With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Monday, June 27, 2016

SAVING MR. WU debutting on Digital on July 5th from Well Go USA

Well Go USA
Saving Mr. Wu
Written and Direc ted by Sheng Ding
Starring Any Lau
China, 2015, 106 minutes

An action-packed crime thriller based on the true story of China's famous celebrity kidnapping case, Saving Mr. Wu debuts on digital July 5 and on Blu-ray™ and DVD August 2 from Well Go USA Entertainment. Directed by Sheng Ding (Police Story: Lockdown) and starring Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau (Internal Affairs, House of Flying Daggers), the film follows the police as they race against time after criminals posing as cops kidnap a movie star (Lau) and threaten to kill him. Rated 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, Saving Mr. Wu also stars Liu Ye (The Chef, The Actor, The Scoundrel), Wu Ruofu (Da yue bing), and Wang Qianyuan (The Golden Era), with special appearances by Lam Suet (Kung Fu Hustle), Zhao Xiaorui (Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker) and Li Meng (The Guillotines).

Four devious criminals, one chilling scam: pose as cops, kidnap a victim, and if no ransom comes in 24 hours, the target dies. Tonight they caught a movie star (Andy Lau) and the countdown begins. Based on actual events.

Bonus Materials Include:
-- 4-Part Making Mr. Wu Featurette
  -- Andy Lau
  -- Director Ding Sheng
  -- Liu Ye
  -- Wang Qianyuan
-- Deleted Scenes

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Chinese hit comedy THE MERMAID coming to home video on July 5th

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
The Mermaid
Directed by Stephen Chow
China, 2016, 94 minutes

From visionary director Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle) comes the comedic action phenomenon The Mermaid , debuting on Blu-ray and DVD July 5 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. China’s highest grossing film of all time made a splash domestically, scoring the biggest U.S. opening day and weekend box office ever by a limited release Chinese-language film.

This unique tale follows a beautiful mermaid (newcomer Jelly Lin) who falls for a greedy developer (Deng Chao, Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame) who threatens her species’ ecosystem. The unique action romance also stars Show Lo (Journey to the West), Yuqi Zhang (Lost in the Pacific) and Pierre Bourdaud (Chinese Zodiac).

From Stephen Chow, director of Kung Fu Hustle, comes The Mermaid : the comedic action- filled phenomenon that has become China’s biggest film of all time! When greedy real estate tycoon, Liu Xian (Deng Chao), buys up a pristine coastal enclave known as Green Gulf, he plans to turn it into the hottest property on the market. But Green Gulf harbors a secret: it’s home to the last surviving mermaids, and they are done playing nice. Their plan: send the beautiful Shan (Jelly Lin) to seduce Liu and stop the destruction of their beloved oceans. But when their plan goes belly-up, neither humans nor mermaids are willing to back down, and a final, fatal frenzy becomes inevitable.

Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Extras* Include:
-- “The Making of The Mermaid
-- “The Mermaid: Behind the Scenes”
-- Invincible Music Video

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Josei manga series EVERYONE'S GETTING MARRIED available today


Romantic Comedy About A Career Woman’s
Quest For Wedded Bliss Debuts In Print
And Digitally This Summer

VIZ Media launches a new josei manga series about a career woman’s pursuit of a committed relationship with the debut of EVERYONE’S GETTING MARRIED, available now.

The new series, by creator Izumi Miyazono, is rated ‘M’ for Mature readers and carries a print MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. The series is also available digitally via VIZManga.com and the VIZ Manga App, as well as from the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, comiXology, and GooglePlay stores. Subsequent volumes of the continuing series will be published in English three times a year.

Successful career woman Asuka Takanashi has an old-fashioned dream of getting married and becoming a housewife. After her long-term boyfriend breaks up with her to pursue his own career goals, she encounters popular newscaster Ryu Nanami. Asuka and Ryu get along well, but the last thing he wants is to ever get married. This levelheaded pair who want the opposite things in life should never get involved, except…

“EVERYONE’S GETTING MARRIED is a contemporary romance about two busy professionals who are trying to figure out their own happy ending,” says Nancy Thistlethwaite, Senior Editor. “This series will appeal to our adult readers as well as fans of Japanese and Korean romantic TV dramas—except this is steamier!”

Manga creator Izumi Miyazono debuted in 2005 with Shunmin Shohousen (A Prescription for Sleep). In 2014 she began EVERYONE’S GETTING MARRIED, which is serialized in Japan in Petit Comic.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

THE MIDNIGHT AFTER reviewed; debuts today on DVD and Digital

Well Go USA
The Midnight After
Directed by Fruit Chan
Hong Kong/China. 2014, 124 minutes

The Midnight After, a genre-bending apocalyptic satire from director Fruit Chan, debuts today, Tuesday, June 21 on DVD and digital from Well Go USA Entertainment.

A Hong Kong bus with its driver (stalwart character actor Lam Suet) and fifteen passengers goes through a tunnel late one night. When it emerges, Hong Kong is a barren city -- there is no traffic and the rest of the entire population seems to have disappeared. Some of the passengers begin dying bizarre deaths, while others remain unaffected by whatever has happened. Then a strange man wearing a gas mask and protective clothing appears. The film, based on a cult internet novel by “Mr. Pizza,” follows the eclectic group of survivors as they attempt to understand just what's happened and what it all means.

Part mystery, part sci-fi, part thriller, and part comedy, The Midnight After is a strange film to say the least. One of the passengers tries to explain things by citing the words to David Bowie's song Space Oddity ("Ground control to Major Tom ..."). Another  finally reaches someone by telephone and is informed that six years have passed since the bus disappeared! There also seems to be some sort of signal that's emanated from Tai Mo Mountain, the significance of which -- if any -- is lost on anyone like myself who isn't all that familiar with Hong Kong's geography. The same goes for references to Hong Kong's Chief executive and to upcoming voting in 2017. And of course there's the internal inconsistency of some passengers dying various types of deaths while others remain healthy.

The Midnight After premiered at the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival. Subsequently it was nominated for eight Hong Kong Film Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor & Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects and Best Screenplay, winning for Original Film Score.It also  received Best Picture and Best Director nods at the 2015 Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards.

From these facts I get the feeling that the film makes more sense to natives of Hong Kong than it will to most Westerners. As for me, I was left rather unimpressed.

AsianCineFest Rating: 1.5 out of 4 stars, somewhere between fair and poor; not recommended unless you're very knowledgeable about the current situation in Hong Kong.

Disc Specs:
-- Audio
  -- Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1
  -- Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0
-- Subtitles
  -- English
  -- Chinese
  -- Off
-- Bonus Materials
  -- The Midnight After trailer
  -- Trailers for other Well Go USA offerings
    -- Phantom of the Theater
    -- Mojin: The Lost Legend
    -- The Great Hypnotist

Monday, June 20, 2016

VIZ Media is spotlighting diverse catalog at Licensing Expo 2016


Among The Popular Anime Titles Available For License

VIZ Media has announced its participation at the upcoming Licensing Expo 2016. Licensing Expo 2016 is the world’s largest and most influential annual licensing industry event and takes place June 21st – 23rd at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. VIZ Media will be located in Booth #K226.

During the convention, the company will showcase a variety of titles from its extensive catalog of anime properties. VIZ Media is currently developing an original animated series based on the endearing Japanese children’s property, GAKKIMALS, and is also the North American master licensee for the ONE-PUNCH MAN anime series, which is based on the bestselling manga series (also published by VIZ Media) about an average-guy-turned-superhero with an extraordinarily powerful punch!

VIZ Media actively oversees the licensing and development of a comprehensive range of products based on a wide array of celebrated properties across several key consumer categories. The company is the longstanding master licensee for the NARUTO SHIPPUDEN series in North and Latin American. The company further serves as the North American master merchandise licensee for products based on the HUNTER X HUNTER, JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE and TERRAFORMARS anime series.

Properties VIZ Media will highlight at Licensing Expo 2016 include:

GAKKIMALS combines the evergreen appeal of music and animals into a vibrant environment that inspires early childhood learning. Welcome to the wonderful adventures of the GAKKIMALS, where madcap mash-ups of musical instruments and animals combine to bring happiness and harmony to their fun-filled world. VIZ Media has acquired the production and licensing rights to develop an original animated series based on the original concept created by the Japanese production duo, PecanNuts. The series will be produced under license from ShoPro, a subsidiary of three of Japan's largest publishing houses, Shogakukan Inc., Shueisha Inc. and Hakusensha Inc.

ONE-PUNCH MAN (Rated ‘TV-14’)
In the smash ONE-PUNCH MAN, nothing about Saitama passes the eyeball test when it comes to superheroes, from his lifeless expression to his bald head to his unimpressive physique. However, this average-looking guy has a not-so-average problem – he just can’t seem to find an opponent strong enough to take on! Every time a promising villain appears, he beats the snot out of ’em with one punch! Can Saitama finally find an opponent who can go toe-to-toe with him and give his life some meaning? Or is he doomed to a life of super-powered boredom?

Additional VIZ Media anime properties available for license include:

Hunters are a special breed, dedicated to tracking down treasures, magical beasts and even other people. But such pursuits require a license, and less than one in a hundred thousand can pass the grueling qualification exam. Those who do pass gain access to restricted areas, amazing stores of information and the right to call themselves “Hunters.” Can Gon, a country boy, follow his father and join their ranks?

VIZ Media’s all new English dubbed HUNTER X HUNTER anime series premiered this year on Adult Swim’s Toonami on April 16th.

The legendary Shonen Jump classic (latest season currently streaming) is a groundbreaking series with multiple story arcs whose creation has already spanned 25 years. It’s famous for outlandish characters, wild humor and frenetic battles. Join the Joestar family as they fight the evil Dio and his legacy across continents and time!

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 properties. The manga series (rated ‘T’ for Teens, in print and digital editions) and animated counterpart (NARUTO and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN) are some of VIZ Media’s most successful titles and have captivated millions of fans across North America, Europe and South America.

The NARUTO SHIPPUDEN brand continues to grow with new partners and licensed categories, including 3D mugs, bath and household items, high fashion, action figures, auto accessories, electronics and more. NARUTO and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN enjoys widespread popularity internationally and VIZ Media has teamed with a variety of prominent product partners to develop the property into strong multimedia brands for burgeoning international consumer markets.

A sci-fi drama set in the far future when humanity seeks to resolve Earth’s growing overpopulation problem by terraforming Mars as their second home! Five hundred years later, the United Nations Aeronautics and Space Administration sends out an expedition team to explore this new world. But an unintended side effect of the terraforming process has unleashed a horror no one could ever have imagined: the planet has become infested with Terraformars, man-sized cockroaches that prey on humans. Now humanity must bring together all its scientific resources and power to counter this monstrous threat, or face total extinction.

For additional information on these as well as other anime and manga titles distributed and published by VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

THE LOVERS AND THE DESPOT coming September 23rd, 2016

Magnolia Pictures
The Lovers & the Despot
Written and directed by Ross Adam and Robert Cannan
Featuring Choi Eun-hee and Shin Sang-ok
UK, 2016, 94 minutes

Magnolia Pictures will release The Lovers & the Despot in theatres, on VOD, iTunes and Amazon Video on September 23, 2016. The film tells the story of young, ambitious South Korean filmmaker Shin Sang-ok and actress Choi Eun-hee, who met and fell in love in 1950s post-war Korea.

In the 70s, after reaching the top of Korean society following a string of successful films, Choi was kidnapped in Hong Kong by North Korean agents and taken to meet Kim Jong-il. While searching for Choi, Shin also was kidnapped, and following five years of imprisonment, the couple was reunited by the movie-obsessed Kim, who declared them his personal filmmakers.

Choi and Shin planned their escape, but not before producing 17 feature films for the dictator and gaining his trust in the process.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

RIVER Debuts on Blu-ray™ & DVD July 26, 2016 from Well Go USA

Well Go USA
Written & Directed by Jamie M. Dagg
Starring Rossif Sutherland
Canada/Laos, 2016, 86 minutes

River, the award-winnings first feature from writer/director Jamie M. Dagg, debuts on Blu-ray™ and DVD July 26 from Well Go USA Entertainment. The first North American film shot in Laos, the film takes viewers from the shores of the Mekong River, up to the mountains in the north.

Rossif Sutherland (“Reign”) stars as John Lake, an American doctor working in a village in southern Laos. On his way home after an alcohol-soaked evening at a local bar, John intervenes in the sexual assault of a young woman, and the violence quickly escalates. The next day, the assailant’s body is pulled out of the water. All the evidence points to John, who recognizes the nightmare that awaits if he’s captured by the local authorities, and realizes that his only hope is to reach the US Embassy. With no time to think and no one to count on, he goes on the run.

River premiered in the Discovery section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. Sutherland garnered a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Actor at the 4th Canadian Screen Awards and the film was chosen as the winner of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television’s Claude Jutra Award, as the year’s best feature film directed by a first-time director.

In the south of Laos, an American doctor (Rossif Sutherland) becomes a fugitive after he intervenes in the sexual assault of a young woman. When the assailant’s body is pulled from the Mekong River, things quickly spiral out of control.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Korean War pic OPERATION CHROMITE coming to North American theaters on August 12th

CJ Entertainment
Operation Chromite
Directed by John H. Lee
South Korea, 2016

Liam Neeson Stars in Film Following the True Story of the
Unsung Heroes Who Turned the Tide of the Korean War

CJ Entertainment will distribute the film Operation Chromite in North America on August 12, 2016. From Taewon Entertainment, Operation Chromite is poised to be the largest Korean summer blockbuster this year, telling the true story of the heroes whose lives were sacrificed in order to turn the tide of the Korean War. Liam Neeson stars as General MacArthur, who led the attack against the North Koreans in the Battle of Incheon, forcing them to retreat out of Seoul.

Operation Chromite is already attracting attention in mainstream Hollywood, and is the next great film from John H. Lee,” said Angela Killoren, COO, CJ Entertainment. “We are proud to be the company to bring this true, but often over looked story of unsung heroes and the American hero General MacArthur during a time when South Korea and the United States banded together in war against North Korea.”

The major attack would not have been successful if it weren’t for a group of South Korean Navy Special Forces, led by Captain Jang Hak-soo, and the KLO (Korean Liaison Office) unit. Before the battle, this team is tasked with a covert operation to successfully infiltrate the North Korean army command center. To do so they will need to go undercover, disguising themselves as a North Korean inspection unit. Time is not on their side as the attack will begin with or without the success. To complete their risky mission, the team must make incredible sacrifices to ensure the freedom of South Korea.

Operation Chromite is directed by John H. Lee (The Third Way of Love, Into the Fire, Sayonara Itsuka and A Moment to Remember) and is produced by Chung Tae-Won (the upcoming film Mulgae, The Triangle, 71-Into the Fire and IRIS).

In addition to Liam Neeson, Operation Chromite also stars Lee Jung-Jae as South Korean Captain Jang Hak-soo (Assassination, New World, The Thieves and The Housemaid), Lee Bum-soo as North Korean Commander Lim Gye-Jin (The Divine Move, IRIS: New Generation and The City of Violence), and Jin Se-Yun as Han Chae-sun (Enemies In-Law and Doctor Stranger).

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

KILL ZONE 2 making home video debut on July 19th from Well Go USA

Well Go USA
Kill Zone 2 (a.k.a. SPL 2: A Time for Consequences)
Directed by Pou-Soi Cheang
Starring Tony Jaa, Zhang Jin, Simon Yam and Louis Koo
Hong Kong/China, 2015, 120 minutes

In this giddily frenetic follow-up (though not a sequel) to modern martial arts epic Kill Zone (aka SPL: Sha Po Lang), action icons Tony Jaa (Furious 7, the Ong Bak franchise) and Zhang Jin (Ip Man 3) team up with Hong Kong megastars Simon Yam (Ip Man), Wu Jing (Wolf Warrior) and Louis Koo (Drug War) for the critically-acclaimed, action-packed martial arts extravaganza Kill Zone 2, debuting on Blu-ray™ and DVD July 19 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

Directed by Pou-Soi Cheang (Accident, Motorway), the film is a breakneck story of dirty cops, prison riots, and black market organ transplants, all brought together by a non-stop series of inventive, bone-crunching setpieces. Rated 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, Kill Zone 2 was named a “Film of Merit” at the 2016 Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards and Chung Chi Li (Ip Man: The Final Fight) won a Golden Horse at the 2016 Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Action Choreography. Bonus materials include a deleted scenes and a 3-part making-of featurette.

When an undercover cop gets too close to revealing the mastermind of a drug syndicate, his cover is blown. Double-crossed and under a false identity, he's thrown into a Thai prison, where a guard discovers the inmate - claiming he’s a cop - is a bone marrow match for his dying daughter ... and his warden may have an even deadlier operation hidden within the prison walls.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Tubi TV and Sentai Filmworks announce deal for streaming of new and classic anime


Deal brings hundreds of hours of high-quality anime for on demand
streaming across connected TVs, mobile devices, and the web

Tubi TV, streaming the largest library of popular movies and TV series free-to-users, and Sentai Filmworks, a leading global supplier of anime and anime merchandise, recently announced the availability of several popular new Spring anime series which will stream on a nearcast schedule following its Japanese air date. Additionally, several classic hit anime series, including Gatchaman and Clannad, will be available for users to stream in their entirety any time for free. The deal enables Sentai Filmworks’ anime library to stream on Tubi TV on connected platforms including Apple TV, Xbox One & Xbox 360, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and Samsung televisions - in addition to iOS and Android mobile devices and the web.

The deal includes two Sentai Filmworks titles that will stream two days after airing in Japan (Onigiri and RIN-NE 2), three that will stream via nearcast 15 days after airing in Japan (Bakuon!!, Tanaka-kun Is Always Listless, and Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto), and one title that will air 31 days after Japan (Flying Witch). In addition, many enduring classic TV series will be available to stream on demand (Angel Beats, Gatchaman, Mezzo, Bodacious Space Pirates, Persona 4: The Animation, Clannad, Clannad After Story, and Dream Eater Merry).

“Sentai Filmworks strives to deliver anime to our fans, wherever they are,” said John Ledford, President and CEO of Sentai Filmworks. “Tubi TV allows us to give our fans more options to watch their favorite shows on multiple platforms.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to have Sentai Filmworks as a content partner in bringing their incredible array of hit anime series to fans for free,” said Farhad Massoudi, CEO, Tubi TV. “Anime is a popular channel on Tubi TV and the addition of these TV series further help us to deliver the best streaming experience for passionate anime fans, wherever and whenever they want.” Tubi TV has partnerships with over 200 diverse content producers, including MGM, Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, and Starz Digital. Since announcing MGM and Lionsgate’s investment and licensing agreement in November 2015, Tubi TV’s audience has grown over 140% in the last five months and the platform expects to see strong growth continue through 2016 and beyond.

Series Synopsis
Onigiri (two-day nearcast): It’s time to forge alliances between humans, gods, and oni in a high-flying new anime based off the popular MMORPG of the same name. This can’t-miss adventure will take you deep into the world of mystical Japan, where our heroes battle against malevolent dark beings, the Kamikui. Next new episode streaming for free June 9, 2016.

RIN-NE 2 (two-day nearcast – coming soon): Based on the manga by legendary mangaka Rumiko Takahashi (Inuyasha, Ranma 1/2, Maison Ikkoku), RIN-NE 2 picks up where the first season left off with poverty-stricken Rinne Rokudo still desperately trying to make ends meet through a series of (very) odd jobs, including purifying spirits and escorting them to the Wheel of Reincarnation. In between fights with malevolent damashigami, Rinne has to deal with meddling black cats, love struck shinigami girls, and even more romantic misunderstandings with Sakura Mamiya! New episode schedule will be announced soon.

Bakuon!! (15-day nearcast): Moe and motorcycles have never looked better together in this sports comedy about a group of students in the motorcycle club of their all-girls school. When Hane Sakura sees the wild-hearted Onsa Amano riding a motorcycle to school, Sakura is inspired to join the motorcycle club and get her license. However, nothing could have prepared her for the challenges, or the joys, that come with hitting the road on the wings of a real bike! Next new episode streaming for free June 14, 2016.

Tanaka-Kun Is Always Listless (15-day nearcast): Adapted from the popular web manga series published by Square Enix, this unconventional, surrealist comedy follows an exhausted high school boy who, despite multiple attempts from his friends, still manages to spectacularly… sleep. Much to the chagrin of the energetic (at times bossy) Ohta, Tanaka is often found in a blissful state of lethargy, possessing the ability to doze off in any situation, especially in mid-sentence! Next new episode streaming for free June 12, 2016.

Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto (15-day nearcast): Just who is Sakamoto? He’s enigmatic. He’s clever. He’s dashing. No challenge is too great and no cause is too small for Sakamoto. Girls love him, guys hate him for it, and despite efforts to humiliate him, Sakamoto is flawlessly able to emerge from the fray, even cooler than ever. Who knows what Sakamoto is going to do next? Whatever it is, it will be fabulous! Next new episode streaming for free June 12, 2016.

Flying Witch (31-day nearcast): Based on the manga by Chihiro Ishizuka and serialized in Kodansha’s Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine, Flying Witch follows the adventures of 15-year-old Makoto Kowata, a teen witch whose only talent (currently) is being able to fly. In this supernatural coming-of-age tale, Makoto and her familiar, a black cat named Chito, move in with her second cousins in the beautiful and quaint Aomori Prefecture of northern Japan, where she learns to hone her magical skills. Next new episode streaming for free June 8, 2016.

Angel Beats (catalog): It sucks being dead. It sucks even more to be trapped in a surreal afterlife where you’re caught between the living and the dead – and where a mysterious, violent Angel is trying to pull you over to… somewhere. What do you do? Well, if you’re this group of rough and tumble teens, you grab every weapon you can get your hands on and give Heaven hell! High caliber action and locked-and-loaded comedy meet on a rock and roll battleground in Angel Beats! Streaming 13 episodes now.

Gatchaman (catalog): In the near future, the international community is thrown into chaos by a series of attacks by the evil criminal organization known as Galactor, and the only Science Ninja Team Gatchaman is capable of stopping the threat. Hand-picked by the brilliant scientist Dr. Nambu, the five young members of Gatchaman are ready to face the most nefarious plans of Galactor, and win! Streaming 105 episodes for free now.

Mezzo (catalog): Mikura, Kurokawa, and Harada are the three members of the Danger Service Agency (DSA). Mikaru is the brawns of the group, Harada is the brains, and Kurokowa just a bitter ex-cop that likes to think he’s in charge. They’ll take any job as long as it involves lots of danger and, of course, money. Streaming 13 episodes for free now.

Bodacious Space Pirates (catalog): Marika Kato is a high school girl living a rather ordinary life as a member of the space yacht club. One day she learns of her recently deceased father, Gonzaemon, who is revealed to have been a Space Pirate who performed legal acts of piracy under the letter of marque. In order for her father’s ship, the Bentenmaru, to continue sailing, Marika, Gonzaemon’s direct descendant, is chose to become the ships new captain. Streaming 26 episodes for free now.

Persona 4: The Animation (catalog): Recent transfer student Yu Narukami and his new friends are caught up investigating bizarre murders in a rural Japanese town. They discover a nightmarish world through a portal in TV screens, where they are threatened by vicious monsters called Shadows. Luckily for them, they also discover they can summon powerful beings known as Personas. Streaming 25 episodes for free now.

Clannad (catalog): Tomoya Okazaki is a junior in high school and has had a very rough life. When he was little, his mother died in a car accident which made his father turn to drinking and gambling. Due to his father’s behavior, Tomoya and his father do not get along and Tomoya has become a delinquent. One day Tomoya meets a girl named Nagisa, they start to hang out together and eventually she changes his life. Streaming 24 episodes for free now.

Clannad After Story (catalog): Picking up where the Clannad series left off, Tomoya has confessed his love for Nagisa, taking their relationship to a new level and direction. The second semester starts and Tomoya continues to meet new people, who alter his perspective of family and relationships. As time passes, the path which Tomoya and Nagisa walk is filled with challenges and struggles that will test the strength of their love. Streaming 25 episodes for free now.

Dream Eater Merry (catalog): Yumeji has a unique talent - he can predict his friend’s dreams by reading their auras. But his special ability makes him a target for a sinister force trying to use him to enter the real world. An unlikely ally appears when Merry, a donut-loving dream demon desperate to return to her own world, literally falls into his lap. Streaming 13 episodes for free now.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM creator Yusei Matsui coming to NY Comic Con in October 2016

ANSATSU KYOSHITSU © 2012 by Yusei Matsui/SHUEISHA Inc.

VIZ Media and Japan Society Welcome Best-Selling Manga
Creator to NYCC for Events and Autograph Sessions

ReedPOP, the world's leading producer of pop culture events, has announced that author and artist of Assassination Classroom Yusei Matsui will be appearing at New York Comic Con this October for events and Autograph Sessions. Matsui is appearing at NYCC in partnership with VIZ Media, a premier company in the fields of publishing, animation distribution and global entertainment licensing, and the Japan Society, a nonprofit cross-cultural institution in New York.

One of the most popular and best-selling manga series in the United States, Assassination Classroom is a humorous and action-packed story about a class of misfits who are trying to kill their new teacher – an alien octopus with bizarre powers and super strength. The teacher has just destroyed the moon and is threatening to destroy the earth – unless his students can destroy him first. Making matters even more complicated, he turns out to be the best teacher they have ever had! The series is a consistent New York Times bestseller, with each volume released appearing on the list during the first few weeks of publication. The series has also been adapted as an anime that airs in Japan and North America, as well as well as two live-action films.

“Yusei Matsui is a major influence in the manga industry and his work continues to be a monster success around the world,” said Lance Fensterman, Global Senior Vice President of ReedPOP. “We are thrilled to welcome him to New York Comic Con for what are sure to be amazing experiences for our Fans.”

Yusei Matsuiself-portrait

Yusei Matsui was born in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. He has been drawing manga since he began elementary school and his favorite manga series include Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, and Ultimate Muscle. Matsui learned his trade working as an assistant to manga artist Yoshio Sawai, creator of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo. In 2005, Matsui debuted his original manga Neuro: Supernatural Detective in Weekly Shonen Jump. In 2007, Neuro was adapted into an anime. In 2012, Assassination Classroom began serialization in Weekly Shonen Jump. Assassination Classroom is published in North America by VIZ Media. For more information on Assassination Classroom, please visit VIZ.com.

New York Comic Con will take place October 6-9, 2016.To attend NYCC, Fans must complete a Fan Verification profile for the opportunity to purchase Tickets. Fan Verification is open through Monday, June 13 at NewYorkComicCon.com/FanVerification.

Additional exciting details about Yusei Matsui’s schedule and other New York Comic Con events, talent and sponsors will be announced in the coming months. For more information, please visit NewYorkComicCon.com.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

NHK WORLD culinary and pop culture personalities will be coming to J-POP SUMMIT 2016

Chef Tatsuo Saito and Yu Hayami of Dining with the Chef
NHK WORLD’s Chef Tatsuo Saito and Show Host Yu Hayami,
Artist/Japanese Pop-Culture Provocateur Sebastian Masuda and
Domobics to Highlight San Francisco’s J-POP SUMMIT 2016

Prominent Japanese Chef, Renowned Kawaii
International Art Director and Domo/Dance Group
Join Annual Festival to Celebrate Japanese Culture

NHK, Japan’s sole independent public broadcaster, will bring NHK WORLD culinary and pop culture personalities to the 8th annual J-POP SUMMIT in San Francisco.

J-POP SUMMIT 2016 takes place Saturday and Sunday, July 23rd and 24th at the historic Fort Mason Center located in San Francisco’s Marina district.

Chef Tatsuo Saito and Yu Hayami of “Dining with the Chef,” Sebastian Masuda, art director of “Kawaii International” and Domo, the official mascot of NHK, who will appear with the J-POP idol group, Tokyo Performance Doll (TPD) to perform on-stage Domobics, will convene in San Francisco to participate in the two-day Japanese pop culture extravaganza. NHK WORLD is the all-English language channel of NHK and is available in Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Charlotte.

Chef Saito and Yu Hayami, internationally-acclaimed singer and actress with deep passion for food, will introduce “JAPANESE FOOD,” NHK WORLD’s new website launching June 20. The website will include an array of recipes, tutorials, relevant articles and NHK WORLD program information for viewers to experience and try Japanese cooking at home. The duo will also demonstrate cutting technique of raw fish “Sashimi” and vegetables specific to Japanese cuisine preparation on the J-POP SUMMIT main stage. At the NHK WORLD booth #412, they will have a “Chef Saito’s Cook and Chat” show, demonstrating how to prepare an easy-to-make Japanese popular casual dish for U.S. home cooks. Sebastian Masuda is the art director of “Kawaii International,” NHK’s pop culture program that explores everything from Tokyo street fashion to art and design. He will welcome visitors to his “TIME AFTER TIME CAPSULE” workshop, which includes an interactive art installation in the shape of NHK mascot, Domo. Domo will accompany J-POP idol group, Tokyo Performance Doll (TPD) as they make their U.S. debut performing Domobics, a fun, rhythmic dance exercise.

A prominent master of Japanese culinary arts around the world, Chef Tatsuo Saito has served as head chef at the Japanese embassies in Paris and Washington D.C. He also runs a cooking school in Tokyo, works in TV, magazines and on the lecture circuit, and is also a prolific author. In “Dining with the Chef,” Chef Saito takes audiences to the heart of Japanese cuisine through insightful analysis of the culinary techniques used with various ingredients and provides inside instruction on everything from basic to startling professional skills.

Creator of the art project “TIME AFTER TIME CAPSULE” and vanguard of Japan’s Kawaii culture, Sebastian Masuda, art director of “Kawaii International”, is celebrated for his film, theatre and clothing designs. Mr. Masuda speaks internationally at museums and conferences and often discusses the culture of Kawaii and its impact on pop culture in Japan and around the world. At this year’s J-POP SUMMIT, Mr. Masuda’s interactive “TIME AFTER TIME CAPSULE,” in the form of Domo, will be available for fans to insert Kawaii memorabilia into, which will return to Tokyo to be displayed during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Additional partners announced for ONE-PUNCH MAN products


A Variety Of High Quality Consumer Products Based On
The Smash Hit Anime/Manga Action Series To Be
Created By Additional Leading Brand Partners

VIZ Media continues to expand consumer product licenses for the hit anime/manga action property, ONE-PUNCH MAN.

The ONE-PUNCH MAN manga series has become one of the most popular graphic novel titles in North America and is regularly on literary bestseller lists such as the New York Times and Nielsen BookScan, while the anime counterpart is watched by millions of fans online.

VIZ Media will showcase ONE-PUNCH MAN among its extensive catalog of multimedia properties at the upcoming 2016 Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, NV. As the fan base for ONE-PUNCH MAN continues to expand across multiple key demographics throughout North America, the property will be well-supported by a diverse range of consumer products beginning later this year.

The new product partners cover a diverse array of consumer categories including apparel, lighting, collectible figures and bobble-heads, playmats and binders, and other personal accessories. Partners include Buckle Down, Just Funky, Just Toys, Rabbit Tanaka, Ultra PRO, and Zag Toys.

Buckle Down
Product Description: Belt Buckles

Just Funky
Product Description: Drink Wears and Accessories

Just Toys
Product Description: 2D Laser Cut Keychains, Trading Cards, Stickers&Sticker album, Dog Tags, Character Rings, Backpack Hangers etc.

Rabbit Tanaka
Product Description: LED Lights, Mirror Art Blocks, Wooden Wall Plaques

Ultra PRO
Product Description: Playmats, Deck Protectors, Deck Boxes, Binders, and Plush Holders.

Zag Toys
Product Description: Mini Figures, Mini Bubbleheads, Mini Wobbling Figures, Pencil Toppers, Plush Beanies, Domez

In ONE-PUNCH MAN, nothing about Saitama passes the eyeball test when it comes to superheroes, from his lifeless expression to his bald head to his unimpressive physique. However, this average-looking guy has a not-so-average problem – he just can’t seem to find an opponent strong enough to take on! Every time a promising villain appears, he beats the snot out of ’em with one punch! Can Saitama finally find an opponent who can go toe-to-toe with him and give his life some meaning? Or is he doomed to a life of super-powered boredom?

For additional information on ONE-PUNCH MAN and other anime and manga titles distributed and published by VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

2016 Japan Film Festival of San Francisco roster announced


The S.F. Bay Area’s 4th Annual Dedicated Japanese Film Festival Returns
With Premiere Screenings And Very Special Guests Of Honor
Taking Place At NEW PEOPLE Cinema In Japantown

The 2016 Japan Film Festival of San Francisco (JFFSF), the first and only fully-dedicated Japanese film celebration for the S.F. Bay Area, has announced a diverse roster of films that are set to screen as part of this year’s program.

This year’s JFFSF proudly presents a broad collection of current and acclaimed Japanese cinema across a variety of genres such as action, sci-fi, documentary, anime, shorts, live music, kabuki theatre, crime mystery, and family drama. All films will be presented in Japanese language with English subtitles.

The 2016 Japan Film Festival of San Francisco opens Saturday, July 23rd and runs thru Sunday, July 31st at NEW PEOPLE Cinema located inside the NEW PEOPLE in Japantown at 1746 Post St., San Francisco, CA 94115 (www.newpeoplecinema.com). Tickets to individual screenings are $15.00 each, unless otherwise noted. All ticket prices include the service fee with no further extra charge.

For the true film aficionado, this year, the JFFSF also offers the special JFFSF Festival Passports. Available for $150 each, a passport grants the holder priority access and seating at all JFFSF 2016 screenings. A complete listing of film summaries, trailers, screening times and advance tickets as well as festival passports are available at: JFFSF.org.

Special 2016 JFFSF Guests of Honor include Director Shinsuke Sato (Gantz, The Princess Blade), who appears in person for the U.S. premiere of LIBRARY WARS: THE LAST MISSION, Director Shunji Iwai (Love Letter, All About Lily Chou-Chou, Hana and Alice), who will appear for the California premiere of A BRIDE FOR RIP VAN WINKLE, and Director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, who will appear for the screening of HAPPY HOUR.

“We are honored to welcome three prominent directors from Japan as our Guests of Honor this year,” says Manami Iiboshi, Executive Director of the Japan Film Festival of San Francisco. “It is exciting to share with our beloved audience this rare opportunity to hear about the creative vision behind their films in person. I hope everyone enjoys exploring diversity of Japanese cinema through this year’s program.” This year’s JFFSF also complements an extensive roster of entertainment also set to take place for J-POP SUMMIT 2016, the weekend of July 23rd and 24th at Fort Mason.

The following films will play at the NEW PEOPLE Cinema on the dates noted beginning on Saturday, July 23rd with screenings continuing until Sunday, July 31st.

Saturday, July 23rd, 12:00pm
Featuring a special in-person appearance by Director Shinsuke Sato (Gantz, The Princess Blade)! In this new sequel to the first Library Wars film, the story is set in a near future where the expression of thought is censored and the media is controlled. Under instructor Atsushi Dojo whom she admires, Iku Kasahara is now a full-fledged member of the Library Defense ‘Task Force’. They are ordered to guard a public exhibition featuring ‘The Handbook of Library Law’ known as the symbol of freedom, with no clue what fate awaits ahead.

Saturday, July 23, 3pm
Presented by J-POP SUMMIT 2016, the latest Vocaloid sensation “IA” 's first solo concert film, "IA First Live Concert in JAPAN: PARTY A GO-GO," will have its San Francisco premiere at Japan Film Festival of SF! “IA” is a virtual artist brought to life as part of the VOCALOID™3 with its synthesizing technology, and IA-related videos have collectively garnered more than 100 million views online. Experience the hottest entertainment export from Japan!

Saturday, July 23, 4:15pm
JFFSF's popular collaboration with Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia teams up to exclusively premiere a collection of special short films directed by a new generation of filmmakers from Japan! Films include: Plan B (Directed by Hatsuki Yokoo), Hana (Directed by Yusaku Okamoto) and Piece of the Future (Directed by Seiki Watanabe), Drifting cloud (Directed by Yuta Sukegawa) and Kerama Blue (Directed by Tsukasa Kishimoto).

Saturday, July 23 at 6:00pm; Sunday, July 24 at 6:30pm; Monday, July 25 at 8:00pm; Tuesday, July 26 at 9:00pm
Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno and Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends are both sequels to 2012's first Rurouni Kenshin live-action theatrical film. The live-action action movies were filmed back-to-back and cover the Kyoto Arc of Nobuhiro Watsuki's original historical action manga. Kenshin Himura is a legendary swordsman in the wars accompanying the turbulent fall of Japan’s Shogunate in the 19th Century. Once feared as, ‘Battosai the Killer,” he became a wanderer living peacefully with his companions with the arrival of the ‘new age’ in Japanese history. But now he learns that Makoto Shishio, his crazed successor, is about to overthrow the new government. Can Kenshin stop him without breaking his vow to kill no more and save Japan from destruction? (**Note: This is not a double feature. Separate tickets must be bought for each screening.)

Sunday July 24, 12:00pm
Screening features a special personal appearance by Director Shunji Iwai (Love Letter, All About Lily Chou-Chou, Hana and Alice)! Director Iwai returns with a deceptively beautiful film about a struggling teacher obsessed with a new social-media site, where she meets people that lead her life to an unexpected place. With the wedding with a boyfriend she met online approaching, and with no relatives except for her divorced parents, she makes a questionable decision encouraged by Amuro, a jack-of-all-trades whom she had also met online.

Sunday July 24, 4:00pm
Don't miss the rare opportunity to experience the authentic and unique beauty of contemporary kabuki performed by some of Japan's greatest kabuki actors and presented in vivid HD on the big screen! Nezumi Kozo is based on the story of a real-life bandit from the Edo period (19th Century). After his execution, a legend grew that he had been a kind of Robin Hood, sharing his ill-gotten gains with the poor. Written and directed by Hideki Noda and starring Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII.

Monday, July 25, 6:30pm
Based on a popular yaoi (Boys' Love) manga by Asumiko Nakamura, the film portrays the tantalizingly pure romance between two male high school students, Hikaru Kusakabe, a popular student in a band, and Lichit Sajo, an honor student. These boys would have never crossed paths until they begin to talk through preparing for an upcoming chorus festival together. A sensitive yet refined romantic masterpiece is brought to life.

Tuesday, July 26, 6:30pm
Creators behind the popular Anohana Movie return with the original anime feature film, The Anthem of the Heart an all-new ode to youth set in the beautiful city of Chichibu, located in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. The story unfolds around Jun Naruse, a girl who is unable to speak from trauma in the past. Through happening to join a musical act with an unexpected mix of students, Jun gradually starts to regain her lost voice.

Wednesday, July 27, 6:30pm
A special double-feature presentation.Court commenced with the death of a 14 year-old, and concluded with perjury. On a Christmas morning, the body of a student is discovered on the snow-covered schoolyard below a high rooftop. His death stirred up the latent malice that existed within the school, leading to accusations by an anonymous source claiming to be an eyewitness. A scheme for a new murder, sensational coverage by the mass media, then another victim and yet another... When the teachers have forsaken the students, concerned only with protecting themselves, one female student takes a stand to expose the hidden truth by holding a court trial within the school! Several collaborators come forward who are not intimidated by the pressure exerted by the teachers. Then, a defense counselor from another school comes forward to offer support. And finally, the 5-day trail begins.

Thursday, July 28, 6:30pm
The latest feature film from award-winning director Mamoru Hosoda (Summer Wars, Wolf Children)! When Kyuta, a young orphan living on the streets of Shibuya, stumbles into a fantastic world of beasts, he’s taken in by Kumatetsu, a gruff, rough-around-the-edges warrior beast who’s been searching for the perfect apprentice. Despite their constant bickering, Kyuta and Kumatetsu begin training together and slowly form a bond as surrogate father and son.

Thursday, July 28 at 9:00pm; Friday, July 29, 9:00pm; Saturday, July 30 at 3:00pm; Sunday, July 31 at 6:30pm
Don’t miss the exciting finale in the action-packed Rurouni Kenshin live-action saga!

Friday, July 29, 6:30pm
Awarded NETPAC Jury Prize at the 37th Moscow International Film Festival, this film is a heart-wrenching portrayal of isolated people caught in downward spirals that also shows how simple acts of kindness can make a difference. Tasuku is a school teacher struggling to deal with his homeroom and his students’ over-protective parents. When he discovers that one of his students is being abused by their parents, he decides to stand up to make a difference.

Saturday, July 30, 12:00pm
This visually striking food documentary is focused on two crucial essence of Japanese cuisine: the delicate soup stock, ‘Dashi,’ and the golden soy sauce, ‘Shoyu.’ Dashi is the bedrock of Japanese cuisine and a distillation of the natural resources of Japan. ‘Shoyu’ is a pillar of Japanese cuisine, which is made of soy that is transformed by a type of mold that exists only in Japan. History and secrets of Umami will be revealed. Screening will feature a special Dashi stock tasting.

Sunday, July 31, 12:00pm
Screening to feature a special personal appearance by Director Ryusuke Hamaguchi! Japan’s up-and-coming director Hamaguchi’s award-winning epic Happy Hour returns to SF Bay Area with the filmmaker himself. This 5-hours-and-17-minutes-long film about the unstable lives of four girl friends in their thirties, played by real women with no acting experience in the past, should be surprisingly gratifying for any movie lover.

Launched in 2013, Japan Film Festival of San Francisco is the first and only fully dedicated Japanese film event for the SF Bay Area. This year’s edition will feature a colorful mix of narratives, anime and documentary film premieres and exclusive screenings with special guest appearance at the NEW PEOPLE Cinema in San Francisco’s Japantown from July 23rd (Sat) through August 31st (Sun), 2016. More details and ticket information is available at jffsf.org.

NEW PEOPLE Cinema is a 143-seat cinema located in the underground floor of NEW PEOPLE in San Francisco. Equipped with a cutting-edge HD digital projection and THX®-certified sound system, NEW PEOPLE Cinema is home for local film festivals and creative events. newpeoplecinema.com.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Multiple new licensed product partners for ONE-PUNCH MAN


A Collectible Array Of Unique High Quality Products
Based On The Smash Hit Anime/Manga Action Series
To Be Produced By Leading Brand Partners

VIZ Media has announced several notable new product licensing partners for the hit anime/manga action property, ONE-PUNCH MAN.

The announcement comes ahead of VIZ Media’s participation at the upcoming 2016 Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, NV later this month and positions ONE-PUNCH MAN for penetration into the substantial North American consumer market. The manga series is widely read and featured regularly on literary bestseller lists such as the New York Times and Nielsen BookScan, while the anime counterpart is watched by millions of fans online.

The new product partners cover a diverse array of consumer categories including apparel, collectible figures, posters, and other personal accessories. Partners include Ata-Boy, Inc., Bioworld Merchandising, Inc., Great Eastern Entertainment, Isaac Morris Limited, and Trends International LLC. Products from these companies are carried by some of the nation’s leading retailers including Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, FYE, Game Stop, Hot Topic, JC Penny’s Target, and Walgreens.

Ata-Boy, Inc.
Product Description: Magnets and Buttons

Bioworld Merchandising, Inc.
Product description: Underwear, Loungewear, and Apparel Accessories (headwear, bags, gloves, knit headwear, scarves, hosiery, wallets)

Great Eastern Entertainment
Product Description: Assorted Accessories and Novelties

Isaac Morris Limited
Product Description: Apparel and Accessories Including Men's, Juniors, and Ladies T-shirts, Tanks, Hoodies, Fashion Tops, Swimwear, Scarves, Key Chains, Hats, Backpacks, Plush Wallets Mugs, and Bedding

Trends International LLC
Product Description: Collectible Full-Color Posters

“ONE-PUNCH MAN is a riveting anime and manga series that has become extremely popular with audiences and we are very happy to build upon this success with an array of new licensed product partners that will give fans plenty of fun ways to celebrate their love of this property,” says Kensuke Mase, Director, Consumer Products, VIZ Media. “We look forward to ONE-PUNCH MAN continuing to captivate audiences and to announcing additional product licensing news very soon.”

In ONE-PUNCH MAN, nothing about Saitama passes the eyeball test when it comes to superheroes, from his lifeless expression to his bald head to his unimpressive physique. However, this average-looking guy has a not-so-average problem – he just can’t seem to find an opponent strong enough to take on! Every time a promising villain appears, he beats the snot out of ’em with one punch! Can Saitama finally find an opponent who can go toe-to-toe with him and give his life some meaning? Or is he doomed to a life of super-powered boredom?

For additional information on ONE-PUNCH MAN and other anime and manga titles distributed and published by VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

VIZ Media releases complete RANMA ½ anime series in new Blu-ray standard edition sets

© Rumiko Takahashi / Shogakukan

Beloved Martial Arts Anime Returns In Seven New
Adventure-Packed Standard Edition Blu-ray Releases

VIZ Media has announced the release of new Blu-ray Standard Editions for all 7 RANMA ½ home media sets.

The RANMA ½ Blu-ray sets, which present the complete 161-episode series, are available now and sold individually with an MSRP of $49.99 U.S. / $57.99 CAN. Each set features 23 episodes across 3 discs, along with a variety of bonus material. Extras include convention highlights and RANMA ½ panel discussions, episode previews, series trailers, and a special 7-part “We Love Ranma” series that takes audiences behind the scenes, detailing the processes of the manga and anime release and the enduring popularity of this iconic action adventure series.

RANMA ½ Blu-ray episodes are presented in full 1080p High Definition resolution with the series’ original, un-cropped 4:3 aspect ratio. Subtitled and English dubbed dialogue options are available for all episodes.

In the classic RANMA ½ anime series, Ranma Saotome never thought a martial arts training mission to China would turn out like this! An accidental dunk in a cursed spring changes boy Ranma into a young girl, every time he is splashed with cold water. Hot water reverses the effect - but only until next time!

“RANMA ½ is one of anime’s most beloved series and we have been very gratified to see how the story and characters continue to resonate with multiple generations of fans,” says Charlene Ingram, Senior Marketing Manager, Animation. “Our original run of Limited Edition Blu-ray sets sold out quickly, but we are pleased to make the legendary series available once again across 7 new Standard Edition Blu-ray editions that contain the exact same episode content and bonus features included in the earlier sets. We invite fans to add this epic series to their personal collections.”

RANMA ½ manga creator Rumiko Takahashi is one of Japan’s most prolific and respected manga artists and is the creator of several long running series including MAISON IKKOKU, RANMA ½, and INUYASHA – all published in North America by VIZ Media. The spotlight on her prolific career began in 1978 when she won an honorable mention in Shogakukan's annual New Comic Artist Contest for Those Selfish Aliens. Later that same year, her boy-meets-alien comedy series, Urusei Yatsura, was serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday. This phenomenally successful manga series was adapted into anime format and also spawned a TV series and half a dozen theatrical-release movies, all incredibly popular. Takahashi followed up the success of her debut series with one blockbuster hit after another— MAISON IKKOKU ran from 1980 to 1987, RANMA ½ from 1987 to 1996, and INUYASHA from 1996 to 2008. Other notable works include MERMAID SAGA, RUMIC THEATER, ONE-POUND GOSPEL, and RIN-NE (all also published in North America by VIZ Media).

For more information on RANMA ½ or other award-winning anime titles from VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

Monday, June 06, 2016


©2016 Pokémon. ©1997-2002 Nintendo, Creatures, GAME FREAK, TV Tokyo, ShoPro, JR Kikaku. TM, ® Nintendo.

Substantial New Set Features 6 DVDs Containing
52 Action-Packed Anime Adventures With Brock,
Misty, Ash And Pikachu In The Johto Region

VIZ Media delivers fresh new POKÉMON home media to fans with its recent release of the POKÉMON: JOHTO LEAGUE CHAMPIONS - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION.

The hefty set includes 6 DVDs, featuring a total of 52 episodes, of the massively popular anime adventure property. POKÉMON: JOHTO LEAGUE CHAMPIONS – THE COMPLETE COLLECTION is rated ‘TV-Y7,’ for viewers ages 7 and older, and will carry an MSRP of $49.99 U.S. / CAN.

In the latest episodes, from the sprawling metropolis of Goldenrod City to the icy peak of Snowtop Mountain, the Johto region presents Ash, Misty, and Brock with exciting new adventures—along with a few familiar faces like their old friends Todd, Duplica, and Suzie! Johto’s rich past means plenty of Pokémon mysteries for our heroes to solve, and its exciting present means some tough challenges—Ash tackles three more Gyms, while handling competitions like the Pokémon Sumo Conference along the way.

POKÉMON is one of the most successful international entertainment franchises of all time. More than 275 million POKÉMON video game titles and over 21.5 billion Pokémon Trading Cards have been sold in more than 74 countries in addition to substantial publishing and merchandise sales. VIZ Media is the official North American distributor for a wide variety of POKÉMON home media releases including animated series and films and also publishes a variety of POKÉMON manga graphic novel series including POKÉMON ADVENTURES, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: FIRERED & LEAFGREEN, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: EMERALD, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: DIAMOND & PEARL/PLATINUM, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: HEARTGOLD & SOULSILVER, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: BLACK & WHITE and POKÉMON ADVENTURES X•Y.

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

Sunday, June 05, 2016

CHRONICLES OF THE GHOSTLY TRIBE available on Digital June 7th; coming to Blu-ray & DVD on July 5th

Well Go USA
Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe / Jiu ceng yao ta
Directed by Lu Chuan
China, 2015, 123 minutes

Celebrated auteur and festival darling Lu Chuan (City of Life and Death) directs his first blockbuster film with Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe, debuting on digital June 7 and on Blu-ray™ and DVD July 5 from Well Go USA Entertainment. The Chinese action adventure film follows the story of a young soldier, working in China’s snowcapped mountains, who, following an explosion, discovers a series of mysterious fossils hidden deep within the mountain caverns. What he finds out next will change his life – and human history – forever.

The cast includes Yao Chen (Firestorm), Mark Chao (Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon), Rhydian Vaughan (Lord of Shanghai), Li Chen (Aftershock), Tiffany Tang (The Storm Warriors), Daniel Feng (The Painted Veil), Wang Qingxiang (The Grandmaster), Wu Jun (Beginning of the Great Revival), Wang Deshung (Saving General Yang) and Li Guangjie (Drug War).

Bonus materials include a making-of featurette.


The Mongolian Border, 1979: Massive fossils of unknown creatures are discovered in the mountains, and the research team assigned to excavate the remains includes acclaimed Professor Yang (Wang Qingxiang), Hu Bayi (Mark Chao), and Ping (Yao Chen), the professor’s beautiful daughter. When a freak explosion, lethal bat attack, and fall to the mountain’s floor leaves only a handful of survivors, the small remaining band uncovers a mythic Cyclopean Temple – and an Interdimensional Portal that lets loose a pack of ravenous Hell-Beasts, leaving only Hu alive.

New York City, Present Day: Now living a quiet but tormented life as a librarian, Hu studies demonology manuscripts to find answers for that fateful day. Little does he know that Professor Yang has just been found wandering the mountains thousands of miles from where he supposedly died; a young woman with amnesia was just discovered in a recently-uncovered tomb; and a Northern Chinese mining town has just been ravaged by giant, unknown creatures ...

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Complete lineup for 15th New York Asian Film Festival announced

The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Subway Cinema have announced the full lineup for THE 15th New York Asian Film Festival, which will run June 22 – July 9, 2016.

The Opening Gala will be the World Premiere of Kazuya Shiraishi’s Japanese crime epic Twisted Justice; the Centerpiece Gala is the North American Premiere of Ralston Jover's Hamog (Haze); and the Closing Gala is the International Premiere of Adam Tsuei’s The Tenants Downstairs from Taiwan.

The 51-film festival features spotlights on the cinemas of Hong Kong, South Korean, and Southeast Asia.

Festival honorees include Lifetime Achievement awardee Iwai Shunji, Screen International Rising Stars Go Ayano, Jelly Lin, and Teri Malvar, and Star Asia Award recipients Miriam Yeung, Lee Byung-hun, and John Lloyd Cruz.

Complete information about the full lineup and guests can be found here.

You can keep up to date with information at www.subwaycinema.com and www.filmlinc.org. Subway Cinema can be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nyaff and Twitter at www.twitter.com/subwaycinema.

Friday, June 03, 2016

THE FINAL MASTER reviewed; opens today in New York and Los Angeles

United Entertainment Partners
 The Final Master
Written and Directed by Xu Haofeng
Starring: Liao Fan, Song Jia, Jiang Wenli, Jin Shi-Jye,
Song Yang and Huang Jue
China, 2015, 109 minutes
In Mandarin with English Subtitles

The Final Master is a terrific martial arts film that opens today in New York and Los Angeles, with a wider release to follow. It was written and directed by Xu Haofeng, who wrote the award winning screenplay for Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster (2013).

The film is set in the early 20th Century, after the last emperor was deposed and the Republic of China was established. Liao Fan (Black Coal, Thin Ice) plays Master Chen, a Wing Chun practitioner who travels from southern China to Tianjin, then the mecca of martial arts, in the north. There he hopes to establish a school.

Liao Fan as Master Chen

Chen must face the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that the heads of Tianjin's established schools place before all newcomers. To succeed, Chen not only trains the local youth who will represent his school against eight opponents, but also secretly trains Zheng Shanao (the Taiwanese actor Jin Shi-jye who known for his roles in The Grandmaster, Brotherhood of Blades and The Guillotines). Shanao is the lead practitioner of all the various martial art schools in Tianjin.

There's action aplenty, particularly knife fights. Because of the intricate footwork and steps, Xu has said that "rather than following the common Hong Kong action films style of quick edits and flashy dance-like moves, The Final Master is filmed with long, full-body shots." This permits one to really see what's going on and to appreciate the high degree of kung fu on exhibit.

AsianCinefest rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars; very highly recommended.

Here's the list of the cities, theaters and opening dates where The Final Master is scheduled to play:
- New York (June 3): Court Street UA, AMC Empire, Village East Cinema, College Point Multiplex (Flushing), AMC Stoneybrook.
- Los Angeles (June 3): AMC Century City, Landmark, Burbank AMC Town Center, Arclight Hollywood, Arclight Pasadena and more.
- New Jersey (June 10): AMC Starplex and AMC New Brunswick
- Boston (June 10)-Manchester Boston Common
- Washington DC (June 10): AMC Rio

Thursday, June 02, 2016


CJ Entertainment
Phantom Detective / Tamjung Hong Gil-dong: Sarajin Ma-eul
Directed by JO Sung-hee
Starring: LEE Je-hoon, KIM Sung-kyun, PARK Geun-hyung, GO A-ra
South Korea, 2016, 125 minutes
In Korean with English subtitles 

Hong Gil-dong (LEE Je-hoon, from Architure 101 and Bleak Night) is the head, and apparently only field operative, of HBD, a private detective agency. The agency is owned by Hwang Gye-sook (actress GO A-ra) who also uses her vast wealth for philanthropic work. Her father had taken in Hong as a young orphan; because he wished for justice in this world, Madame Hwang started the PI agency and put Hong in charge.

Hong really has only one goal in life: namely, to find the one-eyed man who murdered his mother and exact revenge on him. Having learned that person is Kim Byung-duk (PARK Keun-hyung), Hong sets out for him but arrives two late, as Kim has been taken by two other individuals. Hong uses Kim's two grandaughter, fifth grader Kim Dong-yi (ROH Jung-eui) and first grader Mal-soon (KIM Ha-na) to help locate the old man. His efforts are frequently thwarted by Mal-soon, who has a knack for revealing the lies and deceptions Hong employs to gain information.

Many of the settings and environments are digitally rendered, sometimes giving the film an artificial look. This is not meant as a criticism: I happen to really like this approach, It reminded me of Sin City, another film noir that I love, although Phantom Detective is in color and of course has Korean actors.

There are some very fine twists and turns in the plot. The acting is uniformly good. Special mention must be made about the two child actresses. ROH Jung-eui is both lovely and talented; this is particularly evident in one touching scene near the end of the film. As for Kim H-na as Mal-soon, well, she practically steals the movie every time she upsets Hong's plans by revealing the truth.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars; very highly recommended

Phantom Detective had its East Coast Premiere at Korea Cultural Center's Korean Movie Night New York on May 18th and opened theatrically two days later, on Friday, May 20th.

Phantom Detective official website

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Section23 Films announces its September 2016 schedule of releases

The Return of Godzilla® Available September 13th

Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its September slate of releases; including the first U.S. release of the complete and uncut THE RETURN OF GODZILLA® by Kraken Releasing, which will be available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Product details in order of release:

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 9/6/2016
Format: DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: Moving is seldom easy, but when newly orphaned Taro Hanaukyo arrives in Tokyo to live with his wealthy grandfather, what he finds literally blows his mind. Because Gramps has skipped off to a remote island, leaving his estate and its huge staff at Taro’s beck and call. A staff that seems to consist entirely of maids: maids in charge of cooking, maids in charge of cleaning, maids in charge of computer programming, maids in charge of technological research and development, and, of course, maids in charge of making the garden grow. Except that Taro doesn’t just have pretty maids all in a row; he’s got them in regiments and battalions! What was his grandfather thinking? And what will Taro do with them? Did we mention that he’s a middle school student with otaku tendencies? Head maid Mariel and her staff may be in for a rough period of adjustment as the new master of the house takes charge in HANAUKYO MAID TEAM: LA VERITE!

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 9/6/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98, $49.98

SYNOPSIS: Sakura Mamiya’s life was odd long before she started helping her fellow student and half-Shinigami Rinne Rokudo assist lost souls in reaching the land of the dead. However, as strange as the various spooks, specters and other other-worldly entities that Sakura has encountered on a daily basis may have been, nothing is as out and out bizarre as finding herself and Rinne involved in a complicated web of perceived romantic relationships that also include a former childhood friend and now frustrated exorcist, Tsubasa Jumonji, and the air-headed and extremely gullible Shinigami Ageha. After all, Sakura’s not really sure she’s even attracted to Rinne! On the other hand, given the dangers inherent in foiling the efforts of the soul-stealing Damashigani, worrying about anyone’s love life is going to have to take second place to avoiding becoming part of the afterlife herself. It’s a second round of second thoughts and second chances in the second stunning collection of RIN-NE!

Published by: Maiden Japan
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 650 min.
Street Date: 9/13/2016
Format: DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: If it weren’t for the small matter of age Nokoru, Suoh and Akira would be perfect ladies’ men. Akira is a world-class chef, Suoh is a world-class martial artist and Nokoru is so brilliant that he stands out at their exclusive academy for conspicuous overachievers, CLAMP School! Not to mention, all three are smart, conscientious and attractive! However, since they haven’t reached seventh grade and aren’t ready to date yet, Nokoru has come up with a different way to ingratiate the trio with the feminine gender: forming a detective team that specializes in helping ladies in distress! Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Nokoru can detect girls in trouble from a mile away, while Suoh comes from a family of Ninjas and Akira has inherited a similarly useful set of skills from his father, an infamous thief! Recess is on and the mystery is afoot as the famed all-female creative team CLAMP unleashes the sleuthing prowess of the CLAMP SCHOOL DETECTIVES!

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 9/13/2016
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Haruka and Yuu have been best friends forever and they’ve sat next to each other in class since junior high. But, on the first day of high school, the new seating plan has them separated! So, since everyone knows that long distance relationships don’t work unless the parties involved put extra effort into it, they decide they need to do something special to permanently seal their friendship. However, deciding to kiss each other awakens a whole new level of feelings, and it doesn’t help that some of their classmates seem to be “involved” in similar circumstances. What’s a girl to do when her best friend suddenly seems more like a girlfriend? It’s a life lesson that the school curriculum isn’t normally prepared to teach, but our two young heroines are about to get a private education you’ll never forget! Discover the truth about the birds and the... er… birds, as two young ladies learn to deal with the pros and cons of intramural osculation in SAKURA TRICK!

Published by: Kraken Releasing
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 103 min.
Street Date: 9/13/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $14.98, $9.98

SYNOPSIS: With a higher budget and more advanced special effects than any previous film in the series, THE RETURN OF GODZILLA® returns Japan’s greatest monster to his intended role as an epic force of destruction and the film’s spectacular success re-launched the Godzilla® franchise after nearly a decade in suspended animation. Unfortunately for North American audiences, this direct sequel to the original 1954 feature film has previously only been available in a highly edited version that cut over twenty minutes of original footage and effects, changed key plot points and altered the dark dramatic tone and narrative by inserting additional scenes and humor in an attempt to “Americanize” the film. But now, at long last, the acclaimed kaiju masterpiece finally hits American shores in all its uncut original glory! Get ready for the biggest Godzilla® epic that you’ve never seen as Kraken Releasing proudly presents the complete and unedited THE RETURN OF GODZILLA®!

Published by: Maiden Japan
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 9/20/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Tracking down the secrets concerning Kana’s death has led Yuko “Yasako” Okonogi into a new series of virtual rabbit holes. Like Alice through the looking glass, Yuko discovers that the digitally augmented world on the other side of her glasses is far more complex and confusing than she could have imagined. With shocking e-spaces filled with mysterious un-erased levels of data, and virtual creatures that act and think as if they’re truly alive, how many other secrets might these parallel worlds hide? Who is responsible for hiding them? As new memories from her past begin to surface, she must now confront whether the e-spaces themselves are somehow affecting the real world and how this involves the “other” Yuko. Their destinies may be intrinsically linked as the real and virtual worlds collide in the climactic conclusion of DEN-NOH COIL!

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 9/20/2016
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: Every choice we make leads us down a different path… but is it possible for the actions taken on one path be used to affect the choices made in another life? In his darkest hour, Jun Sakurada receives just such an opportunity: a chance to communicate with a future version of himself who did not wind the key and bring forth the Rozen Maidens, and to fix his own shattered world. For Jun-who-did-not-wind, the messages from his younger self are a beacon of hope, and when the adult Jun discovers a box with parts and building instructions for a familiar red dressed doll, the goal becomes clear: to revive Shinku in his world and save both worlds from succumbing to the evils of Kirakisho, the seventh Rozen Maiden. The Alice Game becomes a war of dimensions as two worlds hang by the threads of fate in ROZEN MAIDEN: ZURÜCKSPULEN!

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 275 min.
Street Date: 9/27/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $59.98

SYNOPSIS: The battle on the floating fortress is over, but the quest to recover the scattered remains of Emperor Gaz is too important to delay. As Chaika and her companions seek out the hero Claudia in order to obtain the heart, they race against Red Chaika, who seeks the hero, Guy, who possesses one of the arms. Even as Chaika struggles to learn the new magical skills required to defeat Claudia, a startling new revelation comes to light which may change their mission entirely: not all of Gaz’s magic research was destroyed, and information regarding the creation of the Chaikas may have been taken to a mysterious island! With the possibility of uncovering the secrets behind their mysterious origins dangled in front of them, the Chaikas must decide whether or not they want to find the hidden island and brave its unknown perils. Could the entire thing be a trap? It’s highly likely, but how can they resist the bait as the spellbinding adventure continues in CHAIKA THE COFFIN PRINCESS – AVENGING BATTLE!

Title: CORPSE PARTY (Live Action)
Published by: Switchblade Pictures
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 94 min.
Street Date: 9/27/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $24.98, $14.98

SYNOPSIS: Horror Movie Lesson Number One: if you want to stay in touch with your friends, performing a binding ceremony on the grounds of a school that was demolished after a series of horrific murders may not be a great idea. Otherwise, as a group of Japanese teens quickly learn to their horror, the simple ritual may open a doorway to an otherworldly dimension where the infamous Heavenly Host High still exists, and the demonic occupants within seek to redecorate the gore-soaked and carnage-strewn halls with a new set of bloody corpses. Now, it’s a brutal education in supernatural survival as the students fight both the resident spirits and each other, where the odds of graduating alive, let alone in one piece, are sliced shorter and shorter with every heart-pounding second. Japan’s ultra-violent videogame and anime phenomenon becomes a shocking live action feature film as hell is unleashed at the CORPSE PARTY!

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 9/27/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98, $49.98

SYNOPSIS: Yuji Kazami fulfilled a promise, but that promise was made long before he reached Mihama Academy. The seeds of the future are sown as young Yuji’s family is ravaged and his psyche is shattered, only to be reshaped in the fires of violent training and war in THE LABYRINTH OF GRISAIA. However, Yuji’s saga continues as his past catches up with him, and he is defended by the most unlikely guardian angels in THE EDEN OF GRISAIA. Follow the grisly journey as the boy is forced to become a man, and delve into the aftermath of THE FRUIT OF GRISAIA in this special complete edition that contains both parts of the untold story: THE LABYRINTH OF GRISAIA and THE EDEN OF GRISAIA.