With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Sunday, November 29, 2009

ACF 424: Tears to Tiara, Collection 1 now available on DVD from Section23 Films

Section23 Films has announced a brand new anime DVD release from Sentai Filmworks, Tears to Tiara Collection 1.

Tears to Tiara Collection 1 brings together the first 13 episodes of the Celtic-flavored fantasy-adventure series in a single two-disc set. This action-packed series became one of 2009’s big hits when it was first broadcast in Japan last April. Now North American fans have a chance to get in on the fun.

SYNOPSIS: In a strange dark age, the Divine Empire’s path of conquest seems unstoppable, endlessly devouring its weaker neighbors in a brutal cycle of subjugation and pillage. But when a savage priest makes a critical mistake while attempting to resurrect a Demon Lord, the scales of fate begin to tip in the other direction! Choosing to side instead with the priest’s intended sacrifice, the Gaelic Priestess Riannon, the resurrected Lord Arawn joins with Riannon and her brother Arthur, as together they begin to assemble the force that will bring the Divine Empire to its knees! Wizards, archers, sword masters and even pixies take arms as the ancient Celtic, Gaelic, British and Roman myths of Albion receive a spectacular new animated interpretation in Tears To Tiara, Collection 1!

Running Time: 325 min.
Age Rating: TV PG
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Format: DVD
SRP: $39.98

Friday, November 27, 2009

ACF 423: Bruce Lee remembered

Bruce Jun Fan Lee
Born November 27, 1940, San Francisco
Died July 20, 1973, Hong Kong

Bruce Lee was the single person most responsible for reinventing and reinvigorating the Asian martial movie and making the genre popular in the United States and other western countries. He would have marked his 69th birthday today if he had not died such a tragically early death in 1973.

Born in the U.S. to Chinese parents who were touring with a Chinese opera company, he grew up in Hong Kong, but returned to the U.S. in 1959. Most accounts attribute his return to his father's concern for his safety after Bruce got in a fight with the son of a feared Triad [Chinese criminal gang] member. He majored in Philosophy at the University of Washington, where he met his future wife Linda Emery. They later had two children. Son Brandon Lee, was born in 1965 and died in a tragic weapons accident on March 31, 1993 while filming The Crow. Daughter Shannon Lee, born 1969, is an actress. Interestingly her first credited film role was as the Party Singer in Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, the under-rated 1993 bio-pic of her father..

Lee was the real deal - a true martial arts master. He developed his own martial arts system, known as Jeet Kune Do or the Way of the Intercepting Fist. A non-formalized style, it emphasized "practicality, flexibility, speed and efficiency." [source: Wikipedia]

Lee appeared in films from a young age because of his parents being in Chinese opera. However, it was in the United States, after he began teaching martial arts to such film stars as Steve McQueen and James Coburn, that his career really began. He starred as Kato in the 1966-67 television series The Green Hornet. Reportedly, he felt that his future in Hollywood was limited after he was passed over for the role of Kwai Chang Caine in the Kung Fu TV series, a role that went instead to David Carradine.

Bruce returned to Hong Kong, where film producer Raymond Chow offered him the lead in Tang sha da xiong, or The Big Boss in English. The film was a huge hit, as were his next two films. But it was with the Warner Brothers financed Enter the Dragon that Bruce's international reputation was immortalized. The final fight in the room of mirrors is one of the most iconic of all martial arts film sequences.

Sadly, Bruce died before the film premiered. He was visiting actress Betty Ting Pei, who gave him one of her prescription pills because he had a headache. He had an adverse reaction, could not be revived, and died later that day of cerebral edema.

He is most fondly remembered for:
The Big Boss (a.k.a. Fists of Fury), 1971
Fist of Fury (a.k.a. The Chinese Connection), 1972
Way of the Dragon (a.k.a. Return of the Dragon) 1972
Enter the Dragon, 1973
Game of Death, 1978 (Most of this film was shot after his death using a stand-in for Bruce. Still, the last sequence, as the real Bruce fights his way up a pagoda, facing increasingly difficult opponents on each successive floor, is fantastic. It plays like a series of boss fights in a live action video game.)

Only the first two of these were released in the United States prior to his death.

Enter the Dragon is available on DVD from Warner Brothers.

The other four films can be found in Bruce Lee: The Master Collection from 20th Century Fox, which also includes a bonus disc of documentary footage. They are, however, dubbed versions. It would be great if at some point the original versions, with good subtitles, become available.

In the meanwhile, all of these films are wonderful ways to remember Bruce and keep his spirit alive.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ACF 422: Double Edged Sword

Raizo Ichikawa in Samurai Vendetta
© 1959 Kadokawa Pictures, Inc.

Japan Society's Monthly Classics Film Series Delivers 9 Slices of Rare '60s Samurai Cool with a Duel Dose of Masculine Mystique

The Double-Edged Sword: The Chambara Films of Shintaro Katsu & Raizo Ichikawa

Opening Screening: Samurai Vendetta on Friday, December 11, 2009, 7:30 PM
Introduced by curator Chris D. with reception and book signing

Japan Society just announced their new Monthly Classics film series and it looks like it's oging to be a super-blast! Expect advance reviews of many of the films here at AsianCineFest. In the meanwhile, here's extensive info about the series.

New York -- Japan Society's latest Monthly Classics film series The Double-Edged Sword: The Chambara Films of Shintaro Katsu & Raizo Ichikawa pays tribute to two Japanese screen legends in their most respected, representative and stylish chambara (sword fighting) films. Curated by film expert and author Chris D. (Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film), the series features 9 films slated to be screened monthly from December 2009 through May 2010. The opening night screening Samurai Vendetta takes place Friday, December 11 at 7:30 pm, and is followed by a reception and book signing. (Opening night tickets including reception are $15/$10 members, students & seniors; all subsequent screenings are $11/$7.)

Macho cool had two faces in Japanese cinema from the 1960s: Daiei Studios’ cult stars Shintaro Katsu (1931-1997) and Raizo Ichikawa (1931-1969). The actors dominated postwar genre films in Japan, projecting a disparate duality of masculine mystique. The earthy Katsu played the affable anti-idol rogue, unpredictable onscreen (and off), while ethereal, coolly enigmatic Ichikawa was considered the "James Dean of Japan." Beyond their differences, both stars instilled in their roles a poisonous poetry and existential angst that lifted their art into genre-transcending territory.

The Double-Edged Sword film series offers seminal works from each actor's arsenal chambara epics. Popular films such as Samurai Vendetta and three choice selections from the Zatoichi series are coupled with the surreal Destiny’s Son and art house film Scar Yosaburo. The series also presents Nemuri Kyoshiro's At Bay: The Sword of Seduction and Kenji Misumi's little known masterpiece The Devil’s Temple for the first time in 35 mm on the big screen with English subtitles.

With 2009 marking the 40th anniversary of Ichikawa’s death, The Double-Edged Sword series also anticipates the centennial of legendary director Akira Kurosawa in 2010. Samuel Jamier, newly appointed film programmer at Japan Society, notes, "While the Kurosawa/Mifune collaborations have long been consecrated as examples of ultimate samurai films, this retrospective series gives the occasion to unearth cinematic treasures that are too often overlooked, exposing an entire movement that took place parallel to Kurosawa and Cie."

Chambara designates a category of films that involve swordplay. Alternately romanized as chanbara, the label is an onomatopoeia, mimicking the "chan-chan, bara-bara" sound of clashing swords. The origin of chambara can be traced back to dramatized sword fights in kabuki dramas. Some of the earliest silent films in Japan were chambara with elaborate, balletic fight scenes. The genre reached maturity in the 1960s (many critics and fans describe that period as the golden age of chambara). The central figure in chambara films is the swordsman, who could be a samurai (often a ronin–a masterless samurai), ninja, or yakuza, always armed and dangerous. Chambara is part of the jidai-geki genre (period drama) and includes the matatabi sub-genre (wanderer or drifter that becomes a gambler).

“The chambara genre… was one of the central vehicles by which Japan would reexamine its culture and values in light of its new postwar, post-imperial role," notes Allen White, in his essay “A Man, a Blade, an Empty Road: Postwar Samurai Film to 1970” (GreenCine). "Chambara not only recycled and redefined Japanese history; it also used it as a thinly-coded metaphor for present-day struggles." Today, with anime reaching a peak of popularity in the U.S., many of the most popular series among young Americans--from Samurai Champloo to Afro-Samurai—are based on and inspired by old chambara movies.

THE DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD Screening Schedule:

Friday, December 11, 2009, 7:30 pm
Samurai Vendetta (A.K.A A Chronicle of Pale Cherry Blossoms)
**Opening screening with curator Chris D., reception and book signing

Friday, Jan. 22, 2010, 7:30 pm
Zatoichi, the Fugitive

Friday, Feb. 19, 2010, 7:30 pm
Destiny’s Son

Saturday, March 20, 2010
5:00 pm Zatoichi On the Road (A.K.A Zatoichi and the Scoundrels)
7:00 pm: Scar Yosaburo

Saturday, April 24, 2010
5:00 pm: New Tale of Zatoichi
7:00 pm: Nemuri Kyoshiro At Bay: The Sword of Seduction (A.K.A. Sleepy Eyes of Death 4)

Friday, May, 2010
5:00 pm: The Lone Stalker (A.K.A. Lone Wolf Isazo)
7:00 pm: The Devil’s Temple

THE DOUBLE EDGED SWORD Screening Details & Descriptions:

Samurai Vendetta (Hakuoki)
Friday, December 11, 2009 at 7:30 pm
**Opening screening introduced by series curator Chris D., with reception and book signing.
1959, 109 min., 16mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Kazuo Mori. With Raizo Ichikawa, Shintaro Katsu, Chitose Maki.

A unique take on the 47 Ronin story, this epic film propelled Shintaro Katsu to superstardom alongside then-reigning Raizo Ichikawa. Betrayal, dishonor and death imbue this tragic tale of two swordsmen whose clans are embroiled in a blood feud and who vie for the same woman. The film is also known as A Chronicle of Pale Cherry Blossoms.

Zatoichi, the Fugitive (Zatoichi kyojo-tabi)
Friday, January 22, 2010 at 7:30 pm
1963, 86 min., 35 mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Tokuzo Tanaka. With Shintaro Katsu, Miwa Takada, Misayo Banri, Junichiro Narita, Katsuhiko Kobayashi.

As the iconic blind masseur Zatoichi, Katsu enters this fourth--and one of the most acclaimed--episode of the saga with a bounty on his head. Soon he is up to his neck slicing and dicing through a throng of yakuza thugs, fending off a long-lost love and battling a ruthless rogue samurai for hire.

Destiny’s Son (Kiru)
Friday, February 19, 2010 at 7:30 pm
1962, 71 min., 16 mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Kenji Misumi. With Raizo Ichikawa, Eijiro Yanagi, Yoshio Inaba, Masayo Banri.

In director Kenji Misumi’s breakthrough film, Ichikawa seeks revenge and redemption after his family is murdered by a rival clan. An astonishing, dreamlike samurai film written by Kaneto Shindo, Destiny’s Son is a demonic masterpiece--designed with quasi-expressionist artistry, awash with surreal landscapes, and subsumed in an otherworldly beauty that fuses Zen and sword.

Zatoichi On the Road: Fighting Journey (Zatoichi kenka-tabi)
Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 5:00 pm
1963, 87 minutes, 35mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Kimiyoshi Yasuda. With Shintaro Katsu, Reiko Fujiwara, Shiho Fujimura.

Also known as Zatoichi and the Scoundrels, chapter five of the Blind Swordsman saga, Zatoichi encounters a dying man who asks him to deliver the maiden O-Mitsu to her family. Feeling honor-bound to fulfill the request, the canesword-wielding masseur goes on a perilous journey and soon finds himself caught between rival gangs competing to kidnap his beautiful protégée for a ransom.

Scar Yosaburo (Kirare Yosaburo)
Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 7:00 pm
1960, 94 min., 35mm, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Daisuke Ito. With Raizo Ichikawa, Manami Fuji, Keiko Awaji.

A band of yakuza ruffians mutilate the face of an actor after he is caught with the gang boss’ mistress. A misty, moonlit tale from the kabuki repertoire and a stirring classic of the most artful category of samurai films, zankoku jidai-geki (cruel historicals).

New Tale of Zatoichi (Shin Zatoichi monogatari)
Saturday April 24, 2010 at 5:00 pm
1963, 91 min, 35mm, in English with Japanese subtitles. Directed by Tokuzo Tanaka. With Shintaro Katsu, Mikiko Tsubouchi, Seizaburo Kawazu.

Returning to his hometown in the hope of laying down his cane-sword and renouncing the wayward ways of his hack-and-slash life, Zatoichi reunites with his former sensei in the throes of his own moral dilemma. Trouble ensues as a mysterious gang of marauders ravages the town, a fellow drifter thirsty for revenge lurks in the shadows, and a forbidden love threatens to stand between Ichi and his beloved mentor.

Nemuri Kyoshiro At Bay: The Sword of Seduction (Nemuri Kyoshiro Joyo Ken)
Saturday April 24, 2010 at 7:00 pm
1964, 87 min., 35mm, in Japanese, presented for the first time in the U.S. with new digital subtitles. Directed by Kazuo Ikehiro. With Raizo Ichikawa, Michiko Ai, Akira Amemiya, Shinjiro Asano, Saburo Date, and Tomisaburo Wakayama.

Widely considered to be the strongest entry in the wonderfully perverse and violent samurai Nemuri saga, The Sword of Seduction finds the shadowy outcast mixed up in a labyrinthine intrigue involving persecuted Christians, opium smuggling, a drug-addled princess, and a search for a holy Madonna. Also known as Sleepy Eyes of Death 4, half-breed warrior Kyoshiro Nemuri (“Sleepy-Eyed”), the other most popular swordsman of all time alongside Zatoichi, and the self-proclaimed "Son of the Black Mask," was the archetypal anti-hero: dark, romantic and desperate.

Lone Wolf Isazo (Hitori Okami)
Friday, May 14, 2010 at 5:00 pm
1968, 83 min., 35mm, color, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Kazuo Ikehiro. With Raizo Ichikawa, Isamu Nagato, Mayumi Ogawa.

Also known as The Lone Stalker, the epitome of the matatabi (samurai gambler) movie, Lone Wolf Isazo ranks as one of Ichikawa’s most spectacular performances. Employing flashbacks within flashbacks and a brooding romantic style poised somewhere between Budd Boetticher and early Sergio Leone, director Kazuo Ikehiro charts Isazo’s descent from chivalrous naïf to vengeance-obsessed cynical wanderer, giving a definitive chronicle of the loneliness the character faces.

The Devil's Temple (Oni no Sumu Yakata)
Friday, May 14, 2010 at 7:00 pm
1969, 76 min., 35 mm, in Japanese, presented for the first time in the U.S. with new digital subtitles. Directed by Kenji Misumi. With Shintaro Katsu, Hideko Takamine, Michiyo Aratama, Kei Sato.

In this little known Kenji Misumi masterpiece, an abandoned temple nestled in the mountains is the scene of a fateful encounter between a Buddhist monk, two women in love with the same man, and a fallen samurai (Katsu, at his most ferocious). As destinies collide, it appears that not just the lives of the quartet are at stake, but their very souls.


Chris D. (aka Chris Desjardins) is the author of Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film (2005, I.B. Tauris), which features essays and interviews with Japanese genre film directors from the '60s to the '90s. He recently completed work on two forthcoming books: an exhaustive study of yakuza films titled Gun And Sword – An Encyclopedia of Japanese Gangster Films 1955-1980, and an anthology of prose and poetry entitled A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die (New Texture Books, due Dec. 9). Chris worked as a film programmer at The American Cinematheque in Los Angeles 1999-2005 and was the main programmer of the Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theatre from 2006-09. Chris was also a singer/songwriter/producer for The Flesh Eaters and Divine Horsemen between 1978 and 2003. As an actor, Chris has appeared in Border Radio (1987), No Way Out (1987), Tweeked (1999) and Double Deception (2001). I Pass For Human (2004) was his feature film debut behind the camera. Japan Society's presentation of The Double-Edged Sword is an updated edition of a series he presented in Los Angeles in 2002.

The Japan Society Film Program offers a diverse selection of Japanese films, from classics to contemporary independent productions. Its aim is to entertain, educate and support activities in the Society's Arts & Culture programs. The Film Program has included retrospectives of great directors, thematic series and many U.S. premieres. Some original film series curated by Japan Society have traveled to other U.S. venues in tours organized by the Film Program. Since 2007, the Program has presented the annual summer JAPAN CUTS Festival of New Japanese Film in collaboration with the New York Asian Film Festival. The Monthly Classics series are yearly events inviting guest curators to organize film series with once-a-month screenings.

Established in 1907, Japan Society has evolved into North America's major producer of high-quality content on Japan for an English-speaking audience. Presenting over 100 events annually through well established Corporate, Education, Film, Gallery, Language, Lectures, Performing Arts and Innovators Network programs, the Society is an internationally recognized nonprofit, nonpolitical organization that provides access to information on Japan, offers opportunities to experience Japanese culture, and fosters sustained and open dialogue on issues important to the U.S., Japan, and East Asia.

Tickets for regular screenings in The Doubled-Edged Sword series are $11/$7 members, students & seniors; the Dec. 11 opening night screening including reception is $15/$10. Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street between First and Second avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 at 42nd Street-Grand Central Station or the E and V at Lexington Avenue and 53rd St.) For reservations visit www.japansociety.org or call the box office at 212-715-1258. For further information call 212-832-1155 or visit the website.

Japan Society 2009-10 Film Programs are generously supported by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Endowment Fund. Additional support is provided by the Globus Family, Yoshiko and Tim Schilt, David S. Howe, Dr. Tatsuji Namba, Joshua S. Levine and Nozomi Terao, and the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

ACF 421: More VIZ Holiday Gift Ideas


VIZ Media completes several recent announcements about some of the hottest anime and manga releases for kids, teens and adults – all available in time for the holidays – with a spotlight on a few other noteworthy gift ideas.

These include a 2010 subscription to North America’s leading monthly manga magazine - SHONEN JUMP – now available at a special low holiday rate that is 50% off cover price. Other releases include STARTING POINT: 1979-1996, a collection of biographical essays and interviews by and about Hayao Miyazaki, one of Japan's most beloved animation directors, as well as a new art book for his latest film, PONYO. The latest two Japanese science fiction novels – USURPER OF THE SUN and ZOO – are also new from VIZ Media’s Haikasoru imprint.


Give the gift of SHONEN JUMP (12 HUGE issues) at a special LOW HOLIDAY RATE of only $29.95 (Canadian price: $41.95), a 50% off the cover price. Subscribers also receive 2 free YU-GI-OH! cards – Genesis Dragon and Orichalcos Shunoros – with each paid subscription. Please allow 6 - 8 weeks for delivery.

STARTING POINT: 1979-1996 · MSRP of $29.99 U.S. / $34.99 CAN · Available Now

This insightful collection of essays covers the first half of director and Studio Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki’s legendary career, during which he rose from humble beginnings to create some of the most-loved animated features ever made, including Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind, Castle In The Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Porco Rosso. A fitting introduction is offered by John Lasseter, the Chief Creative Officer at Pixar and Walt Disney.

THE ART OF PONYO · MSRP: $34.99 U.S. / $39.99 CAN · Available Now

A comprehensive softcover edition featuring striking watercolor and pastel concept sketches and layout pages from the film, as well as interviews with production principals and the complete screenplay to give an inside look at the entire creative process behind PONYO, the acclaimed film from Hayao Miyazaki. The movie is a wondrously imaginative retelling of the timeless Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Little Mermaid,” starring a little fish-girl named Ponyo, whose father happens to be a great sorcerer of the seas.

ZOO by Otsuichi · MSRP: $13.99 U.S. / CAN $16.00 · Available Now

ZOO presents eleven tales of dark fantasy and science fiction by one of Japan’s hottest authors. "The White Hut in the Forest" is the story of a man with a hole in his head and a charming home made from some strange materials. "Song of the Sunny Spot" is a rendition of the classic story of the Earth's last man...and his charming companion. And in the book’s eponymous tale, a man sees his dead girlfriend’s corpse decompose, one gristly Polaroid snapshot at a time. ZOO sold over 740,000 copies in Japan and was also turned into a successful Japanese film.

USURPER OF THE SUN by Housuke Nojiri · MSRP: $15.99 U.S. / CAN $18.99 · Available Now

Aki Shiraishi is a high school student working in the astronomy club and one of the few witnesses to an amazing event—a mysterious tower being built on the planet Mercury. Soon after, the enigmatic Builders construct a ring around the sun, and the ecology of Earth is threatened by its immense shadow. Aki is inspired to pursue a career in science, and the truth. She must determine the purpose of the ring and the plans of its creators, as the survival of both humanity and the alien Builders hang in the balance. A compelling new hard science fiction novel, USURPER OF THE SUN won a coveted Seiun Award in 2002 for Best Science Fiction Novel of the Year.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

ACF 420: "Scream Scenes" iPhone/iTouch app from Mill Creek Entertainment


Collection of “Screams and Scenes” From 16 Classic Horror Films Including Night of the Living Dead, House On Haunted Hill, Little Shop of Horrors and More Available Now in the iTunes Store!

I know it's not Asian, but this sounds like a really neat iPhone/iTouch app that many of you readers would like to know about. Unfortunately, I only have a 1st generation iTouch, and it requires at least a 2nd gen iTouch. So I can't review it. Check it out yourself at the iTunes App Store.

The scary season doesn’t have to end with Halloween! Kitchy and fun vintage horror moments are being celebrated by Mill Creek Entertainment with the release of “Scream Scenes”, a scary and spooky application for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Mill Creek, a recognized leader in value entertainment, has developed “Scream Scenes,” featuring audio and video clips from 16 of the most frighteningly fantastic classic horror films which can be found in Mill Creek Entertainment’s Horror Classics 50 Movie DVD collection. Featuring screams and scenes from such beloved horror films including Night of the Living Dead, House on Haunted Hill, Little Shop of Horrors and 13 more! The application is available now on iTunes for the low price of $0.99.

“Scream Scenes” users will be able to select multiple screams at once to create their own montage of terrifying sounds as well as view a scary video clip from each of the legendary horror movies. As an added bonus, this application features a TIMER feature where users can select a scream, set the delay time and wait patiently to scare their friends silly. With just a few clicks, iPhone and iPod Touch owners can download and enjoy the spine-tingling, ear-shattering, blood-curdling screams and scenes from the greatest classic horror movies of all time.

“Audiences today want to access movie content in a variety of original ways, and experience it through different applications,” says Ian Warfield, President and COO of Mill Creek Entertainment. “As we’ve expanded outside of the DVD marketplace, we noticed an exploding demand for film content. The addition of these applications to our product line significantly strengthens our position as a producer of high-quality entertainment.”

About Mill Creek Entertainment
Mill Creek Entertainment is a source of value home video entertainment. Helmed by a management team with over eighty years of experience in the consumer home entertainment marketplace, the company produces entertainment products that typically sell in quantity, at impulse price-points, while adhering to high standards of quality unsurpassed in the industry. The Mill Creek product line encompasses many genres, speaks to broad consumer tastes and has found favor with both North American and emerging Latin markets. The company's DVD product line consists of classic movies, television episodes, historical documentaries and feature films.

About 3 Sixty Software
3 Sixty Software, LLC (3SixtySoftware.com) specializes in designing and developing innovative audio, video and digital media applications for the iPhone and iPod touch platforms. With over 20 applications published in Apple's App Store, 3 Sixty Software is a leader in guiding companies to create compelling content for mobile devices. 3 Sixty Software is based in Minneapolis, MN.

ACF 419: VIZ announces manga for kids holiday offerings


VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) has a fun variety of age-appropriate titles based on popular anime and manga (graphic novel) properties that will delight younger fans (as well as their parents) this holiday season.

The releases include a trio of books capturing the unique art and tender story of PONYO, the new animated film from the legendary Hayao Miyazaki. Fans of POKÉMON won’t be disappointed with a variety of the latest manga editions along with puzzle books and a new posterzine, and THE LEGEND OF ZELDA fans can also look forward to a brand new manga adventure.

“These are all titles that parents can select with confidence for younger readers,” says Gonzalo Ferreyra Vice President, Sales & Marketing, VIZ Media “From the gorgeously illustrated PONYO FILM COMIC and PICTURE BOOK, to the fun puzzles of LET’S FIND POKÉMON and the magical fantasy of THE LEGEND OF ZELDA, there are plenty of thoughtful selections to delight anyone on your holiday gift lists this year!”

PONYO FILM COMICs, Volumes 1-4 · Rated ‘A’ For All Ages · MSRP: $9.99 US / $11.50 CAN each

From the Academy Award®-winning director and world-renowned Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki comes PONYO, a story inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale “The Little Mermaid.” A box-office success when it was released by Walt Disney Studios earlier this year, the film tells the story of a young and overeager goldfish named Ponyo and her quest to become human. The official 4-volume film comic of PONYO re-tells the film’s story with vivid full-color frames.

PONYO PICTURE BOOK · Rated ‘A’ For All Ages · MSRP: $19.99 US / $23.50 CAN

The colorful and easy-to-read PONYO Picture Book is a fabulous hardcover edition that will appeal especially to younger readers. The book uses the vividly colored animation cel art from the feature film combined with simplified text to retell the story of Ponyo and her adventures in the human world.

THE ART OF PONYO • Rated ‘A’ for All Ages • MSRP: $34.99 U.S. / $39.99 CAN

A comprehensive soft cover edition that features striking watercolor and pastel concept sketches and layout pages from the film, as well as interviews with production principals and the complete screenplay to give an inside look at the entire creative process behind PONYO.

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA, Volume 8 · Rated ‘A’ For All Ages · MSRP: $7.99 US / $9.99 CAN

Enjoy the newest adventure in the official manga series based on the popular Nintendo video game.

POKÉMON POSTERZINE · Rated ‘A’ For All Ages · MSRP: $9.99 US / $9.99 CAN

Packed with 11 full color fold-out posters, this large (16” x 22”) edition is a must-have for any fan of Pikachu and his friends. A variety of favorite POKÉMON Platinum characters, from Pikachu and Piplup to Chimchar and Turtwig, are all featured.

LET’S FIND POKÉMON! RUBY & SAPPHIRE · Rated ‘A’ For All Ages · MSRP: $11.99 US / $13.99 CAN

Look for Pikachu hiding among a variety of colorful puzzles and other games. Fun for adults too!

POKÉMON ADVENTURES, Vol. 3 · Rated ‘A’ For All Ages · MSRP: $7.99 US / $9.99 CAN

This is the latest volume in the exciting POKÉMON manga series.

POKÉMON DIAMOND & PEARL ADVENTURE!, Vol. 5 · Rated ‘A’ For All Ages · MSRP: $7.99 US / $9.99 CAN

Check out the latest volume in the exciting POKÉMON DIAMOND & PEARL manga series.

For information on VIZ Media titles, please visit www.VIZ.com.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ACF 418: VIZ Anime DVD Holiday Releases

(C) 2009 Pokémon
(C) 1997-2009 Nintendo, Creatures, GAME FREAK, TV Tokyo, Shopro, JR Kikaku.
Pokémon properties are trademarks of Nintendo.


Punk Rock Romance, Psychological Crime Dramas, Soul Reapers, Ninja, College Life And Pokémon Among New Box Set Releases

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) has announced a variety of hot new anime titles that will top many wish lists this year.

New releases include box set debuts of two of the most anticipated new series to hit North America – NANA, HONEY AND CLOVER and NAOKI URASAWA’s MONSTER. BLEACH and NARUTO fans can both look forward to the release of new feature films as well as episodic box sets. Finally, fans and shoppers alike can round out their holiday gift lists with a fun variety of new POKÉMON releases to delight young and older audiences!

“We have lots of buzz-worthy titles coming out in time for the holidays,” says Brian Ige, VIZ Media Director of Sales, Home Entertainment. “There’s something here for everyone this year, ranging from kids to teens and adults, and makes a fun way to animate the holidays!”

NAOKI URASAWa’s monster Box Set 1 ·

Rated ‘M’ For Mature Audiences · MSRP: $59.90 U.S. / $85.99 CAN · Available December 8th

MONSTER is based on a critically acclaimed manga (graphic novel) series by Naoki Urasawa that is also published in North America by VIZ Media (rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens). What would you do if a child you saved grew up to be a Monster? An ice-cold killer is on the loose, and Dr. Kenzo Tenma is the only one who can stop him! Tenma, a brilliant neurosurgeon with a promising future, risks his career to save the life of a critically wounded young boy named Johan. When the boy, now a coldhearted and charismatic young man, reappears nine years later in the midst of a string of unusual serial murders, Tenma must go on the run to uncover the story of Johan and stop the Monster he set loose upon the world. Conspiracies, serial murders, and secret government experiments set against the grim backdrop of the former East Germany are masterfully woven together in this compelling psychological drama. The anime is being broadcasted on the Syfy channel.

For more information on the MONSTER anime visit monster.viz.com.

NANA Box Set Vol. 2 · Rated ‘M’ For Mature Audiences ·

MSRP: $59.90 U.S. / $85.99 CAN · Available November 24th

NANA is the animated counterpart to the smash hit manga series by Ai Yazawa that has sold more than 43 million copies in Japan. Careers, friendship, love--can two bright young women named Nana manage to have it all? Nana K.'s Tokyo experiment is in jeopardy when she finds herself strapped for cash and her relationship with Shoji on uncertain ground. Nana O.'s love life takes an unexpected turn when she's reunited with her old flame, Ren from Trapnest. With such a close connection to her favorite band, will Nana K. get to meet the man of her dreams--Takumi? Sometimes dreams do come true...Includes Episodes 12-22.

Don’t miss the manga series, also published by VIZ Media!

HONEY AND CLOVER BOX SET 2 · Rated ‘T+’ For Older Teens ·
MSRP: $59.90 U.S. / $85.99 CAN · Available December 15th

Can life's answers be found where the road ends?

Shinobu has disappeared to America, leaving both Yuta and Hagumi with very mixed feelings. But talk about mixed up! If Takumi's feelings are so tied up with Rika, why is he tied up in knots over his coworker Nomiya's romantic pursuit of Ayumi? Plus, senior projects are getting everyone down, but none more than Yuta, who in a sudden burst of reckless abandon takes off on his bicycle on an epic journey of self-discovery...Ah, the enthusiasm of youth! Includes episodes 13-24. For more information on HONEY AND CLOVER visit honeyandclover.viz.com.

New BLEACH Releases Include:


Rated ‘T’ For Teens · MSRP: $29.92 U.S. / $42.99 CAN · Available Now!

Adapted from the wildly popular animated series and best-selling BLEACH manga series by acclaimed Japanese creator, Tite Kubo (both distributed and published in North America by VIZ Media), the animated feature film BLEACH THE MOVIE 2: The DiamondDust Rebellion continues the action-packed adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki. After the treasured Ouin is stolen, Toshiro Hitsugaya disappears and becomes suspected of treason. When the Soul Society calls for his capture and execution, Substitute Soul Reaper Ichigo Kurosaki vows to prove Hitsugaya's innocence. Will the secret of the Ouin and Captain Hitsugaya's motives be revealed before his honor, his life, and the Soul Society are destroyed? For fans of the popular manga and anime series, this is definitely an adventure not to be missed!

BLEACH UNCUT BOX SET 4, Part 1 · Rated ‘T’ For Teens ·

MSRP: $49.95 U.S. / $71.99 CAN · Available Now!

Ichigo and his friends return from the Soul Society to the World of the Living and try to resume their normal lives. But when strange abductions start happening, it's up to them to solve the riddle. More Soul Reapers arrive to help uncover the truth behind a mysterious clan known as Bounts. Will these allies be strong enough to stop the Bount leader from stealing human souls and feeding his dangerous ambition? Contains episodes: 64-79 (Original and Uncut.)

For more information on the BLEACH anime visit Bleach.viz.com.

New NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Releases Include:

The NARUTO SHIPPUDEN animated series picks up two years after Naruto left to train with his teacher and mentor Jiraiya. Now a teenager, the stories in the new series take a more mature and sometimes darker approach as Naruto returns to the Hidden Leaf Village to reunite with his old friends and discover that they are stronger than before – and maybe even stronger than he is! Catch the adventures of the world’s most popular ninja in three new episodic DVD box sets!

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Vol. 1 · Rated ‘T+’ For Older Teens ·

MSRP: $24.92 U.S. / $35.99 CAN · Available Now!

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Vol. 2 · Rated ‘T+’ For Older Teens · MSRP: $24.92 U.S. / $35.99 CAN · Available Now!

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Vol. 3 · Rated ‘T+’ For Older Teens · MSRP: $24.92 U.S. / $35.99 CAN · Available November 24th

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: THE MOVIE · Rated ‘T+’ For Older Teens · MSRP: $24.92 U.S. / $35.99 CAN · Available Now!

In the newest animated adventure, which is the first NARUTO SHIPPUDEN movie series, a powerful spirit that once threatened to destroy the world is back! Naruto’s mission is to protect a priestess named Shion, who is the only one with the power to seal away the monster. She also has the uncanny ability to predict someone’s fate, and her latest prophecy is that Naruto will die. His only hope is to abandon Shion, but that’s not Naruto’s style. He decides to challenge her prediction head on, but it may very well cost the young ninja’s life!

For more information on NARUTO SHIPPUDEN please visit Naruto.viz.com.

New POKÉMON Releases Include:


Rated ‘A’ For All Ages · MSRP: $14.98ea U.S. / $21.99ea CAN ·

Available Now!

The episodes of POKÉMON: Diamond and Pearl Battle Dimension Box Set 3 split into two standard disc editions.


Rated ‘A’ For All Ages · MSRP: $24.92 U.S. / $35.99 CAN ·

Available Now!

Villainy is afoot as Ash and friends continue their journey through the Sinnoh region. But first they'll have to graduate from the Pokémon Summer Academy! Will they learn to handle Team Rocket's newfound moxie, or Pokémon Hunter J's latest poaching scheme? Ash also gets to take on the Hawthorne City Gym Leader, but first he's going to have to deal with a new rival, Barry! And if Dawn thought the Celestic Town Pokémon Contest was a challenge, things really heat up when Team Galactic rolls into town!

POKÉMON ELEMENTS: DARK · Rated ‘A’ For All Ages ·

MSRP: $9.98 U.S. / $14.99 CAN · Available November 24th

POKÉMON ELEMENTS: ICE · Rated ‘A’ For All Ages ·

MSRP: $9.98 U.S. / $14.99 CAN · Available November 24th

Following the POKÉMON All Star series set, the POKÉMON: ELEMENTS collection consists of the most important episodes commemorating the different types of Pokémon characters. Each disc showcases a Pokémon type with three all-time favorite episodes.

For more information on POKÉMON and other VIZ KIDS titles visit www.vizkids.com.

To purchase visit Store.viz.com.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

ACF 417: More Manga Gift Ideas From VIZ




VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) spotlights an inventive variety of manga (graphic novels) that are sure to delight both gift givers and recipients this holiday season with adventure, action, mystery, vampires and more.

“We’re offering up the best of the best just in time for the holidays,” says Gonzalo Ferreyra, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, VIZ Media. “There are new series from manga heavyweights like Taiyo Matsumoto with GOGO Monster, and Rumiko Takahashi with her newest creation, RIN-NE and many more. For new and familiar fans alike, or perhaps for ones who simply love good stories with exquisite art, any of these titles will make an especially unique gift to fit almost any budget this year.”

VIZ Signature Manga Releases Include:

Children of the Sea, Vol. 1 (available now) and Vol. 2 (available December 15) · Rated ‘T+’ For Older Teens · MSRP: $14.99 U.S. each / $17.50 CAN each

When Ruka was younger, she saw a ghost in the water at the aquarium where her dad works. Now she feels drawn toward the aquarium and the two mysterious boys she meets there, Umi and Sora. They were raised by dugongs and hear the same strange calls from the sea as she does. Ruka’s dad and the other adults who work at the aquarium are only distantly aware of what the children are experiencing as they get caught up in the mystery of the worldwide disappearance of the oceans’ fish. CHILDREN OF THE SEA is a surreal and riveting aquatic adventure from Daisuke Igarashi. Igarashi was given the Award of Excellence by the Japan Cartoonists Association in 2009.

GOGO Monster · Rated ‘T’ For Teens · MSRP: $27.99 U.S. / $36.00 CAN

Third grader Yuki Tachibana lives in two worlds. In one world, he is a loner ridiculed by his classmates and reprimanded by his teachers for telling stories of supernatural beings that only he can see. In the other world, the supernatural beings vie for power with malevolent spirits who bring chaos into the school, the students' lives, and even nature itself. This story continues to show creator Taiyo Matsumoto’s fascination with youth as he seamlessly blends themes of alienation with the paranormal as a boy in first grade contends with events in both the physical world and the spirit realm. Taiyo Matsumoto’s other works, such as BLUE SPRING, NO. 5, and TEKKONKINKREET: BLACK & WHITE (all published in North America by VIZ Media), have won tremendous international acclaim. TEKKONKINKREET won a prestigious Will Eisner Award in 2008, and was also adapted for an animated feature film.

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD!, Vols. 1-2 · Rated ‘T+’ For Older Teens · MSRP: $12.99 each U.S. / $16.00 each CAN

A poignant 2-volume collection of intersecting vignettes depicting twenty-something angst, WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD! explores the various ways that modern life can be at once ridiculous and sublime, terrible and precious, wasted and celebrated. In Volume 1, what begins with a college dropout bored of her mediocre routine soon becomes a fantastic series of stories about the unexpected ways that different lives intersect. Filled with magical realism in the face of the cold reality of daily modern life, at their core these stories are about young people discovering something precious amidst the chaos of existence. Volume 2 continues to explore similar themes including the cruelty of childhood, the delusion of adulthood, the endurance of death and how people find a way to remain resolute and laugh in the face of reality. Fans of everything from Catcher in the Rye to The Breakfast Club will find this series an impressive and heartfelt read!

SHONEN SUNDAY Manga Releases Include:

RIN-NE, Vol. 1 · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens · MSRP: $9.99 US / $12.99 CAN

RIN-NE is the brand new series from celebrated manga creator Rumiko Takahashi (INUYASHA). As a child Sakura Mamiya mysteriously disappeared in the woods behind her grandma’s home. She returned whole and healthy, but since then she has had the power to see ghosts. Now a teenager, she just wishes the ghosts would leave her alone! At school, the desk next to Sakura’s has been empty since the start of the school year, then one day her always-absent classmate shows up, and he’s far more than what he seems!

INUYASHA (VIZBIG), Vol. 1· Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens · MSRP: $17.99 US / $24.00 CAN

Rumiko Takahashi’s epic manga adventure INUYASHA is given an omnibus VIZBIG treatment that combines the first three volumes of the smash hit series. Pulled back in time to Japan's ancient past, Japanese high school girl Kagome finds her destiny linked to a dog-like half-demon named Inuyasha, who remembers Kagome's previous incarnation as the woman who killed him - and to the Shikon Jewel, or "Jewel of Four Souls," which can fulfill the greatest dreams of any man or monster. Now Kagome and Inuyasha must work together to search for the scattered shards of the jewel before everyone's nightmares are given the power they need to come true.

To learn more about Rumiko Takahashi and her body of work, visit her official website for North America at www.TheRumicWorld.com.


YU-GI-OH! R (C) 2004 by Kazuki Takahashi, Akira Ito/SHUEISHA Inc.

YU-GO-OH! r, Vol. 1 (available now) and Vol. 2 (available December 1) · Rated ‘T’ for Teens · MSRP: $9.99 US / $12.99 CAN

YU-GI-OH! R is the shocking sequel to Yu-Gi-Oh!: Duelist and the prequel to Yu-Gi-Oh!: Millennium World. When the follower of an old enemy returns to take revenge, Yugi Mutou must duel to save a friend's life. But can he overcome the power of the three "Jashin," the terrifying Evil God Cards? Creator Kazuki Takahashi built an action-packed adventure based on themes of friendship and fighting, and combined lots of weird and imaginative monsters to make YU-GI-OH! The international smash hit that spawned a real-world card game, multiple video games, and three anime series. Bonus trading card in the first print run.

TEGAMI BACHI: LETTER BEE, Vol. 1 · Rated ‘T’ for Teens · MSRP: $7.99 US / $9.50 CAN

In a land of perpetual night, your heart is your light. In this imaginative steampunk adventure, Amberground is locked in darkness. A man-made star casts only a dim light over the land. The pitch-black wilderness is infested with Gaichuu—colossal insects with metal exoskeletons. The Gaichuu make travel between the cities of Amberground extremely dangerous. But thankfully the Letter Bees, a brave corps of messengers, risk their lives in order to keep the hearts of Amberground connected.

ROSARIO+VAMPIRE, Vol. 10 · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens · MSRP: $9.99 US / $12.99 CAN

This is the concluding volume of the hit series that has become a national bestseller! All around teenager Tsukune can’t get accepted to any high school, save one… but on his first day, he finds the rest of the rest of the student body doesn’t appear average in the least. Best of all, the cutest girl on campus can’t wait to fling her arms around his neck! Wait a sec’ – are those her teeth around his neck too? Tsukune’s going to have one heck of a hickey when he gets home from Monster Hugh! But does he have a chance in hell of raising his grades at a school where turf war isn’t between jocks and nerds, but between vampires and werewolves?

DEATH NOTE: L change the WorLd Novel · MSRP: $19.99 US / $24.00 CAN

DEATH NOTE: L, change the WorLd introduces the unwritten chapter of DEATH NOTE and reveals how the legendary detective “L” (Kenichi Matsuyama) spends the final 23 days of his life. The story begins as L takes on the “Kira” case, in which countless criminals are dying under mysterious circumstances. L successfully solves the case and stops Kira, but only after sacrificing his life, leaving himself with only 23 days left to live. For his final case, L faces down a bio-terrorist group trying to wipe out humanity with a deadly virus ten times more potent than Ebola. As L tries to formulate an antidote with a scientist, he must also save the lives of two children who have no one else to turn to.

The DEATH NOTE novel features the same format as the original Japanese printing with a hardcover and clear acetate jacket with metallic ink. DEATH NOTE is one of VIZ Media’s Top 5 bestselling properties, with over 1 million copies of the manga sold in the U.S. The character of L is extremely popular with fans and has inspired various products such as apparel and stationery as well as spinoff novels and two live action DEATH NOTE films (available from VIZ Pictures).

For more information on these titles, and others from VIZ Media, visit www.Viz.com.

Monday, November 16, 2009

ACF 416: 3 episodes of KBS TV's "Korean Ghost Stories" at The Korea Society

Korean Ghost Stories
Classic Korean TV Series Comes to the U.S.

Thursday, November 19 and Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Korea Society
950 Third Avenue @ 57th Street, 8th Floor
(Building entrance on SW corner of 3rd Ave. and 57th St.)

Since 1977, KBS’ television series Korean Ghost Stories (a.k.a. Hometown of Legend) has thrilled Korean audiences with spooky tales of the supernatural. Join the members of The Korea Society as we screen three hour-long episodes of this perennial Korean favorite on Thursday, November 19, and Thursday, December 17.

Often drawn from ancient folklore, these tales of tortured ghosts and supernatural curses have a uniquely Korean flavor, as women, forced by Confucian culture into subservient roles, return from the dead to take revenge on the men who caused them misery. The tales also touch on Korean attitudes towards justice, suggesting that the duty of the powerful to protect the powerless transcends even the grave.

Screening Schedule:

Series Introduction by Prof. Heinz Insu Fenkl and screening of Nine-Tailed Fox
Thursday, November 19, 2009 @ 6:30 PM

Author, mythology scholar, and director of the Interstitial Studies Institute at SUNY New Paltz, Professor Heinz Insu Fenkl will introduce Korean Ghost Stories with a talk on the show’s important connections to Korean folklore and culture.

The series will then begin with Nine-Tailed Fox (starring Park Min-young, Kim Ha-eun, and Kim Tae-ho), the story of the Lee family's attempt to ensure its prosperity for generations through a deal with a malevolent spirit. However, the family’s peace begins to fall apart when their youngest daughter uncovers the dark secret.

Screening of Haunted House and The Reincarnated Princess
Thursday, December 17, 2009 – 6:30 PM

The second installment of Korean Ghost Stories features two spine-tingling episodes. In Haunted House (starring Lee Duck-hwa, Lee Min-woo, and Yoo Hye-jung), the ghost of a young woman haunts the family members who sold her into a life of corruption, and two sisters return from the grave to seduce and punish the men who killed them in The Reincarnated Princess (starring Lee Jin, Kang Sung-min, and Lee Ji-hyun).

All screenings will be presented in Korean with English subtitles.

November 19 introduction and screening:
$15 for nonmembers ($10 for members and students)

December 17 screening:
$10 for nonmembers ($5 for members and students)

The Korean Ghost Stories webpage @ The Korea Society website includes a link to order tickets online. Click here to go directly to that webpage.

For more information contact Yuni Cho at (212) 759-7525, ext. 323 or email yuni.ny@koreasociety.org.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

ACF 415: Section23 announces new anime and live-action DVD releases


Section23 Films has announce two new DVD releases for the North American home video market. Special A Collection 1 is a hilarious new anime from Sentai Filmworks. At the other end of the spectrum is the live-action horror movie Nu-Meri ~ Book Of The New Spawn, released by Switchblade Pictures.

Special A Collection 1 assembles the first 12 episodes of the hit TV series, also known as “S.A.,” in a single two-DVD set. The series was first broadcast in Japan in April 2008 and has been widely anticipated by North American fans ever since.

SYNOPSIS: At age six, Hikari Hanazono was the best at everything, so when she challenged Kei Takishima to a wrestling match, she naturally assumed she would win. Unfortunately, she lost; he won; and the natural order was disrupted. Ever since, Hikari’s entire life has been structured around beating Kei at SOMETHING. Unfortunately, try as she might, Hikari always comes up just short. Now he’s the top student and athlete at their very exclusive high school and she’s right beneath him at number two, (a position that is still, of course, completely unacceptable.) And, just to complicate matters further, even as Hikari dedicates her life to somehow one-upping Kei, she’s completely oblivious to the fact that Kei is actually in love with her! Get ready for whole new level of ridiculously dysfunctional relationships as Boy Meets Girl inevitably turns into Boy Beats Girl in Special A – Collection 1!

Running Time: 300 min.
Age Rating: TV PG
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Street Date: 11/10/2009
Format: DVD
SRP: $39.98

Nu-Meri ~ Book Of The New Spawn is the latest addition to Switchblade Pictures’ ever-expanding library of live-action Japanese horror films. This time the action takes place by the sea, where the next step in human evolution is set to take place.

SYNOPSIS: There’s something wrong at the Pacific Institute… something wrong and evil. For young Mari, whose family has worked in the fishing industry for generations, her studies in advanced genetics and marine bio-engineering represent not just her own the future, but that of her entire family. But when her friend Nanako is mysteriously discovered dead, Mari’s dreams turn into her worst nightmares! Because not only was Nanako’s body covered with fishbites, she was also growing scales! Now, as a new wave of deaths and tragedies engulf the Pacific team, it becomes all too clear that someone… something… has a new future in mind for all human kind. For centuries man has taken from the ocean, never dreaming what might lurk beneath the waves; now the revelation has begun… and this time, we’re the sushi!

Running Time: 76 min.
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
Published by: Switchblade Pictures
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Street Date: 11/10/2009
Format: DVD
SRP: $19.98

Saturday, November 14, 2009

ACF 414: Holiday SHOJO releases from VIZ


Selections Make Thoughtful Gift Ideas To Delight
Even The Most Discerning Fan

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) has announced several new shojo manga (graphic novel) titles that fans and gift givers of all types might consider for wish list priority this holiday season.

(C) 2004 by Arina Tanemura/SHUEISHA Inc.)

The releases include THE ART OF GENTLEMEN’S ALLIANCE †, a collection of lavish drawings and designs from the hit series by famed shojo artist, Arina Tanemura. New manga title, BEAST MASTER, as well as the latest volume of the popular gothic high school drama VAMPIRE KNIGHT, and the VIZBIG omnibus editions of FUSHIGI YUGI and HOT GIMMICK.

“Shojo manga fans have much to look forward to during this year’s holiday season, with a variety of selections that make wonderful gift ideas to suit any budget,” says Gonzalo Ferreyra, Vice President Sales & Marketing, VIZ Media. “Many of these series have dramatically expanded the core Shojo audience, receiving universal renown and acclaim. From VAMPIRE KNIGHT, which has become a national bestseller, to the launch of the wild new manga, BEAST MASTER, and gorgeous new omnibus editions of other shojo favorites, bookstore shelves have never been stocked with so much must-read Shojo manga!!

The VIZBIG editions each compile three volumes from the original graphic novel series, presented in a in a larger 5-3/4 x 8-5/8 size (larger than the standard 5 x 7-1/2 manga) with special features including new cover art, bonus color pages and added content such as author interviews, updated text and character art. The new editions serve as comprehensive introductions for new readers to some most-loved shojo manga titles, or a great way for seasoned fans to revisit favorite titles from a new perspective.

BEAST Master Vol. 1 · Rated ‘T+’ For Older Teens · MSRP: $9.99 US / $12.99 CAN · Available November 3rd

Leo Aoi looks like a crazy animal with wild eyes – and no one at his new high school will go near him! He does seem to have a special connection with animals, which intrigues overzealous animal lover, Yuiko Kubozuka. In reality, Leo isn’t nearly as frightening as he appears, but Yuiko finds out that he goes berserk whenever he sees blood! Will Yuiko be able to get through to Leo during one of these violent fits? Or will his ferocious side eventually devour her? The debut volume also includes a special bonus short story called FLY.

Manga artist Kyousuke Motomi debuted in 2002 in Japan’s popular shojo manga magazine Betsucomi with No Good Cupid, and she was also the creator of Handsome! Beads Club. Her latest work, Electric Daisy, is also currently serialized in Betsucomi.

VAMPIRE KNIGHT (C) Matsuri Hino 2008 / HAKUSENSHA, Inc.

VAMPIRE KNIGHT Vol. 8 · Rated ‘T+’ For Older Teens · MSRP: $9.99 US / $12.99 CAN · Available Now!

Cross Academy is attended by two groups of students: the Day Class and the Night Class. At twilight, when the students of the Day Class return to their dorms, they cross paths with the Night Class on their way to school. Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu are the Guardians of the school, protecting the Day Class from the Academy’s dark secret – the Night Class is composed of vampires!

In Volume 8 of this best-selling series by Matsuri Hino, after trying to recall her past, Yuki’s hallucinations become more vivid and she tries to strangle Zero during a fit of temporary madness. Locked in her room, all she can see is a world dyed in blood, but things will become really dangerous when the vampire Kaname comes for her and tells her it’s time to wake up and sinks his fangs into her neck!

THE ART OF GENTLEMEN’S ALLIANCE † · MSRP: $19.99 US / $27.00 CAN · Available November 17th

Renowned manga artist Arina Tanemura exemplifies the shojo style with this collection of highly stylized artwork presented with a swirl of billowing ribbons, romance and heartbreak. The glossy illustrated edition features designs for all the major characters from THE GENTLEMEN’S ALLIANCE † and includes exclusive art for the North American edition and a full color double-sided, fold-out poster. Tanemura is a prolific manga artist and the creator of several popular shojo series such as I-O-N, TIME STRANGER KYOKO and FULL MOON (all of which are published in North America by VIZ Media).

HOT GIMMICK VIZBIG Edition, Vol. 3 · Rated ‘T+’ For Older Teens · MSRP: $17.99 US / $24.00 CAN · Available December 15th

Miki Aihara turned the manga world upside down with her salacious, outrageous, and funny hit series which concludes in this final VIZBIG omnibus edition. If you think being a teenager in America is hard, wait until you read HOT GIMMICK These Tokyo boys and girls are really messed up!

FUSHIGI YUGI VIZBIG Edition, Vol. 4 · Rated ‘T+’ For Older Teens · MSRP: $17.99 US / $24.00 CAN · Available December 15th

Read the manga by creator Yuu Watase that helped to define the shojo genre! Fifteen-year-old Miaka Yuki is transported back to an ancient Chinese kingdom by an old library book called The Universe of the Four Gods. Following the legend of the book, Miaka becomes the Priestess of Suzaku and must find her seven Celestial Warriors before she can save the kingdom and return home. In the latest VIZBIG volume, with one of the Celestial Warriors lost forever, Miaka and her men are more desperate than ever to obtain the two Shentso-Paos in order to summon Suzaku. But once Miaka has one in her grasp, it’s stolen away by the Seiryu Warrior Nakago. Miaka goes to Nakago to get it back, but he assaults her. Believing she is no longer worthy of becoming Tamahome's bride, Miaka flees on her own, only to be saved by a man whom she initially thought was her enemy. Meanwhile, Tamahome falls under the Seiryu Warrior Tomo's power of illusions.

For more information on VIZ Media titles please visit www.Viz.com.

Friday, November 13, 2009

ACF 413: Taiyo Matsumoto's GOGO MONSTER coming from VIZ Media


New Manga Release Blends Bold Art And A Clever Story Of A Young Boy
Who Tries To Balance His Own Lonely World
With a Fantastic Supernatural Realm Only He Can See

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) has announced the upcoming release of Taiyo Matsumoto’s celebrated manga GOGO MONSTER next Tuesday, November 17th. GOGO MONSTER will be published by the company’s VIZ Signature imprint, rated ‘T’ for Teens, and will carry an MSRP of $27.99 U.S. / $36.00 CAN.

Third grader Yuki Tachibana lives in two worlds. In one world, he is a loner ridiculed by his classmates and reprimanded by his teachers for telling stories of supernatural beings that only he can see. In the other world, the supernatural beings vie for power with malevolent spirits who bring chaos into the school, the students' lives, and even nature itself.

“Taiyo Matsumoto’s clever stories and striking art have placed him among the best of a new generation of influential manga artists and we are privileged to present GOGO MONSTER to U.S. audiences,” says Gonzalo Ferreyra, Vice President Sales & Marketing, VIZ Media. “This story continues to show Matsumoto’s fascination with youth as he seamlessly blends themes of alienation with the paranormal. For anyone with an overactive imagination or has even just daydreamed during class, GOGO MONSTER offers an emotional tale that shows how what we see and imagine, whether real or imaginary, shapes our personality in profound ways.”

Taiyo Matsumoto made his manga debut in the Japanese magazine Comic Afternoon with the short story STRAIGHT. He went on to travel throughout France and became heavily influenced by the French comics he studied there including those created by pioneering European artists like Moebius and Enki Bilal. Matsumoto has become internationally acclaimed for stories that capture the essence of disaffected youth and adolescent alienation. His other notable works include BLUE SPRING, NO. 5 and TEKKONKINKREET: BLACK & WHITE, which are all published in North America by VIZ Media. TEKKONKINKREET won a prestigious Will Eisner Award in 2008 and was also adapted for an animated feature film. Another Matsumoto manga story, PING PONG, was turned into an award-winning live action film that is available from VIZ Pictures.

For more information on other VIZ Signature titles please visit www.VizSignature.com and www.Sigikki.com.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

ACF 412: "2oth Century Boys 1: Beginning of the End" on DVD + special screenings in S.F.


Special Theatrical Screening Also Planned For Live Action Sci-Fi Film –
The First In A Trilogy Based On Popular Manga Series By Naoki Urasawa

VIZ Pictures, an affiliate of VIZ Media, LLC that focuses on Japanese live-action film distribution, will release the science fiction feature 20th CENTURY BOYS 1: BEGINNING OF THE END on DVD on December 15th in the United States through its distributor, VIZ Media. 20th CENTURY BOYS will carry an MSRP of $24.92 US / $35.99 CAN.

The 20th CENTURY BOYS saga was directed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi (who also directed the live-action film, HAPPILY EVER AFTER which is also available from VIZ Pictures) and is based on a popular manga series by Naoki Urasawa. It all begins in 1969 when a young boy named Kenji and his friends write "The Book of Prophecy" in which they write about a future where they fight against an evil organization trying to takeover the world and bring about doomsday.

Years later in 1997, a mysterious cult being lead by a man only known as "Friend" emerges and begins to gain strong influence over society. A series of catastrophic events begin to occur mirroring the prophecies made up by the young Kenji and the greatest fear is the climax of "The Book" becoming a reality; December 31st, 2000, a terrifying giant virus-spreading robot will attack the entire city of Tokyo leading to the end of mankind. The only people who know about "The Book" are Kenji and his childhood friends. Who is "Friend"? Will Kenji and his friends be able to save mankind and live to see the 21st Century?

“20th CENTURY BOYS mesmerized audiences at its U.S. theatrical premiere in San Francisco this past summer and we’re very proud to announce its North American debut on DVD,” says Seiji Horibuchi, President and CEO of VIZ Pictures. “Naoki Urasawa’s multi-layered story of childhood mystical prophecy, government conspiracies and alien invasion is given a lavish production treatment and the film’s ending is a real cliffhanger that’s also very different from the original manga series. We look forward to introducing audiences to this exciting 3-part science fiction saga!”

VIZ Pictures also has scheduled theatrical screenings of 20th Century Boys 1 in December at VIZ Cinema, the nation’s first theatre venue devoted exclusively to Japanese film operated by VIZ Pictures, Inc.

On December 10th, starting at 7:30pm, VIZ Pictures has a special event to celebrate the DVD release of the first chapter of the trilogy. Tickets are $25.00, which includes a pass to the film screening, the brand new DVD, a poster, and more! VIZ Cinema is located inside NEW PEOPLE, a newly opened entertainment destination in the heart of San Francisco’s Japantown offering the latest examples of Japanese popular culture. Tickets are available at www.vizcinema.com or can be purchased at the theatre box-office. For more information about this event, visit www.vizcinema.com or www.viz-pictures.com.

For more information on 20th CENTURY BOYS or other VIZ Pictures titles visit http://www.viz-pictures.com/.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

ACF 411: Pusan/Los Angeles partnership bringing Korean Cinema to U.S.

Photo: Dodge College of Film and Media Arts


Inaugural Chapman University │Pusan West │Filmmaker Showcase To Take Place

November 20-22, 2009

Chapman Presents Pusan West (“Chapman Pusan West”) Brings Renowned Korean Filmmakers and Films to the United States For An Unprecedented Cultural and Cinematic Event

Here's some very exciting news for U.S. lovers Korean film, especially those in the Los Angeles area. Now if only someone here in New York sets up a Pusan East!

Chapman University
’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, recognized as one of the premiere film schools in the United States announced a groundbreaking partnership with South Korea’s Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF), Asia’s largest film festival, to launch a first-of-its-kind filmmaker showcase that will bring select Korean films and filmmakers from PIFF to the U.S. The announcement was jointly made today by Dodge College Dean Bob Bassett and PIFF Director Lee Yong-Kwan.

The inaugural Chapman University Pusan West Filmmaker Showcase (“Chapman Pusan West”) will be held at Marion Knott Studios on Chapman University’s campus in Orange, Calif., November 20-22, 2009.

Over the course of three days Chapman Pusan West will showcase contemporary and classic feature films and documentaries selected directly from the Pusan International Film Festival. The event marks an unprecedented venture to introduce the culture, look and feel of Asia’s largest film festival to an American audience in a celebration of vibrant and emerging Korean cinema.

The Chapman Pusan West program features invited directors from Korea, along with a special opening night event and a closing night reception, all designed to showcase Korean culture through food, music, and décor. Q & A sessions led by notable film scholars will guide the audiences in conversation with several of Korea’s most celebrated film directors who have committed to participate at Chapman Pusan West and personally introduce their films. They include:

Park Chan-wook (“Thirst” director's cut)

Kim Jee-woon (“A Bittersweet Life [director’s cut]”)

Lee Doo-yong (“Last Witness”)

Park Jin-sung (“Evil Spirit: VIY”)

Kim Dong-won (“Drifting Away”)

Kim Young-nam (“Don't Look Back”)

Award winning director/writer Park Chan-wook will be honored with Chapman Pusan West’s first Pusan West Icon Award. Park is one of the most acclaimed and popular filmmakers in Korea and has gained praise and recognition in the US as well. He is best known for his films Joint Security Area, Thirst and what has become known as The Vengeance Trilogy, consisting of 2002's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy in 2003 and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance in 2005. His films are noted for their immaculate framing and often brutal subject matter.

Honoring a career that is not only seminal, but that has influenced other filmmakers worldwide, the Icon Award will be inaugurated with Park Chan-wook’s acceptance on Friday, Nov 20th, during the opening ceremony. Park will also participate in an exclusive Chapman Pusan West Master Class on Saturday, Nov 21st where he will discuss the topics of writing and directing with current Chapman students.

The complete lineup of Korean films showcased at Chapman Pusan West includes:

Thirst (Park Chan-wook, 2009, PIFF 2009 Korean Cinema Today-Panorama Section)

A Bittersweet Life (Kim Jee-woon, 120min, PIFF 2005 Korean Cinema Today-Panorama Section)

Mother (Bong Joon-ho, 2009, 129 min., PIFF 2009 Korean Cinema Today-Panorama Section)

The Chaser (Na Hong-jin, 2008, 125 min. PIFF 2008 Korean Cinema Today-Panorama Section)The Old Partner (Lee Chung-ryoul, 2008, 75 min. PIFF 2008 Wide Angle-Documentary Competition Section, Mecenat Award)

Evil Spirit: VIY (Park Jin-sung, 2008, 110 min, HD, PIFF 2008 Korean Cinema Today-Vision Section)

Drifting Away (Kim Dong-won, 2009, 95 min, HD, PIFF 2009 Korean Cinema Today-Vision Section)

Like a Virgin (Lee Hey-jun, Lee Haeyoung, 2006, 116 min. 2006 PIFF Korean Cinema Today-Panorama section, Critics Award for first-time director)

Viva, Love (Oh Jeom-kyun, 2008)

Don’t Look Back (Kim Young-nam, 2006, 126 min, 2004 PIFF project for new directors 2006 Locarno International Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize and Netpac Award


First Son (Lee Doo-yong, screened at the first PIFF in 1996 under "Korean Cinema Retrospective" section)

Last Witness (Lee Doo-yong, 1980, 154 min, recently rediscovered and released on DVD)

“In our increasingly interdependent global society, the language of film offers one of most direct ways in which peoples of different cultures can come to know one another, both in their differences and similarities,” says Dean Bob Bassett. “Dodge College of Film and Media Arts is focused on internationalizing our programs, giving students opportunities to not only experience different cultures by traveling abroad, but also by bringing significant international films and filmmakers here. Dodge College already has developed strong ties in Asia through its partnership with the Seoul Institute of the Arts. Each year students from Chapman travel to Korea to shoot films with students from the Seoul Institute of the Arts who then travel to the U.S. to help their American counterparts do the same.”

“Chapman Pusan West takes this global outreach initiative to another level and provides a new platform for Korean filmmakers and stars looking to break into the American market and seek true co-production opportunities with Hollywood,” he adds.

Bassett continued, “Korean films that find enthusiastic and supportive audiences in Korea and many other parts of the world often seem to struggle to find a home in crowded U.S. cinemas. While there are many reasons for this, the Chapman Pusan West initiative is enterprising and bold in its endeavours to spotlight these amazing works from PIFF. We hope to reach an audience that often gets overlooked and widen the choice of films available to cinephiles and the general public alike.”

Dodge College Professor Nam Lee, an expert in Korean film, and Korean film critic and the Director of Cinematheque Film Forum Lim Jae-cheol are responsible for the selection of Korean films being screened at Chapman Pusan West while Dean Bob Bassett and the Dodge College team have played keyed roles in the structuring of the event itself. Students from Dodge College will also be involved in all facets of the event.

Nam Lee commented, “We are seeing a noticeable surge in popularity and a groundswell of support for Korean cinema in the U.S. Referred to as Hallyu (Korean Wave), in Asian communities, we feel compelled to support this movement so that our students and the public don’t miss out on the unique voices of this important national cinema. We know of no better partner in advancing this movement than the Pusan International Film Festival, which has been fully supportive and amazing to work with.”

Tickets for the inaugural Chapman University Pusan West Filmmaker Showcase can be purchased online at www.pusanwest.com, via phone 1-800-838-3006, or in person at Chapman University’s Marion Knott Studios. Individual movie tickets are priced at $12.00; a day pass is $40.00; and a weekend pass is $100. Discounted group and student rates are available.

About Chapman University:

Chapman University, founded in 1861, is one of the oldest, most prestigious private universities in California. Chapman’s picturesque campus is located in the heart of Orange County – one of the nation’s most exciting centers of arts, business, science and technology – and draws outstanding students from across the United States and around the world. Known for its blend of liberal arts and professional programs, Chapman University encompasses seven schools and colleges: Wilkinson College of Humanities and Social Sciences, George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics, Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, Schmid College of Science, College of Performing Arts, School of Law and College of Educational Studies. Named to the list of top universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review, Chapman University enrolls more than 6,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students.

Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts:

One of the premier film schools in the country, Dodge College of Film and Media Arts offers students the unique opportunity to learn filmmaking in a hands-on environment modeled on a working studio. The college is comprised of the Sodaro-Pankey Undergraduate School of Film and Media Arts, offering degrees in film production, film studies, screenwriting, television and broadcast journalism, public relations and advertising, and digital arts; and the graduate Conservatory of Motion Pictures, offering M.F.A. degrees in film production, film and television producing, and screenwriting, and an M.A. in film studies. Dodge College is housed in Marion Knott Studios, a state-of-the-art, 76,000-square-foot studio and classroom building that provides students with 24-hour access to sound stages, edit bays, Dolby surround mixing, a motion capture stage and more. With an Oscar and Emmy-award winning faculty that boasts more feature film credits than any other film school, Dodge College is where students learn the entertainment business from the inside out.

About the Pusan International Film Festival:

Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF), held annually in Busan (also Pusan), South Korea, is one of the most significant film festivals in Asia. The first festival, held in 1996, marked the first international film festival in Korea. The focus of the PIFF is introducing and breaking out new films and first-time directors, especially those from Asian countries. Another notable feature is the appeal of the festival to young people, both in terms of the large youthful audience it attracts and through its efforts to develop and promote young talent. In 1999, the Pusan Promotion Plan was established in connection with the festival to align new directors with funding sources for their film projects.

This year’s Pusan International Film Festival (which took place October 8th – 16th, 2009) screened 355 films from 70 countries (a record number) for a total of 803 screenings. The festival also set records for world premieres (98) and international premieres (46). The total attendance at this year’s festival was a staggering 173,516.

Monday, November 09, 2009

ACF 410: INUYASHA manga coming out in new VIZBIG omnibus edition

INUYASHA (C) 1997 Rumiko TAKAHASHI/Shogakukan


Rumiko Takahashi’s Award Winning Manga Series
To Be Published In An Omnibus Edition

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) continues the momentum behind its hit INUYASHA brand with the announcement of the release of Rumiko Takahashi’s original manga series in new VIZBIG omnibus editions. Published by the company’s SHONEN SUNDAY imprint, INUYASHA VIZBIG Volume 1 debuts tomorrow, Tuesday, November 10th, is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens, and carries an MSRP of $17.99 U.S. / $24.00 CAN.

Each omnibus edition features three volumes of the original graphic novel series presented in a larger 5-3/4 x 8-5/8 size (larger than the standard 5 x 7-1/2 manga). The new editions serve as comprehensive introductions for new readers to some best-known titles, and a great way for seasoned fans to revisit favorite manga series from a new perspective. The VIZBIG INUYASHA series is also presented in a right-to-left reading format, just like the original manga counterpart.

After falling into an old well and into ancient Japan, Kagome discovers that her destiny is linked to the dog-like half demon called Inuyasha! As Kagome learns more about her connection to the past and to Inuyasha, she comes into conflict with the terrible demons that are drawn to the Shikon Jewel, including Inuyasha's own half brother, Sesshomaru. Finding the shards of the Shikon Jewel is going to require powerful magic, strange allies, and a strong heart. Kagome's got plenty of heart, but she's going to need Inuyasha's help for the rest of it, and he may not be so willing to lend a hand!

“INUYASHA brought creator Rumiko Takahashi renowned fame throughout the world and the series has been enjoyed by millions of readers in Japan and North America,” says Elizabeth Kawasaki, Senior Editorial Director, VIZ Media. “Our new VIZBIG release is a comprehensive way for new and old fans alike to catch up on the adventures of Inuyasha and Kagome in a whole new way and also makes a wonderful gift for that extra special fan this holiday season.

”INUYASHA brought creator Rumiko Takahashi tremendous international acclaim and won the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award in 2002. The story was also adapted into a long running animated series (distributed domestically by VIZ Media). Episodes from the action-packed series conclusion – INUYASHA THE FINAL ACT – currently stream on ShonenSunday.com/anime and Hulu.com mere hours after they air in Japan. For more information on the INUYASHA animated series please visit

Many of Rumiko Takahashi’s titles have been adapted into other media such as anime, live-action TV series, and film. Takahashi’s manga, as well as the other formats of her work, has continued to delight generations of fans around the world. Distinguished by her wonderfully endearing characters, Takahashi’s work adeptly incorporates a wide variety of elements such as comedy, romance, fantasy, and martial arts. Rumiko Takahashi is an artist who truly represents the very best from the world of manga. Please visit the official North American web site for all Rumiko Takahashi related news and information located at www.TheRumicWorld.com.