With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Monday, August 31, 2015

VIZ Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump Debuts on comiXology and Amazon

BLEACH © 2001 by Tite Kubo/SHUEISHA Inc.\

VIZ Media, comiXology and Amazon announced today the debut of Weekly Shonen Jump across the comiXology platform as well as Amazon’s Kindle Store. The English language digital manga magazine comes out weekly and is published simultaneously with the print version in Japan. This debut gives comiXology and Kindle fans a taste of the latest manga from Japan, on the same day, now accessible to English speakers across North America, the U.K., Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

Today’s magazine contains chapters of such hit ongoing manga series as One Piece, Bleach, Blue Exorcist, My Hero Academia, and Food Wars! Shokugeki No Soma.

“Weekly Shonen Jump is a fan favorite magazine where emerging and long-running hit manga series are shown to the world first,” says Andy Nakatani, Editor-In-Chief of Weekly Shonen Jump, “We’re excited to expand the readership of this magazine to the comiXology and Kindle audience.”

“It’s amazing we live in an age where it’s possible for fans to read manga in English the same day as appears in Japan,” said Chip Mosher, comiXology VP of Communications & Marketing, “This is why we’re thrilled to share Weekly Shonen Jump on comiXology and Kindle as we’re now able to give fans access to the latest and greatest manga around.”

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, the U.K., Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand on the same day as the magazine’s general print release in Japan. Currently featured series include Black Clover, Bleach, Blue Exorcist, Food Wars! Shokugeki No Soma, My Hero Academia, Nisekoi, One Piece, One-Punch Man, Seraph Of The End: Vampire Reign, Toriko, World Trigger and Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V.

The Kindle Store gives readers access to millions of books on the most popular devices and platforms, including Fire tablets, Kindle e-readers, iOS, Android and more.

With over 75,000 comics, graphic novels and manga from more than 75 publishers, comiXology offers the widest selection of digital comics in the world. ComiXology’s immense catalog and cinematic Guided View reading experience make it the best digital platform for comics worldwide.

Korean Movie Night New York series: Webtoon Comes to the Big Screen

Korean Cultural Service NY and Asia Society
Co-present
Korean Movie Night New York series:
Webtoon Comes to the Big Screen
When: September 9 - October 20, 2015
Where: Asia Society 725 Park Avenue at 70 Street, NYC
Map

Free admission. First-come, first-served.

Webtoons, also known as webcomics, are online-based comics or graphic novels which have become a pop-culture phenomenon in Korea. The dynamic graphic form is breathing new life into Korea’s comics industry and keeping the young generation engaged with one of the long standing elements of popular culture from a pre-digital era.

The boom in webtoons started in 2003, facilitated by ever expanding web portals available to the Korean online community, including Naver and Daum, as well as the almost universal spread of smartphones.

Meanwhile the most popular webtoons have rapidly leapt from the small monitor and smartphone to the big screen with a number of phenomenally successful TV and film adaptations, becoming a force in the lively world of Korean movies.

The Webtoon Comes to the Big Screen series will feature three of the best films based on webtoons by critically acclaimed webtoon artists. It is planned in conjunction with the exhibition Webtoon at Gallery Korea, Korean Cultural Service NY (460 Park Avenue, 6th Floor, NYC), on view from September 8 to October 16, 2015.

Korean Movie Night New York is an ongoing, approximately twice-a-month film program that introduces the full spectrum of contemporary and classic Korean cinema to New York audiences, from popular blockbusters, independent films, and documentaries to animation and family movies.

HELLO KITTY® FUN & FRIENDSHIP original graphic novel box set arrives tomorrow

© 1976, 2015 SANRIO CO. LTD. Used under license.
VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES RELEASE OF
HELLO KITTY® FUN & FRIENDSHIP
ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVEL BOX SET

Collectible Edition Features Six Full-Color HELLO KITTY Graphic
Novels Created By Acclaimed Comics And Pop Culture Artists

VIZ Media delivers six times the fun with Hello Kitty® and her friends as it announces the release of the HELLO KITTY Original Graphic Novel Box Set tomorrow, Tuesday, September 1st.

The world’s most popular ambassador of cute is featured in a new vivid box set edition that collects all six HELLO KITTY full-color original graphic novels from the Perfect Square imprint. The volumes feature artwork and stories created by a notable team of comic book and pop culture artists such as Jacob Chabot, Ian McGinty, Jorge Monlongo, and Giovanni Castro, along with special guest artists featured in each edition. The HELLO KITTY FUN & FRIENDSHIP Box Set is rated ‘A’ for All Ages and will carry an MSRP of $39.99 U.S. / $46.99 CAN.

Hello Kitty has places to be and friends to meet! Join Hello Kitty in her first-ever comic book adventures as she explores other worlds, delights in delicious food and treats, discovers secrets, solves mysteries, invents amazing machines, makes music, produces plays, dreams up rainy day adventures, and so much more.

“Smiles are guaranteed with every volume in this colorful new HELLO KITTY box set release,” says Beth Kawasaki, Perfect Square Editorial Director. “This is a wonderful set for every Hello Kitty fan, and each volume artfully captures her sense of curiosity, adventure and whimsical fun!”

The HELLO KITTY FUN & FRIENDSHIP Original Graphic Novel Box Set features:

In HELLO KITTY: DELICIOUS!, Hello Kitty is serving up some extra special treats! What's on the menu? Something sweet, something spicy, and a pie that's out of this world! Plus, Dear Daniel® is making dinner, but… you might want to make other plans. Hello Kitty also makes a new friend with a HUGE appetite! And save room for dessert.

Join Hello Kitty in HELLO KITTY: HERE WE GO! as she explores an underground realm, moonlights as an international super spy, climbs the Himalayas, travels back in time, and discovers that sometimes, the best place to get away from it all is between the pages of a good book.

In HELLO KITTY: IT’S ABOUT TIME, Hello Kitty lets the good times roll! It's time for beach parties, dance contests, last-minute birthday gifts and time machines! Plus, journey inside a cuckoo clock and much, much more! Past, present or future, Hello Kitty and her friends are having a blast.

In HELLO KITTY: JUST IMAGINE, Hello Kitty and her friends are letting their imaginations run wild – dreaming up rainy day adventures, inventing amazing machines and solving problems in the most inventive ways. When creativity and friendship combine, the possibilities are endless.

In HELLO KITTY: SURPRISE!, a day at the beach is more than just fun in the sun. A mysterious egg holds a tiny secret. Mama and Papa have a few secrets of their own. And a quiet afternoon with a good book is more exciting than Hello Kitty ever could have imagined.

In HELLO KITTY: WORK OF ART, Hello Kitty and her friends are making music, producing plays, solving mysteries and… playing with dragons? Art is all around, and Hello Kitty and her friends know exactly where to find it.

Created by Sanrio, Hello Kitty® is a true lifestyle brand that enjoys tremendous international popularity. The global pop icon is loved by fans of all ages, as evidenced by more than 13 million followers on her Facebook page.

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

CARMEN COMES HOME at Japan Society on Friday September 4th

Japan Society New York
Presents
Monthly Classics
Carmen Comes Home / Karumen Kokyo ni Kaeru
Directed by Keisuke Kinoshita
Starring: Hideko Takamine, Shuji Sano, Chishu Ryu, Kuniko Igawa,
Takeshi Sakamoto, Toshiko Kobayashi.
Japan, 1951, 86 minutes
DCP, color, in Japanese with English subtitles
When: Friday, September 4, 2015 @ 7:00 pm
Where: Japan Society 333 East 47th Street, NYC
Japan, Friday, September 4, 7 PM

The first Monthly Classics screening of the season kicks off with a restoration of Japan's first color film. In this breezy musical comedy, exotic dancer Lily Carmen (an irresistible Hideko Takamine) returns to her quiet countryside home from the big city in grand fashion, immediately causing a stir as she frolics and sings among the town's green fields in colorful, revealing outfits with her equally carefree sidekick Maya (Toshiko Kobayashi). Both a subtle satire on the influence of postwar American culture and a piece of lighthearted female-centric escapism, Carmen Comes Home endures as one of director Keisuke Kinoshita's most beloved films. Screening in recognition of Shochiku's 120th anniversary.

Tickets: $12/$9 seniors & students/$5 Japan Society members

Part of Monthly Classics:
Year-round screenings of beloved classics, hidden gems and recent discoveries of Japanese cinema on the first Friday of every month.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

WOLF WARRIOR reviewed

Well Go USA Entertainment
presents
Wolf Warrior
Directed by Wu Jing
Starring Wu Jing and Scott Adkins
China, 2015, 91 minutes

Wu Jing (Badges of Fury, Shaolin) both directs and stars in this military action film that debuts on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD this coming Tuesday, September 1st from Well Go USA Entertainment.

His character is Leng Feng, an expert sniper in the Chinese military's Special Forces. During a joint operation between Special Forces and the regular police against drug smugglers in the south, he shoots and kills one of the gang's leaders without authorization. For this he faces a military trial, but ends up being recruited by Long Xinoyun (NanYu  The Expendables 2, The Taking of Tiger Mountain), the female commander of the elite Wolfe Warrior Company.

Min Deng is a drug lord who's also involved in human trafficking, weapon smuggling and aiding terrorists. It was his brother whom Feng had killed in that joint operation. When arrested, Min Deng is rescued by a group of non-Asian mercenaries who work for him. Their leader is Tomcat, a former seal played by British martial artist Scot Adkins (Zero Dark Thirty, The Expendables 2, and The Bourne Ultimatum).

Seeking revenge for the murder of his brother, Min Deng tasks Tomcat and his men with killing Feng. Meanwhile he also has plans to obtain some stolen genetic data that could be used to produce variant viruses that would only infect Chinese people!

Leng Feng (actor/director Wu Jing)

Feng thus not only has to fight against Tomcat and his formidable force, but also must prevent Min Deng from getting the genetic data out of China. There's not a moment of doubt but that Feng will triumph.

Wolf Warrior is one of the most jingoistic films to come down the road in a long time. A high ranking Chinese officer proclaims that "Those who challenge China's resolve will have no safe place to hide." To really drive the point home, he the line is repeated a second time near the end of the film! Before going into battle, Feng and his fellow soldiers slap patches that read "I Fight For China" (and, yes, the words are in English!) onto their uniforms.

While the film reportedly did very well in China, it doesn't have much going for it as far as Western audiences are concerned. There's lots of weaponry going off and a bit of mano a mano fighting, but nothing very impressive. If you know anything about actual combat and fighting, you may find some things unintentionally comic.

For example, the elite Wolf Warriors don't seem to believe in having anyone walking point, that is going out in front of the main body as an advance scout. Consequently they run right into booby traps and ambushes.

Mercenary leader Tomcat (Scott Adkins)

Also, one combatant pulls out a knife that's been sunk deeply into one of his thighs, and continues to engage in hand-to-hand combat. You never pull out a knife that's gone in so deeply unless you immediately are going to tie off the wound. Or if you have a death wish to bleed out.

And Feng's asking Long Xinoyun if she has a boyfriend, on an open line while she's in a command center with many others, is just totally ludicrous.

There's also a really terrible scene in which a pack of wolves attack Feng and his fellow warriors at night. The CGI wolves are rendered rather poorly, and the symbolism -- if that's what it's supposed to be -- of "real" wolves attacking the Wolf Warriors is a silly digression.

All these things could be dismissed if the film were more entertaining, Unfortunately it's not. Wolf Warrior is one of the lamest films I've seen in quite a while. The fact that the People's Liberation Army provided Wu Jing with a plenitude of tanks and helicopters doesn't change it's overwhelming weaknesses in terms of story, acting and plausibility.

The only "bonus" is the trailer for the film.

AsianCineFest Rating: 1.5 out of 4 stars, putting it somewhere between fair and poor. It's saved from a single star rating by the at least slightly satisfying fight scenes.

I suppose that if you're a big fan of  Wu Jing or Scott Adkins, or both, or if you're in a very non-discerning mood, you might enjoy Wolf Warriors. Like most Well Go USA releases, it'll probably available on Netflix streaming before long. As far as I'm concerned, that's the best way to go if you really must see it. But there are many, many, many better ways to spend your time.

For other opinions, see John Berra's review at VCinema, Ric Meyers' take at his website (Wolf Warrior is the next to last film he reviews, right after Sifu Vs. Vampire) and Masked Avenger's piece at SoReelFlix.

Shojo manga KOMOMO CONFISERIE is coming September 1st from VIZ

Komomo Confiserie © Maki Minami 2013/HAKUSENSHA, Inc.
VIZ MEDIA LAUNCHES THE SWEET SHOJO MANGA
CONFECTION KOMOMO CONFISERIE

New Manga Series About An Ex-Rich Girl Who
Starts Working At A Pastry Shop And Finds Love
For The First Time From The Creator Of S•A 
And VOICE OVER! SEIYU ACADEMY

VIZ Media has announced the release of its latest shojo manga (graphic novel) series with the launch of KOMOMO CONFISERIE on September 1st.

The romantic comedy, created by Maki Minami, about a sheltered but determined girl finding her way in the world after her family goes bankrupt is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will carry a print MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. KOMOMO CONFISERIE also launches digitally on September 1st via VIZManga.com and the VIZ Manga App, as well as from the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, comiXology, and GooglePlay stores. The series will be published under the company’s Shojo Beat imprint with new volumes scheduled for release in print and digitally on a quarterly basis.

As a little girl, Komomo Ninomiya delighted in picking on Natsu Azumi, the son of her family’s pastry chef. Ten years later, when the family fortune is lost and she has no place to live, Komomo encounters Natsu again in her hour of need. Now that Natsu is a master pastry chef in his own right, he’ll help Komomo – but only if she works for him at his new confiserie!

“In KOMOMO CONFISERIE, Maki Minami has created a strong, unique heroine who tackles challenges in her own way including working hard for the first time in her life,” says Nancy Thistlethwaite, Senior Editor. “Be prepared for a lot of laughs as Komomo and Natsu learn to get along in this sweet new series!”

Manga creator Maki Minami is from Saitama Prefecture in Japan and debuted in 2001 with Kanata no Ao (Faraway Blue). Her other works include Kimi wa Girlfriend (You're My Girlfriend), Mainichi ga Takaramono (Every Day Is a Treasure) and Yuki Atataka (Warm Winter). Her series, S•A, (published in English by VIZ Media; rated ‘T’ for Teens), was serialized in Japan's Hana to Yume magazine and was also adapted into a popular anime series. Maki Minami also is the creator of VOICE OVER! SEIYU ACADEMY, which is published in English by VIZ Media.

For more information on KOMOMO CONFISERIE or other shojo manga titles published by VIZ Media, visit: www.viz.com.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Japanese actor Raizo Ichikawa

Ichikawa as Nemuri Kyoshiro in the Sleepy Eyes of Death series

Raizo Ichikawa was born eighty-four years ago on August 29th, 1931 in Kyoto, Japan. He died on July 17, 1969, just shy of his 38th birthday, in Tokyo. His filmography at IMDb lists a total of 110 titles. Possessed of almost unworldly good looks, he appeared mainly in jidaigeki (period) dramas, usually as a lone swordsman.

In Scar Yosaburo

He is best known in the West for the Shinobi no mono (a.k.a. Ninja, a Band of Assassins) and the Sleepy Eyes of Death (a.k.a. Nemuri Kyoshiro) film series. Among his other notable films are Samurai Vendetta (1959, with Shintaro Katsu), Scar Yosaburo (1960) and Destiny's Son (1962).

Sentai Filmworks acquires AURA


Make-believe creatures and demons take a back seat to the terrors and monsters of the real world as Sentai Filmworks announces its latest acquisition, AURA. Based on the famous Light Novel written by Romeo Tanaka (Humanity Has Declined) and illustrated by mebae (C-Control, Tailenders), the feature film takes full advantage of animation’s unique ability to dramatize and seamlessly blur the lines between fantasy and reality to focus on the world of “chunibyo”. As a former sufferer, Ichiro Sato once spent much of his life living in a world of delusions. When he encounters a similarly afflicted young woman at his new school, however, he’s simultaneously forced to confront both the students who bully her and the fantasies that continue to simmer within his own mind.

Seiji Kishi (Persona 4: The Animation, Angel Beats, Assassination Classroom) directs from story composition by Makoto Uezu (Akame Ga Kill, Qwaser of Stigmata, Humanity Has Declined) and a screenplay by Jun Kumagi (Nobunaga the Fool, Hamatora). Character designs are adapted from mebae’s originals by Kazuaki Morita (Persona 4: The animation, Arpeggio of Blue Steel, Nyan Koi) while music is supervised by Michiru Oshima (Polyphonica, Squid Girl, Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East), and Animation Production is handled by AIC A.S.T.A. (Persona 4: The Animation, Godannar, Heaven’s Lost Property, Bamboo Blade)

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

Friday, August 28, 2015

BORUTO: NARUTO THE MOVIE to premiere in 9 major Canadien cites

 VIZ MEDIA AND ELEVEN ARTS ANNOUNCE THEATRICAL
PREMIERE OF BORUTO: NARUTO THE MOVIE
IN MAJOR CANADIAN CITIES

Brand New Action-Filled Anime Adventure Features The
Rebellious Son Of The Celebrated Ninja Naruto Who
SeeksTo Become An Even More Legendary Ninja

VIZ Media has announced the expansion of its partnership with Los Angeles-based film distribution company ELEVEN ARTS to premiere BORUTO: NARUTO THE MOVIE in a series of exclusive theatrical engagements. In addition to a big-screen debut in over 80 U.S. cities, Canadian fans also will have a very special opportunity to catch the premiere in 9 major cities, including Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and more beginning on October 10th!

Featuring the son of the world’s most popular ninja, BORUTO: NARUTO THE MOVIE is executive produced by Masashi Kishimoto, the famed creator of the epic bestselling manga series (also published by VIZ Media) on which the film’s characters are based. BORUTO: NARUTO THE MOVIE also features screenplay and character design by Kishimoto, and was directed by Hiroyuki Yamashita, with screenplay cooperation by Ukyou Kodachi; Chief Character Designers and Chief Animation Directors are Tetsuya Nishio and Hirofumi Suzuki.

BORUTO: NARUTO THE MOVIE will be presented with original Japanese dialogue with English subtitles. For additional information and to purchase advance tickets, please visit: www.elevenarts.net.

In BORUTO: NARUTO THE MOVIE, famed ninja, Naruto Uzumaki protects the Hidden Leaf Village as the Seventh Hokage, while Boruto, his troublesome son, resents his father's responsibilities that take his time away from him. Seeing this, Sasuke takes Boruto under his wing, while Sasuke's only daughter, Sarada, dreams of being Hokage one day.

With Naruto as the Seventh Hokage, the Hidden Leaf Village plans to host the Chunin Exams to train new shinobi from the village and from their allied villages.

Among the entrants are Sasuke's daughter, Sarada, Mitsuki, an exceptionally talented yet mysterious shinobi… and Boruto, Naruto's talented but impetuous son. Meanwhile, Sasuke who’s been on a mission in another dimension appears before Naruto to warn of a strange impending danger. Shrouded with an evil aura, Momoshiki and Kinshiki appear and attempt to assassinate Naruto. Petrified, Boruto is shielded by Naruto, only to disappear in front of Boruto's own eyes!

The trailer for BORUTO: NARUTO THE MOVIE is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exOSxoLjark.

For more information on NARUTO anime, manga and feature film titles, visit: viz.com/naruto.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

WOLF WARRIOR will debut next Tuesday, September 1st

Well Go USA Entertainment
presents
Wolf Warrior
Directed by Wu Jing
Starring Wu Jing and Scott Adkins
China, 2015, 91 minutes

The action-packed war drama Wolf Warrior, Wu Jing’s second film as a director (following Legendary Assassin), debuts on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD next Tuesday, September 1st from Well Go USA Entertainment. In addition to his directing duties, Wu Jing (Badges of Fury, Shaolin) also stars as a Chinese Special Forces soldier with extraordinary marksmanship who is expelled from the army and joins a mysterious troupe of insurgents known as the Wolf Warriors. Yu Nan (The Expendables 2, The Taking of Tiger Mountain) plays the formidable female captain of the insurgents, while British martial arts sensation Scott Adkins (Zero Dark Thirty, The Bourne Ultimatum) plays a foreign mercenary out to capture Wu. Wolf Warrior  also stars Kyle Shapiro (Wolves), Ni Dahong (Curse of the Golden Flower) and Kevin Lee (Pound of Flesh).

Synopsis: Sergeant Leng Feng (Wu Jing), top marksman of the Chinese Special Forces, is jailed under court martial for disobeying orders. But he's just the kind of fighter the Wolf Warriors are looking for. Silent. Stealthy. Deadly. The Wolves bring Feng into their pack, honing his skills to a knife's edge. But another team has Feng on their radar: a group of corrupt blades-for-hire, seeking revenge for the drug lord's murder.

AsianCineFest has received and watched a Blu-ray of this release. Look for a review on, or a day or two before, the September 1st release date.

Sentai Filmworks announces acquisition of GATCHAMAN CROWDS INSIGHT


You can’t keep a good Gatchaman down, and Sentai Filmworks is proud to announce the return of one of Japan’s most iconic super teams with its latest acquisition, Gatchaman Crowds insight. Picking up where the hit Gatchaman Crowds left off, Gatchaman Crowds insight flips the premise of its predecessor to explore the more dangerous side of the same technology. After all, arch villain Berg Katze wasn’t destroyed, so much as he was absorbed, and if globally connected networks of super beings can be used for great good, they can also be used for the purposes of evil. When the Prime Minister is attacked by a mysterious new organization, suspicions flare as to who is ultimately responsible, and who the public can actually trust.

Originally broadcast in Japan on Nippon TV, the legendary production company Tatsunoko (Speed Racer, Casshern Sins, Southern Cross, Genesis Climber Mospeada, Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu) once again produces the 12 episode series, with director Kenji Nakamura (tsuritama, Mononoke) and series composer Toshiya Ono (tsuritama, Perfect Insider) reprising their roles. Also returning are character designer Yûichi Takahashi (tsuritama, Macross Frontier) working from original designs by Kinako, and the music production team of Kazuhiro Watanabe (Wolf Girl & Black Prince, La Corda d'Oro Blue Sky) and Takao Kondo (Brynhildr in the Darkness, Wolf Girl & Black Prince, InuYasha – The Final Act).

Gatchaman Crowds insight is already available through select digital outlets. Further details on the home video release to follow.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Japan Society presenting year-round MONTHLY CLASSICS film series

Japan Society NY
presents
MONTHLY CLASSICS
Carmen Comes Home © 1951/2012 Shochiku Co., Ltd.
When: The first Friday of every month
Where: Japan Society NY
333 East 47th Street, NYC

Japan Society Reinstitutes 'Monthly Classics' Film Screenings
with Rarities, Re-Issues and Recent Discoveries

Launches with Restoration of Japan’s First Color Film in September,
Followed by Go Takamine’s Overlooked First Feature

Japan Society’s Film Program resurrects Monthly Classics to give New Yorkers regular screenings of beloved classics, hidden gems or recent discoveries of Japanese cinema on the first Friday of every month.

Slated for September 2015 through June 2016, the first season of Monthly Classics launches Friday, September 4, 7:00 pm with Japan’s first-ever color film, Carmen Comes Home (1951), which was filmed during the end of the era of U.S. Occupation and addresses the issue of the influence of American culture in immediate postwar Japan. A “classic” in the traditional sense, the film was digitally restored in 2012 by Shochiku for Kinoshita’s centenary. This screening also marks the 120th anniversary of the renowned Shochiku studios.

On Friday, October 2, at 7:00 pm, Monthly Classics screens Paradise View, director Go Takamine’s first theatrical feature. A rarely-seen, little-known and wholly under-regarded film from Okinawa, this pioneering work set the course for Takamine’s distinguished filmmaking career and paved the way for new Okinawan cinema. Commemorating the 30th anniversary of the film’s release, the screening is also part of Japan Society’s Okinawan Vibes series, celebrating the arts and culture of Okinawa.

“Audiences who enjoy our seasonal repertory series and our summer JAPAN CUTS film festival have been telling us that they want see more consistent screenings throughout the year,” said Aiko Masubuchi, Japan Society Film Program Officer. “By showing audiences favorites and unearthed rarities more regularly, we hope to satiate genre fans as well as appeal to those just beginning to dive into the incredibly diverse world of Japanese cinema. It also gives a chance to mark important cinematic milestones and anniversaries on a more timely basis.”

With the full season schedule in the works, the November and December installments will be in tribute to the one-year anniversaries of the passing of legendary actors Ken Takakura and Bunta Sugawara.

Admission: $12/$9 seniors and students/$5 Japan Society members. General admission tickets may be purchased in person at Japan Society, by calling the box office at 212-715-1258, or at www.japansociety.org.

SCREENING DETAILS AND DESCRIPTIONS:

Carmen Comes Home (Karumen Kokyo ni Kaeru)
Friday, September 4, 7:00 pm
1951, 86 min., DCP, color, in Japanese with English subtitles
Directed by Keisuke Kinoshita
With Hideko Takamine, Shuji Sano, Chishu Ryu, Kuniko Igawa, Takeshi Sakamoto, Toshiko Kobayashi

The first Monthly Classics screening of the season kicks off with a restoration of Japan's first color film, pioneered by Fujicolor. In this breezy musical comedy, exotic dancer Lily Carmen (an irresistible Hideko Takamine) returns to her quiet countryside home from the big city in grand fashion, immediately causing a stir as she frolics and sings among the town's green fields in colorful, revealing outfits with her equally carefree sidekick Maya (Toshiko Kobayashi). Both a subtle satire on the influence of postwar American culture and a piece of lighthearted female-centric escapism, Carmen Comes Home endures as one of director Keisuke Kinoshita's most beloved films. Screening in recognition of film studio Shochiku's 120th anniversary, who oversaw the restoration. The restoration premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2012.

Paradise View © Osamu Muranaka.

Paradise View (Paradaisu Byu)
Friday, October 2, 7:00 pm
**Part of the Okinawan Vibes Series
1985, 113 min., Blu-ray, color, in Okinawan dialect and Japanese with English subtitles
Directed by Go Takamine
With Kaoru Kobayashi, Jun Togawa, Shinzoku Ogimi, Tomi Taira, Yoko Taniyama, Haruomi Hosono

Go Takamine’s first theatrical feature is a pioneering work of Okinawan cinema, filmed almost entirely in Okinawan dialect. Taking place around 1970, shortly before the resumption of Japanese sovereignty over Okinawa, the film tacitly addresses the island prefecture’s complicated history of occupation and feelings of dislocation through the story of a small community and its preparations for a wedding between a local girl and a Japanese teacher. On the periphery of these events is Reishu (Kaoru Kobayashi), who quits his job on a U.S. military base and uses the extra time to catch snakes and play with ants – and get the bride-to-be pregnant. A leisurely-paced film full of uniquely Okinawan touches that mixes in aspects of the island’s folklore, Paradise View set the course for Takamine’s distinguished filmmaking career (as a native Okinawan, Takamine made a conscious effort to represent Okinawa on screen in a way that is culturally specific and politically cognizant). The film boasts a soundtrack by Yellow Magic Orchestra member Haruomi Hosono, who also has an acting role (as the Japanese teacher engaged to an Okinawan girl), and also stars underground music icon Jun Togawa.

Screening in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the film’s release, Paradise View screened at the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) in 1986, where his follow-up film, Untama giru (1989) would win the Caligari Award in 1990.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sentai Filmworks has acquired FATE/KALEID LINER PRISMA ILLYA 2WEI HERZ!


Sentai Filmworks is proud to announce its latest acquisition, Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 2wei Herz! Part of the ongoing franchise created by TYPE-MOON, and based on the manga by Hiroshi Hiroyama, this third season of the hit series reunites the cast and crew for yet another round of magical mirth and mayhem. Illyasviel von Einzbern’s life has become ridiculously complicated since the Kaleidostick Ruby convinced her to become a magical girl and join the quest for collecting the seven Class Cards. Since then Illya’s gained a new friend and partner in the form of Miyu Edelfelt and even encountered her own magical twin! One would think she deserves a little time off, but a trip to the beach quickly turns into a new quest and Illya instead finds herself in the middle of a magical feud.

With Animation Production once again in the capable hands of SILVER LINK. (Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, Non Non Biyori, Invaders of the Rokujyōma!?), the key production staff for the previous Fate/kaleid installments return for another encore. Chief Director Shin Oonuma (ef : a tale of memories, Baka and Test – Summon the Beasts, Kokoro Connect) again shares top duties with series director Masato Jinbo (Kyo no Asuka Show), while Series Composition is performed by Baka and Test creator Kenji Inoue. Nozomi Ushijima continues to adapt Horoyama’s original character designs for the screen, while series music production again falls to Terushige Yoshie (Celestial Method, Tokyo ESP, I couldn’t become a hero, so I reluctantly decided to get a job.)

Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 2wei Herz! will soon be available through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Monday, August 24, 2015

VIZ releses POKÉMON: GIRATINA AND THE SKY WARRIOR on DVD

©2015 Pokémon. ©1997-2015 Nintendo, Creatures, GAME FREAK, TV Tokyo, ShoPro, JR Kikaku. TM, ®Nintendo.
 VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE HOME MEDIA RELEASE OF
POKÉMON: GIRATINA AND THE SKY WARRIOR

Second Feature Film Of The
POKÉMON DIAMOND AND PEARL
Movie Collection Is Available Now

VIZ Media delivers the fun adventures of POKÉMON to fans of all ages with the home media release of POKÉMON: GIRATINA AND THE SKY WARRIOR on DVD.

The new release is the 11th POKÉMON feature film and the second movie in the POKÉMON DIAMOND AND PEARL movie collection. POKÉMON: GIRATINA AND THE SKY WARRIOR is rated ‘TV-Y7,’ for viewers ages 7 and older, and will carry an MSRP of $19.97 U.S. / $24.98 CAN. An official manga edition is also published by VIZ Media and is rated ‘A’ for All Ages and available with an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

POKÉMON: GIRATINA AND THE SKY WARRIOR takes audiences deep into the heart of the Reverse World, ruled by the Legendary Pokémon Giratina. Ash and friends meet up with the feisty and sharp-witted Mythical Pokémon Shaymin and discover that its journey and their own share similar themes - love of nature and all living things, and exploring the fragile line between humans and Pokémon. And to make it even more spectacular, get ready for the appearance of Regigigas, a super-powerful Legendary Pokémon with a frosty demeanor! Add to the mix a helpful researcher, a dangerous villain who wishes to control Giratina, and a plan to rule the world, and you have all the makings of a Pokémon epic! Learn to fly all over again with POKÉMON: GIRATINA AND THE SKY WARRIOR!

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. Pokémon the Series: XY is the 17th season of the POKÉMON animated series and airs in the U.S. on Cartoon Network. VIZ Media is the official North American home media distributor for the POKÉMON anime series and feature films as well as the publisher for POKÉMON manga graphic novel series including POKÉMON ADVENTURES X•Y, POKÉMON ADVENTURES, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: DIAMOND & PEARL, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: GOLD & SILVER, and POKÉMON ADVENTURES: BLACK & WHITE.

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

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Happy 52nd Birthday to Korean director Park Chan-wook!


Writer/director/producer PARK Chan-wook was born on August 23rd, 1963 in South Korea. Some of his films that are best known to Western audiences include:

J.S.A.: Joint Security Area (2000)
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)
Oldboy (2003)
Lady Vengeance (2005)
I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK (2006)
Thirst (2009)
Stoker (2013)

So, Happy 52th Birthday to you, Director Park! Thanks for the films you've given us so far, and here's hoping you keep them coming for a long time in the future.

Sentai Filmworks acquires HAYATE THE COMBAT BUTLER - HEAVEN IS A PLACE ON EARTH


The world’s favorite battling butler returns once more as Sentai Filmworks unleashes its latest acquisition, HAYATE THE COMBAT BUTLER - HEAVEN IS A PLACE ON EARTH. Based on the manga by Kenjiro Hata (Weekly Comic Magazine SHONEN SUNDAY), which has been in publication since 2004 and printed serially over 500 times, the film features an all-new storyline courtesy of Hata himself. When the star-crossed mistress/butler couple take a trip to a secluded vacation retreat, they find themselves trapped in conflicting realities! If it’s not bad enough that Hayate finds himself in a world where Nagi seems to have never existed, Nagi’s having an even less wonderful life, trapped in a mysterious and deadly amusement park of doom!

Heading up the all-new production is director Hideto Komori, who also adapted the character designs from Hata’s originals, while the screenplay is the work of Yasuko Kobayashi (story editor/script, Attack on Titan and Witchblade). Rounding out the staff are several regular contributors to the Hayate franchise, with music provided by Wataru Maeguchi (Maid Sama!) whose connection with the series also includes Hayate the Combat Butler: Cuties and Hayate The Combat Butler: Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, while veteran powerhouse Manglobe (Ergo Proxy, Samurai Champloo, The World God Only Knows) once again handles animation production.

HAYATE THE COMBAT BUTLER - HEAVEN IS A PLACE ON EARTH will soon be available through select digital outlets. Dates and details for the home video release version will follow.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Free screening of CHRONICLE OF A BLOOD MERCHANT next Tuesday

Korean Cultural Service NY and Asia Society NY
co-present
Korean Movie Night New York's
Summer Edition
Chronicle of a Blood Merchant / Heo-sam-kwan-mae-hyeol-gi
Directed by Ha Jung-woo
Starring: Ha Jung-woo, Ha Ji-won
South Korea, 2015, 124 minutes, DCP
In Korean with English subtitles
New York Premiere

When: Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 6:30pm
Where: Asia Society 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street, NYC

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

Ha Jung-woo, one of Korea’s biggest stars, directs and acts in this understated period comedy-drama, based on the best-selling novel of the same title by the Chinese writer Yu Hua. Just after the Korean War, a factory worker (Ha Jung-woo) falls for the most beautiful girl in his village (Ha Ji-won). Penniless, he sells his blood to fund the courtship and before long they are married. Eleven years later, the couple have three sons and live a comfortable life. One day, their lives are upended when a blood test reveals that their eldest boy is not the worker's son.

Friday, August 21, 2015

VIZ launches MY HERO ACADEMIA

BOKU NO HERO ACADEMIA © 2014 by Kohei Horikoshi/SHUEISHA Inc.
VIZ MEDIA INTRODUCES A NEW TYPE OF SUPERHERO IN THE
LAUNCH OF THE ACTION MANGA SERIES MY HERO ACADEMIA

How Does An Ordinary Teenager Get Noticed When He Lives In
A World Where Everyone Else Is a Crime Fighting Superhero?

VIZ Media has announced the launch of creator Kouhei Horikoshi’s brainiac action manga (graphic novel) series – MY HERO ACADEMIA – now available.

MY HERO ACADEMIA is rated ‘T’ for Teens and print volumes carry an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN each. The series is also available digitally via VIZManga.com and the VIZ Manga App and from the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, comiXology, and GooglePlay stores. Future English editions of MY HERO ACADEMIA, which is ongoing in Japan and also serialized in current digital issues of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP magazine, will be published bi-annually under VIZ Media’s Shonen Jump imprint.

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks”? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless? Middle school student Izuku Midoriya wants to be a hero more than anything, but he hasn’t got an ounce of power in him. With no chance of ever getting into the prestigious U.A. High School for budding heroes, his life is looking more and more like a dead end. Then an encounter with All Might, the greatest hero of them all, gives him a chance to change his destiny…

“MY HERO ACADEMIA has been thrilling readers of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and has become the single most requested new series for English publication from the magazine’s current roster,” says Mike Montesa, Editor. “Readers will be in for a wild ride in this inventive new series that puts a fresh spin on the classic superhero concept. Join the action as a fateful encounter gives young Izuku Midoriya a chance to become part of the next generation of Heroes!”

MY HERO ACADEMIA creator Kouhei Horikoshi received a Tezuka Award Honorable Mention in 2006, and after publishing several short stories in Akamaru Jump, his first serialized work, Oumagadoki Doubutsuen, debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump in 2010. BARRAGE, his second series in Weekly Shonen Jump, was released by VIZ Media; MY HERO ACADEMIA is his third series to appear in Japan in Weekly Shonen Jump.

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. 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.

For more information on WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and exclusive subscriber offers, please visit shonenjump.viz.com.

For more information on MY HERO ACADEMIA and manga titles from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

DRAGON DYNASTY 5 MOVIE COLLECTION coming on DVD and Digital HD on October 6th, 2015

Anchor Bay
and
The Weinstein Company
present
 DRAGON DYNASTY
5 MOVIE COLLECTION

Available on DVD and Digital HD October 6th

Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Company have announced the action packed martial arts home entertainment release of the Dragon Dynasty 5 Movie Collection. This classic set features four films from legendary martial arts superstar Jet Li and one film from icon Stephen Chow. In 2006, The Weinstein Company launched the Dragon Dynasty brand in order to showcase classic and contemporary Asian Cinema, particularly films in the action/martial arts genre. An immediate hit with fans and critics, Dragon Dynasty brought home the world’s greatest martial arts and Asian action films, featuring the groundbreaking work of international superstars and legendary filmmakers. Anchor Bay Entertainment is honoring this legacy with the Dragon Dynasty: 5 Movie Collection, arriving on 3-Disc DVD set and Digital HD bundle on October 6th.

The Dragon Dynasty 5 Movie Collection includes:

Born to Defense (1986)
Directed by & Starring Jet Li (Rated R, 91 min.)
Jet (Jet Li) is a WWII soldier returning after the war to find he must continue to fight against abusive Americans now taking advantage of citizens in his hometown.

The Defender (1994)
Directed by Corey Yuen & Starring Jet Li (Rated R, 92 min.)
Jet Li – the former bodyguard to the most powerful leader in China is hired to protect school teacher Christy Chung after having witnessed a brutal murder.

The Legend II (aka The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk II, 1993)
Directed by Corey Yuen & Starring Jet Li (Rated R, 92 min.)
Having failed a secret mission for the Red Flowers Society, an underground organization dedicated to the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty and restoration of the Ming Dynasty, Fong Sai Yuk must try to get his hands on a special document by wooing the governor’s daughter.

Once Upon a Time in China and America (1997)
Directed by Sammo Hung Kam-Bo & Starring Jet Li (Not Rated, 99 min.)
Wong Fei-Hung travels to the U.S. to visit a martial arts branch that one of his disciples has set up and ends up establishing himself as a respected kung fu master, helping gain recognition for Chinese martial arts in the West.

From Beijing with Love (1994)
Directed by & Starring Stephen Chow. (Not Rated, 84 min.)
A comedic send-up of Bond’s 007, Ling Ling-Chat is the unlikely pork butcher / superspy sent to Hong Kong to find a priceless stolen fossil. Assassins, spy gadgets, stunts and chases ensue.

Dragon Dynasty 5 Movie Collection will be available on DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment for the suggested retail price of $19.98!

To learn more about this collection, visit anchorbayentertainment.com.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

POKÉMON THE SERIES: XY Set 1 is now available on DVD from VIZ

©2015 Pokémon. ©1997-2015 Nintendo, Creatures, GAME FREAK, TV Tokyo, ShoPro, JR Kikaku. TM, ®Nintendo.
 VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES HOME MEDIA RELEASE OF
POKÉMON THE SERIES: XY SET 1

Journey To A Stylish New Land For Dazzling Adventures
In The Latest POKÉMON Anime Series Box Set
Available On DVD Now!

Exciting new POKÉMON adventures await fans of all ages as VIZ Media announces the home media release of the latest anime series for the venerable franchise. Inspired by the new generation of Pokémon X and Pokémon Y video games, POKÉMON THE SERIES: XY Set 1 is now available on DVD.

The 3-disc set, rated ‘TV-Y7,’ for viewers ages 7 and older, features Episodes 1-24 of the exciting new series and will carry an MSRP of $26.95 U.S. / $31.98 CAN.

Ash Ketchum’s journey continues in POKÉMON THE SERIES: XY as he arrives in the Kalos region, a land bursting with beauty; full of new Pokémon to be discovered! Setting his sights on the Kalos League, Ash is ready to battle and catch as many new Pokémon as possible. Along the way he will have to face the formidable Gym Leaders of this region and gain some exciting new insights into Pokémon Evolution. While he has new friends Serena, Clemont, and Bonnie at his side, there are also plenty of familiar faces and Pokémon along the way as Ash pursues his dream of becoming a Pokémon Master!

POKÉMON is one of the most successful international entertainment franchises of all time. To-date more than 260 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. POKÉMON THE SERIES: XY is the 17th season of the POKÉMON animated series and has aired in the U.S. on Cartoon Network. VIZ Media is the official North American publisher for POKÉMON manga graphic novel series including POKÉMON ADVENTURES X & Y, POKÉMON ADVENTURES, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: DIAMOND & PEARL, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: HEART/GOLD SOUL/SILVER, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: BLACK & WHITE and distributes a wide variety of POKÉMON home media including animated series and feature films.

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

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

VIZ announces new anime content for Neon Alley for the month of August

VIZ MEDIA CONTINUES SUMMER ANIME ACTION WITH
A NEW CONTENT UPDATE FOR AUGUST FOR
THE NEON ALLEY ANIME PLATFORM

Don’t Miss The Streaming Premiere Of New SAILOR MOON SUPER S
And NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Episodes Along With COPPELION Complete
Series And Just-Added KEKKAISHI And RANMA ½ Installments

VIZ Media continues the summertime anime fun with new content for its Neon Alley streaming platform throughout August.

Out of this world Sailor Guardian anime action continues all month long with a two subtitled SAILOR MOON episodes premiering each Monday, beginning with SAILOR MOON Episodes 128 & 129 as well as Episodes 130 & 131, which are available now. The newest episodes also mark the beginning of the epic fourth season of the legendary series.

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN simulcasts also take place throughout August with subtitled streams of the latest action packed episodes straight from Japan every Thursday. Don’t miss the newly simulcast Episodes 422 & 423 on Hulu freshly added this week. NARUTO SHIPPUDEN action also continues on weekends with new dubbed installments available to stream each Saturday: Episodes 297 & 305, which are available now. Want to start from the beginning? Additional dubbed NARUTO action continues with the premiere of Episodes 168 to 179, which are available to stream now in their entirety.

The latest August 2015 update is further highlighted by additional new episodes from additional top-rated VIZ Media anime properties including:

COPPELION
• Dive into the post-apocalyptic action and drama of COPPELION with the complete series (Episodes 1-13) now available to stream in its entirety with both subtitled and English dubbed options.
• COPPELION takes place in the not-so-distant future as a catastrophic event has turned the old capital of Japan into a wasteland, forever changing the lives of its people. Decades later, three schoolgirls set foot into the now forsaken city. They are the Coppelion, genetically engineered humans created by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces to operate under the lethal conditions of the contaminated city. Trained since birth, the girls must use all of their skills and resources to carry out their one and only mission: to rescue those left behind.

KEKKAISHI
• Join the supernatural action of KEKKAISHI with the streaming premiere of dub Episodes 14 to 26. (Episodes 1-26 are now available subtitled and English dubbed)
• KEKKAISHI is based on a hit manga series created by Yellow Tanabe (also published in North America by VIZ Media). Mystical forces are powerful in the region called Karasumori. For over 400 years, it has been the duty of a clan of “kekkaishi” – barrier masters – to guard the land and exterminate the supernatural creatures that are drawn to the area night after night.

RANMA ½
• Neon Alley viewers can watch dubbed Episodes 1 to 69 with the addition of Episodes 47 to 69 this month available to stream! This addition joins Episodes 1 to 161 subtitled with Japanese dialogue streaming now.
• In RANMA ½, Ranma Saotome never thought a martial arts training mission to China would turn out like this! An accidental dunk in a cursed spring changes boy Ranma into a young girl, every time he is splashed with cold water. Hot water reverses the effect - but only until next time!

Neon Alley is VIZ Media’s consolidated online destination for FREE streaming anime content in the U.S. with over 3,700 subtitled and English dubbed episodes and movies from more than 32 series! Neon Alley also reaches an expansive on-demand U.S.-based audience on Hulu, which enables viewers to watch shows anytime, anywhere across devices including Xbox One, PlayStation®4 (PS4™), Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and mobile devices. A full list of Hulu -enabled devices can be found at http://www.hulu.com/plus/devices.

Additional information on Neon Alley is available at: www.NeonAlley.com and http://blog.neonalley.com.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Haikasoru Imprint to be at 73rd World Science Fiction Convention

VIZ MEDIA’S HAIKASORU LITERARY IMPRINT
PARTICIPATES AT 73rd WORLD SCIENCE FICTION
CONVENTION AND WELCOMES AUTHOR TAIYO FUJII

Award Winning Japanese Author Of GENE MAPPER Comes
To One Of The Longest Running Science Fiction Conventions

VIZ Media’s Haikasoru literary imprint has announced its participation at Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention. Haikasoru will welcome the acclaimed Japanese author Taiyo Fujii as a panel participant, and will host a retail booth (E4) in the main Dealer’s Room that will offer a wide variety of the imprint’s acclaimed titles at specially discounted prices.

Happening August 19th-23rd in Spokane, WA, Sasquan 2015 is the site of the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention, also known as “Worldcon,” an annual gathering of science fiction and fantasy fans. Additional details are available at: www.worldcon.org and http://sasquan.org.

Taiyo Fujii will be featured in several events throughout the convention and participating in several panel discussions:

Thursday, August 20th

11:30am – 12:00pm Taiyo Fujii Reading (Room 303B)
Join the author as he offers a personal reading of select passages from his works.

Friday, August 21st

11:00am – 11:45am Self-Publishing – When To Do It, When To Publish Traditionally (Room 401C)
Taiyo Fujii will be among the authors featured for a discussion of the whys and whens of self-publishing versus traditional publishing.

Saturday, August 22nd

11:00am – 11:45am The Future of Publishing (Room Bays 111C)
The publishing industry has changed dramatically, moving away from traditional models to online sales, self-publishing and ebooks. What could the next 20 years bring?

2:00pm – 2:45pm Kaffe Klatche – Taiyo Fujii (Room 202B)
A special insightful discussion with the author on his work and creative process.

4:00pm – 4:45pm SpoCon Presents – SubGenre Games (Grand Ballroom: Salon III)
Are you deep for dystopia? Crazy for cyberpunk? Soft on steampunk? We're pitting ten sub-genres against each-other to see which should shed its "sub" prefix and become a fully-fledged genre alongside the towers of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Join author Taiyo Fujii and Haikasoru Editor Nick Mamatas for this unique forum.

5:00pm – 5:45pm Seiun Awards & Publishing SF in Japan (Grand Ballroom: Salon III)
Taiyo Fujii will join two other prominent Japanese authors for a discussion of the famous annual literary award and the process by which science fiction literature is published in Japan.

Taiyo Fujii is the author of the mystery thriller, GENE MAPPER, and won a 2014 Nihon SF Taisho Award by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of Japan. GENE MAPPER was Fujii’s first novel and became Amazon Japan’s Number One Kindle bestseller of for 2012 when it was originally published. The novel was later revised and republished in both print and digitally in Japan as Gene Mapper – full build – by Hayakawa Publishing in 2013 and also was nominated for the Nihon SF Taisho Award and the Seiun Award. Fujii’s second novel, Orbital Cloud, won the 2014 Nihon SF Taisho Award and also took first prize in the “Best SF of 2014” in SF Magazine. Fujii’s English-language short fiction debut, the novelette “Violation of the TrueNet Security Act” appeared in Lightspeed Magazine in July 2015.

During Sasquan 2015, Haikasoru will offer GENE MAPPER along with a wide variety of its other titles for purchase with special convention pricing. Titles to be offered will include: ALL YOU NEED IS KILL (the novel which inspired the 2014 blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow); BATTLE ROYALE REMASTERED and the BATTLE ROYALE SLAM BOOK; GENE MAPPER; anthologies PHANTASM JAPAN and THE FUTURE IS JAPANESE (includes the Hugo Award-winning Ken Liu story, “Mono no Aware”); RED GIRLS and DENDERA.

For more information on GENE MAPPER and the Haikasoru imprint, please visit the dedicated website at www.haikasoru.com.

VIZ Media is launching new ULTRAMAN manga series today

©2012 Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi/TPC Originally published by HERO'S INC.
VIZ MEDIA LAUNCHES THE NEW ULTRAMAN MANGA SERIES

Kinetic Superhero Action Series Updates The Iconic
Japanese Sci-Fi Property For A Whole New Generation
Of Manga Fans; Series To Launch In Print And Digitally

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, announces the brand new ULTRAMAN sci-fi superhero action manga (graphic novel) series, which is set to debut in print and digitally today, Tuesday, August 18th.

The series, written by Eiichi Shimizu with artwork by Tomohiro Shimoguchi, is inspired by the original classic Japanese superhero TV show that ran in the late 1960s and remains hugely popular in Japan as well as with international audiences. ULTRAMAN Vol. 1 is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will carry a print MSRP of $12.99 U.S. / $14.99 CAN. The series also launches digitally the same day via VIZManga.com and the VIZ Manga App, as well as from the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, comiXology, and GooglePlay stores. Future editions of ULTRAMAN will be published quarterly under the VIZ Signature imprint. In Japan, the series currently appears in Hero’s magazine.

Decades ago, a being known as the Giant of Light joined together with Shin Hayata of the Science Special Search Party to save Earth from an invasion of terrifying monsters called Kaiju. Now, many years later, those dark days are fading into memory, and the world is at peace. But in the shadows a new threat is growing, a danger that can only be faced by a new kind of hero – a new kind of ULTRAMAN… Shinjiro is an ordinary teenager, but his father is the legendary Shin Hayata. When he learns that his father passed on the “Ultraman Factor” to him and that he possesses incredible powers, nothing will ever be the same again.

VIZ Media recently welcomed Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi for their first-ever professional appearance in the U.S. as official Guests of Honor at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con.

“In Japan, Ultraman is something of a national symbol, an iconic superhero that is instantly recognizable and universally loved, and we’re excited to bring the brand new manga to a new generation of fans,” says Mike Montesa, Editor. “The series wonderfully updates the classic sci-fi property with cinematic action sequences and sleek character designs. Catch the exciting return of this legendary hero this summer!”

Eiichi Shimizu worked on the story, script and mechanical design for ULTRAMAN. Tomohiro Shimoguchi provided character design and art. Together, the two have formed a creative dream team to produce a number of works including ULTRAMAN (Hero’s) and Kurogane no Rainbareru (Linebarrels of Iron, Akita Shoten). In addition to comics, they have expanded their field of interest to include character designs for video games and action figures.

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

Monday, August 17, 2015

VIZ Media details digital manga update for August 2015

©2012 Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi/TPC Originally published by HERO'S INC.
SUMERTIME READING FUN CONTINUES IN AUGUST AS VIZ MEDIA
DETAILS A SIZEABLE NEW MONTHLY DIGITAL MANGA UPDATE

8 New Manga Series Join The Extensive Digital Catalog; 3-Day
“Flash Sales” Kick Off Throughout The Month Along With Brand
New Digital Manga Bundles And Updates To 18 Continuing Series

VIZ Media opens August with a substantial new digital manga update. Fresh content that is sure to capture the attention of fans and readers includes the launch of 8 new series as well as updates to many other continuing VIZ Media digital manga titles.

August’s new series debuts include launch of the superhero inspired MY HERO ACADEMIA, the comedic hijinks of MAID-SAMA!, middle school shojo manga drama in TOKYO BOYS AND GIRLS, the sci-fi action of ULTRAMAN, the apocalyptic adventure of KAMIYADORI, the bloody horror of GOTH, and more action-packed paranormal adventure from the bestselling HANDS OFF! universe with HANDS OFF!: DON’T CALL US ANGELS along with the intense romantic drama of CRAZY FOR YOU.

Beginning this month, VIZ Media also expands the ways that readers can enjoy digital manga titles as it now makes series from WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and the Shonen Jump imprint available for direct digital purchase from ShonenJump.com and the Weekly Shonen Jump app.

For a series of limited 3-day periods throughout August, VIZ Media kicks off a manga “Flash Sale” that will offer $2 off select titles across all of its major imprints. “Flash Sale” titles are available at VIZManga.com and via the VIZ Manga app, and readers are invited to check the site each week to see which favorite titles will be marked down from the following imprints:

Shonen Jump & Shonen Jump Advanced
VIZ Signature
Shojo Beat
Shonen Sunday
VIZ Media & VIZ Select

Throughout the entire month, VIZ Media also continues its Digital Manga Bundle Promotion offering manga readers specially curated selections each containing multiple full volumes from critically acclaimed and legacy titles such as D. GRAY MAN, DEADMAN WONDERLAND, ITSUWARIBITO (2 bundles available), MAGI and FATE/STAY NIGHT at substantial savings over the regular individual digital MSRPs. These latest manga bundle selections are available to readers for a limited time throughout June exclusively from VIZManga.com and through the comiXology platform.

Additional noteworthy updates for August include new digital volumes for 18 other continuing VIZ Media series. Included in the August update are not-to-be-missed volumes for VIZ Select such as CHEEKY ANGEL (Vols. 7-8), SGT FROG (Vols. 15-16), GRENADIER (Vol. 5) and GIRLS BRAVO (Vol. 8), along with action titles such as ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM (Vol. 5), NARUTO (vol. 71), ONE PIECE (Vol. 71) TORIKO (Vol. 29) and JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE: PART 2 – BATTLE TENDENCY (Vol. 2). Readers also can catch the series conclusions of SPELL OF DESIRE (Vol. 5), METAMO KISS (Vol. 3) and VOICE OVER! SEIYU ACADEMY (Vol. 12).

New August 2015 Digital Manga Series Debuts:

MY HERO ACADEMIA, Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens •
DIGITAL MSRP: $6.99 (U.S. / CAN) • Available Now
What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks”? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

MAID-SAMA 2-In-1 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens •
DIGITAL MSRP: $10.99 (U.S. / CAN) • Available Now
As if being class president of a predominantly male high school isn’t hard enough, Misaki Ayuzawa has a major secret – she works at a maid café after school! How is she supposed to keep her image of being ultrasmart, strong and overachieving intact once school heartthrob Takumi Usui discovers her double life?!

TOKYO BOYS AND GIRLS, Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens •
DIGITAL MSRP: $6.99 (U.S. / CAN) • Available August Now
Mimori Kosaka's dream comes true when she's accepted to the Meidai Attached High School and gets to wear their super-fashionable uniform! She's excited about having a fun freshman year of high school, but things don't turn out as effortlessly as she had hoped.

ULTRAMAN, Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens •
DIGITAL MSRP: $8.99 (U.S. / CAN) • Available August 18th
Decades ago, a being known as the Giant of Light joined together with Shin Hayata of the Science Special Search Party to save Earth from an invasion of terrifying monsters called Kaiju. Now, many years later, those dark days are fading into memory, and the world is at peace. But in the shadows a new threat is growing, a danger that can only be faced by a new kind of hero—a new kind of ULTRAMAN…

GOTH (Single Volume) • Rated ‘M’ for Mature •
DIGITAL MSRP: $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) • Available August 18th
In four gruesome stories, two murder-fixated teens lose themselves in their obsession. But can you handle seeing humanity's darkest side revealed in all its glaring, gory glory?

KAMIYADORI, Vol. 1 • Rated ‘M’ for Mature •
DIGITAL MSRP: $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) • Available August 18th
From Kei Sanbe comes a chilling vision of a virus that is utterly out of control... In a dark future, a biological disease that transforms humans into monsters called the Kamiyadori plagues the city. The peacekeeping forces include a specially trained team called the Right Arms. These agents must keep tight control on those who are infected - and the only salvation they offer is execution! But when one Right Arms officer is unable to kill a young boy and his sister, he sets off a chain of events that may bring a ray of hope to a world filled with despair and chaos...

HANDS OFF! DON’T CALL US ANGELS • Rated ‘T’ for Teens •
DIGITAL MSRP: $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) • Available August 25th
More action-packed paranormal adventure from the bestselling Hands Off! universe! Kiba has a special gift to see the future with a single touch, but due to this power, he doesn't like to touch people - especially Udou. Meanwhile, Udou has been using his powers in unsavory ways and Kiba is in deep denial about his...until circumstances bring them together to deal with an all-consuming problem that might bring harm to those they love!

CRAZY FOR YOU, Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens •
DIGITAL MSRP: $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) • Available August 25th
Sachi is a carefree, somewhat ditzy girl who has been single her entire all-girls-school existence. But when she meets a boy named Yuki-chan at a matchmaking event, is her love life finally beginning?

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 also may 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 2,700 volumes across more than 240 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 Google Play 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.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

SNOW GIRL AND THE DARK CRYSTAL reviewed

Well Go USA
presents
Snow Girl and the Dark CrystalZhong Kui fu mo: Xue yao mo ling
Co-directed by Peter Pau and Zhao Tianyu
Starring Li Bingbing and Chen Kun
China/Hong Kong, 2015, 118 minutes

Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal is a Chinese action/fantasy romance that recently debuted on Digital HD, Blu-ray™ and DVD from Well Go USA Entertainment. This review is based on watching the Blu-ray version, the transfer of which was stunning.

As the film begins, we are told that there are three categories of beings: gods, humans, and demons. Once every millennium, on July 15th, when the moon is full, all beings can cross realms through reincarnation. The Dark Crystal of the title is said to memorialize the demons' bitter spiritual quest.

The city of Hu is near the demons' realm and its safety depends on getting the crystal out of the hands of the demons. Zhong Kui (Chen Kun of Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon and Flying Swords of Dragon Gate) is tasked by Master Zhang Daoxian (Winston Chao), a god, with stealing the Dark Crystal, which he succeeds in doing.

Zhong Kui in his transformed state

Snow Girl (Li Bingbing of Transformers: Age of Extinction and Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame) is sent to Hu to regain possession of the crystal. She, it turns out, had been known as Little Snow three years earlier when Zhong Kui had fallen in love with her.

So, like other Chinese films such as The Bride with White Hair and its recent remake White Haired Witch, this story involves two star-crossed lovers from different realms. Only here the situation is complicated by certain characters not being what they appear to be. Consequently, uncertainty arises over whether Zhong Kui's feelings for Snow Girl will prove stronger than his duty to save Hu and its citizens, including his sister, from being overrun by demons.

Snow Girl as a performer sent to entrance the citizens of Hu

The film, co-directed by Peter Pau (who won the 2001 Oscar for Best Cinematography for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Zhao Tianyu, makes extensive use of CGI special effects. The results, produced by a Korean company, are mixed. Zhong Kui is capable of transforming himself into a tall, demon-like creature who has what appears to be red hot lava inside of him. The appearance is photo-realistic, but the animation is somewhat staggered, rather like the stop motion of King Kong and Ray Harryhausen's films. Snow Girl, on the other hand, is very stylized in her animation sequences, and barely resembles Li Bingbing at those times.

Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal was originally released in 3D and some of the scenes clearly indicate that they were planned to maximize their impact in that format. While it comes across quite well in 2D, I had a feeling that it's a better watch in 3D. I'm actually hoping that it'll be shown at an upcoming New York Asian Film Festival in that format, as Tsui Hark's The Taking of Tiger Mountain 3D was at the 2015 NYAFF.

Master Zhang, left, and a tronaformed Zhong Kui

As released on disc, Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal is a decent enough watch. Rather enjoyable, actually, though by no means great. Like so many other recent films that are primarily products of Mainland China, the production values are good overall, but the acting is somewhat thin and superficial. Maybe it's just that I got spoiled by watching so many great Hong Kong actors and actresses in films of the 1980s and '90s. But even the newer crop of Hong Kong actors seem to consistently offer more in terms of depth and nuance than their mainland counterparts.

AsianCineFest Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars; better than fair, but not quite desrving of a "good" rating.

Disc Stats:

Audio
-- Mandarin 5.1 DTS HDMA or 2.0 Stereo
-- English 5.1 DTS HDMA or 2.0 Stereo

Subtitles
-- English
-- Off

Bonus Features
-- Making Of featurette (two segments)
   -- The Music Journey
   -- Visual Effects
-- Trailer

Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto coming to New York in October

Masashi Kishimoto, self portrait
VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES NARUTO CREATOR MASASHI KISHIMOTO’S
PARTICIPATION IN SPECIAL NEW YORK SUPER WEEK APPEARANCES

Renowned Creator Of Bestselling Manga Series Makes First-Ever U.S.
Appearance At NY Comic Con, And Will Appear At Kinokuniya
And Barnes & Noble Manhattan Locations

VIZ Media prepares to welcome Masashi Kishimoto, the renowned creator of the NARUTO manga (graphic novel) series, for his first-ever U.S. appearance at the 2015 New York Comic Con and delights fans with today’s news that Kishimoto also will participate in a pair of signings sessions and in-store appearances as part of New York Super Week, co-sponsored by the Japan Foundation. The personal appearances will take place at the Manhattan locations of Kinokuniya Bookstore and Barnes & Noble Tribeca, on October 9th and 10th, respectively.

“Masashi Kishimoto has had a tremendous impact on the pop culture landscape with NARUTO, and the bestselling series has captivated millions of fans internationally and introduced scores more to the exciting world of manga,” says Andy Nakatani, Editor in Chief, WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP. “We are honored to welcome him to New York Comic Con and Super Week and invite fans to share in the excitement with these special personal appearances!”

New York Comic Con, the crown jewel of New York Super Week, will take place October 8-11. The annual event is the East Coast's biggest and most exciting popular culture convention with the latest and greatest in comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, movies and television. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.NewYorkComicCon.com.

New York Super Week precedes the 2015 New York Comic Con and runs October 5th to 11th. The unique immersive pop culture event transforms the entire island of Manhattan into a playground for a colorful array of superheroes, villains, cosplayers, artists, celebrities and passionate fans of from all over the world that gather to take part in a variety of themed events all over the City including concerts, comedy shows, gaming events, lectures, podcasts, storytelling, food tastings. Full details are available at: http://www.newyorksuperweek.com.

NARUTO © 1999 by Masashi Kishimoto/SHUEISHA Inc.

Masashi Kishimoto Kinokuniya Signing Event
Friday, Oct. 9th, 8:30pm
Kinokuniya Book Store, 1073 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10018
Meet Masashi Kishimoto, creator of NARUTO, the best-selling manga series that inspired a generation of fans around the world and spawned hit anime series, movies, video games, novels and more. This event is an extremely rare opportunity to see the legendary Kishimoto in his first public appearances outside of Japan. All participants must secure a SuperWeek event ticket. NARUTO Volume 72, featuring an exclusive New York Comic Con variant cover drawn by Kishimoto, will be available for purchase. Attendees will receive a free autographed Shikishi art board with purchase of one of Kishimoto’s works. (*Note: Kishimoto will only sign the provided shikishi and on-site purchased book.) For additional information and tickets, visit: http://www.newyorksuperweek.com/en/Sessions/14846/Masashi-Kishimoto-Signing

Masashi Kishimoto Barnes & Noble Tribeca Signing Event
Saturday, Oct. 10th, 3:30pm
Barnes & Noble Tribeca, 97 Warren St., New York, NY 10007
Masashi Kishimoto makes his second appearance for New York Super Week at the Barnes & Noble Tribeca location. The Barnes & Noble Tribeca signing will be limited to the first 110 customers that purchase one of Kishimoto’s works; NARUTO Volume 72 featuring an exclusive New York Comic Con variant cover drawn by Kishimoto will also be available for purchase at this venue. Each person will receive an exclusive shikishi art board signed personally signed by the artist. (*Note: Kishimoto will only sign the provided shikishi and on-site purchased book.) For additional info, visit: http://www.newyorksuperweek.com/en/Sessions/14847/Masashi-Kishimoto-Signing

Masashi Kishimoto was born in 1974 in rural Okayama Prefecture, Japan. His first version of NARUTO, drawn in 1997, was a one-shot story about fox spirits; his final version, which debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1999, quickly became the most popular ninja manga in the world. The series spawned multiple anime series, movies, novels, video games and more. Having concluded the series in late 2014, he has kept himself busy with the side-story Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring and with writing the story for the latest Naruto movie, both of which will focus on the title character’s son, Boruto. The NARUTO manga series is published in North America by VIZ Media.

For more information on NARUTO manga and anime titles published by VIZ Media, visit viz.com/naruto.