With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Saturday, May 31, 2014

2014 New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) complete lineup announced

Andy Lau, center, in Firestorm 3D (2013)

The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Subway Cinema in association with Japan Society has announced the full lineup for the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), which will take place June 27 – July 14. The festival of popular Asian cinema will showcase 60 feature films, including 1 major international premiere, 20 North American premieres, 6 U.S. premieres, and 11 more films making their New York City debuts. The festival will be attended by over 20 star filmmakers and celebrity guests traveling from Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

The complete announcement with film descriptions and details is available here.

NYAFF’s Opening Night presentation will be the International Premiere of Overheard 3, the highly anticipated finale to the immensely popular Hong Kong franchise. A stand-alone story of loyalty and morality that Sergio Leone might have made had he been working in Hong Kong, graced with a star-studded cast, and geared with heart-busting action, the ultimate episode in the epic saga, after tackling insider trading and stock market manipulation, sees writers-directors Alan Mak and Felix Chong—the creators of the Infernal Affairs trilogy—turning to real estate conspiracies in the Hong Kong New Territories.

The Closing Film will be Park Chan-kyung’s Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits, a cinematic feast for the mind and the senses, a thought-provoking mystical journey into the psyche of Korea and its modern history through the life story of Korea’s most famous living shaman, Kim Keum-hwa. Both the story of Kim—who was born in 1931 and became a shaman at 17—and significant moments of modern Korea are chronicled through rare archival footage, performances of shamanistic gut rituals, dramatic reenactment of real stories (actress Moon So-ri portrays Kim in the 1970s), and even animation and fantasy sequences.

Umin Boya’s baseball epic Kano was previously announced as NYAFF’s Centerpiece Presentation. Produced and co-written by Taiwan’s hit maker director Wei Te-Sheng (Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale), it’s a triumph of Taiwanese cinema and one of the highest-grossing local films of all time.

Chapman To in 3D Naked Ambition (2014)

Other highlights include Lou Ye’s Berlinale Golden Bear contender Blind Massage, considered by many critics as his masterpiece, and Japanese director Kazuaki Kumakiri’s My Man, the quietly disturbing tale of two lost souls fatefully brought together by a natural disaster, and the only Japanese film competing at the 36th Moscow International Film Festival in June).

NYAFF will honor Jimmy Wong Yu with the 2014 Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award. Currently enjoying a bright Indian Summer in his long career, with juicy roles in Peter Chan’s Wu Xia (aka Dragon, 2011) and Chung Mong-hong’s art-house slasher Soul (2013), he has set the template for modern kung-fu movies with The Chinese Boxer (1970), and was instrumental in kicking off the swordfighting (wuxia) movie craze with his star-making performance in Chang Cheh’s The One Armed-Swordsman (1967).

Star Asia Award recipients will include Hong Kong’s award-winning Queen of Comedy and most bankable actress Sandra Ng, who has starred in over 100 movies (including the Golden Chicken trilogy), and Korea’s Sol Kyung-gu, an absolute powerhouse of an actor who has a career that spans both high art (Oasis) and mass-appeal blockbusters (Cold Eyes). The inaugural The Celebrity Award will be presented to Park Joong-hoon, who’s been Korea’s top leading man since the 1980s (Lee Myung-se’s Nowhere to Hide), and who has made an impressive transition to directing with Top Star (2013).

Fumi Nikaido will be the first Screen International Rising Star Award honoree. At 20 years old, she is already a full-fledged actress whose career has enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent years, and who has shown incredible talent and range in various films ranging from Sion Sono’s Himizu and Why Don’t You Play in Hell? to Koji Fukada’s summer-at-the-beach drama Au revoir l’été, and the superbly disturbing My Man by Kazuyoshi Kumakiri.

Scene from The White Storm (2013)

NYAFF will also feature three focus programs for this 13th edition of the festival of popular Asian cinema: Hong Kong Forever!, Korean Actor in Focus: Lee Jung-jae, and Sir Run Run Shaw Tribute. These three programs, along with the main selection, highlight the film legacy of East Asia, and its current, crucial role in today’s ever-changing world of film, one that can’t (and shouldn’t) be shelved in the dusty corner conveniently and dismissively known as “world cinema.” At a time when many major film festivals are more Eurocentric and West-dominated than ever, NYAFF aims every year to show that the life of cinema is out there.

HONG KONG FOREVER!
For Hong Kong cinema in 2013 and 2014, it’s all been about the renewed confidence and energy of the local film productions, and a return to the uniquely Hong Kong–focused stories. The tide started to turn with Pang Ho-cheung’s 2012 comedy about filmmaking, Vulgaria (Opening Film of NYAFF 2013). It became one of the highest grossing Hong Kong films of 2012, as Pang made Hong Kong audiences feel important again by producing a film filled with local humor for a homegrown audience. Critical and commercial successes continued for Hong Kong films throughout 2013 and local films even returned to the top of the Lunar New Year box office in 2014, led by outrageous comedy Golden Chickensss. So this year, we’re celebrating this restored strength of Hong Kong films with: 3D Naked Ambition, Aberdeen, As the Light Goes Out, Control, Firestorm, From Vegas to Macau, Golden Chicken, Golden Chickensss, May We Chat, Mr. Vampire, Overheard 3, Portland Street Blues, Rigor Mortis, and The White Storm.
Presented with the support of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New York.

KOREAN ACTOR IN FOCUS: LEE JUNG-JAE
Discovered while working at a café in the trendy Seoul neighborhood of Apgujeong, Lee Jung-jae began his career as a model. He made the transition to television in 1993 with Dinosaur Teacher and became a star almost overnight. He gained his first film role in 1994 in The Young Man but that same year the TV drama Feelings cemented Lee as a household name. Lee was a heartthrob and went on to appear in several more dramas before a starring role in E J-yong’s 1998 romantic drama An Affair turned him into a full-fledged movie star. Recently he has had a string of hits with films like the international crime caper The Thieves, the political gangster film New World, and the Joseon-era courtroom drama The Face Reader—the latest two films in particular have demonstrated Lee’s maturation as a character actor, where he has delivered some of his best dramatic performances to date. This focus will include The Face Reader, New World, and Il Mare.
Presented with the support of Korean Cultural Service in New York.

SIR RUN RUN SHAW TRIBUTE
The legendary media mogul Sir Run Run Shaw (1907-2014) will forever be remembered for his instrumental role in revolutionizing the Chinese film industry by co-founding the famous Shaw Brothers (HK) Ltd in 1958, building Asia’s largest film studio in Clearwater Bay (completed in 1964), and along with Raymond Chow, creating a mass production system with in-house talent—including directors Li Han-hsiang, King Hu, Chang Cheh, Lau Kar-leung, Chor Yuen, Kuei Chih-hung, and stars like Jimmy Wang Yu (Jimmy Wong), Gordon Liu, and Ti Lung. While the studio delivered more than 1,000 films over the years, in a wide range of genres, it was best known internationally for its martial-arts cinema. Our tribute will include the following films: The One-Armed Swordsman (1967), The Chinese Boxer (1970), The Delinquent (1974), The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974), Killers on Wheels (1976), Killer Constable (1980), and Seeding of a Ghost (1983).
Presented with the support of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New York and Celestial Pictures.

Opening Night After-Party
NYAFF 2014, in collaboration with Flaskingtree Marketing Group (flaskingtree.com), will host the official Opening Night After-Party on June 27, 2014, 8:00pm-1:00am, at the Empire Rooftop Bar & Lounge. Located across the street from the Lincoln Center, at the Empire Hotel, the After-Party will be co-hosted by celebrity DJ Whoo Kid.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Three Godzilla films from Kraken

It's been a very busy spring for Godzilla.

At the end of April, Rialto Pictures' Godzilla: The Japanese Original opened in New York City. Starting in May it began rolling out in other cities in the U.S. and will continue to do so into this coming August.

On May 16th Gareth Edwards new version of Godzilla opened. It was so successful that a sequel was promptly given the go-ahead.

And early in May, Kraken Releasing published, and Section23 Films distributed, three Godzilla films. The widescreen (2.35:1 aspect ratio) films are available separately on either Blu-ray or DVD, with an SRP  of $14.98 for Blu-rays and $9.98 for DVDs. Each single-disc edition offers two soundtracks: both the English dubbed and the original Japanese version with English subtitles. Extras are limited to each film's Japanese trailer.

The three films, in chronological order of original release, are:

Ebirah™, Horror of the Deep
Directed by Jun Fukuda
Japan, 1966, 88 minutes
 
Ebirah™, Horror of the Deep was originally released in the U.S. in 1968 under the title Godzilla® Vs. The Sea Monster!. Godzilla® and another of Toho’s most popular kaiju, the giant moth Mothra™are paired against a wide variety of adversaries. These include the sea monster of the title, giant birds and a mysterious terrorist organization. Eiji Tsuburaya served as director of special effects.

Godzilla® vs.Hedorah™
Directed by Yoshimitsu Banno
Japan, 1971, 86 minutes 

Godzilla® vs.Hedorah™, released theatrically in the U.S in 1972 as Godzilla® vs. the Smog Monster, pits Godzilla® against the forces of pollution in the form of Hedorah, a constantly mutating, acid-spewing behemoth from outer spaceThe film boasts eye-popping 1970’s “mod” costumes, hairstyles and psychedelic visuals that include conventional cel animation alongside the special effects by Teruyoshi Nakano. Godzilla® vs. Hedoarh™ ecologically focused take on the world’s greatest monster is easily one of the most unique films in the series.

Godzilla® vs. Gigan™
Directed by Jun Fukuda
Japan, 1972, 90 minutes

1972’s Godzilla® vs. Gigan™ ups the giant monster ante once with a series of tag team battles featuring four classic kaiju.   Released theatrically in the United States in 1977 as Godzilla® on Monster Island and again directed by Jun Fukuda with special effects by Teruyoshi Nakano, the film unites Godzilla® and spiny ally Anguirus™ against two of the series’ most popular opponents: the three headed monster King Ghidorah™ and the new alien cyborg Gigan™.

All three of these films are what I call "kiddie-Godzilla" movies. By this I mean that by the time these films were released, Toho had transformed the Big G into a child-friendly monster who's on the side of humanity.

So if you have kids, or the kid in you loves giant Japanese monsters, or if you're a total Godzilla-phile, each and every one of these films will be welcome additions to your collection. Especially at the very affordable prices they're offered at.

About Kraken Releasing:
Kraken Releasing is a new international video distribution label specializing in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror genre entertainment for mainstream audiences. Together with sister labels MAIDEN JAPAN (TOKYO MAGNITUDE 8.0, PAT LABOR, ROYAL SPACE FORCE) and SWITCHBLADE PICTURES (BIG BAD MAMA-SAN, ATTACK GIRLS SWIM TEAM VS. THE UNDEAD) Kraken’s goal is "to bring the best filmed entertainment from around the world to our customers."

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Special promos of action/adventure manga HUNTER X HUNTER

HUNTERxHUNTER © POT (Yoshihiro Togashi) 2012
VIZ MEDIA MARKS THE RETURN OF SMASH HIT
ACTION/ADVENTURE MANGA HUNTER X HUNTER
WITH SPECIAL PRINT AND DIGITAL PROMOTION

Long-Running Fantasy Adventure Returns With Brand New Chapters
In WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP On June 2nd; Fans Can Dive
Into The Entire Series With Special Promo Pricing

VIZ Media celebrates the return this summer of HUNTER X HUNTER with a special digital and print sale on all volumes of the hit action/adventure series. Brand new chapters of creator Yoshihiro Togashi's long-running manga (graphic novel) are set to debut in the Japanese edition of Weekly Shonen Jump magazine on Monday, June 2nd and will also appear the same day in the North American digital counterpart published by VIZ Media and available at: http://shonenjump.viz.com.

For a limited time, from May 26th thru June 9th, HUNTER X HUNTER (rated ‘T+ for Teens) Volumes 1-32 on the VIZManga.com platform will be $2.00 off their regular MSRP ($6.99), making all volumes available for only $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) each. The sale price will be available through VIZManga.com and the VIZ Manga app for iOS and Android, and special pricing may be available through the digital partners storefronts for Nook, Kindle, GooglePlay, iBooks and Kobo.

In addition, manga fans can also catch print editions of HUNTER X HUNTER at 40% off their regular MSRP ($9.99 USD) when ordered through the Barnes & Noble web site at: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/manga/379003481.

In the HUNTER X HUNTER manga series, 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.

VIZ Media publishes the long-running HUNTER X HUNTER manga series in-print and digitally and recently released the latest edition – Volume 32. Future dedicated print and digital volumes of the series will be published twice a year. VIZ Media is also the home media distributor of the HUNTER X HUNTER anime series on DVD.

HUNTER X HUNTER manga creator Yoshihiro Togashi's manga career began in 1986, at the age of 20, when he won the coveted Osamu Tezuka Award for new manga artists. He debuted in the Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 1989 with the romantic comedy Tende Shawaru Cupid. From 1990 to 1994 he wrote and drew the hit manga series, YU YU HAKUSHO (also published by VIZ Media, rated ‘T’ for Teens), which was followed by the dark comedy science-fiction series, Level E, and the adventure series, HUNTER X HUNTER. In 1999 he married the manga artist Naoko Takeuchi.

Readers can enjoy HUNTER X HUNTER and scores of other acclaimed manga titles available on VIZManga.com and the VIZ MANGA App for the iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, and Android-powered smart phones and 7” tablets. Titles may also be purchased through the Nook, Kindle, Kobo, iBooks and GooglePlay stores. These dynamic platforms offer fans the opportunity to explore and enjoy a massive catalog of new and classic manga titles that spans more than 2,000 volumes across nearly 200 different series.

WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP is VIZ Media’s renowned weekly digital serial anthology that features the synchronized latest chapters of a variety of popular manga series debuting on the same day as the Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump magazine counterpart. Subscribers can access issues via VIZManga.com, the VIZ Manga App, or with the Apple iPad Newsstand App. Exclusive 1 Year Memberships are available for only $25.99 and include 48 weekly digital issues as well as special premiums including 4 Yu-Gi-Oh! Collectable Trading Cards, rare one-shot manga releases, digital-only promotions, and access to additional subscriber-only content including creator interviews and insightful promo videos.

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

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

VIZ Media acquires DORAEMON merchandise rights in the Americas

SHOGAKUKAN-SHUEISHA PRODUCTIONS GRANTS
MERCHANDISE RIGHTS FOR BELOVED DORAEMON
FRANCHISE TO VIZ MEDIA FOR AMERICAS REGION

Beloved Cat-Type Robot From The Future Will Debut
In English This Summer On Disney XD Channel

Tokyo, Japan, May 28, 2014 – Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions (ShoPro) has announced an agreement with their subsidiary, VIZ Media, for DORAEMON merchandise rights for the Americas. VIZ Media will become the North & Latin American master merchandise licensee for the celebrated anime property, overseeing the licensing and development of a range of new products in all categories.

Currently, DORAEMON may be found in North America through digital manga via Amazon Kindle, as well as game apps for mobile devices. A MEET! DORAEMON exhibit was also held earlier this year at the Bernice Pauhi Bishop Museum in Honolulu, HI.

The DORAEMON anime series is set to premiere in English this summer on the Disney XD channel. Dubbed English episodes will be seen for the first time in North America.

DORAEMON is one of the most beloved character properties worldwide and started as a manga (graphic novel) series created by Fujiko F. Fujio in 1970. It later became a popular anime series in Japan and product franchise that continues to be smash hit worldwide, especially in Asia. The comedy series depicts the adventures of Doraemon, a blue cat-type robot from the 22nd century traveling back in time to help a boy named Noby using various secret gadgets that comes from his Four-Dimensional Pocket. Episodes often offer simple lessons to young viewers about honesty, cooperation, courage, and respect.

DORAEMON marks its 45th Anniversary in 2015 and continues to be a major worldwide franchise with over $500 million in annual global retail sales and over 600 active licensees. Over 140 million copies of the manga have been published, and DORAEMON also holds the largest box office attendance record in Japan of any movie franchise, toppling Godzilla, with 34 feature films released to-date and over 100 million tickets sold last year alone. The property’s first 3D feature film, Stand By Me Doraemon, is set for release in Japan in August. The Doraemon character is also Tokyo’s bid to act as its Special Ambassador for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Additional information on DORAEMON and other titles and properties available can be found at: http://www.viz.com/.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

EASTERN BANDITS available today on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital

Well Go USA
presents
Eastern Bandits / Pi fu
Directed by Shu-peng Yang
China, 2012, 107 minutes

Eastern Bandits is an action/drama set in China in the 1930s, It debuts on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital today, Tuesday, May 27th, from Well Go USA Entertainment.

Gao (Zhang Yi) is a resistance fighter against the Japanese occupiers of China. After a failed mission in Taiping, in which he was the only survivor, he is captured by a gang of bandits led by Fang Youwang ((Huang Xiaoming), who operate out of a vast underground labyrinth. Fortunately, Fang's sister Jen (Zhang Xinyi) falls for Gao, thereby saving his life and ultimately enabling him to enlist the gang in a a mission to capture or assassinate a Japanese prince who is coming to visit the nearby base of the Japanese expeditionary army.

The film uses a bookend structure. It begins with the mission against the Japanese prince in progress, then the bulk of it is devoted to telling the story of how things came to that point. The film then returns to its beginning and plays things out to their conclusion.

The film may have played well to Mainland Chinese audiences, where strong anti-Japanese feelings from the occupation during the 1930s and '40s linger and are fanned by the Communist leadership. One can well imagine the positive feelings engendered when one of the bandits, facing imminent death, screams out "To Hell with Japs!"

Unfortunately, the film suffers from some significant weaknesses:

-- There's such preposterous nonsense as a character chewing off three of his fingers to obtain the release of three captives.

-- A prisoner is freed from his cell on the second floor of the jail where he's held by his compatriots pulling out the window bars. The next thing, he's just riding away. The scene calls for showing how he gets down from this height, but that would have involved some thinking that the filmmakers weren't prepared to engage in, or maybe they just didn't have the time, money or talent for a decent stunt.

-- Similarly, the bandits dig a tunnel from their hideout to the Japanese military base, but there's nothing to indicate that they were anywhere near close enough to accomplish such a feat. It's just what's done because that's what the story needs at that point.

-- And there's the inconsistency of the bandits acknowledging at a certain point that they can't enter the base a certain way, then they somehow and someway enter it exactly that way, totally abandoning their stated plan with no explanation.

As far as the "action" of the film goes, I have to say that I found it rather limited and only so-so in execution.

On the other hand, I will admit that some of the comic elements do come across, which is typically no mean feat when it comes to Chinese humor. The comedy may not be hysterical, but what's intended to be funny pretty much does come across as such.

The only soundtrack  on the disc is the original Mandarin; easy-to-read English subtitles are available.

"Extra" features are limited to the trailer for the film and for some other Well Go USA offerings.

AsianCineFest Rating: 2 out of 4 stars, mediocre. Eastern Bandits is not bad or terrible, but it really doesn't have much good going for it either. Call it fair-to-middling.

Monday, May 26, 2014

BATTLE ROYALE: ANGELS’ BORDER manga coming June 17th from VIZ

© 2012 KOUSHUN TAKAMI / MIOKO OHNISHI / YOUHEI OGUMA / AKITASHOTEN 
 THE KILL OR BE KILLED SAGA OF BATTLE ROYALE
CONTINUES AS VIZ MEDIA RELEASES NEW MANGA
ONE-SHOT BATTLE ROYALE: ANGELS’ BORDER

Creator Of Original BATTLE ROYALE Novel
Koushun Takami Returns With The Graphic
Full Story Of The Girls In The Lighthouse

VIZ Media has announced the release on June 17th of BATTLE ROYALE: ANGELS’ BORDER, a new one-shot manga (graphic novel) written by Koushun Takami, author of the original BATTLE ROYALE novel.

BATTLE ROYALE: ANGELS’ BORDER debuts in print from the VIZ Signature imprint, is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens, and will carry an MSRP of $12.99 U.S. / $14.99 CAN. The new single-volume release reveals for the first time in graphic novel form the full story and grisly demise of the girls in the lighthouse that was so memorably featured in the original BATTLE ROYALE book and live-action film. BATTLE ROYALE: ANGELS’ BORDER features artwork by Mioko Ohnishi and Youhei Oguma.

A digital version will also launch for $8.99 (USD/CAN) on June 17th on VIZManga.com and through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones, as well as through the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks and GooglePlay stores.

Author Koushun Takami’s notorious literary thriller, BATTLE ROYALE, possessed an irresistible premise: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan – where it then proceeded to become a runaway best seller – Battle Royale has become a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world.

In BATTLE ROYALE: ANGELS’ BORDER, most of the students from Shiroiwa Junior High scatter as soon as they reach the remote island where they must participate in the latest round of the Program. But Yukie Utsumi and five of her friends lock themselves in the lighthouse, clinging to a desperate hope of survival. They all trust each other, but they also know that only one can survive the Battle Royale…

“The infamous BATTLE ROYALE lighthouse scene depicted in the film and novel shocked and mesmerized audiences as the girls experienced their own microcosm of joy, love, betrayal and ultimately death,” says Pancha Diaz, Editor. “BATTLE ROYALE: ANGELS’ BORDER is author Koushun Takami’s first new work since the publication of his groundbreaking and controversial novel more than a decade ago. It notably expands the BATTLE ROYALE saga in a new way with the story of Yukie Utsumi and the other girls, whose distinct personalities and tragic nature of their deaths made such an indelible impression in the original story.”

Koushun Takami was born in 1969 in Amagasaki near Osaka. After graduating from Osaka University with a degree in literature, he worked for a newspaper company, Shikoku Shinbun, for five years, reporting on politics, police reports, and economics. He also attended Nihon University’s liberal arts correspondence-course program and acquired an English teaching certificate for junior high and high school.

BATTLE ROYALE was completed after Takami left the newspaper company and remains his only published novel. Upon its release in Japan in 1999, it received widespread notoriety and became an international bestseller and has been translated into more than ten languages. BATTLE ROYALE was also adapted into a manga comic and made into a feature film in 2000. The property continues to be a worldwide cult favorite among pop culture, literary, film, and manga circles.

VIZ Media recently marked the 15th Anniversary of BATTLE ROYALE’s original release with BATTLE ROYALE: REMASTERED (MSRP: $16.99 U.S. / $19.99 CAN). Published under its Haikasoru literary imprint, it features a brand new translation of the original novel along with new cover art by Tomer Hanuka and an afterword by author Koushun Takami. The BATTLE ROYALE SLAM BOOK (MSRP: $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN) is also available from Haikasoru and presents an insightful collection of essays by some of the most important writers of popular fiction on the impact of the novel, related films and manga series on pop culture and the controversy and continuing social debate that has surrounded BATTLE ROYALE ever since its release.

For more information on BATTLE ROYALE and the Haikasoru imprint, visit: www.haikasoru.com.

For more information on manga titles published by VIZ Media, visit: www.viz.com.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

New York Japan CineFest 2014 will be held June 12th at Asia Society NY

New York Japan CineFest 2014
When: Thursday, June 12, 2014 @ 6:30pm
Where: Asia Society,725 Park Ave, NYC
Co-presented by Asia Society and Mar Creation, Inc.

The third New York Japan CineFest will take place on June 12th and consist of six short films. Complete program info can be found here.

One of the films to be shown is Junk Head 1 which was named Best Animation at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival 2014.

Junk Head 1
Directed by Takahide Hori
Japan, 2014, 30 minutes
Animation

Description: After a conflict between humans and clones, the clones have been driven far below, to the lower levels of the city. Now, 1,200 years later, humans are sending a research pod down below to study the clones' habitat.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

SuBLime's Yaoi Manga Titles On Sale

AWKWARD SILENCE © 2006 Hinako Takanaga
 SPRING ROMANCE AND PASSIONS BLOOM AS SuBLime
 EXHIBITS AT FANIME AND ANNOUNCES A LIMITED-TIME
SALE ON ALL YAOI MANGA TITLES

Catch Special Digital Discounts On More Than 80 Acclaimed
Fan-Favorite Series And Single Volume Editions From
Premier Yaoi Manga Publisher SuBLime

SuBLime, the global yaoi manga publishing initiative between VIZ Media and Japan’s Animate, Ltd. (Animate), announces that it will be exhibiting at this weekend’s 2014 Fanime Convention, the largest anime convention and fan gathering in Northern California.

The 2014 Fanime Convention takes place May 23rd – 26th at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, CA. Complete details on Fanime are available http://www.fanime.com.

SuBLime will demo and sell its extensive library of acclaimed print yaoi manga (graphic novel) titles throughout the convention. The SuBLime booth will be located in Booth #1201. Yaoi fans are invited to stop by the booth to sample popular manga titles such as AWKWARD SILENCE, HIDE AND SEEK, CRIMSON SPELL and many more that are available in print and digitally from the SuBLime imprint. Fans can also sign up for the SuBLime newsletter and enter to win a Grand Prize package featuring digital and print editions of AWKWARD SILENCE – please visit SuBLime booth 1201 for more details.

As a special Spring treat for fans and readers, SuBLime will be celebrating with a sale offering $1.00 off ALL digital manga (graphic novel) titles currently featured on SuBLimeManga.com. The sale began yesterday, May 23rd and runs for a limited time only through Friday, May 30th.

Fans can take advantage of this weeklong discount on more than 80 acclaimed yaoi titles regularly priced between $1.99 and $7.99 (USD) that are available digitally in a flexible download-to-own format from the SuBLime web site. Selections are viewable as a PDF on any enabled eReader device or computer and can also be accessed via the online manga viewer found on the web site. In addition, all SuBLime print volumes will be on sale at retailer Right Stuf through May 29th. Readers can save at least 33% off all SuBLime titles, regularly priced at $12.99 and $16.99 (USD) – please visit RightStuf.com to view the full title list.

Explore a wide range of some top BL series and single-volume releases such as AWKWARD SILENCE, DEVIL’S HONEY, LOVE PISTOLS, OKU-SAN’S DAILY FANTASIES, THE SCENT OF APPLE BLOSSOMS, and scores more by some of the most celebrated creators in the yaoi genre. A complete roster of current manga titles is available at: http://www.sublimemanga.com/titles.

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

Sentai Filmworks announces acquisition of K-ON! SEASON 1


Grab your drumsticks, tuners and your trusty Giita and discover how the band got together in Sentai Filmworks' latest acquisition, K-ON! Season 1. From original creator Kakifly, this musical slice of life comedy is directed by Naoko Yamada (Tamako Market, CLANNAD: After Story) with chief animation direction by Yukiko Horiguchi (Lucky Star, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya), sound direction by Yota Tsuruoka (Beyond the Boundary, The Big O), and animation production by Kyoto Animation (Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!, Tamako Love Story).

Synopsis: Being late on the first day is exactly what you’d expect from Yui Hirasawa in her freshman year at Sakuragoaka Girl’s High School. The number of clubs fighting over her to join up is decidedly unexpected, and Yui has no clue which club to join: she’s not very athletic and knows next to nothing about the liberal arts, but she’s determined to do SOMETHING this year.

As luck would have it she discovers a flyer for the Light Music Club, and what she thinks will be a carefree ride down easy street suddenly gets turned up to 11 when she finds out that in order to join, she needs to actually learn to play an instrument!

With the energetic drummer Ritsu, extra shy bassist Mio, and piano prodigy Tsumugi, it’ll be easy to bring her skills up to speed before the Light Music Club gets the axe, but it may take a few licks to get these four new friends in sync and ready to rock! In this club the cakes, teas and high keys will make or break the band as Yui and her new friends play to their own beat in K-ON! Season 1.

K-ON! Season 1 will be available soon through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Friday, May 23, 2014

THE FATAL ENCOUNTER opens today in over 25 N. American theaters

CJ E&M America
presents
The Fatal Encounter / Yeok-rin
Directed by LEE Jae-kyoo
South Korea, 2014, 132 minutes

South Korean period film The Fatal Encounter is set to begin a limited run in over 25 North American theaters today, May 23rd. Check local listings to find out if it is playing in your area.

Hyun Bin as King Jeong-Jo

The film is set in 1777, when King Jeong-Jo (actor Hyun Bin, in his first film since completing mandatory military service) is in the second year of his reign. His father had been killed by the powerful Noron faction when he sided with their opposition. Jeong-Jo also is threatened with assassination. In fact he became nicknamed the King of misfortune because of the numerous attemps on his life.Those in opposition to him include Queen Jeongsun (Han Ji-min), the young widow of his grandfather (she actually appears to be roughly Jeong-Jo's age), and General Koo, who has the support of the vast majority of the military. Assisting them is Gwang-baek, a mysterious figure who kidnaps young children of both sexes and trains some of them to serve in the court as moles, others to be outright assassins.

Hanji-min as Queen Jeongsun, the young widow of the king's grandfather

The king's support comes mainly from three people. Duchess Hae-kung (Kim Sung-ryung), his mother, will do anything to protect and preserve her son. Hong (Seong-Woong Park) is the king's loyal Chief of Guards and wants to kill General Koo, a rash act that the king prohibits because he recognizes that it would be fatal for himself as well. Finally there is Sang-chaek (Jung Jae-young, Moss, Our Sunhi), a royal eunuch who is the king's favored clerk. 

 
Jung Jae-young as_Sang-chaek, a court eunuch and the king's trusted clerk

Intelligent and benevolent, King Jeong-Jo also lives in fear. He tends to isolate himself as much as possible by working alone and long into the night. But will all his precautions suffice or will they come to naught as the forces aligned against him, including the spies who long ago penetrated his court, prepare their attempt on his life in order to enthrone a more malleable prince as king?


The Fatal Encounter is yet another outstanding South Korean period film. It has done very well in its home country,where it topped the box office for the first and second weeks of its run, which began on April 30th.

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

Free screening of MY NO-MERCY HOME in NY next Tuesday, May 27th

Korean Cultural Service New York
presents
Korean Movie Night 2014
Series Three: Redefinition of Family
My No-Mercy Home / Go-ryeong-hwa-ga-jok
Directed by CHOI Mikyung (aka Aori)
South Korea, 2013, 77 minutes
When: Tuesday May 27, 2014 @ 7:00 pm
Doors open: 6:30 PM
Where: Tribeca Cinemas 54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal, NYC
Near the A, C, E @ #1 Canal Street subway stops
Admission: FREE!!!
North American Premiere!!!

Synopsis: In this dark, critically acclaimed documentary, director CHOI Mikyung (aka Aori) chronicles the tragic tale of Dolphin, a young woman who had been abused and ignored throughout her life, and is now willing to use film as a positive outlet to share her troubling tale. Sexually harassed by her father and rebuked by her family, Dolphin was forced to escape from her home in order to expose the awful truth of her past. Told through dramatic footage, reenactments, and eye-opening interviews, My No-Mercy Home is the upsetting but ultimately redemptive story of a woman whose family wasn’t there for her, and her journey to create a new, supportive family on her own.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Shout! Factory launches free BUSHIDO MAN digital web series

 SHOUT! FACTORY PREMIERES DIGITAL WEB
SERIES BUSHIDO MAN ON MONDAY, MAY 26

TO COINCIDE WITH THE UPCOMING HOME
ENTERTAINMENT RELEASE OFACTION-PACKED
FEATURE BUSHIDO MAN: SEVEN DEADLY BATTLES

In conjunction with the upcoming home entertainment release of BUSHIDO MAN: SEVEN DEADLY BATTLES, Shout! Factory is launching a digital web series BUSHIDO MAN to target online martial arts enthusiasts.  BUSHIDO MAN tells the thrilling story of a Japanese martial arts warrior and his seven epic battles against Japan’s most legendary fighters of various disciplines:  kung fu, stick, knife, sword, nunchaku, firearm, and special weapons. The 8 episode web series showcases each fight as well as the final battle.  Presented by Shout! Factory, the web series premieres Monday, May 26th, with a new episode running every Monday on shoutfactory.com and Shout! Factory's YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/shoutfactory).  BUSHIDO MAN: SEVEN DEADLY BATTLES arrives on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD on June 10, 2014.

The premiere episode, shown below, is also available at: http://youtu.be/1eSTxcsWdJ8


"The web series and the feature film tell the same story, but in the style that is conducive to the audience and the medium" says Gene Pao, VP of Digital Media at Shout! Factory.  "Whereas the feature film tells the story within the setting of a two-hour movie presentation, the web series is faster paced, and tells the story through a series of three to four minute segments.  The web series does not replace packaged media (DVD/Blu-ray); we believe that the two are complementary. The feature-length movie presentation provides additional context and allows the viewer to fully appreciate the story lines and themes of the film.  The web series is meant to highlight the action scenes and key parts of the film that can be enjoyed over and over.  Bushido Man presents a unique opportunity to experiment with storytelling on two very different types of media, and we believe that fans will enjoy both versions." 

Boasting a large cult following in Japan, Germany and a festival favorite at the 2013 Fantasia International Film Festival, the feature film BUSHIDO MAN: SEVEN DEADLY BATTLES is a wildly entertaining action comedy that combines hard-hitting martial arts fight sequences and visceral action with plenty of surprises. Incredibly choreographed fights encompassing seven different disciplines make this the action movie of choice for summer home viewing.  Writer/Director Takanori Tsujimoto (Red Tears and Hard Revenge, Milly: Bloody Battle) reteams with renowned action choreographer Kensuke Sonomura (Resident Evil: Degeneration) and martial arts expert/action star Mitsuki Koga for his best film to date.

In addition to the action sequences, BUSHIDO MAN: SEVEN DEADLY BATTLES peppers in mouth-watering interludes at assorted eateries, making the film a mini-travelogue for foodies with a fondness for fisticuffs. Toramaru’s (Koga) philosophy dictates that Gensai “know the enemy by eating his food” and each masterfully-choreographed fight is preceded by a helping of his adversary’s favorite dish. Writer/director Tsujimoto serves up a winner, seven times over! 

MILLENNIUM SNOW shojo manga series returns June 3rd from VIZ

Sennen no Yuki © Bisco Hatori 1998/HAKUSENSHA, Inc.
 VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE RETURN
OF THE HIT SHOJO MANGA SERIES
MILLENNIUM SNOW

Catch The Digital And Print Debut Of A Brand New Volume
From Creator Bisco Hatori’s Paranormal Romance Series;
New 2-In-1 Omnibus Manga Release For Earlier Volumes Also Debuts

VIZ Media invites manga (graphic novel) fans to mark to the much-awaited digital and print debut on June 3rd of a brand new volume from Bisco Hatori’s hit manga (graphic novel) series – MILLENNIUM SNOW – as well as the release on the same day of a new 2-in-1 omnibus print edition.

Volume 3 of the romance about a handsome young vampire and an ailing teenage girl will be published under the Shojo Beat imprint, is rated ‘T’ for Teens, and will carry a print MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. The new release marks the return of the critically acclaimed series after it had been put on hiatus by the creator and has never before been released in English.

A digital version of MILLENNIUM SNOW, Vol. 3 also will debut on June 3rd for $6.99 (USD/CAN) on VIZManga.com and through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones, as well as through the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks and GooglePlay stores. Volumes 1-2 of MILLENNIUM SNOW are available across multiple platforms from the extensive VIZ Media digitally catalog.

Sennen no Yuki © Bisco Hatori 1998/HAKUSENSHA, Inc.

Fans also can catch the two earlier volumes of MILLENNIUM SNOW with a new 2-in-1 omnibus print version that also releases on June 3rd and bundles Vols. 1-2 into a handy single edition. The 2-in-1 omnibus edition is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will carry an MSRP of $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN.

In Bisco Hatori’s acclaimed series, seventeen-year-old Chiyuki Matsuoka was born with heart problems, and her doctors say she won’t live to see the next snow. Toya is an 18-year-old vampire who hates blood and refuses to make the traditional partnership with a human, whose life-giving blood would keep them both alive for a thousand years.

“Manga fans internationally delighted in the news that Bisco Hatori was resuming work on MILLENNIUM SNOW and we’re very excited to celebrate the return of the landmark series in English after nearly 7 years,” says Pancha Diaz, Editor. “The new volume continues the winning mix of paranormal romantic drama and comedic fun between Chiyuki and Toya and more than a few surprising plots twists are in-store in the new release! Are they still destined to spend the millennium together?”

Bisco Hatori made her manga debut with Isshun kan no Romance (A Moment of Romance) in LaLa DX magazine. The comedy OURAN HUGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB (also published by VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat) was her breakout hit.

For more information on MILLENNIUM SNOW, or other popular shojo manga titles from VIZ Media, visit http://www.viz.com/manga/print/shojo-beat.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

THE RAID 2 will be available July 8th on BD, DVD, and Digital HD

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
presents
© 2014 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
THE RAID 2
Written & Directed By Gareth Huw Evans
Available July 8 on Blu-ray™, DVD & Digital HD
With More than 90 Minutes of Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes

Director Gareth Huw Evans reunites with star Iko Uwais for the sequel to their cult hit with the acclaimed, action-packed martial arts epic THE RAID 2, available on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD July 8 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. After fighting his way out of a building filled with gangsters and madmen, Rama (Uwais) thought he could return to his normal life. Instead, his success puts himself and his family in danger, forcing him to go undercover to bring down a nefarious and powerful criminal by befriending his son. THE RAID 2 also stars Yayan Ruhain, Arifin Putra, Oka Antara, Tio Pakusadewo, Julie Estelle, Ryuhei Matsuda, Kenichi Endo and Kazuki Kitamur.

The Blu-ray and DVD will include an English dub of the film as well as the original language version (Indonesian). The Blu-ray will also come loaded with extra content, allowing fans to immerse themselves in the making of the film, including more than 90 minutes of behind-the-scenes featurettes, as well as a deleted scene and filmmaker commentary. Gareth Huw Evans’ process of transitioning the story from the first film to the sequel is explored in the “The Next Chapter: Shooting a Sequel” featurette. In the “Cinefamily Foundation Q&A” featurette, Gareth Huw Evans, Iko Uwais and Joe Trapanese discuss the making the film. Exclusive to the Blu-ray is the “Gang War” deleted scene and two additional featurettes. Fans can take an inside look at the elaborate fight choreography in “Violent Ballet: Behind the Choreography,” and “Ready for a Fight: On Location” features the cast and crew on the challenges of filming in Indonesia.

Synopsis: Immediately following the events of THE RAID, Rama (Iko Uwais) is forced to reinvent himself as an undercover cop in order to provide protection for his wife and child. Working for the anti-corruption taskforce led by the one person he can trust, Bunawar (Cok Simbara), he is given a mission to engage himself as an enforcer for a local mob boss, Bangun (Tio Pakusodewo). Finding a way in through Bangun's son Uco (Arifin Putra), Rama must hunt for information linking Bangun with police force corruption. All the while, he harbors a dangerous and personal vendetta for revenge and justice that threatens to consume him- and bring both this mission and the organized crime syndicates crashing down.

The film is written and directed by Gareth Huw Evans and produced by Nate Bolotin, Ario Sagantoro and Aram Tertzakian. Executive producers include Rangga Maya Barack-Evans, Todd Brown, Irwan D. Mussry and Nick Spicer.

Blu-ray Exclusive Bonus Features Include:
- “Gang War” Deleted Scene
- Featurettes:
  - “Ready for a Fight: On Location”
  - “Violent Ballet: Behind the Choreography”

Blu-ray & DVD Bonus Features Include:
- English Dub in addition to the original language version of the film
- Director Commentary with Gareth Huw Evans
- Featurettes:
  - “The Next Chapter: Shooting a Sequel”
  - “Cinefamily Foundation Q&A with Gareth Huw Evans, Iko Uwais & Joe Trapanese”

THE RAID 2 has a run time of approximately 150 minutes and is rated R for sequences of strong bloody violence throughout, sexuality and language.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Special 2-disc, 4 film MARTIAL ARTS MOVIE MARATHON available today

SHOUT! FACTORY
presents
MARTIAL ARTS MOVIE MARATHON

Featuring Widescreen Presentations of
Four Action-Packed Martial Arts Movies

The MARTIAL ARTS MOVIE MARATHON is a 2-disc special collection of four Hong Kong martial arts action films from the mid-70s, two from 1974, two from 1975. It's available today from Shout! Factory with an S.R.P. of $19.97 and is available at Amazon for $17.97. At either price, it's an outstanding value and deserves a place in any martial arts fan's personal collection.

The collection features several of the biggest names in Honk Kong action films: actor and action choreographer Sammo Hung, credited as Hung Chin-Pao, in The Manchu Boxer and The Skyhawk; director John Woo, credited on The Dragon Tamers as Wu Yu-sheng, Angela Mao Ying in duel roles in The Association; and Kwan Tak-Hing in The Skyhawk, one of the last of his many dozen performances as Wong Fei Hung.

All four films were originally from Golden Harvest and produced by Raymond Chow. All are in widescreen ratios, no pan-and-scans here. Each offers the choice of a Mandarin or an English dubbed soundtrack. There are optional crisp, clear and easy-to-read yellow English subtitles. (One of the things I like to do occasionally, though admittedly not very often, is to watch the film with both the English dubbed soundtrack and English subtitles. It's interesting and sometimes fun to note the differences between the two.)

The video transfers are quite decent. There are some specks here and there and occasionally a thin white vertical line appears, but nothing to deter one's enjoyment of the films. The only special feature for each movie is its trailer.

Here's a brief rundown of the films:

The Skyhawk (1974) features an approximately 69-year-old Kwan Tak-Hing once again as Wong Fei Hung. Accompanied by his student Fei Fei (Sammo before he received the injury that gave him the scar above the right side of his lip) goes to Thailand to participate in the celebration of his brother's 60th birthday. Mr. Ku, a rival to Wong's brother, is involved with gambling, human trafficking, and opium smuggling. Confrontations ensue. Given his age, it's not surprising that Kwan is obviously doubled in the more acrobatic stunts. Still it's a real treat to see him "onscreen" doing his Wong Fei Hung thing.

In The Manchu Boxer (also 1974), a young man is expelled by his father after killing a man in self defense. H comes to a village where the nefarious Mr. Chin is holding a seven-province wide boxing tournament that he intends to win by any means necessary. His methods include using two Japanese henchmen, one of whom is played by Sammo, who is also credited as the film's Fight Instructor. There's rape, murder, a tiny bit of fleeting nudity and an ultimate coming to account for evil deeds.

The Dragon Tamers (1975) was the second feature film directed by John Woo, who also wrote the screenplay. Carter Huang, who is also in other films in the collection, portrays Fan Zhongjie, a Chinese Boxer. The film apparently is set in Korea, though what the University of West Beijing is doing there is anybody's guess. (I just chalked up the confusion to the original subtitling and went with the flow.) There's lots of contention between rival forces, namely because the head of one taekwondo school wants all the other schools to join an association that he heads. The film, according to the trailer, features "12 wonder girl [sic] from China, Japan, Korea." There's a smattering of nudity and lots of action.

The Association (also 1975) refers to The Love and Mercy Welfare Association, which is a front for what essentially is a high class whore house. Huang Tian-xing (Korean born actor Yu Byong) is a righteous policeman who insists on bring it down, despite its connections with the high and mighty, wealthy and powerful. Angela Mao Ying, as I've previously indicated, has dual roles. There's some decent action to be found here, as well as a great deal of female nudity. This was my least favorite of the four films, mainly because I found the ending weak and unsatisfying.

Rather than rate each of the films, I'm assigning an overall rating to the collection. None of the films are what I'd consider great, but they're all watchable at the minimum, and pretty damn enjoyable overall.

ACF Rating for the MARTIAL ARTS MOVIE MARATHON: 3.5 of 4 stars, highly recommended. You certainly get your money's worth with it!

Oh, and get ready for MARTIAL ARTS MOVIE MARATHON, Vol 2 which is due to be released by Shout! Factory on August 19, 2014. It will include The Fate of Lee Khan, Shaolin Boxers, The Young Dragons, and The Shaolin Plot. It can be pre-ordered at Amazon. Click here if interested.

Monday, May 19, 2014

VIZ acquires N. American rights to SAILOR MOON anime franchise

VIZ MEDIA ACQUIRES NORTH AMERICAN RIGHTS
FOR SAILOR MOON ANIME FRANCHISE

North America’s Leading Anime Distributor Gains Digital, Streaming
And Home Media Rights For Legendary Anime Free Streaming
Episodes Debut Today Exclusively On Neon Alley And Hulu!

VIZ Media has announced the acquisition of the SAILOR MOON anime franchise. VIZ Media’s North American rights cover digital streaming, EST (Electronic Sell Through) and all home media products in the U.S. and Canada. Tokyo-based Toei Animation Co., Ltd. is the producer and global licensor for the SAILOR MOON anime property.

As part of the new agreement, VIZ Media has licensed all 200 episodes of the original SAILOR MOON anime series (rated ‘TV-PG’), including the never before licensed for North America fifth and final climatic season, “Sailor Stars.” The three feature films and additional specials for the long-running show are also part of the acquisition. SAILOR MOON will be presented digitally for the first time, with subtitled EST sets available starting Summer 2014 and dubbed editions late 2014, and DVD and deluxe limited edition Blu-ray/DVD combo packs are planned for Fall 2014. The uncut and uncensored VIZ Media release of SAILOR MOON, featuring its original uncropped 4:3 aspect ratio, will also feature all original Japanese names, story elements and relationships, as well as an all-new, uncut English dub with a new voice cast.

VIZ Media will premiere SAILOR MOON Episodes 1-4 (subbed) today on its free NeonAlley.com anime streaming destination and also via the subscription-based Hulu Plus in High Definition. Two new SAILOR MOON episodes will premiere every Monday. Visit www.NeonAlley.com and Hulu.com/sailormoon for more information. The trailer, provided below, may also be viewed at http://www.hulu.com/watch/635233 and http://youtu.be/RWPyM9afQ-w. VIZ Media has also acquired the new SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL, and more details are forthcoming.


“We’re pleased to partner with VIZ Media to bring the beloved SAILOR MOON anime series back to North America,” says Masayuki Endo, General Manager, Toei Animation, Inc. “This fresh uncut and uncensored release of SAILOR MOON featuring the most accurate adaptation available will be just as creator Naoko Takeuchi intended. We look forward to fans current and new discovering and falling in love with this classic series all over again!”

“SAILOR MOON is one of the extremely rare breed of anime series truly deserving of the title of ‘Legendary’,” says Charlene Ingram, VIZ Media Senior Manager, Animation Marketing. “Since its initial debut in the mid-1990’s, SAILOR MOON has been unavailable to English-speaking fans for nearly a decade. It has also never seen a complete and proper unedited release in North America...until now!”

“SAILOR MOON was groundbreaking in the way its storyline and main characters resonated with both a male and female audience, and these aspects continue to attract a new generation of fans eager to see this iconic series,” says Brian Ige, VIZ Media Vice President of Animation. “We’re thrilled to be able to release this empowering action title uncut and in its entirety. We invite fans to catch the official premieres on Neon Alley and to enjoy the series on DVD and Blu-ray later this year!”

VIZ Media will be celebrating SAILOR MOON at the 2014 Anime Expo, taking place July 3rd–6th at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, CA. Now celebrating its 23nd consecutive year, Anime Expo is sponsored by the SPJA and is the nation’s largest anime convention. VIZ Media will host a variety of special activities and panels throughout “Sailor Moon Day,” on Saturday July 5th. More details forthcoming.

The smash hit SAILOR MOON anime series is inspired by the bestselling manga (graphic novel) series created by Naoko Takeuchi (published in North America by Kodansha). In the series, Usagi Tsukino is a clumsy but kindhearted teenage girl who transforms into the powerful guardian of love and justice, Sailor Moon. Meeting allies along the way who share similar fates, Usagi and her team of planetary Sailor Guardians fight to protect the universe from forces of evil and total annihilation.

Naoko Takeuchi was born on March 14. She is a Pisces and A blood type. In 1986 Takeuchi made her debut with the manga LOVE CALL. Her hits include Sailor Moon, Codename: Sailor V, and The Cherry Project.

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

Sunday, May 18, 2014

SERAPH OF THE END: VAMPIRE REIGN coming June 3rd from VIZ

OWARI NO SERAPH © 2012 by Takaya Kagami, Yamato Yamamoto, Daisuke Furuya /SHUEISHA Inc.
VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE
OF NEW SHONEN JUMP SERIES
SERAPH OF THE END: VAMPIRE REIGN

A Young Orphan Borrows Demonic Power to Battle
Bloodthirsty Vampires That Have Enslaved The Earth

VIZ Media delivers a new manga (graphic novel) title straight from the pages of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP as it announces the print and digital launch on June 3rd of the apocalyptic vampire series, SERAPH OF THE END.

The series, illustrated by Yamato Yamamoto with story by Takaya Kagami and storyboards by Daisuke Furuya, will be published under the Shonen Jump Advanced imprint, is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens, and will carry an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. The debut volume also features a fold-out full-color poster, as well as revealing author commentary. Future volumes of the continuing series are scheduled to be published domestically 3 times a year.

A digital version of SERAPH OF THE END: VAMPIRE REIGN will also launch on June 3rd for $6.99 (USD/CAN) on VIZManga.com and through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, and Android-powered smart phones. It will also be available through the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks and GooglePlay stores.

After trumpets of the apocalypse proclaim the fall of humanity, vampires arise from the shadows to rule the earth. Yuichiro wants just one thing – to get revenge by killing each and every vampire. Yuichiro’s dream is near-impossible, given that vampires are seven times stronger than humans, and the only way to kill them is by mastering Cursed Gear, advanced demon-possessed weaponry. Not to mention that humanity’s most elite Vampire Extermination Unit, the Moon Demon Company, wants nothing to do with Yuichiro unless he can prove he’s willing to work in a team – which is the last thing he wants.

The latest chapters of SERAPH OF THE END: VAMPIRE REIGN are also currently serialized in VIZ Media’s WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP digital manga anthology, alongside legendary series such as BLEACH, NARUTO and ONE PIECE.

“SERAPH OF THE END: VAMPIRE REIGN is a gripping story that depicts a stark future where a catastrophic epidemic has killed off every adult on Earth leaving behind a population of children that have been enslaved by murderous vampires,” says Hope Donovan, Editor. “The title has thrilled North American fans in WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and we’re very excited to release full volumes digitally and in print. We went all-out for this one, so don’t miss the debut of this new must-read series in June!”

SERAPH OF THE END: VAMPIRE REIGN illustrator Yamato Yamamoto is an artist and illustrator whose works include the Kure-nai manga and the light novels Kure-nai, 9S -Nine S- and Denpa Teki na Kanojo light novels. Both Denpa Teki na Kanojo and Kure-nai have been adapted into anime.

Takaya Kagami is a prolific light novelist whose works include the action and fantasy series The Legend of the Legendary Heroes, which has been adapted into manga, anime and a video game. His previous series A Dark Rabbit Has Seven Lives also spawned a manga and anime series.

SERAPH OF THE END: VAMPIRE REIGN writer Daisuke Furuya previously assisted Yamato Yamamoto with storyboards for Kure-nai.

For more information on SERAPH OF THE END, or other manga titles from VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

ALL YOU NEED IS KILL set for simultaneous digital release in North America and Japan on June 19th

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES SIMULTANEOUS DIGITAL
RELEASE WITH JAPAN OF TAKESHI OBATA’S
ALL YOU NEED IS KILL MANGA ON JUNE 19TH

Adaptation By DEATH NOTE Creator Of The Bestselling Sci-Fi Action
Novel That Inspired The Summer Blockbuster Edge Of Tomorrow
Also To Debut November 4th In Deluxe 2-In-1 Print Edition

VIZ Media offers time-loop sci-fi military action from one of the biggest names in manga with the debut of Takeshi Obata’s ALL YOU NEED IS KILL on Thursday June 19th, the same day it is available in Japan. The new manga will release digitally across all platforms serviced by VIZManga.com and the VIZ MANGA App, and will also be available on the storefronts for the Kindle, iBooks, GooglePlay, Kobo and Nook.

ALL YOU NEED IS KILL Volumes 1 & 2 are rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens and will each carry a digital MSRP of $6.99. VIZ Media plans to release a deluxe omnibus print volume on November 4th under its Shonen Jump Advanced imprint (MSRP U.S. $14.99 / CAN $16.99).

Takeshi Obata’s ALL YOU NEED IS KILL ran in VIZ Media’s WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP digital manga magazine earlier this year and is the stunning manga realization of the popular Japanese sci-fi novel, written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. In the rousing action story, when the alien Mimics invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor called a Jacket and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to be reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On his 158th iteration, he gets a message from a mysterious ally – the female soldier known as the Full Metal Bitch. Is she the key to Keiji's escape or his final death?

The bestselling ALL YOU NEED IS KILL novel also inspired a new live-action summer blockbuster – Edge of Tomorrow – starring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton that is scheduled to premiere in U.S. theatres on June 6th.

The original novel also was the launch title in 2009 for Haikasoru, VIZ Media’s unique literary imprint dedicated to publishing the most compelling contemporary Japanese science fiction and fantasy for English-speaking audiences. New York Times best-selling author John Scalzi declared ALL YOU NEED IS KILL to be a book that, "reads fast, kicks ass, and keeps on coming," and it has proven to be one of Haikasoru's most popular titles. VIZ Media has also published a special movie tie-in version of the ALL YOU NEED IS KILL/EDGE OF TOMORROW novel to support the release of the new live-action film.

“Takeshi Obata interprets this critically acclaimed novel in a new way with his manga treatment of ALL YOU NEED IS KILL, and we can’t wait for fans to discover the exciting new digital release in June, debuting just after the highly anticipated premiere of the Edge of Tomorrow film,” says Andy Nakatani, Editor. “The riveting characters and climactic action tale are depicted with Obata’s signature flair. Don’t miss this special new release from one of the most renowned creators of the manga genre!”

Manga artist Takeshi Obata was born in 1969 in Niigata, Japan, and is the artist of the wildly popular SHONEN JUMP title HIKARU NO GO (available from VIZ Media), which won the 2003 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize: Shinsei "New Hope" award and the 2000 Shogakukan Manga award. Obata is also the artist of the smash hit series, DEATH NOTE (also published by VIZ Media), as well as Arabian Majin Bokentan Lamp Lamp, Ayatsuri Sakon, Cyborg Jichan G. ALL YOU NEED IS KILL is his latest work following the hugely successful series BAKUMAN。 (also published by VIZ Media).

Readers are invited to catch the ALL YOU NEED IS KILL manga featured on VIZManga.com and the VIZ MANGA App for the iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones and 7” tablets, as well as on the Nook, Kindle, Kobo, iBooks and GooglePlay stores. With these dynamic platforms, fans can explore and enjoy a wide range of new and classic manga series that spans more than 2,100 volumes across more than 200 different series.

The free VIZ Manga App continues to be the top application for reading digital manga and features a massive library of the most popular series in the world. Through the innovative VIZ Manga digital platform registered users are able to use one account to view their purchased manga across more devices than ever. New series and volumes are added every Tuesday. Fans can also find these titles and more for the NOOK, Kindle Fire, and Kobo ereaders, as well as in the iBooks and GooglePlay Stores.

All manga volumes are available for purchase and download in the U.S. and Canada within the VIZ Manga application starting from $6.99 (U.S. / CAN) each and readers can also explore all titles with free Chapter 1 previews of every series. For more information, please visit VIZManga.com or www.VIZ.com/apps.

Download the free VIZ Manga App for Android and iOS devices at www.VIZ.com/apps.

To learn more about VIZ Manga, visit www.vizmanga.com.

Friday, May 16, 2014

MoMA's ContemporAsian film series presents COLD BLOOM for one week

Cold Bloom / Sakura Namiki no Mankai no Shita ni
Directed by Atsushi Funahashi
Japan, 2012, 120 minutes
In Japanese with English subtitles
When: May 16–May 22
Where: MoMA
11 West 53rd Street, NYC

Cold Bloom, the next film in the Museum of Modern Art's ContemporAsian film series, opens a one week run this afternoon, Friday, May 16th at 4:30 pm. Showtimes for all seven screenings can be found and tickets can be ordered here.

Synopsis: In Hitachi, a seaside town recovering, if slowly, from its 2011 devastation, the young couple Shiori and Kenji are working in a small factory and even thinking of children, until one day Kenji is killed in a work accident, leaving Shiori and the remorseful co-worker responsible for the accident to confront difficult questions of grief and forgiveness. Embracing a tender humanism and classical style, Cold Bloom’s distinctly contemporary setting and narrative infuse a rich tradition with vitality and aplomb.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

2014 New York Asian Film Festival Dates and Highlights Announced

 
13th NEW YORK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL
June 27 – July 14, 2014
at Film Society of Lincoln Center (June 27 – July 10)
Japan Society (July 10-13)
Asia Society (July 13-14)

The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Subway Cinema, in association with the Japan Society, have announced that Umin Boya’s Kano has been selected as the Centerpiece selection for this year’s New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), June 27 – July 14, 2014. Returning for its 13th edition, the New York Asian Film Festival is one of North America’s leading festivals of popular Asian Cinema.
 
Umin Boya's Kano, produced and co-written by Taiwan's hitmaker Wei Te-Sheng (Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale, Cape No.7), is an epic sports tale, based on a true story from Taiwan's colonial past, about an underdog mixed-race high-school baseball team that beat the odds and earned the right to travel to Japan in 1931 to compete in a national tournament. In order to succeed against their elite competition, the team had to overcome their ethnic differences and find a way to utilize their individual strengths in order to come together as a true team. The screening will mark the film’s North American Premiere.
 
NYAFF’s Korean Actor in Focus program will welcome Lee Jung-jae to New York City and present some of his most notable films as well as two exciting recent releases: Han Jae-rim’s historical comedy-drama The Face Reader, and Park Hoon-jung’s epic gangster thriller New World.
 
Early highlights among the first group of titles announced include Philip Yung’s explosive female-juvenile-delinquent drama May We Chat; Benny Chan’s resurrection of the heroic bloodshed genre The White Storm; Lee Kung-lok’s porn-industry comedy 3D Naked Ambition (NYAFF’s first 3-D movie!); superstar Andy Lau in Allen Yuen’s heart-busting police thriller Firestorm; Juno Mak’s hopping-vampire homage Rigor Mortis, along with the classic that inspired it, Ricky Lau’s Mr. Vampire; and Chow Yun-fat reuniting with director Wong Jing in the gambling comedy From Vegas to Macau.
 
The legendary Takashi Miike will also be represented at NYAFF once again with his outrageous gangster comedy based on a popular manga, The Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji. Korean cops take on a criminal mastermind in Jo Ui-seok and Kim Byung-seo’s thriller Cold Eyes; Takashi Yamazaki’s Japanese WWII kamikaze pilot drama The Eternal Zero; and Anna Broinowski’s Aim High in Creation, a behind-the-scenes look at the North Korean film industry, are also set to screen. 

Keep up with the latest festival news at: www.facebook.com/NYAFFwww.subwaycinema.comwww.filmlinc.com, twitter: @subwaycinema (#NYAFF14)

Tickets will go on sale to Members of the Film Society of Lincoln Center on Tuesday, June 3 and to the General Public on Thursday, June 12. Single screening tickets are $13; $9 for students and seniors (62+); and $8 for Film Society members. A three-film package is $30; $24 for students and seniors (62+); and $21 for Film Society members. Discount prices apply with the purchase of tickets to three films or more.

Visit www.FilmLinc.com for complete film festival information.

Screenings will be held at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater (located at 165 West 65th Street, between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway), Japan Society (333 East 47th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues), and Asia Society (725 Park Avenue, at 70th Street).
 
The 2014 NYAFF receives support from the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New York, the Korean Cultural Service New York, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, Kenneth A. Cowin Foundation, and The Celebrity magazine.

NYAFF's sponsors include The Kitano Hotel, Anthology Film Archives, Møsefund Farm, Manhattan Portage, Well Go USA, Epic Proportions, Flaskingtree, and Kirin.  Its media partners are Screen International, Film Business Asia, and Noonchi.