Kawaii Kon 2018: Wrap

I went to Hawaii again. It was a good time.

When your anime con is located in practically in paradise, things can’t get that bad. I prefaced the experience with an exchange on Twitter with someone saying how good Machiasobi is because certain seiyuu would always go, and I’m like, yeah but really? How is Tokushima anywhere close to Waikiki? I know you like Nanasis but there are still some seiyuu out there on Oahu? Some you can actually talk to? I mean arguably Waikiki is the “worst” part of the place, but it is still miles better than most of Japan. Hawaii is literally where upper-middle class Japanese people go to have a good time, after all.

Outside of the con-wise, there is not a lot to report. A lot of the usual crew burned their winter travel on Walkure 3rd, so nobody really made it as far as I know, besides fellow old guys T3 and Alexd. I took it easy, and dodged the bomb cyclone by about 8 hours on the way out of NYC. On the way back, I landed about 16 hours before the next Nor’easter. Also, leaving on Monday did get me on the booze cruise finally, and it was a good time. I had eats, and got some more food tourism in this time around. See the postscript.

Inside the con-wise, it felt Kawaii Kon was bigger in 2018 than it was in 2016, but not by much. None of the guests that I lined up for were hugely popular, although I’m glad to see a long line for Horikawa. His solo show with Kondo was not bad, old man singing anime classics. Wish he covered some LOGH. The writer of Rainy Cocoa did Rainy Cocoa and it was pretty special. On that note, hearing Yuyoyupe doing an acoustic rendition of Blue Field with Hibiku was also quite special, given this is the Trident I always wanted to go see but they ended before I could have. They also recorded it a couple times on the beach for all of us. To be clear, Yuyoyupe/Hibiku was playing on Friday night and Furukawa and Kondo was Sunday afternoon.

The real guest of honor seiyuu-wise this time might be Mikami Shiori. Mikashii has been slaving away at the purgatory of pretty girl seiyuu journeyman road for years. Too bad I don’t have a thing for her, but who can’t say no to our sausage-loving Akarin-CV?

And to be honest I don’t think you can crack a whale-eating joke with any other GOH this Kawaii Kon besides Mikashii. Hibiku didn’t really get much billing for this trip, other than the girl who sings with Yuyoyupe? Her anime works just aren’t very popular I guess. Didn’t people watch Kizna(ry?? Oh yeah. I got her to sign an Architect kit (which was pretty amazing to be found for purchase at the con) and Trident Final. Random note, another guy got his Architect kit manual signed, and he built one for display at a neighboring booth, and he was like 3 people behind me in line during the first autograph session. I also felt incredibly shamed by my lack of gunpla passion, but that was to be expected.

I took a selfie with Yuyoyupe the second day and got Hibiku to sign a board, but it was mostly to talk to her about Nanakusa Hazuki (obv.) during the autograph session. I even knew what to say but it sure was hard to get it out of my head and into Japanese words.

At the live show, Hibiku joined Yuyoyupe for the second half of the live, where the first half it was just Yuyoyupe himself. He did some adlib-y musical performances with just an acoustic guitar, like making up songs by asking people to give him random words for lyrics. Some kids gave him tagalog words for genitals, which was a bit funny, if kind of 12yo-y. Hibiku did a cover for Catch You Catch Me and that was really ace, plus some of her own songs, and ended with aforementioned Blue Field.

As part of Horikawa’s group, there was also our onsen-musume/loli-spy Kageyama Akari. Or Ebina if you are into UMR. She is kind of normal? Cute? I guess both? I was able to get some 2shots with her and one with Horikawa. He’s a legend by today’s standard I guess. I’m not sure why she came along besides as someone who knew Horikawa or some such, through maybe schools? I don’t know. Kawaii Kon has some weird female seiyuu draws previously so this is not entirely out of left field.

There was a Princess Principal thing going on at Kawaii Kon too, so I attended a lot of that track (at expense of 1 panel for Mikashii)… Well, there was Imamura for one day, who flew in and out like a storm. Imamu up close reminds me a lot of a more normal Nanamin, fang included. The cosplay is a nice touch.

One oddity at the con was at both industry panels I attended, the Princess Principal one and later at Eromanga Sensei panel, they showed 1 or 2 episodes of the anime and then tried to do Q&A. Both times they ran out of time or ran long, and cut any fan questions. Really don’t know what’s going on there…

Due to the three tracks running at the con, I actually had to pick and choose things to abandon. As a result I didn’t really get my second CQC chance with Mikashii (would have loved an autograph made to … Art). I asked some dumb question at the Yuyoyupe and Hibiku panel instead? LOL.

I ended up with a chunk of free time on Sunday, so I did a detailed walk of the vendors and AA. I bought an ita bag from this budding brand…and got a random commission for lols. Also, I found some CG charms at bargain bin prices at AA. I also randomly bought this Gurren Lagann art board from Animate USA, because they were selling them via blind auction. Oh, speaking of which, Nonoyama Saki, the mangaka for the Gurren Lagann manga in Hero’s Magazine, was at the con and she drew for a bunch of people who bought the special goods from the manga. I ended up getting 2 t-shirts, and I rather like them. Nonoyama seems pretty chill, but I couldn’t go to her events besides the first autograph session.

At the Dealer’s I came across this domestic ita bag brand who sold somewhat gender-neutral messenger bags. I got one to try, as their line of product felt at least is okay for $30. The design, material and build feels like a cheap Alibaba regurgitation, but I like the intent behind the bag, which is just more practical, unisex bag. At this point in my life I want something, uh, nicer, at least, but it will do for a con. I know I have enough pin badges.

Loot-wise, I ended up with all this junk I didn’t want to buy but ended up getting, but overall it wasn’t too bad since there weren’t any high value must-get items, just a lot of mid or low value things I ended up getting (not counting that Gurren Lagann board). The paw prints were nice mementos but I dig these photos more.

Well, it was a great time in Hawaii and I would come back should the guest list comes yet calling again. Aloha~

PS. Foods-wise, we went to a nabe chain (Ichiriki) that Mikashii went the day before, and it was pretty okay. We had some sukiyaki and some shabu shabu. That’s all the food stalking that I did.

Goofy’s is one of those must-visit in guides for Japanese tourists in Waikiki, and it’s a great spot for drinks and touristy Hawaiian diner fare. It also feels extremely Japanese. I recommend it though, the taste suits my Asian palettes too well.

I got malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery finally. This is just a popular tourist spot in general. Also had brunch at the nearby Sweet-E’s Cafe. Both are good and worth having at least once, if not more. Fresh malasadas are really good, if you are into fried dough. Sweet E’s best item I had was their shredded kaluha pork though…

We randomly got some souffle pancakes at a nearby touristy joint called Aloha Kitchen, near our timeshare (which by the way is great and super thanks to our friend who hooked us up with it). It looked great and tasted to match, but too light-hearted fare for me. Should’ve gotten the loco moco. Although the pancakes did get a bit ridiculous I think, size-wise.

Lastly I returned to Teddy’s. No photos but we ate here on Asapon’s advice 2 years ago, so it was nostalgia that I was fed with along with some nice burgs.

The booze cruise did happen: Basically there are variants of this but they sail for 1-3 hours, you eat, drink, socialize on a boat while enjoying the scenery. Occasionally you can find whales or dolphins, or even a sea turtle. This time we took a more expensive but nicer one and we sure were toasty afterwards. I recommend it if you drink!

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