With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Sunday, January 31, 2010

ACF 465: New sci-fi action manga Biomega set to debut February 2nd, 2010


VIZ Media will debut this new series on February 2nd. Rated ‘M’ for Mature Audiences, Biomega will be published under the VIZ Signature imprint and will carry a MSRP of $12.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN. Read on for more info.

Zoichi Kanoe plunges into the depths of 9JO, a sprawling island city in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, in search of Eon Green, a girl with the power to transmute the N5S virus. The deadly contagion is spreading across the world, turning humans into disfigured, zombie-like "drones.” But he's not the only one looking for her. Agents of the Public Health Service's Compulsory Execution Unit are also in hot pursuit, with sinister designs of their own. Zoichi and his trans-human allies have no time to waste; the countdown to the apocalypse has begun!

“Tsutomu Nihei created BIOMEGA with a jaw-dropping, intensely powerful art style that reflects his background in modern architecture,” says Leyla Aker, Editorial Manager, VIZ Media. “The main characters—the “enhanced” human Zoichi and Fuyu, the AI in his rocket of a motorcycle—navigate this apocalyptic landscape in a story that offers pure speed, action, and suspense. Both manga and American comics fans won’t want to miss this exciting debut!”

Tsutomu Nihei debuted with the acclaimed manga short story BLAME!, which was nominated for North America’s Harvey Award and won the Shiki Award in Japan. The artist also created NOiSE, a manga prequel to BLAME!. His visually striking Wolverine tie-in SNIKT! was published by Marvel Comics along with a commission by Bungie Studios for the HALO graphic novel.

For more information on this title, or others from VIZ Media, please visit www.viz.com.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

ACF 464: Fifteen VIZ titles are on 2010 list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens


Annual Booklist By Young Adult Library Services Association
Recognizes Acclaimed Manga Titles For Quality And Broad Appeal

Kudos to VIZ Media! Several of its manga titles have made the list of 2010 Great Graphic Novels For Teens by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Here's further info:

The noteworthy list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens was presented at the ALA Midwinter Meeting last week. The VIZ Media manga, recommended for those ages 12-18, meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teen readers.

The VIZ Media titles making the list included:

CHILDREN OF THE SEA Vol. 1 · by Daisuke Igarashi · rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens

KIMI NI TODOKE Vol. 1 · by Karuho Shiina · rated ‘T’ for Teens

KIMI NI TODOKE Vol. 2 · by Karuho Shiina · rated ‘T’ for Teens

OOKU: INNER CHAMBERS Vol. 1 · by Fumi Yoshinaga · rated ‘M’ for Mature Audiences

OTOMEN Vol. 1 · by Aya Kanno · rated ‘T’ for Teens

MIXED VEGETABLES Vol. 1 · by Ayumi Komura · rated ‘T’ for Teens

PLUTO Vol. 1 · · by Naoki Urasawa · rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens

PLUTO Vol. 2 · · by Naoki Urasawa · rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens

PLUTO Vol. 3 · · by Naoki Urasawa · rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens

SOLANIN · by Inio Asano · rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens

TEGAMI BACHI: LETTER BEE Vol. 1 · by Hiroyuki Asada · rated ‘T’ for Teens

WE WERE THERE Vol. 1· by Yuki Obata · rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens

WE WERE THERE Vol. 2 · by Yuki Obata · rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens

WE WERE THERE Vol. 3 · by Yuki Obata · rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens

WE WERE THERE Vol. 4 · by Yuki Obata · rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens

“We’re very pleased to announce this diverse collection of manga titles that have been recognized by YALSA’s 2010 Great Graphic Novels For Teens, with 3 making it to the top ten.” says Gonzalo Ferreyra, Vice President Sales & Marketing for VIZ Media. “These series were created by some of the most imaginative minds in the manga genre and offer readers great stories ranging from science fiction and historical-based drama to romantic shojo and slice-of-life graphic novels aimed at female readers. YALSA provides librarians with valuable tools and information to help them select compelling titles for readers, and we invite them to consider these series which have been recognized for their innovation and quality.”

For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the U.S. leader in selecting books, videos, and audio books for teens. For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, go to www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists.

For more information on these and other manga titles from VIZ Media, please visit www.viz.com.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

ACF 463: Volumes. 1 and 2 of VIZ Kids series Dinosaur King released

DINOSAUR KING © SEGA/Sunrise, Nagoya Broadcasting Network. Dinosaur King is a registered trademark of Sega Corporation.
All Rights Reserved. KODAI OUJA KYOURYU KING © 2006 Youhei SAKAI/Shogakukan


New Manga From VIZ KIDS Imprint Will Delight
With Imaginative Characters And Fun Storyline

Here's some more news from VIZ that'll certainly be of interest to manga fans who are young or just young at heart:

VIZ Media has announced the release of Volume 1 and 2 of the new VIZ Kids series DINOSAUR KING. This manga is rated ‘A’ for All Ages and will carry a MSRP of $7.99 U.S. / $9.99 CAN.

DINOSAUR KING by creator Yohei Sakai tells the story of Max who is obsessed with dinosaurs. He knows his Tapejara from his Pteranodon and can find fossils better than a trained paleontologist. When he discovers a stone tablet that transports him to the age of dinosaurs, it's a dream come true—until it becomes a nightmare. From King, his new dinosaur friend, Max learns that an evil genius named Dr. Z has enslaved the dinosaurs so he can use their hidden powers to take over the world! Now Max has to defeat Dr. Z and his Alpha Gang to save the ancient beasts and life as we know it. Volume 1 will release February 2, 2010.

In Volume 2, which will release in April of this year, King's mother is trapped somewhere in Alpha Mountain, and it's up to Max to rescue her. But Dr. Z has set perilous traps for him at every turn! He and King are more in sync than ever with their attacks, but will it be enough to defeat the Alpha Gang and conquer Alpha Mountain? Both volume one and volume two contain bonus trading cards inside, limited quantities available. Volume 2 will be releasing in April 6, 2010.

The titles under the VIZ Kids imprint offer engaging manga and manga-related content intended specifically for a younger audience. All VIZ Kids products share the same core values of strong storytelling, eye-popping graphics, empowering themes, and lots of good humor in an effort to delight a whole new generation of readers.

For more information on this or other VIZ Kids titles, visit http://www.vizkids.com/.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

ACF 462: Beautiful

Directed by Juhn Jai-Hong
South Korea, 2008, 88 minutes
New York Premiere

Beautiful, the next film in Korean Cultural Services' series of free screenings, will be shown on Tuesday, Feburary 9th at 7:00 PM. The screening will take place at the Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal Street, one block from the A, C, E and 1 train Canal Street stops. Although admission is free, you must RSVP to info@koreanculture.org or call 212-759-9550 to be admitted. I suggest you do so right away, as this has - not surprisingly - proved to be a very popular series.

First timer Juhn Jai-Hong took an unfinished screenplay by his mentor, Kim Ki-Duk (The Isle, Bad Guy), and turned it into this insane slice of grand guignol social critique that sends up Korea"s obsession with plastic surgery with a side helping of maximum carnage.

Kim is a pretty young woman often mistaken for an actress. Men are always hitting on her, and she's uncomfortable being the object of their sexual fantasies. Her discomfort deepens when she¹s attacked by a stalker who thinks he¹s in love with her, and then the cops accuse her of leading the guy on by looking sexy. Even the doctor at the hospital hits on her. Her only hope: to erase her beauty by any means necessary.

A big budget, 35mm production, BEAUTIFUL is a queasy mix of body horror, sexual politics, eating disorders, self-mutilation and homicidal rage.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

ACF 461: Ultimo to arrive February 2nd!!

by Stan Lee–POW! Entertainment/Dream Ranch,
Hiroyuki Takei/SHUEISHA Inc.


Historic Collaboration Comes To Life In New Manga Release

VIZ Media in conjunction with Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment (PK:POWN) has announced the highly anticipated release of the new manga ULTIMO on February 2nd. ULTIMO is the result of a historic collaboration between comics legend Stan Lee, co-creator of many iconic superheroes including Spider-Man™, the Fantastic Four™, and the X-Men™, and Hiroyuki Takei, the creator of the popular SHAMAN KING manga series. ULTIMO, rated ‘T’ for teens will carry a MSRP of $9.99 US/$12.99 CAN.

With girl and money troubles, life is hard enough for high school student Yamato, but then he stumbles upon Ultimo, a peculiar-looking puppet. Things only get stranger when Ultimo awakens and his archenemy, Vice shows up. Ultimo and Vice are Karakuri Dôji, the mechanical embodiment of pure good and pure evil, devoid of human emotions that can cloud one’s judgment. Their purpose: to battle to the death to prove once and for all whether good or evil is the most powerful force in the universe.

For over half a century, Stan Lee has been synonymous with superhero comics. In addition to creating countless memorable series and characters, including Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and Daredevil, he served as the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics. Lee remains a hugely respected and dynamic figure in the entertainment industry and continues to develop a variety of film, television and video game properties.

“I am indescribably thrilled to have the honor of working with the famous and extremely talented Hiroyuki Takei on our exciting creation ULTIMO. I feel that ULTIMO combines the very best of Western mythology with the very best of Japanese manga. “ says Stan Lee. “It gives me the greatest pleasure to be associated with VIZ Media on such and exciting and ground-breaking project.”

Unconventional author/artist, Hiroyuki Takei began his career by winning the 1994 Tezuka Award. After working as an assistant to famed artist Nobuhiro Watsuki (RUROUNI KENSHIN), Takei debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1997 with Butsu Zone, an action series based on Buddhist mythology. His multicultural adventure manga SHAMAN KING debuted in Japan in 1998 and has been adapted into a popular animated television series. The SHAMAN KING manga series is also published in North America by VIZ Media; for many years it was serialized in English in SHONEN JUMP magazine.

”While it’s epic in scope and rich in mythology, the ULTIMO storyline is grounded in modern teen angst which is what fans will gravitate to. It’s manga, but it’s got that ‘Stan Lee’ feel of the teenager who suddenly has all this power and can’t believe how crazy that is.” Says Joel Enos, Senior Editor for Shonen Jump Manga, VIZ Media. “This story has found a common ground between Western comics and Eastern manga. Here you have two amazing creators, all this action, robots, and the universal theme of pure good vs. pure evil, all the while staying in high school youth culture and the drama and depth of everyday kids.”

For more information on ULTIMO, visit http://shonenjump.viz.com/

Monday, January 25, 2010

ACF 460: Members of the Funeral - reminder and review

Hee-Joon (Ju-seung Lee), the sensitive writer

Members of the Funeral, director Seung-bin Baek's first film, has its North American Premiere tomorrow, Tuesday, January, 26th at 7:00 PM. The free screening presented by the Korean Cultural Society will be at the Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal Street, one block from the A, C, E and 1 train Canal Street stops. You must RSVP to info@koreanculture.org or call 2120759-9550 to be admitted, assuming any seating is still available.

A-mi (Kim Byeol), who sees beauty in dead things

The film is a fascinating character driven story, primarily about four individuals. Hee-Joon (Ju-seung Lee), is a high school student and a sensitive writer. His manuscript, also entitled "Members of the Funeral." is about the three members of a family. Kwang-rok Oh portrays the father, Jun-ki, a closeted gay physical therapist who makes a play for Hee-joon. Jeong-hee (Myeong-sin Park) is his teacher, who berates him in person and plagiarizes his work in private. Their daughter A-mi (Kim Byeol) is a schoolmate of Hee-Joon's and, for someone so young and lovely, incongruously concerned with dead things.

The film is intriguing and more than a bit enigmatic. Do these people exist for real, or are they only characters in Hee-Joon's manuscript? Did Hee-Joon actually commit suicide, and if he did, was it to bring them together for his funeral? There are no easy answers here, but there's plenty of mystery, some black humor Korean-style, and perhaps just a bit of David Lynch.

Well worth watching (and I'm pretty sure it'll stand up to repeated viewings), Members of the Funeral gets an ACF rating of 3.5 stars, highly recommended.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

ACF 459: Glass Mask and Special A are now available on DVD from Section23

Section23 Films has announced two new anime DVDs from Sentai Filmworks, including the first collection in the epic Glass Mask and the final volume of the school comedy Special A. Here's the official press release info:

Glass Mask Collection 1 presents the latest anime adaptation of one of Japan’s most popular and enduring shojo epics. The original Glass Mask manga series runs more than 40 volumes since its launch in 1976, over 50 million copies of which have been sold in Japan. The story has been adapted several times for the screen, including a live-action series starring Yumi Adachi. This collection contains the first 26 episodes of the Glass Mask saga on four DVDs.

SYNOPSIS: Two Girls. One Dream. And the Entire World for a Stage. At 13 years old, Maya Kitajima seems destined to spend the rest of her life toiling in a crowded restaurant alongside her bitter and unstable mother; but when her incredible acting talent is discovered by the legendary diva Chigusa Tsukikage, Maya finds a new future filled with both golden opportunities and terrifying risks. For Ayumi Himekawa, success has always been assured, yet she longs to be recognized for her own talents and skills, not the family connections of her famous parents. For both, the ultimate prize is the role of The Crimson Goddess in the play of the same name, a part created by Chigusa and now portrayed by Ayumi’s mother. To achieve this goal, each must seek out and conquer every acting challenge, pushing the limits of their talent and endurance to the utmost, until they are worthy of the part…. But for one to win, the other must fail! The dramatic rivalry of a lifetime begins in the acclaimed first collection of GLASS MASK!

Running Time: 650 min.
Age Rating: TV PG
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Format: DVD
SRP: $49.98

Special A Collection 2 assembles the last 12 episodes of the hit TV series, also known as “S.A.,” in a single two-DVD set. The series was first broadcast in Japan in April 2008 and has been widely anticipated by North American fans ever since.

SYNOPSIS: The members of the S.A. may be exceptional, but that doesn’t keep some of them from being exceptionally dense! While Kei’s thoughts about Hikari may be leaning in one direction, Hikari still sees him as the obstacle that has to be removed. Meanwhile, Akira’s attempts to protect her friend Yui from Yahiro are having unanticipated effects, Jun is forced to reveal a secret he’s been keeping from the others, and every other person in the group seems to be in love with someone else, but never the right ones. Finally, to cap it all off, an outside force threatens to intervene in a way that will destroy the S.A. forever! Will Hikari finally figure it all out before it’s too late? If you thought the tangled web of relationships in the first half of Special A was complex, be forewarned that everything’s going to get even crazier before the spectacular climax of SPECIAL A – COLLECTION 2!

Running Time: 300 min.
Age Rating: TV PG
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Format: DVD
SRP: $19.98

Saturday, January 23, 2010

ACF 458: VIZ announces manga releases for first half of 2010

Arata/ARATAKANGATARI © 2009 Yuu WATASE/Shogakukan


Here's some info about VIZ's planned manga releases for the first half of 2010. The new releases will be published by VIZ Media under its well-known imprints such as VIZ Signature, Shojo Beat, Shonen Sunday, Shonen Jump and Shonen Jump Advanced.


BIOMEGA · by Tsutomu Nihei · Available February 2nd · Rated ‘M’ for Mature Audiences · VIZ Signature Imprint

Zoichi Kanoe plunges into the depths of 9JO, a sprawling island city in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, in search of Eon Green, a girl with the power to transmute the N5S virus. The deadly contagion is spreading across the world and turns humans into disfigured zombie-like "drones.” But he's not the only one looking for her. Agents of the Public Health Service's Compulsory Execution Unit are also in hot pursuit with sinister designs of their own. Zoichi and his trans-human allies have no time to waste; the countdown to the apocalypse has begun!

BOKURANO: OURS · by Mohiro Kitoh · Available February 16th · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens · VIZ Signature Imprint

One summer, fifteen kids innocently wander into a nearby seaside cave. There they meet a strange man who invites them to play an exciting new video game. This game, he explains, pits a lone giant robot against a horde of alien invaders. To play the game all they have to do is sign a simple contract. The game stops being fun when the kids find out the true purpose of their pact.

ULTIMO · by Hiroyuki Takei and Stan Lee · Available February 2nd · Rated ‘T’ for Teens · SHONEN JUMP Imprint

ULTIMO represents a historic collaboration between comics legend Stan Lee, creator of many iconic series including Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, and X-Men, and Hiroyuki Takei, the creator of the popular SHAMAN KING manga series. High above Farmless City, citizens are stunned by the sudden appearance of two floating figures. Are they human boys, monolithic robots, or something even more bizarre? As a battle ensues, destruction and devastation falls on the hapless city. One figure is Vice, and seems to be as evil as his name implies. The other is Ultimo, intent on trying to stop Vice from wreaking more havoc. But who are Vice and Ultimo really? Where did they come from? A new mystery begins with the fate of the world hanging in the balance!


CACTUS’S SECRET · by Nana Haruta · Available March 2nd · Rated ‘T’ for Teens · SHOJO BEAT Imprint

Miku Yamada has a longtime crush on classmate Kyohei Fujioka. But no matter how many times she tries to show him how she feels, clueless Kyohei just doesn't get it. Frustrated, Miku gives up on him, only to have him start calling her "Cactus" for being so prickly when he's around. In the opening volume, Miku decides to try telling Kyohei her feelings by giving him chocolates for Valentine's Day. But Kyohei, unaware that he's the object of her affection, offers himself up as a practice partner for her love confession. Will Kyohei ever figure out Cactus's secret?

ARATA: THE LEGEND · by Yuu Watase · Available March 9th · Rated ‘T’ for Teens · SHONEN SUNDAY Imprint

In a mythical world where humans and gods coexist, a ceremony marking the new governing princess is about to occur for the first time in 60 years. Only a girl from the Hime Clan may take this position, but the lack of females born to this family means that a boy called Arata must pose for the role. Meanwhile in modern-day Japan, a boy named Arata Hinohara is starting his new life in high school. He wants to put memories of his difficult past behind him, but things aren't going to be simple when he discovers a mysterious connection to the first Arata...

DOROHEDORO · by Q Hayashida · Available March 16th · Rated ‘M’ for Mature Audiences · VIZ SIGNATURE Imprint

In a city so dismal it's known only as "the Hole," a clan of sorcerers have been plucking people off the streets to use as guinea pigs for atrocious "experiments" in the black arts. In a dark alley, Nikaido found Caiman, a man with a reptile head and a bad case of amnesia. To undo the spell, they're hunting and killing the sorcerers in the Hole, hoping that eventually they'll kill the right one. But when En, the head sorcerer, gets word of a lizard-man slaughtering his people, he sends a crew of "cleaners" into the Hole, igniting a war between two worlds.

RISTORANTE PARADISO · by Natsume Ono · Available March 16th · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens · VIZ Signature Imprint

In exchange for Nicoletta's playing "the daughter of an old friend," Olga offers Nicoletta a place to live and an apprenticeship at the restaurant. Nicoletta fits in well among the unique personalities at Casetta dell'Orso. She gets along particularly well with the kindly headwaiter, Claudio, a divorced man who, after years, has still never taken off his wedding ring. As Nicoletta's feelings for Claudio become complicated, she finds a sympathetic ear in Olga, leading the estranged pair to form a friendship neither expected. But as they grow closer, the pressure exerted by the secret they share becomes too much to bear.


STEPPING ON ROSES · by Rinko Ueda · Available April 6th · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens · SHOJO BEAT Imprint

Poor Sumi Kitamura… Her irresponsible older brother Eisuke keeps bringing home orphans for her to take care of even though they can barely afford their own basic needs! Just when Sumi's financial problems become dire, wealthy Soichiro Ashida enters her life with a bizarre proposition: he'll provide her with the money she so desperately needs if she agrees to marry him. But can Sumi fool high society into thinking she's a proper lady? Moreover, is it worth giving up everything for this sham of a marriage?

ROSARIO + VAMPIRE SEASON II · by Akihisa Ikeda · Available April 6th · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens · SHONEN JUMP ADVANCED Imprint

Average human teenager Tsukune accidentally enrolls at a boarding school for monsters--no, not jocks and popular kids, but bona fide werewolves, witches and unnameables out of his wildest nightmares! On the plus side, all the girls have a monster crush on him. On the negative side, all the boys are so jealous they want to kill him! And so do the girls he spurns, because he only has eyes for one of them – the far-from-average vampire Moka.

HOUSE OF FIVE LEAVES · by Natsume Ono · Available April 20th · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens · VIZ Signature Imprint

Masterless samurai Akitsu Masanosuke is a skilled and loyal swordsman, but his naïve, diffident nature has time and again caused him to be let go by the lords who have employed him. Hungry and desperate, he becomes a bodyguard for Yaichi, the charismatic leader of a gang called "Five Leaves." Although disturbed by the gang's sinister activities, Masa begins to suspect that Yaichi's motivations are not what they seem. And despite his misgivings, the deeper he's drawn into the world of the Five Leaves, the more he finds himself fascinated by these devious, mysterious outlaws.


FLOWER IN A STORM · by Shigeyoshi Takagi · Available May 4th · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens · SHOJO BEAT Imprint

Riko Kunimi is trying to lead a normal high school life when Ran Tachibana bursts into her classroom carrying a gun and tells her that her life is now his. Ran, the richest, most powerful 17-year-old in Japan, wants her as his wife and he's not taking no for an answer!

MAOH: JUVENILE REMIX · Original Story by Kotaro Isaka / Story & Art by Megumi Osuga · Available May 11th · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens · SHONEN SUNDAY Imprint

“As crazy as your ideas might be, as long as you believe in yourself and tackle the issue head-on, you can even change the world.”

Ando is a high school student who has the power to make others say out loud what he's thinking. Inukai is the mysterious leader of a vigilante group called Grasshopper, which is at odds with the city's redevelopment plan. In this chaotic city, these two will come together to weave a story of courage, determination and confrontation.

SATURN APARTMENTS · by Hisae Iwaoka · Available May 18th · Rated ‘T’ for Teens · VIZ SIGNATURE Imprint

Far in the future, humankind has evacuated the earth in order to preserve it. Humans now reside in a gigantic structure that forms a ring around the Earth, thirty-five kilometers up in the sky. The society of the Ring is highly stratified: the higher the floor, the greater the status. Mitsu, the lowly son of a window washer, has just graduated junior high. When his father disappears and is assumed dead, Mitsu must take on his father's occupation. As he struggles with the transition to working life, Mitsu's job treats him to an outsider's view into the living-room dioramas of the Saturn Apartments.


AFTERSCHOOL CHARISMA · by Kumiko Suekane · Available June 15th · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens · VIZ Signature Imprint

St. Kleio Academy is a very exclusive school: all of the students are clones of famous historical figures such as Beethoven, Queen Elizabeth I, Napoleon, Mozart, and Freud. All of them, that is, except for Shiro Kamiya. As Shiro struggles to adapt to this unusual campus, St. Kleio's first graduate, the clone of John F. Kennedy, is killed. Are the clones doomed to repeat the fate of their genetic progenitors, or can they create their own destinies? And how does a normal boy like Shiro fit in?

LIBRARY WARS: LOVE & WAR · by Kiiro Yumi · Original Concept by Hiro Arikawa · Available June 1st · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens · SHOJO BEAT Imprint

Iku Kasahara has dreamed of joining the Library Defense Force ever since one of its soldiers stepped in to protect her favorite book from being confiscated in a bookstore when she was younger. But now that she's finally a recruit, she's finding her dream job to be a bit of a nightmare. Especially since her hard-hearted drill instructor seems to have it in for her!
For more information on these and other VIZ Media titles please visit these websites:

Friday, January 22, 2010

ACF 457: Kekkaishi available on Hulu

© 2006, 2010 Yellow Tanabe/Shogakukan, Yomiuri TV, Sunrise
Under license to VIZ Media, LLC from Sunrise.


VIZ Media is bringing the animated demon-battling action and adventure of KEKKAISHI to Hulu, an online video service that offers hit TV shows, movies and clips at Hulu.com and other online destination sites — anytime in the U.S. The series debuts with 5 episodes with new installments launching each week. View KEKKAISHI at http://www.Hulu.com/.

KEKKAISHI is based on a hit manga series by Yellow Tanabe (also published in North America by VIZ Media). Mystical forces are powerful in the region called Karasumori. For over 400 years, it has been the duty of a clan of “kekkaishi”—barrier masters—to guard the land and exterminate the supernatural creatures that are drawn to the area night after night.

Yoshimori Sumimura is a junior high school student at Karasumori Academy. Following in the tradition that's been passed down through generations, he is the twenty-second “kekkaishi” of the Sumimura clan. But by day, Yoshimori's got other demons to battle: an addiction to sweets and a seriously crotchety grandfather! Yoshimori's pretty neighbor, childhood friend and rival, Tokine Yukimura, is also a “kekkaishi,” but their families are feuding over who is the true practitioner of the art. Protecting people from danger while growing stronger himself, Yoshimori will battle the forces of evil again tonight!

“KEKKAISHI is the latest series to join the VIZ Media family of animated titles available to U.S. audiences on Hulu and we hope that fans will enjoy its lively mix of adventure, comedy and demon-slaying action,” says Candice Uyloan, Director, Brand Management at VIZ Media. “We are committed to utilizing the web to deliver the best in anime through innovative web-based, video streaming outlets like Hulu. KEKKAISHI is an exciting addition to all the other top-rated anime from VIZ Media and we invite audiences to dive into this new series!”


For more information on KEKKAISHI or other SHONEN SUNDAY series, visit http://www.shonensunday.com/ or http://www.viz.com/.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

ACF 456: DVD on Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama due out January 26th


Documentary Profiles The Life And Art Of One Of The Most Influential Photographers Living Today And Highlights His Style & Technique

VIZ Pictures, the VIZ Media, LLC affiliate that focuses on Japanese live-action film distribution, will release the newest volume of its ongoing NEW PEOPLE ARTIST SERIESDAIDO MORIYAMA: STRAY DOG OF TOKYO DVD on January 26th. The intriguing documentary following the life and art of Japan’s foremost photographer, will carry an MSRP of $24.92 U.S. / $35.99 CAN and will be distributed by VIZ Media.

Daido Moriyama has been a major force in artistic photography since the late 60’s, but his true persona has been hidden behind a veil of mystery since he has refused any major media appearances - until now. This new documentary follows the charismatic Moriyama as he takes his first digital photos and displays his trademark photographic technique of taking quick snapshots without looking in the viewfinder. Often shot in black and white, out of focus and dramatically cropped or tilted, the themes of Moriyama's images have been said to convey a sense of the disordered human condition and the conflicting realities of modern urban life.

In celebration of this new release, VIZ Pictures has scheduled a special one night only theatrical screening of DAIDO MORIYAMA: STRAY DOG OF TOKYO on January 26th, starting at 7:30pm, at VIZ Cinema, located inside NEW PEOPLE, a newly opened entertainment destination in San Francisco devoted to Japanese pop culture. Tickets are $25.00, which includes a pass to the film screening, a copy of the DVD, a postcard and a NEW PEOPLE original pin button! For more information about this event, visit http://www.vizcinema.com/ or http://www.viz-pictures.com/.

“Daido Moriyama is an acclaimed photographer whose work has been exhibited in museums worldwide, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art,” says Seiji Horibuchi, President and CEO of VIZ Pictures and the founder of NEW PEOPLE. “We’re honored to release this new documentary and look forward to more people discovering this important and influential photographer.”

NEW PEOPLE Artist Series is intriguing collection of documentaries introducing modern Japanese Pop artists to the American audience. All of the highlighted artists possess unique views and inspirations to create captivating works of art. For more information, visit http://www.viz-pictures.com/ or http://www.newpeopleartistseries.com/, for movie schedules at VIZ Cinema, please visit http://www.vizcinema.com/

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ACF 455: Crown Of Love

Renai Crown copyright 1998 by Yun Kouga/Sobisha Inc.


The Story of a Teenage Boy Who Becomes a Pop Idol
To Get Close To The Pop Idol Girl He Adores

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) has announced the debut of Yun Kouga’s shojo manga (graphic novels for female readers) CROWN OF LOVE on February 2nd. CROWN OF LOVE is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens, will be published by the Shojo Beat imprint, and will carry an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

Sixteen-year-old Hisayoshi "Kumi" Tajima wasn't looking for love. But after he accidentally bumps into teen idol Rima Fujio, he can't stop thinking about her. Living worlds apart, he'll never have a chance to meet her again. Until Rima's former agent Ikeshiba gives him the perfect opportunity – by turning Hisayoshi into an idol himself! Too bad Rima only sees him as competition for Ikeshiba's attention.

“CROWN OF LOVE offers a complex story of unrequited love between a pair of teenagers who are each on the brink of stardom,” says Elizabeth Kawasaki, Senior Editorial Director, VIZ Media. “Creator Yun Kouga has already attracted legions of North American fans with her popular manga series GESTALT, also published by VIZ Media, and we look forward to readers enjoying this new story about two driven characters who find out that fame and life in the limelight isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

Yun Kouga began her career as a manga artist in 1986 with the series METAL HEART, which was serialized in Comic VAL. She is also the creator of the popular series LOVELESS and EARTHIAN, along with many other manga and anime projects, including developing the character designs for GUNDAM 00.

For more information on this title, or other shojo titles from VIZ Media, visit http://www.shojobeat.com/.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

ACF 454: Zatoichi the Fugitive

Zatoichi the Fugitive / Zatoichi kyojo-tabe
Directed by Tokuzo Tanaka
Japan, 1963, 86 min

Japan Society's chambara (swordplay) film series The Double-Edged Sword: The Chambara Films of Shintaro Katsu & Raizo Ichikawa continues this Friday, January 22nd, 2010 at 7:30 pm with this film, the fourth entry in the long-running series about the blind masseur and gambler. Katsu, who also starred in the shorter Hanzo the Razor series, reprises his role as Zatoichi.

A gang has put a bounty on his head, and Zatoichi finds he must confront not only a slew of yakuza thugs after the bounty, but also a viscious ronin (masterless samurai). Meanwhile Zatoichi must also deal with the unexpected presence of a former love, who's now living with the samurai, and with the complicated love of a sweet girl and the conflicted young heir to the gang.

Zatoichi the Fugitive is another solid entry in the series. 3.5 out of 4 ACF stars (highly recommended).

Japan Society is located at 333 E. 47th Street, between 1st & 2nd avenues, New York, NY 10017.

For more information about the screening or to buy tickets, click here. Be advised that the first film shown in the series, Samurai Vendetta, was sold out. So you may do well to act quickly on this, the second film to be shown.

And for those of you not in New York, or just unable to make the screening (which you should if at all possible), Zatoichi the Fugitive is available on a fine DVD from Home Vision Entertainment (HVE).

Monday, January 18, 2010

ACF 453: Happy Birthday, Takeshi Kitano!

"Beat" Takeshi Kitano in Achilles and the Tortoise (2008),
one of many films that he also wrote and directed

Writer, director, actor and television personality Takeshi Kitano was born in Tokyo on January 18th, 1947. After filling in for an ill comedian, he and a friend formed "The Two Beats," a comedy duo that became very popular in Japan. From this came his nickname of "Beat Takeshi."

Around 1995 he had a very serious motorcycle accident that nearly killed him.

Among his better known films in the west are: his version of Zatoichi (2003), which he directed and in which he starred as the title character initially made famous by Shintaro Katsu: Kinji Fukasaku's Battle Royale (2000), and Sonatine (1993), another film that he wrote, directed, and starred in. These, and many other of his films are readily available on DVD.

Happy 63rd B-day, "Beat"!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

ACF 452: Oishinbo a la Carte #7


The final volume of Oishinbo A La Carte, the terrific food manga written by Tetsu Kariya and illustrated by AkiraHanasaki, is due out this Tuesday, January 19th. Volume 7, Izayaya: Pub Food is rated ‘T’ for Teens and carries an estimated retail price of $12.99 US and $16.99 CAN.

If you've read any of my reviews of some of the previous volumes, you know that I've loved them all, and the same is true of Izakaya. (While I've read all the volumes, I haven't reviewed each one.) Not only is the series informative in an entertaining way, it also has a great thru-story and interesting characters. It's clear why this series was so successful in Japan, where it ran to over 100 volumes. The American market clearly would not support reproducing the entire series, so VIZ has smartly and thoughtfully condensed highlights from the series into these seven volumes.

The main character is Yamaoka Shiro (left, below), a journalist for the Tozai News. He's a slacker when it comes to work except when it involves a good meal or helping a friend. Together with Kurita Yuko (right, below), a co-worker with whom a romantic relationships eventually emerges, he's entrusted with coming up with the "Ultimate Menu," a model meal to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the paper.

The complete series from VIZ consists of:
Volume 1, Japanese Cuisine
Volume 2, Sake
Volume 3, Ramen & Gyoza
Volume 4, Fish, Sushi & Sashimi
Volume 5, Vegetables
Volume 6, Rice
Volume 7, Izakaya: Pub Food

They're solid individually and spectacular as a complete collection. I highly recommend each and every one of them.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

ACF 451: Man with Three coffins kicks off Classic Movie Night series at Korea Society

Classic Movie Night at The Korea Society:
Facing the War:
Six Decades of Film Since the Korean War

The 2010 season of The Korea Society's Classic Movie Night series will begin next Wednesday, January 20th. To commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, The Korea Society has selected a schedule of classics that examine the conflict, and the deep, sometimes unexpected scars it has left on the Korean people.

Beginning with Man With Three Coffins on January 20, and continuing with Last Witness (February 17) and Crossing (March 17), this season's classic films will examine how, even 60 years on, the effects of the War continue to haunt communities, divide families and fracture Koreans' sense of identity. Each film will be followed by a guest speaker who will discuss its artistic and cultural context.

Place: The Korea Society
950 Third Avenue @ 57th Street, 8th Fl. (Building entrance on SW corner of Third Avenue and 57th Street)

Tickets to each screening are available for $5 (members) or $10 (nonmembers). For more information contact Yuni Cho at (212) 759-7525, ext. 323 or yuni.ny@koreasociety.org.

Wednesday, January 20 at 6:30 PM
Man With Three Coffins
Directed by Lee Jang-ho
Starring Kim Myung-gon and Lee Bo-hee
1987, 128 minutes

As a man travels to his deceased wife's hometown near the demilitarized zone to scatter her ashes, he finds himself enmeshed in the lives of several strangers, each of whom is on their own journey to overcome the borders, physical and psychological, that have been erected by the War. Based on the award-winning short story by Lee Je-ha titled “Travelers Do Not Rest on the Road,” The Man With Three Coffins is a deeply personal and imaginative exploration of the War’s divisions that earned plaudits from the Berlin and Tokyo International Film Festivals in 1988.

Guest Speaker: Henry H. Em (associate professor of East Asian studies, New York University) makes introductory speech about historical background of Korean War, aftermath, and Korean war movies.

For further info or to buy tickets, click here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

ACF 450: Section23 releases 2 new DVDs

Section23 Films has announced the availability of two new DVDs. From Sentai Filmworks comes the comedy anime Hidamari Sketch, and from Switchblade Pictures there is the live action double feature Female Combatants Battle School / Demonic Heroine in Peril.

Hidamari Sketch Season 1 Collection is a slice of life comedy revolving around struggling art student Yuno and her eccentric neighbors from the boarding home near her school. This DVD release contains the entire first TV season plus two bonus episodes from the ongoing series.

SYNOPSIS: For years, Yunos dreamed of attending Yamabuki Arts High School; but now that she’s been accepted, it means the scary prospect of moving away from her home and family for the first time! Fortunately, Yuno quickly learns that if her new neighbors at the eclectic Hidamari (Sunshine) Apartments aren’t technically family, at least the majority share the bond of being fellow art students. From second year students like Hiro and Sae, who try to behave like helpful older sisters (mostly successfully) to her hyperactive new neighbor, classmate and best friend Miyako (who has the scariest apartment ever,) Yuno begins to build the support network she’ll need for dealing with strange characters like her oddly masculine Landlady, her cosplay obsessed home room teacher, her tooth-chattering Principal and all of the other odd denizens who inhabit her chosen world of art. It won’t be easy, and it won’t always be pretty, but with her friends at her back, Yuno’s going to reach for the stars in HIDAMARI SKETCH!

Running Time: 350 min.
Age Rating: TV PG
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Format: DVD
SRP: $39.98

Female Combatants Battle School / Demonic Heroine In Peril Double Feature is a double dose of super-powered bad girl hijinks, courtesy of the fiendish minds at Switchblade Pictures.

SYNOPSIS: In a switch on the usual, the Bad Girls get their chance to shine in a very special Switchblade Double Feature! First up, we’ve all seen hundreds of stories about the origins of both Superheros and Supervillains, but what about the origins of the Supervillain’s MINIONS? At long last, the time has come to learn the secret story behind all those faceless, anonymous battle casualties! When a beautiful agent attempts to infiltrate the evil Dark Mist organization, she discovers just how hard (and frequently fatal) learning to be cannon fodder really is in FEMALE COMBATANTS BATTLE! Then, when a female assassin is sent out on her ultimate assignment: take out Trionger, a trio of semi-retired super-rangers in power armor (who may or may not have their own line of toys!) Unfortunately, she doesn’t count on becoming friends with Trionger’s unbelievably weird kid sidekick, thereby setting up a confrontation with her own malevolent masters in DEMONIC HEROINE IN PERIL!

Running Time: 154 min.
Age Rating: Unrated - V
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
Published by: Switchblade Pictures
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Format: DVD
SRP: $19.98

Thursday, January 14, 2010

ACF 449: Members of the Funeral

Members of the Funeral / Jang-rae-sig-ui member
Directed by Baek Seung-bin
Japan, 2008, 99 minutes
North American Premiere

The second movie in the Korean Cultural Service's current film series is Members of the Funeral. It will be shown on Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 @ 7 PM. Admission is free, but you do have to RSVP to info@koreanculture.org or call 212-759-9550. I'm giving those of you interested a fair amount of advance notice because the first screening (of Daytime Drinking on January 12th) "sold out," and my guess is that Members will also.

The series, coordinated by the director of the KCS, Soo Keun Song, is shown at the Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal Street, one block from the A, C, E and 1 train Canal Street stops.

Here's a description of the film:

Members of the Funeral is considered to be one of the most intellectually ambitious of Korea's current crop of indie features, this film's lush visuals and caustic performances hide the fact that it was shot for pennies. Members kicks off with a family of three going at each others' throats during a funeral for a teenage boy. Flashbacks show the wounded innocents who grew up to become these monsters and as they flay the skin from their faces with their barbed words, the movie gradually darkens and deepens into something much more profound than a simple family snit fit.

I've seen it on a screener DVD and can attest to the fact that it's a powerful and terrific film. I plan to have my own review online here at least a few days before the screening.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

ACF 448: Fumi Yoshinaga's manga "All My Darling Daughters" due out January 19th

All My Darling Daughters
Aisubeki Musumetachi © Fumi Yoshinaga 2003 /HAKUSENSHA, Inc.


VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) has announced the January 19th release of ALL MY DARLING DAUGHTERS by celebrated creator Fumi Yoshinaga. The single-volume manga edition will be published under the VIZ Signature imprint, is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens, and will carry an MSRP of $12.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN.

ALL MY DARLING DAUGHTERS explores the often-tempestuous relationship between a single career woman and her mother. Yukiko, a businesswoman in her thirties, still lives with her mother, Mari. But their relationship suffers a wrenching change when Mari announces that she's getting married--to an aspiring actor who's even younger than Yukiko. Convinced that he's out to fleece her mom, Yukiko can't stand to stay in the house any longer and decides to move in with her boyfriend.

“ALL MY DARLING DAUGHTERS is a collection of five short stories that weave a complex tapestry exploring the important emotional relationships in women’s lives,” says Leyla Aker, Editorial Manager, VIZ Media. “Fumi Yoshinaga is known for creating richly developed characters and multi-layered stories that transcend genre. We look forward to bringing this new Signature title to Yoshinaga fans.”

Fumi Yoshinaga is a Tokyo-born manga creator who debuted in 1994 with Tsuki to Sandaru (THE MOON AND THE SANDALS). Yoshinaga has won numerous awards, including the 2006 Japan Media Arts Festival Excellence Award and 2009 Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize for ÔOKU, as well as the 2002 Kodansha Manga Award for her series ANTIQUE BAKERY. In 2008 she was nominated for the Eisner Award for Best Writer/Artist.

For more information on this or other titles from VIZ Media, visit www.viz.com.

Friday, January 08, 2010

ACF 447: Korean Cultural Service sponsors Korean Movie Night - Free Admission!

Directed by Noh Young-Seok
2008, 116 minutes
New York Premiere

The Korean Cultural Service will be presenting free screenings of Korean films every other Tuesday night from January 12, 2010 until December 14, 2010. The series, coordinated by the director of the KCS, Soo Keun Song, will be shown at the Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal Street, one block from the A, C, E and 1 train Canal Street stops.

The first film to be screened, next Tuesday, January 12th, 2010, is Daytime Drinking. Showtime will be at 7:00 PM. Admission is free, but you do have to RSVP to info@koreanculture.org or call 212-759-9550.


One of the rudest things you can do in Korea is turn down a drink. It's like spitting in someone's face. DAYTIME DRINKING is a rapidly escalating farce that tweaks the humiliation-meter up and up and up and up as Hyuk-Jin, newly broken up with his girlfriend, finds himself bullied into drinking an infinite amount of soju in a series of progressively more surreal situations. The debut film from Noh Young-Seok, Drinking became a word-of-mouth hit in Korea and has played dozens of film festivals around the world. With a vibe somewhere between Jim Jarmusch's Stranger than Paradise and Broken Lizard's Beerfest, the only thing dry about this flick is its humor.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

ACf 446: Happy Birthday, Sammo Hung!

Sammo squares off against Bruce Lee at the beginning
of Enter the Dragon (1973)

Sammo Hung (a.k.a. Samo Hung, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, etc.) was born in Hong Kong on January 7, 1952. Remarkably fast and flexible despite his ample girth, he has made his mark as an actor (149 movies at IMDb.com and counting), director (37 films), producer (26), and as a stunt and/or action director or coordinator.

Sammo and his sifu enjoy a rare light moment
in Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1980)

Some of my fondest memories are of his work as the title character of the Martial Law TV series (44 episodes, 1998-2000), which also featured Kelly Hu. The first episodes were fantastic, featuring sub-titles (on prime time American network television!) and outtakes during the end credits.

My recollection is that, not satisfied with a surprise success, the suits at the network (CBS) and/or the producers decided to make it a smash hit by tinkering with the cast. Apparently thinking that what worked for Jackie Chan in Rush Hour would do the same for Sammo, they introduced a black man to be the star's sidekick. Unfortunately they picked Arsenio Hall (!?) and the show promptly started to go into the toilet.

The second season (1999-2000) found only Sammo, Kelly and Arsenio returning and the thrill was gone. If Sammo was as bitter as I recall reading that he was, he certainly had a right to be. Something wonderful was ruined 'cause some fools couldn't leave well enough alone.

Sammo and Donnie Yen square off in S.P.L., a.k.a. Kill Zone (2005)
(They'll be going at it again in Ip Man 2, due out later this year.)

Still we have lots of Sammo on DVD to be thankful for and hopefully many more years of being amazed, entertained, and blown-away by him. Happy Birthday, big guy!!!!!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

ACF 445: Stray Dog kicks off Kurosawa centennial retrospective at NY's Film Forum

Stray Dog / Nora inu
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Japan, 1949, 122 min, b&w

March 23, 2010 will mark the 100th anniversary of Akira Kurosawa's birth. One of the many ways in which it is being celebrated is a centennial retrospective of many of his films at the Film Forum in New York.

Stray Dog will be the first film shown in the retrospective and it will run for nine days from January 6 - 14, 2010, with four shows daily. Toshiro Mifune (right in the photo above) stars as Murakami, a detective whose gun is stolen from him on a crowded bus. Takashi Shimura (left in the photo) is Detective Sato, his superior. Murakami is obsessed with recovering the weapon after it is used in a crime.

The film has a "there but for forture" theme as it smartly compares Detective Murakami and the criminal, both of whom were veterans of the war Japan had recently lost, but who had taken different paths in its aftermath. There's some fantastic hidden camera work taken in the black market streets of Tokyo.

For further info or to buy tickets online, click here.

And for those of you who, for one reason or another, can't make it to one of these screenings, there's a Criterion DVD of the film available that is outstanding, as one would expect.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

ACF 444: "Natsume's Book of Friend's" available today from VIZ!


VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) has announced the January 5th release of NATSUME’S BOOK OF FRIENDS, a standalone manga story by Yuki Midorikawa. NATSUME’S BOOK OF FRIENDS debuts under the Shojo Beat imprint, is rated ‘T’ for Teens, and will carry an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

Takashi Natsume can see spirits and demons that hide from the rest of humanity. He has always been set apart from other people because of his gift, drifting from relative to relative, never fitting in. Now he’s a troubled high school student who has come to live in a small town where his grandmother, Reiko, grew up. And there he discovers that he has inherited more than just the power of Sight from the mysterious Reiko. When Reiko was Takashi's age, she bound the names of demons and spirits in her Book of Friends, enslaving them to her every capricious whim. Now Takashi is the owner of the book, and the creatures will do anything to get their names back.

“NATSUME’S BOOK OF FRIENDS is a great series for readers who are looking for something different than the typical shojo manga. Yuki Midorikawa skillfully deploys her delicate and almost serene artwork to tell a story that balances dark adventure with light comedy, the supernatural with real life. This remarkably beautiful work is truly unlike any other shojo series out there,” says Leyla Aker, Editorial Manager, VIZ Media.

Yuki Midorikawa’s other published titles in Japan include Into the Forest of Fireflies, The Scarlet Chair and The Voice That Blooms Red. NATSUME’S BOOK OF FRIENDS (Natsume Yujincho) was originally published in the manga magazine LaLa DX and was a finalist for the first Manga Taisho awards in 2008.

For more information on this title, or others from VIZ Media, please visit www.viz.com.

Monday, January 04, 2010

ACF 443: Feb 2010 DVD releases from Section23 FIlms announced

Includes Two New Anime Series

Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its February 2010 slate of new DVD releases.

Section23 client Sentai Filmworks is coming out with three new home video releases, including complete sets of anime series The Skull Man and Maria Holic. Also coming from Sentai Filmworks in February is the second collection of To Love Ru.

Switchblade Pictures, another Section23 client, has two “live-action” DVD releases straight from Japan, including Kirenji Women’s College and Ryuji the Yakuza.

Here are the details on each, in order of release:

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 2/2/2010
Format: DVD
SRP: $39.98

SYNOPSIS: Otomo City: where freedom and justice have atrophied to the bone; where conspiracy rules the day and death stalks the night… Death in the form of the Skull Man, a literal Grim Reaper whose skeletal grin presages grisly mayhem and murder, even to the monstrous mutants that haunt the city’s underworlds! Now, to investigate a bizarre slaying, journalist Minagami Hayato and photographer Kiriko Mamiya must stalk this ultimate predator, through a festering cadaver of a city where the corruption flows in rivers as deep and foul as the sins of the reigning elite, and unearth a secret so shocking that an entire city has been turned into a tomb to contain! In a nightmarish necropolis where nothing is as it seems, vengeance comes in the form of a living Death’s-Head in SKULL MAN – The Complete Collection

Published by: Switchblade Pictures
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 125 min.
Street Date: 2/9/2010
Format: DVD
SRP: $19.98

SYNOPSIS: Kirenji is so definitely NOT your typical Japanese girls’ school. For example, while the word “hot” might describe an attractive girl at other places of higher education, at Kirenji it’s more likely to mean “hot blooded,” “hot tempered” and “ready for red hot action” (as in physical combat, that is)! So when 17 year old Maki enrolls, thinking she’s the baddest bad girl of them all, she quickly learns the hard way that at Kirenji she’ll have to punch her way to the top of the pulchritudinous power pyramid… and it’s just too bad that the equally intimidating Natsumu is standing in her path! Epic battles, beauties bashing and girl on girl action abound, especially when new girl Kirei joins the fray, in the non-stop cat fight that is KIRENJI GIRLS’ COMBAT SCHOOL – the Complete Collection!

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 2/16/2010
Format: DVD
SRP: $39.98

SYNOPSIS: As if being accidentally engaged to a demon-like alien princess while attending high school and still making points with the girl he REALLY likes wasn’t enough to keep Rito on the edge of insanity, he’s now stuck with an more dangerous challenge: living up to the expectations of Lala’s devil-like father, King Deviluke! And if that’s not bad enough, the girl Run (aka, sometimes, the guy Ren) decides to make her move on Rito, the school is overflowing with even more not-so-well disguised ghosts and aliens (some of whom need an education on how to emphasize their feminine side,) SOMEBODY lets word slip that Lala is actually an alien princess, and to cap it all off there’s a trip to the waterpark PLUS the obligatory Hot Springs episode! Love isn’t a battlefield… it’s the War of the Worlds in TO LOVE RU – Collection Two!!!

Published by: Switchblade Pictures
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 2/23/2010
Format: DVD
SRP: $39.98

SYNOPSIS: It’s not easy to find the perfect girl, even when you’re the same sex! Kanako thought attending an all girls school would be the perfect way to meet the girl of her dreams, but after her hot new roommate turns out to be a guy in drag, and catching the eye of the most popular girl in school only brings down the wrath of all the OTHER similarly obsessed girls, she’s not so sure! Complicate things with a cat-eared dorm leader, her roommate’s rude-mannered maid and identical twin sister (who attends an all boys school, of course,) and WAY too many attractive girls of questionable persuasions and the question becomes whether Kanako can die from frustrated nosebleeds! (Life would be SO much easier if guys didn’t literally give her the hives!) Will Kanako ever find a non-polar opposite of a compatible non-opposing polarity? Let’s just say that the quest for true love will not run straight in MariaHolic – The Complete Collection!

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 139 min.
Street Date: 2/23/2010
Format: DVD
SRP: $19.98

SYNOPSIS: Behind a bloody veil of mystery, the puppetmasters of the Yakuza secretly control Japan… Yet for all their power, the Yakuza are governed by their own codes of loyalty and honor, and there are those who are seen not as criminals, but heroes. Ryuji Ogami, of the Goda-gumi, is one such enigma: torn between the worlds of Bullets and Bushido, his hidden compassion perfectly balances the brutal force of his lethal iron hand. If your cause is just, it is said, seek out Ryuji. But endanger those he cherishes, like young club hostess Megumi and his junior Kazuki, and he will find you. And when the code of the Yakuza is violated by his own gang, Ryuji’s own code will leave him no choice. The city will burn as the deadliest man in Yokohama takes on his own in RYUJI THE YAKUZA- The Complete Collection!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

ACF 442: Feb 2010 DVD releases from VIZ

BLEACH© Tite Kubo/Shueisha, TV Tokyo, dentsu, Pierrot SHONEN JUMP and BLEACH
are trademarks of Shueisha, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.


VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) has announced their list of DVD titles scheduled for release in February 2010. This includes the next box sets of NANA and BLEACH, as well as the latest episodic release of the popular NARUTO SHIPPUDEN series. Also releasing is the live action feature film – 20th CENTURY BOYS 2: THE LAST HOPE from VIZ Pictures. VIZ Media DVD titles are distributed (in English) in the U.S and Mexico by Warner Home Video and in Canada by Allegro.

NANA Uncut Box Set 3 · Rated 'M' for Mature · MSRP: $59.90 US/ $85.99 CAN · Available February 2

Love can mend your life--but will it tear the Nanas apart? Nana K. is happily involved with Takumi from Trapnest, though she doesn't fully trust him. Nana O. graciously stays away from the apartment for a while, and both Nanas feel the loneliness of their separation. Then in the midst of Blast preparing to sign their first record deal, Nobu makes a surprise confession to Nana K. Now she must make a difficult choice, and someone's heart is bound to be broken.

For more information on NANA visit: http://www.nana.viz.com/.

SHONEN JUMP releases include:

BLEACH Uncut Box Set 4 Part 2 · Rated ‘T’ for Teens · MSRP: $49.95 US / $71.99 CAN · Available February 16

The battle against the evil Bounts grows wider and fiercer as Ichigo and friends, reinforced by a group of Soul Reapers, try to take the fight to their hideout. But the Bounts have many tricks up their sleeves, and it looks like certain defeat for Ichigo and his comrades. Uryu, who had lost his Quincy powers, is the key to the Bount leader Kariya’s plans for reve nge against the Soul Society, as well as the key to his defeat. Will Uryu be able to regain his powers in time to save his friends?

BLEACH Volume 25 · Rated ‘T’ for Teens · MSRP: $24.92 US / $35.99 CAN · Available February 23

Jin Kariya, the leader of the Bounts, arrives at the Department of Research and Development and quickly dispatches the guards there. He has come to find the Bount Crest known as Jokaisho, which has the power to blow all of the Seireitei away, and only Ichigo and Chad stand in his way. Meanwhile, Uryu confronts the Bount Yoshi with his new Quincy powers, but he finds them difficult to control as he desperately tries to defend himself from the attacks of his ruthless opponent!

For more information on BLEACH visit: http://www.bleach.viz.com/.

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Volume 6 · Rated 'T+' for Older Teens · MSRP: $24.92 US / $35.99 CAN · Available February 9

While Naruto and Kakashi chase after Deidara, Sakura and Granny Chiyo together take on Sasori of the Red Sand. Sasori's masterful puppetry allows him to use the jutsu of the person he's transformed into a puppet, forcing Sakura and Chiyo to face the power of the Third Kazekage. But with Chiyo's guidance, Sakura learns to read Sasori's moves, and the training she received from Tsunade turns out to be invaluable as the attacks grow ever more fierce!

NARUTO Uncut Season 2 Volume 1 · Rated 'T+' for Older Teens · MSRP: $39.97 US / $57.99 CAN · Available February 16

Before the final round of the Chunin Exam, Naruto receives some special training from the legendary Toad Sage, Jiraiya. When the battles resume, Naruto is ready, but what about Sasuke? He's about to face the one ninja no one, not even Naruto, thinks he can beat. But in the midst of everything, a sinister plot is set in motion, and the Village Hidden in the Leaves finds itself under attack!

For more information on NARUTO and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN visit: www.NARUTO.com.

From VIZ Pictures (Live Action Feature Films):

20th CENTURY BOYS 2: THE LAST HOPE · MSRP: $24.92 US / $35.99 CAN · Available February 16

It is now 2015, and Friend rules a disturbing new world. Kenji has been missing since the Bloody New Year's Eve of 2000, and his niece Kanna is now in high school. Her history textbook contains a fabricated story about Kenji and his friends being the terrorists behind the horrific events of 2000. Kanna, knowing the truth, openly resents this, and as a result she is marked as a problem child by her teacher and sent to the Friend Land program because of her anti-Friend behavior. Friend Land is a facility where people with rebellious behavior are re-educated. As the program begins, Kanna and her classmate Kyoko Koizumi achieve high marks and are sent to the advanced program called the Bonus Stage, where they find themselves in a virtual reconstruction of 1971, when Kenji and his friends were kids. There, each of the girls learns crucial secrets about Friend.

The surviving secret base members have been separated since Bloody New Year's Eve but each has spent the last 15 years in various activities opposing Friend and his regime. As Kenji's friends all try to find out the truth about Friend, they discover the shocking existence of The New Book of Prophecy, the sequel to The Book of Prophecy. The New Book describes an event: In 2015, at a church in Shinjuku, a savior will rise to uphold justice but will be assassinated. Who is the savior? Once again, Doomsday looms near...

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