Academy, 555 N. King St. Visit www.oahuanimexplorer.com.
>> 808Photos: Photo shoot open to all cosplayers, 2:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Kakaako Waterfront Park. Initial staging area will be by the amphitheater. RSVP at on.fb.me/fHpxxK (note that you must have a Facebook account and logged in to see this link).