Kawaii Kon 2016: Wrap

Hoo boy, this was one fun con.

by Hanabe

Since Asapon was the main attraction for us, we made the convention experience into more of a “producer time” thing. There was an offkai. There was the beaches, grilling, pancakes, doing calls. Panels and autograph sessions. Garnidelia brought music to the live, and I got to see Joe Inoue’s thing a bit. Overall it was a lot of fun.

What made Kawaii Kon special was obviously the Hawaii part. It’s definitely a great location to visit and we have the most laid back group out here. In a way the energy of Waikiki is not as low as something like Animazement, but it was probably even more laid back as far as how people behave in general. Part of that probably has to do with its ~10k attendance figure. People are loose and enjoying themselves. It’s a party in paradise basically, the nerd version.

The convention center itself is multi-layered and very open. Most of it is outdoor space and it can get a bit warm without that steady island breeze. Inside the exhibit halls and rooms there is AC so there is a bit of temp differential.

It’s also a short walk to the beach, so many of us went. I had to catch an earlier flight back to the East Coast so I missed out on the last day’s shenanigans, but these are the sacrifices of an international eventer I guess. The most baller of us flew out from SG to see Asapon, and he had to leave even earlier.

What was surprising at this con was all the info I got out of it. I also hung out with a different crew this time (or rather, a different detachment than HPT’s founder-gumi) so it was nice getting to know more chinabros. The perspective of new and different fan segments always intrigue me. Like the objection to Isoroku being the name of the admiral cat in Haifuri 1.

I flew out on Sunday afternoon. Most of the con was done by then. I totally missed out on Waka and Koyama, only seeing them during the Opening Ceremony. I did catch Hara Natsuko a couple times, once during Saturday afternoon while I explored the JK-Meshi booth and once Sunday AM when she accompanied ex-Aniplex top guy Natsume-san at his panel. I did miss her mini-live. Oh well.

For the main anison attraction, I was able to hit up Garni’s event more or less. Got two autographs from them (one for a friend) and generally had a blast at their show. It’s barely an hour long, so it felt like I spent more time waiting for it and waiting after it (for signkai and photo) than the show itself. The panel was kind of fun in that there were two give-aways, in which lucky attendees got to play games against them.

Thanks Sky-san

I went to also PonyCan’s panel to check out not just Yumiri but also PonyCan in general. It still feels like they are just trudging on Aniplex’s model without understanding all the nuances, true or not. I got to ask a question prompted by AX hints that I got earlier in the month, and let’s enjoy Michi!

I also attended Aniplex’s panel, because I was up early enough for it and everyone else was still asleep. That was when I asked about Haifuri’s cat and in general seeing how nobody knows what it was. We’ll see what happens with it! New Aniplex guy Alex was enjoying his first Hawaii experience, I guess? There weren’t anything really interesting said at the panel, anyway.

There were a bunch of events with Hanamori Yumiri at the PonyCan booth. One of them was where she acts like a “temporary shopgirl” which is just a watashikai type event where you can buy stuff and she’ll hand it to you. There were two sign + high-10 sessions. It’s nice face time for the ultra fans who attended. It also made me buy Garakowa blu-ray plus the two audio CDs they were selling, so it’s quite effective. Thinking back I’m thankful that Asapon was just here to be herself and not to sell stuff!

And yeah, there was Asapon. She’s just too good, so good. Take it from a casual con-goer of 19 years that travel for animation guests, few are this much of a personable tease as her. She playfully walk that line between fun and formal, dropping jokes here and there. The audience is as fair of a game as anyone else around.

Her autograph session ran overtime both days. I didn’t stick around until the end on Saturday so I don’t know what happened that made things late, but on Friday it ran late because there’s this little girl who got cut and made a small scene. It kind of blows that this happens, mainly because it allowed for photos and the posing took a while at times.

For the panel, we went through an array of things, from the kouhai relationship with the CG/MLs, to Jupiter and SideM, to the feels at 10th. I asked a question about their collab with Love Live at last year’s Anisama. One guy asked about voicing a harem and it became how it is embarrassing to voice eroi scenes in retakes. One of the JP fans (King) brought the IT Kakumei joke to the panel and asked her “what is it?” A penlight that looks like a “toy of night.”

I think all the JP guest panels I attended were moderated by Alice. Welp, you might know how it goes, but the interpreter is also the MC in all these cases, and she tries to get stuff rolling a lot.

How was Kawaii Kon? I think it was a good vacation con, and for that aspect I love it. But the guests always make or break cons for me and you can’t go wrong with Shimoda. Hanging out with some of the old timer HPT guys also was something nobody really get to do often, so that is something I appreciate greatly.

PS. There was a K-pop idol group there. Watching Faisal go on stage and explaining it was LOL. I saw them at the opening ceremony where they did a dance, and the rest of the time in the dealer hall (they were there a lot).

PPS. Eats.

I got to cook for the folks and it was always fun to play with firemake steak. I stuck with the very basics, because I wasn’t really in a mood to get fancy. I did learn about Magic Butter in the process while sharing a grill with someone at the VRBO we were grilling at, he was working on some skewers and offered them. In retrospect I should have taken him on the offer!

Meanwhile let my photos do the talking.

Cheeseburger Waikiki

It’s a standard 5-napkins style burger with standard cut fries. Done to near perfection, but it doesn’t mean much on this island where eating is serious business. I do recommend coming here during happy hour for their cocktails and beers though, or the fact that you should have that along with their burger, being Cheeseburger Waikiki and all.

Not mine!

The offkai was at Mac 24/7. It’s inside the Hilton Waikiki. I recommend their private room because it’s got a TV (bring a VGA adapter folks) and hella chill. Because it’s 24/7 with a full bar you can do all night long live viewing if you wanted to. Hawaii also stops selling alcohols from store after 11pm so this is a good alternative. The above double maitais are all single-consumed… They’re pretty huge.


The cobbler was pretty okay. Nothing remarkable.

Fast food

Teddy’s Bigger Burger is a fast food burger joint with standard In’n’Out type service. Their burgers are on the high end for fast food, but the greaseballs are still just as you’d expect. Compared to the higher class burger I had at Cheeseburger this is not all that different, other than the ground beef mix. It’s an institution on Oahu for sure, though, and worth going to.


This was a plate with kalua pork eggs benedict and crab cake eggs benedict. The crab cake was great, the pork was just OK. The tots were actually great, brightened my day (in a way that food does to me after 4 hours of sleep). Really cuts through that sauce/egg combo. Cinnamon’s is worth going to for the food. I had a taste of the pancakes and I can see why people rate it highly.

Pancakes for Yumiri

We went to Cinnamon’s because one of my roommate was at Kawaii Kon for Yumirin, and she tweeted her breakfast on Saturday there. Turned out to be a solid pick for not just food but the scenery. Oh, we went to Teddy’s because Asapon talked about going there, too…

Somehow I wasn’t able to eat my way around Waikiki much last time, compared to this time… Guess maybe next time?

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