With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

SKIN TRADE will be coming to theaters on Friday, May 8th

Magnet Releasing
Presents
Skin Trade
Directed by Ekachai Uekrongtham
Written by Gabriel Dowrick, Steven Elder, and Dolph Lundgren
Starring Tony Jaa and Dolph Lundgren
USA/Thailand/Canada. 2014, 95 minutes

Skin Trade is an action packed thriller about human trafficking that stars Tony Jaa, Dolph Lundgren and Ron Perlman. Currently available for watching on demand (info here). the film will open in theaters on Friday, May 8th.


Synopsis:
Detective Nick Cassidy (Dolph Lundgren) heads to Bangkok to hunt down Viktor Dragovic (Ron Perlman) and destroy his human trafficking network; Nick killed Dragovic's son in a shootout during a sting operation on the New Jersey docks, and Dragovic responded by attempting to kill Nick and his family. Nick miraculously survived the brutal attack that destroyed his family; with nothing but vengeance to live for, Nick smashes his way through the Bangkok underworld in search of the elusive Dragovic. Meanwhile, FBI Agent Eddie Reed (Michael Jai White) is sent in to bring Nick home even as Thai detective Tony Vitayakui (Tony Jaa) questions the motives and methods that have brought Nick across the globe to Thailand. As the crossfire between all sides grows more and more deadly, Nick has to determine who his true allies are.

Skin Trade film site

Four VIZ titles nominated for 2015 Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards

ONE-PUNCH MAN © 2012 by ONE, Yusuke Murata/SHUEISHA Inc.
VIZ MEDIA RECEIVES MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS
FOR THE 2015 EISNER AWARDS

HELLO KITTY, HELLO 40 As Well As ALL YOU NEED IS KILL Manga,
MASTER KEATON And ONE-PUNCH MAN Each Receive Nominations
For Comics Industry’s Most Prestigious Annual Award

VIZ Media has announced that four of its critically-acclaimed titles have been nominated for the 2015 Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards, as announced by the awards committee.

The nominations include HELLO KITTY, HELLO 40: A CELEBRATION IN 40 STORIES for Best Publication for Early Readers, as well three nominations for manga (graphic novel) in the category of Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia. These include ALL YOU NEED IS KILL, with original story by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and art by Takeshi Obata, MASTER KEATON, Vol. 1 by Naoki Urasawa, with story by Hokusei Katsushika and Takashi Nagasaki, and ONE-PUNCH MAN, with story by ONE and artwork by Yusuke Murata.

Named for pioneering writer and comic artist Will Eisner, the awards recognize exemplary comics, graphic novels and other pop writings, and are given each year as part of the annual Comic-Con International convention, at which VIZ Media will be a major exhibitor and participant in the programs offered. The 2015 Comic-Con takes place July 9th-12th in San Diego, CA. Winners will be announced at a gala ceremony on the evening of Friday, July 10th during Comic-Con.

“We’re extremely honored to have four exemplary titles nominated for one of the most prestigious awards in the comics publishing industry,” says Hope Donovan, Managing Editor. “From the whimsical and colorful fun of HELLO KITTY to the sci-fi action of ALL YOU NEED IS KILL, the tense political intrigue of MASTER KEATON, and the knockout adventure of ONE-PUNCH MAN, these works each demonstrate the impressive creativity and dedication to outstanding storytelling and artwork that makes the mange genre so compelling. We look forward to a wide array of readers also discovering these noteworthy releases.”

HELLO KITTY, HELLO 40 © 1976, 2014 SANRIO CO. LTD. Used under license.

HELLO KITTY, HELLO 40: A CELEBRATION IN 40 STORIES •
Rated ‘A’ for All Ages • Print MSRP: $29.99 U.S. / $34.99 CAN;
Digital MSRP: $14.99 U.S. / CAN
This hardcover full-color anthology features a notable line-up of some of Hello Kitty’s biggest fans paying tribute in the best way they know how: through their stories and art. Contributors include the award-winning creators of the Tiny Titans series, Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani; Brian Smith, co-creator of the New York Times bestselling series Stuff of Legend; Gene Luen Yang, award-winning author of American Born Chinese and Boxers and Saints, and Uglydoll co-creator David Horvath. Everyone has a tale to tell about the cute little kitty who speaks from her heart. Matt and Jennifer L. Holm, award-winning creators of the Babymouse series also authored the introduction.

ALL YOU NEED IS KILL • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens •
Print MSRP: $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN; Digital MSRP: $6.99 U.S. / CAN
Takeshi Obata’s ALL YOU NEED IS KILL originally premiered in VIZ Media’s WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP digital manga magazine earlier this year and is the stunning manga realization of the popular Japanese sci-fi novel, written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka (and also published by VIZ Media’s Haikasoru imprint). In this rousing action story, when the alien Mimics invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor called a Jacket and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to be reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On his 158th iteration, he gets a message from a mysterious ally – the female soldier known as the Full Metal Bitch. Is she the key to Keiji's escape or his final death?

Manga artist Takeshi Obata was born in 1969 in Niigata, Japan, and is the artist of the wildly popular SHONEN JUMP title HIKARU NO GO (available from VIZ Media), which won the 2003 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize: Shinsei "New Hope" award and the 2000 Shogakukan Manga award. Obata is also the artist of the smash hit series, DEATH NOTE (also published by VIZ Media), as well as Arabian Majin Bokentan Lamp Lamp, Ayatsuri Sakon, Cyborg Jichan G. ALL YOU NEED IS KILL is his latest work following the hugely successful series BAKUMAN。 (also published by VIZ Media).

MASTER KEATON, Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens •
Print-Exclusive MSRP: $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN
From the award-winning manga master creator Naoki Urasawa, MASTER KEATON introduces Taichi Hiraga Keaton, an archeology professor and part-time insurance investigator known for his successful and unorthodox methods of investigation. The son of a Japanese zoologist and an English noblewoman, educated in archaeology at Oxford and a former member of the SAS, Master Keaton uses his knowledge and combat training to uncover buried secrets, thwart would-be villains, and pursue the truth. The manga series was originally published in Japan between 1988 and 1994 in Big Comic Original magazine and also inspired a popular 39-episode anime adaptation.

Naoki Urasawa's career as a manga artist spans more than twenty years and has firmly established him as one of the true manga masters of Japan. The acclaimed creator won the 2011 Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia for his series, 20th CENTURY BOYS (also published by VIZ Media). Well-versed in a variety of genres, Urasawa's oeuvre encompasses a multitude of different subjects, such as a romantic comedy (Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl), a suspenseful human drama about a former mercenary (Pineapple Farm; story by Kazuya Kudo), a captivating psychological suspense story (NAOKI URASAWA'S MONSTER), a sci-fi adventure manga (NAOKI URASAWA’S 20th CENTURY BOYS), and a modern reinterpretation of the work of the God of Manga, Osamu Tezuka in PLUTO: URASAWA × TEZUKA.

ONE-PUNCH MAN • Rated ‘T’ for Teens •
Digital Exclusive MSRP: $6.99 U.S. / CAN
Nothing about Saitama passes the eyeball test when it comes to superheroes, from his lifeless expression to his bald head to his unimpressive physique. However, this average-looking guy has a not-so-average problem—he just can’t seem to find an opponent strong enough to take on! Every time a promising villain appears, he beats the snot out of ’em with one punch! Can Saitama finally find an opponent who can go toe-to-toe with him and give his life some meaning? Or is he doomed to a life of super-powered boredom?

Manga creator ONE originally wrote ONE-PUNCH MAN as a web-comic, which quickly went viral, garnering over 10 million hits. In addition to ONE-PUNCH MAN, ONE writes and draws the series Mob Psycho 100 and Makai no Ossan. A highly decorated and skilled artist best known for his work on EYESHIELD 21 (also published by VIZ Media), artist Yusuke Murata won the 122nd Hop Step Award (1995) for his title, Partner, and placed second in the 51st Akatsuka Award (1998) for Samui Hanashi.

For more information on these or other manga titles published by VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

BANANA TRIP premiere's on YouTube


In anticipation of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, KQED's Film School Shorts is offering its latest short film YouTube premiere, Banana Trip.  The 2013 Florida State University film, directed by Hyungjik Lee, is about a trio of boys hitting the beach looking for girls. It's charming and sweet. Check it out.

Sentai Filmworks has acquired HAYATE THE COMBAT BUTLER


Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of Hayate the Combat Butler. The first in a series spanning multiple seasons and a film, Hayate introduces the titular character Hayate Ayasaki, a good guy who’s down on his luck and desperately trying to alter his fate. One day he runs into a girl named Nagi Sanzenin, and his life is changed forever.

Keiichiro Kawaguchi directed the romantic comedy series based on the popular title by Kenjiro Hata, published serially in Weekly Comic Magazine SHONEN SUNDAY. Music duties were provided by Kotaro Nakagawa, with sound direction coming from Jun Watanabe. Yoshihiro Nagamori & Masaaki Sakurai was in charge of chief animation direction, with character designs by Osamu Horiuchi. Animation production was handled by SynergySP.

Hayate the Combat Butler will be available soon through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

BRAVEST WARRIORS: THINGS TO DOODLE AND DO! activity book

© 2015 Frederator Networks, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
 VIZ MEDIA’S PERFECT SQUARE IMPRINT
ANNOUNCES RELEASE OF A NEW
BRAVEST WARRIORS ACTIVITY BOOK

BRAVEST WARRIORS: THINGS TO DOODLE AND DO!
Features Games, Activities And Drawing Tutorials Based
On Pendleton Ward’s Smash-Hit Animated Series

VIZ Media expands its catalog of BRAVEST WARRIORS titles with the release of a new activity book – BRAVEST WARRIORS: THINGS TO DOODLE AND DO! – on May 5th.

Set for publication under the company’s PERFECT SQUARE imprint, BRAVEST WARRIORS: THINGS TO DOODLE AND DO! contains a collection of games, activities and how-to drawing prompts inspired by the hit BRAVEST WARRIORS animated adventure series created by the Emmy Award-winning visionary Pendleton Ward.

BRAVEST WARRIORS: THINGS TO DOODLE AND DO! will be released exclusively in-print and features artist Fawn Lau, who has worked on all of Perfect Square’s BRAVEST WARRIORS titles, along with a cover illustration and select interior artwork by renowned comic book artist Alan Brown. BRAVEST WARRIORS: THINGS TO DOODLE AND DO! will carry an MSRP of $12.99 U.S. / $14.99 CAN.

Holy Hardcore Hill Midgets! This book is so stuffed with stuff that it’s bad-doo crazy! Doodle! Butter Lettuce, Catbug, Little Danny's Unitards. Do! Finger puppets, games, laugh at Little Danny's Unitards. Quit spooning in the bouncy house and get to doodling! And doing! Note: This book does not contain unauthorized cashews. Country pork rinds, however, are another matter entirely.

“Our newest BRAVEST WARRIORS release, THINGS TO DOODLE AND DO!, encourages readers to tap their imaginations and add their own artistic flair to the many unique activities in the book,” says Beth Kawasaki, Senior Editorial Director for Perfect Square. “From step-by-step drawing tutorials for fan-favorites such as Catbug and Impossibear, to brain-teasing puzzles and games, to creatively completing an array of whimsical illustrated scenes, BRAVEST WARRIORS: THINGS TO DOODLE AND DO! will be a fun addition to any fan’s collection!”

BRAVEST WARRIORS is a hit series on YouTube’s Cartoon Hangover and the acclaimed animated creation from Pendleton Ward, the visionary creator of the Emmy Award-winning Cartoon Network show Adventure Time. In BRAVEST WARRIORS, four teenage travelers traverse the universe saving those in need...though not always in the way you’d expect...in fact...never! Along the way they meet aliens, phantoms and other inter-dimensional beings – including everyone’s favorite, Catbug. Sometimes...they even meet themselves!

VIZ Media’s Perfect Square imprint focuses on delivering original comics, manga (graphic novels) and other children’s books with an emphasis on strong storytelling, eye-popping graphics, empowering themes, and a dash of irreverence, that captures the imagination of a whole new generation.

Additional information on titles published by Perfect Square is available at www.PerfectSquare.com.

For more information on other manga titles from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

Monday, April 27, 2015

New NARUTO manga premieres in today's Weekly Shonen Jump

NARUTO GAIDEN © 2015 by Masashi Kishimoto/SHUEISHA Inc.

ONE PIECE © 1997 by Eiichiro Oda/SHUEISHA Inc.
VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES DIGITAL PREMIERE OF BRAND NEW
NARUTO MANGA IN TODAY’S WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP

NARUTO: THE SEVENTH HOKAGE AND THE SCARLET SPRING
Picks Up After The Original Series Finale With A New Generation
Of Aspiring Shinobi; Catch The Debut In Today’s Latest Issue!

VIZ Media delivers fresh ninja action to manga readers as it announces the digital debut of NARUTO: THE SEVENTH HOKAGE AND THE SCARLET SPRING in today’s issue of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP.

The brand new, limited-run series by NARUTO creator Masashi Kishimoto depicts a new generation of shinobi and will appear in the English incarnation of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP on the same day as its premiere in Japan.

After a short break, NARUTO is back! And the story picks up right where the series finale left off. As the newest Hokage, Naruto's face now adorns the mountain behind the village. The same one he used to paint on as a prank when he was an attention-seeking kid! After his legendary feats, Naruto has gained the respect of everyone in the ninja world...except his own son. Boruto is as bratty and stubborn as Naruto used to be! How will these two ever see eye-to-eye?!

WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP is published digitally each week by VIZ Media and features the latest installments of some of the world’s most popular manga series released to English readers across North America on the same day as the magazine’s general print release in Japan. Currently featured series include BLACK CLOVER, BLEACH, BLUE EXORCIST, FOOD WARS!, GAKKYU HOTEI, MY HERO ACADEMIA, NISEKOI, ONE PIECE, ONE-PUNCH MAN, SERAPH OF THE END: VAMPIRE REIGN, TORIKO, WORLD TRIGGER and YU-GI-OH! ZEXAL. More info is available at: ShonenJump.VIZ.com.

In addition to the U.S. and Canada, WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP is available to readers in the U.K., Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand at ShonenJump.VIZ.com and through the WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP App for iOS and Android devices. Additionally in North America, the free WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP issues are available via the VIZ Manga App and WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP App for iOS and Android devices.

Annual 1 Year Memberships to WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP are available for only $25.99 (USD). Members receive 48 weekly digital issues as well as special premiums such as Yu-Gi-Oh! Collectable Trading Cards, rare one-shot manga releases, digital-only promotions, and access to additional subscriber-only content including creator interviews and insightful promo videos. (*Note: Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are only available to annual subscribers in the US and Canada.) Current subscribers can access their accounts via VIZManga.com, the VIZ Manga App, and shonenjump.viz.com or with the WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP App on iOS and Android devices. For more information on WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and exclusive subscriber offers, please visit shonenjump.viz.com.

For more information on VIZ Media manga titles, visit www.VIZ.com.

2015 Chinese Visual Festival (CVF) to run May 7th to 22nd, 2015


Chinese Visual Festival (CVF) has announced its 2015 program, which runs from May 7th – 22nd at King’s College London, with events also being held at the British Film Institute (BFI) Southbank, Bertha DocHouse and Chelsea College of Arts. For its fifth edition, the festival is thrilled to welcome to London some of the most exciting directors currently working in independent Chinese language cinema, showcasing documentary, fiction and experimental video art from Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and beyond.

2015 Festival Highlights Include:
- Guest artists Zhang Peili, the father of Chinese Video Art, Wu Xiaohai and Rao Yifan
- Guest directors Gu Tao, Singing Chen, Yee Chih-Yen, Chiayun Wu and Shen Xin
- More than 40 cutting-edge films, including world and UK premieres
- Vision Taiwan strand, featuring the best in independent cinema from Taiwan
- Panel discussions and sessions on queer cinema, the Urban Diary project from Hong Kong and more
- UK tour, including Newcastle, Nottingham and Sussex Universities

Sunday, April 26, 2015

THE TAKING OF TIGER MOUNTAIN to make home video debut on June 2

Well Go USA
Entertainment
Presents
The Taking of Tiger Mountain / Zhì qu weihu shan
Directed by Tsui Hark
China, 2014, 143 minutes

Legendary Hong Kong filmmaker Tsui Hark’s (Once Upon a Time in China franchise) latest action-adventure epic The Taking of Tiger Mountain will debut on Blu-ray™, DVD and digital HD on June 2nd, 2015 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

The film, set in the late 1940s, finds the fates of three individuals -- a bandit warrior, the leader of a liberation army and an investigator on a clandestine mission -- intertwined. As the action unfolds, audiences are immersed in the “swooping camera, spurting blood, flying bullets, airborne knives, falling rocks, cannon fire and — most spectacularly — a covert raid by ski” (Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times).

The Taking of Tiger Mountain stars Zhang Hanyu (Special ID, Back to 1942), Lin Gengxin (Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon), Tong Liya (Beijing Love Story), Tony Leung Ka Fai (Tai Chi Zero, Tai Chi Hero) and Yu Nan (The Expendables 2). The film is based on Qu Bo’s novel “Tracks in the Snowy Forest,” which also served as the basis for “Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy,” one of eight "model operas" produced during the Cultural Revolution.

Synopsis:
Tsui Hark’s thrilling adaptation of Qu Bo’s beloved adventure novel stars Tony LEUNG Ka-fai as a ruthless bandit, ruling the lands of Northeast China from his fortress on Tiger Mountain. A captain of the Liberation Army (LIN Gengxin) launches a counter-insurgency against the dictator with a skilled investigator (ZHANG Hanyu) sent to destroy the gang from the inside.

Bonus Features Include:
- Interviews with Tsui Hark (Director), Tony Ka Fai Leung (Hawk), Zhang Hanyu (Yang), Tony Liya (Little Dove), Yu Nan (Qinglian), Chen Xiao (Gao), Lin Gengxin (Captain), and Han Geng (Jimmy)
- Trailer

I've already placed my request for a screener, so look for a review here at AsianCineFest on or shortly before the June 2nd home video release date.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

THE WORLD’S GREATEST FIRST LOVE is available now

SEKAIICHI HATSUKOI ~ONODERA RITSU NO BAAI~ 1 ©Shungiku NAKAMURA 2008
VIZ MEDIA’S GLOBAL YAOI IMPRINT SUBLIME
LAUNCHES ACCLAIMED MANGA SERIES
THE WORLD’S GREATEST FIRST LOVE

Savor One Of Yaoi’s Most Popular Series About A Handsome Young
Man Who Rekindles A Long Lost Love With An Old Flame

SuBLime, the global yaoi manga imprint of leading North American manga publisher VIZ Media, announces its first print release of 2015 with the debut of THE WORLD'S GREATEST FIRST LOVE, now available.

The acclaimed series by famed yaoi creator Shungiku Nakamura about a passionate romance between a manga editor and his boss is rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers. Individual volumes will carry an MSRP of $12.99 U.S. / $14.99 CAN with future editions of the continuing series set for publication on a bi-monthly basis.

When Ritsu Onodera changes jobs, looking for a fresh start, he's not exactly thrilled to learn his new boss is an old flame. Ritsu's determined to leave all that in the past—but how can he when his boss is just as determined that they have a future? In the series’ opening volume, tired of accusations that family connections got him his current position, Ritsu Onodera quits his job as an editor at his father's company and transfers to Marukawa Publishing. Once there, he is assigned to the shojo manga editorial department – something he has no interest in and no experience with! Having sworn he'd never fall in love again, the last thing he wants to do is work on love stories. To make matters worse, it turns out that his overbearing boss, Masamune Takano, is actually his first love from high school!

“THE WORLD'S GREATEST FIRST LOVE has been the most consistently requested title for English release and we are very excited for its addition to the SuBLime catalog,” says SuBLime Editor Jennifer LeBlanc. “Shungiku Nakamura is one of the most renowned creators within the yaoi genre and her story about a handsome young man discovering that his new boss is actually an old boyfriend is sure to captivate readers.” Shungiku Nakamura is one of the most popular yaoi creators worldwide. She is best known for her series Junjo Romantica, which was adapted into both an anime series and drama CD. Her current series, THE WORLD'S GREATEST FIRST LOVE, appears in Japan in Emerald magazine and has been adapted into an anime series. Her other English-language title, Hybrid Child, is also being turned into an anime release.

For up-to-date news and release information, please visit the SuBLime website at www.SuBLimeManga.com, or follow SuBLime on Twitter at @SuBLimeManga and Facebook at facebook.com/SuBLimeManga.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Free screening of 10 MINUTES next Tuesday, April 28th at Asia Society NY

Korean Cultural Service NY
and
Asia Society NY
co-present
Korean Movie Night New York's April - May 2015 Series
Emerging Talent
10 Minutes
Directed by LEE Yong-seung
Starring: KIM Jong-gu, BAEK Jong-hwan, LEE Si-won
South Korea, 2013, 93min
In Korean with English subtitles

When: Tuesday, April 28th @ 6:30 pm
Where: The Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Asia Society
725 Park Avenue at 70th Street, NYC
Map

Free Admission; all seating is first come, first served.
Doors open @ 6 pm
East Coast Premiere 

Ho-chan (BAEK Jong-hwan) is a college student who dreams to become a TV producer, but since his family is struggling with financial difficulties, he has signed up a 6-month paid internship in a government agency office. Despite the mundane clerical work, Ho-chan takes his responsibilities seriously and is beloved by his colleagues. The young man learns office politics and reality the hard way when a permanent position becomes available and he must fight for it to help his family stay afloat. Lee Yong-seung’s directorial debut and graduation project at Dankook University, 10 Minutes offers a sharp critique of Korea’s highly cut-throat corporate culture.

Sentai Filmworks announces acquisition of VAMPIRE HUNTER D


Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of a landmark film in the history of Japanese animation, Vampire Hunter D. The first in a series of films adapted from the light novels of the legendary Hideyuki Kikuchi, Vampire Hunter D depicts a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland where pain and suffering run rampant, where vampires and their prey roam the earth.

Toyoo Ashida, known for his work in Fist of the North Star, directed the series, with a screenplay provided by Yasushi Hirano. Yoshitaka Amano, known best for his hand in creating other iconic characters from series such as Gatchaman and Casshan, as well as creating concept art for the Final Fantasy video game series, handled character design for the film, and acclaimed pop artist Tetsuya Komuro was responsible for the soundtrack. Animation production was provided by Ashi Productions.

Vampire Hunter D will be available soon through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Sentai Filmworks announces acquisition of RIN-NE


Sentai Filmworks has  announced its acquisition of RIN-NE, the latest Anime adaption from legendary mangaka Rumiko Takahashi, creator of Ranma ½ and InuYasha. Kyokai no Rinne is a genre bending supernatural comedy depicting the story of Sakura Mamiya, who is suddenly able to see ghosts after a mysterious disappearance into the woods in her childhood. One day, the normally empty desk next to her at school is filled by a new classmate named Rinne Rokudo, changing her life forever.

Shizutaka Sugahara is directing the series, with series composition provided by Michiko Yokote. Kazuhiko Tamura is handling character design, with Akimitsu Honma in charge of sound direction. Animation production will be handled by Brain’s Base, best known for their work in such shows as Baccano!, Kamichu!, and The Kawai Complex Guide To Manors and Hostel Behavior. 

RIN-NE is scheduled for an April 2015 release and will be available soon through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Three new POKÉMON releases slated for latet this year from Perfect Square

VIZ MEDIA’S PERFECT SQUARE IMPRINT
ANNOUNCES THE UPCOMING RELEASE OF NEW
POKÉMON MANGA TITLES AND BOX SETS

New Multi-Volume Box Sets For
POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE And
POKÉMON ADVENTURES As Well As
A New POKÉMON POCKET COMIC

VIZ Media will expand its POKÉMON catalog with three notable new releases later this year.

Set to be published under the company’s Perfect Square imprint, the POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE Box Set Vol. 3 will debut in September and will be quickly followed by the October publication of POKÉMON POCKET COMICS Vol. 2 and the POKÉMON ADVENTURES MANGA BOX SET Vol. 4. Perfect Square’s POKÉMON manga and box set titles are each rated ‘A’ for All Ages.

POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE MANGA BOX SET VOL. 3 MSRP: $25.99 U.S. / $29.99 CAN • Rated ‘A’ For All Ages • Available September 2015
Meet Pokémon Trainers Black and White! His entire life, Black has dreamed of winning the Pokémon League. Now he embarks on a journey to explore the Unova region and fill a Pokédex for Professor Juniper. White has an exciting career as the Trainer of a talented troupe of performing Pokémon. She dreams of making her Tepig Gigi a star! Together, Black and White continue on their journey... What surprising new Pokémon – and people – will they meet next?! Box Set comes with a POKÉMON mini-poster and contains Volumes 15-20 of the POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE manga series.

POKÉMON POCKET COMICS VOL. 2: LEGENDARY POKÉMON MSRP: $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN • Rated ‘A’ For All Ages • Available October 2014
A pocket-sized book jam-packed with four-panel comic strips featuring POKÉMON characters linked to the wildly popular Pokémon handheld video games along with extra story content and bonus information, POKÉMON vital statistics, trivia, puzzles, and fun quizzes!

POKÉMON ADVENTURES FIRERED & LEAFGREEN / EMERALD BOX SET MSRP: $54.99 U.S. / $69.99 CAN • Rated ‘A’ For All Ages • Available October 2015
The newest POKÉMON ADVENTURES Manga Box Set contains Volumes 23-29 of the FIRERED & LEAFGREEN and EMERALD story arcs along with a special mini-poster. Just as Green is about to meet her long-lost parents, they are sucked into a vortex created by a mysterious Pokémon! Red and Blue want to help, but first they must improve their battle skills. Then, the Three Beasts of Team Rocket are up to their old tricks again! Which former enemy will unexpectedly come to our friends’ aid...?

In the Emerald arc volumes, one of Team Rocket’s Three Beasts turns against its leader Giovanni and seeks to usurp his power. Silver learns a shocking secret about his family. Red and Mewtwo hazard a daring escape. And—whoa! The Team Rocket airship is about to crash-land! Then, in a battle between powerful Legendary Pokémon Mewtwo and Mythical Pokémon Deoxys, who will triumph...?!

POKÉMON is one of the most successful international entertainment franchises of all time. To date more than 270 million POKÉMON video game titles and over 21.5 billion Pokémon Trading Cards have been sold in more than 73 countries in addition to substantial publishing and merchandise sales. VIZ Media and its Perfect Square imprint are the official North American publishers for POKÉMON manga graphic novel series including POKÉMON ADVENTURES X•Y, POKÉMON ADVENTURES, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: DIAMOND & PEARL, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: GOLD & SILVER, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: BLACK & WHITE as well as a variety of POKÉMON animated feature films.

VIZ Media’s Perfect Square imprint focuses on delivering original comics, manga (graphic novels) and other children’s books with an emphasis on strong storytelling, eye-popping graphics, empowering themes, and a dash of irreverence, that captures the imagination of a whole new generation.

Additional information on titles published by Perfect Square is available at www.PerfectSquare.com.

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

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

KUNG FU KILLER reviewed; theatrical opening on Friday

Well Go USA
Entertainment
Presents
Kung Fu Killer / Yi ge ren de wu lin
Directed by Teddy Chen
China/Hong Kong, 2014, 100 minutes

Who's killing the great kung fu masters of Hong Kong?

This (a play on the title of the 1978 comedy Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe ?) might serve as an alternate title for this terrific martial arts action fest directed by Teddy Chan (Bodyguards and Assassins, The Accidental Spy) and starring  Donnie Yen (Special ID, Ip Man and Ip Man 2, with the third installment currently filming), who also served as action director. (More on that later.)

The film starts with Hahou Mo (Donnie Yen) turning himself in at Hong Kong's Central Plice District Headquarters. His face and clothes are bloody and his right eye is bruised, swollen and closed. (This has to be one of the most unflattering movie entrances ever.) Seems he's killed someone.

Hahou Mo (Donnie Yen, left) takes on a slew of fellow prisoners

Three years later he's in prison serving the five-year sentence that was handed down. There's a report on television that Mak Wing-yan a master of boxing, has been beaten to death. Hahou is certain that this is the first of what will be a series of attacks on the city's leading martial arts proponents.

He manages to speak to Chief Inspector Luk Yuen-sum (actress Charlie Young, seen in the Pang Brothers' 2008 English language remake of Bangkok Dangerous and in Seven Swords, 2005) and names several martial arts masters, one of which he claims will be the killer's next victim. Luk's skeptical at first, but as events proceed as Hahou claimed they would, she arranges for him to be temporarily released in police custody with the understanding that, if he is truly helpful in solving the case, his remaining prisons sentence may be shortened.

Chief Inspector Luk Yuen-sum (actress Charlie Young) tries to draw a bead on the Kung Fu Killer

The serial killer continues to work his way through various martial artists, defeating each by using their own specialty against them. Having started with fists against the boxer, he goes after specialists in kicking, grappling, and weapons. In each case Hahou and the police are just a bit behind the murderer, who manages to get away from them in one instance.

Hahou's motives become suspect when he takes off with telling the police and returns to his hometown of Fo Shan. There he reunites with Sinn Ying (Bai Bing, As the Light Goes Out, Shaolin). She is the romantic interest for Hahou, and has kept his once famous martial arts club going in his absence.

I had a good feeling about this film when I watched its trailer. That's not always a true indicator of how good a film is in its entirety, but in this case it was. Kung Fu Killer is an outstanding action film, one of the best I've seen in recent years.

Hahou (Yen) faces the Kung Fu Killer in the film's climactic finale

And once again Donnie Yen has proved himself to be the most exciting martial arts action star -- and action choreographer -- working in Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese films. (Kung Fu Killer, as Kung Fu Jungle -- the film's international English title -- recently received the Best Action Choreography award at the 34th Hong Kong Film Awards.)

Kung Fu Killer opens this Friday, April 24th in various cities in the U.S. and in Canada, with roll-out to other locations to follow. Information about the cities, theaters and showtimes is available here.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars; very good, highly recommended. In other words, go see it!

Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of RE-KAN!


Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of Re-Kan! as part of their Spring 2015 anime season acquisitions. The comedic supernatural series follows Hibiki Amami, a high-school girl who makes no distinction between the living and the dead.

Masashi Kudo will be directing the series and Takashi Aoshima, who has worked on recent series like No Game, No Life, Sabagebu! -Survival Game Club!- and KanColle will be overseeming series composition. Aoi Yamamoto, most known for his work on Fairy Tale, will be in charge of character design. Pierrot Plus, known for their work on Sabagebu! -Survival Game Club!- is leading the animation production of the series.

Re-Kan! is scheduled to begin airing in Japan on April 2, 2015 and will soon be available through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SAILOR MOON R, SEASON 2, SET 1 to be released July 14th

©Naoko Takeuchi/PNP, Toei Animation
VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES PRE-ORDERS FOR
THE UPCOMING HOME MEDIA RELEASE OF
SAILOR MOON R, SEASON 2, SET 1

Second Season Of The Legendary Anime Series Features
Episodes 47-69 Available This Summer As A Limited Edition
Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack And Standard Edition DVD Set

VIZ Media prepares the interstellar action of the second season of the classic SAILOR MOON anime series on Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and also as a Standard DVD edition with the home media release of SAILOR MOON R Set 1 on July 14th! Pre-orders are available now from all major online retailers. Fans that pre-order from Rightstuf.com will receive a special gold-tone memorial coin featuring Usagi’s Crystal Star transformation brooch (while supplies last).

The new SAILOR MOON R Set 1 Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and Standard DVD Set are rated “TV-PG” and contain Episodes 47-69 along with special premium packaging and some notable bonus features. Uncut English dubbed as well as original Japanese subtitled dialogue options are available on both formats. The Limited Edition SAILOR MOON R Set 1 Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack will carry an MSRP of $79.98 U.S. / $93.99 CAN; the Standard Edition DVD will carry an MSRP of $44.82 U.S. / $51.99 CAN.

The Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack will contain a deluxe, 6-disc collection (3 DVDs & 3 Blu-rays), packaged with a beautiful reflective holofoil slipcover with specialty printing. The Combo Pack also offers bonus content including a 96-page full-color episode guide along with exclusive interviews with the English cast, a special behind-the-scenes peek at the recording sessions to create the fresh English dub, and a video art gallery and official series trailers. Blu-ray episodes are presented in 1080p video preserving the original 4:3 aspect ratio.

The SAILOR MOON R Set 1 Standard DVD Set features 3 discs with beautifully illustrated variant O-card packaging and embossed holofoil printing. Episodes will be presented in 480p standard video format. Uncut English dubbed as well as Japanese subtitled dialogue options are available.

The special gold-tone-memorial coin (available while supplies last)

“The greatest magical girl anime series of all time reawakens with the start of the exciting second season of SAILOR MOON,” says Charlene Ingram, Senior Marketing Manager, Animation. “Fans can continue to expand their personal SAILOR MOON home media collections with 22 exciting un-cut episodes available for the first time ever on Blu-ray and loaded with never-before-seen extras. Pre-orders are available now from leading online anime and video retailers!”

In SAILOR MOON R , Usagi and her friends return to their normal lives after their epic battle, but the Sailor Guardians are called back into action when powerful new enemies appear. By the power of the Legendary Silver Crystal, Sailor Moon gains strength with a dazzling new attach and transformation. The coming battle won't be easy, but things get even more complicated when a mysterious pink-haired girl falls from the sky and goes after Mamoru!

The SAILOR MOON anime series depicts the adventures of Usagi Tsukino, a cheerful 14-year-old schoolgirl who often finds herself in unwanted trouble. One day, she saves a talking cat named Luna from some mean kids, and her life is changed forever. Luna gives Usagi a magic brooch that transforms her into Sailor Moon, guardian of love and justice! Now Usagi must work with Luna to find the other Sailor Guardians and the Moon Princess, whose Legendary Silver Crystal is Earth’s only hope against the dark forces of the evil Queen Beryl!

The SAILOR MOON anime series is inspired by the bestselling manga (graphic novel) series created by Naoko Takeuchi (published in North America by Kodansha). In the series, Usagi Tsukino is a clumsy but kindhearted teenage girl who transforms into the powerful guardian of love and justice, Sailor Moon. Meeting allies along the way who share similar fates, Usagi and her team of planetary Sailor Guardians fight to protect the universe from forces of evil and total annihilation!

For more information on SAILOR MOON, or other award-winning anime titles from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sentai Filmworks announces acquisition of MY TEEN ROMANTIC COMEDY SNAFU TOO!


Sentai Filmworks has announce its acquisition of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO!, as part of their Spring 2015 anime season acquisitions. The romantic comedy series continues to follow the bumpy antics of high school student Hachiman Hikigaya and the rest of the Services Club members.

Kei Oikawa will be directing the series and Shotaro Suga is returning to series composition. Yuichi Tanaka, who’s worked on Howl’s Moving Castle will be in charge of character design. Saori Hayami and Nao Touyama are returning to the series and will be performing the ending theme song titled, “Everyday World.” Animation production will be handled by studio feel., known for their recent work on Outbreak Company.

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! will be twelve episodes and is scheduled for an April 2015 release. The series will soon be available through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

KUNG FU KILLER to open on April 24

Well Go USA
Entertainment
Presents
Kung Fu Killer / Yi ge ren de wu lin
Directed by Teddy Chan
China/Hong Kong, 2014, 100 minutes

This terrific martial arts action film, which follows a serial killer who targets top martial arts masters, will open this coming Friday, April 24th. I've watched a screener and can attest to its greatness. Look for a review here at AsianCineFest on or shortly before Friday.

Synopsis:
A vicious serial killer is targeting Hong Kong's top martial arts masters. Convicted criminal and kung-fu master Hahou (Donnie Yen) is the only one with the skills to stop him. His insight into the killer gets him released from jail and into police custody. However, the cops soon have their doubts about Hahou’s true allegiance after a series of mysterious events. Hunted by a seemingly unstoppable killer (Wang Baoqiang) and by the entire police force, Hahou finds himself on his own, leading to a final battle in this action-packed, kung fu crime thriller from director Teddy Chen (Bodyguards & Assassins, The Accidental Spy).

Tickets for the 2015 J-POP SUMMIT are now on sale

Eir Aoi
 FIRST OFFICIAL GUESTS OF HONOR ANNOUNCED

General Admission And V.I.P. Passes To The Bay Area’s Premiere
Japanese Pop Culture Event At Fort Mason Are Available -
Pop Singer Eir Aoi And All-Girl Rock Band Gacharic Spin To Perform

The J-POP SUMMIT, the Japanese pop culture celebration held annually in San Francisco, has announced that tickets to attend the 2015 edition of the festival are now available. General admission as well as V.I.P. passes are now available.

The 2015 J-POP SUMMIT will begin with an Opening Night Premiere Screening event on Friday August 7th at The Castro Theatre, and also take place Saturday and Sunday August 8th and 9th at the historic Fort Mason Center in San Francisco’s Marina district. Additional details are available at: www.J-POP.com.

The 2015 J-POP SUMMIT also announces its first two Guests of Honor – pop singer Eir Aoi and the all-girl rock band Gacharic Spin. Both artists will perform live for fans and attendees on the Fort Mason Center main stage.

Passes for 2015 J-POP SUMMIT are available at: http://www.j-pop.com/#tile_registration_anchor

ONE DAY J-POP SUMMIT PASS: FORT MASON: Includes One-Day access to J-POP SUMMIT at Fort Mason Center either on Saturday, 8/8 or Sunday, 8/9.
Early Bird: $20.00 Advance: $25.00 At The Door $30.00
(Early bird pricing is available until 6/30)

WEEKEND J-POP SUMMIT PASS: FORT MASON: Includes full Two-Day access to J-POP SUMMIT at Fort Mason Center on both Saturday, 8/8 and Sunday, 8/9.
Early Bird: $35.00 Advance: $40.00 At The Door $45.00
(Early bird pricing is available until 6/30)

KIDS WEEKEND PASS: FORT MASON: Includes Full Two-day access to J-POP SUMMIT at Fort Mason Center on both Saturday, 8/8 and Sunday, 8/9.
Ages 6-12: $15.00 Ages 0-5: FREE *No One-day Pass for kids.

V.I.P. J-POP SUMMIT PASS: FORT MASON: Includes Full Two-day access to J-POP SUMMIT at Fort Mason Center on both on Saturday, 8/8 and Sunday, 8/9.
Early Bird: $90.00 Advance: $100.00
(Early bird pricing is available until 6/30)

J-POP SUMMIT V.I.P Passes include: A ticket to the Opening Special Premiere Event at The Castro Theatre on Friday, 8/7; a Weekend Pass to Fort Mason Center for Saturday, 8/8 & Sunday 8/9; Access to Priority Line to the film screenings at the Japan Film Festival of San Francisco at NEW PEOPLE Cinema from Sat. 8/8 to Sun. 8/16 (NOTE: Film tickets are NOT included, sold separately); Access to Priority Line to SAKE SUMMIT at UNION SQUARE on Sat. 8/8 and Sun. 8/9. (NOTE: Admission to SAKE SUMMIT is NOT included, sold separately); Access to VIP Check-In at The Castro Theatre and Fort Mason Center; Access to premium viewing areas at the Fort Mason Center Stage; Exclusive J-POP SUMMIT Gift Bag.

The 2015 J-POP SUMMIT is proud to announce pop singer Eir Aoi and the all-girl rock band Gacharic Spin as its first two featured performers and official Guests of Honor. Both artists’ appearances are made possible with the support of PROMIC (Foundation for Promotion of Music Industry and Culture) and RAIJ (Recording Industry Association of Japan).

Pop singer Eir Aoi is widely known for performing the theme songs to a variety of popular anime series including Fate/Zero, Sword Art Online and Kill la Kill. She has released 3 full albums since her debut in 2012. In Japan, Eir Aoi is signed to SME Records (Sony Music Entertainment). Additional artist information is available at: http://www.j-pop.com/eir-aoi.

Gacharic Spin

The 2015 J-POP SUMMIT also welcomes Gacharic Spin, one of the strongest, most aggressive, most flamboyant, all-female bands from Japan. Gacharic Spin has performed in the U.S., Korea, China, Hong Kong, France and Luxemburg and will make their first-ever San Francisco appearance at the 2015 J-POP SUMMIT. Additional information on Gacharic Spin is available at: http://www.j-pop.com/gacharic-spin.

“We are extremely honored to kick off our music programming for the 2015 J-POP SUMMIT by announcing Eir Aoi and Gacharic Spin,” says Takeshi Yoshida, Executive Producer of the J-POP SUMMIT. “With the assistance and support of the Japanese Foundation for Promotion of Music Industry and Culture and the Recording Industry Association of Japan we look forward to presenting a dynamic roster of top pop and rock artists that showcase the tremendous music scene happening in Japan. Spreading the fun and excitement of Japanese pop culture, fashion, film and music has always been the mission of the J-POP SUMMIT and we will make this summer event one that people won’t soon forget!”

Saturday, April 18, 2015

"Fukushima: In Search of a Lost Future" - film screening and discussion at Japan Society

Fukushima: In Search of a Lost Future
When: Monday, April 20, 2015 at 6:30 pm
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map
 
 Featuring the International Premiere of the Documentary Asahiza

Four years after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Fukushima Prefecture still faces a litany of challenges, especially from the ongoing crisis at the Daiichi nuclear power plant, which plagues farmers and fishermen, keeps 120,000 evacuees from returning home, and continues to flood the environment with fallout.

How do people heal and how does a community begin to repair itself when disaster looms so pervasively and presently years after the fact?

In Fukushima: In Search of a Lost Future, Japan Society presents an interdisciplinary evening that highlights what is happening and what is helping in Fukushima through disparate but interconnected points of view.

World renowned composer and multi-instrumentalist Otomo Yoshihide, who grew up in Fukushima, is a vocal force on the plight of the prefecture. In addition to producing and taking part in many events in support of recovery since 2011, he recently produced the soundtrack to a haunting and lyrical documentary, ASAHIZA. While focusing on the decline and abandonment of a century-old cultural hub – one time a kabuki theater, one time a cinema, always a place for the community to come together enjoy Japanese art and life – the documentary subtly, though powerfully comments on the sense of irreversible loss and daunting uncertainty facing everyone in Tohoku after 3/11.

Dr. Shin-Ichi Niwa is a leading figure in mental health in Fukushima and deeply involved in disaster psychology. He experienced the Great East-Japan Earthquake in a hospital located in the Aizu District, Fukushima Prefecture, and his work hospital, Fukushima Medical University Hospital, was designated as the medical care foothold in the prefecture immediately after the earthquake. Since the disaster he has provided services for victims of the earthquake and nuclear power plant accident, visiting many shelters in Fukushima Prefecture. He is a co-founder of Kokoro no Care Nagomi (KCN), a community-based mental health clinic in Soma, Fukushima, which has become a model for mental health services in Japan. KCN is supported by Japan Society's Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.

Taking place at Japan Society on Monday, April 20, at 6:30 pm, Fukushima: In Search of a Lost Future opens with the international premiere screening of Asahiza, introduced by Otomo, followed by a dialogue between Otomo and Dr. Niwa exploring loss of physical space, time and memory, and the general ramifications of the mental health of citizens living in Fukushima. The discussion will be followed by a reception.

"The issues with Fukushima are likely to take years to resolve. This event is a rare opportunity to learn about what is happening in the frontline of mental healthcare and disaster psychiatry in an extremely unique situation due to not just the natural disaster (earthquake and tsunami), but the man-made disaster of the nuclear power plant meltdown," says Betty Borden, Director, Policy Projects at Japan Society, who oversees the Society's Innovators Network and helps facilitate the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.

Borden notes that although four years have passed since the disaster, a strong sense of uncertainty persists due to radiation contamination (no one knows how long the clean-up will take) combined with 'reputation damage' (fear from outside of Fukushima that has led to loss of sales of seafood and agriculture products and concern about fertility among girls and young women). "These two factors are having a deep impact on the psyche of the people, and this is in addition to concerns that face all the communities affected by the earthquake and tsunami, such as increases in domestic violence, alcoholism and suicide," says Borden.

On the afternoon of the event, Dr. Niwa will participate in an invitation-only roundtable discussion on mental health in Fukushima with health care professionals and other disaster recovery professionals in the New York area, including Craig Katz, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine, Mt. Sinai & Co-founder, Disaster Psychiatry Outreach (DPO); David Abramson, Clinical Associate Professor & Founding Director, Program on Population Recovery and Resiliency, Global Institute of Public Health, NYU; and James Halpern, Director, Institute for Disaster Mental Health, SUNY New Paltz. The roundtable discussion will take place on April 20 in the afternoon at Japan Society.

Full details about this interdisciplinary event can be found here.

Sentai FIlmworks has acquired AMAGI BRILLIANT PARK


Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of Amagi Brilliant Park. Adapted from the popular light novel and manga series by Shoji Gatoh, world-renowned creator of the Full Metal Panic! franchise and produced by acclaimed Kyoto Animation, Amagi Brilliant Park tells the story of a languishing amusement park in danger of closing forever, its mysterious inhabitants, and a reluctant hero who is suddenly charged with saving their world.

Yasuhiro Takemoto directed the series, and series composition was provided by Fumihiko Shimo; both are known for their involvement in the popular comedy spinoff of Full Metal Panic!, Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu. Miku Kadowaki handled character design, with Shinkichi Mitsumune in charge of music. Kyoto Animation, best known for their work on such shows as K-ON!, Beyond the Boundary, and Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! handled animation production for the series.

Amagi Brilliant Park will soon be available through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Friday, April 17, 2015

South Korean youth comedy TWENTY opens in North America today

CJ Entertinment
Presents
Twenty
Written and directed by LEE Byeong-heon
South Korea, 2015,  115 minutes

Twenty is a coming-of-age comedy that marks the directorial debut of LEE Byeong-heon, who was the scriptwriter for blockbusters like Love Forecast and Tazza: The Hidden Card, as well as the breakout hit Sunny. It premieres today in select theaters in several U.S. and Canadian cities including New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Toronto. (For locations, show times and ticket information, visit CJ Entertainment.)

The film focuses on three young men living in Seoul as they hit that landmark age, which they regard as the turning point in their lives since they are no longer teenagers, but not yet adults.

KIM Woo-bin (Friend: The Great Legacy) plays Chi-ho, a tall, slender and extremely good-looking Lothario. Although he has a girlfriend, he has no qualms about sleeping with other young women. His pursuit of them is facilitated by the ample allowance he receives from his well-off parents.

KANG Ha-neul (Empire of Lust) is Gyeong-jae, a really decent fellow. He's the type who consoles girls whose hearts are broken by bad men. A college student, he falls hard from the lovely Jin-yu, another student and a smart stock investor.

Rounding out the tiro is LEE Jun-ho, a member of the hit K-Pop group 2PM, who plays Dong-woo, a would-be cartoonist. His plans to go to  study drawing in college have to be put on hold when his family goes bankrupt, his father has been sent to jail, and Dong-woo is the only financial support for his mother and three younger brothers.

Left to right: Dong-woo, Gyeong-jae and Chi-ho

Some of the comedy is played as farce. I'm thinking here of when Chi-ho throws a tantrum, flailing around on the floor, when his restauranteur father decides to cut off his wastrel son's allowance. At time too the film is a bit sophomoric, as when Gyeong-jae's younger sister, So-hee (who has a thing for Dong-woo), frequently talks about male masturbation.

I must mention that there's an inventively shot fight scene that takes place in an eating and drinking establishment towards the end of the movie that I found utterly hilarious.

All-in-all, Twenty is a sweet, sometimes silly, but charming entry in the coming-of-age genre. And the entire young cast, both male and female, is very easy on the eyes.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3.0 out of 4 stars; a fine comedy that's well-worth seeing.

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK TO THE PAST graphic novel due May 5th

TM & © 2015 Nintendo.
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK TO THE PAST © 1993 ISHIMORI PRO/SHOGAKUKAN
VIZ MEDIA’S PERFECT SQUARE IMPRINT RELEASES
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA™: A LINK TO THE PAST
GRAPHIC NOVEL

The Long Out-Of-Print Comic By Renowned Manga Artist
Shotaro Ishinomori Is Based On The Classic Nintendo Video
Game And Returns In A Special Full-Color Edition

VIZ Media brings back one of the most iconic video game characters of all time in celebrated graphic novel form with the release of THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK TO THE PAST on May 5th.

The original, widely acclaimed full-color graphic novel by manga legend Shotaro Ishinomori was inspired by the classic Nintendo® game and will be available once again in a special single-volume print edition published exclusively by VIZ Media’s Perfect Square imprint. THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK TO THE PAST carries an SRP of $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN.

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK TO THE PAST is based on the beloved, internationally bestselling video game originally released for Nintendo’s Super Nintendo Entertainment System™. The comic book version by Shotaro Ishinomori (Cyborg 009, Kamen Rider) was first serialized in Nintendo Power™ magazine and later collected into a graphic novel. Long out-of-print, this stunning, full-color edition is available once again for the first time in more than two decades!

“THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK TO THE PAST was an extremely popular feature of Nintendo Power magazine when it was first serialized in the early ‘90s. Renowned manga and anime artist Shotaro Ishinomori adapted the bestselling game’s storyline and also incorporated new plot elements and characters,” says Beth Kawasaki, Senior Editorial Director, Perfect Square. “The pages are filled with Link’s hard-fought battles on his quest to save Princess Zelda, made even more intense with Ishinomori’s unmistakable art style and captivating storytelling.”

Shotaro Ishinomori was one of Japan’s most prolific and revered comic book creators. Among his most popular works are Cyborg 009, Kamen Rider and HOTEL. In 2008, Guinness World Records named Ishinomori the world record holder for the “most comics published by one author” for creating more than 770 stories collected in a total of 500 volumes of manga. The ISHINOMAKI MANGATTAN MUSEUM in Japan is dedicated to his works and legacy.

Also available from VIZ Media is THE LEGEND OF ZELDA Manga Box Set (rated ‘A’ for All Ages), which collects a separate manga (graphic novel) series created by Akira Himekawa. The set comprehensively collects ten manga adventures featuring Link and the popular video game world of THE LEGEND OF ZELDA, including OCARINA OF TIME, ORACLE OF SEASONS and FOUR SWORDS.

VIZ Media’s Perfect Square imprint focuses on delivering comics, manga (graphic novels), pop culture and children’s books with an emphasis on strong storytelling, eye-popping graphics, empowering themes, and a dash of irreverence, that captures the imagination of a whole new generation.

Additional information on titles published by Perfect Square is available at www.PerfectSquare.com.

For more information on other manga titles from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sentai Filmworks acquires WISH UPON THE PLEIADES


Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of Wish Upon the Pleiades, as part of their Spring 2015 anime season acquisitions. A collaborative effort between car maker Subaru and legendary studio Gainax, Pleiades centers around a group of magical girls on the hunt for alien fragments to help an otherworldly visitor return home.

Shouji Saeki will be directing this magical adventure comedy series, with character designs by Mai Otsuka, who also did character work in the recent slice of life comedy Non Non Biyori. Hiroshi Kato will be handling art direction, with Satoki Iida providing sound direction. Wish Upon the Pleiades started as a joint partnership between the car maker Subaru and anime studio Gainax with a series of original net anime shorts and soon spawned a film and anime project, manga, and 4-koma styled 4 panel manga adaptation.

Wish Upon the Pleiades is scheduled for an April 2015 release and will soon be available through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Four day OLD SCHOOL KUNG FU FEST: ENTER THE NINJAS! starts tomorrow in New York

Poster by Jerry Ma

The Old School Kung Fu Fest, a four-day celebration of the rarest, wildest, and most incredible martial arts and action cinema from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s is back at the Anthology Film Archives for its 5th edition, which is dedicated to the deadliest fighter of them all...the ninja!

Since the dawn of time, man’s natural predator has been the ninja. Hiding in your shower, crouching behind your laptop, clinging to your back — the ninja is everywhere. What killed the dinosaurs? Ninja. What battles great white shark? Ninja. Who is buying flowers for your mom? Probably ninja. But ninja is not vampire! Ninja can be filmed! This year’s Old School Kung Fu Fest examines this crazy natural phenomena of ninja with 14 movies that show you this sneaky fighter in the only place where he cannot shoot throwing stars into your eyes: on the movie screen!


There are serious black-and-white ninjas in the original ninja films Shinobi No Mono Parts 1 & 2 (1962 and 1963), super-noir ninjas in 1965’s Samurai Spy, party-colored crazy ninjas from the go-go 80s like American Ninja 1 & 2 and then be entered, revenged, and dominated by Cannon’s essential ninja trilogy: Enter the Ninja, Revenge of the Ninja, and Ninja III: The Domination. Watch brave Chinese people fight ninjas with their guts in Shaw Brothers movies like Five Element Ninjas! See ninjas fly on kites in Duel to the Death! You must see all the ninjas! Because to fight ninja, first you must understand ninja.

The Old School Kung Fu Fest 2015: Enter the Ninjas! is curated by Subway Cinema’s programming team, consisting of Samuel Jamier, Rufus de Rham, and Goran Topalovic.

Complete information about this year's Old School Kung Fu Fest at Anthology Film Archives can be found here.

VIZ's Perfect Square acquires YO-KAI WATCH manga seriews

VIZ MEDIA’S PERFECT SQUARE IMPRINT
ACQUIRES YO-KAI WATCH MANGA SERIES

Japan’s Massive Hit Action Series About A Boy That Can
See Japanese Yo-kai Launches in the U.S. This Fall

VIZ Media has announced the acquisition of a new manga (graphic novel) property – YO-KAI WATCH.

The supernatural comedy adventure series is inspired by the explosively popular YOKAI WATCH video game created by LEVEL-5 for the Nintendo 3DS and launched to wide acclaim in Japan in 2013. The YO-KAI WATCH manga will be published under the company’s Perfect Square imprint, written and drawn by Noriyuki Konishi under the guidance of the LEVEL-5 team. This September, the phenomenal franchise is finally coming to North America with the launch of the YO-KAI WATCH manga series, fueled as well by the debuts of anime and toy products around the same time.

Yo-kai, inspired by the yokai of Japanese folklore, are not ghosts or monsters or creatures. They can’t be seen by the human eye, but they’re everywhere, and whether they're phantoms or everyday objects discovering their higher purpose, Yo-kai personalities are distinctly humanlike!

The YO-KAI WATCH manga will be rated ‘A’ for All Ages and will be available exclusively in print on a bi-monthly basis. In Japan, the series originally appeared in Coro Coro Comic magazine, published by VIZ Media parent company Shogakukan, and won both the 60th Shogakukan Manga Award in 2015 and the 38th Kodansha Manga Award in the Best Children’s Manga category in 2014.

Nathan Adams is just an average kid until the mysterious Whisper gives him a device that allows him to see what others cannot, Yo-kai of all shapes and forms! Now, armed with the Yo-kai Watch, Nathan, Whisper and their new invisible friends embark on an all new supernatural adventure!

“The whole YO-KAI WATCH cast of characters, especially Jibanyan, Komansan and Whisper, already have huge followings in Japan, and now North American fans get to join the fun,” says Joel Enos, Senior Editor. “The manga’s a fun and zany take on traditional Japanese Yo-kai, and the watch that lets Nathan see and summon them is especially fun. The series will appeal to readers of all ages!”

YO-KAI WATCH manga artist Noriyuki Konishi hails from Shimabara City, Nagasaki Pref., Japan. He debuted in 1997 with the one-shot title, E-CUFF, which appeared in Monthly Shonen Jump Original. He is also known for manga adaptations of AM Driver and Mushiking: King of the Beetles, along with Saiyuki Hiro Go-Kū Den!, Chōhenshin Gag Gaiden!! Card Warrior Kamen Riders, and Go-Go-Go Saiyuki: Shin Gokūden.

VIZ Media’s pop-culture centric Perfect Square imprint focuses on delivering comics, manga, graphic novels and other books with an emphasis on strong storytelling, eye-popping graphics, empowering themes, and a dash of irreverence, that captures the imagination of both young readers and the young at heart.

Additional information on titles published by Perfect Square is available at www.PerfectSquare.com.

For more information on other manga titles from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sentai Filmworks has acquired HELLO!! KINMOZA


Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of Hello!! KINMOZA as part of their Spring 2015 anime season acquisitions. From original creator Yui Hara , this slice of life comedy series reunites the Alice, Shinobu and a their friends, old and new, for another season of fun, friendship, and adventures.

The original staff returns for this new season of KINMOZA!, including director Tensho, as well as Yuniko Ayana who will once again be handling series composition. Kazayuki Ueda will also be providing character designs for the series. Studio Gokumi, who also worked on the first season of the series as well as the similar comedy A-Channel, will be in charge of animation production.

Hello!! KINMOZA is scheduled for an April 2015 release and will soon be available through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Monday, April 13, 2015

VENGEANCE OF AN ASSASSIN

Well Go USA Entertainment 
Presents
Vengeance of an Assassin / Rew thalu rew
Directed by Panna Rittikrai
Thailand, 2014, 90 minutes

Vengeance of an Assassin  is the last film that Panna Rittikrai directed before his untimely death in July 2014 at the age of 53. It debuts on Blu-ray™, DVD and digital tomorrow April 14th from Well Go USA Entertainment. This review is based on the Blu-ray version.

The assassin of the title is Thee (Dan Chupong, who also starred in Rittikrai's Born to Fight, 2004). The vengeance he seeks is for the murder of his parents by unknown parties. To discover their identities, he becomes a paid assassin. However, for one assignment he is hired to protect Ploy, a young actress with dyed blonde hair who is the granddaughter of a powerful individual. In reality, Thee has been set up to take the fall for  Ploy's murder, as she's the target of others.

This brief description gives you all you need to know about the story. The screenplay itself is a mess, with gaps and lapses in narrative that are beyond belief. It's as if it was the first draft written by an untalented undergraduate film student. Some of the emotional scenes, which I assume were intended to be touching, are embarrassing. There's no screenwriting credit for the film at IMDb and the lettering on the Blu-ray sleeve is too small for my old eyes to make out, even using a magnifying glass.

Of course the main thing in this kind of film is how good the action is, and on that count the film really delivers. The opening sequence is a full contact soccer match in a huge factory warehouse. My favorite though was a weapons sequence that takes place in a similar environment. Obviously shot using a steadicam, the scene involves Thee as he advances through the space, blowing away enemies right and left. Sometimes it's as if we're watching from his point of view, as in a first-person video game, sometimes, the camera is behind him, like a third-person shooter, and sometimes it moves to the side, providing an objective view. This extended sequence is truly awesome.

The film also has the distinction of providing what surely must be the only case of a locomotive taking out an air-born vehicle! It's so far-fetched that you just have to smile and enjoy it for what it is. Unfortunately the CGI involved here, and elsewhere at times, is not top drawer.

The disc offers the choice of two language tracks: Thai DTS- HD Master 5.1 or Thai Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0. English subtitles can be removed if desired.

The only "extras" are the trailer for the film and those for three "preview" offerings from Well Go.

It's a shame that the story line is so underdeveloped and incoherent. But if you come for the action you won't be disappointed.

AsianCIneFest Rating: one out of 4 stars for the story (poor); 3.5 out of 4 for the action (very, very good overall).

The ending clearly allows for a sequel, but personally I doubt that one will be made.

VIZ digital manga updates for April

DENGEKI DAISY © 2007 Kyousuke MOTOMI/SHOGAKUKAN
 VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES NEW DIGITAL MANGA
UPDATES FOR APRIL AND CONTINUES DIGITAL
MANGA STARTER BUNDLE PROMOTION

Dive Into Digital Series Debuts For JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE:
PART 2 - BATTLE TENDENCY, GRENADIER And RED HOT CHILI
SAMURAI Along With A New Selection Of Manga Bundles And
Updates To Dozens Of Continuing Titles

VIZ Media opens the month of April with a fresh digital manga update that features the launch of 3 notable new manga series as well as the latest additions to dozens of other popular continuing titles.

This month, readers are invited join the Joestar family for its latest multigenerational, action-driven exploits with the debut of JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE: PART 2 – BATTLE TENDENCY. Then join a buxom and beautiful female gunslinger for wild adventures in the new series, GRENADIER, and slice up some spicy samurai inspired fun with RED HOT CHILI SAMURAI.

VIZ Media also continues its popular Digital Manga Starter Bundle Promotion throughout April. The latest selection of manga bundles are available for a limited time until April 30th on VIZManga.com, as well as through the comiXology platform. These specially curated digital bundles each contain multiple volumes from popular VIZ Media manga series at a substantial savings over the regular digital MSRPs.

This month’s selections offer readers the opportunity to enjoy unique multi-volume collections of several acclaimed VIZ Media series including CHIBI VAMPIRE, DENGEKI DAISY, TERRA FORMARS and TORIKO.

New April Digital Manga Series Debuts:

JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE: PART 2 – BATTLE TENDENCY, Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • Digital MSRP: $10.99 (U.S. / CAN) • Available April 21st
The beginning of the Battle Tendency Arc! The Joestar family is called upon to do battle against evil again! This time, it’s Joseph Joestar, the grandson of Jonathan Joestar! And his enemies are more powerful and diabolical than ever! Behold! The terror of the Pillar Men!

GRENADIER, Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • Digital MSRP: $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) • Available April 21st
Rushuna is a golden-haired Senshi – a gunslinger who travels the land with one purpose: to make the world a peaceful place. However, her journey of nonviolence is never easy, and when she joins forces with an ambitious samurai, you better look out! Rushuna just might be forced to display her amazing gun skills-and she's got two big ones!

RED HOT CHILI SAMURAI, Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • Digital MSRP: $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) • Available April 28th
Samurai Kokaku Sento likes peppers. Scratch that – he loves them! The only thing Kokaku likes better than eating a hot chili pepper is helping his father kick the butts of bad guys! With the help of his bespectacled friend Ento and cutie-pie girl of action Ran, Kokaku will take a bite out of crime – but not before biting a spicy pepper first!

VIZ Media’s Digital Manga Starter Bundle Promotion continues through April 30th on VIZManga.com as well as comiXology.

CHIBI VAMPIRE Bundle • Promo MSRP $45.00 Bundle includes:
• CHIBI VAMPIRE Vols. 1-14 + AIRMAIL

DENGEKI DAISY Bundle • Promo MSRP $30.00 Bundle includes:
• DENGEKI DAISY Vols. 1-10

TERRA FORMARS Catch-Up Bundle • Promo MSRP $25.00 Bundle includes:
• TERRA FORMARS Vols. 1-5

TORIKO © 2008 by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro/SHUEISHA Inc.

TORIKO Bundle • Three Available Bundles To Choose From Available bundle selections:
• TORIKO Vols. 1-4 “Appetizer Dish” MSRP: $12.00
• TORIKO Vols. 1-10 “Salad Dish” MSRP: $20.00
• TORIKO Vols. 1-15 “Main Dish” MSRP: $30.00

Additional digital manga content for April includes updates to 24 other continuing series. Included in this month’s update are exciting new volumes for popular continuing titles such as ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM (Vol. 3), BLACK LAGOON (Vol. 10), DEADMAN WONDERLAND (Vol. 8), MY LOVE STORY!! (Vol. 4) RATMAN (Vol. 2), and SKIP BEAT! (Vol. 34), as well as must-read series finales for HONEY BLOOD (Vol. 2), METEOR PRINCE (Vol. 2), and WISH (Vol. 4).

Readers can enjoy all of these new manga titles that are available on VIZManga.com and the VIZ MANGA App for the iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones and tablets. The titles may also be purchased through the Nook, Kindle, Kobo, comiXology, iBooks and GooglePlay stores. These dynamic digital platforms offer fans the opportunity to explore and enjoy a massive catalog of new and classic manga titles that spans over 2,600 volumes across more than 225 different series.

The free VIZ Manga App continues to be the top application for reading digital manga and features a massive library of the most popular series in the world. 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. New series and volumes are added every Tuesday. Fans can also find these titles and more for the NOOK, Kindle Fire, and Kobo eReaders, as well as in the comiXology, iBooks and GooglePlay Stores.

Most manga volumes are available for purchase and download in the U.S. and Canada within the VIZ Manga application starting from only $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) each. Readers can also explore free Chapter 1 previews of every series. For more information, please visit VIZManga.com or www.VIZ.com/apps.

To learn more about VIZ Manga, visit www.vizmanga.com.