With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Monday, December 31, 2012

ACF 1755: Happy Birthday, Gong Li

Gong Li as the Empress in Curse of the Golden Flower
Image copyright 2006 Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc

Gong Li was born December 31st, 1965, in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, China and graduated from the Central Drama Academy in Beijing in 1989. While still a student, she was cast as the female lead in the 1987 release Hong gao liang (Red Sorghum), the initial directing effort of Zhang Yimou. She starred in a number of his other films, including Ju Dou and Raise the Red Lantern, over the next several years and reunited with him for Curse of the Golden Flower (2006). Her work in the films of other notable Chinese directors includes Farewell My Concubine by Chen Kaige and Wong Kar Wai's 2046.

Talented and lovely, she has won numerous awards as Best Actress or Female Actor, and has been named as one of the "sexiest movies stars" or "most beautiful" women in various lists.

Ms. Gong has also appeared in such Hollywood films as Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), Miami Vice (2006), and Hannibal Rising (2007). While these failed to make her a "cross-over" star for Western audiences, we'll hopefully continue to see her in films produced in Asia for many years to come.

Gong Li @ IMDb
Gong Li @ WikipedeaGong Li @ Fandango

Saturday, December 22, 2012

ACF 1754: Toshin Brand Anime Gifts for the Holidays & Beyond

CAFEPRESS AND VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCE
A PARTNERSHIP TO PRODUCE & SELL
FAN-CUSTOMIZABLE ANIME MERCHANDISE FOR
LIFESTYLE BRAND TOSHIN

Featuring Apparel And Accessories From VIZ Media Anime Brands
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN, BLEACH And DEATH NOTE

Now Available On Leading E-Commerce Site, CafePress

CafePress, Inc., The World's Customization Engine, and VIZ Media, the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America, announced a partnership. The companies have come together to offer fans a curated selection of official and fan-designed merchandise incorporating VIZ Media’s best-loved anime brands for lifestyle brand Toshin.

CafePress empowers shoppers to create, buy and sell, customized and personalized products online using the company's proprietary print-on-demand services and e-commerce platform. With this new relationship, CafePress will offer a range of Toshin products that feature characters from VIZ Media’s NARUTO SHIPPUDEN, BLEACH and DEATH NOTE.  VIZ Media currently features these series on VIZAnime.com (a website for free anime) and on Neon Alley (a 24/7 anime channel).

The lifestyle brand Toshin, meaning “fighting spirit” in Japanese, will have its most popular warriors prominently featured on a robust line of highly customizable gear, including t-shirts and hoodies, and accessories, such as cell phone and iPad cases. In addition, fans will be able to create unique Toshin products by choosing from a selection of backgrounds that can be combined and integrated with their favorite full-color character artwork. Consumers can access and download a range of artwork to create fan designs directly from each anime brand store:
 
“Fan’s of anime and manga have been waiting eagerly for a way to showcase their devotion to the VIZ media anime brands. This partnership gives anime enthusiasts never-before-seen access to original artwork they can use to create truly unique designs,” says Ty Simpson, VP of Business Development for CafePress. “That artistic freedom, combined with the state-of-the art print-on-demand services offered at CafePress, really offers a remarkable degree of flexibility to this devoted fan base.”

“This is an innovative, first-of-its-kind partnership that will allow anime fans a whole new way to create an array of customizable apparel and accessories. We will be working closely with CafePress to develop a complete line of on-demand products featuring a variety of popular characters from several most-loved VIZ Media anime properties,” says Daisuke Aoki, Vice President, Animation Licensing, VIZ Media. “We know anime and manga fans love to demonstrate their passion for their favorite shows and characters and with the Toshin brand. On CafePress, they now have the ability to channel their creativity and enthusiasm in a whole new way.”

For more information on Toshin, visit https://www.facebook.com/ToshinStyle.

For more information on CafePress, visit http://www.cafepress.com.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

ACF 1753: BARBIE showing at MoMI tomorrow afternoon

 Barbie
Directed by LEE Sang-woo
South Korea, 2011, 97 minutes
With KIM Sae-ron, KIM Ah-ron, LEE Chun-hee
When: Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 5:00 PM
Where: The Museum of the Moving Image
35th Avenue at 37th Street, Astoria, Queens, NYC
Travel directions here
Film free with museum admission at MoMI

Barbie, the next co-presentation of The Korea Society and The Museum of the Moving Image's "Korean Cinema Now" series, will be shown tomorrow afternoon at MoMI in Queens, NY.

Synopsis: Soon-young lives with her mentally handicapped father, unscrupulous uncle, and Soon-Ja, her younger sister. When an uncle arranges Soon-young’s adoption to American family for money, the younger sister, who adores her Barbie doll and dreams of one day living in America, decides not to let the adoption happen.


"Korean Cinema Now" will be presented at the newly renovated Museum of the Moving Image, home to New York City’s finest, state-of-the-art screen. Films are free with museum admission. This tribute is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Taxi 10 minutes from The Korea Society or NQ Train Outbound to 36th Ave., 36th Street and 35th Avenue, Astoria.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

ACF 1752: VIZ offering 20% off holiday digital manga promo thru January 8th

VIZ MEDIA OFFERS A NEW HOLIDAY PROMOTION
THAT GIVES FANS 20% OFF ON ALL DIGITAL MANGA
ON VIZMANGA.COM AND THE VIZ MANGA APP THRU JANUARY 8th

Explore New Titles Or Catch Up On Ongoing Series With A Special Discount
That Applies To The Entire VIZ Manga Library Of Over 1,000 Digital Volumes

VIZ Media has announced a special new promotion to wrap up 2012 that offers 20% off on all digital manga (graphic novel) titles featured on VIZManga.com and available through the VIZ Manga App, including top-selling titles BAKUMAN, BLEACH, BLUE EXORCIST, NANA, NARUTO, ONE PIECE, VAMPIRE KNIGHT, and more. Enjoy the fun of manga throughout the holiday season with this special offer that runs for a limited-time only from now until Tuesday, January 8th.

Through the innovative VIZ Manga digital platform, registered users are able to use one account to view their purchased manga across more devices than ever, allowing for complete interoperability to read manga. The free VIZ Manga App is the top application for reading manga on the Apple iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and supported Android-powered smart phones and tablets (including the Kindle Fire), and may be downloaded through the iTunes Store, Google Play Store, and Amazon Appstore. The platform is also accessible from VIZManga.com for desktop and laptop computers.

VIZManga iPad Screenshot

The VIZ Manga platform features a massive library of the most popular manga series in the world, featuring over 1,000 volumes across over 100 different series, with new series and volumes added every Tuesday. All manga volumes are generally available for purchase and download in the U.S. and Canada within the application starting from $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) each.

Download the free VIZ Manga App for your Android and iOS devices at www.VIZ.com/apps.

To learn more about VIZ Manga, and to explore free Chapter 1 previews of every manga title, please visit VIZManga.com.

Friday, December 07, 2012

ACF 1751: DEMON LOVE SPELL

AYAKASHI KOI EMAKI © 2008 by Mayu Shinjo/SHUEISHA Inc.
VIZ MEDIA DEBUTS
NEW SHOJO MANGA SERIES
DEMON LOVE SPELL

Catch The New Supernatural Romance Series From
The Celebrated Creator of AI ORE! And SENSUAL PHRASE

VIZ Media brings new shojo manga (graphic novel) fun to fans everywhere with the debut of Mayu Shinjo’s DEMON LOVE SPELL Vol. 1. The new series (now available) is published under the Shojo Beat imprint, rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens, and carries an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. The series will also be available on December 18th for digital download from the VIZ Manga digital platform (MSRP $4.99 USD/CAN).

Miko is a shrine maiden who has never had much success at seeing or banishing spirits. Then she meets Kagura, a sexy demon who feeds off women’s feelings of passion and love. Kagura’s insatiable appetite has left many girls at school brokenhearted, so Miko casts a spell to seal his powers. Surprisingly the spell works – sort of – but now Kagura is after her!

“Acclaimed manga creator Mayu Shinjo enters the supernatural realm in DEMON LOVE SPELL, her new romantic comedy,” says Nancy Thistlethwaite, Editor. “Our down-to-earth heroine Miko finds herself falling in love with the incubus Kagura. Miko is able to bind most of his powers, but that doesn’t stop him from entering her dreams. This series features Shinjo’s captivating artwork and irreverent humor, as well as her trademark passionate scenes.”

Mayu Shinjo is the prolific creator of numerous acclaimed shojo manga, including the hit series, SENSUAL PHRASE (published in North America by VIZ Media). Her current series include AI ORE! (also published by VIZ Media) and Ayakashi Koi Emaki. Earlier this year, AI ORE! was featured on the New York Times Manga Bestseller list and has also been a BookScan Top 50 Graphic Novel bestseller.

VIZ Media’s innovative digital platform allows for complete interoperability to read manga from your iPhone®, iPod® touch, iPad®, and supported Android smart phones and tablets (including the Kindle Fire), with VIZManga.com for desktop/laptop computers. With one account, registered users are able to view their purchases across even more devices than ever, and the rapidly growing platform features over 1,000 volumes across 100 different series.

For more information on DEMON LOVE SPELL, or other shojo manga titles from VIZ Media, please visit www.shojobeat.com.

To learn more about VIZ Manga and to download the VIZ Manga App, please visit VIZManga.com and www.viz.com/apps

ACF 1750: Sentai Filmworks has acquired RUROUNI KENSHIN ~ NEW KYOTO ARC


Return to one of anime’s most beloved anime in Sentai Filmworks newest acquisition from Aniplex Inc.: Rurouni Kenshin ~ New Kyoto Arc. Get ready for blades to flash and blood to flow as Nobuhiro Watsuki’s acclaimed masterpiece returns for a new look at one of its most compelling storylines. Directed by series veteran Kazuhiro Furuhashi (You’re Under Arrest, Getbackers) with script services by Mari Okada (Caanan, The Book of Bantorra), character designs by Hiromitsu Hagiwara and music by Noriyuki Asakura (Ragnarok The Animation).

Rurouni Kenshin ~ New Kyoto Arc will be available next year on bilingual DVD & BD and through digital outlets.

Synopsis: Although she’s only sixteen and looks even younger, Misao Makimachi is already a skilled and competent member of the Oniwabanshū ninja clan. Which is a fortunate thing for Misao, as her onimitsu talents may be all that keeps her alive when a journey in search of the leader of the clan, Aoshi Shinomori, leads her instead into a face-to-face encounter with an even more dangerous man and a plot to overthrow the Meiji government! Quickly enmeshed in the affairs of the legendary assassin Hitokiri Battōsai, now known as Kenshin Himura wielder of the reverse-blade sword, Misao finds herself pulled into the middle of a deadly intrigue against Makoto Shishio, who is orchestrating the conquest of all Japan, beginning with Kyoto!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

ACF 1749: VIZ offers new option that allows Android users to read Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha for free!

BLEACH © 2001 by Tite Kubo/SHUEISHA Inc.
 VIZ MEDIA OFFERS ANDROID USERS A NEW WAY
TO READ WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA FOR FREE 

Readers New To Manga Or The Nation’s
Leading Weekly Digital Manga Magazine
Are Invited To Sample Hot New Series
With An Easy-To-Use Ad-Supported Option


VIZ Media gives Android users new to WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA or the manga genre itself an easy reason to explore the nation’s leading digital manga (graphic novel) magazine with a new ad-supported option that allows readers to read a complete issue for free.

Readers simply click on the “Free” button in the VIZ Manga app & choose from a variety of promotional offers from our advertising partners in order to get access to each week’s issue of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA with no further commitment required. The ad-supported option is available only to Android users at this time.

Each digital edition of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA treats manga fans across North America to the latest chapters of some of the world’s most popular manga series only two weeks after they debut in Japan’s massively popular WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP magazine. Starting on January 21st, all weekly WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA series will be publishing simultaneously with their release in Japan! Don’t miss the latest installments of hot series such as BAKUMAN, BARRAGE, BLEACH, BLUE EXORCIST, NARUTO, ONE PIECE and TORIKO as well as access to special editorial features and an extensive online fan-supported community. Also explore the range of special content and premium offers that are available exclusively to WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA members from VIZ Media.

WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA is available through an annual membership that provides 52 weeks of digital access to 48 weekly issues for just $25.99. Each issue may be read on VIZManga.com/sj-weekly, and also on the VIZ Manga App for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android tablets and smartphones. For more information on WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA and current exclusive subscriber offers, please visit SJAlpha.com

ACF 1748: Maiden Japan has acquired VAMPIRE PRINCESS MIYU

Maiden Japan has announced its acquisition of the hit animated series Vampire Princess Miyu. Based on the manga of the same name by creators Narumi Kakinouchi and Toshiki Hirano, Vampire Princess Miyu is a classic tale of horror presented in 26 episodes.  Direction is by Toshiki Hirano (Devil Lady, Godannar), with character designs by Megumi Kadonosono (Rayearth OVA, Kiddy Grade), sound direction by Yasunori Honda (Himawari, Black Lagoon) and music by Kenji Kawai (Blue Seed, Towanoquon).

Maiden Japan will be distributing Vampire Princess Miyu in conjunction with home video distributor Section 23 (Clannad, High School of the Dead, Appleseed,) with the entire series to be released in both bilingual English DVD and digital formats.

Synopsis: Born of Vampire and Human, doomed to remain trapped in the body of a teenager forever, she is the Chosen One: Mankind’s last defense against the forces of Darkness.  With her once greatest foe, the Shinma named Larva, as her sole companion, she stands eternally poised at the bridge between two worlds.  She is charged with the duty of tracking down supernatural beings who seek to harm the human race and banishing them back to the dark realms from whence they came.

But this ultimate hunter is a creature of the Night herself, and though her human half gives her the ability to walk by day, she still needs the blood of the living in order to survive.  And though she may use the name Miyu Yamano when dealing with mere mortals, since the loss of her human memories she is increasingly drawn back towards the Darkness, even as those on the other side prepare to target her!  Get ready to hunt the night as the death-dance of undead predator and prey unleashes true Hell on Earth in VAMPIRE PRINCESS MIYU!

ACF 1747: THE REAL ESCAPE GAME finds semi-permanent home in San Francisco

NEW PEOPLE AND SCRAP TO OPEN A NEW HOME BASE 
FOR THE REAL ESCAPE GAME IN SAN FRANCISCO

Innovative Interactive Multiplayer Puzzle Solving Game
Originally Invented In Japan Returns
To The Bay Area on A Semi-Permanent Basis

NEW PEOPLE has teamed up with creative company, SCRAP, to launch a new home for the popular “Real Escape Game” at the notable Japanese Pop Culture venue through 2013.

“The Real Escape Room: SF Vol. 1 – Escape from the Mysterious Room” opens on Friday, December 14th and will run periodically thru 2013. Multiple game sessions will take place most weekends on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays inside NEW PEOPLE’s 3rd floor SUPERFROG Gallery space. NEW PEOPLE is located in San Francisco’s Japantown district at 1746 Post St. (Cross St. is Webster Ave.). More information at: www.newpeopleworld.com.

The Real Escape Room” will be the newly installed, semi-permanent home for the latest version of “The Real Escape Game,” which is an inventive puzzle solving interactive game event, originally created in Japan, which requires players to cooperate and use their intuition and detective skills to solve multiple mysteries within a limited time.

In The Real Escape Room: SF Vol. 1 – Escape from the Mysterious Room,” players find themselves locked inside a seemingly ordinary room. It has a desk, chairs, a carpet – everything seems normal. But on closer inspection players will find a series of mysterious codes and puzzles that must be solved in order to find a hidden key to escape. The maximum capacity of participants for each game will be limited to 11 people. Game duration is around 1.5 hours (including introductions and a solution walkthrough). More than 10,000 people have played this game in Japan, China, and Taiwan.

The Real Escape Room: SF Vol. 1 – Escape from the Mysterious Room Game Times:

Fridays: 6:30pm, 8:30pm 

Saturdays: 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm

Sundays: 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm


Tickets are $28.00 in advance; $33.00 at the door. Tickets and additional information are available at: http://realescapegame.com/rersf1

The Real Escape Game thrilled hundreds of players during several sessions held previously in San Francisco, most recently with the Real Escape Game x Evangelion: Escape from an Angel, which was inspired by the hit Evangelion anime series and staged during the 2012 J-Pop Summit Festival last summer,” says Seiji Horibuchi, the President/CEO of NEW PEOPLE, Inc. “We are very excited to again team up with SCRAP to present a brand new installment that will run weekly at the NEW PEOPLE venue. Join other plays and test your powers of deduction and reasoning with this intriguing and fun game!”

About SCRAP Co. & SCRAP Entertainment Inc.
SCRAP Co. (www.scrapmagazine.com), based in Kyoto, Japan, produces the free magazine, “SCRAP” and the Real Escape Game (REG), a new style of live entertainment. Over 200,000 participants have played this game in Japan, China, Taiwan, Singapore and the United States. SCRAP Entertainment Inc (RealEscapeGame.com), based in San Francisco, California, is a U.S division of SCRAP Co., and produces REG in the United States.

About NEW PEOPLE, Inc.
Based in San Francisco, California, NEW PEOPLE, Inc. (www.newpeopleworld.com) offers the latest films, art, fashion and retail brands from Japan through its unique entertainment destination as well as through licensing and distribution of selective Japanese films. NEW PEOPLE Entertainment (www.newpeopleent.com), a film division of NEW PEOPLE, Inc. strives to offer the most entertaining motion pictures straight from the "Kingdom of Pop" for audiences of all ages, especially the manga and anime generation, in North America. Some titles include DEATH NOTE, GANTZ, KAMIKAZE GIRLS, and THE TASTE OF TEA.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

ACF 1746: Sentai Filmworks has acquired AMAGAMI SS+



Sentai Filmworks has announced their acquisition of Amagami SS+.  This fan favorite returns with more episodes featuring Junichi Tachibana, the world’s romantically luckiest guy.  Once again directed by Tomoki Kobayashi (Rozen Maiden, Utawarerumono) with series composition by Noboru Kimura (Nyarko-san: Another Crawling Chaos), character designs by Hiroaki Gohda (Love, Election & Chocolate), sound direction by Satoki Iida (Mayo Chiki!) and music by Toshiyuki Omori (Dirty Pair OVA).

Amagami SS+ will be available next year on subtitled DVD and through digital outlets.

Synopsis: So far, Junichi Tachibana has been luckier than any guy has any right to be, getting to experience what it would be like to be romantically paired with not one, not two, but SEVEN different beautiful girls in a multiple of alternate universes.  So how can he possibly follow THAT up?  Well, how about with continuations of ALL of those storylines!

Yes, all of the pairings in the original AMAGAMI SS are back as each of the girls return to follow up the romantic advancements in each of their possible futures!  Is Junichi going to be able to handle a second go-round with Tsukasa, Rihoko, Ai, Kaoru, Sae, Haruka and even Risa?  Will little sis Miya get a follow up to her own sneaky storyline too?  The answer’s yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, maybe, yes and oh yes as boy meets girl, girl, girl, girl, girl, girl and girl again in the multiple sequel that has no equal, Amagami SS+!

ACF 1745: BERSERK: THE GOLDEN AGE ARC I – THE EGG OF THE KING


© KENTAROU MIURA(STUDIO GAGA) HAKUSENSHA / BERSERK FILM PARTNERS
BERSERK: THE GOLDEN AGE ARC I – THE EGG OF THE KING 
DEBUTS ON DVD AND BLU-RAY FROM VIZ MEDIA

Gritty Medieval Action Epic Delivers A Tale Of Reluctant Heroes
Inspired By The Smash Hit Manga Graphic Novel Series

VIZ has brought the arms and armor action of one of this year’s most anticipated anime releases to home video with its recent release of BERSERK: THE GOLDEN AGE ARC I – THE EGG OF THE KING on DVD and Blu-ray.

BERSERK: THE GOLDEN AGE ARC I – THE EGG OF THE KING is rated ‘M’ for Mature Audiences and carries a DVD MSRP of $19.98 U.S. / $24.98 CAN and a Blu-ray MSRP of $24.98 U.S. / $27.50 CAN. The film features both dubbed English dialogue and original Japanese subtitle dialogue options. Bonus features include a production art gallery.

The lone mercenary Guts travels a land where a hundred-year-old war is taking place. His ferocity and ability to kill enemies attracts the attention of Griffith, leader of the mercenary group “The Band of the Hawk,” and Guts is recruited to the unit. Thanks to their continued victories on the battlefield, the bond between Guts and Griffith deepens, but despite all their success, Guts begins to question his reasons for fighting for Griffith’s dream. Unknown to Guts, this unyielding dream is about to bestow a horrible fate on them both.

“The foreboding medieval action epic that first thrilled North American audiences as an acclaimed graphic novel series delivers a whole new level of excitement with its debut as an anime feature film,” says Brian Ige, Vice President, Animation. “BERSERK: THE GOLDEN AGE ARC I – THE EGG OF THE KING also features a stellar cast of voice actors including Marc Diraison in the role of Guts, Kevin T. Collins as Griffith, and Carolyn Keranen as Casca, the only female member of the Band of the Hawk. With its engrossing plot, multi-faceted characters, and highly detailed kinetic battle sequences, which are phenomenally well-staged and animated, this film is a definite must-see for anime fans everywhere.”

The BERSERK manga series, by Kentaro Miura, debuted in Japan in 1989 and quickly drew a devoted following, going on to sell more than 30 million copies worldwide. The series, still ongoing in Japan, has been published in North America by Dark Horse Comics and the UK, as well as in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, and Latin America. The BERSERK manga has also inspired a popular anime television series and has spawned a variety of related video games, collectable figures and toys, and music soundtracks, as well as the current BERSERK: THE GOLDEN AGE ARC film trilogy.

For more information on the BERSERK: THE GOLDEN AGE ARC film trilogy, visit the official Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/BerserkFilm.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

ACF 1744: NINJA SCROLL streets today on DVD and Blu-ray

Ninja Scroll / Jube ninpucho
Written and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri
Japan, 1993, 94 minutes
Published by Sentai Filmworks
Dstributed by Section23 Films
SRP: DVD $14.98, Blu-ray $24.98

Hot on the heels of last month's release of the classic Grave of the Fireflies (my review here) comes another fantastic offering from Sentai Filmworks and Section23 Films, a classic in the action anime´ genre, Ninja Scroll. It's available on DVD and Blu-ray today. This review is based on the Blu-ray version.

Kibagami Jubai is a master swordsman who's just completed an assignment to recover a stolen sword. One night he happens upon a lovely young woman being sexually assaulted by a brute. The woman is Kagero, a poison-taster and member of the Koga ninja. Her assailant is Tessai, who has a rock hard body, sort of like The Thing from The Fantastic Four only not quite so ugly. Jubai and Kagero manage to escape, but they have not seen the last of Tessai, one of the Eight Devils of Kimon who are in cohorts with forces who would overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate.

Jubai and Kagero find that their individual purposes and paths are inextricably intertwined not only with each other's but also with that of Dakuan, an elderly Tokugawa spy. They will have to overcome not only their antipathy, if not outright animosity, towards one another, but also the formidable enemies they will come up against if they are to survive.

The Blu-ray edition of Ninja Scroll (which has a 4:3 aspect ratio) has drop-dead vibrant colors, lovely artwork and imaginative action animation. There are three audio tracks to choose from. There's an English audio version, and a Japanese one with easy on the eyes yellow English subtitles. Finally there's a commentary audio track with director Yoshiaki Kawajiri and animation director & character designer Yutaka Minowa that is moderated by writer Hiroyuki Ohnuma. It has English subtitles in yellow and white lettering that makes it easy to follow what each person is saying. Needless to say, these audio options make for three distinct ways to experience the film, each worth repeated viewings.

While I imagine that the regular DVD version is fine, I don't think sensible fan would regret laying out a few more dollars for the Blu-ray version. It's stunning.

ACF Rating: 4/4 for the film (highest recommendation), 3.5 for the extras (based on the audio options; there are also some trailers of other offerings from Sentai Filmworks). Buy it for yourself, or "suggest" that someone buy it for you as a gift. But don't fail to add this fine film to your collection, along with Sentai's Grave of the Fireflies.

Note: Ninaja Scroll has numerous scenes of extreme animated violence and one of nudity and sexual abuse. Just make sure the intended recipient is of an appropriate age for such material if you're thinking of buying this for someone else.

Monday, December 03, 2012

ACF 1743: Bollywood Blockbusters from Eros Entertainment on Verizon FiOS

Bollywood Blockbusters from Eros Entertainment
Available A La Carte on Verizon FiOS;
New feature complements monthly subscription
option for Verizon FiOS TV customers

International Media Distribution, a leading provider of in-language and multi-ethnic programming in the U.S., and Eros International, the largest international distributor of Indian films worldwide, have announced that Verizon FiOS TV customers can now enjoy Bollywood Hits On Demand movie titles on an individual basis without a monthly subscription.

In April 2012, Verizon began offering Bollywood Hits On Demand to FiOS TV subscribers for $7.99 per month, with unlimited access to a variety of entertainment choices from Eros Entertainment. Starting this month, fans of the Hindi-language films and entertainment can order select movies a la carte, as part of FiOS TV Video On Demand. This additional service offers customers the alternative of ordering individual movies at $4.99 each for new releases and $2.99 each for library titles.  Each month, four titles are offered.

“Verizon FiOS customers who want to enjoy Bollywood movies from time to time can now do so without having to commit to a monthly package,” said Ken Naz, President North America, Eros International. “Eros and International Media Distribution are pleased to expand the availability and enjoyment of Bollywood blockbusters, including many new releases, to as wide an audience as possible in an unparalleled all-digital and on-demand TV experience.  We hope these films will find new audiences with mainstream viewers sampling the genre for the first time to discover the spectacular world of Bollywood at home.”

FiOS TV customers can find Bollywood Hits On Demand in the Premium Channels video-on-demand folder under Bollywood Music & Movies.  The a la carte offerings can be found in the Movies section by going to the International folder and selecting Bollywood.  Most of the new release titles are available before their DVD debut. 

Upcoming new releases available a la carte include:

Who's There
Starring Rajbeerr Singh and Kalpana Mathur, the film centers on a man haunted by the ghost of his wife's ex-boyfriend. Hindi, subtitled in English. Available now until December 6, 2012.





Cocktail
The relationship between three friends becomes complicated when friendship turns into lust and then leads to love, starring Deepika Padukone and Saif Ali Khan. Hindi, subtitled in English. Available now until December 20, 2012.






 Additional library titles include:

Aakrosh
Three city students go missing in a small village and following pressure from the media, the government reluctantly launches an investigation into their disappearance. Hindi, subtitled in English. Available now until December 13, 2012.

Ek Shriman Ek Shrimati
Deepali is loved by two men, but one of them is not what he appears to be.  With the help of her uncle, the truth is exposed and she realizes who loves her truly. Hindi, subtitled in English. Available now until December 27, 2012.

To order, FiOS TV customers can access individual films for purchase or subscribe to Bollywood Hits On Demand’s monthly package right on the TV screen with their remote control.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

ACF 1742: RED SORGHUM at Asia Society on Sunday, December 2nd

GONG Li as Jiu'er in Red Sorghum
 Red Sorghum / Hong gao liang
Directed by ZHANG Yimou
Starring GONG Li
China, 1987, 88 minutes
Color, 35mm.
When: Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm
Where Asia Society
725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), NYC
Map

In the countryside of Shandong province in the 1930s, a young peasant girl, Jiu’er (Gong Li), is arranged to marry a leper, a much older man who owns a winery. After her husband's death, Jiu’er takes over the running of the business. Her life is completely changed when a man she had an unusual sexual encounter with re-emerges, followed by the Japanese invasion. Stunningly shot with luscious color and imagery, it was the first Fifth Generation film to enjoy popular success at home and it won the Golden Bear (Best Picture) award at the Berlin International Film Festival. A directorial and acting debut for Zhang Yimou and Gong Li, respectively, the film catapulted both to international stardom and launched a series of collaborations between the two. This film is an adaptation of 2012 Nobel Literature Prize winner Mo Yan's novel of the same name.  

Online ticketing for this program is now closed. Tickets are available and can be purchased in person at the door. $7 members; $9 students/seniors; $11 nonmembers.

To learn more about the film and the novel, click here

This screening of Red Sorghum is part of the film series Goddess: Chinese Women on Screen which runs through December 8, 2012.

ACF 1741: Holiday gifting options for NEON ALLEY anime channel

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES
NEW HOLIDAY DIGITAL GIFTING OPTIONS
FOR NEON ALLEY ANIME CHANNEL

VIZ Media makes it easy to give the gift of anime this holiday season with a range of affordable digital gifting options for the company’s new Neon Alley 24/7 anime platform.

Treat your favorite fan to a variety of the latest anime series, films and other cool content with the gift of a 1-, 3-, 6- or 12-month membership to Neon Alley. Go to NeonAlley.com and click on the “Gifts: Buy/Redeem" link on the home page in the top right corner under the login bar. The gifting options will become a permanent feature of Neon Alley and will be available throughout the year. The gifting option also allows fans who do not have a traditional credit card to purchase gift subscriptions for themselves without worrying about monthly recurring billing. 

Neon Alley Digital Gift Options:

1 Month – $6.99
3 Months – $20.97
6 Months – $41.94
12 Months – $83.88
  
Neon Alley PS3 Programming Guide

Gift recipients and users need to have a PlayStation 3 (PS3™) game system and be connected to the PlayStation®Network to be able to redeem the gift and access Neon Alley. 

Neon Alley is VIZ Media’s new 24-hour, subscription-based anime channel featuring the world’s best titles (dubbed in English and uncut) and presented in HD (when available) for a low monthly subscription rate of $6.99. Neon Alley is the first platform designed to be studio agnostic, offering a diverse array of titles from many leading anime producers and distributors. Neon Alley’s schedule includes a dynamic mix of action, adventure, sci-fi, supernatural, fantasy, and horror anime, including weekly exclusive episodes of BLUE EXORCIST, INUYASHA: THE FINAL ACT, NURA: RISE OF THE YOKAI CLAN, and TIGER & BUNNY, as well as blockbuster favorites DEATH NOTE, NARUTO SHIPPUDEN, ONE PIECE, VAMPIRE KNIGHT and more.  

For more information about Neon Alley and to sign-up, please visit www.neonalley.com.

ACF 1740: Section23 Films announces January 2013 slate of releases


Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its January slate of releases, including the second combustible volume of Mardock Scramble! The second release of the spectacular trilogy, Mardock Scramble: Second Combustion will be available on both DVD and Blue-Ray.
 
Product details follow, in order of release.

Title:                  MARDOCK SCRAMBLE: SECOND COMBUSTION
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         61 min.
Street Date:      1/1/2013
Format:             DVD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                 $29.98

SYNOPSIS:  Rescued by Doctor Easter from a deadly assault on their headquarters by Dimsdale Boiled, Rune Balot finds temporary shelter in "Paradise", a high-tech laboratory where the Scramble 09 protocol originated.  While the severely injured Oeufcoque regenerates in a healing vat, Rune struggles to find the answers within herself that will let her equally injured psyche find some measure of peace.  But as the search for clues to the location of Shell's hidden memories continues, Boiled finds them again, and Rune and the Doctor decide it's time to carry the war to the enemy.  It's a world of high-stakes gambling and glamour, as Rune struggles to bring the man that murdered her to justice in the second combustible volume of Mardock Scramble!


Title:                  MARDOCK SCRAMBLE: SECOND COMBUSTION BLU-RAY
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         61 min.
Street Date:      1/1/2013
Format:             BD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                 $39.98

SYNOPSIS: Rescued by Doctor Easter from a deadly assault on their headquarters by Dimsdale Boiled, Rune Balot finds temporary shelter in "Paradise", a high-tech laboratory where the Scramble 09 protocol originated.  While the severely injured Oeufcoque regenerates in a healing vat, Rune struggles to find the answers within herself that will let her equally injured psyche find some measure of peace.  But as the search for clues to the location of Shell's hidden memories continues, Boiled finds them again, and Rune and the Doctor decide it's time to carry the war to the enemy.  It's a world of high-stakes gambling and glamour, as Rune struggles to bring the man that murdered her to justice in the second combustible volume of Mardock Scramble!


Title:                  BODACIOUS SPACE PIRATES
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         325 min.
Street Date:      1/8/2013
Format:             DVD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                 $59.98

SYNOPSIS:  Most families have a skeleton or two in the closet, but Marika is understandably shocked to learn that what her family has been hiding is a skull and crossbones!  And while the revelation that her late father was a space pirate would have been earthshaking enough for most teenage girls, discovering that he was the captain of the notorious pirate ship Benten Maru will change Marika's life forever.  Because, you see, pirating is a family business, and she's just inherited the position of captain.  Not to mention that her father's former crew is quite intent on making sure Marika accepts the job!  So what's a girl to do?  Well, if you're a high school student whose prior total naval experience has been working at the space yacht club, there's really only one moral dilemma that has to be resolved: are pirates allowed to wear really short mini-skirts?  Get ready for intergalactic buccaneering unlike any you've ever seen before as the spaceways get broad-sided by cutting lasses, curvy knaves and the sexiest pirate's chest ever in Bodacious Space Pirates Collection 1!


Title                   BODACIOUS SPACE PIRATES BLU-RAY
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         325 min.
Street Date:      1/8/2013
Format:             BD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                 $69.98

SYNOPSIS:  Most families have a skeleton or two in the closet, but Marika is understandably shocked to learn that what her family has been hiding is a skull and crossbones!  And while the revelation that her late father was a space pirate would have been earthshaking enough for most teenage girls, discovering that he was the captain of the notorious pirate ship Benten Maru will change Marika's life forever.  Because, you see, pirating is a family business, and she's just inherited the position of captain.  Not to mention that her father's former crew is quite intent on making sure Marika accepts the job!  So what's a girl to do?  Well, if you're a high school student whose prior total naval experience has been working at the space yacht club, there's really only one moral dilemma that has to be resolved: are pirates allowed to wear really short mini-skirts?  Get ready for intergalactic buccaneering unlike any you've ever seen before as the spaceways get broad-sided by cutting lasses, curvy knaves and the sexiest pirate's chest ever in Bodacious Space Pirates Collection 1!


Title:                  PERSONA 4 COLLECTION 2
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         365 min.
Street Date:      1/15/2013
Format:             DVD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                 $59.98

SYNOPSIS: The mystery of the murders seems to have been solved, but the riddle of the Velvet Room and the lethal Midnight Channel is an enigma that Yu and the other students who form the Investigation Team still have to crack.  And that's to say nothing of the question of how their powers of Persona work in the first place, and how the fictional Teddie can exist in the real world.  As conundrums wrap in conundrums, and the school year burns inexorably towards a blistering summer, the team must prepare for the most deadly challenge yet while still pretending to lead normal high school lives.  But that won't be easy under the evil eye of their new homeroom teacher.  And when Detective Shirogane reenters the game with new information about irregularities in the police investigation and clues that may lead to an entirely different conclusion; both team and detective find themselves playing the role of prey once more!  The body count is on the rise, the Shadows attack and new Persona are about to ascend as the Midnight Channel launches the ultimate cancellation program in the grand finale of PERSONA4!


Title:                  PERSONA 4 COLLECTION 2 BLU-RAY
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         365 min.
Street Date:      1/15/2013
Format:             BD
Language:         English
SRP:                 $59.98

SYNOPSIS: The mystery of the murders seems to have been solved, but the riddle of the Velvet Room and the lethal Midnight Channel is an enigma that Yu and the other students who form the Investigation Team still have to crack.  And that's to say nothing of the question of how their powers of Persona work in the first place, and how the fictional Teddie can exist in the real world.  As conundrums wrap in conundrums, and the school year burns inexorably towards a blistering summer, the team must prepare for the most deadly challenge yet while still pretending to lead normal high school lives.  But that won't be easy under the evil eye of their new homeroom teacher.  And when Detective Shirogane reenters the game with new information about irregularities in the police investigation and clues that may lead to an entirely different conclusion; both team and detective find themselves playing the role of prey once more!  The body count is on the rise, the Shadows attack and new Persona are about to ascend as the Midnight Channel launches the ultimate cancellation program in the grand finale of PERSONA4!


Title:                  SAIYUKI GAIDEN COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         90 min.
Street Date:      1/22/2013
Format:             DVD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                 $49.98

SYNOPSIS: In their former lives, 500 years before Genjyo Sanzo and his crew of misfits began their journey west, they were gods, but being godly didn't make them act any more divine.  And when Goku flies into a murderous rage after seeing his best friend die, Heaven's had enough and wants him dead!  But Konzen Douji, Field Marshal Tenpou and General Kenren are willing to do anything to protect Goku, even if it means turning all of Heaven against them.  Will the three of them be enough to break through the Heavenly Western Army and escape to the Lower World?  Or will the Journey to the West be over before it's even begun?


Title:                  FATE / STAY NIGHT TV COLLECTION 1 BLU-RAY
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         300 min.
Street Date:      1/29/2013
Format:             BD
Language:        English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                 $69.98

SYNOPSIS: Raised by a mysterious sorcerer after the horrific death of his parents, Shiro Emiya has only just begun to help others using the small tidbits of magic that he's learned.  However, when he's suddenly caught in a battle between two more powerful Magus, Shiro finds himself performing a spell above his expected ability, summoning the beautiful spirit warrior Saber to protect him!  But safety is only momentary as Shiro and Saber now find themselves thrust into in a secret world of dark magic and deadly challenges: a no-holds barred duel to the death known as the Holy Grail War!  At stake: a prize of unimaginable power.  But can the inexperienced Shiro and Saber survive long enough to even enter the contest?  First they'll have to withstand waves of treachery and assassination, even as Shiro scrambles to learn everything he'll need to know to stay alive as seven teams of Magus and Spirit Servants face off in mortal combat!  The ultimate game of death and magic comes to Blu-Ray as the Holy War erupts in FATE/STAY NIGHT- Collection One!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

ACF 1739: UGLYDOLL original graphic novels to launch Summer of 2013 from VIZ Kids imprint

™® and © 2012, Pretty Ugly, LLC. All Rights Reserved
 VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES FUN NEW SERIES
OF UGLYDOLL ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVELS

Award-Winning Brand Of Distinctive Plush Toy Characters Comes To Life
In A New VIZ Kids Series Set To Launch Next Summer

VIZ Media has announced a publishing deal with Pretty Ugly, LLC, the official licensors of the popular Uglydoll brand, to develop a brand new series of original graphic novels based on the bestselling plush character toys. The Uglydoll series is scheduled to launch Summer of 2013 under the VIZ Kids imprint, and will carry a rating of ‘A’ for All Ages.

VIZ Media’s UGLYDOLL graphic novel series will transport readers to a diverse universe where “ugly” just means unique and different, and celebrating who you are inside and out is the new beautiful. Join Wage, Babo, OX, Ice-Bat and their Uglydoll pals as they express themselves through laughs, tears, love and adventure!

“Uglydoll is an iconic pop culture brand that has helped to question and redefine the very definitions of ugly and cute,” says Beth Kawasaki, Senior Editorial Director. “Each Uglydoll is unique, and possesses its own distinctive characteristics and personalities that everyone can relate to. These adorable and highly original characters will come to life in a series of fun, and funny, adventures and are sure to find their way into the hearts of readers everywhere.”

David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim created the first Uglydoll hand-sewn plush toy in 2001. Since the inception of the first character, Wage™, who David drew on a love letter to Sun-Min, Uglydoll has evolved into an entire universe of characters, stories, and products for all ages. Proven sales and retail are evidenced by the brand constantly winning Best Toy Awards by TIA, Learning Express, Fat Brain Toys, TD Monthly, Oppenheim, Funfare, Parent’s Choice, iparenting, Creative Child among others. UGLYDOLL has achieved status as an ‘evergreen’ property and is merchandised among the biggest brands in the toy market.

For more information on Uglydoll, visit www.uglydolls.com.

For more information on VIZ Kids graphic novels and manga, visit VIZKids.com.