With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

ACF 1140: VIZ titles sweep NY Times manga bestseller list for week of August 20th

YU-GI-OH! GX © 2005 by Kazuki Takahashi, Naoyuki Kageyama/SHUEISHA Inc.
© K. Takahashi


Newest YU-GI-OH! GX Volume Takes #1 Spot
And Is Complemented By Other Top Manga Properties
And More!

VIZ Media titles have swept the latest Top 10 on the New York Times Manga Bestseller list for the week of August 2oth.

The top selling VIZ Media manga (graphic novel) titles included:

1.             YU-GI-OH! GX Vol. 7 
2.             BLUE EXORCIST Vol. 3 
3.             BAKUMAN Vol. 6 
4.             BLEACH 3-In-1 Edition Vol. 2 
5.             FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST 3-In-1 Edition Vol. 2 
6.             AI ORE! Vol. 2 
8.             BLACK BIRD Vol. 5 
9.             NARUTO Vol. 48 
10.         NARUTO 3-In-1 Edition Vol. 1 

The New York Times Bestseller lists are an expanded version of those appearing in the September 4, 2011 print edition of the Book Review, reflecting sales for the week ending August 20, 2011. Rankings reflect weekly sales for books sold in both print and electronic formats.

“It’s very exciting to see such a varied array of VIZ Media titles sweep the latest New York Times Top 10 manga bestseller list,” says Leyla Aker, Vice President, Publishing. “Cornerstone properties like the top placing YU-GI-OH! GX, as well as NARUTO, BLEACH, and FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST, continue to resonate with legions of fans and our new 3-In-1 omnibus manga collections have also proved a big hit with readers. We’re also very happy to see several shojo properties like AI ORE, SAKURA HIME, and BLACK BIRD perform so well. We look forward to readers continuing to look to VIZ Media for the best in both print and digital manga!”

Monday, August 29, 2011

ACF 1139: Free screening of Yoon Sung-Hyun's "Bleak Night" on Tuesday, September 6th

Korean Cultural Service NY
Korean Movie Night
Series 5: Hidden Gems of Korean Cinema, Part II
Bleak Night / Pasuggun
Directed by: Yoon Sung-Hyun
South Korea, 2011, 117 minutes
When: Tuesday, September 6th @ 7:00 PM
Doors open: 6:30 PM
Where: Tribeca Cinemas
54 Varick Street, NYC
Near the A, C, E @ #1 Canal Street subway stops
Admission: FREE!!!
All seating is first-come, first served.

The Hollywood Reporter heralds director Yoon Sung-Hyun as one of the best new Korean filmmakers and director Bong Joon-Ho (The Host) calls his first movie “astonishing.” Yoon’s award-winning Bleak Night was the talk of the Rotterdam Film Festival and 2011’s indie break-out film in Korea, and it’s easy to see why. Leaping back and forth through time, the movie follows a grieving father as he tries to solve the mystery of his teenaged son’s suicide. Suffused with sadness, it’s one of the toughest movies about high school friendship ever made.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

ACF 1137: "Samurai Girls Complete Collection" now available on DVD and Blu-Ray

Section23 Films has announced the release of the hit series SAMURAI GIRLS. The uncensored Complete Collection is available on both DVD and Blu-Ray, and is on sale now.

The Samurai Code was never this sexy…..

SYNOPSIS: Muneakiru Yagyu is a gifted student of the samurai way. But until he arrives at his dojo, he never knew how gifted he truly was. Because there, a beautiful girl, Jubei, falls-naked-from the sky and right into his arms. And when they kiss, he magically transforms her into a powerful master samurai. So, naturally, every beautiful girl at the dojo can't wait to kiss him. And some, like the sexy Gisen, want to do even more. It's a tale of power and lust, filled with beautiful, scantily clad swordfighters who will do anything to please their master and attain even greater power. Get your sword ready for Samurai Girls!
Running Time:   300 min.
Age Rating:       TV MA (V, D)
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Format:             DVD
SRP:                $59.98

             Title:                SAMURAI GIRLS COMPLETE COLLECTION - BLU-RAY
             Running Time:  300 min.
             Age Rating:      TV MA (V, D)
             Language:        English & Japanese with English Subtitles
             Published by:   Sentai Filmworks
             Distributed by: Section23 Films
             Format:            BD
             SRP:               $69.98

Friday, August 26, 2011

ACF 1136: : "COOL JAPAN: OLD MEETS NEW IN KYOTO" at J-Pop Summit Festival in S.F. this Saturday

SOU • SOU Founding Designer Explores Ideas Of Creating Modern Designs
Based On Japanese Tradition With Discussion And Fashion Show

The Consulate General of Japan, in cooperation with NEW PEOPLE will present Cool Japan: Old Meets New in Kyoto, a unique fashion show and cultural discussion set to take place on Saturday, August 27th as part of the 2011 J-Pop Summit Festival.

The Fashion Show (1:15pm - 2:15pm): A SOU • SOU fashion show, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for 1:15pm - 2:15pm on the Pagoda Stage at Japantown’s Peace Plaza. It will feature innovative apparel and footwear products from the SOU • SOU brand, designed by Takeshi Wakabayashi, as well as a new collaborative line launched with NEW PEOPLE! Catch a variety of prominent local individuals who will act as models, including Japanese Consul General Hiroshi Inomata, famed food critic Patricia Unterman, and Graham Leggat, former Executive Director of San Francisco Film Society.

Designer Talk (4:00pm to 5:30pm): Invitation only event at NEW PEOPLE SUPERFROG Gallery (3rd Floor) SOU • SOU designer Takeshi Wakabayashi will discuss his ideas of, “Creating modern designs based on Japanese tradition.” Kyoto, where Wakabayashi resides, is an ancient capitol of Japan and a stronghold of traditional Japanese arts and culture with an accumulation of artisanship and related technology going back centuries. The city has also become a bustling center for modern creative design, where these cultural and industrial assets are to survive. Wakabayashi will also discuss how these innovative ideas are being passed to the young generations, based on his ongoing career as a professor at the Kyoto University of Art and Design.

“I’m very proud to present this special event in cooperation with NEW PEOPLE as part of the ‘Cool Japan Project,’ sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” says Consul General Hiroshi Inomata. “I invite the San Francisco Bay Area, potential business partners, and J-Pop Summit visitors to discover some great examples of Japanese innovation and high-quality products in the SOU • SOU brand, which also won two prizes at the Visit Japan Campaign - Japan’s Attractive Souvenir Contest 2010.”

Consul General Inomata will also host a reception party following the end of the lecture at 6:00pm at the near-by Hotel Kabuki in the Mezzanine Lounge. A variety of SOU • SOU products will also be on display and more information will be available on the Cool Japan Project.

Wakabayashi ‘s SOU • SOU brand has developed a unique line of Japanese classic “Tabi” shoes based on a design originally favored by Japanese construction workers. SOU • SOU’s combination of form-fitting soles and colorful graphic patterns has attracted a huge following, from dancers to the sneaker-obsessed. Designed to be fresh and fun, each shoe is handcrafted in Japan and made for durability using traditional techniques and puts a vibrant, modern twist on the ultra-comfortable, traditional Japanese work shoe.

The 2011 J-Pop Summit Festival is a showcase for Japanese pop culture events and is highlighted by live bands and DJs, fashion shows, a vocaloid music conference, theatrical film premieres, dance workshops and performances, and assorted arts, crafts and food vendors. Full details and programming schedules are now available at J-pop.com.

More information about the Consulate General of Japan is available at: http://www.sf.us.emb-japan.go.jp.

NEW PEOPLE opened in 2009 and has become a unique must-see attraction of San Francisco’s cultural landscape. The 20,000 square foot contemporary venue features the latest examples Japanese popular culture expressed though film, art, fashion, and a variety of specialty boutiques and ongoing monthly events. NEW PEOPLE is located at 1746 Post Street in the city’s Japantown.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

ACF 1135: "Fiber Futures: Japan’s Textile Pioneers" exhibition coming to Japan Society, NY

Akio Hamatani (1947- ). W-Orbit, 2010.
Rayon, indigo; special technique.
Diameter approximately 157 in. (400 cm). 
Courtesy of the artist.
Japan Society Showcases a Growing Aesthetic Movement–Art
Inspired By Extreme Textile Making
Fiber Futures: Japan’s Textile Pioneers
September 16-December 18, 2011 at Japan Society Gallery

This fall Japan Society Gallery will explore a new art that is emerging from a remarkable fusion of Japanese artisanal and industrial textile-making. Coaxed from materials as age-old as hemp and newly developed as microfilaments, a varied array of more than 35 large-scale works will be on view in Fiber Futures: Japan's Textile Pioneers from Friday, September 16 to Sunday, December 18, 2011.

While the spirit of a Japanese sensibility and a technical virtuosity hewn over centuries is everywhere evident, what best characterizes the work on view is a thirst for experimentation, whether it be in the search for the unconventional material or in the fusing of seemingly opposing extremes of old and new. One also sees the medium of fiber used to express ideas about nature and sustainability and personal and cultural identity.

Hitomi Nagai (1954- ).
Birth, 2011.
Cotton; waffle weave.
79 × 43 × 11 in. (200 × 110 × 28 cm).
Photo: Mareo Suemasa.

“These works remind us that important art need not always be about rebellion or subversion,” notes Joe Earle, Director of Japan Society Gallery and curator of the exhibition. “For most of the 30 artists represented here, it is the material that tells them what to do next, in the spirit of tariki, originally a Buddhist term meaning the ‘power of another.’”

Hiroko Watanabe.
Aka no kodō (Red Pulse), 1999.
Cotton and metal fiber; hand weaving.
51 × 39 × 10 in. (129 × 98 × 25 cm).
Photo: Mareo Suemasa.

“The very qualities that are unique to fabric inspire me and my fellow artists to try to move beyond mere technical mastery to create daring and beautiful works of art,” says Hiroko Watanabe, a professor at Tama Art University, president of International Textile Network Japan, and an artist represented in Fiber Futures. The exhibition is a juried show, jointly presented by Japan Society and International Textile Network Japan as part of a long-term collaboration with Tama Art University Museum in Tokyo.

Kyōko Ibe (1941- ).
Airy Sonnet of Blue, 1989.
Kōzo mulberry fiber.
197 × 236 × 276 in. (500 × 600 × 700 cm).
Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo.
Photo: Ei Oiwa.

Japan Society has commissioned an installation from Kyoko Ibe, one of Japan’s most influential paper artists, as part of the exhibition. An ethereal web of indigo-dyed gossamer threads will sway to the breeze and catch and reflect light as it floats above the garden pool in the lobby of the Society’s landmarked building. Ibe’s other work in the show is a screen made of paper from the 19th century, remnants of ink glowing blue-black—a palimpsest of words once read and lives once lived. Emotion is found in reuse in this highly sophisticated object lesson in sustainability.

Jun’ichi Arai (1932 -).
Flame-resistant shop curtain, 2005.
Polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) film, vacuum-deposited aluminum.
142 × 142 in. (360 × 360 cm).
Photo: Mareo Suemasa.

Jun’ichi Arai, one of the world’s most celebrated textile pioneers, is contributing a show-stopper, a huge, eye-poppingly beautiful filmy gold and silver curtain whose formal simplicity belies extraordinary technical complexity. Of a double-cloth weave—gold on one side, silver on the other—the curtain is made of monofilament “slit film” yarn, ultra-thin strips sliced from polyphenylene sulfide film with a 1/10000 of a millimeter vacuum-deposited aluminum coating. For the silver color, the aluminum was covered with an even thinner layer of clear epoxy resin, and for the gold, the resin was mixed with a yellow dye. Finally, the artist employed a process called “melt-off,” which he himself invented, to dissolve the aluminum coating from unprotected areas of the surface.

Yuh Okano (1965- ).
Flower: Coming Events Cast Their Shadow Before, 2010.
Silk, partially felted with raw wool; hand-formed corsages.
71 × 20 in. (180 × 50 cm).
Courtesy of the artist.

Yuh Okano, another noted textile designer and artist active in both Japan and New York, will show a brick-hued piece from her “Water” series, pairing the natural (wool) and the synthetic (polyester) to rugged, regal affect. The tireless inventor Reiko Sudo, known for devising “abusive treatments” in the pursuit of unexpected surfaces, presents a new installation work. Fabrication (2011) floats in space, a single piece of fabric fashioned from tightly embroidered “warps” hand-shaped over a metal rod into strips and then sewed together in different combinations.

Reiko Sudo’s “abuse” of fabric is just one of the extremes to which conventional textile methods are taken—or pushed—in this exhibition. On occasion, the process becomes part of the meaning of the artwork, as in Kazuyo’s Onoyama’s astonishing Orikata (Folded Form), 2006. Here the artist has taken a thin yellow polyester fabric and folded it over and over as a prayer for, in the artist’s words, “happiness, peace, abundance and good health, and as an expression of the close relationship that should exist between human life and our natural environment.” (It is a custom in Japan to fold 1,000 paper cranes as a way of praying for recovery from illness.) For Hiroko Watanabe, the challenge was to so saturate a handwoven piece of cotton and metal fiber fabric with scarlet that, in the artist’s words, would draw out “the magical power of red.” The resulting tufted drop of fabric is tough, dense, difficult, and unforgettable.

Yasuko Iyanaga (1948- ).
Umi kara no okurimono: Air, X [A Gift from the Sea: Air, X], 2010.
Spun silk and wire; tie-dyeing.
51 1/8 × 51 1/8 × 19 5/8 in. (130 × 130 × 50 cm).
Courtesy of the artist.

For the viewer who encounters Yasuko Iyanaga’s bravura application of shibori tie-dyeing on a single piece of spun silk, it may seem as though a gentle breath is animating a giant, curvaceous, and ridge-encrusted sea creature. Other artists as well explore fiber’s potential as a sculptural medium to express natural beauty, including Hitomi Nagai, whose large-scale waffle-weave is composed of white warp and weft threads gathered and twisted at regular intervals into an enigmatic honeycomb, and Kyoko Kumai, whose large-scale installation—near-weightless orbs of fine stainless-steel yarn—evokes the sky and the cosmos.

Naoko Serino (1962- ).
Generating—8, 2006. Jute; free technique.
51 × 79 × 157 in. (130 × 200 × 400 cm).
 Courtesy of the artist.

The artists featured in Fiber Futures: Japan’s Textile Pioneers are:

Machiko Agano, b. 1953; Mitsuko Akutsu, b. 1952; Jun’ichi Arai, b. 1932; Tomoko Arakawa, b. 1974; Tetsuo Fujimoto, b. 1952; Dai Fujiwara, b.1967; Akio Hamatani, b. 1947; Kyoko Ibe, b. 1941; Kiyomi Iwata, b. 1941; Yasuko Iyanaga, b. 1948; Naomi Kobayashi, b. 1945; Kinya Koyama, b. 1946; Shigeo Kubota, b. 1947; Kyoko Kumai, b. 1943; Akiko Kumazawa, b. 1976; Tetsuo Kusama, b. 1946; Hitomi Nagai, b. 1954; Emiko Nakano, b. 1941; Yuh Okano, b. 1965; Fuminori Ono, b. 1971; Kazuyo Onoyama, b. 1951; Rei Saito, b. 1978; Hisako Sekijima, b. 1944; Naoko Serino, b. 1962; Reiko Sudo, b. 1953; Hideho Tanaka, b. 1942; Takaaki Tanaka, b. 1967; Misao Tsubaki, b. 1941; Hiroko Watanabe, b.1957; Atsuko Yoshioka, b. 1947.

For further information about this upcoming exhibition, click here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

ACF 1134: U.S. Premiere of "Hatsune Miku Project DIVA Arcade" Game at upcoming J-Pop Summit Festival




NEW PEOPLE will team with SEGA Corporation to bring the Hatsune Miku Project DIVA Arcade to the 2011 J-Pop Summit Festival, taking place in the city’s Japantown for two days – Saturday and Sunday, August 27th and 28th.

Hatsune Miku Project DIVA Arcade” is being shipped from Japan as a special treat for J-Pop Summit attendees and is the first and only unit outside Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Players will be able to purchase $1.00 tickets to play the game at the NEW PEOPLE Booth stationed on Post Street throughout the Festival. Ticket sales begin at 11:00am on Saturday. August 27th. Due to time limits, only 50 tickets will be available for purchase each day.

J-Pop Summit attendees are also invited to play Hatsune Miku Project DIVA Arcade”for free – at the J-Pop Summit VIP party, taking place Saturday August 27th from 7:30pm to 10:00pm at NEW PEOPLE. Come mingle with a variety of featured artists and performers from the Festival, enjoy snacks and beverages, and try your skill at the first-ever Hatsune Miku video game to come to America! Get your VIP Party ticket now.

The weekend-long J-Pop Summit is highlighted by live bands and DJs, fashion shows, a Vocaloid music conference, several theatrical film premieres, dance workshops and performances, and assorted arts, crafts and food vendors. Full details and programming schedules are now available at J-pop.com.

Hatsune Miku Project DIVA Arcade” is the first-ever CGM (Consumer Generated Media) arcade game and features a dazzling digital world created by the players themselves. “Hatsune Miku Project DIVA Arcade” is a rhythm game featuring Hatsune Miku and other Vocaloid virtual pop stars singing popular songs from SEGA’s Hatsune Miku -Project DIVA-“ game for the Sony PSP, and from the Niko Niko Douga web site. Check out how to play.

Hatsune Miku, whose name means, “first sound of the future,” is a digital female avatar and the most popular of the Vocaloid Character Series software originally created by Crypton Future Media using Yamaha’s Vocaloid 2 engine to create synthesized vocal tracks. In Japan, Hatsune Miku is a major national phenomenon where she appears in many popular video games and music videos.

Hatsune Miku has also played several sellout “concerts,” performing on stage as a 3D hologram backed by a live band. Her international notoriety has spread to North America, where she was recently featured in a TV commercial for the 2011 Toyota Corolla. Hatsune Miku also performed her first U.S. concert for more than 5,000 people at an event called “MIKUNOPOLIS in LOS ANGELES,” which took place at the 2011 Anime Expo in Los Angeles, CA.

NEW PEOPLE opened in 2009 and has become a unique must-see attraction of San Francisco’s cultural landscape. The 20,000 square foot contemporary venue features the latest examples Japanese popular culture expressed though film, art, fashion, and a variety of specialty boutiques and ongoing monthly events. NEW PEOPLE is located at 1746 Post Street in the city’s Japantown.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

ACF 1133: VIZ Media seeking submissions for "ART FOR HOPE" digital book anthology to benefit ongoing Japanese relief efforts


Unique Art Book Project In Partnership With Autodesk Will
Curate Digital Artwork Created With Autodesk SketchBook® Software

VIZ Media is reaching out to visual, graphic and manga/comic-inspired artists to submit original work and participate in ART FOR HOPE, a special limited edition digital art book anthology, to be sold through VIZManga.com and the VIZ Manga App for iOS devices, with 100% of net proceeds supporting ongoing disaster relief efforts in Japan. Artists interested in submitting work to be considered for the collection can get the full details at www.viz.com/artforhope.

The unique project was launched in partnership with Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK), a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, and was initially announced at the 2011 Comic-Con International. All of the artwork for the ART FOR HOPE collection will be rendered using Autodesk SketchBook® digital paint and drawing software applications.

VIZ Media’s editors will collaborate with Autodesk to review and select works for inclusion in the digital anthology, which will be released later this fall through VIZManga.com and the free VIZ Manga App, available on iPad™, iPod Touch™ and iPhone™.

Friday, August 19, 2011

ACF 1132: "The Art of Vampire Knight" coming September 6th, 2011 from VIZ


New Hardcover Edition Features Captivating Artwork
From The Bestselling Manga Series By Matsuri Hino

VIZ Media invites fans to savor the lavish, gothic-inspired illustrations of manga (graphic novel) creator Matsuri Hino in THE ART OF VAMPIRE KNIGHT, scheduled for release on September 6th. The new hardcover edition will carry an MSRP of $24.99 U.S./$28.99 CAN.

THE ART OF VAMPIRE KNIGHT is an ideal companion to the bestselling manga series, and contains favorite images in color plus never-before-seen artwork in the United States. The new book features an extensive character gallery with author comments, a how-to tutorial, and an exclusive full-color VAMPIRE KNIGHT poster.

Cross over into this mysterious and dangerous world of vampires with the lush artwork of Matsuri Hino. VAMPIRE KNIGHT takes readers to Cross Academy, which 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 full of vampires!

VAMPIRE KNIGHT (rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens) was created by Matsuri Hino, who burst onto the manga scene with her debut title, When This Dream Is Over, in LaLa DX magazine. With the success of subsequent series such as CAPTIVE HEARTS and MERU PURI (both published in the U.S. by VIZ Media), Hino has established herself as a major force in the world of shojo manga. VAMPIRE KNIGHT is currently serialized in LaLa magazine. VIZ Media also offers the VAMPIRE KNIGHT anime series on DVD and episodes are available online through its innovative video streaming web destination at VIZAnime.com.

For more information on the VAMPIRE KNIGHT manga and to read free manga previews online, visit www.shojobeat.com.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

ACF 1131: "DOCUMENTARY of AKB48 – To Be Continued" licensed by NEW PEOPLE Entertainment & will have U.S. premiere at J-Pop Summit Festival in S.F.


New Film Follows The Rise To International Fame
Of Japan’s Most Popular Pop Idol Group
And Will Have Exclusive U.S. Premiere August 28th
At The 2011 J-Pop Summit Festival In San Francisco

NEW PEOPLE Entertainment, a film division of NEW PEOPLE, Inc. that focuses on the licensing and distribution of Japanese films and media, has announced that it has licensed the film, DOCUMENTARY of AKB48 – To Be Continued, in the U.S. and Canada. The film follows the unstoppable all-female Japanese idol group, AKB48, and offering an insightful glimpse into the challenges that the group’s members have faced during their rise to international stardom. A trailer is available to view at: www.newpeopleent.com/AKB48

The U.S. premiere of DOCUMENTARY of AKB48 – To Be Continued will take place on Sunday, August 28th at 1:00pm at NEW PEOPLE’s cinema as part of the 2011 J-Pop Summit Festival. Tickets to the DOCUMENTARY of AKB48 are $12 and on sale now at www.newpeopleworld.com/films.

The annual J-Pop Summit, held in San Francisco’s Japantown, celebrates Japanese pop culture and is highlighted by a variety of film screenings, panel discussions, DJ dance parties, fashion shows, and live performances from several notable Guest of Honor artists. More information on J-Pop Summit Festival is available at www.J-Pop.com.

AKB48 was conceived in 2005 by Yasushi Akimoto, one of Japan’s most respected music producers. Starting as a small all-girl singing group based in the Akihabara district of Tokyo – the city’s bustling electronics and anime/pop culture shopping Mecca – AKB48 has grown to 60 members and topped Japan’s Oricon music charts with the two best-selling pop singles in 2010 as well as another two singles ranking in the Top 10.

“Pop culture and J-Pop music fans will delight in the news of our licensing of the DOCUMENTARY of AKB48 and we invite them to attend the special North American premiere at NEW PEOPLE during the upcoming J-Pop Summit,” says Seiji Horibuchi, President and CEO of NEW PEOPLE, Inc. “AKB48 has become massively popular in Japan and also enjoys a fast-growing U.S. fan base. This is a group unlike any other in pop music and we hope more people will discover AKB48 through this film. Stay tuned for more news coming soon on the release of the DOCUMENTARY of AKB48 on DVD!”

With a complicated balance of competition and friendship among its members, the group’s bond is extremely strong. DOCUMENTARY of AKB48 – To Be Continued traces AKB48’s history with scenes from concerts and rehearsals, member general elections, and fan activities both in Japan and abroad. The film also includes personal interviews with select members that reveal each of the girls’ personal struggles, joys, path to growth, and dreams.

One unique aspect of AKB48 is that the group is divided into “Teams.” When AKB48 debuted in 2005, originally there were only 24 girls. Now there are 16 girls each on Team A, Team K, and Team B, who are the core members of the group. In addition, there are trainees who are aspiring members. Members total to around 60 girls as some graduate and some new members come in. In the recent years AKB48 has begun holding elections to determine the members who will participate in the recording of upcoming singles. Fans vote for their favorites and the girl ranked Number 1 performs at the center of the group.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

ACF 1130: Neon Genesis Evangelion now available on VIZManga.com and the VIZ Manga App

VIZManga.com screenshot


Classic Sci-Fi Action Saga Will Debut
New Weekly Digital Chapters For Only $0.99!

VIZ Media has announced the digital launch of the acclaimed sci-fi manga (graphic novel) masterpiece, NEON GENESIS EVANGELION, on VIZManga.com and the VIZ Manga App for the Apple iPad™, iPhone™ and iPod™ touch. NEON GENESIS EVANGELION will be available chapter-by-chapter for only $0.99 each, with a new chapter launching each week. To celebrate the series’ debut, VIZ Media will offer a free Chapter 1 preview; Chapter 2 is also now available for download for $0.99.

NEON GENESIS EVANGELION (rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens), is series co-creator Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's personal interpretation of the Evangelion characters and story is sure to intrigue new and old fans alike. In 2015, the "Angels" have returned, and Shinji Ikari, a fourteen year-old child of the new Earth, is forced by his father Gendo – commander of the secret organization NERV – to pilot the monstrous biomechanical weapon called "Evangelion" to match the Angels' fearsome power...

VIZ Media's digital manga platform continues to expand access for fans in North America to the world's best manga. Starting with the VIZ Manga app (the #1 app for reading manga on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch) in 2010, the recently launched VIZManga.com is now a leading online destination for reading manga on desktop/laptop computers and on Android-powered devices with built-in web browsers. With one account, registered users can select from nearly 400 volumes across 40+ series and then enjoy their purchases through even more devices than ever.

For more information, visit VIZManga.com or www.VIZ.com/apps.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

ACF 1129: Sentai Filmworks announces license of "Ice"

Sentai Filmworks recently announced the licensing of the all-female, future epic ICE. Directed by Makoto Kobayashi (Dragon’s Heaven) and with character designs by Masaya Onishi (Ghost Stories) ICE is ultimately the creation of Renaissance man Yasushi Akimoto, whose varied and prolific career as writer, TV producer and professor includes the creation of the Japanese Idol super-groups AK48 and Onyanko Club. With that background, it’s no surprise that many members of the huge girl group AK48 ended up contributing their voices to the apocalyptic tale in which all humans bearing a Y chromosome have been wiped from the face of the Earth.

ICE will be available this November through many digital distributors as well as on bilingual DVD.

Synopsis: Some strange virus, whether planned or accidental, has wiped out most of the population. The survivors? Beautiful women. Faced with the possible extinction of their entire race, some of these new Amazons have decided to live out their final days in the pursuit only of fleshly pleasures. Others choose to use their beauty, their might, and their minds to fight back and reclaim the planet once more. Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but anime has never been hotter than ICE!

Monday, August 15, 2011

ACF 1128: San Francisco's Japantown announces “Hope for Japan's Recovery” banner contest winner


NEW PEOPLE, San Francisco’s dynamic entertainment destination showcasing the latest examples of Japanese popular culture, and the San Francisco Japantown Merchants Association have announced the winning banner design inspired by Hatsune Miku and carrying the theme of “Hope for Japan’s Recovery.” It will be displayed in the city’s Japantown and throughout the upcoming J-Pop Summit Festival. The design contest was a special collaboration with Crypton Future Media, Inc., the creators of Hatsune Miku.

The banner went up on Post Street, the main Japantown thoroughfare where the upcoming J-Pop Summit Festival is set take place on Saturday and Sunday, August 27th and 28th. With the recent earthquake and tsunami tragedies in Japan still fresh in everyone’s minds, the J-Pop Summit Festival has incorporated multiple benefit events into this year’s programming.

The annual J-Pop Summit Festival is a unique Japanese Pop Culture celebration that features live bands and artists from Japan, pop culture panel discussions, film premieres, fashion and DJ dance events, and celebrity appearances. A dedicated web site is now available at J-pop.com and features many new updates.

The “Hope for Japan’s Recovery” banner design was created by shiratama, an artist from Japan, and depicts a whimsical character inspired by the striking, blue-haired Vocaloid pop music phenomenon Hatsune Miku. This design will be featured on t-shirts, USB flash cards, tote bags and coffee mugs that will be for sale as part of charity programs during the J-Pop Summit Festival. A variety of shiratama’s other creations are available to view at: http://piapro.jp/ssmsub.

“We would like to send our sincerest appreciation and applause to shiratama, who designed this banner filled with love featuring Hatsune Miku holding a warm heart tightly, which delivers a message of hope from us to the people in Japan,” says Richard Hashimoto, President of the Japantown Merchants Association. “We would also like to thank the many artists who entered this contest from all over the world. Please come visit San Francisco’s Japantown to see Miku praying for Japan.”

“It’s a pleasant coincidence for us to have this banner up during the week of our second anniversary of NEW PEOPLE.” Seiji Horibuchi, the founder/CEO of NEW PEOPLE Inc, which produces the J-Pop Summit Festival. “We’re grateful to Hatsune Miku and Crypton Future Media to give the 2011 J-Pop Summit and Japantown an exciting opportunity to strengthen the bridge between the U.S. and Japan.”

NEW PEOPLE opened in 2009 and has become a unique must-see attraction of San Francisco’s cultural landscape. The 20,000 square foot contemporary venue features the latest examples Japanese popular culture expressed though film, art, fashion, and a variety of specialty boutiques and ongoing monthly events. NEW PEOPLE is located at 1746 Post Street in the city’s Japantown.

ACF 1127: Sentai Filmworks announces digital distribution of of "Coicent" and "Five Numbers"

Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of the twin sci-fi anime mini features COICENT and FIVE NUMBERS. Although not directly connected, both films exemplify the best of Japan’s new wave of up and coming anime masters, with COICENT reuniting writer/director Shuhei Moritai and character designer Daisuke Sajiki, who previously collaborated on the seminal CGI anime hit Kakurenbo, while FIVE NUMBERS teams director Hiroaki Ando, (who handled CGI duties for Steamboy and Noiseman,) with character designer Masaru Gotsubo (Samurai Champloo,) and scripter Dai Sato, whose previous credits include HALO: Legends – The Package, Ergo Proxy and screenplays for Cowboy Bebop.

The two titles will be available separately via digital distribution that is scheduled to begin soon. Sentai has announced that that they will be released together later this year on DVD and BluRay, and that both titles will be available in both English subtitled and English dubbed versions.

Synopsis: Get ready for a double dose of amazing science fiction as two astounding tales come together in one incredible collection of state of the art animation! First, it’s a quick time jump to the 26th century where a school trip to a rebuilt 21st century city turns into a wild adventure for teenage Shinichi. While chasing a talking deer that steals his bag, he runs into a strange girl trying to elude even stranger pursuers, and then things get wild. It’s a mad dash through a city of the past as two young people discover a chance at a new future in COICENT.

Then, four people awake to find themselves in the ultimate prison: an ex-soldier, a beautiful woman, an average Joe and a young computer hacker. Why are they there? What connection links them together? And how can they escape? The answer seems to lie with the fifth prisoner, an old man who knows far more than he is telling. And then there’s the cat. It’s the ultimate locked room mystery and all their lives hinge on solving it in FIVE NUMBERS.