With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


The Korea Society presents the 10th New York Korean Film Festival with new releases showcasing the popular and prolific in Korean film. In cooperation with partners BAM Cinématek and CJ Entertainment, this 10th festival features blockbusters, cutting-edge action, drama, and comedy at BAM Rose Cinema.

Late Autumn (Manchu) 2010
Friday, February 24
Directed by Kim Tae-yong. With Hyun Bin and Tang Wei. Anna is on her way to Seattle to attend her mother’s funeral on a special weekend release from prison. On the bus, she meets Hoon, a “companion for hire” for lonely, older women. A co-production of South Korea, China, Hong Kong, and the United States, Late Autumn was shot completely in English in Seattle. 113 min.

Hindsight (Poo-Reun-So-Geum) 2011
Friday, February 24
Directed by Lee Hyun-seung. With Song Kang-ho, Shin Se-kyeong, and Cheon Jeong-myeong. Veteran filmmaker Lee Hyun-seung - and top star Song Kang-ho and Shin Se-kyeong - succeeded in making a non-genre film dealing with gangsters. 120 min.

The Servant (Bang-Ja Jeon) 2010
Saturday, February 25
Directed by Kim Dae-woo. With Kim Joo-hyuk, Ryu Seung-beom, Jo Yeo-jeong, and Oh-Dal-su. In Kim Dae-woo’s re-telling of the classic folk tale Chun-hyang, the Servant illustrates the pursuit of love and class status with adventurous scheming, eroticism, and humor. 124 min.

Quick 2011
Saturday, February 25
Directed by Cho Beom-goo. With Lee Min-ki, Kang ye-won, Kim In-kwon. A Stranger calls to tell Gi-su to make a series of deliveries which a fixed time or suffer the consequences.

Sunny 2011
Sunday, February 26
Directed by Kang Hyeong-cheol. With Yu Ho-jeong, Shim Eun-kyeong, Jin Hee-kyung, kang So-ra, and Hong Jin-hee. With great performances and a charming storyline, Sunny was Korea’s biggest box-office hit in Korea 2011. 124 min.

Moss (Iggi) 2010
Sunday, February 26
Directed by Kang Woo-suk. With Jeong jae-yeong, Park Hae-il, and Yu Hae-jin. The film depicts both community violence and human redemption through Ryu’s investigation of his father’s death. 163 min.

Glove 2011
Saturday, February 26
Directed by Kang Woo-suk. With Jeong Jae-young, Sun Yoo, and Kang Shin-il. Kim Sang-nam, a hot-tempered former professional baseball player is struggling to gain self confidence back as teaching baseball to a group of boys who can’t hear. 144 min.

Schedule February 24-26

Friday, February 24
6:50PM Late Autumn (2010), 113 min.
9:15PM Hindsight (2011), 120 min.

Saturday, February 25
6:50PM The Servant (2010), 124 min.
9:30PM Quick (2011), 115 min.

3PM Sunny (2011), 124 min.
5:45PM Moss (2010), 163 min.
9PM Glove (2011), 144 min.

Festival Location:
BAM Rose Cinema
30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn
(718) 636-4100 x 1
website: http://www.bam.org/

From Midtown, Trains 2, 3, 4, 5, B, Q to Atlantic Ave or D, M, N, R to Pacific Street
Tickets: $12 at the box office

Monday, January 30, 2012

ACF 1331: North America digital volumes of BLEACH, NARUTO, and ONE PIECE catch up to Japan releases

BLEACH © 2001 by Tite Kubo/SHUEISHA Inc.

Digital volumes of BLEACH Vol. 53, NARUTO Vol. 58 and ONE PIECE Vol. 64 are now available on VIZManga.com and the VIZ Manga App for iPad, iPhone & iPod touch, catching North American readers up to Japan releases.

NARUTO © 1999 by Masashi Kishimoto/SHUEISHA Inc.

These volumes have been released ahead of the print editions as part of the Shonen Jump Digital Warp speed up to get U.S. readers up to date with Japan, just in time for the debut of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA today, Monday, January 30th. Other specials in preparation for the launch include:
  • a sneak peek at WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA with the free "Issue Zero" preview, containing the latest chapters from Japan, only available on VIZManga.com and the VIZ Manga apps!
  • all preorder subscriptions to WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA include an entry to win a 16 GB WiFi iPad 2 (promo ends 1/30 at 10AM PST) - details at SJ.viz.com/preorde
  • new users to the digital manga experience can download the free VIZ Manga App to their iOS device, register for a new account, and get a free volume 1 of their choice (promo ends 1/30)
  • finally, for those in the Los Angeles area, we will be holding a special launch event this Saturday 1/28 at the West Hollywood Library, from 2-5PM! Food, fun & demos of the debut issue will be available!
For more information on WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA, visit SJAlpha.com.

Friday, January 27, 2012

ACF 1330: Dance documentary THE SPACE IN BACK OF YOU coming to the Walter Reade Theater

The Space in Back of You
Directed by Richard Rutkowski
Based on an original stage tribute by Robert Wilson
U.S.A., 2011, 65 minutes
When: Sunday, January 29, 2012 at 8:45 PM
(New York Premiere)
and Monday, January 30, 2012 at 3:30 PM
Where: The Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center
165 West 65 Street, 4th Floor NYC 

This lovely and loving documentary is a tribute to Japanese dancer and choreographer Suzushi Hanayagi. Born Mitsuko Kiuchi in 1928, she began her training in the Hanayagi dance tradition at the age of four. She took the name Suzushi Hanayagi at age twenty. 

She knew the music of John Cage in the 1950s while still in Japan. In the early '60s, she came to the United States and studied at the Martha Graham School. But she looked for something post-modern, beyond the formula of the Graham technique. She associated with the members of the Judson Dance Theater, an informal group of dancers who perfomed at the Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village. She became a friend and collaborator with  Carla Blank and, later, Robert Wilson.

In 1969, pregnant with her son Ascenda Kiuchi, she returned to Japan. The ensuing years found her performing and choreographing not only in Japan and New York, but elsewhere around the world. Suzushi, as everyone in the films calls her, is now afflicted with Alzheimer's disease and currently lives in a nursing home in Osaka. One of the most touching segments of the film is Wilson visiting her, and later talking about that visit. (My eyes tear up again now as I recall this segment in order to write of it.)
Wilson and Carla Blank created "KOOL-Dancing In My Mind," a performance portrait inspired by Suzushiand. It includes reconstructions of some of her choreography and is intended to provide a reminder of her importance in post-modern dance. Portions of it are shown in the film.

Suzushi (seated, left) with David Byrne next to her and Robert Wilson, standing at right

As one of her associates in the film says, Suzhshi became "a creator of the space around her." For some time she was rather perplexed by the dichotomy of her traditional Japanese dance training and her involvement with Western avant-guarde dance movement. After studying Zen, she came to realize that this was her nature and that, for her, the two worlds were one.

The Space in Back of You provides video clips and still photographs of Suzushi's artistic life and, to a lesser degree, her personal life. There are interviews with Wilson, David Byrne (who provided the music for several Suzushi/Wilson collaborations, as well as "KOOL-Dancing In My Mind") and many others who knew and worked with her.

Suzushi being visited recently by Robert Wilson

The Space in Back of You (the title comes from her admonition to pay attention to it because it is more important than the space in front) should be seen by anyone with an interest in Japanese dance, in post-modern Western dance, or in learning about an incredibly talented woman who has left her mark not only in the world of dance, but also in the hearts of those lucky enough to have known her.

A Q&A with director Richard Rutkowski will follow both screenings.

Film and ticket information here.  For the official website for The Space in Back of You, click here.

The two screenings will be preceded by La femme à la cafetière (1989). Inspired by a painting of the same title by Paul Cézanne, Robert Wilson wittily conveys the boredom of the figure within the frame, as she passes her time, nibbling sweets, unmoved by the changes around her until she must relinquish her place to a successor., The piece was performed by Suzushi Hanayagi and Consuelo de Haviland and co-produced by the Musèe d'Orsay, INA, and La September. 

The Space in Back of You screenings are part of the 40th Dance on Camera Festival, which begins today, Friday, January 27th, and runs through Tuesday, January 31st.

ACF 1329: THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY film comics, art and picture books coming February 7th

Karigurashi no Arrietty (The Secret World of Arrietty) © 2010 GNDHDDTW
All rights reserved.

Releases Based On The New The Film
By Hayao Miyazaki’s Famed Animation Studio
Include Film Comics, Art And Picture Books

VIZ Media brings the miniaturized adventure of famed Studio Ghibli’s newest animated creation – THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY – to readers everywhere with a collection of ARRIETTY film comics, art and picture books set to debut on February 7th, 2012. THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY is scheduled for North American theatrical release on February 17th, 2012.

THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY is based on the celebrated novel, The Borrowers, by Mary Norton and was produced by Studio Ghibli, the famed animation company founded by Hayao Miyazaki, which also created Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle and Ponyo. The new film, with planning/screenplay by Hayao Miyazaki and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, will feature the voice talents of Bridget Mendler, Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett and Will Arnett for its English language release.

Arrietty isn’t your ordinary fourteen-year-old girl – she is small enough to make her home under the floorboards of a typical house, “borrowing” what she and her family need from the giants in whose shadows they live. A young boy named Shawn befriends Arrietty, but when adults discover the Borrowers, Arrietty and Shawn must work together to save her family.

THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY PICTURE BOOK · Rated “A” for All Ages · MSRP: $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN · Available February 7th, 2012

The colorful and easy-to-read THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY Picture Book is a full-color hardcover edition that will appeal to younger readers especially. The book uses the vividly colored animation cel art from the feature film combined with simplified text to retell the story of Arrietty and her adventures.

THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY FILM COMICS · Rated “A” for All Ages · MSRP: $16.99 U.S. each / $19.99 CAN each · Available February 7th, 2012

The official 2-volume film comic of THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY re-tells the film’s story with vivid full-color frames. 

THE ART OF THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY · Rated “A” for All Ages · MSRP: $34.99 U.S. / $39.99 CAN · Available February 7th, 2012

Co-founded by the legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli films enthrall and enchant audiences across the world. The Art of series gives fans the opportunity to follow their favorite film from initial concept to the silver screen, thanks to hundreds of sketches, concept drawings, and animation cels, plus in-depth interviews with the creators.

“Fans and readers of all ages won’t want to miss these new additions to VIZ Media’s Studio Ghibli Library of titles,” says Masumi Washington, Senior Director, Editorial. “Studio Ghibli has mastered the ability to tell poignant and engaging stories that captivate both children and adults, and their latest film, THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY, continues this tradition. Our forthcoming picture book and film comics are fun ways for young readers to visit the world of ARRIETTY while the gorgeous art book will be a must-have for the ardent Studio Ghibli fan or those who want to know more about the evolution of the film. Discover the adventures in-store for this band of ‘borrowers’ in these new releases scheduled for February!”

More information on VIZ Media’s Studio Ghibli titles is available at www.VIZ.com.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

ACF 1328: THE WORLD GOD ONLY KNOWS now available from Section23

Section23 Films has released the devilishly fun anime THE WORLD GOD ONLY KNOWS on both DVD & Blu-Ray by Section23 client, Sentai Filmworks

Title:                 THE WORLD GOD ONLY KNOWS
Running Time:   300 min.
Age Rating:       TV 14 (D)
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Format:             DVD
SRP:                $59.98

Running Time:   300 min.
Age Rating:       TV 14 (D)
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Format:             BD
SRP:                $69.98

SYNOPSIS: Keima Katsuragi can score with any girl he wants. Provided that she’s not real. A legendary master of Japanese “dating Sims,” often referred to by other players as the God of Conquests, Keima is a classic nerd in real life and isn’t even all that interested in girls with more than two dimensions in the first place! Unfortunately for Keima, his personal preferences cease to be of any importance when he accepts a challenge to what he THINKS is an internet game, only to discover the he’s actually made a deal with a demon!

And not just any demon, this is Elsie, a not particularly competent, young female demon who’s been charged with recapturing runaway spirits that prefer to hide in girls hearts, where they can only be driven out by the girls falling in love. Now Elsie’s got Keima by a collar and he’s got to get the girls or die trying! Romance and dating are the highway to Hell in The World God Only Knows.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

ACF 1327: Utsuwa Floral Design Boutique opens at NEW PEOPLE in San Francisco's Japantown


Modern Japanese Bonsai Techniques
Artfully Blend With Colorful Aesthetics
At The New Retail Boutique Opening
At Bay Area Pop Culture Venue

NEW PEOPLE, the dynamic San Francisco entertainment destination bringing the latest examples of Japanese popular culture to North American shores, welcomes a new retailer to its entertainment venue located in the city’s Japantown. Utsuwa Floral Design produces a captivating mix of traditional Japanese bonsai blended with fresh and playful design accents. The Utsuwa Floral Design at NEW PEOPLE is the company’s second retail location in San Francisco.

Feel the power of universe and vastness of nature creatively depicted in a variety of organic and affordably designed bonsai pots and glass. Utsuwa Floral Design’s creations offer artful and natural meditation for people living in urban surroundings. Utsuwa Floral Design also accepts orders online at: http://utsuwafd.com and ships their creations nationwide.

Valentine’s Day Sale: Surprise your favorite loved one with a unique gift! Utsuwa Floral Design kicks off a special double-weekend sale offering 10% off on all designs between February 4th-5th and 11th-12th. Among the unique items available are Mini Bonsai plants in original pots, starting at only $20.00, artful Moss Ball Aquariums starting at only $10.00, and a wide variety of Air Plants, Succulents and Terrariums starting at $15.00. More information on Utsuwa Floral Design is available at: http://utsuwafd.com.

Hanging Shida (Fern) Workshop: Visitors are also invited to participate in a fun, hands-on workshop on Friday, February 17th at 7:30pm at NEW PEOPLE’s Cinema Café, located in the venue’s spacious lobby. Learn traditional and modern arrangement techniques and create customized inspired designs in a unique event open to everyone. These workshops often sell out quickly! Tickets are $35.00; additional information is available at www.newpeopleworld.com.

Utsuwa Floral Design was founded by U.S.-born Hiro Hayama in 1998. Hayama hails from a family of bonsai masters and he opened his first retail store in Suginami, Tokyo in 2000. As floral designer, Hiro and his florist wife, Misuzu, introduced inventive bonsai and aquarium creations inspired by Asian and Japanese antiques to a new generation of bonsai aficionados in Tokyo. The couple opened their first retail store in the U.S. in San Francisco in 2010 (located at 1339 Polk St., between Austin St. & Pine St.) to highlight these traditional and antique Japanese accents. Their latest location at NEW PEOPLE will showcase a whole new will showcase a whole new concept that incorporates fresh, modern designs that reflect on an urban environment.

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.

Monday, January 23, 2012

ACF 1326: Review of NEW PEOPLE's DVD "Documentary AKB48 to be continued"

DOCUMENTARY of AKB 48 to be continued came out on DVD in the U.S. the beginning of this past December from NEW PEOPLE Entertainment. Culled from over 1000 hours of recorded video throughout 2010, it provides an interesting look inside the all-female idol group that is one of if not the biggest phenomenons in J-Pop today.

Just how big a phenomenon is AKB48? Well, here are just a few of the items that have appeared recently at Tokyograph, a news and information website dedicated to Japanese pop culture that was founded in June 2006:

AKB48 was formed by music producer Yasushi Akimoto in 2005. The "AKB" stands for A-Ki-Ha-Bara, the Tokyo district that is a center for electronics and anime´/ pop culture.  As one of the title cards at the beginning of the documentary indicates, the group has a theater in Akihabara that is exclusive for their performances, which take place almost every day. The "48" stands for the number of official members in the group, which is divided into Teams A, K and B, with 16 members in each. In addition, there are "trainees," the number of which varies, who aspire to become members of one of the teams as vacancies occur.

The concept behind AKB48 is that they are "Idols you can always meet" and this comes across clearly in the documentary. The members, who seem to range in age from about 14 to their early 20s, are shown talking directly to the members of the audience. One of the phrases they most often employ, both onstage and in on-camera interviews, is "our dreams" and talking about striving to achieve their dreams creates a bridge of intimacy between them and their audience. Also, in recent years the group has started to hold elections to determine who will be involved in recording singles. in which fans vote for their favorites and the girl ranked Number 1 performs at the center of the group.

The documentary provides interviews with several members and those shown impressed me with a degree of maturity and articulation beyond what I would have expected from those so young. There are also shots of the girls in rehearsal and performing. We also get to see some of them doing "real life" things such as eating out at restaurants, shopping, and so forth. 

DOCUMENTARY of AKB 48 to be continued was produced by group founder Akimoto, so it's clearly an "in-house" type of production. If you come to it expecting a hard-hitting, Michael Moore kind of expose´, you'll be disappointed. This is no "warts and all" kind of film.

But it is an insightful opportunity to enter the world of these dedicated, hard-working and, yes, very talented young women. ACF Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; solidly recommended.

DOCUMENTARY of AKB 48 to be continued is available at NEW PEOPLE, Amazon and elsewhere.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

ACF 1325: Over 20 films to be offered in LOVE WILL TEAR US APART film series coming to Japan Society

Bad Guy © LJ Film / Prime Entertainment.
Globus Film Series
Love Will Tear Us Apart
When: March 2-18, 2012
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NY, NY
Between 1st and 2nd Avenues

Japan Society very recently announced its next film series, and it going to be great! (No surprise there; Japan Society has consistently presented outstanding films.) The series contains nudity, violence and strong sexual content, which makes it 3 for 3 in my book. Here's the announcment:

Bad romance, blind love, amour fou! This spring, we screen a series of twisted, obsessive, heart-blazing love stories from Japan and Korea, because, after all, it takes two to tango and at least two to tumble...

The 20+ film lineup, mostly from the past decade, includes the U.S. premiere of Shinya Tsukamoto's latest film, KOTOKO, and the world premiere of Koji Wakamatsu’s Petrel Hotel Blue, as well as Hirokazu Kore'eda's Air Doll, Nagisa Oshima's arch-classic In the Realm of the Senses, Yukio Ninagawa's Snakes and Earrings, Lee Sang-il's Villain, Lee Chang-dong's Oasis, and Kim Ki-duk's Bad Guy, among other twisted tales of star-crossed lovers on the rocks and on the run.

Film and schedule information here.

Tickets go on sale February 1st.

ACF 1324: Simulcast of NARUTO SHIPPUDEN on Hulu Plus to start on January 19th, 2012


Latest Action-Packed Ninja Adventures Straight From
Japan To Stream For Fans Beginning With Episode 245

VIZ Media has announced the simulcast of the latest episodes of the anime series NARUTO SHIPPUDEN on the Hulu Plus subscription service (www.hulu.com/plus). Beginning January 19th, Hulu Plus subscribers will be able to simulcast the latest episode of NARUTO SHIPPUDEN in high-definition just an hour after broadcast debut in Japan. NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Episode 245 (rated TV-14, subtitled) and new episodes will be broadcast weekly.

Users of the free, ad-supported Hulu service will also be able to catch the new NARUTO SHIPPUDEN segments one week after their initial run on Hulu Plus; the episodes will also be available on the company’s own VIZAnime.com site.  

In the latest NARUTO SHIPPUDEN adventure, Naruto begins his training to control the power of a Tailed Beast with Killer Bee as his new master. In order to do so, one must fight with the Tailed Beast’s head on and absorb its chakra, converting it into one’s own power. Using the key entrusted to him by Jiraiya, Naruto unlocks the seal to release Nine Tails, and the battle between the two begins.

Created by Masashi Kishimoto, NARUTO was first introduced in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in Japan in 1999 and quickly became that country’s most popular ninja manga targeting tweens and teens. The manga and anime series  (NARUTO rated ‘T’ for teens, and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN rated ‘T+’ for older teens), depicting the adventures of ninja-in-training Uzumaki Naruto, is one of VIZ Media’s most successful properties and has captivated millions of fans across the Americas, and Europe   The NARUTO and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN animated series are co-productions of TV TOKYO, VIZ Media parent company Shueisha Inc., and Pierrot Co., Ltd.

In the NARUTO manga and animated series, Naruto Uzumaki wants to be the best ninja in the land. He's done well so far, but Naruto knows he must train harder than ever and leaves his village for intense exercises that will push him to his limits. NARUTO SHIPPUDEN begins two and a half years later, when Naruto returns to find that everyone has been promoted up the ninja ranks – except him. Sakura’s a medic ninja, Gaara’s advanced to Kazekage, and Kakashi…well he remains the same. But pride isn’t necessarily becoming of a ninja, especially when Naruto realizes that Sasuke never returned from his search for Orochimaru. Plus, the mysterious Akatsuki organization is still an ever-present danger. As Naruto finds out more about the Akatsuki’s goals, he realizes that nothing in his universe is as it seems. Naruto is finding that he’s older, but will he also prove wiser and stronger?

More information on NARUTO SHIPPUDEN is available at www.Naruto.com.

Friday, January 20, 2012

ACF 1323: New anime series LISTEN TO ME, GIRLS. I AM YOUR FATHER!

Sentai Filmworks has announced the licensing of  LISTEN TO ME, GIRLS. I AM YOUR FATHER!, the wild new anime series that takes the classic sit-com premise of ‘a bachelor being forced to adopt three young children and discovering a whole new outlook on life’ and turns it completely on its head!

Based on the series of novels by Tomohiro Matsu and the subsequent manga series illustrated by Yuka Nakajima, the 12 episode series is directed by Itsuro Kawasaki (LICENSED BY ROYALTY, RENTAL MAGICA, ARC THE LAD).

Series composition is handled by veteran Naruhisa Arakawa (STEEL ANGEL KURUMI, DNANGEL, BLUE SEED) while key animator Takashi Mamezuka (INFINITE STRATOS, EDEN OF THE EAST,) takes up the task of adapting Nakajima’s original designs.

LISTEN TO ME, GIRLS. I AM YOUR FATHER! will be available digitally through multiple outlets, with a home video release on subtitled DVD scheduled for later this year. 

Synopsis: Whoever said little girls grow up in the most delightful ways wasn’t Yuta Segawa!  He wasn’t happy when his sister married a man who already had two children.  But given that Yuri raised Yuta by herself after their own parents’ deaths, what kind of brother would Yuta be if he didn’t take in their THREE children when Yuri and her husband Shingo’s plane disappears?

Of course, the fact that Yuta’s only a nineteen year old college student, living in a tiny apartment, and the fact that he’s now living with three GIRLS, two of whom aren’t related by blood and one of whom is only five years younger than he is, is bound to cause some issues. Especially when the eldest girl, Sora, is harboring a secret crush on him and would be quite happy if Yuta’s social life revolved around the ‘family,’ while middle sister Miu is starting to make noises about ‘older men’ as well.

And did we mention that it’s a really, REALLY small apartment?  Add the girl Yuta actually likes, Raika, as a smoldering fuse and the question isn’t IF Yuta’s home sweet home is a powderkeg, but rather one of when and how often!  Some family ties bind, others may need restraining orders in LISTEN TO ME, GIRLS. I AM YOUR FATHER!

ACF 1322: Science fiction & giant monsters in Hiroshi Yamamoto's MM9

© 2007 by Hiroshi Yamamoto


Special Team Of Scientists Must Save Japan
In A Gripping New Novel


VIZ Media’s Haikasoru imprint brings a fantastic new tale of science fiction and giant monsters to North American readers with the release of Hiroshi Yamamoto’s novel MM9, available now. The release will carry an MSRP of $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN. An eBook edition is also available on the Amazon Kindle, Apple’s iBooks Store, the Barnes & Noble’s Nook Books Store, and the Sony Reader™ Store for $8.99.

Haikasoru publishes some of the most compelling contemporary Japanese science fiction and fantasy stories for English-speaking audiences, and is the first imprint based in the U.S. dedicated to Japanese science fiction and fantasy in translation.

The Japan of MM9 is beset by natural disasters all the time: typhoons, earthquakes...and giant monster attacks. A special anti-monster unit called the Meteorological Agency Monsterological Measures Department (MMD) has been formed to deal with natural disasters of high “monster magnitude.” The work is challenging, the public is hostile, and the monsters are hungry, but the MMD crew has science, teamwork...and a legendary secret weapon on their side. Together, will try and save Japan, and the universe!

“Hiroshi Yamamoto takes on the perennial Japanese science fiction theme—the giant monsters known as kaiju,” says Nick Mamatas, Haikasoru Editor. “The B-movie monsters we know and love are basically treated like meteorological disasters along the lines of hurricanes or earthquakes by the MMD, who measures the “monster magnitude” of the various threats and uses both science and folkloric knowledge to try to save Japan from constant repeated attack. Yamamoto knows his science as well as pop culture—MM9 is both a loving parody of Japanese icons like Ultraman and Godzilla, but gives an intriguing and wild answer to the question of how such enormous creatures could exist without the laws of physics kicking it. The book was very popular in Japan, and the cinematic nature of Yamamoto’s storytelling made it easy for Japanese television to adapt into an action-adventure- science fiction TV show.”

Hiroshi Yamamoto was born in 1956 in Kyoto, Japan. He began his career as a writer and game designer with the game development company Group SNE in 1987. He gained initial popularity with titles such as February at the Edge of Time and the Ghost Hunter series. His first hardcover science fiction release, God Never Keeps Silent, became a sensation among readers and was nominated for the Japan SF Award. Other novels include Day of Judgment and The Unseen Sorrow of Winter and THE STORIES OF IBIS (which is published in North America by VIZ Media’s Haikasoru). Aside from his work as a writer, Yamamoto is also active in various literary organizations as an editor of classic science fiction anthologies and as president of To-Gakkai, a group of tongue-in-cheek "experts" on the occult.

For more information on MM9 and the Haikasoru imprint, visit the dedicated website at www.haikasoru.com.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

ACF 1321: Free screening of ROUGH CUT next Tuesday evening In NYC

Korean Cultural Service
Korean Movie Night 
Series 1: Jang Hun Plus One!
    Rough Cut / Yeong-hwa-neun yeong-hwa-da
Directed by JANG Hun
South Korea, 2008, 112 minutes
When: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 @ 7:00 PM
Doors open: 6:30 PM
Where: Tribeca Cinemas
54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal Street, NYC
Near the A, C, E @ #1 Canal Street subway stops
Admission: FREE!!!
All seating is first-come, first served

Kim Ki-Duk wrote this high concept knuckle-buster about a spoiled actor, famous for playing gangsters, who hires a real-life gangster to appear in his new flick. It sounds like nothing but a pile of cliches, but Jang Hun ignores the traditional approach and instead focuses on the volcanic, boiling testosterone that drives the conflict between a man used to getting his way because he’s famous, and a man used to getting his way because he’s violent.

The seduction of filmmaking, the appeal of acting and the temptation of a street brawl all exert their siren song on the two studs in suits at the heart of this film: superstar So Ji-Sub, surprisingly, playing the gangster and Kang Ji-Hwan as the actor.

ACF 1320: Sentai Filmworks acquires ghoulish anime series ANOTHER

Sentai Filmworks has acquired ANOTHER, the eagerly awaited new anime series that dares to ask the question: What do you do when your classmate’s school locker is a locker in the morgue? Based on the hit novel by Yukito Ayatsuji, the 12 episode series joins the manga, written by Ayatsuji and illustrated by MELANCHOLOY OF HARUHI SUZIMIYA’s Noizi Ito, and the forthcoming live action feature film (due Summer 2012) as part of the latest hit horror franchise to erupt from Japan.

Tsutomu Mizushima (BLOOD C, KOBATO, XXXHOLIC) directs from series composition by Ryo Higaki (MORIBITO-GUARDIAN OF THE SPIRIT) while Yuriko Ishii (Persona – Trinity Soul) adapts Ito’s original character designs for animation. 

ANOTHER will soon be available digitally through multiple outlets, with a home video release on DVD and Blu-Ray scheduled for later this year. 

Synopsis: Mei Misaki was cute, athletic and one of the most popular girls in her school. Why should a little thing like death change that? Now, 23 years after Mei’s mysterious demise, a new transfer student discovers that not only is his school’s student body one corpse short of a full roster, but that some secrets never leave high school. And what’s more, all of this may somehow be tied into his own family past.

What is the secret and how does it all connect? And even if Kouichi does figure it out, will that knowledge help save him? As the school bells toll a deadly dirge and students begin to die, things that were never properly buried come back to haunt the high school of the damned in ANOTHER.

ACF 1319: VIZ Manga App Special Promotion Through January 30th

VIZManga iPad Manga Spread Screenshot of DeathNote


For A Limited Time Only, New Users Can Download
VIZ Manga App And Receive Free Volume 1

VIZ Media gives manga (graphic novel) readers an added reason to explore the digital manga experience with a special promotion for new users of the VIZ Manga App for Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices. From now until January 30th, download the FREE VIZ Manga App to your iOS device, register for a new account, and get a free volume 1 of your choice.

VIZ Media’s multiple digital manga platforms allow for universal access to read manga from an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and now, on VIZManga.com for desktop/laptop computers as well as Android-powered devices with built-in web browsers. With one account, registered users may access their purchases across even more devices than ever.

The free VIZ Manga App continues to be the top app for reading manga and features a rapidly growing library of the most popular manga series in the world. Over 45 series and 500+ volumes are currently available, including global hits like BLACK BIRD, BLEACH, CROSS GAME, KEKKAISHI, NARUTO and VAMPIRE KNIGHT, with new additions and free Chapter 1 previews added weekly.

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

ACF 1318: Special screening of THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY

The Secret World of Arrietty
Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Japan, 2010, 94 minutes
When: Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 1:00pm
Where: Symphony Space
2537 Broadway  New York, NY 10025
Between 94th and 95th Streets
Special Preview Screening - On Show Only!
In English - Recommended All Ages

The New York International Children's Film Festival is thrilled to present a special preview screening of The Secret World of Arrietty, based on Mary Norton's classic children's book "The Borrowers." Co-written by Hayao Miyazaki and directed by Miyazaki protégé Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the film is a gorgeous and entertaining treat - a beautiful story, sumptuously animated with all the loving detail, warmth, and humanity we have come to expect from Studio Ghibli's finest works.

"Arrietty is simply gorgeous, embracing the ravishing color of garden flowers, wildly sprouting vines, the perfection of a raindrop on a leaf. Children will enjoy the borrowers' thrilling forays into the house in search of sustenance; adults can wallow in the exquisite detail of the interior and leafy surroundings. Animation simply doesn't get any better than Ghibli's ravishing creation." - Daily Telegraph

Arrietty is a girl of 14, one of the "little people" living secretly with her parents under the floors of an English-style country house. They survive by borrowing food and finding ingenious uses for household objects dropped by its inhabitants - a single cube of sugar can last for weeks and a pin makes a great sword for fighting off hungry insects! But one day a new visitor moves into the empty room upstairs. Shawn is a delicate, handsome teenage boy who has come to the house to rest and build his strength before a heart operation. When he catches sight of Arreitty he is entranced, and the two begin to form a bond. But with their secret now exposed, the Borrower family worries that they may need to move away and find a new home. In English, with voice cast including Will Arnett, Carol Burnett, and Amy Poehler.

This event is expected to sell out. To purchase tickets, CLICK HERE or call TicketWeb directly at 866-468-7619.

ACF 1317: Happy Birthday, Takeshi Kitano! Happy Birthday To You!

Kitano in Achilles and the Tortoise (2008) which he also wrote and directed

Takeshi Kitano was born on January 18, 1947 in Tokyo. He began his entertainment career as a comedian. As part of a duo know as Two Beat, or sometimes The Two Beats, he became known as "Beat Takeshi." He is a film director and actor, as well as a writer of both screenplays and books. As a director he is known in the U.S. for such films as Outrage (2010), The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi (2003), and Sonatine (1993). He also acted in all of these.He also is well known for his roles in Battle Royale (2000) and Merry Christman Mr. Lawrence (1983), among others.

So "Happy Birthday, 'Beat Takeshi', and best wishes for many more.


NARUTO [HIDEN・SHA-NO SHO] © 2008 by Masashi Kishimoto/SHUEISHA Inc.

New Guide Offers Fans Essential NARUTO Character Info
As Well As Never-Before-Revealed Data And Secrets

VIZ Media is opening the new year with the latest addition to its extensive library of NARUTO titles. NARUTO: THE OFFICIAL CHARACTER DATA BOOK is available now, offers essential information on key characters from the smash-hit action series, and includes 8 full-color pages. NARUTO: THE OFFICIAL CHARACTER BOOK is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will carry an MSRP of $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN.

A ninja knows all! And now you can too! Here's all the intel you need on who's who in NARUTO!.THE OFFICIAL CHARACTER DATA BOOK gives you all you need stay the expert on all things NARUTO. Whether you're catching up, brushing up, or just getting started with the goings-on in ninja world, this handy, huge guide covers the whole story all the way to Volume 43 of the best-selling manga (graphic novel) series!

NARUTO: THE OFFICIAL CHARACTER DATA BOOK is a treasure-trove of essential information that will be a must-read for both casual and die-hard NARUTO fans,” says Joel Enos, Editor. “Inside these pages, you'll find never-before revealed data, secrets, and even a few scandals involving your favorite, as well as most-hated, shinobi. And fans won’t want to miss a new manga tale from NARUTO creator Masashi Kishimoto that you can't find in English anywhere else!”

Created by Masashi Kishimoto, NARUTO was first introduced in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in Japan in 1999 and quickly became that country’s most popular ninja manga targeting tweens and teens. The manga series (rated ‘T’ for Teens) and animated counterpart (NARUTO rated ‘T’ for teens, and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN rated ‘T+’ for older teens), depicting the adventures of ninja-in-training Uzumaki Naruto, is one of VIZ Media’s most successful properties and has captivated millions of fans across North America, Europe and South America. The NARUTO and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN animated series are co-productions of TV TOKYO, VIZ Media parent company Shueisha Inc., and Pierrot Co., Ltd.

More information on NARUTO is available at www.Naruto.com.


Sentai Filmworks has acquired MOTTO TO LOVE RU, the sequel series to the company’s previous hit TO LOVE RU. As before, the series is based on the manga by Kintaro Yabuki (BLACK CAT) and Saki Hasemi (MOETAN). The new 12 episode series is helmed by Atsushi Otsuki (who directed the final episode of the original series as well as episodes of FULL METAL ALCHEMIST, the second season of WAGNERIA and LADIES VS. BUTLERS) working from series composition by SLAYERS and VENUS VS. VIRUS vet Yasutomo Yamada. Yuichi Ouka once again adapts Yabuki’s original character designs for animation.

Watch for MOTTO TO LOVE RU on subtitled DVD this spring!

Synopsis: The insanity that began when a very naked (and very female) alien teleported into Rito Yuki’s bathtub (while he was in it) continues, and even though Princess Lala has finally started to admit her true feelings about the young man she’s inexplicably engaged to marry (as a result of what happened in said bathtub and Develuke customs), her sometimes erratic technology and the snags and snarls of intergalatic politics and intrigue are still causing major problems.

That transporter, for example, still has the nasty habit of leaving the clothes behind.  Those alien bounty hunters?  Yep, even more of them and they’re even more devious.  Add body switches, alien skunks, a bathroom that changes size and shape, the inevitable sleepover that you just know is going to go horribly, horribly wrong (spoiler: it does,) and worst of all, Valentine’s Day, and even in space you’ll be able to hear Rito scream!  Love takes a quantum shift into the wrong gear and the star brakes are broken in the extra-special, extra-crazy extraterrestrial romance to end them all, MOTTO TO LOVE RU – The Complete Collection.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

ACF 1314: VIZ announces launch of FLUFFY, FLUFFY CINNAMOROLL

FUWAFUWA CINNAMON © 2005 Yumi TSUKIRINO, Chisato SEKI/Shogakukan
© 2002, 2005 SANRIO CO., LTD.

Cute Flying Long-Eared Pup With A Penchant For Cinnamon Rolls
Takes Off For Colorful Adventures In New VIZ Kids Manga Release 

VIZ Media delivers some sweet high-flying fun with the debut of the VIZ Kids manga (graphic novel) property, FLUFFY, FLUFFY Cinnamoroll, available now. The colorful new adventure, with story and art by Yumi Tsukirino, is rated ‘A’ for All Ages, and will carry an MSRP of $7.99 U.S. / $9.99 CAN.

Meet the puppy with a tail like a cinnamon roll!

Cinnamoroll is no ordinary pup. He loves freshly baked cinnamon rolls and uses his long ears to fly high into the sky! With his friends Chiffon, Mocha, Espresso, Cappuccino and little Milk, he’s always on the lookout for a new adventure. In their first journey, Milk has disappeared through a mysterious door and only Cinnamoroll can save him! Will he find the courage to help his friend and still make it back to Café Cinnamon in time for tea?

FLUFFY, FLUFFY Cinnamoroll is a whimsical all-ages manga adventure based on an adorable Sanrio character created by Chisato Seki,” says Traci Todd, Senior Editor, Childrens Publishing. “The cute floppy-eared pup is the latest character to join the VIZ Kids family, which also features MAMESHIBA, POKÉMON, and MR. MEN AND LITTLE MISS. Cinnamoroll is very popular in Japan, where he was the star of a 2007 anime feature film called Cinnamon The Movie. We hope this flying canine and his loveable friends will soon find a way into the hearts of readers everywhere with this fun manga story.”

Author and manga creator Yumi Tsukirino debuted in the Japanese magazine Ciao in 1996 with “Crystal Change!!” Her other works include PiPiPi Adventure, Piyo Piyo Clinic, Chamo Chamo Pretty, and several Pokémon manga, in addition to creating numerous manga short stories.

FLUFFY, FLUFFY Cinnamoroll was conceived by Chisato Seki who began her independent career after having worked for a publishing company. Seki is the author of the Cinnamoroll picture book titled Cinnamoroll and the Lost Puppy, which was published in Japan by Shogakukan.

For more information on FLUFFY, FLUFFY Cinnamoroll and other VIZ Kids titles, visit www.VIZKids.com.