With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Home media release of COPPELION coming February 3rd from VIZ

©Tomonori Inoue・Kodansha / COPPELION Committee

After A Catastrophe Contaminates Japan’s Old Capital, Three
Genetically Engineered Girls Embark To Rescue Survivors;
Complete Series Released As DVD/Blu-Ray Combo Pack

VIZ Media brings the sci-fi action of COPPELION to fans as it announces the home media release of the 13-episode anime series as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack on February 3rd.

COPPELION will be released in a comprehensive edition containing 2 DVDs and 2 Blu-ray discs, offering 16:9 video and 1080p High Definition resolution, housed in an illustrated chipboard box, with an MSRP of $69.99 U.S. / $81.99 CAN. In addition to the complete series, bonus features include clean opening and ending segments and original series trailers. A bonus COPPELION production art gallery is also included.

In the not-so-distant future, a catastrophic event has turned the old capital of Japan into a wasteland, forever changing the lives of its people. Decades later, three schoolgirls set foot into the now forsaken city. They are the Coppelion, genetically engineered humans created by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force to operate under the lethal conditions of the contaminated city. Trained since birth, the girls must use all of their skills and resources to carry out their one and only mission: to rescue those left behind.

“Ibara, Aoi and Taeko comprise the Coppelion, three genetically engineered girls that seek to rescue forgotten survivors in the smashes ruins of the Old Capital and uncover a dark secret about themselves in the process,” says Charlene Ingram, Senior Marketing Manager, Animation. “This new Combo Pack release fittingly presents the gripping series in its entirety and gives fans the opportunity to add this lushly animated adventure to their personal collections.”

COPPELION is the animated adaptation of the popular manga series created by Tomonori Inoue, which ran in Japan in Monthly Young Magazine, and was produced by GoHands, the award winning studio that also produced the anime series, K (also distributed by VIZ Media).

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

Friday, January 30, 2015

Renowned cosplayer Jessica Negri to voice lead in upcoming SONIANI: SUPER SONICO THE ANIMATION


Sentai Filmworks has announced that celebrated personality and world renowned cosplayer Jessica Nigri as the lead in SoniAni: Super Sonico the Animation.

Nigri, an avid cosplayer and convention interview correspondent, set her sights on the world of voice acting with her role in the Rooster Teeth production of RWBY. Now, Jessica is lending her talents as the official English voice of model, rocker and international sensation Super Sonico.

“I always felt a connection with Sonico,” said Jessica Nigri. “She’s just got such a positive and genuine spirit about her that when they asked me about playing the part, I squealed with joy! It’s like my dream was finally coming true. Being here with my Sentai family has been surreal.”

Production is currently wrapping for the series and Sentai Filmworks will include extras and bonus materials with the 2015 release.

“Jessica delivers the perfect spice for our production of the series,” said David Del Rio, Vice President of Sentai Filmworks. “She truly embodies Sonico.”

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Yuya Sato's novel DENDERA coming February 17th from Haikasoru imprint

DENDERA by Yuya Sato
Copyright © Yuya Sato, 2009
English translation © 2015 VIZ Media, LLC
Cover design by Fawn Lau

Moving Novel Debuts In February About An Elderly’s
Woman’s Resilience And Discovery Of A Hidden
UtopianCommunity After Society Casts Her Aside

VIZ Media’s Haikasoru imprint opens 2015 with its first release of the New Year. DENDERA is the stark and moving novel by award winning author Yuya Sato set to be published on February 17th. An eBook edition also will debut on the same day for the Amazon Kindle, Apple’s iBooks Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Book Store, the Kobo eBooks Store, and the Google Play store.

DENDERA focuses on an ancient Japanese practice of leading the elderly to die in the mountains during times of drought or famine in order to ensure enough resources are available for the next generation to survive. The book was inspired by the classic novel, The Ballad of Narayama by Shichiro Fukazawa, which was notably adapted into a feature film directed by Shohei Imamura and won the prestigious Palme d’Or award at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival. DENDERA was also turned into a feature film in 2011 that was directed by Daisuke Tengan, the son of director Shohei Imamura.

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.

DENDERA • Print MSRP: $15.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN • Available February 17th
When Kayu Saitoh wakes up, she is in an unfamiliar place. Taken to a snowy mountainside, she was left there by her family and her village according to the tradition of sacrificing the lives of the elderly for the benefit of the young. Kayu was supposed to have passed quickly into the afterlife. Instead, she finds herself in Dendera, a utopian community built over decades by old women who, like her, were abandoned. Together, they must now face a new threat: a hungry mother bear.

DENDERA is a captivating work that presents a strong female lead character and evocative story based around ubasute, the custom of leaving the elderly to die via exposure, a recurring theme in Japanese literature,” says Nick Mamatas, Editor. “This fabulist tale will be of interest to both fans of fantasy and literary fiction.”

Author Yuya Sato was born 1980 and is a writer of “strange fiction,” which features fantastic or horrific concepts treated in a refined literary style. Some of his short works of fiction have appeared in English in the mixed manga/prose anthology series Faust. His novel 1000 Novels and Backbeard won the Yukio Mishima Prize, one of Japan’s highest literary awards.

For additional information DENDERA and the Haikasoru imprint, visit the dedicated website at www.haikasoru.com.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

RUNNING MAN and SOMEWHERE ONLY WE KNOW to be released in major markets by China Lion

China Lion Film Announces Acquisitions of Running Man 
and Somewhere Only We Know as January & February
Releases for US/Canada & Australia/New Zealand

China Lion Film Distribution has announced that it has acquired the films Running Man from Wanda Media Group and Somewhere Only We Know from Distribution Workshop. Running Man will open on January 29th in Australia and New Zealand and January 30th in the United States and Canada; Somewhere Only We Know will open February 12th in Australia and New Zealand and February 13th in the United States and Canada. Both releases will continue a day-and-date release strategy, allowing audiences in both areas of the world to experience the films in the same weekend as Mainland Chinese audiences.

Running Man from Wanda Media Group is the feature film spin-off of the very popular reality television show originally based on a South Korean variety format. The film stars Wang Baoqiang (Lost in Thailand), Li Chen (Aftershock), Zheng Kai (So Young), Angelababy (Love on the Cloud) Korean singer and TV personality Kim Jong-Kook and Chen He (Back In Time), among others. The show was adapted by Zhejiang TV in China and is produced by Zhenjiang Blue Star Media Co. Ltd., Huayi Bros. and Wanda Media and the story revolves around the celebrities divided into teams and competing against one and other for the ultimate annual prize. The film follows in the footsteps of the $100M USD Mainland grossing reality TV feature spin-off Where Are We Going Dad? which was released in the same weekend last year.

The trailer for Running Man can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdHNBbiUlxU

Somewhere Only We Know from Distribution Workshop is set to be China Lion Film’s biggest release ever, celebrating both the Valentine’s Day Weekend and an early Chinese New Year. Directed and co-written by popular actress Xu Jinglei, the romantic drama takes place in Prague and stars Kris Wu, a former member of the popular Korean music group EXO, along with Claudia Wang and Gordon Alexander. The film will mark Kris’ debut as an actor, who has also contributed to the soundtrack with the song “There is a Place”. Xu also co-stars in the film, which centers on a love story across time; the film is produced by Kaila Pictures and is co-written by Wang Shuo, who wrote the Feng Xiaogang films (and China Lion Film releases) Personal Tailor and If You Are The One. Distribution Workshop is founded by veteran producers/filmmakers Nansun Shi and Jeffrey Chan, with Nasdaq listed Bona Film Group as one of its major shareholders. Based in Hong Kong, it aims to represent and produce the best quality Asian films for distributors worldwide.

The teaser trailer for Somewhere Only We Know can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM8SJ74f2fU

The music video for “There is a Place” from Somewhere Only We Know can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye5hWLKwuSA

China Lion Film will release both films in major metro areas throughout North America in addition to Australia and New Zealand; specific release locations will be announced on the company’s website, as well as its Facebook and Weibo. China Lion Film Distribution recently released the films Breakup Buddies, Back In Time and Love on the Cloud.

Sentai Filmworks announces acquisition of THE WORLD GOD ONLY KNOWS OVA COLLECTION

Sentai Filmworks has announced its latest acquisition, The World God Only Knows OVA Collection. The duo of Keima Katsuragi and Elsie return in a set of stories that tie together the various seasons of the popular romance comedy series by animation production studio Manglobe.

Four Girls and an Idol
Summer comes around, and Chihiro, along with Elsie, Ayumi and Miyako, have been enjoying the activities of the band called "2B PENCILS". They decide to start up a band club and thoroughly devote themselves to their studies in order to secure a clubroom. Meanwhile, before the very eyes appears the celebrity idol Kanon-chan! Meanwhile, Kanon-chan seems to have her eye on Keima, which makes Chihiro and the others uneasily jealous.

The Reunion/The Encounter
Childhood friend Tenri Ayukawa moves in next door to Keima, who behaves in a curt manner, having not seen each other for 10 years. It turns out another girl named Diana resides inside Tenri. Diana tells Keima of something that occurred 10 years ago. A tale a decade in the making is finally revealed in a thrilling two part story with Tenri’s very heart on the line.

Magical Star Kanon 100%!
Kanon has it tough every day, what with being a pop idol and a high-school student. But one day, suddenly, she turns into an elementary-school student! What's more, another "Kanon" shows up and tries to win over the children, including the real Kanon herself. Things get even crazier when Kanon is turned into a witch! What will happen to our leading idol when she must literally and figuratively face herself? This 100% Kanon OVA spinoff features familiar friends and new characters in an all new original story by Tamiki Wakaki himself.

The World God Only Knows OVA Collection will be available soon through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Free Korean film series "Fathers on Screen" coming to Asia Society

L to R: "Broken," "Ode to My Father," "Hwayi: A Monster Boy."
Korean Cultural Service NY and Asia Society co-present
Korean Movie Night New York
Series One: Fathers on Screen
When: Feb. 9 - Mar. 31, 2015
Where: Asia Society
725 Park Avenue (at 70 Street), NYC
Free admission
First-come, first-served

The popular, ongoing Korean Movie Night New York kicks off 2015 with the series Fathers on Screen, which explores different types of Korean father figures, both positive and negative, as they have been shaped by the cultural and socio-economic conditions in contemporary Korea: a hard-working, devoted family man in ODE TO MY FATHER, an authoritarian and cold blooded murderer in HWAYI, a vengeful vigilante in BROKEN, and a heroic ex-firefighter forced to commit non-heroic acts in GUARDIAN.

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

Click here to learn more.

Monday, January 26, 2015

THE LAST: NARUTO THE MOVIE to screen starting February 20th


The World’s Most Popular Ninja Will Tap Every Bit Of
Ninjutsu Skills And Knowledge To Save The Planet

VIZ Media and Los Angeles-based film distributor ELEVEN ARTS will debut the highly anticipated seventh feature film in the NARUTO SHIPPUDEN series in a limited theatrical engagement around the United States starting February 20, 2015.

Anime fans and filmgoers nationwide have a very special opportunity to catch the epic, big-screen action of THE LAST: NARUTO THE MOVIE in over 20 cities, including New York, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and more!

The film will be presented with original Japanese dialogue with English subtitles. The run time of the film is 112 minutes. Attendees also will receive a special commemorative NARUTO film poster (while supplies last). For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit: http://www.elevenarts.net/th_gallery/the-last-naruto-the-movie/.

To view a trailer for THE LAST: NARUTO THE MOVIE, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiptnMg368E

Cities confirmed to host THE LAST: NARUTO THE MOVIE premiere screenings include:

Los Angeles
San Diego
San Francisco
Kansas City
New York
Hollywood Theater
San Antonio

THE LAST: NARUTO THE MOVIE is based on the internationally bestselling NARUTO manga (graphic novel) series created by Masashi Kishimoto. In the film, the moon is approaching dangerously close to Earth! Unless something is done, the moon will disintegrate, showering the earth with gigantic meteorites. As the clock ticks towards the end of the world, can Naruto save the earth from this crisis?

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?

Additional information on NARUTO and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN is available at www.Naruto.com.

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

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sentai Filmworks announces acquisition of THE FAMILIAR OF “ZERO”-“RONDO” OF PRINCESSES-

Sentai Filmworks has announced its latest acquisition, ‪The Familiar of “ZERO”-“Rondo” of Princesses-. The direct sequel to season 2 of the Familiar of Zero saga, and with animation production by J.C. Staff, “Rondo” of Princesses continues the adventures of Saito and Louise as they face a new dilemma that up to now has been an unknown.

Synopsis: With the seemingly unending war with Albion now far past them, Saito and Louise finally get a chance to return to Tristain for some much needed rest and relaxation. All their plans go down the drain, however, when the runes the bind them together suddenly disappear. With no magical force to make sure they don't stray from each other, Saito and Louise find that a relationship that is no longer defined as "Master and Familiar" is pretty hard to maintain, and even harder to get used to! The adventure continues on as the former Zero now turned Hero and his newly empowered master discover more about each other than ever before in their quest to recover their lost runes in ‪The Familiar of “ZERO”-“Rondo” of Princesses- .

The Familiar of “ZERO”-“Rondo” of Princesses- will be available soon through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

YU-GI-OH! 3-in-1 omnibus series coming February 3rd from VIZ

YU-GI-OH! © 1996 by Kazuki Takahashi/SHUEISHA Inc.

Catch 3 Complete Volumes Of Creator Kazuki Takahashi’s Original
Bestselling Fantasy Action Manga Series In New Omnibus Format

VIZ Media triples its dueling power as it announces the launch of Kazuki Takahashi’s YU-GI-OH! manga series in a new 3-in-1 omnibus on February 3rd.

Published under the Shonen Jump imprint, YU-GI-OH! 3-in-1, Vol. 1 is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will carry an MSRP of $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN. It is the latest title to join VIZ Media’s extensive roster of 3-in-1 omnibus releases for some of manga’s greatest series. Future YU-GI-OH! 3-in-1 editions will cover the entire 38-volume series and will be published quarterly for a total of 13 volumes.

Tenth-grader Yugi always had his head in some game – until he solved the Millennium Puzzle, an Egyptian artifact containing the spirit of a master gambler from the age of the pharaohs! Possessed by the puzzle, Yugi becomes Yu-Gi-Oh, the King of Games, and challenges evildoers to the Shadow Games...weird games with high stakes and high risks.

The games begin in the opening YU-GI-OH! omnibus volume! Meet Seto Kaiba, master of the world's most dangerous collectible card game. When Kaiba discovers that Yugi's grandfather owns the incredibly rare "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" card, he will stop at nothing to get it...even if he has to duel with Yugi's dark alter ego Yu-Gi-Oh! Then, out of the sands of Egypt, the mystic Shadi has come to test Yugi's powers, which will give Yugi his greatest challenge yet. If he loses, his best friends will die!

“This new omnibus is a great way to dive into all the action of the original YU-GI-OH! manga series for the very first time, or revisit it in a whole new way – undivided and in its entirety,” says Erica Yee, Editor. “YU-GI-OH! remains the Number 1 trading card game property in the world, and the popularity of the property has also spawned several top-rated anime series, bestselling video games, and a vast array of action figures and other collectables. We look forward to even more fans discovering this tremendous manga series with the new 3-in-1 editions.”

Creator Kazuki Takahashi first tried to break into the manga business in 1982, but success eluded him until YU-GI-OH! debuted in the Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 1996. YU-GI-OH!’s themes of friendship and fighting, together with Takahashi's weird and imaginative monsters, soon became enormously successful, spawning a real-world card game, video games, and four anime series. In addition to the original YU-GI-OH! manga series, VIZ Media also publishes YU-GI-OH! 5D’s, YU-GI-OH! R, YU-GI-OH! GX, and YU-GI-OH! ZEXAL.

For more information on YU-GI-OH! and other award-winning manga titles from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sentai Filmworks acquires STUDENT COUNCIL’S DISCRETION LV.2

Sentai Filmworks has announced its latest acquisition, Student Council’s Discretion Lv.2. The direct sequel to season 1 of Student Council’s Discretion, this comedy slice of life series with animation production by AIC made its debut online before being broadcast on television, and aims to tear down the 4th wall brick by brick.

Synopsis: Sometimes you have to think outside the box, but Hekiyo Academy’s Student Council may go a step further and rewrite their entire universe! At least, that’s what could happen as the second season gets underway and the Council decides that their own anime might need a little spicing up. Should they introduce new characters? Add a boy’s love subplot? Or should they just continue to do what worked previously and spend most of their time chattering between themselves while working towards odd goals that might turn out to have been a little misguided in retrospect?

The answer is “yes” to all of the above and more: Class barriers and the fourth wall come tumbling down as a supporting character literally takes up the challenge of moving up to main character status. The plot thickens with the mystery of a missing cake. The boundaries of love between step-siblings get pushed just a few steps beyond what’s socially comfortable and there just has to be a hot springs episode, doesn’t there? Of course there does! Join 5 student council members in search of an author as the storyline runs amok in Student Council’s Discretion Lv.2.

Student Council’s Discretion Lv.2 will be available soon through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

South Korean action drama NO TEARS FOR THE DEAD will be coming next month on February 17th

 CJ Entertainment
 His First Mistake is His Last Chance for Redemption

Internationally-Acclaimed Director LEE Jeong-beom Teams Up
with Rising Action Icon JANG Dong-gun or the Action-Packed
Drama Debuting on Blu-ray & DVD February 17

Blu-ray Exclusive Materials Include Featurettes, Deleted Scenes,
Action Highlights, and an Interview with Brian Tee

From the creator of the internationally-acclaimed action thriller The Man From Nowhere, comes the heart-pounding box office hit NO TEARS FOR THE DEAD, debuting on Blu-ray and DVD February 17 from CJ Entertainment.

A hit man traumatized from accidentally killing a young girl during a job is given the mission to eliminate her mother and begins the ultimate fight to save her life. The film’s all-star cast includes superstar JANG Dong-gun (Friend, Warrior’s Way), KIM Min-hee (Helpless, Very Ordinary Couple), Brian Tee (The Wolverine, upcoming: Jurassic World), KIM Hee-won (The Man from Nowhere, My Way) and KIM Joon-seong (Innocent Blood, Man-choo).

Blu-ray and DVD bonus materials include director’s commentary and the featurette “The Making of No Tears for the Dead,” while bonus materials exclusive to the Blu-ray release includes an interview with Brian Tee, deleted scenes, a “Behind the Scene” featurette, action highlights and two character spots.

Synopsis: Abandoned by his mother shortly after immigrating to America, Gon (JANG Dong-gun) is raised by the mafia and grows up to become a cold-blooded hit man. Though usually flawless in taking out his targets, Gon makes a terrible mistake of killing an innocent young girl. A flood of guilt takes over his life and the situation becomes worse when his boss assigns him the job of killing the young girl’s mother. Gon’s new target, Mogyeong (KIM Min-hee), is a risk manager at an investment firm and has buried herself in work to bury her grief. She is completely unaware of her role at the heart of a dangerous conspiracy. Finally, she meets the man who wants to tell her the truth behind the death of her child.

Blu-ray and DVD Bonus Features Include: 
§ “The Making of No Tears for the Dead” featurette
§ Director’s Commentary

Blu-ray Exclusive Features Include Everything on the DVD, plus: 
§ Deleted Scenes
§ Brian Tee Interview
§ Character Spot: Mogyeong
§ Character Spot: Gon
§ Behind the Scene
§ Action Highlights

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

ODE TO MY FATHER doing very well nationwide in U.S. and is expanding to five more screens on Friday

After 10 days screening nationwide, starting January 9th, Ode To My Father, the larger-than-life tale of an ordinary man’s journey through extraordinary moments in South Korean history passed the one million dollar mark at the US box office. On the heels of success, Ode To My Father will expand into five more screens this Friday (1/23) in Ann Arbor (MI), Columbus (OH), and Miami (FL).

In relation to other releases from last weekend, Ode To My Father ranked fifth in Per Screen Average with $9,509, which is almost twice as much as “Paddington” (TWC) and “The Wedding Ringer” (SONY).

Ode To My Father is hitting home with audiences back in South Korea as well, shooting past the 10 million admissions as of last Wednesday. Passing this line makes Ode To My Father the 11th Korean film, and 14th overall to pass that milestone and to be seen by a fifth of the country’s population, which stands at 50 million. For show times please visit www.CJ-Entertainment.com or the official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CJEntertainmentUSA.

Ode To My Father follows Deok-su, a completely ordinary man as he is forced to overcome the challenges put forth by modern history’s most significant events. Award-winning Director JK YOUN has noted that the film is a tribute to his father’s generation on whose shoulders modern Korea was built. As a child, Deok-su loses his father in the chaos of evacuating the North Korean city of Hungnam during the Korean War. His father’s last words to his son were an oath that he would always protect their family. As he grows older, that vow leads him to the coal mines of 1960’s Germany and even into the jungles of the Vietnam War. Ode To My Father stars HWANG Jung-min (New World, The Unjust) as Deok-su and Yun-jin KIM (Lost, Mistresses) as Deok-su’s wife, Yeong-Ja.

BROTHERHOOD OF BLADES coming February 10th from Well Go USA

Well Go USA

From Director Lu Yang and Star Chang Chen Comes the
Action-Packed, Award-Winning Martial Arts Spectacular
Debuting on Blu-ray™, DVD & Digital Feb. 10

Brotherhood of Blades, the critically-acclaimed, action-packed sophomore effort from Director Lu Yang (My Spectacular Theatre) featuring Taiwanese superstar Chang Chen (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Red Cliff), debuts on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital Feb. 10 from Well Go USA Entertainment. The period film is set in the late Ming Dynasty, where a young emperor is determined to take down the all-powerful eunuch Wei and purge his supporters. Caught in the midst of the intrigue are three lowly, cash-strapped warriors from the Imperial Assassins, the secret police, who are given the orders to find and kill Wei.

Brotherhood of Blades also stars Ye Qing (Man of Tai Chi), Chin Shih-chieh (Reign of Assassins, My Spectacular Theatre), Wang Qianyuan (The Golden Era), Li Dongxue, Nie Yuan (The Lost Bladesman), Zhao Lixin (Silent Witness), Qiao Lei, Yang Yi, Gu Dian, Ye Xiangming, and Yang Xiaobo.

The sword-wielding drama was nominated for four Golden Horse Awards in 2014, including Best Actor (Chang Chen), Best Supporting Actor (Chin Shih-chieh), and Best Action Choreography (Sang Lin), taking home the award for Best Makeup & Costume Design (Tingting Liang).

Synopsis: Lu, Shen Lian, and Yichuan. Three sworn brothers, and deadly Jinyiwei – Secret Police of the Imperial Guard. The new Emperor’s first mission - find and annihilate the corrupt fugitive Eunuch Wei and his followers. But one mistake reveals the truth - the three men are pawns in a deadly game, unleashing a chain of secrets, conspiracies, and lethal consequences.

Brotherhood of Blades has a runtime of approximately 112 minutes and is not rated.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

R100 coming to theaters and On Demand beginning this Friday

Drafthouse Films
Directed by Hitoshi Matsumoto
Starring: Mao Daichi, Lindsay Kay Hayward, and Hairi Katagiri
Japan, 2013, 100 minutes

R100, a hilarious and bizarre take on the sex comedy from Japanese comedy giant Hitoshi Matsumoto (Big Man Japan, Symbol) will be in theaters and On Demand starting Friday, January 23rd. In the film, a mild-mannered family man with a secret taste for S&M finds himself pursued by a gang of ruthless dominatrices — each with a unique talent,

R100 had its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013. In my review at that time, I gave it a 3.5 out of 4 star rating (very good). The film subsequently played at the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Japan Society to screen Ishiro Honda's MATANGO on Friday, January 23rd

Matango © 1963 Toho Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Matango (aka Attack of the Mushroom People)
Directed by Ishiro Honda
With Akira Kobai, Hiroshi Koizumi, Hiroshi Tachikawa,
Kenji Sahara, Kumi Mizuno, Miki Yashiro, Yoshio Tsuchiya
Japan, 1963, 89 minutes, 35 mm, color
In Japanese with English subtitles
When: Friday, January 23, 2015 at 7:00 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street
(Between 1st and 2nd Avenues)

Prolific director Ishiro Honda made Matango (aka Attack of the Mushroom People) 11 years after his iconic Godzilla. Like that famous kaiju film, Matango manages to be a highly entertaining genre film utilizing imaginative monster costumes while also engaging with social and moral commentary about contemporary Japan.

A group of rich Tokyo elites - the benefactors of the economic recovery of the 1960s - find themselves on a deserted island after their yacht is shipwrecked. As circumstances become increasingly difficult, the moralities of the characters are tested as they struggle to survive against the monstrous and radioactive mushroom species called “Matango” that infest the island.

Hallucinatory sequences, sexual tension and gripping suspense charge this colorful B-movie based on William Hope Hodgson’s 1907 short story “The Voice in the Night” (one of the stories printed in the anthology Alfred Hitchcock Presents: 12 Stories They Wouldn’t Let Me Do on TV).

This 35mm print is from the collection of the National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

TICKETS $12/$9 Japan Society members, seniors & students
Become a Japan Society Member

Part of The Dark Side of the Sun: John Zorn on Japanese Cinema

Sunday, January 18, 2015

WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP's 3-year anniversary celebration

ONE-PUNCH MAN © 2012 by ONE, Yusuke Murata/SHUEISHA Inc.

Limited Time Promotion Marks The Milestone With 4 FREE
Digital Issues Featuring The Best Manga Including DEATH NOTE
Creator Takeshi Obata’s Brand New Series And More!

VIZ Media celebrates the 3 Year Anniversary of the launch of the official digital English edition of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP, the world’s most popular weekly manga magazine. To mark the milestone, VIZ Media invites readers to sample WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP for FREE with a special promotion. For a limited time, beginning with the January 19 edition, four complete issues (Jan. 19; Jan. 26; Feb. 2 and Feb. 9) of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP will be available to read for free at shonenjump.com.

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

In each week’s issue, don’t miss Takeshi Obata’s brand new school courtroom manga drama, GAKKYU HOTEI: SCHOOL JUDGEMENT. In the series, as problems continue to plague the elementary school system, a new solution has been enacted in the form of the School Judgment System! Now the young students themselves will be responsible for solving the issues that befall them. Defense attorney Abaku Inugami may be only a sixth grader but he's as fierce as they come in the courtroom as he uncovers the truth behind the incidents plaguing the school. Plus he never forgets to practice his cool "Objection" poses!

WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP is published digitally every week by VIZ Media and features the latest installments of some of the world’s most popular manga series released to English readers across North America on the same day as the magazine’s general print release in Japan, including BLEACH, BLUE EXORCIST, FOOD WARS!, NISEKOI, ONE PIECE, ONE-PUNCH MAN, SERAPH OF THE END: VAMPIRE REIGN, TORIKO, WORLD TRIGGER and YU-GI-OH! ZEXAL.

“WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP’s global scope and readership has grown substantially since our digital launch in 2012,” says Andy Nakatani, VIZ Media Editor-in-Chief of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP. “We are preparing an exciting year of manga content, and new and veteran manga readers alike can take advantage of the special anniversary promotion to check out all of the great WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP content that is available to English readers on the same day as the issue hits in Japan!”

As part of the 3 Year Anniversary promotion, new 1 Year Memberships are available for only $19.99 (USD). WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP members receive 48 weekly digital issues as well as special premiums such as Yu-Gi-Oh! Collectable Trading Cards, rare one-shot manga releases, digital-only promotions, and access to additional subscriber-only content including creator interviews and insightful promo videos. (*Note: Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are only available to annual subscribers in the US and Canada.) Current subscribers can also access their accounts via VIZManga.com, the VIZ Manga App, and shonenjump.viz.com or with the WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP App on iOS and Android devices.

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

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

THE PIRATES is coming January 20th

Well Go USA Entertainment
The Pirates/Hae-jeok: Ba-da-ro gan san-jeok
Directed by LEE Seok-hoon
South Korea, 2014, 130 minutes

The swashbuckling action-adventure The Pirates sets sail on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital January 20 from Well Go USA Entertainment. Set in 1388, this epic tale of the high seas depicts the efforts of several warring factions as they attempt to retrieve the emperor's royal seal (and the attendant bounty) after it’s literally swallowed by a whale. Joining in the fun under the direction of LEE Seok-hoon (Dancing Queen) are KIM Nam-gil (No Regret), SON Ye-jin (Blood and Ties), YOO Hai-jin (Flu), LEE Kyoung-young (Kundo: Age of the Rampant), KIM Tae-woo (Lady Furious), PARK Chul-min (Spellbound) and Sulli Choi (Fashion King).

Synopsis: On the eve of the founding of the Joseon Dynasty, an unprecedented robbery shocks the nation-in-waiting: a whale has swallowed the Emperor's Royal Seal and a bounty placed on its retrieval. Now, every infamous gang of thieves, thugs, pirates and government agents take to the seas, battling the elements, creatures of the deep, and each other to possess the mother of all rewards. THE PIRATES has a runtime of approximately 130 minutes and is not rated.

I saw The Pirates not all that long ago at one of the free Korean Movie Night NY screenings generously provided by the Korean Cultural Service and can attest that it's a roaring good time, a most enjoyable action flick.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

New digital update for NEON ALLEY


Start The New Year With Exciting New SAILOR MOON
And SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL Subtitled Episodes; Also
Catch New NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Simulcasts And The
Latest Updates For BLEACH, NARUTO, RANMA ½, And
 ROCK LEE VIZ Media opens 2015 with a brand new digital
update for its Neon Alley anime streaming platform.

Don’t miss exciting new SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL adventures kicking off the new year with the addition of the Season 1 finale, English subtitled Episode 13, “Final Battle - Reincarnation,” available now. The second story arc, The Black Moon Arc, beginning today, January 17th.

Fans of the classic SAILOR MOON series also can catch 2 newly subtitled and uncut episodes premiering every Monday. Debuting today are episodes 71 and 72, “For Friendship: Ami vs Bertheir” and “ Rubeus the Heartless: The Tragic Sisters.”

The January Neon Alley update also features new English dubbed as well as subtitled episodes for additional popular anime series including BLEACH, NARUTO and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN, RANMA ½, and also premieres on January 15th dubbed Episodes 14-26 for the NARUTO spin-off series, ROCK LEE AND HIS NINJA PALS.

The January 2015 Neon Alley update features scores of new episodes from top-rated VIZ Media anime series including:

• Neon Alley adds new English dubbed BLEACH Season 19 Episodes 268-279 available to stream now!
• Viewers can now check out a total of 279 English dubbed episodes, as well as the complete subtitled BLEACH anime series (366 episodes). 

• Neon Alley also kicks off 2015 with the addition of English dubbed Episodes 79-91 of the original NARUTO anime series, which are all available now!
• With the newest addition, viewers can enjoy a total of 91 English dubbed episodes as well as the complete subtitled NARUTO anime series (all 220 episodes)!

• Don’t miss 3 special action-packed simulcasts of the latest subtitled episodes of NARUTO SHIPPUDEN with Episode 394 on Thursday January 15th, followed by Episode 395 on Thursday January 22nd and Episode 396 on Thursday, January 29th.
• Also catch the latest addition of NARUTO SHIPPUDEN English dubbed Episodes 277 – 281, with new additions uploaded every Saturday.

• Fans of the RANMA ½ anime series can enjoy 2 new English dubbed episodes of the classic martial arts comedy every single Friday throughout January, beginning with Episodes 127-130, which are available to stream now.

 • Catch exciting new English dubbed Episodes 14-26 of the spin-off NARUTO action series on January 15th.
• Fans can now watch ROCK LEE in its entirety (26 episodes) both subbed and dubbed!

Neon Alley is VIZ Media’s consolidated online destination for FREE streaming anime content in the U.S. with over 3,500 subtitled and English dubbed episodes and movies from more than 36 series! Neon Alley also reaches an expansive on-demand U.S.-based audience on Hulu, which enables viewers to watch shows anytime, anywhere across devices including Xbox One, PlayStation®4 (PS4™), Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and mobile devices. A full list of Hulu -enabled devices can be found at http://www.hulu.com/plus/devices.

For a complete list of all the new content being added this month visit http://blog.neonalley.com/neon-alley-anime-list-official-dubs-subs/.

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

Friday, January 16, 2015

20 ONCE AGAIN opens today

CJ E&M America
 20 Once Again
Directed by Leste Chen
China, 2015, 125 minutes

Romantic comedy stars K-pop chart topper Luhan in his first big screen
debut alongside Huabiao Award winning actress Yang Zi Shan

20 Once Again is a delightful romantic comedy about a grandmother who miraculously regains her youth and has the opportunity she originally missed to become a famous singer, as well as to find true love. The film makes its U.S. and Canada debut in major market cinemas today, Friday, January 16, 2015. Check your local listings or visit www.cj-entertainment.co.

Shen Mengjun, center) with her grandson, son, daughter-in-law and grnaddaught

Shen Mengjun (Grace Guei) is a seventy-year-old grandmother who was widowed when her only child, Guobin, was just over a year old. She lives with him, his wife Yangqin, and their two children, daughter Xiang Xinran and son Qianjin (Luhan, former member of the K-pop group EXO), who's a guitarist.

Shen is partial to the men in her life: her son, her grandson, and Uncle Li Dahai, who worked for her family when he was a teenager and who has always loved her. The women in Shen's life, on the other hand, suffer from the harridan aspect of her personality. One victim is Chen Yumei, one of the women with whom Shen plays mahjong. Closer to home, Shen berates her granddaughter for what she eats and how she dresses. But her most vituperative comments are for her daughter-in-law, whom Shen seems to feel can do nothing right.

When the stress puts Yangqin in the hospital, Shen's son (who happens to be a college professor who specializes in social issues of the elderly!) reluctantly decides to put his mother in a nursing home so his wife can recuperate. Overhearing these plans, Shen goes for a walk. She comes across a store that she'd somehow never noticed before, the Photography Studio of Youth, and has her funeral picture taken so her family will have something to remember her by.

The rejuvenated Shen, now calling herself Meng Lijun (Yang Zi Shan)

 When she leaves, however, Shen (now played by Yang Zi Shan) has become the twenty-year-old she once was. She adopts the name Meng Lijun. Antics ensue as do romantic rivalries. She becomes the singer for her grandson's band, and he -- having no idea who she really is -- begins to fall for her. So does Mr. Tan, a talent scout. And, of course, Uncle Li, once he realizes who she is, has his feelings stirred.

20 Once Again is pretty much a Chinese language remake of the South Korean film Miss Granny (2013), which was also presented by CJ Entertainment. In fact, after Shen has regained her youth, she comes to a bus stop and there's an image of actress SHIM Eun-Kyung from Miss Granny behind the bench Shen is sitting on! (Read my January 2014 review of Miss Granny here.)

Shen's grandson Qianjin (Luhan)

But don't let the word "remake" dissuade you. 20 Once Again is a terrific comedy in its own right. All the acting is wonderful, especially Grace Guei and Yang Zi Shan. It also has some nice touches of its own. For example, there's one shot of Meng and the three male members of the band walking across a street that's an obvious wink at the cover of the Beatles' Abbey Road album cover.

And so, like Miss Granny, I'm giving 20 Once Again a 3.5 out of 4 star rating; very highly recommended.

Section23 Films has announced its April 2015 slate of releases

Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its April slate of releases, including Sentai Filmworks’ sci-fi fantasy series Nobunaga the Fool, which will be released on both DVD & Blu-ray.

Product details follow, in order of release.

 Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 4/7/2015
Format: DVD
 Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $39.98
SYNOPSIS: Not every soldier wants to fight. Not every weapon wants to be used. But when an unexpected force attacks their city, the hopes and dreams of students Shuji and Chise are shattered by the fires of war. Surviving the bombing after a mysterious defender decimates the attackers, Shuji discovers Chise in the ruins. But she is no longer the girl he has always known. Changed and twisted by military experiments, she has been altered into something no longer completely human. And even worse, though they both fight to deny it, the things that made her the person she was are slowly beginning to fade away. Can a human soul exist inside a device that was created to kill? And can any heart continue to feel love for something that is only a shell of the person it once was? The question will be answered as a young schoolgirl is transformed into the ultimate engine of mass destruction in SHE- THE ULTIMATE WEAPON!

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 4/14/2015
Format: DVD, BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98, $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Highly trained in the secret martial art of Hokuto Shinken, Kenshiro has achieved such a high level of combat expertise that he can kill a man with his pinky. Though these skills may be useful for a wandering man trying to survive the deadly wastelands left behind by nuclear war, they're all but useless in modern day Japan! With an apocalypse that never happened and a less-than-desirable skill set, would-be hero Ken is stuck looking for a job just like every other unemployed schmuck in Japan. And frankly, he doesn't interview well. Things start to look up when he stumbles across an opening at a convenience store, but unfortunately he'll have to deal with two contentious contenders if he wants the job: his own brothers Toki and Raoh, who're just as dimwitted and muscle-headed as the mighty Ken himself. The battle for the stock shelves begins-fists will fly and no punches will be pulled as martial arts and premade snack foods collide in DD FIST OF THE NORTH STAR!

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 600 min.
Street Date: 4/14/2015
Format: DVD, BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $89.98

SYNOPSIS: Banished from normal housing for the crime of adopting stray cats, Sorata Kanda's life has gone to the dogs and he's been impounded in Sakura Hall, a notorious den of troublemakers, geniuses and weirdos. And since he has a penchant for taking in small, cute but sometimes not completely loveable creatures, he's been tasked with keeping fellow resident Mashiro Shiina, an acclaimed but highly dysfunctional and unfocused artist, from forgetting to eat, brush her hair or wear clothes. Then there are the other residents of Sakura Hall, all of whom have their own unique quirks and challenging relationships. Attentions stray, passions play and sanity frays in the housebreaking complete collection of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou!

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
 Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 4/21/2015
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

 SYNOPSIS: When the world is under attack by a monstrous and seemingly unstoppable enemy, the only way to fight back is with warriors who have already died! Sidestepping a gruesome fate in a subway crash during an earthquake, two young men and a girl find themselves recruited into the ranks of the Devil Summoners, given the ability to literally call up demons, and sent into battle against the mysterious Septenriones! Can Hibiki, Daichi, and Io survive in a war where demons face demons under human command, where a person's death can be seen in advance, where every living being is just a game piece to be saved or expended, and where each clash comes with a timeclock counting down to Armageddon? Get ready to be immersed in the ultimate conflict between good and evil as the living, the dead, and the demonic combine forces to send the invaders straight back to Hell in DEVIL SURVIVOR 2!

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 4/21/2015
Format: DVD, BD
 Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98, $59.98

SYNOPSIS: As the competition to become an astronaut continues to heat up, the candidates are subjected to a grueling series of tests designed to test their physical and mental qualifications to the utmost. Trapped inside a sealed environment with his closest rivals, Mutta's challenge is to force himself to think as a team player even as he jockeys for one of the two open seats to the stars. And when things start to go wrong with the test mission, however, the tension really begins to build. It'll take the combined resources of the whole team to solve the life and death problems being thrown at them… but what are they supposed to do when it becomes apparent that one of the team members is intentionally sabotaging their assignments? Will any of Mutta's team survive the ordeal and move up to the next phase of training? Or will they all wash out before they ever hit the launch pad? The clock is ticking. The pressure is building. And if they fail this test, their shot at the stars may be gone forever in the second out of this world collection of SPACE BROTHERS!

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 4/21/2015
Format: DVD, BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98, $59.98

SYNOPSIS: You don't have to be psychic to know that Hyobu Kyosuke is trouble waiting to happen, but having psychic powers of your own may be your only chance if you want to stand against him. One of the most powerful espers on the planet, Hyobu's incredible range of abilities extends as far as controlling his own aging process, and the potential strength of all his talents combined is so terrifying that he wears a device that limits their use except in cases of extreme emergency. The time is coming, however, when Hyoba will need to unleash everything he has. Because sometimes it takes a villain to do what heroes can't, and as the leader of the secret organization P.A.N.D.R.A., Hyobu's dedicated his life to fighting those who would entrap, enslave, or kill anyone with psychic powers. Now P.A.N.D.R.A. itself is in danger and, to combat that deadly threat, the gloves and limiter are coming off! The dark side of the world of PSYCHIC SQUAD is unveiled in an incredible new series, where the lines between the good and the bad cease to exist and the only goal is survival in UNLIMITED PSYCHIC SQUAD!

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
 Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 4/28/2015
Format: DVD, BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98, $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Hayate Ayasaki's life has never been easy, though after being sold to Yakuza who want to harvest your organs to pay off your parents' debts it's hard to imagine things sinking much lower. But since becoming employed as the butler/bodyguard for teenage heiress Nagi Sanzenin, Haytate's misery has been primarily focused around Nagi's insecurity, laziness and the frequent attempts by various parties to kidnap her (with the occasional scheme cooked up by her Grandfather on the side.) However, when a new and unexpected relative arrives without warning, and issues concerning Nagi's long dead father rear their ugly head, Hayate finds himself thrust even further into the deep, dark, messy drama of the Sanzenin clan's affairs. And that is only the beginning of his troubles, as somehow aliens, haunted swords, an untrustworthy kitten and even a cross-dressing curse all come into the mix as well. Will our embattled butler fight his way through these epic complications? Or will his undoing come special de-livery? When you have REALLY unusual domestic problems, only a REALLY exceptional domestic servant will do in HAYATE THE COMBAT BUTLER: CAN'T TAKE MY EYES OFF YOU - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION!

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 4/28/2015
Format: DVD, BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
 SRP: $59.98, $69.98

SYNOPSIS: Long ago, in an age when the cosmos was still known as Chaos, the world was split into two planets, forming the West and East Stars. After years of war and strife, the Western Star has finally become united under a single king, the legendary Arthur. But conflict still threatens to consume all until hope arises in a vision: a vision of a champion who could save the futures of both worlds. Setting forth on a dangerous journey, Joan d'Arc must travel from the West world to the East, seeking the man she believes can use the devices of the great Leonardo Da Vinci and become their savior. But will Nobunaga Oda be the kind of man they are expecting? Will history's greatest heroes find themselves choosing not a liberator, but a destroyer? Or is Nobunaga's role that of the Fool from a deck of Tarot, the wild card whose purpose is to invoke change, no matter what the cost? Expect the unexpected as super-technology and giant robots collide with samurai warriors, and a pantheon of characters drawn from across history wage the ultimate battle against the forces of chaos in NOBUNAGA THE FOOL!

Published by: AEsir Holdings
 Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 1250 min.
Street Date: 4/28/2015
Format: DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: Once demonkind and man lived together in harmony. But when a band of rogue demonic forces seeks to resurrect a diabolical monster, a dark spiritual energy begins to cover the land. Now, it's up to a renegade priest, a monkey king, a lecherous water sprite and a sympathetic demon to stop the resurrection and return harmony to a dangerous land. Enter the world of Saiyuki! A unique universe of beauty and betrayal. Where sacred scrolls battle enchanted weaponry and where dragons can transform into jeeps. A land where four reluctant heroes are just as concerned about having a good time, a stiff drink, and a beautiful woman as they are about saving the world.