With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ozu's "I Was Born, But..." at Japan Society on Friday, May 6th

Japan Society Film Program's
Monthly Classics Series
Presents
I Was Born, But . . . / Umarete wa Mita Keredo
Directed by Yasujiro Ozu
With Tatsuo Saito, Tokkan Kozou, Hideo Sugawara,
Mitsuko Yoshikawa, and Takeshi Sakamoto
Japan, 1932, 100 minutes
35mm, b&w, silent with Japanese and English intertitles

When: Friday, May 6 at 7:00 pm
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC

In this early silent comedy by Yasujiro Ozu, two precocious young boys get used to their new suburban neighborhood – avoiding classes, battling bullies, making friends – while their father commutes to work every day. When they witness him being subservient and playing a fool for his boss, the boys become ashamed and decide to protest with a hunger strike, declaring, “You tell us to become somebody, but you’re nobody!” This charming and insightful consideration of childhood innocence and social hierarchies is widely acknowledged as the master director’s first great film, later reworked into his 1959 color film Good Morning. Screening one day after Children's Day (May 5th) in Japan.

Friday, April 29, 2016

New Naruto novel NARUTO: SAKURA’S STORY coming May 3rd

NARUTO SAKURA-HIDEN SHIREN,HARUKAZE NI NOSETE © 2015 by Masashi Kishimoto, Tomohito Ohsaki/SHUEISHA Inc.
VIZ MEDIA DELIVERS AN ACTION PACKED NEW
NARUTO NOVEL TO READERS WITH THE DEBUT OF
NARUTO: SAKURA’S STORY

Latest Novel In A Series Of Original Stories Focusing On Key
Characters From Masashi Kishimoto’s Smash Hit
Ninja Manga Series - NARUTO

VIZ Media has announced the release of NARUTO: SAKURA’S STORY, the third book in a series of original novels focusing on key characters from the widely acclaimed ninja action anime/manga franchise.

NARUTO: SAKURA’S STORY debuts in print and digitally on May 3rd and was written by Takashi Yano and Tomohito Ohsaki. The novel is based on characters and concepts by original NARUTO creator Masashi Kishimoto.

Allies and enemies from the famed NARUTO series take center stage in these fast-paced adventures, with each novel focusing on a particular clan mate, ally, team…or villain. The latest book depicts the story of Sakura Haruno, a faithful and skilled member of Team 7 and the primary lead female character in the NARUTO canon.

NARUTO: SAKURA’S STORY
MSRP: $10.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN / $6.99 Digital • Available May 3rd
The Great Ninja War did not only harm adults, but left many damaged children behind. Medical ninja Sakura travels the land, opening clinics dedicated to healing children of the mental trauma they experienced. She learns of a series of attacks against Konoha, and her investigation leads to an impossible conclusion: Sasuke is the terrorist mastermind behind them all! Using her skills and her heart, Sakura strives to clear Sasuke’s name and bring the real perpetrator to justice.

Also don’t miss NARUTO: KAKASHI’S STORY and NARUTO: SHIKAMARU’S STORY the first two books in the series of NARUTO novels, available now in print and also digitally.

Manga author/artist Masashi Kishimoto was born in 1974 in rural Okayama Prefecture, Japan. Like many kids, he was first inspired to become a manga artist in elementary school when he read Dragon Ball. After spending time in art school, he won the Hop Step Award for new manga artists with his story, Karakuri. After considering various genres for his next project, Kishimoto decided on a story steeped in traditional Japanese culture. His first version of NARUTO, drawn in 1997, was a one-shot story about fox spirits; his final version, which debuted in Japan in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1999, quickly became the most popular ninja manga in the world. The series would also spawn multiple anime series, movies, novels, video games and more. Having concluded the series in late 2014, Masashi Kishimoto has kept himself busy this year with the side story, Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring, and writing the story for the latest NARUTO movie, BORUTO: NARUTO THE MOVIE, both of which focus on the title character's son, Boruto.

VIZ Media is the North American master licensor for NARUTO and publishes the bestselling NARUTO manga series in print and digitally and also distributes the NARUTO and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN anime series and feature films. Additional information on NARUTO is available at www.Naruto.com.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Japan's Pop Princess KYARY PAMYU PAMYU to kick off J-Pop Summit 2016

J-POP SUMMIT 2016 ANNOUNCES OPENING
NIGHT LIVE CONCERT WITH JAPAN’S POP
PRINCESS KYARY PAMYU PAMYU

Premiere Japanese Pop Culture Festival Welcomes Return
Of Edgy Pop Singer For Special Live Concert Performance
In San Francisco At The Regency Ballroom For
“KPP 5iVE YEARS MONSTER WORLD TOUR 2016”

J-POP SUMMIT 2016, one of the world’s biggest Japanese pop culture events, proudly presents pop princess -- Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – for a very special live concert performance in San Francisco at the Regency Ballroom on Friday, July 22nd to kick off the weekend-long J-POP festivities.

Tickets will go on sale on Friday, May 6th. KPP Concert Ticket BASIC and PREMIUM packages, along with KPP + J-POP SUMMIT Combo Tickets, will be available for purchase at www.J-POP.com. The Regency Ballroom is located at 1290 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109.


Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is one of Japan’s biggest pop and fashion stars and represents the dynamic fusion of Japanese pop culture, fashion and music.

The singer is currently marking her 5-year anniversary as an artist with an international concert tour “KPP 5iVE YEARS MONSTER WORLD TOUR 2016” supporting the upcoming release of her very first retrospective album, KPP BEST. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu was a headliner at the J-POP SUMMIT 2013 and returns to San Francisco to celebrate her anniversary with fans on Friday, July 22nd at J-POP SUMMIT 2016 Opening Night.

J-POP SUMMIT 2016 continues Saturday and Sunday July 23rd and 24th at the historic Fort Mason Center located in San Francisco’s Marina district. Attendees will experience a colorful assortment of Japanese pop-influenced culture including fashion, pop art, live music and technology, accented by ramen vendors, sake-tasting, and other attractions to be complemented by celebrity Guests of Honor, anime programming, cosplay and karaoke contests, and a wide assortment of vendors and other programming.


Kyary Pamyu Pamyu LIVE at J-POP SUMMIT OPENING NIGHT – KPP 5iVE YEARS MONSTER WORLD TOUR 2016 in San Francisco ticket options include:

*KPP Concert Ticket BASIC • $40 each
Includes general admission at Regency Ballroom

**KPP Concert Ticket PREMIUM • $150 each
Includes general admission at the Regency Ballroom, exclusive meet & greet with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, and a special gift.

**Both options DO NOT include entrance to the J-POP SUMMIT at Fort Mason.

KPP + J-POP SUMMIT Combo Tickets -- including J-POP SUMMIT 1-day and/or 2-day passes that each include a KPP Concert Ticket BASIC starting from $55 each – will be also available on Friday, May 6th at www.J-POP.com.


Additional news will be coming soon on J-POP SUMMIT tickets, including V.I.P packages, and information on other artists set to perform.

About Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
Born in Tokyo 1993, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu began her career as a model for several Harajuku fashion magazines while she was still in high school. Her unique look and uninhibited, self-expressive personality quickly garnered the attention of Japan’s bustling fashion and music scenes. In 2011, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu released her debut mini-album, MOSHI MOSHI HARAJUKU (Hello, Harajuku) under Warner Music Japan. The music video for its single “PONPONPON,” has been played over 93 million times on YouTube. Her first full-length album, Pamyu Pamyu Revolution, was released 2012. The following year was Nanda Collection, and another release, Pika Pika Fantajin in 2014. Last year, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu released the single, Mondai Girl, which was followed by a Halloween-themed single, Crazy Party Night (Pumpkin no Gyakushu).

In May 2016, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu will release her first retrospective album, KPP BEST, a collection of 23 career-spanning tracks that includes infectious hit singles such as Invader Invader, Kira Kira Killer, Fashion Monster, as well as 5th anniversary song “5iVE YEARS MONSTER”.

About J-POP SUMMIT
J-POP SUMMIT is one of the world’s biggest Japanese pop culture events, held every summer in San Francisco, CA. By introducing the latest in Japanese music, fashion, film, art, games, tech-innovations, anime, food, as well as niche subcultures, the festival has become a landing platform for new trends from Japan.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sentai Filmworks announces acquisition of “When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace”


Sentai Filmworks has announced its latest acquisition, When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace.

One day, a group of four girls and one boy in the literature club experienced an incredible power awakening within them. With that, they dove into an exciting world of high-powered magical battles to defend humanity… or did they? With their daily lives remaining mostly peaceful, they find that they can use their powers fairly wastefully. The curtain opens on a story filled with comedy, love, and, of course, supernatural battles!

The anime is based on original work by Kota Nozomi (GA BUNKO/ SB Creative Corp.), with original illustration by 029. Masahiko Otsuka was in charge of series composition, as well as helming the show as chief director. Masanori Takahashi was responsible for directing the series, with Satoshi Yamaguchi in charge of character design. Animation Production was by TRIGGER.

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace will soon be available through select digital outlets, with a home video release to follow.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

LEGEND OF ZELDA™: LEGENDARY EDITION coming November 1, 2016

TM & ©2008 Nintendo.
ZELDA NO DENSETSU -TOKI NO OCARINA - JOU © 2000 Akira HIMEKAWA/SHOGAKUKAN
VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE LEGEND OF ZELDA™:
LEGENDARY EDITION MANGA OMNIBUS RELEASE

Beloved Manga Series Based On The Classic
Nintendo® Video Game Franchise Returns
In New Deluxe 2-In-1 Editions

VIZ Media brings back the celebrated manga (graphic novel) series for THE LEGEND OF ZELDA on November 1st. THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: LEGENDARY EDITION is a new series of 2-in-1 releases of the classic 10-volume fantasy adventure.

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: LEGENDARY EDITION each contain two complete volumes of THE LEGEND OF ZELDA manga series, presented in a deluxe format featuring new covers and color artwork by creator Akira Himekawa, and will be printed in a larger 5-3/4” x 8-1/4” format.

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: LEGENDARY EDITION Volume 1 contains THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: OCARINA OF TIME Parts 1 and 2, and is rated ‘A’ for All Ages. The release will carry a print MSRP of $17.99 U.S. / $21.99 CAN. Future iterations of THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: LEGENDARY EDITION will be released bimonthly for a total of five volumes.

The battle for Hyrule and the Sacred Realm has begun! A young boy named Link must defeat evil on his long, perilous quest to find the spiritual stones that hold the key to the Triforce, and deliver them to Zelda, princess of the land of Hyrule.

“THE LEGEND OF ZELDA is an unforgettable and tremendously loved property among multiple generations of video game, pop culture and manga fans,” says Beth Kawasaki, Senior Editorial Director for Perfect Square. “We are very excited to bring fans THE LEGEND OF ZELDA in a comprehensive new way with these collectible omnibus editions.”

For more information on THE LEGEND OF ZELDA and other anime and manga titles from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

Monday, April 25, 2016

New York Japan Cinefest 2016 coming to Asia Society June 2nd and 3rd

"Tokyo Cosmos" (Dir. Takahiro Miyauchi)
New York Japan CineFest 2016
When: June 2 and 3, 2016
Where: Asia Society and Museum
725 Park Avenue at 70th Street, NYC
Map

Highlighting some of the most exciting new voices in cinema, New York Japan CineFest is an annual event that features works by emerging Japanese and Japanese American filmmakers. Two programs of short films are presented in this year's edition. Program 1 on Thursday, June 2 will be followed by a reception. Program 2 on Friday, June 3 will be followed by a discussion.

Tickets: $8 members; $10 students/seniors; $12 nonmembers.

Co-presented with Mar Creation, Inc.

Part of Citi series on Asian Arts and Culture.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sentai Filmworks announces its acquisition of TRINITY SEVEN


Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of Trinity Seven.

Superbia. Invidia. Ira. Acedia. Avaritia. Gula. Luxuria.

These are the sins, or "Themes," inflicted upon seven young girls who reign supreme at Royal Biblia Academy, but one boy has resolved to master those sins and reclaim his world.

The boy, Arata Kasuga, has his daily life turned upside-down when a mysterious event called the Breakdown Phenomenon causes his cousin Hijiri to disappear into an alternate dimension. In order to understand the Breakdown Phenomenon and get his cousin back, Arata enrolls at Biblia Academy - and what awaits him there are seven young girls who use their "sins" to manipulate sorcery.

The series was originally from a manga written by Kenji Saito with illustration by Akinari Nao and published by KADOKAWA Fujimishobo. It was directed by Hiroshi Nishikiori (Azumanga Daioh, I’m Gonna be an Angel!, GAD GUARD). The role of chief animation director was shared by Kyoko Kotani and Shinpei Tomooka, with series composition handled by Hiroyuki Yoshino. Animation production was courtesy of SEVEN・ARCS・PICTURES (Dog Days, Asura Cryin’, WHITE ALBUM).

Trinity Seven will soon be available through select digital outlets, with a home video release to follow.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

MEMORIES OF MATSUKO will close JAPAN SINGS! film series this evening

Japan Society NY
Presents
Memories of Matsuko © 2006 "Memories of Matsuko" Production Committee.
Memories of Matsuko / Kiraware Matsuko no Issho
Directed by Tetsuya Nakashima
With Miki Nakatani, Eita, Yusuke Iseya,
Teruyuki Kagawa, and Mikako Ichikawa
Japan, 2006, 130 minutes, 35mm, b&w
In Japanese with English subtitles

When: Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 at 7:00 pm
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC

The 2016 Globus Film Series Japan Sings! The Japanese Musical Film will conclude with this evening's 7:00 pm screening of the wonderful musical comedy Memories of Matsuko.

Synopsis (courtesy Japan Society):
Another darkly hilarious film about family—the desire for recognition and the pain of its refusal. Cute digital effects and gaudy musical numbers belie a story of abuse that has much in common with Kenji Mizoguchi's Life of Oharu. Matsuko (Miki Nakatani of the Ring franchise) is found beaten to death in poor suburb of Tokyo. Alienated from her family, her life is dismissed as meaningless until her loser nephew, tasked with cleaning up her apartment, starts to piece it together. The musical interludes transform everyday exploitation into an ironic utopia that only accentuates the overwhelming emotional suffering of the rest of the film.

Limited edition artbook BLANC ET NOIR: TAKESHI OBATA ILLUSTRATIONS to debut May 3rd

OBATA TAKESHI ILLUSTRATIONS -Blanc et Noir- © 2006 by Takeshi Obata/SHUEISHA Inc.
VIZ MEDIA TO RELEASE
LIMITED EDITION ART BOOK
BLANC ET NOIR: TAKESHI OBATA ILLUSTRATIONS

Special Slipcased Hardcover Features Work By The Artist Of
DEATH NOTE, BAKUMAN。And ALL YOU NEED IS KILL
As Well As Fold-Out Posters, Artist Commentary And Much More!

VIZ Media offers something very special for pop culture, pop art and manga fans as it proudly announces the release of BLANC ET NOIR: TAKESHI OBATA ILLUSTRATIONS, a limited edition art book collecting the work of renowned manga artist Takeshi Obata.

BLANC ET NOIR: TAKESHI OBATA ILLUSTRATIONS will debut on May 3rd in an oversized slipcased hardcover edition under the Art of Shonen Jump imprint. This limited edition art book will be released in a print run of only 10,000 copies. BLANC ET NOIR: TAKESHI OBATA ILLUSTRATIONS will carry an MSRP of $99.99 U.S. / $119.99 CAN.

Experience a masterful presentation of legendary artist Takeshi Obata’s works from 2001–2006, including definitive illustrations from smash-hit series DEATH NOTE and HIKARU NO GO, as well as surprises (video game design!), original works created for this art book and rare novel illustrations. This gorgeous oversized art book is encased in a silver-stamped slipcase and is stuffed with 132 pages of full-color art, several massive foldout posters, deluxe paperstock and 12 pages of artist commentary, including a “how to draw” section. The edition also includes three large double-sided laminated posters.

“BLANC ET NOIR: TAKESHI OBATA ILLUSTRATIONS is an extraordinary art book with a beautiful, high-end treatment befitting its limited edition run. It will be a wonderful addition to any ardent DEATH NOTE fan’s personal collection,” says Hope Donovan, Managing Editor. “Takeshi Obata is one of Japan’s foremost manga artists and is internationally acclaimed for his elegantly designed characters and crisp style. We invite fans and collectors to savor this special release!”

Manga artist and illustrator Takeshi Obata first achieved international recognition as the artist of the wildly popular Weekly Shonen Jump title, HIKARU NO GO (also published by VIZ Media), which won the 2003 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize: Shinsei "New Hope" Award and the 2000 Shogakukan Manga Award. He went on to illustrate the smash hit supernatural crime thriller, DEATH NOTE, as well as the hugely successful manga series BAKUMAN。and ALL YOU NEED IS KILL. All three of these titles are published in print and digital editions by VIZ Media.

For additional information on Takeshi Obata and manga titles published by VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS reviewed; at Japan Society NY this afternoon

Japan Society NY
Presents
The Happiness of the Katakuris © 2001 THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS PRODUCTION COMMITTEE.
  The Happiness of the Katakuris / Katakuri-ke no Kofuku
Directed by Takashi Miike
With Kenji Sawada, Keiko Matsuzaka, Shinji Takeda,
Naomi Nishida, and Kiyoshiro Imawano
Japan, 2001, 113 minutes, 35mm, color
In Japanese with English subtitles

When: Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 at 4:00 pm
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC

Synopsis (courtesy Japan Society):
Based on a non-musical Korean film—The Quiet Family by another genre-mixing filmmaker, Jae Woon Kim—Takashi Miike uses the increasing absurdity of this comedy-horror-musical to explore the state of the Japanese family after the collapse of the economic boom that underpinned the popular song film. The film's claymation opening sequence and bleak narrative of a downsized salaryman opening a B&B in the country presents contemporary life as a hopeless cycle of exploitation, but the performance of the film's lo-fi musical numbers by a cast that includes Kenji Sawada, star of several "group sounds" musical films in the 1960s, highlights a nostalgia for intimacy and optimism. Rated R.

AsianCineFest Comments:
The incredibly prolific director Takashi Miike has been one of my favorite Japanese directors since I first saw Ichii the Killer (which came out in 2001, the same year as Happiness) years ago at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Since then I've seen Ichi several times on disc, and have watched numerous other Miike films (13 Assassins, Yatterman, Sukiyaki Western Django, Zebraman, Audition, etc.) either onscreen or on home video. All those that I've seen have been entertaining and worth watching, some exceedingly so. The Happiness of the Katakuris is one of the top Miike films I've watched.

It's the tale of of what the Katakuri family (I see no need for the "s" that makes the family name plural in the English title) experiences one summer. The story is narrated by Yurie, a young girl. She lives with her divorced mother Shizue, her uncle Masayuki, Grandpa Masao, Grandma Terue, and Great-Grandpa Jinpei at the White Lover's Guest House. After being laid off, Masao had bought the land and built the guest house because he had heard that a road would be built nearby and would bring many tourists.

Unfortunately, the guests are slow to materialize, and when they do, they have a habit of inconveniently dying on the premises. The family decides these deaths must be kept secret, lest they ruin any chance the guest house has of ever succeeding.

Hilarity ensues. And musical numbers, including one that brazenly recalls Julie Andres singing in a mountain meadow in The Sound of Music. (See the image at the top of this post.)

The Happiness of the Katakuris is further proof that Miike can probably make any kind of film and make it well.

AsianiCineFest Rating:
3.5 out of 4 stars; this fun romp is highly recommended

This afternoon's screening of The Happiness of the Katakuris is part of the 2016 Globus Film Series Japan Sings! The Japanese Musical Film.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Sentai Filmworks licenses "Hakuoki ~ Demon of the Fleeting Blossom: Warrior Spirit of the Blue Sky"


 Sentai Filmworks has announced its latest acquisition, Hakuoki ~ Demon of the Fleeting Blossom: Warrior Spirit of the Blue Sky. As the second feature film based on the successful game and anime series, this title continues the story of Chizuru Yukimura’s search for her father. The famed Shinsengumi are combating the dangerous beings within Kyoto’s shadows, and it won’t be easy. As Chizuru and the men of the Shinsengumi fight for their city, and for their lives, the battle may draw closer than any of them ever imagined.

The film was directed and scripted by Osamu Yamasaki (Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East). Atsuko Nakajima (Get Backers, Ranma ½) handled animation direction and character design, with original character designs provided by Yone Kazuki (Kamigami no Asobi, Nobunaga the Fool).

Hakuoki ~ Demon of the Fleeting Blossom: Warrior Spirit of the Blue Sky will be available through select digital outlets, with a home video release to follow

Thursday, April 21, 2016

VIZ Media announces plans to publish new title acquisitions later in 2016

TOKYO GHOUL © 2011 by Sui Ishida/SHUEISHA Inc.
VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES NEW TOKYO GHOUL, NARUTO
AND GANGSTA. PUBLISHING ACQUISITIONS

Catch The Release Of Three New Original Prose Novels For
TOKYO GHOUL And NARUTO As Well As A
GANGSTA. Manga Spin-Off Series

VIZ Media is expanding its novel and manga publishing roster with the addition of several noteworthy new title acquisitions set for release beginning later this year.

Fans of the best-selling TOKYO GHOUL manga series will not want to miss the Fall debut of the first of three new original prose novels. Each novel will focus on lead characters from the popular horror manga series and feature original illustrations and cover art by series creator, Sui Ishida. VIZ Media continues to expand its collection of NARUTO original prose novels with the release of a trio of books focusing on the Uchiha brothers, Itachi and Sasuke.

VIZ Media also adds a new manga publishing acquisition to its library as it announces the debut this Winter of GANGSTA.: CURSED, a spin-off series based on the stylish manga crime thriller GANGSTA. A prequel to the original series featuring the backstory of the character Marco Adriano, GANGSTA.: CURSED is written by Kohske and illustrated by Syuhei Kamo.

New TOKYO GHOUL Publishing Acquisitions

TOKYO GHOUL: DAYS, Vol. 1 • Debuts Fall 2016
TOKYO GHOUL: VOID, Vol. 2 • Debuts Early 2017
TOKYO GHOUL: PAST, Vol. 3 • Forthcoming
MSRP: $12.99 U.S. ea / $14.99 CAN ea

TOKYO GHOUL: DAYS (Vol. 1) chronicles six all-new stories from the TOKYO GHOUL universe. TOKYO GHOUL: VOID (Vol. 2) depicts the aftermath six months after a major event in the TOKYO GHOUL manga. In the TOKYO GHOUL manga series, Ghouls live among us, the same as normal people in every way—except their craving for human flesh. Ken Kaneki is an ordinary college student until a violent encounter turns him into the first half-human half-ghoul hybrid. Trapped between two worlds, he must survive Ghoul turf wars, learn more about Ghoul society and master his new powers.

New NARUTO Publishing Acquisitions

NARUTO: ITACHI’S STORY – DAYLIGHT, Vol. 1 • Debuts Fall 2016
NARUTO: ITACHI’S STORY – MIDNIGHT, Vol. 2 • Debuts Winter 2016
NARUTO: SASUKE’S STORY – SUNRISE • Debuts Spring 2017
MSRP: $10.99 U.S. ea / $12.99 CAN ea

Three new NARUTO novels focusing on the Uchiha brothers, Itachi and Sasuke! Features original cover art by NARUTO creator Masashi Kishimoto.

Also catch other NARUTO original prose novels available now including NARUTO: KAKASHI’S STORY and NARUTO: SHIKAMARU’S STORY.

Additional New Manga Publishing Acquisitions
 
GANGSTA.: CURSED, Vol. 1 • Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers •
MSRP: $12.99 U.S. / $14.99 CAN • Debuts Winter 2016

A new series depicting prequel stories for several of the main characters featured in the original GANGSTA. manga series. In GANGSTA.: CURSED, the man named Marco Adriano is a loyal and beloved member of the Cristiano Family, helping them protect the persecuted Twilight population in the city of Ergastulum. But he was once a boy codenamed “Spas,” raised as a Hunter and assigned to the Destroyers Second Group for a single purpose: to track down and kill Twilights. For more information on titles available from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

JAPAN SINGS! film series concludes this Saturday, April 23rd

Japan Society NY's wonderful film series Japan Sings! The Japanese Musical Film concludes this Saturday, April 23rd with two separate screenings.

Takashi Miike's The Happiness of the Katakuris will be shown at 4:00 pm and Memories of Matsuko will screen at 7:00 pm.

The Happiness of the Katakuris / Katakuri-ke no Kofuku
Directed by Takashi Miike
Jap;an 2001, 113 minutes, 35 mm, color
In Japanese with English subtitles
Info and Tickets

Memories of Matsuko / Kiraware Matsuko no Issho
Directed by Tetsuya Nakashima
Japan, 2006, 130 min., 35mm, color
In Japanese with English subtitles
Info and tickets

Sentai Filmworks announces acquisition of FLYING WITCH


Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of Flying Witch for the Spring 2016 anime season.

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

J.C.STAFF, the studio behind such hits as Azumanga Daioh, Little Busters! The Familiar of Zero, and Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, helms production. The series is directed by Katsushi Sakurabi (Gunparade March, Lunar Legend Tsukihime), with series composition by Deko Akao (Mysterious Girlfriend X, Noragami, Pretty Rhythm All Star Selection).

Flying Witch is scheduled for an April 2016 broadcast in Japan by Nippon TV. It will soon be available through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A TREATISE ON JAPANESE BAWDY SONGS at Japan Society tonight

Japan Society NY
Presents
A Treatise on Japanese Bawdy Songs (aka Sing a Song of Sex) © 1967 Shochiku Co., Ltd.
 A Treatise on Japanese Bawdy Songs / Nippon Nihon Shunkako
Directed by Nagisa Oshima
With Ichiro Araki, Akiko Koyama, Kazuyoshi Kushida,
Hiroshi Sato, and Kazuko Tajima.
Japan, 1967, 103 minutes, 35mm, color
In Japanese with English subtitles

When: Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 at 7:00 pm
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC

Synopsis (courtesy Japan Society):
Nagisa Oshima uses pop singer Ichiro Araki to depict the "obscenity" of underclass desire. Four male and three female students from a provincial city accompany their teacher to Tokyo to take university entrance exams. The teacher dies and one of the boys may be the culprit. But the film is less a narrative than a collage of scenes about power imbalance: between city and country, young and old, rich and poor, Japan and Korea. Taking a hint from Twilight Saloon, Oshima uses song to mark out different social positions, from wartime naval trainees and university radicals to ethnic minorities and resentful adolescents. The question is who gets to sing, and what.

AsianCineFest Comments:
A Treatise on Japanese Bawdy Songs is not so much a musical as a drama that uses songs at times -- one bawdy song in particular is sung repeatedly, like a theme. The film is available on DVD as part of The Criterion Collection's Eclipse Series 21: Oshima's Outlaw's Sixties. There it goes by the alternate title of Sing a Song of Sex. In his comments for the slipcase sheet, contributing writer Michael Koresky states that the film was largely improvised, that Oshima told his cast two weeks before filming commenced that there would be no script. This is evident in the rather rambling, unstructured nature of the film.

There's nothing special to say about the acting; all the leading characters, except for the students' teacher, are played by apparently relatively inexperienced youths. Also the soundtrack is often out of sync. This is noticeable in some of the dialogue, singing and hand clapping.

Still, despite it's flaws, the film is an interesting time capsule and certainly worth seeing.

AsianCineFest Rating:
2.5 out of 4 stars; better than fair but not so much so as to be regarded as a really good film. Recommended viewing; just don't expect a compelling cinematic experience.

Part of the 2016 Globus Film Series Japan Sings! The Japanese Musical Film.

Home video debut of IP MAN 3 today

Well Go USA
Presents
Ip Man 3 / Yip Man 3
Directed by Wilson Yip
Starring Donnie Yen and  Mike Tyson
Hong Kong, 2015, 105 minutes

Ip Man 3, the final entry in the action trilogy directed by Wilson Yip and starring Donnie Yen, debuts today, Tuesday, April 19th on Blu-ray™ and DVD from Well Go USA Entertainment. (It has been available on Digital HD since April 5th.) My review is based on watching the Blu-ray version.

The Ip Man collaboration of action star Donnie Yen and director Wilson Yip began with Ip Man in 2008 which was followd by Ip Man 2 in 2010. The Wing Chun master was also the subject of two films by Herman Yau, The Legend is Born: Ip Man (also 2010) and  Ip Man: The Final Fight (2013) and of Wong Kar-wai's The Grandmaster (also 2013).


Beginning in Hong Kong in 1959, Ip Man 3 finds the titular character facing two opponents. One is Frankie, a ruthless real estate developer played by Mike Tyson (! More on that later.) He sends his minions to "convince" the principle of the school that Ah Ching, Ip Man's younger son, attends to sell him the property. Led by Ma King Sang (Patrick Tam) they use any and all means to achieve their assignment, including beatings, setting fires and kidnapping children. As a result Ip Man and his students guard the school.

Ip Man's other opponent is Cheung Tin-chi (Zhang Jin), a rickshaw driver whose son also attends Ah Ching's school. Cheung is also an expert in Wing Chun. If I understand the genealogy correctly, his teacher and Ip Man's teacher both studied with the same master. Because of differences in the Wing Chun of their two teachers, Cheung is convinced that his is the true, and therefore superior, Wing Chun as compared with Ip Man/s

There are plenty of fine action scenes, which is what one would expect with Yuen Woo-Ping serving as action director and Donnie Yen and Yuen Shun-Yee serving as action choreographers. We're talking numerous fight scenes of both the one-against-many and one-on-one variety. There is staff fighting, knife fighting and unarmed combat.


Before it opened theatrically this past January, I watched an online screener of the film. In my initial review of Ip Man 3, I was bothered by the gimmick of using Mike Tyson, who's billed in the credits as a "Special Appearance."  I must confess that I was put off because Tyson is a convicted rapist and because of his biting Evander Holyfield's ears in their second fight. (See the entry on  Tyson in Wikipedia if you're not familiar with these events.)

Furthermore, I found the idea of a black man with a huge facial tattoo as a ruthless real estate developer and promoter of an illegal fight ring in Hong Kong in 1959 rather ludicrous. Not even his being protected by the other "foreign devils" (i.e., the British) can make this remotely believable. However, on re-watching the film, I found myself more accepting of his presence. I also must say that I was amazed by how well spoken and articulate Tyson was in his solo interview in the bonus features. I was blown away by his description of the Shaw Brothers' film Crippled Avengers (1978).


Another problem I initially had with the film concerned the two main fights, the first with Ip Man against Tyson, the second with him against Cheung.  Both end in what I considered a lame and unsatisfying manner, as if the film was promoting political correctness, or maybe that should be "kung-fu correctness." I still feel that way, though was less bothered by it on my second viewing.

My final problem was that the film does a real number in putting down Bruce Lee. This is not the first time this has happened in a recent Ip Man movie (see Herman Yau's Ip Man: The Final Fight), but it's pretty harsh here. Fortunately Bruce is slightly redeemed by his teaching Ip Man how to dance so he can please his wife, Cheung Wing Sing, again played by actress Lynn Hung.

Disc Specs
-- Audio
  -- Cantonese dtsX
  -- English DTS 5.1 HDMA
  -- Spanish DTS 5.1 HDMA
  -- French DTS 5.1 HDMA
-- Subtitles
  -- English
  -- Spanish
  -- French
  -- Off
-- Bonus Features
  -- "Making Of" featurette
    -- The Story (2:29)
    -- The Action (2:52)
  -- Interviews
    -- Donnie Yen (6:04)
    -- Mike Tyson (7:27)
    -- Yen and Tyson (5:27)
    -- Director Wilson Yip (9:05)
  -- Behind the Scenes (2:19)
  -- Teaser
  -- Trailer
  -- International Trailer
-- Previews
  -- Hi-yah! Sizzle (a trailer about www.hiyahTV.com, a forthcoming streaming site for Asian action films)
  -- Kill Zone 2
  -- Rise of the Legend
  -- Kill Your Friends

If it's action you're after, Ip Man 3 will totally satisfy you. The disc also offers real value in terms of the bonus features.

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

Ip Man 3 Official Website.

Creators of the POKÉMON ADVENTURES manga series to appear at 2016 Comic-Con International

©2014 Pokémon. 
©1995-2014 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. 
TM, ®, and character names are trademarks of Nintendo.
POCKET MONSTERS SPECIAL X・Y © 2014 Hidenori KUSAKA, Satoshi YAMAMOTO/SHOGAKUKAN
VIZ MEDIA TO WELCOME THE CREATORS OF POKÉMON
ADVENTURES AT 2016 COMIC-CON INTERNATIONAL

Hidenori Kusaka And Satoshi Yamamoto Will Make Their
First-Ever North American Appearance At The Nation’s
Preeminent Annual Pop Culture And Comics Convention

 VIZ Media has announced that it will welcome the creators of the POKÉMON ADVENTURES manga (graphic novel) series—Hidenori Kusaka and Satoshi Yamamoto—for a very special, first-ever professional appearance at the 2016 Comic-Con International. POKÉMON ADVENTURES is published in English exclusively by VIZ Media.

Comic-Con International is one of the nation’s largest comic book, science fiction and pop culture events, and will take place July 20th–24th at the San Diego Convention Center, in San Diego, CA. VIZ Media will be located in Booth 2813. Complete details on Comic-Con are available at: www.comic-con.org.

Hidenori Kusaka (left) and Satoshi Yamamoto (right) are scheduled to make a series of appearances throughout Comic-Con. The pair will meet fans at the VIZ Media booth for signings and participate on a POKÉMON panel event alongside VIZ Media editors. Other exciting POKÉMON activities will be detailed soon.

“It’s a tremendous honor to welcome Hidenori Kusaka and Satoshi Yamamoto as special guests for the 2016 Comic-Con International,” says Beth Kawasaki, Senior Editorial Director for Perfect Square. “We know fans of all ages will be very excited for the opportunity to join in the fun as POKÉMON celebrates its 20th Anniversary and VIZ Media celebrates its 30th Anniversary this year.”

Hidenori Kusaka writes and Satoshi Yamamoto creates artwork for POKÉMON ADVENTURES, where fans’ favorite Pokémon game characters jump out of the screen into the pages of this action-packed manga! The creative duo have developed several series within the POKÉMON ADVENTURES universe including POKÉMON ADVENTURES, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: FIRERED & LEAFGREEN, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: EMERALD, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: DIAMOND & PEARL/PLATINUM, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: HEARTGOLD & SOULSILVER, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: BLACK & WHITE and POKÉMON X•Y. They are currently working on the twelfth and thirteenth story arcs, POKÉMON X•Y and POKÉMON ΩRUBY αSAPPHIRE.

In addition to writing manga, Hidenori Kusaka also edits children’s books and plans mixed-media projects for Shogakukan’s children’s magazines. He uses the Pokémon Electrode as his author portrait.

Satoshi Yamamoto began drawing VIZ Media’s POKÉMON ADVENTURES in 2001, starting with volume 10. Yamamoto’s favorite manga creators/artists include Fujiko Fujio (Doraemon), Yukinobu Hoshino (2001 Nights), and Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira). He loves films, monsters, mysteries, punk rock music, and livin’ the good life. He uses the Pokémon Swalot as his artist portrait.

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

For additional information on POKÉMON and other anime/manga titles published by VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sentai Filmworks licenses COBRA THE ANIMATION


Sentai Filmworks has announced its latest acquisition, the space opera Cobra the Animation, as well the series’ two OVAs Cobra the Animation: Time Drive and Cobra the Animation: The Psychogun. Based on the best-selling 1978 manga by Buichi Terasawa, Cobra the Animation follows the adventures of a young man who abandons a life of adventure and danger by surgically altering his face and erasing his own memories. Assuming his new identity as an office worker named Johnson, the young man’s “normal” life is shattered when he is once again threatened by old enemies who are out for his life.

Keizo Shimizu (Shinshaku Sengoku Eiyū Densetsu - Sanada Jū Yūshi The Animation) directed the series and contributed to character designs alongside Akio Sugino, Ippei Masui, and Keiko Yamamoto. Series composition was helmed by Kazumi Koide (Wonder Beast Scramble, Dragoon OAV), and animation production was handled by Magic Bus.

Cobra the Animation will be available through select digital outlets, with a home video release to follow.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

RISE OF THE LEGEND coming to home video on May 24, 2016

Well Go USA
Presents
Rise of the Legend / Huang feihong zhi yingxiong you meng
Directed by Chow Hin Yeung
Hong Kong/China, 2014, 132 minutes

Martial Arts legend Sammo Hung (Ip Man 2) takes on Eddie Peng (Unbeatable), pegged by The Hollywood Reporter as “a serious contender for Next Great Martial Arts Star,” in Director Chow Hin Yeung’s epic action drama Rise of the Legend, debuting on Blu-ray™ and DVD on Tuesday. May 24th from Well Go USA Entertainment.

The story follows a powerful martial arts master (Peng) returning to the town where his father was murdered to take on a ruthless crime boss (Hung) in this origins story of the revered folk hero Wong Fei Hung, a martial arts master whose life has passed into Chinese folklore.

The film also stars Wang Luodan (The Continent), Jing Boran (The Guillotines), Jin Zhang (Kill Zone 2), Wong Cho Lam (Ip Man: The Final Fight), Qin Junjie (Painted Skin: The Resurrection), Byron Mann (“Arrow”), newcomer Gao Taiyu, Tony Leung Ka-Fai (Tai Chi Hero) and Angelababy (Tai Chi Zero). Bonus materials include a five-part making-of featurette.

Synopsis:
A martial artist with extraordinary power (Eddie Peng) returns to the town where his father was murdered to face off against a ruthless crime boss (Sammo Hung) and bring justice back to the people. In Chinese with English subtitles.

Blu-ray & DVD Bonus Features Include:
-- “Making of” Featurette
  -- Characters
  -- Eddie Peng
  -- Injuries
  -- Cinematography
  -- Stunts

AsianCineFest already has received its Blu-ray screener, so look for our review on or just before the May 24th release date.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

IRRESPONSIBLE ERA OF JAPAN reviewed; will be screened at Japan Society this evening

Japan Society NY
Presents
Hitoshi and the three women in his life: the geisha, the bar hostess, and the executive secretary (Irresponsible Era of Japan © 1962 Toho Co., Ltd)
Irresponsible Era of Japan / Nippon Musekinin Jidai
Directed by Kengo Furusawa
With Hitoshi Ueki, Noriko Shigeyama, Hajime Hana,
Asami Kuji, and Toru Yuri
Japan, 1962, 86 minutes, 35mm, b&w
In Japanese with English subtitles

When: Saturday, April 16th, 2016 at 7:00 pm
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC

Synopsis (courtesy Japan Society):
The Crazy Cats comic jazz band and their featured singer Hitoshi Ueki did not invent the local genre of the "salaryman" comedy but they were its ubiquitous face in the 1960s. Some of the first big stars of the new medium of television, they brought standing-room-only audiences to a cinema in decline. This film established Ueki's comic persona as a salaryman who would goof off at work and yet somehow always come out ahead, every so often bursting into one of his well-known Japanese folk-inflected songs while dancing something like the twist. The first in a series of "Irresponsible" films whose comic songs formed the soundtrack of Japan's high economic growth.

AsianCineFest Review:
Hitoshi Taira (Hitoshi Ueki) is quite possibly the most irresponsible man in the world. He may like to thing of himself as an "average" guy, but he's a smooth operator if ever there was one. This master of scamming takes advantage of high-level corporate machinations to promote himself and his own agenda, although he never does any real harm to anyone. Along the way he manages to help a geisha finance a new car and a bar hostess to open her own establishment, and to romance an executive secretary.

The film has a number of songs sung by Hitoshi and a couple of dance routines. The 50+ year old comedy travels well over the years and across cultures. All-in-all, Irresponsible Era of Japan is solidly entertaining and well-worth seeing.

AsianCineFest Rating:
3 out of 4 stars; recommended

Print courtesy of National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

This screening of Irresponsible Era of Japan is part of the 2016 Globus Film Series Japan Sings! The Japanese Musical Film.

VIZ to premiere HUNTER X HUNTER on Adult Swim starting today

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE PREMIERE OF
HUNTER X HUNTER ON ADULT SWIM

Reboot Of Fantasy Adventure Anime Series Based On Bestselling
HUNTER X HUNTER Manga Launches With A Brand New English
Dub Cast On Leading Animation Network April 16th

VIZ Media excites action/adventure fans as it announces the launch of the all new HUNTER X HUNTER anime series on Adult Swim’s Toonami.

The first episode of the action-packed, supernatural adventure series will premiere today, Saturday, April 16 at 1:00 a.m. EST/PST, with future episodes to air each Saturday. Toonami is the anime programming block on Adult Swim, Turner’s network offering original and acquired animated and live-action series for young adults.

This latest anime property to join the VIZ Media catalog was produced in 2011 by the famed animation studio, MADHOUSE, and was broadcast in Japan on Nippon TV. The series reboots the popular HUNTER X HUNTER manga series created by Yoshihiro Togashi. For the North American debut, VIZ Media has assembled a fresh cast of talented voice actors that includes Erica Mendez as Gon Freecss, Cristina Vee as Killua Zoldyck, Matthew Mercer as Leorio, Keith Silverstein as Hisoka, and Erika Harlacher as Kurapika.

In the original HUNTER X HUNTER manga series, which is also published in print and digitally by VIZ Media (rated ‘T’ for Teens), 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.

In the HUNTER X HUNTER anime series, abundant riches, hidden treasures, fearsome monsters, and exotic creatures are scattered around the world... Gon departs on a journey to become a Pro Hunter who risks his life in search of the unknown. Along the way, he meets other applicants for the Hunter exam: Kurapika, Leorio, and Killua. Can Gon pass the rigorous challenges of the Hunter exam and become the best Hunter in the world!? His wild and epic journey is about to begin!!

“HUNTER X HUNTER is a fast-paced fantasy adventure beautifully animated by studio MADHOUSE and we are pleased to debut the series on Adult Swim’s Toonami with a first-ever English dub that adheres very closely to the storyline depicted in the original manga series,” says Charlene Ingram, Senior Marketing Manager, Animation. “We invite audiences to immerse themselves in this action-filled anime series and catch a new episode broadcast premiere each week!”

VIZ Media is the official North American distributor of the HUNTER X HUNTER anime series and holds the broadcast rights, digital streaming rights, home video rights and merchandising rights to the series.

For more information on HUNTER X HUNTER and anime titles from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

OH, BOMB! will be shown at Japan Society NY this afternoon

Japan Society NY
Presents
Oh, Bomb! © 1964 Toho Co., Ltd.
Oh, Bomb! / Aa Bakudan
Directed by Kihachi Okamoto
With Yunosuke Ito, Hiroshi Hasegawa, Kazuo Suzuki,
Ichiro Arishima, and Chotaro Togin
Japan, 1964, 95 minutes, 35mm, b&w
In Japanese with English subtitles

When: Saturday, April 16th, 2016 at 4:30 pm
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC

Toho new wave director Kihachi Okamoto tests the limits of the musical comedy in this experimental "rhythm film" that incorporates Japanese forms of "musical" performance such as naniwabushi and Buddhist chant, as well as direct references to West Side Story.

The zany revenge plot follows the great Japanese character actor Yunosuke Ito as an old-school yakuza replaced by his former underling. There's also a chauffeur with dreams of the big time and a sidekick who just loves dynamite, but what ties everything together is a musicality that extends to the editing rhythm of the film itself

 Oh, Bomb! was given a roadshow presentation in 1964, in a double bill with Hiroshi Teshigahara's Woman in the Dunes.

This screening of Oh, Bomb! is part of the 2016 Globus Film Series Japan Sings! The Japanese Musical Film

Friday, April 15, 2016

TWILIGHT SALOON screening at Japan Society this evening

Japan Society NY
Presents
Twilight Saloon © 1955 Toho Co., Ltd.
Twilight Saloon / Tasogare Sakaba
Directed by Directed by Tomu Uchida
With Isamu Kosugi, Keiko Tsushima, Daisuke Kato,
and Tetsuro Tamba, Jun Tatara
Japan, 1955, 93 minutes, 35mm, b&w
In Japanese with English subtitles

When: Friday, April 15th, 2016 at 7:00 pm
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC

Twilight Saloon is Tomu Uchida's second comeback film, after staying in China since World War II. Isamu Kosugi plays an alcoholic painter who quit painting when he realized his wartime work was propaganda. He bears witness to intersecting narratives that all take place on a single set, a cheap saloon featuring records and live performance. Gliding long takes and long shots, layered in depth, create a visual cross-section of postwar Japanese society in which classical opera, military marches, folk, and pop songs articulate the political, social, and sexual tensions between groups as well as reveal the interiority of each character. An all-star allegory of postwar Japan as seen by a war returnee.

Print courtesy of National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

This screening of Twilight Saloon is part of the 2016 Globus Film Series Japan Sings! The Japanese Musical Film

MOJIN: THE LOST LEGEND coming to home video on May 3rd 2016

Well Go USA
Presents
Mojin: The Lost Legend
Directed by Wuershan
China, 2015, 122 minutes

Based on the #1 Bestselling series of novels and starring Shu Qi (The Assassin), Chen Kun (Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon), Angelababy (Tai Chi Hero), and Huang Bo (Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen), Mojin: The Lost Legend debuts on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD on Tuesday, May 3rd from Well Go USA Entertainment.

Directed by Wuershan (Painted Skin: The Resurrection), the action/adventure fantasy thriller follows three retired tomb raiders lured back to their original vocation by a mysterious, businesswoman/cult leader who wants them to find the ancient tomb of a Mongolian princess. They eventually learn that what she really wants is to possess a famed artifact known as the Equinox Flower that allegedly has the power to raise the dead.

Synopsis:
Some people have a special gift. They’re able to travel between the realms of the Living and the Dead ... and Tomb Raiding can mean Big Business. Welcome to the world of the Mojin. Mojin: The Lost Legend pits a trio of legendary grave robbers against scholars, rivals, and the law – until an offer from a mysterious stranger tempts them into one last heist…an adventure that will test their skills, their friendship, and ultimately – their mortal souls.

Bonus Features Include:
-- Making of Featurette
-- Behind the Scenes - interviews with:
  -- Chen Kun
  -- Huang Bo

AsianCineFest already has received its Blu-ray screener, so look for our review on or just before the May 3rd release date.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

VIZ Media and Simon & Schuster Australia announce distribution deal

ONE-PUNCH MAN © 2012 by ONE, Yusuke Murata/SHUEISHA Inc.
SIMON & SCHUSTER AUSTRALIA TO DISTRIBUTE
VIZ MEDIA IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

VIZ Media and Simon & Schuster Australia have announced a comprehensive sales and distribution agreement to manage VIZ Media’s extensive manga (graphic novel) catalogue across Australia and New Zealand.

Simon & Schuster has been the exclusive distribution partner of VIZ Media for the United States and Canadian markets since 2004, the United Kingdom since 2007, and India starting in 2014. The new agreement will see the Australian arm of the business provide a full range of retail and wholesale distribution services for VIZ Media’s substantial library of manga titles. Simon & Schuster Australia will also manage the distribution of all VIZ Media’s imprints including Shonen Jump, Shonen Jump Advanced, Shojo Beat, Shonen Sunday, Perfect Square, VIZ Signature, Studio Ghibli Library and Haikasoru.

TOKYO GHOUL © 2011 by Sui Ishida/SHUEISHA Inc.

“I am delighted to join my colleagues in New York, London and New Delhi in bringing VIZ Media to our customers in Australia and New Zealand,” said Dan Ruffino, Managing Director of Simon & Schuster Australia. “We know there is a keen market here and look forward to working closely with VIZ Media to grow sales and awareness.”

“Simon & Schuster is a key strategic partner for VIZ Media, and together we share a strong commitment to support a fervent international fan base for high quality established series as well as emerging new titles,” said Kevin Hamric, Senior Director, Publishing Sales & Marketing, VIZ Media. “Australia and New Zealand are extremely strong markets for manga, and we look forward to working closely with Simon & Schuster Australia to bring a variety of exciting titles to a wide range of readers.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Sentai Filmworks acquires BAKUON!!


Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of Bakuon!! for the Spring 2016 simulcast season.

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

The series, based on the original manga by Mimana Orimoto, was directed by Junji Nishimura (Ranma ½, GLASSIP, Dog Days) with Kurasumi Sunayama (Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere) in charge of series composition. TMS Entertainment, the same studio that produced Yowamushi Pedal, Magic Knight Rayearth, Kamisama Kiss, and Gugure! Kokkuri-san, was in charge of animation production.

Bakuon!! is scheduled for an April 2016 broadcast in Japan and will soon be available for simulcast on select digital outlets, with a home video release to follow.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

VIZ releasing DRAGON BALL FULL COLOR: FREEZA ARC on May 3rd

DRAGON BALL © 2013 by BIRD STUDIO/SHUEISHA Inc.
VIZ MEDIA RELEASES
DRAGON BALL FULL COLOR: FREEZA ARC
IN BOLD PRINT AND DIGITAL EDITIONS

Major Story Arc Of Akira Toriyama’s Bestselling
Action Adventure Series Arrives In A Vivid
Large-Size Color Manga Edition Next Month!

VIZ Media offers a vibrant dose of Akira Toriyama’s most famous manga (graphic novel) series – DRAGON BALL – with the release of DRAGON BALL FULL COLOR: FREEZA ARC, Volume 1 on May 3rd.

The new edition of the classic action epic from the Shonen Jump imprint covers a fan-favorite story arc of the series and will be presented in a vivid, full-color volume at a larger 6 5/8" x 10 ¼” trim size. The volume is rated ‘A’ for All Ages and will carry a print MSRP of $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN. The DRAGON BALL FULL COLOR: FREEZA ARC, Volume 1 also launches digitally on May 3rd via VIZManga.com and the VIZ Manga App, as well as from the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, comiXology, and GooglePlay stores. Future full color editions of the 5-volume FREEZA ARC will be published on a quarterly basis.

After his epic battle with Vegeta, Son Goku and his friends must obtain the wish-granting Dragon Balls in order to resurrect their fallen allies! Their search will take them all the way to the planet Namek, where the evil Freeza and his minions are slaughtering the Namekians in order to fulfill Freeza’s wish for immortality. What will it take to defeat this great evil?

Also available digitally and in print from VIZ Media are Volumes 1-3 of the DRAGON BALL FULL COLOR: SAIYAN ARC, the exciting preceding storyline of the classic series.

Renowned worldwide for his playful, innovative storytelling and humorous, distinctive art style, Akira Toriyama burst onto the manga scene in 1980 with the wildly popular Dr. Slump. His hit series Dragon Ball (published in the U.S. as Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z) ran from 1984 to 1995 in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. He is also known for his design work on video games such as Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger, Tobal No. 1, and Blue Dragon. His manga works include JACO THE GALACTIC PATROLMAN, COWA! And SAND LAND (all published by VIZ Media), as well as Kajika, Neko Majin, and an illustrated children's book, Toccio the Angel.

For additional information on DRAGON BALL and other manga titles published by VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

Monday, April 11, 2016

SINGING LOVEBIRDS at Japan Society tomorrow night

Japan Society NY
Presents
Singing Lovebirds © 1939 Nikkatsu Corporation.
Singing Lovebirds / Oshidori Utagassen
Directed by Masahiro Makino
With Chiezo Kataoka, Takashi Shimura, Haruyo Ichikawa,
Dick Mine, and Tomiko Hattori
Japan, 1939, 69 minutes, 35mm, b&w
In Japanese with English subtitles

When: Tuesday, April 12th, 2016 at 7:00 pm
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map

Japan Society NY's new film series Japan Sings! The Japanese Musical Film continues tomorrow evening with Singing Lovebirds, a period musical in black and white.

A tie-up with the Teichiku record company starring jazz singers Dick Mine and Tomiko Hattori alongside singer-actress Haruyo Ichikawa and sword film superstar Chiezo Kataoka. This love quadrangle between a masterless samurai and three eligible suitors was marketed with the tagline "a rare operetta in which jazz bursts into the period film." As an operetta, characters speak in song (including Ichikawa's father, played by Takashi Shimura, the leader of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai) but the film is also musical in its utopian claim that the only authentic thing in the world is not traditional culture, or money, but love. Directed by Masahiro Makino, perhaps the most prolific director of musical films in Japan. 

Print courtesy of National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

This screening of Singing Lovebirds is part of the 2016 Globus Film Series Japan Sings! The Japanese Musical Film

VIZ announces digital manga update for April


©CAPCOM CO., LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. ©Keiichi Hikami ©2011 Shin Yamamoto
VIZ MEDIA OPENS SPRING WITH A BRAND
NEW DIGITAL MANGA UPDATE AND NEW
WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP SERIES FOR APRIL

WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP Digital Issues To Feature
HUNTER X HUNTER And NARUTO One-Shot;
Digital Manga Update Includes New Series
MONSTER HUNTERTM: FLASH HUNTER
And Additions To 19 Other Titles

VIZ Media begins the spring reading season with a brand new digital manga update and details notable WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP content for the month of April.

Manga fans can dive into creator Yoshihiro Togashi’s critically acclaimed fantasy adventure series, HUNTER X HUNTER, as it makes its return to the world’s bestselling manga magazine, WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP, starting in the April 18th issue. The April 25th issue of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP will feature a special NARUTO manga one-shot by creator Masashi Kishimoto. Visit http://shonenjump.viz.com/ for more information and access to WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP content.

New VIZ Media digital manga titles for April include the launch of MONSTER HUNTER: FLASH HUNTER, a brand new action series, written by Keiichi Hikami, with artwork by Shin Yamamoto, which is inspired by Capcom’s Monster HunterTM, one of the hottest RPG video game properties.

This month, readers are also invited to browse April’s selection of Digital Manga Bundles that offer the opportunity to dive into multiple collected volumes from a selection of acclaimed food related manga series, including FOOD WARS!, OISHINBO A LA CARTE, TORIKO and YAKITATE!! JAPAN at special savings over buying the volumes individually. Bundles are available to readers for a limited time exclusively from VIZManga.com, Amazon, and comiXology.

MONSTER HUNTER: FLASH HUNTER Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens •
DIGITAL MSRP: $6.99 (U.S. / CAN) • Available April 12th
It is an age when monsters rule the world, soaring through the sky, treading the earth and filling the seas. Humanity survives on the fringes, relying on a special kind of hero to defend the people from danger—the Monster Hunters!

April Digital Manga Bundle Promos (Available April 11th – April 25th):

FOOD WARS! BUNDLE I • $20.00
• Vols. 1-5

FOOD WARS! BUNDLE II • $35.00
• Vols. 1-10

OISHINBO A LA CARTE (Entire Series) • $21.00
• Vols. 1-7

TORIKO BUNDLE I • $12.00
• Vols. 1-4

TORIKO BUNDLE II • $20.00
• Vols. 1-10

TORIKO BUNDLE III • $30.00
• Vols. 1-15
YAKITATE!! JAPAN BUNDLE I • $40.00
• Vols. 1-10

YAKITATE!! JAPAN BUNDLE II • $70.00
• Vols. 1-20

YAKITATE!! JAPAN BUNDLE III (Entire Series) • $78.00
• Vols. 1-26

Additional digital manga updates for April also includes new volumes for 19 other continuing VIZ Media series. Notable releases include not-to-be-missed volumes for ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM (Vol. 9), DOROHEDORO (Vol. 18), FOOD WARS! (Vol. 11), ITSUWARIBITO (Vol. 17), MAGI (Vol. 17), SCHOOL JUDGMENT (Vol. 2), and TWIN STAR EXORCISTS (Vol. 4), as well as shojo manga additions including HONEY SO SWEET (Vol. 2), MY LOVE STORY!! (Vol. 8), and SO CUTE IT HURTS!! (Vol. 6). Also catch the exciting series finales of LIBRARY WARS: LOVE AND WAR (Vol. 15) and YU-GI-OH! 5D’S (Vol. 9).

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 ComiXology, iBooks and Google Play Stores.

Most manga volumes are available for purchase and download in the U.S. and Canada within the VIZ Manga application starting from only $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) each. Readers can also explore free Chapter 1 previews of every series. For more information, visit VIZManga.com or www.VIZ.com/apps.

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

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Supernatural yaoi manga MIDNIGHT STRANGER to debut April 12th

Mayonaka no Acchimon © 2013 Bohra Naono
GLOBAL YAOI IMPRINT SUBLIME ANNOUNCES WORLDWIDE
DEBUT OF BOHRA NAONO’S SUPERNATURAL ROMANCE
MIDNIGHT STRANGER

New 2-Volume Series About The Passion Between A God
And His Goat-Spirit Servant Launches In Print This Spring

SuBLime, the leading global English-language yaoi manga (graphic novel) publisher, delivers a new supernatural series from highly requested author Bohra Naono with the launch of MIDNIGHT STRANGER on Tuesday, April 12th.

The paranormal fantasy series about the love between a god and his goat-spirit servant will be released in print and is rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers. Each volume of the 2-volume MIDNIGHT STRANGER series will carry an MSRP of $12.99 U.S. / $14.99 CAN. The second and concluding volume of the series is scheduled for release later this year.

In MIDNIGHT STRANGER, Roi, a black goat spirit, is getting bullied when out of nowhere he’s rescued by the beautiful fire god Xiu. Xiu gives Roi the ability to take human form, and a grateful Roi decides to serve Xiu as his new master. Now by Xiu’s side every day, Roi wishes to become more than just his servant. Painfully aware of just how ugly he is, Roi believes Xiu could never care about him, and one day something happens to bring Xiu's wrath down on Roi. What must he do to gain the fire god’s favor?

“Manga creator Bohra Naono has drawn wide praise for her previously published English titles Yokai’s Hunger and SuBLime’s very own THREE WOLVES MOUNTAIN. Because of this, readers have consistently requested we publish more of her work, and we think they will be pleased with this new release,” says SuBLime Editor Jennifer LeBlanc. “We are excited to expand the SuBLime catalog with this new series and look forward to fans of Bohra Naono adding it to their own collections.”

Yaoi manga artist/creator Bohra Naono has created over twenty manga, some of which also have been adapted into popular drama CDs. She has also published several doujinshi (independent comics) under the circle name “NAIFU.” Naono's previous English-language releases include Yokai's Hunger and THREE WOLVES MOUNTAIN (published by SuBLime; rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers). To find out more about Bohra Naono, please visit her website at www.bnlyz.com.

For up-to-date news and release information, visit the SuBLime website at www.SuBLimeManga.com.