Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happenings this weekend (Dec. 5-7)

If you have finally become tired of the high-pressured shopping this season, there are a couple of other activities available this coming weekend:

It is a time of shortage in the midlands. In these dire economic times food pantries have become depleted and need help. Stepping up to the plate is the Game Shoppe with a three day gaming event to raise canned items to help fill those shelves. The weekend of Dec. 5th-7th, they are hosting a 60-hour non-stop gaming event in their Bellevue store (1406 Harlan Drive Bellevue, NE 68005 402-292-4263). And they have devised some interesting ways to part people with cans of food. Most of the games being played have had their rules altered. Some of the things you can do are; pay a canned food item and reroll a bad die roll, pay 5 canned items and steal an opponent’s card, use unfinished figures in some games if you fork over a whole bunch of cans. You had better come prepared.
They have posted these special rules on their website - - along with many of the games they will be hosting. Check it out and have a good time for a great cause.

Not into gaming? Then check out the quarterly Friends of the Omaha Public Library book sale. It will be at the Swanson Branch of the Omaha Public Library which is located at 90th and Dodge both Friday Dec. 5th from 10AM until 8PM and Saturday Dec. 6th from 10AM until 5:30PM. I have heard that this sale will include a large collection of science fiction and fantasy books and magazines. They’re cheap and it helps fund the library’s purchases of new material. And you never know what you might find, I’ve found several autographed books at past book sales.

Finally, if you are into either anime or costuming there is the monthly Otaku Get Together on Saturday at Delice Bakery, 1206 Howard Street in the Old Market Section of downtown Omaha. For more information go to: http:/

So while it may be cold outside, there is still plenty to do with like minded fannish friends. So in the words of Splinter the Rat; “Go. Play!”

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Omaha Anime Festival

Do you want to spend the day watching movies? Animated movies? Animated movies with fantastical themes? From Japan? Well on December 13th the people that brought you Otaku Omaha are bringing the Omaha Anime Festival to the MidAmerica Center. It’s been a long time since I could spend the whole day watching movies and not worrying about the outside world.
As with any festival there has to be some classics and something you have never seen. While the organizers still do not have the entire list of movies they will be showing nailed down. Justin has assured me that the classic SPIRITED AWAY and the recently released THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME will be a part of that lineup.

SPIRITED AWAY won the 2003 Oscar for the Best Animated Feature Film. It was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, who also gave us PRINCESS MONONOKE, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, and most recently HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE. It has a running time of 125 minutes and well worth the viewing.

THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME (時をかける少女, Toki o Kakeru Shōjo) is a 2006 release of a Japanese animated film from the novel by Japanese SF writer Yasutaka Tsutsui. It follows the adventures of 17-year-old Makoto Konno who gains the ability to “leap” backwards through time. She first uses these powers to improve her grades and avoid social mishaps but soon learns that changing the past is easy and must rely on her powers to shape her and her friends future. I am looking forward to watching this 98 minute movie.

In addition to films there will be a Cosplay Contest. Since this is primarily a film festival, I am interested to see how they work this into the days activities. Advance tickets are $12 (plus tax) which saves you $5 over the at the door price of $17 (plus tax). They are available online at: So forget about holiday shopping for 8 hours and come watch some memorable anime. I know I will be.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

AnimeNebrasKon 2008

Guest Report by Rodney Ruff

Anime NebrasKon (, held November 14-16, 2008 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Student Union, was my first anime convention, and it was a good one.

Put on by Otaku Jinrui (,, Anime NebrasKon is in its fifth year and has grown large enough to look for bigger quarters. Voice actress Tiffany Grant returned for her fourth year, bringing along her husband, ADV Films founder Matt Greenfield, and fellow voice actress Kira Vincent-Davis. Other guests were the husband-wife team of writer Richard and artist Shannon Townsend and webcomic creator James Hatton.

I attended Anime NebrasKon on Saturday with friends and anime afficionados John Schlosser and John Russo. As anime fans tend to be younger than other fen, the con was infused with more youthful energy than other cons I’ve attended; also more of those attending were dressed in costume. (Unfortunately, due to its starting during the dinner hour and because I had to prepare for the “Anime Gyparody?” contest I hosted after it, I missed the cosplay contest. However, I did talk to many of the otaku in costume and got pictures of the ronin, schoolgirls, maids, and video game characters that peopled the crowd.)

I attended panels on Japanese myths and legends and how they were represented in anime, a “Name That Tune” contest of anime theme songs, and the ramen-eating contest (as a spectator, not a participant). I caught bits of the anime concert and would like to have witnessed the cosplay chess game had it not been scheduled opposite other panels and to have taken part in the date auction had I had the disposable cash. (One young lady, dressed as the bunny girl Fran from Final Fantasy XII, fetched $110.) I also attended the late-night karaoke, confining myself to being a spectator, as I have yet to filk any anime theme songs. (I did, however, entertain the crowd by performing an exorcism on one idol singer whose song seemed dedicated to the crowd Devil Hunter Yohko fought.)

The dealers’ room saw plenty of traffic during the morning and into the afternoon, offering a mixture of books, manga, video, foodstuffs, and other paraphernalia. (Anime fans are fond of such snacks as Pocky, a sticklike candy, and Ramune bottled soda.) Outside the dealers’ room was Artist Alley, where the Townsends and James Hatton shared the room with such local artists as Jeff and Diana Delgado, Nick Dinges, Dana Gutierrez, and Kimberly White. (I collected contact information from most of them, which should soon be available on the OSFES website,

Non-anime fans had plenty of things to interest them as well. The Society for Creative Anachronism put on a demonstration in the morning, Isis of Bellevue’s Anime Hoshii and her Bedouin Star belly dance troupe conducted a workshop in the afternoon, and members of the 501st Legion and the R2-Central Builders Club were in attendance. Cosplayers even included Heath Ledger’s version of the Joker and Hiro Nakamura from Heroes.

The con staff was helpful overall, both in providing assistance for Anime Gyparody? and in providing a workaround for a problem caused by our ad being printed too small to be readable in their program book. There are a few things I’d like to see done differently or better, but my biggest regret was only being able to attend for a single day instead of all three.

This entry to the Omaha Sci-Fi Scene blog was written by OSFES Publications Officer Rodney Ruff. For more of Rodney's AnimeNebrasKon 2008 photos go to the OSFES’ MySpace page at