With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Friday, May 31, 2013

ACF 1912: Sentai Filmworks acquires rights to LEVIATHAN ~ THE LAST DEFENSE ~


Can three lone girls turn the tide of an alien invasion? Find out in Sentai Filmworks’ newest acquisition: the animation series Leviathan ~ The Last Defense ~! Based on a new mobile game launched in Japan by the global nobile social company GREE, this 13 episode series is directed by Kenichi Yatagai and features character designs by Takaharu Okuma (Kotoura-san) with series composition by Yasunori Ide (Hanaukyo Maid-tai), sound direction by Yosuke Morita and music by Shiho Terada (Inazuma Eleven GO) and Tomoki Kikuya (Hidamari Sketch).

Leviathan ~ The Last Defense ~ will be available soon through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow later this year.

Synopsis: The lands of Aquafall were a paradise, where water flowed freely, the hills were covered with lush vegetation and life in all forms flourished in peace and abundance. That was before the meteors began to fall, each impact spawning new, hideous monsters. It soon becomes clear that there were others who want to claim the entire green world for themselves. An enemy that will not stop until everything has been vanquished.

Fortunately, the fairy Syrop is on guard and knows exactly what to do. Working quickly, she recruits an extraordinary team of young women to form the base of the Aquafall Defenders: the incredibly strong Jormungand, the rich Bahamut and the stoic Leviathan. But can three lone girls really turn the tide of an alien invasion? The scales of fate hang in the balance in Leviathan ~ The Last Defense ~.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

ACF 1911: Japanese director Shinsuke Sato to be special guest of honor at Japan Film Festival of San Francisco

Director Shinsuke Sato
 The 2013 JAPAN FILM FESTIVAL OF SAN FRANCISCO
WELCOMES DIRECTOR SHINSUKE SATO AS A SPECIAL GUEST OF HONOR
FOR THE EXCLUSIVE U.S. PREMIERE OF HIS LATEST FILM LIBRARY WARS

Award Winning Director Of GANTZ, GANTZ II And SAND CHRONICLES
Makes A Rare U.S. Personal Appearance For S.F. Bay Area’s First Dedicated
Japanese Film Festival Taking Place At NEW PEOPLE Cinema

The 2013 J-POP Summit Festival, the popular yearly San Francisco summertime Japanese Pop Culture celebration, has announced director Shinsuke Sato as the first Guest of Honor for its inaugural Japan Film Festival of San Francisco (JFFSF), the first fully-dedicated annual Japanese film event for the S.F. Bay Area, taking place at the NEW PEOPLE Cinema beginning Saturday, July 27th through Sunday August 4th.

Director Shinsuke Sato will appear for the very special U.S. premiere of his latest film, Library Wars, on Friday, August 2nd at 7:00pm, and Saturday, August 3rd at 1:10pm. The film is a new live-action sci-fi adventure adapted from the bestselling novel and anime series originally written by Hiro Arikawa. In addition to introducing his new film, Sato will engage in an insightful Q&A session with audiences immediately following each theatrical screening.

The Japan Film Festival of San Francisco invites attendees to catch more than 15 films, representing a vivid cross-section of recent Japanese live-action as well as anime cinema, that will have their exclusive U.S. and/or San Francisco premiere at NEW PEOPLE Cinema. The Festival will also be a prominent feature of the 2013 J-POP Summit Festival, taking place across Japantown on Saturday and Sunday, July 27th and 28th. A complete schedule of films and advance ticket information is available on www.jffsf.org.

Library Wars is set in the year 2019 in Japan, a new law is passed to crack down on free expression, which allows for the government to create an armed force to find and destroy objectionable printed material. Meanwhile, to oppose this oppressive crackdown, the Library Force is created. The Library Force includes instructor Atsushi Dojo (Junichi Okada) and Iku Kasahara (Nana Eikura), who work to protect the libraries. A fierce battle soon ensues between these two groups.

“It’s a tremendous honor to welcome director Shinsuke Sato as a very special Guest of Honor for our first annual Japan Film Festival of San Francisco,” says Manami Iiboshi, the Executive Director of Japan Film Festival of San Francisco. “His newest film, Library Wars, takes the battle for free speech in an action-packed new direction that shows his creativity and prowess as a filmmaker. We look forward to audiences having this rare opportunity to meet and interact with one of Japan’s most visionary directors at the kick-off of a unique new annual film festival celebrating the best of new Japanese cinema!”

Director Shinsuke Sato was born in 1970 in Hiroshima, Japan. In 1993, while attending Musashino Art University, he wrote the screenplay and directed the 16mm short film, Ryonai Genshuku, which won the 1994 Pia Film Festival Grand Prize. This success launched his career as a film and television drama screenwriter. In 2001, he made his major debut as a director with LOVE SONG. Sato followed this project with The Princess Blade, which was screened at numerous film festivals around the world and distributed in over 20 countries including the United States and United Kingdom. In 2003, the feature film was released in North America and received tremendous critical acclaim.

In the fall of 2007, Sato directed the film, Sand Chronicles, which was also based on a popular manga comic series and became a major Japanese office hit. In 2009, he collaborated with Production I.G. and Fuji Television on the full-length animated film, Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror, as a screenwriter and director. Oblivion Island was nominated for Best Animated Film at the 33rd Japan Academy Awards. At Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival 2010, the film was also awarded the Jury Prize – Special Mention for the Best Animated Feature Film, and at the 14th Seoul International Cartoon & Animation Festival, it won the Special Jury Prize in the feature films category. In 2010, Sato directed GANTZ and the sequel, GANTZ II: Perfect Answer, which were also based on hugely popular Japanese anime and manga series. Both films became box office hits. The films are distributed in the U.S. by NEW PEOPLE Entertainment.

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 entertaining events. www.newpeoplecinema.com

About J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL The J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL is an annual Japanese Pop Culture celebration that features live bands and artists from Japan, pop culture panel discussions, film premieres, fashion and DJ dance events, and celebrity appearances. The Festival is hosted by NEW PEOPLE in cooperation with the Japantown Merchants Association. In 2012, the two-day event attracted 65,000 attendees.

Additional information about the J-POP Summit Festival is available at J-POP.com.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

ACF 1910: NY Japan CineFest 2013, Program 1, Friday, June 7th, 2013

Sayonara, directed by Eric Bates
NY Japan CineFest 2013
Program 1: Short Films by US-based Directors
When: Friday, June 7, 2013 at 6:30 pm
Where: Asia Society
725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), NYC

The NY Japan CineFest 2013 film series will consist of three programs at Asia Society NY on Friday, June 7th and Saturday, June 8th. The first night's program is devoted to short films by US-based directors. Ranging from drama, thriller, animation, to war films, these award-wining shorts offer rich insights into the creativity and imagination of filmmakers based in the US. Program attended by filmmakers. Reception to follow, sponsored by Sapporo Beer.

Program 1:

Hypnocus-Pocused
Dir. Victor Tadashi Suárez. 2011. 11min38sec.
Two brothers, one car, and a strange Japanese friend are perfect ingredients for a thriller about a hypnotism that goes awry.
Columbia University National Undergraduate Film Festival--Best Picture, Best Acting, Audience Choice
Naperville International Film Festival--Best Student Film

Usagi-san
Dir. Patrick Dickinson. 2013. 23min54sec.
The peaceful life of an elderly Japanese couple in Los Angeles is interrupted by Alzheimer’s disease. Can they hold on to the cherished past and find solace and hope again?
Ivy Film Festival--Best Graduate Film, Grand Jury Award
2013 Student Emmy Awards--Outstanding Drama-Silver Award 


SVA is... 
Dir. Who-Fu. 2012. 1min27sec.
As a promotional video for the School of Visual Arts, this interesting animation uses different styles to explore the theme of “idea.”

Once More
Dir. Hiroo Takaoka. 2010. 24min.
Using the technology of human cloning, a man pushes the ethical boundary to be reunited with his deceased wife.

The Bridge
Dir. Sheldon Schwartz. 2008. 10min.
A young Japanese American soldier joins a small squad on a dangerous mission in Italy during WWII. The film explores issues of allegiance and identity.

Sayonara
Dir. Eric Bates. 2011. 3min40sec.
After losing his home due to a natural disaster, a little boy befriends a sea turtle on a small island. But it’s time to say goodbye.

Mojave’ 43
Dir. Thomas Takemoto-Chock. 2013. 20min.
A Japanese American schoolteacher prepares a treat for his students as a reward for good behavior but they will soon have to confront an ugly truth.

The Hirosaki Players
Dir. Jeff Sousa. 2010. 19min21sec.
The opening night of a Japanese play in New York becomes a tug of war between an up-and-coming Japanese playwright/director and his famous and aging father who is the uncooperative lead actor.
Beijing International Movie Festival--Golden Duck Award for Best Short Narrative
Sonoma International Film Festival-Best Dramatic Short Film

The other two programs are: 

Program 2: Sapporo Short Fest Selection
Saturday, June 8th, 4:00 - 6:00 pm 

Program 3: Miyoko (Miyoko Asagaya Kibun)
Saturday, June 8th, 6:45 pm - 8:45 pm  

New York Japan CineFest is supported in part by Redac, Brother International Corp. and Sapporo U.S.A.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

ACF 1909: Free screening of SUNNY next Tuesday in New York

Korean Cultural Service New York
presents
Korean Movie Night 2013
Series Three: Laughter and Love at the Box Office
Sunny / Sseo-ni
Directed by KANG Hyoung-chul
South Korea, 2011, 127 minutes
When: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 @ 7:00 PM
Doors open: 6:30 PM
Where: Tribeca Cinemas
54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal Street, NYC
Near the A, C, E @ #1 Canal Street subway stops
Map

This wonderful coming-of-age film about a group of high school girlfriends in 1986 and their adult selves in 2011 will screen for free next Tuesday in the Korean Cultural Service's Korean Movie Night film series.

Here's how the Korean Cultural Service describes it:

Girl power! In this award-winning hit, a group of schoolgirls form a timeless friendship, bonding over their willingness to do whatever it takes to help each other out.

A country girl, relocating to Seoul, becomes a part of the clique… but when an irreversible tragedy strikes, the group finds themselves forced to go their separate ways. Twentyfive years later, when two of the girls happen to meet by chance at a hospital, they decide its time to get their friends back together and make their lives “sunny” again! An irrepressible feel-good comedy, Sunny was tied with the historical action blockbuster War of the Arrows as the biggest Korean film of 2011!

For those of you who can't make it to the free screening, Sunny is available on DVD. I rated the film 3.5 out of 4 stars and assigned the DVD extras 4 out of 4 stars. Read that review here. The film is also available on Netflix Streaming.

Friday, May 24, 2013

ACF 1908: Anime feature film premieres at 2013 JAPAN FILM FESTIVAL in San Francisco

The 2013 JAPAN FILM FESTIVAL OF SAN FRANCISCO
PARTNERS WITH J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL
TO PRESENT AN EXCITING LINE-UP OF ANIME FEATURE
FILM PREMIERES AT NEW PEOPLE CINEMA

The First-Ever Dedicated Japanese Film Festival For The S.F. Bay Area
Opens In Late July At NEW PEOPLE Cinema Featuring Exciting Premieres
Of Hunter X Hunter, Naruto Shippuden, Resident Evil: Damnation, Tiger & Bunny,
And Director Mamoru Hosoda’s Wolf Children

The 2013 J-POP Summit Festival, the popular annual San Francisco summertime Japanese Pop Culture celebration, has just announced an exciting anime program to complement the launch of the Japan Film Festival of San Francisco, the first dedicated annual Japanese film festival for Northern California and the S.F. Bay Area.

The week-long series of film screenings also includes 9 acclaimed live-action titles and will take place at the NEW PEOPLE Cinema beginning Saturday July 27th and running through Sunday August 4th.

The Japan Film Festival of San Francisco’s slate of anime premieres and exclusive screenings at the NEW PEOPLE Cinema will include Wolf Children, the poignant new drama from director Mamoru Hosoda, the U.S. premiere of the fantasy adventure, Hunter X Hunter: Phantom Rouge, wild ninja hijinks in Naruto Shippuden The Movie: The Lost Tower, heavy weapons CGI action in Resident Evil: Damnation, and a special encore presentation of the superhero-inspired fun of Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning. All films (except Resident Evil: Damnation) will be presented with original Japanese dialogue with English subtitles.

Tickets are $13.00 per film unless otherwise indicated. NEW PEOPLE Cinema is located at 1746 Post St. (cross street is Webster St.) in the heart of San Francisco’s Japantown. A complete schedule and advance ticket information are available on www.jffsf.org.

The Japan Film Festival of San Francisco is presented in conjunction with the 2013 J-POP Summit, taking place Saturday July 27th and Sunday July 28th across the city’s historic Japantown district to celebrate the phenomenon of Japanese pop culture with a colorful array of live bands and artists, panel discussions, film premieres, edgy fashion shows and DJ dance events, celebrity appearances and more. The J-POP Summit Festival is hosted and organized by NEW PEOPLE in cooperation with the Japantown Merchants Association. In 2012, the two-day event attracted nearly 65,000 attendees. More information is available at www.J-POP.com.

Japan Film Festival of San Francisco Anime Program:

HUNTER X HUNTER: PHANTOM ROUGE - U.S. PREMIERE
Saturday, August 3rd, 11:00am
Hunter X Hunter: Phantom Rouge is based on the mega-hit manga series by Yoshihiro Togashi, which has sold over 60 million copies worldwide. The new film reveals the early life of main characters Clapica and Gon. Once there was a small tribe of people called Cluta that lived in a lush and beautiful forest. One day, bandits known as the Phantom Brigade attacked and massacred the entire population except one. Their objective was the eyes that belong to the Cluta people, which turn scarlet with excitement. Known as the Eyes of Rouge, the color is considered one of the seven most exquisite hues in the world. The sole survivor was a boy named Clapica and he vows to avenge his people and becomes a Hunter.

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN THE MOVIE: THE LOST TOWER - U.S. PREMIERE
Saturday, July 28th, 1:30pm
The Rogue Ninja Mukade is about to be caught by Naruto's team when he summons forth the power of the LeyLine - an ancient underground channel of chakra. Naruto gets caught up in the chakra and is sent back in time to the city of Loran, known for its thousand towers. There he encounters the future Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, on a top-secret mission, and the Queen of Loran, Sarah, whose rule is threatened by Mukade. Will Naruto be able to return to his own time, and can a chance encounter in the past save the future?

RESIDENT EVIL: DAMNATION - U.S. PREMIERE
Sunday, July 28th, 3:50pm
Resident Evil: Damnation is the sequel to Resident Evil: Degeneration, a feature-length computer-animated horror film based on the popular game developed by Capcom. The story revolves around biological weapons used in a European war zone and sees the return of Leon S. Kennedy as the protagonist. The film was released as a digital download on Xbox Live, Zune and PlayStation Network in 2012 and comes to the big screen for the first time in the U.S.! (*Note: this screening is NOT a 3D presentation; film will be presented with dubbed English dialogue)

TIGER & BUNNY: THE BEGINNING – Special Encore Presentation
Friday, August 2nd, 4:00pm
The hero-inspired big screen action of the smash hit anime property – Tiger & Bunny – is coming to the Bay Area! The city of Sternbild is protected by corporate superheroes known as NEXT, who fight crime while promoting their sponsors on the popular show “HERO TV.” Veteran hero Wild Tiger relies on his years of experience and instincts to fight crime, but his tendency to destroy public property for the sake of protecting the lives of the innocent has earned him the nickname “Crusher for Justice.” Now, under orders from his new employer, Wild Tiger finds himself forced to team up with Barnaby Brooks Jr., a rookie with an attitude. Will the two unlikely new partners find a way to work together?

WOLF CHILDREN – S.F. PREMIERE
Sunday, July 28th, 11:00am & Sunday, August 4th, 6:15pm
From Mamoru Hosoda, the visionary and award-winning creator of the acclaimed anime films, Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, comes a beautiful tale of love and triumph. In this touching new drama, 19 year-old Hana falls in love with a wolf-man and, over the years, becomes the mother of two half-wolf/ half human children. Ame, born on a rainy day and Yuki, born in the snowy winter, must move with their mother to a rural town to hide the secret of their mysterious lineage.

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 entertaining events. Info about NEW PEOPLE Cinema is available at www.newpeoplecinema.com.

About J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL
The J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL is an annual Japanese Pop Culture celebration that features live bands and artists from Japan, pop culture panel discussions, film premieres, fashion and DJ dance events, and celebrity appearances. The Festival is hosted by NEW PEOPLE in cooperation with the Japantown Merchants Association. In 2012, the two-day event attracted 65,000 attendees. More information about the J-POP Summit Festival is available at J-POP.com.

ACF 1907: Happy 90th Birthday wishes to Seijun Suzuki!

Screenshot of Seijun Suzuki being interviewed in Tokyo
for the Criterion DVD release of Story of a Prostitute
(C) The Criterion Collection 2005

Seijun Suzuki was born in Tokyo, on May 24, 1923. Though best known in the U.S. as a film director, Suzuki has also worked as a television director and as an actor.

After serving in the Japanese army during World War II, Suzuki worked as an assistant director at several studios. He began working at Nikkatsu Studios in 1954 and directed his first film in 1958. From then through 1966 he directed three to four films each year. After Branded to Kill (his fortieth film, released in 1967), Hori Kyusaku, president of Nikkatsu Studios at the time, fired Suzuki, claiming he made incomprehensible movies that didn't make any money. These difficulties basically arose because of Suzuki's boredom with the same B-movie genre material he was assigned. He sought new ways to make the material interesting.

Suzuki filed suit and a lengthy legal battle ensued. It was ultimately settled out of court. Although he received less compensation than he sought, Suzuki did obtain an apology from Hori. Still he went through a lengthy period during which he was blacklisted by the film studios and had to work in television. In the late '70's, he was again able to make films. His Zigeunerweisen (1980) won 17 awards and was nominated for 6 others.

Suzuki as an actor. here in Milocrorze: A Love Story (2011)

For me the greatest recognition of his work is the inclusion of a great many of his films in The Criterion Collection. These include Youth of the Beast (1963), Story of a Prostitute (1965), Tokyo Drifter (1966), Branded to Kill (1967). Some of his other films, including Underworld Beauty (1958), Kanto Wanderer (1963), Tattooed Life (1965), and the aforementioned Zigeunerweisen are available from other distributors.

So, huge AsianCineFest thanks to Suzuki for producing a fabulous body of fascinating works, and best wishes for a "Happy 90th Birthday!"

Seijun Suzuki at IMDb

Seijun Suzuki at Wikipedia

Thursday, May 23, 2013

ACF 1906: NOBLE V: GREYLANCER now available from Haikasoru Imprint

NOBLE V: GREYLANCER cover art (C) 2013 Vincent Chong
 VIZ MEDIA’S HAIKASORU IMPRINT DELIVERS
THE LATEST NOVEL IN THE VAMPIRE HUNTER D SAGA
WITH THE RELEASE OF NOBLE V: GREYLANCER

Witness The Beginning of The Three Thousand Year War Of Vampire Hunter D
In This Exciting Novel By Famed Horror/Sci-fi Author Hideyuki Kikuchi

VIZ Media’s Haikasoru literary imprint delivers a bloodthirsty new chapter of the legendary Vampire Hunter D saga with the North American release of NOBLE V: GREYLANCER, now available in stores. The new fantasy novel by Hideyuki Kikuchi, carries an MSRP of $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN. The release also includes a bonus novelette titled, "An Irreplaceable Existence.” An eBook edition is also available for the Amazon Kindle, Apple’s iBooks Store, and the Barnes & Noble’s Nook Books Store.

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.

Internationally acclaimed writer, Hideyuki Kikuchi, author and creator of the famed novel series, Vampire Hunter D, delves into the past with his latest addition, NOBLE V: GREYLANCER, It is the year 7000 by Noble reckoning, and the vampire rulers of the world have grown complacent. When the Outer Space Beings (OSBs) invade, the Noble warrior Greylancer must pit his skills and magic against the technology of the OSBs, quash an anti-Noble rebellion, and, when he is critically injured, turn to mere humans for help. The Three Thousand Year War of Vampire Hunter D begins here!

“Hideyuki Kikuchi is one of Japan's top horror and science fiction authors in the proud tradition of Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber, H.P. Lovecraft, and Stephen King. His Vampire Hunter D setting has been attracting fans in the U.S. for more than twenty years,” says Nick Mamatas, Haikasoru’s editor. “NOBLE V: GREYLANCER reveals the mysterious history of the Nobility and follows the exploits of the powerful Noble warrior Greylancer as pushes his own immortality to the limit. Kikuchi is an ardent fan of many classic horror tropes, and his new novel exquisitely combines the danger and violence of traditional literary vampires with the nobility and dark attraction of modern vampire iconography.”

Hideyuki Kikuchi was born in 1949 in Chiba, Japan and, inspired by the work of writers such as H. P. Lovecraft, began writing supernatural fiction in the early 1980s. His first novel, Demon City Shinjuku, debuted in 1982. Horror films, most notably 1958’s The Horror of Dracula, had a tremendous impact on Kikuchi and inspired him to create the legendary Vampire Hunter D series, which has spawned more than 17 novels and a host of novellas and related short stories. One of the world’s most prolific authors, Kikuchi has published over three hundred books and still produces multiple novels per year. He has enjoyed tremendous international success as a novelist and much of his work has been also been adapted into manga and anime, including Vampire Hunter D. Wicked City, A Wind Named Amnesia, and Dark Wars: The Tale of Meiji Dracula.

For more information on NOBLE V: GREYLANCER and the Haikasoru imprint, please visit the dedicated website at www.haikasoru.com.

ACF 1905: Sentai Filmworks acquires THIS BOY CAUGHT A MERMAN


Sentai Filmworks has announced their newest acquisition: This Boy Caught a Merman. From rising star Soubi Yamamoto, creator of This Boy Can Fight Aliens, and the innovative CoMix Wave Films studios comes a tail of a different color. Sometimes finding the right person is like searching for a single drop in the entire ocean.

This Boy Caught a Merman will be available soon through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow on bilingual DVD & BD later this year.

Synopsis: They say look before you leap and make sure you can swim before you go in the deep water, but when a picture of his late grandfather falls into the ocean, Shima jumps in after it without thinking. Nearly drowning as a result, he is instead saved by a very perfect stranger… one whose strangeness extends to only being human from the waist up! For Shima, who’s always felt like a fish out of water himself, it’s more than just a revelation, and the young man and merman quickly begin to bond in ways neither anticipated.

And yet, it’s going to be far from easy sailing. After all, Shima and Isaki aren’t just from opposite sides of the tracks, they’re from entirely divergent species, and swimming in separate gene pools may make maintaining a long term relationship a whole different kettle of fish! Will they be like ships passing in the night, or will they be willing to take the ultimate plunge and answer the siren call? Things are going to get wet and wild as Shima and Isaki make a huge splash in This Boy Caught a Merman.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

ACF 1904: First Annual JAPAN FILM FESTIVAL coming to 2013 J-POP Summit Festival

 The 2013 J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF
THE FIRST ANNUAL JAPAN FILM FESTIVAL OF SAN FRANCISCO
AT NEW PEOPLE CINEMA

Exclusive Premieres Include Dreams For Sale, Himuzu, Lesson Of The Evil,
Library Wars, Platinum Data, Space Battleship Yamato And More
At First-Ever NorCal/Bay Area Dedicated Japanese Film Celebration

Festival Will Welcome Library Wars Director Shinsuke Sato As Guest of Honor

Exciting news for San Francisco area fans of Japanese cinema about what promises to be an exciting new annual film festival:

The 2013 J-POP Summit Festival, the popular yearly San Francisco summertime Japanese Pop Culture celebration, has announced the launch of the Japan Film Festival of San Francisco, the first fully-dedicated annual Japanese film event for Northern California and the S.F. Bay Area.

The week-long Japan Film Festival of San Francisco will take place at the NEW PEOPLE Cinema beginning Saturday, July 27th through Sunday August 4th. The festival will also be a prominent feature of the 2013 J-POP Summit Festival, taking place across Japantown on Saturday and Sunday, July 27th and 28th. A complete schedule and advance ticket information is available on www.jffsf.org.

Tickets are $13.00 per film unless otherwise indicated. NEW PEOPLE Cinema is located at 1746 Post St. (cross street is Webster St.) in the heart of San Francisco’s Japantown.

Nine live-action films representing a vivid cross-section of the best in recent Japanese cinema will have their exclusive U.S. and/or San Francisco premiere at NEW PEOPLE. The Japan Film Festival of San Francisco will complement this press release in coming days with a subsequent announcement detailing an exciting slate of anime feature films also set to receive their U.S. and/or San Francisco premieres.

Live-action films include director Miwa Nishikawa’s Dreams for Sale, Sakuran director Mika Ninagawa's Helter Skelter, Sion Sono's award-winning masterpiece, Himizu, architect/author Kyohei Sakaguchi’s documentary, How To Build a Mobile House, director Takashi Miike’s Lesson of The Evil, director Shinsuke Sato’s Library Wars, actor Kazunari Ninomiya’s Platinum Data, the samurai adventure of Rurouni Kenshin, and Space Battleship Yamato, based on one of Japan’s greatest anime properties (known in the U.S. as Star Blazers) and a must-see for any sci-fi aficionado. Films will be presented with their original Japanese dialogue with English subtitles.

The Japan Film Festival of San Francisco is also honored to welcome Director Shinsuke Sato, who is also known for his 2011 blockbuster, GANTZ, for a special in-person appearance for the exclusive U.S. premiere of his newest film, Library Wars. Sato will participate in a special Q&A session with the NEW PEOPLE Cinema audience and also appear as a Guest of Honor during the 2013 J-POP Summit Festival.

The Japan Film Festival of San Francisco is presented in conjunction with the 2013 J-POP Summit, taking place Saturday July 27th and Sunday July 28th across the city’s historic Japantown district to celebrate the phenomenon of Japanese pop culture with a colorful array of live bands and artists, panel discussions, film premieres, edgy fashion shows and DJ dance events, celebrity appearances and more. The J-POP Summit Festival is hosted and organized by NEW PEOPLE in cooperation with the Japantown Merchants Association. In 2012, the two-day event attracted nearly 65,000 attendees. More information is available at www.J-POP.com.

Japan Film Festival of San Francisco Live-Action Program:

DREAMS FOR SALE - S.F. PREMIERE!!!
Saturday, July 27th, 7:00pm
Written and directed by Miwa Nishikawa, who’s SWAY and Dear Doctor were screened at numerous film festivals around the world, Dreams for Sale is a richly evocative drama about a couple that lose everything in a fire and attempt to make a fresh start by swindling others. Wife Satoko (Takako Matsu) and her husband Kanya (Sadawo Abe) run a small eatery in a corner of Tokyo, but on the 5th anniversary of its opening, a fire erupts in the kitchen and burns the place to a cinder. In desperate need of cash, Satoko and Kanya embark on a hilarious and heartwarming marriage scam in an attempt to put their lives back on track.

HELTER SKELTER - S.F. PREMIERE!!!
Saturday, August 3rd, 4:20pm
Sakuran director Mika Ninagawa's live-action adaptation of the eponymous shojo manga by Kyoko Okazaki utilizes brilliantly colored visuals to depict the descent of an outwardly perfect but inwardly unstable star that reigns over the entertainment world. Top model Liliko (Erika Sawajiri) captivates the public with her beauty that is the envy of all who look upon her. However, her appearance has been entirely engineered through plastic surgery. Complications arise from the numerous operations and begin to eat away at Liliko both physically and psychologically, sending her into a downward spiral.

HIMIZU - S.F. PREMIERE!!!
Sunday, August 4th, 1:10pm
Sion Sono's award-winning masterpiece is based on Minoru Furuya's manga "Himizu,” named for a species of a Japanese mole. Set after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, all 14-year-old Yuichi Sumida (Shota Sometani) wants is to live a decent life. But his environment keeps dragging him into the mud. Keiko Chazawa (Fumi Nikaido), a classmate of Yuichi, harbors a severe crush on him and sticks around despite being berated by him. One day, the yakuza comes by Yuichi's home and tells him to pay off his father's debt. Yuichi already heartbroken by his mother's abandonment and abuse from his father nears a tipping point. A string of incidents occurs that brings Yuichi's world to a screeching halt. Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

HOW TO BUILD A MOBILE HOUSE - U.S. PREMIERE!!!
Saturday, July 27th, 1:30pm
With the appearance of the famous "Zero Yen" architect, Kyohei Sakaguchi, the documentary, How to Build a Mobile House, makes its U.S. premiere in his favorite city, San Francisco! Screening attendees will also be invited to his free workshop to build a Mobile Green House with him during the J-POP Summit Festival. Kyohei's numerous books include "Tokyo Zero Yen House, Zero Yen Life,” inspired by the exuberant creativity of street dwellers. This documentary delves into the roots of dwelling, and living, through the unique activities of this architect who "does not build." Sakaguchi, who devised a nest-like abode that fits the size of the human body, apprentices himself to a Tama River Robinson Crusoe who actually lives on a riverbed. The film depicts the completion of a mobile house for only $260.00 in materials.

LESSON OF THE EVIL - U.S. PREMIERE!!!
Saturday, July 27th, 4:20pm & Tuesday, July 30th, 7:00pm
Directed by Takashi Miike, Lesson of the Evil is a twisted psycho thriller based on a bestseller novel by Yusuke Kishi. Hasumi is a popular teacher among students at Shinko Academy, a private high school, and well respected by the faculty and the PTA. However, a student named Reika feels something menacing lurking beneath his shining reputation. While Hasumi brilliantly solves one problem after another, from a teacher-student sexual harassment to group cheating to bulling, he starts to take control of the school. As the problems go away, Reika becomes uneasy about the way they are solved. Tsurii, an unpopular teacher in the school, despises the popular Hasumi and starts investigating Hasumi's past and discovers that Hasumi is a real psycho.

LIBRARY WARS - U.S. PREMIERE!!!
Friday, August 2nd, 7:00pm & Saturday, August 3rd, 1:10pm
** Featuring special in-person appearance by Director Shinsuke Sato **
Library Wars is based on the bestselling novel and manga series by Hiro Arikawa. Set in the year 2019 in Japan, a new law is passed to crack down on free expression, which allows for the government to create an armed force to find and destroy objectionable printed material. Meanwhile, to oppose this oppressive crackdown, the Library Force is created. The Library Force includes instructor Atsushi Dojo (Junichi Okada) and Iku Kasahara (Nana Eikura), who work to protect the libraries. A fierce battle soon ensues between these two groups.

PLATNUM DATA - U.S. PREMIERE!!!
Thursday, August 1st, 7:00pm & Saturday, August 3rd, 7:00pm
J-Pop artist Kazunari Ninomiya (Gantz, Oscar –nominated for Letters from Iwo Jima), stars in Platinum Data, the biggest film to be released n Japan in 2013 and directed by Keishi Ohtomo (Rurouni Kenshin). Ryuheo Kagura (Kazunari Ninomiya) is an exceptional scientist working at the National Police Agency's Special Analysis Research Institute. After solving series of complex criminal cases, he is assigned to investigate the murders of several people connected to the newly developed DNA forensics. Yet, when the faint trace of evidence left at the scene is analyzed through the DNA forensic system, it identifies himself as the offender. With no such memory, he decides to flee and the pursuer becomes the pursued. Is Kagura guilty or innocent? Should he trust in science, or in himself? Does he represent hope for humanity or despair? Platinum Data holds the key…

RUROUNI KENSHIN - S.F. PREMIERE!!!
Sunday, July 28th, 6:30pm & Thursday, August 1st, 4:00pm
A new live-action film adaptation of creator Nobuhiro Watsuki 's samurai manga that has sold over 57 million copies, been translated in 23 countries, and also inspired a popular animated series. Rurouni Kenshin follows the adventures of a slight and mild-mannered young man who was once an assassin working for anti-Shogunate forces but vows to abandon killing following Meiji revolution in Japan, and devotes his sword-wielding talents to helping others.

SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO – WEST COAST PREMIERE!!!
Sunday, August 4th, 3:20pm
A stunning live-action adaptation of the famed space opera originally created by Leiji Matsumoto that laid the foundation for the entire Japanese science fiction anime genre. A brave young crew journeys into space on a fateful trip to save the human race as it teeters on the brink of extinction. Five years have passed since the alien Gamilas first began assaulting Earth with radiation bombs in 2194. Most of the human race is now gone. Susumu Kodai (Takuya Kimura) joins other survivors of the Earth Defense Force in the mighty Space Battleship Yamato in search of a device that can restore the devastated planet. Although director Takashi Yamazaki first gained prominence with his heartwarming film, Always: Sunset on Third Street, his background is in science fiction and his talents for VFX shine in this acclaimed film based on one of Japan’s greatest sci-fi properties.

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 entertaining events. Learn more about NEW PEOPLE Cinema at www.newpeoplecinema.com.

About J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL The J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL is an annual Japanese Pop Culture celebration that features live bands and artists from Japan, pop culture panel discussions, film premieres, fashion and DJ dance events, and celebrity appearances. The Festival is hosted by NEW PEOPLE in cooperation with the Japantown Merchants Association. In 2012, the two-day event attracted 65,000 attendees. More information about the J-POP Summit Festival is available at J-POP.com.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

ACF 1902: VIZ acquires North American license for anime series "K"

 VIZ MEDIA SECURES THE NORTH AMERICAN
MASTER LICENSEE RIGHTS FOR ANIME SERIES “K”

Kinetic Anime Action Series About A Psychic War Between Seven Kings
To Be Fully Developed For The North American Market

VIZ Media continues to expand its range of anime offerings for 2013 as it announces that it has become the North American master licensee for the anime series – K.

VIZ Media will manage the domestic home video, television rights, and online rights and distribution, as well as oversee the licensing and development of a range of new products and collectables based on the property.

K was developed and produced by GoHands, the Japanese studio that also created the cyberpunk anime film series, Mardock Scramble and the enigmatic writers’ collective GoRA Project. The highly detailed look of K’s production and its intriguing story have made it of keen interest among legions of domestic fans ever since VIZ Media first debuted the series on its VIZAnime online streaming service back in October 2012 – on the same day it launched on Japanese TV.

K is set in a world where history has taken a slightly different course from the one we’re familiar with and follows the story of a young boy whose life is caught in a supernatural war between seven kings. Yashiro Isana, also known as Shiro, is wanted for a crime he has no recollection of committing. He finds himself being hunted by the groups HOMRA, led by Mikoto Suoh, “The Red King,” and SCEPTER 4, led by Reisi Munakata, “The Blue King.” While on the run, another young man named Kuroh Yatogami helps him. Will this fated encounter change Shiro’s life forever?

“K has garnered a fast-growing and fervent North American fan base and we are extremely excited to represent this property across all domestic categories,” says Daisuke Aoki, Vice President, Animation Licensing. “VIZ Media has an unsurpassed track record of successfully developing anime properties for the North American market and we look forward to partnering with a variety of top manufacturers, agents and other businesses to make K a most-loved series among fans.”

For more information on VIZ Media anime properties, visit www.viz.com/anime.

Monday, May 20, 2013

ACF 1901: POKEMON Manga Debuts in the United Kingdom & Ireland

© 2011 Pokémon. 
© 1995-2011 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. 
TM and ® and character names are trademarks of Nintendo. 
POCKET MONSTER SPECIAL © 1997 Hidenori KUSAKA, Satoshi YAMAMOTO/SHOGAKUKAN
VIZ MEDIA DEBUTS THE FUN AND ADVENTURE OF POKÉMON MANGA
IN THE UNITED KINGDOM AND IRELAND

VIZ Kids Launches Popular Series, Including POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE
 POKÉMON ADVENTURES: DIAMOND AND PEARL/PLATINUM And
POKÉMON ADVENTURES: HEARTGOLD AND SOUL SILVER,
In The Important British And Irish Markets

VIZ Media brings the fun and adventure of the popular POKÉMON manga (graphic novel) franchise to the United Kingdom and Ireland for the first time. Simon & Schuster U.K. is the official distributor of VIZ Media titles in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Several POKÉMON manga series are scheduled for release under the company’s VIZ Kids imprint and kicks off with the U.K. debut of POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE, now available. The series is rated ‘A’ for All Ages and will carry an RRP of £3.99. VIZ Media plans to follow this title with the debut of POKÉMON ADVENTURES: DIAMOND AND PEARL/PLATINUM on June 6th and will launch the POKÉMON ADVENTURES: HEARTGOLD AND SOULSILVER series later this Autumn.

POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE introduces readers to Pokémon Trainers Black and White! His entire life, Trainer Black has dreamed of winning the Pokémon League! Now he embarks on a journey to explore the Unova region and fill a Pokédex for Professor Juniper. Trainer White runs a thriving talent agency for performing Pokémon. She dreams of making her Tepig, Gigi, into a star! Together, Black and White continue on their journey...What surprising new Pokémon – and people – will they meet next?!

The POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE manga series was written by Hidenori Kusaka, with artwork by Satoshi Yamamoto, and was inspired by the Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version video games. Pokémon is one of the most successful video game franchises of all time, having sold more than 236 million games worldwide to date.

© 2011 Pokémon. 
© 1995-2011 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. 
TM and ® and character names are trademarks of Nintendo. 
POCKET MONSTER SPECIAL © 1997 Hidenori KUSAKA, Satoshi YAMAMOTO/SHOGAKUKAN

“POKÉMON is a property that is universally loved by millions of readers of all ages around the world, and the forthcoming U.K. and Ireland launch of popular story arcs like POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: DIAMOND AND PEARL/PLATINUM, and POKÉMON ADVENTURES: HEARTGOLD AND SOULSILVER will bring the fun and exciting adventures of Pokémon manga to an awaiting audience in Britain and Ireland,” says Kevin Hamric, VIZ Media Director of Publishing, Sales and Marketing. “VIZ Media is committed to bringing more manga titles to the U.K. and Irish markets, and we look forward to announcing additional new releases in the very near future!”

For more information on VIZ Media titles available in the United Kingdom, visit http://www.VIZMedia.co.uk.

Friday, May 17, 2013

ACF 1900: Kim Ki-Duk's award-winning PIETA opens in NY and LA today; national release to follow

Drafthouse Films
presents
Pieta
Written and directed by Kim Ki-Duk
South Korea, 2012, 104 minutes

Kim Ki-duk's Pieta will open theatrically in New York, Los Angeles and ten other U.S. cities on May 17th, with an additional eight cities to be added in the following weeks. For a complete list of cities and opening dates, click here. (The film has been available On Demand and at iTunes since April 12th.)

Pieta is set in Cheonggyecheon, once a thriving area for South Korea's industrial development that is now in decline. (It is also the area near which director KIM grew up.) Kang-do (LEE Jung-jin) is a collector for a loan shark, an enforcer who is barely human and who leads a solitary existence. One would not be too far afield in thinking of him as a Korean counterpart to Anton Chigurth, the character played by Javier Bardem in the Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men.

LEE Jung-jin as Kang-do

When debtors can't pay back their loans, he is remorseless in either forcing them to maim themselves or in doing it himself, because they have been made to take out insurance policies payable to the loan shark as a hedge against defaulting. Thus, unlike the Chigurth character, Kang-do doesn't kill people, he just forces them to disable themselves. In fact, he resents it when a desperate individual does himself in because it makes it complicates the process of collecting the insurance money. Kang-do justifies his actions by describing the debtors as "irresponsible" because they have borrowed money but can't repay their loans.

One day a mysterious woman named Mi-sun (played by veteran actress CHO Min-soo), enters his life, saying she is his mother and that she regrets having abandoned him when he was an infant. Kang-do intially discredits her claim, but comes to believe that she is indeed his mother. Humanity begins to enter his being, and he increasingly finds that he can no longer do his job.

CHO Min-soo as Mi-sun

The film is shot in muted earth tones and shades of grey, as befits its gritty realism. On the other hand, I personally found that it works best as an allegory about two things: the illusion that having money will lead to happiness and the importance of family. For when all is said and done, Pieta may be about nothing so much as the lengths to which a mother will go out of love for her son.

With Pieta, which won the Golden Lion award at the 2012 Venice Film Festival, KIM Ki-duk has again produced a masterful work, one of incredible emotional power. It relentlessly confronts issues of exploitation, revenge, regret, and atonement. Most definitely a must see.

ACF Rating: 4 out of 4 stars; outstanding, exceptional.

ACF 1899: New yaoi manga series BLUE MORNING from SuBlime

Yuuutsu na Asa Volume 1 © Shoko Kidaka 2009
 GLOBAL YAOI MANGA PUBLISHER SuBLime
LAUNCHES THE NEW SERIES BLUE MORNING 

Courtly Intrigue Between A Noble Family’s Capable Butler
And His Young Charge Offers A Tender Story Of The Conflict
Between What Duty Demands And What The Heart Desires

SuBLime, the global yaoi manga (graphic novel) publishing initiative between VIZ Media and Japan’s Animate, Ltd. (Animate), delivers an intriguing new series about aristocratic drama and the intricate relationship between the loyal butler of a noble family and a young heir he is duty-bounty to look after in the print debut of BLUE MORNING, by creator Shoko Hidaka. The new manga (graphic novel) series launched on May 14th, is rated M’ for Mature Audiences, and will carry an MSRP of $12.99 U.S. / $14.99 CAN.

At only ten years of age, Akihito Kuze suddenly inherits the Kuze viscountship after his father’s death. The family's capable butler, Tomoyuki Katsuragi, takes over the task of raising the boy, serving as his tutor and mentor. However, the handsome and intelligent Katsuragi, well respected even among the aristocracy, remains cool towards his charge. Akihito finds himself relentlessly drawn to Katsuragi, frustrated by the distance between them and driven to discover the reasons why.

“Young Akihito Kuze is destined for nobility, but he first must learn to navigate and grapple with what his butler Katsuragi and society want in a person of high position and what Akihito wants for himself,” says Jennifer LeBlanc, Editor, SuBLime. “As Akihito stands on the brink of manhood, he realizes he is in love. Fans won’t want to miss the tender drama of BLUE MORNING about the conflicts between what duty demands and what the heart desires!”

Yaoi manga creator Shoko Hidaka’s previously published English-language releases include Restart and Not Enough Time. Her works have also been published in French and German.

For up-to-date news and release information, visit the SuBLime website at www.SuBLimeManga.com, or follow SuBLime on Twitter at @SuBLimeManga and Facebook at facebook.com/SuBLimeManga.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

ACF 1898: Section23 Films announces August 2013 slate of releases



Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its August slate of releases, including the newest acquisition from acclaimed filmmaker Makoto Shinkai, The Garden of Words, which will be available on both DVD and Blu-Ray.
 
Product details follow, in order of release

Title:                 THE GARDEN OF WORDS
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         45 min.
Street Date:      8/6/2013
Format:             DVD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $24.98

SYNOPSIS:  When Takao, a young high school student who dreams of becoming a shoe designer, decides to skip school one day in favor of sketching in a rainy garden, he has no idea how much his life will change when he encounters Yukino.  Older, but perhaps not as much wiser, she seems adrift in the world.  Despite the difference in their ages, they strike up an unusual relationship that unexpectedly continues and evolves, without planning, with random meetings that always occur in the same garden on each rainy day.  But the rainy season is coming to a close, and there are so many things still left unsaid and undone between them.  Will there be time left for Takao to put his feelings into actions and words?  Between the raindrops, between the calms in the storm, what will blossom in THE GARDEN OF WORDS?


Title:                 THE GARDEN OF WORDS BLU-RAY
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         45 min.
Street Date:      8/6/2013
Format:             BD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $34.98

SYNOPSIS:  When Takao, a young high school student who dreams of becoming a shoe designer, decides to skip school one day in favor of sketching in a rainy garden, he has no idea how much his life will change when he encounters Yukino.  Older, but perhaps not as much wiser, she seems adrift in the world.  Despite the difference in their ages, they strike up an unusual relationship that unexpectedly continues and evolves, without planning, with random meetings that always occur in the same garden on each rainy day.  But the rainy season is coming to a close, and there are so many things still left unsaid and undone between them.  Will there be time left for Takao to put his feelings into actions and words?  Between the raindrops, between the calms in the storm, what will blossom in THE GARDEN OF WORDS?


Title:                 SHINING HEARTS COMPLETE
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         300 min.
Street Date:      8/13/2013
Format:             DVD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Over the years, many strange things have washed up on the shores of Windaria, a mysterious island where humans, elves and other beings all live in harmony.  Rick, a former swordsman who runs the Le Coeur Bakery with his three beautiful coworkers Neris, Amil and Airy, knows this all too well, having been found on the beach with a profound case of amnesia himself.  Perhaps that's why Rick takes a quick interest in Kaguya, a girl who arrives in Windaria in a similar fashion.  Whatever the reason, it soon becomes apparent that his skills with a sword may be required to protect the lovely castaway.  For dark forces are on the move, the red moon is on the rise and a deathly wind is blowing into Windaria in the form of pirates, brigands and other strangers, all of whom seem to be seeking Kaguya!  Or is it the mysterious pendant that she wears that they're after?  The one thing that's sure is that there will be no time for loafing around the bakery now, because everything's about to come out of the oven and go into the fire in SHINING HEARTS!


Title:                 SHINING HEARTS COMPLETE BLU-RAY
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         300 min.
Street Date:      8/13/2013
Format:             BD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $69.98

SYNOPSIS: Over the years, many strange things have washed up on the shores of Windaria, a mysterious island where humans, elves and other beings all live in harmony.  Rick, a former swordsman who runs the Le Coeur Bakery with his three beautiful coworkers Neris, Amil and Airy, knows this all too well, having been found on the beach with a profound case of amnesia himself.  Perhaps that's why Rick takes a quick interest in Kaguya, a girl who arrives in Windaria in a similar fashion.  Whatever the reason, it soon becomes apparent that his skills with a sword may be required to protect the lovely castaway.  For dark forces are on the move, the red moon is on the rise and a deathly wind is blowing into Windaria in the form of pirates, brigands and other strangers, all of whom seem to be seeking Kaguya!  Or is it the mysterious pendant that she wears that they're after?  The one thing that's sure is that there will be no time for loafing around the bakery now, because everything's about to come out of the oven and go into the fire in SHINING HEARTS!


Title:                 NEW DOMINION: TANK POLICE COMPLETE
Published by:    Maiden Japan
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         180 min.
Street Date:      8/20/2013
Format:             DVD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $29.98

SYNOPSIS: When tanks are outlawed, only outlaws will have tanks.  Or at least, that's what Mayor Weatherby of New Port seems to be forgetting in his efforts to ban certain forms of weapons, including those used by tank-driving policewoman Leona Ozaki and her partner Al.  Granted, the city's Tank Police DO seem to cause a lot of collateral damage, but New Port's a dangerous place.  Especially with the felonious and partially feline Puma sisters back on the prowl, and the Dai Nippon Geiken Corporation is building even more nefarious devices of evil intent that are finding their way into the hands of local terrorists.  Unfortunately for DNGC, they may be connected to the murder of Leona's former partner, and once this hard-headed heroine sinks her treads into a case, there's no backing up!  And as for the Pumas?  It's going to be like cats and police dogs, but there are few problems that a little carefully applied mobile artillery can't cure!  There's no place to hide, from the good guys OR the bad guys, as law and order meets chaos theory in NEW DOMINION TANK POLICE!


Title:                 TSURITAMA COMPLETE
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         300 min.
Street Date:      8/20/2013
Format:             DVD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $59.98

SYNOPSIS: When Yuki Sanada ends up living in Enoshima with his grandmother, it's just one more in a long line of transfers to a new school and new friends.  Except Yuki doesn't make friends easily, so he's used to making do without any.  All that's about to change, however, when the other new transfer student arrives in class - complete with a rod and reel - and announces that he's an alien.  Now as he learns to fine art of fishing, Yuki finds himself drawn into a friendship with Haru the alien, moody Natsuki the Fishing Prince, and the mysterious Akira with his pet duck, Tapioca.  But there's something sinister afoot in Enoshima, and more than Yuki's new found friendships is at stake.  If Yuki can't make the catch of the day, the whole of Japan, and perhaps the world itself, will be caught in an alien net.  Get ready for the biggest fish tale ever in tsuritama!


Title:                 TSURITAMA COMPLETE BLU-RAY
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         300 min.
Street Date:      8/20/2013
Format:             BD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $69.98

SYNOPSIS: When Yuki Sanada ends up living in Enoshima with his grandmother, it's just one more in a long line of transfers to a new school and new friends.  Except Yuki doesn't make friends easily, so he's used to making do without any.  All that's about to change, however, when the other new transfer student arrives in class - complete with a rod and reel - and announces that he's an alien.  Now as he learns to fine art of fishing, Yuki finds himself drawn into a friendship with Haru the alien, moody Natsuki the Fishing Prince, and the mysterious Akira with his pet duck, Tapioca.  But there's something sinister afoot in Enoshima, and more than Yuki's new found friendships is at stake.  If Yuki can't make the catch of the day, the whole of Japan, and perhaps the world itself, will be caught in an alien net.  Get ready for the biggest fish tale ever in tsuritama!


Title:                 MEDAKA BOX COMPLETE
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         300 min.
Street Date:      8/27/2013
Format:             DVD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $59.98

SYNOPSIS: When newly elected Student Council President Medaka Kurokami instituted her idea for a suggestion box where people can suggest problems that need to be solved, she was expecting things like rescuing lost puppies and giving advice.  What she and her best friend Zenkichi find instead, however, are the first hints of an unbelievable secret and their school, Hakoniwa Academy, and Medaka herself, are somehow at the very center of the growing maelstrom!  As what seemed like an innocent past time turns into a dangerous game, Medaka and her recruits to the Student Council discover new depths to both themselves and their own unexpected abilities.  And then things get REALLY out of control!  Get ready for a battle royal unlike anything you've ever seen before as the simple power of suggestion unlocks the secrets of MEDAKA BOX!


Title:                 MEDAKA BOX COMPLETE BLU-RAY
Published by:    Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by:  Section23 Films
Run Time:         300 min.
Street Date:      8/27/2013
Format:             BD
Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP:                $69.98

SYNOPSIS: When newly elected Student Council President Medaka Kurokami instituted her idea for a suggestion box where people can suggest problems that need to be solved, she was expecting things like rescuing lost puppies and giving advice.  What she and her best friend Zenkichi find instead, however, are the first hints of an unbelievable secret and their school, Hakoniwa Academy, and Medaka herself, are somehow at the very center of the growing maelstrom!  As what seemed like an innocent past time turns into a dangerous game, Medaka and her recruits to the Student Council discover new depths to both themselves and their own unexpected abilities.  And then things get REALLY out of control!  Get ready for a battle royal unlike anything you've ever seen before as the simple power of suggestion unlocks the secrets of MEDAKA BOX!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

ACF 1897: VIZ Media debuts SUNNY, a new manga from Taiyo Matsumoto

SUNNY © 2011 Taiyou MATSUMOTO/SHOGAKUKAN
VIZ MEDIA DEBUTS SUNNY, A NEW MASTERWORK
FROM ACCLAIMED MANGA CREATOR TAIYO MATSUMOTO

Eisner Award-Winning Creator Offers A Poignant Story
Of Beating The Odds In Ways That Count

VIZ Media debuts a touching new work by award winning manga creator, Taiyo Matsumoto, with the release of SUNNY Volume 1 on May 21st. The new hardcover release will be published under the VIZ Signature imprint, is rated ‘T’ for Teens, and will carry an MSRP of $22.99 U.S. / $26.99 CAN. SUNNY will also be available on the same day digitally for $9.99 U.S. / CAN from the VIZ Manga App and at VIZManga.com.

Translated by noted visual effects artist and Tekkonkinkreet film producer Michael Arias (The Abyss, Princess Mononoke, The Animatrix), SUNNY is the story of beating the odds, in the ways that count. It’s the brand-new masterwork from Eisner Award-winner Taiyo Matsumoto, one of Japan’s most innovative and acclaimed manga artists.

“Taiyo Matsumoto delivers an emotional, and at times bittersweet, story about a diverse group of kids that live at a Japanese orphanage,” says Leyla Aker, Vice President, Publishing. “They find solace in Sunny, a dilapidated old Nissan car that sits abandoned in the garden of the orphanage. It’s off-limits to adults but becomes something of a clubhouse for the kids and a way for them to escape their everyday lives. It’s been said that Matsumoto’s genius is his ability to portray both the essential truths and fleeting moments of transcendence in life. His latest work, SUNNY, reaffirms his status as one of the world’s greatest manga creators.”

Taiyo Matsumoto has won extensive international critical acclaim for his rough and often-unflinching depictions of disaffected youth drawn in an unconventional and surrealist art style he developed after a visit to France and exposure to artists like Moebius. His manga works, including GOGO MONSTER, BLUE SPRING and NO. 5 (all published by VIZ Media), offer a unique art style that reflects both Japanese and European influences. His TEKKONKINKREET: BLACK & WHITE (also available from VIZ Media) won the 2008 Eisner Comic Industry Award for the Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Japan, and was also adapted into an anime feature film. Another of Matsumoto’s manga works, PING PONG, was made into an award-winning live action film.

For more information on SUNNY or other manga titles from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.