With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Monday, October 31, 2016

REIGN OF ASSASSINS reviewed; out tomorrow on DVD and Digital

Anchor Bay Entertainment
Reign of Assassins / Jian yu
Directed by Su Chao-Pin
Co-Directed by John Woo
Starring Michelle Yeoh, Jung Woo-Sung and Xueqi Wang
China/Taiwan/Hong Kong, 2010, 107 minutes

Reign of Assassins is a period martial arts film that will become available tomorrow, November 1st, on Digital HD & On Demand and on DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Billed -- and not without some reason -- as a sort of composite of Face/Off and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the film's story centers on the ancient remains of a Buddhist monk that are believed to confer the power to control the martial art world on whoever possesses them. Seized by members of a band of assassins, who kill their owner and his son, the remains are then taken by one of them who wants them for herself. She decides not to keep them and undergoes facial surgery to change her appearance and to try to live a normal life. She marries a messenger, but the quest for the dead monk's remains bring both the gang of assassins and others into her life and threatens to expose her true identity.

Disc Specs
-- Audio: Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1
-- Subtitles:
   -- English
   -- English for the Hearing Impaired
   -- Spanish
   -- None
-- Extras/Bonus Features: None

This is a really solid martial arts action flick, not least because it stars the wonderful Michelle Yeoh. Not only is she a terrific action star, but she is a fine actress who pretty much always brings depth to any character she plays. The rest of the cast is very good also.

Wei Tung (as Stephen Tung) has done a fine job as action coordinator.

The film also benefits from a better than average story by Chao-Bin Su. Though not up to the screenplay of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Reign of Assassins has real heart to it.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars; highly recommended

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Sentai Filmworks adds MAGIC OF STELLA to Fall 2016 lineup

Sentai Filmworks has announced the addition of the slice-of-life comedy Magic of Stella to its Fall 2016 lineup.

Based on the four-panel manga serialized in Manga Time Kirara Max, the series follows first-year high school student Tamaki Honda and her SNS club as they work together to create a self-published game. With Tamaki as the project’s illustrator, she works alongside the club’s other (rather peculiar) members, including Shiina (the club president and game programmer), Ayame (the scenario writer), Kayo (their music composer), and Yumine (the club’s boys’ love expert).

The series was directed by Shinya Kawatsura (Tanaka-kun is Always Listless, Non Non Biyori) with series composition by Fumihiko Shimo (Myriad Colors Phantom World, Infinite Stratos, New Game!). Animation production was helmed by SILVER LINK, the same studio responsible for favorites like Chivalry of a Failed Knight, WATAMOTE, and Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya.

Magic of Stella will be available on select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Sentai Filmworks has acquired the license for LONG RIDERS!

Sentai Filmworks has announced the newest addition to its Fall 2016 lineup: Long Riders!

For first-year college student Ami Kurata, it was love at first sight when she laid her eyes on a folding bike. She saves up money to buy one of her own, then pedals right into the exciting world of long-distance bicycling. After forming a cycling team on campus, Ami and her four new bike mates prepare for the ride of their lives in an upcoming long-distance race.

The series was directed by Tatsuya Yoshihara (Monster Musume: Everyday Life with Monster Girls), with series composition by Natsuko Takahashi (My Love Story!!, Divine Gate). Animation production was handled by Actas, the same studio responsible for the Girls und Panzer franchise.

Long Riders! will be available on select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

THE LOST BLADESMAN coming to home video November 1st

Anchor Bay Entertainment
The Lost Bladesman / Guan Yun Chang
Directed by Alan Mak and Felix Chong
China/Hong Kong, 2011, 109 minutes

Golden Lotus Award Winner for Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor
Arrives on DVD, Digital HD & On Demand November 1, 2016

International superstar Donnie Yen (Ip Man series, Hero, 14 Blades, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend) leads an epic cast in The Lost Bladesman, loosely based on Luo Guanzhong's historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, arriving on Digital HD & On Demand and on DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment November 1st for the suggested retail price of $19.98.

Also starring in the action-packed, gorgeously shot film are Wen Jiang (Warriors of Heaven and Earth, Let the Bullets Fly, The Sun Also Rises), Sun Li (Empresses of the Palace, Painted Skin) and Andy On (Mad Detective, True Legend, Blackhat).

Written and directed by critically acclaimed filmmakers Alan Mak and Felix Chong – creators of the successful Infernal Affairs trilogy, The Lost Bladesman won several Golden Lotus awards at the 2011 Macau International Movie Festival including Best Film, Best Director for Mak and Chong, and Best Actor for Donnie Yen. Wen Jiang also won the Best Actor award from the Shanghai Film Critics for his performance in the film.

During the warring period of the three kingdoms, ancient China is in turmoil. To unify the country, General Cao Cao (Wen Jiang), the real power behind the emperor, enlists the aid of the greatest warrior in the land Guan Yu (Donnie Yen). However, Guan Yu is a loyal friend of Cao Cao's enemy Liu Bei (Alex Fong). To persuade the peerless warrior to fight, Cao Cao takes his beloved Qi Lan (Betty Sun) hostage. After leading Cao Cao's forces to victory, Guan Yu sets out with Qi Lan to rejoin Liu Bei. But now Cao Cao has deemed him too great a threat to live, and on the journey he must face all the forces at the emperor's command sent to destroy him.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

6 film series "Pop! Goes Cinema: Kadokawa Film & 1980s Japan" coming to Japan Society NY

Japan Society NY
Pop! Goes Cinema: Kadokawa Film & 1980s Japan
When: November 8 - December 17, 2016
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC

6-Film Series Celebrates 40th Anniversary
of Famed Kadokawa Studio with
5 U.S. Premiere Restorations

Established by the larger-than-life, controversial businessman, producer and visionary Haruki Kadokawa, the game-changing Kadokawa Film studio redefined Japanese popular culture and media from the late 1970s through the 1980s with a series of highly marketed blockbusters, pop idol vehicles and off-the-walls genre films, each a unique blend of mainstream pop and experimental cinema unlike anything Japan had seen at the time.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Kadokawa’s shift from publishing house to cinematic powerhouse, Japan Society presents Pop! Goes Cinema: Kadokawa Film & 1980s Japan, a mini-retrospective of six celebrated and rarely-screened selections from Kadokawa — almost all in brand-new 4k restorations.

Running November 8 through December 17, the series presents the wildly popular genre favorites Sailor Suit and Machine Gun and The Little Girl Who Conquered Time, both among some of the most defining films of the 1980s in Japan, as well as more obscure titles that embody Kadokawa's trademark highbrow-lowbrow clash of sexy, broody, sensual and cool. Revelations abound for the uninitiated and familiar alike from Yusaku Matsuda’s creepy, all-or-nothing performance in The Beast to Die, to the hauntingly beautiful melodies of W’s Tragedy by Joe Hisaishi. Rounding out the series are the unconventional romance Play it, Boogie-Woogie, and the bigger-than-big budget Virus, starring a globe-spanning international cast.

Featured filmmakers include some of Japan’s most revered cult and genre directors, notably Toshiya Fujita (Lady Snowblood, Stray Cat Rock), Kinji Fukasaku (Battle Royale, Battles Without Honor and Humanity) and Nobuhiko Obayashi (House, School in the Crosshairs), as well as several career-making and/or career-defining performances from Yusaku Matsuda, one of Japanese cinema's biggest stars though virtually unknown outside of Japan, to Tomoyo Harada and Hiroko Yakushimaru, Kadokawa’s biggest idol stars, whose debut roles are included in the series.

With the exception of Play it, Boogie-Woogie all films have been newly restored digitally as 4k scans output to 2k DCPs, with these screenings marking the U.S. Premieres of the restorations. None of these films are available on home video with English subtitles.

When Haruki Kadokawa transformed the mid-size publishing house into a film studio, he formulated a revolutionary-for-its-time "mixed media" marketing strategy that sold films with crossover books and soundtrack albums. Jumpstarting the 1970s blockbuster phenomenon in Japan, in just ten years the studio produced six of the ten most successful films in Japanese film history. In addition to producing over 70 films and directing six, the flamboyant and eccentric Kadokawa was a prize-winning poet, accomplished sailor, and even the head Shinto priest of his own shrine.

"While an older generation of film critics despised Kadokawa and his films as a step towards depoliticization and a totalizing consumer culture, Kadokawa’s media mix captured the burgeoning anything-goes atmosphere of 1980s pop culture in Japan," writes series curator Alexander Zahlten, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, and Program Director for Nippon Connection Film Festival in Frankfurt, Germany from 2002 to 2010. "Kadokawa Film defined an era – and laid the groundwork for the vibrant Japanese media ecology of today."

Japan Society's Senior Film Programmer Aiko Masubuchi adds, "These selections represent a monumental shift in Japanese cinema that happened during the early 1980s, an often overlooked or unfairly maligned decade in Japanese film history that, for better or worse, completely changed popular culture in Japan. While many Japanese audiences will be very familiar with these titles and their stars, this is largely an introduction for New Yorkers to the uniquely spectacular cinema of excess and imagination that characterized Kadokawa Film."

Pop! Goes Cinema is an extension of 40th anniversary celebrations happening this year throughout Japan, including a Kadokawa-organized festival so popular that an encore is in the works, and a major retrospective at Tokyo's National Film Center, Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

Admission: $13/$10 seniors and students/$9 Japan Society members. Special Offer: Purchase tickets for at least three films in the same transaction and receive $2 off each ticket. Tickets can be purchased in person at Japan Society, online at www.japansociety.org, or by calling the box office at 212-715-1258.

For further information about the six films in the series and the lecture Kadokawa & The Shaping of Japanese Popular Culture that will take place on December 17th at 5:00 Pm, before the 7:00 PM showing in W's Tragedy, click here.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

REIGN OF ASSASSINS coming to home video on November 1st

Anchor Bay Entertainment
Reign of Assassins / Jian yu
Directed by Su Chao-Pin
China/Taiwan/Hong Kong, 2010, 107 minutes

Michelle Yeoh (Babylon A.D., Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend), Jung Woo-Sung (The Good, The Bad, The Weird; A Moment to Remember, The Warrior) and Xueqi Wang (Iron Man 3, Bodyguards and Assassins, Warriors of Heaven and Earth) star in Reign of Assassins, the exciting martial arts thriller produced by the legendary John Woo (Mission Impossible: II, Face/Off, The Killer), arriving on Digital HD & On Demand and on DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment on November 1.

Directed by Su Chao-Pin, Reign of Assassins is the winner of two Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards including Best Director & Film of Merit, and also received 11 Hong Kong Film Award nominations, including a Best Picture nomination. Reign of Assassins will be available for the suggested retail price of $19.98.

Produced by John Woo and Terence Chang, this epic martial arts action thriller promises to be Face/Off meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Set in ancient China, the film stars Michelle Yeoh as a skilled assassin who is on a mission to return the remains of a mystical Buddhist monk to their resting place. The remains are believed to hold a powerful secret. Along the way, she falls in love with a man named Jiang, whose father was killed by her gang. Unaware that he also is a trained martial artist, their love blossoms but tensions arise as the truth of her past unravels. Soon, a lethal triangle surfaces between her, Jiang and the team of assassins that are after the monk’s remains.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

LEGEND OF BRUCE LEE: VOLUME ONE coming to DVD November 1st

Well Go USA
Legend of Bruce Lee: Volume One
Starring Danny Chan
451 minutes

10 Episodes Available on DVD November 1

Danny Chan (Ip Man 3, Kung Fu Hustle) brings the legendary figure of Bruce Lee and his incredible story to life in 10 action-packed episodes when LEGEND OF BRUCE LEE: VOLUME ONE debuts on DVD November 1 from Well Go USA Entertainment. The life story of the renowned martial arts icon follows him from Hong Kong to America and back again. LEGEND OF BRUCE LEE: VOLUME ONE also stars Michelle Lang, Gary Daniels, Ted Duran, Natalia Dzyublo, Wang Luoyong, Hazen McIntyre, Ray Park, Tim Storms, Michael Jai White, Traci Ann Wolfe, Mark Dacascos and Ash Gordey.

Young Bruce Lee (Danny Chan) has no interest in studying and is obsessed with martial arts. After losing a street fight, he resolves to master Kung Fu under the tutelage of Master Ye Wen. Targeted by street gangs after standing up for the weak, Bruce has no other option but to leave Hong Kong for a strange and far off land: America. At the University of Washington Bruce starts teaching martial arts and befriends an American girl named Linda (Michelle Lang). An extraordinary performance at a national karate championship launches Bruce, his film career, and his Kung Fu school on the path to international renown.

Friday, October 21, 2016

MIFUNE: THE LAST SAMURAI opens in theaters starting November 25th

Strand Releasing
Mifune: The Last Samurai
Directed by Steven Okazaki
Narrated by: Keanu Reeves
USA/Japan, 2015, 80 minutes
In English and Japanese (With Subtitles)

Opening Theatrically on Friday, November 25, 2016 in New York at the IFC Center
with additional cities including Los Angeles (December 2),
San Francisco (December 9) and a wider national release to follow

Nearly 20 years after his death, Toshiro Mifune remains a true giant of world cinema. He made 16 remarkable films with director Akira Kurosawa, including Rashomon, Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, and together they shook the film world, inspiring not only The Magnificent Seven and Clint Eastwood’s breakthrough movie, A Fistful of Dollars, but also George Lucas’ Star Wars.

Mifune: The Last Samurai, the new feature-length documentary by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Okazaki, explores the evolution of the samurai film; Mifune's childhood and World War II experience; his accidental entry into the movies; and dynamic but sometimes turbulent collaboration with Kurosawa.

Mifune – wry, charismatic and deadly -- was the first non-white action star. “A lot of people try to imitate Mifune, especially when they’re playing strong and silent,” says Steven Spielberg, “ but nobody can. He was unique in all the world.”

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Yang Chao's CROSSCURRENT is coming to North American theaters starting October 28th

Cheng Cheng Films
Crosscurrent / Chang jiang tu
Directed by Yang Chao
Starring Qin Hao and Xin Zhilei 
China, 2016, 116 minutes

Mysterious, sublime and elegiac, director Yang Chao’s odyssey blends breathtaking images with fantasy, poetry and history to create a complex magical universe. From the Shanghai metropolis to the snow-capped Tibet mountain, Gao Chun (actor Qin Hao) steers his cargo up the Yangtze, a river that has nurtured a centuries-old civilization. He comes across An Lu (actress Xin Zhilei), a beautiful woman who appears in a different identity at every port recorded by a poetry book. As their intimacy grows, he realizes she gradually turns younger as he journeys upstream. He starts to wonder whether An Lu is supernatural or he is traveling in time. After passing a pagoda that reverberates Buddha’s voice, a flooded town reappeared elsewhere, the grandiose Three Gorges Dam and many other places that have been transformed, he finally arrives at the start of the Yangtze, where he unveils the secret of his past and An Lu.

Opening in Theaters:
New York: Regal E-Walk Stadium 13 & RPX

Toronto: Cineplex Cinemas Markham and VIP
Vancouver: Cineplex Silver City Riverport

Los Angeles: Regal Edwards University Town Center
Regal Edwards Alhambra Renaissance Stadium

More locations will be updated at CrosscurrentMovie.com.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

VIZ previewed 2017 publishing acquisitions at NY Comic Con


Publishing Roster Expands With New Titles For 2017 Release

VIZ Media thrilled legions of fans at its official panel event at the recent 2016 New York Comic Con during which it detailed a host of brand new manga publishing acquisitions.

VIZ Media previewed each of the 6 new titles that include the music-driven romance in ANONYMOUS NOISE, the story of a queer woman finding her place in the music scene in AFTER HOURS, a survival treasure hunt adventure in GOLDEN KAMUY, and the creepy flesh-eating drama of TOKYO GHOUL: RE, the new sequel to the bestselling manga series. Also announced was the launch of BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATION, which continues the action-packed ninja saga by famed creator Masashi Kishimoto, as well as VAMPIRE KNIGHT: MEMORIES, an ongoing collection of short stories from the original series’ beloved creator Matsuri Hino.

Additional information on each of these titles will be announced in the near future.

New VIZ Media Publishing Acquisitions for 2017 Release:

ANONYMOUS NOISE • Rated ‘T’ for Teens • Debuts Spring 2017
A girl who loves to sing, Nino Arisugawa experiences her first heart-wrenching goodbye when her beloved childhood friend, Momo, moves away. And after Nino befriends Yuzu, a music composer, she experiences another sad parting! With music as their common ground and only outlet, how will her unrequited loves play out? Since both boys promised Nino that they would find her one day through her singing, she holds on to that hope and continues to reach out with her voice. Now in high school, Nino serendipitously reunites with Yuzu, but she yearns to see Momo again...

AFTER HOURS • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • Debuts Summer 2017
Emi Asahina is 24, unemployed, and not really sure what she wants to do with her life. When a friend invites her to a dance club, Emi doesn’t expect much but decides to give it a try…and ends up hiding in the corner after her friend ditches her for a dude! Emi figures the night is a bust, but then an exciting woman comes to her rescue. Kei is a DJ, and her effortless self-confidence captivates Emi. Is this the start of something special or just one wonderful night?

BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATION • Rated ‘T’ for Teens • Debuts Spring 2017
Naruto was a young shinobi with an incorrigible knack for mischief. He achieved his dream to become the greatest ninja in the village and his face sits atop the Hokage monument. But this is not his story... A new generation of ninja are ready to take the stage, led by Naruto's son, Boruto!

GOLDEN KAMUY • Rated ‘M’ for Mature • Debuts Summer 2017
The winner of the 2016 Manga Taisho Award. “Sugimoto the Immortal,” a surviving soldier of the Russo-Japanese War, seeks the riches promised by a gold rush in Hokkaido, Japan’s frozen north. Instead, he stumbles upon the tale of a vast stash of Ainu gold and sets off on a dangerous treasure hunt with only a young Ainu girl as his guide. Just one problem: the map to the treasure was tattooed on the skins of criminals, and Sugimoto has to vie with said criminals, the military, wild animals and even a specter of the Shinsengumi to piece together the map.

TOKYO GHOUL: RE • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • Debuts Fall 2017
A new sequel to the bestselling TOKYO GHOUL by creator Sui Ishida set after the events of the main series. The main character is Haise Sasaki, a Ghoul Investigator assigned to oversee a squad of unruly young Investigators that have had ghoul traits experimentally implanted into them. The pressure is on this experimental and temperamental squad to become the best Ghoul Investigators and their mettle will first be tested tracking down a gruesome ghoul known as “Torso.”

VAMPIRE KNIGHT: MEMORIES • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens • Debuts Summer 2017
VAMPIRE KNIGHT: MEMORIES is a continuing collection of short stories from creator Matsuri Hino that delves into Yuki and Zero's time as a couple in the past, and explores the relationship between Yuki's children and Kaname in the present. These are gorgeously drawn and heartfelt stories sure to delight fans of the original series.

For additional information on manga titles published by VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

SUSHI: JIRO GASTRONOMY - an AsianCineFest book review

Written by Jiro Ono and Yoshikazu Ono
VIZ Media edition published October 2016
5.5 inches high, 4.1 inches wide, 0.3 inches thick
96 pages
MSRP of $14.99 US / $16.99 CAN

SUSHI: JIRO GASTRONOMY is a wonderful guide to sushi dinning that becomes available today, Tuesday, October 11th from VIZ Media.

Written by renowned chef Jiro Ono, the subject of the award-winning documentary film Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and Yoshikazu Ono, Jiro's older son, it provides a guide to the sushi served at their famous Tokyo restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro. (Jiro's younger son, Takashi, opened his own sushi restaurant with his father's blessing.)

The slim volume consists of a Foreword and three chapters.

The first chapter, "Omakase Tasting Menu," describes thirty types of sushi that are served at Sukiyabashi Jiro, each in a two page spread. The left-hand page is a beautiful color photo of the sushi sitting on a black surface. The right-hand page provides the name of the dish in English and in Japanese, an indication of the season in which it is served, and information about such things as its character and preparation.

"How to Eat Sushi" is self-descriptive, with pictures (again in lovely color) illustrating the various "Do"s and "Don't"s for correctly eating sushi and thereby maximizing one's enjoyment of it.

The third chapter is entitled "Dining at Sukiyabashi Jiro." It provides information about making reservations (an absolute necessity), dress code, accepted payment methods, and more.

Given its size and number of pages, this volume may seem rather pricey at first glance. However, the quality of the paper used and the many gorgeous photographs make it a much more reasonable purchase.

And let's face it, this book (and the documentary film) is probably as close as most of us will ever get to dining at Sukiyabashi Jiro, where the omikase tasting menu is 30,000 yen (a bit under $300 at current rates) plus tax for lunch or dinner.

So if you're a sushi lover, no matter to what degree, I think you'll really want this book.

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

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Tatsuya Nakadai to appear at Japan Society on October 31st after screening of THE FACE OF ANOTHER

Japan Society NY
The Face of Another © 1966 Toho Co. Ltd.
The Face of Another / Tanin no Kao
Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara 
With Tatsuya Nakadai, Machiko Kyo, Mikijiro Hira,
Kyoko Kishida, and Eiji Okada
Japan, 1966, 124 minutes
35mm, b/w, in Japanese with English subtitles

When: Monday, October 31, 2016 at 7:00 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC
($15/$12 Japan Society members)

Legendary actor Tatsuya Nakadai visits Japan Society for a 50th anniversary screening of Hiroshi Teshigahara’s existential, horror-tinged masterpiece. The third of four film collaborations between director Teshigahara, composer Toru Takemitsu and writer Kobo Abe (who adapted his own best-selling novel for the screen), The Face of Another brilliantly examines themes of identity and alienation through the story of Okuyama, a young businessman who is fitted with a lifelike prosthetic mask after an industrial accident leaves him burned and disfigured. While the new face initially offers a sense of freedom, things take a dark turn as Okuyama becomes increasingly paranoid and erratic, suggesting the mask has taken on a chilling personality of its own.

After the screening, Nakadai will be joined on stage by Yukie Kamiya, Japan Society Gallery Director, for a unique conversation about the significance of masks and noh influences in The Face of Another and Nakadai’s long-spanning acting career. This event is presented in conjunction with the Japan Society Gallery exhibition Simon Starling: At Twilight (After W.B. Yeats’ Noh Reincarnation) (Oct. 14, 2016-Jan. 15, 2017), which explores the impact of noh on art in Western Modernism.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

"Haikyu!! 3rd Season: Karasuno High VS. Shiratoizawa High School" to be available soon from Sentai Filmworks

It’s time to return to Karasuno High in the exciting third season of Haikyu!! Join Hinata, Kageyama, and the rest of the team in one of the most anticipated shows of the Fall 2016 season, Haikyu!! 3rd Season: Karasuno High VS. Shiratoizawa High School.

Picking up where the second season ended, the boys prepare to finally face off for the right to represent the prefecture in the volleyball national championship. Despite being known as “The Fallen Champions,” Karasuno is determined to take down the powerhouse that is the Shiratorizawa High volleyball team. As Hinata comes closer to fulfilling his promise to defeat Ushijima’s team, will the “Flightless Crows” finally find their wings and soar above the best school in the prefecture?

Original director Susumu Mitsunaka returns to direct the third season, with Taku Kishimoto (91 Days, ERASED) once again in charge of series composition. Production I.G, the same studio responsible for Kuroko’s Basketball, Psycho-Pass, and the first two seasons of Haikyu!!, returns to produce the series.

Haikyu!! 3rd Season will be available on select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Sentai Filmworks announces acquisition of SQUID GIRL

Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of the Squid Girl franchise for North America. Sentai’s acquisition will extend availability of the series, including seasons one, two, and the OVA’s to home video, television, and select digital outlets.

The cutest little tentacle-haired invader from the sea, Squid Girl, has come to subdue humanity! Unfortunately, she’s in hot water with the Aizawa siblings after a demonstration of her squid powers destroys their restaurant, the Lemon Beach House. Now, she’s forced to work as a waitress for them until she pays off her damages. Between her aquatic puns, bickering with the Aizawa sisters, tiffs with customers, and the many misadventures that come with seaside life, Squid Girl has her hands, and her tentacles, full!

The original manga series by Masahiro Anbe was serialized in Akita Shoten's Weekly Shōnen Champion for nearly a decade from 2007 to 2016. Tsutomu Mizushima (Girls und Panzer, SHIROBAKO) directed the animated series, with series composition by Michiko Yokote (RIN-NE, SHIROBAKO). Animation production was handled by diomedéa (Gingitsune).

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Sentai Filmworks has licensed MATOI THE SACRED SLAYER

Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of animation production studio WHITE FOX’s (Akame ga Kill!, Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World, Is the Order a Rabbit?) first original anime series, Matoi the Sacred Slayer.

I have wielded a god.

The year 2016 -- In Tenman Shrine in Kamagaya City, Matoi Sumeragi was a 2nd year middle school student working a part-time job as a shrine maiden. Separated at a very young age with her mother, she has been entrusted for a long time with her paternal grandparents, and three months ago she finally started living together with her father Shingo. Because of such conditions, Matoi had been looking up to an ordinary, calm lifestyle.

Matoi's close friend and coworker Yuma Kusanagi was the candidate for the next shrine maiden, being born into the family of the Tenman Shrine's shrinemaster. She finds out that the family has conducted "exorcism" to rid evil spirits for generations, and attempts the "ritual of divine possession", a ritual connected to "exorcism", together with Matoi.

After school, the two of them head to the shrine as usual, but there they find a devastated shrine and Yuma's parents wounded and collapsed. Furthermore, there was a man there with somewhat of an aura of insanity, who was a suspect for a mysterious case that Shingo, who is a detective, was trying to crack. Yuma suddenly conducts a "ritual of divine possession" in order to hold the thrashing man back, but it wasn't Yuma that changes happened to…

What was given a girl who was seeking an ordinary, normal life was the power to wield a god and rid evil spirits!? Matoi Sumeragi will earnestly work at exorcist activities in order to regain those calm days where nothing gets in her way!

The series was directed by Masayuki Sakoi (Strawberry Panic!, Princess Resurrection) with series organization and script by Yosuke Kuroda (High School of the Dead, Trigun, My Hero Academia).

Matoi the Sacred Slayer is scheduled for an October 4, 2016 broadcast in Japan. It will soon be available on select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

Monday, October 03, 2016

PAPRIKA will be shown at Japan Society on Friday, October 7th

Japan Society NY
Monthly Classics Series
Paprika / Papurika
Directed by Satoshi Kon
Japan, 2006, 90 minutes, 35 mm, color
In Japanese with English subtitles

When: Friday, October 7, 2016 at 7 PM
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC

In an alternate near-future, a revolutionary technology called the DC Mini allows a group of researchers, led by the brilliant Dr. Atsuko Chiba, to enter and record the dreams of psychiatric patients. When the prototypes are stolen, however, the dream world starts crashing into reality with increasingly disastrous effects. Aided by a trauma-stricken detective, Dr. Chiba sets out to track down the thief. The fourth and final film by the late, great Satoshi Kon is a culmination of the groundbreaking director's visual style and a crowning achievement of Japanese animation.

This screening is in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the film's release and is part of Japan Society's Monthly Classics film series which offers year-round screenings of beloved classics, hidden gems and recent discoveries of Japanese cinema.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Sentai Filmworks acquires GIRLS UND PANZER DER FILM


Sentai Filmworks, a leading independent distributor of Japanese anime and pop culture programming, has announced that they have acquired extensive distribution rights to the highly acclaimed, record-breaking Japanese anime film, Girls und Panzer der Film, for North America, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and other territories. Sentai Filmworks will release additional information on Girls und Panzer der Film shortly, including distribution, release date, and streaming offerings.

“After seeing Girls und Panzer der Film last year, I knew we had to add this title to our already acclaimed library of movies. It’s one of the most exciting titles we’ve acquired this year,” said John Ledford, President of Sentai Filmworks. “Sometimes we choose films because they are critically acclaimed. Sometimes we pick films because they’re runaway hits. Girls und Panzer der Film is the perfect combination of both.”

During its recent Japanese theatrical run, Girls Und Panzer Der Film was ranked the highest-grossing movie of opening weekend and earned more than $21 million total at the Japanese box office. It is directed by Tsutomu Mizushima, the same director of the 2012-2013 Japanese TV anime series, Girls und Panzer, which was also extremely popular and well received. The film continues where the beloved anime series Girls und Panzer left off, which takes place in a society where humanity exists in cities built atop gigantic carrier ships. A sport called “tankery” is a popular staple activity among high school girls. The girls of the Oarai High School tankery team are in for a new challenge, as they work together to defeat rival schools in order to keep their school from being closed down.

Girls und Panzer der Film shattered both Japanese 2015 box office and DVD sales records, including:

· Sold more than one million tickets and grossed more than $1.2 million U.S. in its opening weekend in Japan, becoming the number-one film in gross at the time
· Earned more than $2.3 billion yen ($21 million U.S.) total at the Japanese box office
· Won the prestigious Seiun Award Best Dramatic Presentation
· Awarded the Sanctuary Award from the 25th Japan Movie Critics Award
· Number one for the first week of its domestic home video release, and the fourth-highest selling Japanese animation Blu-ray Disc to date among all anime (for first-week sales)

Girls und Panzer der Film will kick off its multi-pronged campaign at this year’s AkibaFest, an anime fan festival in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, from October 15-16. Fans can take pictures with Girls und Panzer der Film cosplayers, create shareable GIFs at a GIF booth, shop exclusive merchandise, and score free swag.

SOULMATE receives 7 nominations at Taiwan Golden Horse Film Awards, now in North American theaters

Soulmate, a drama about two girls' decades long friendship, received 7 nominations from Taiwan Golden Horse Film Awards, the Chinese cinema’s equivalent of Oscars. Both actresses, Zhou Dongyu and Ma Sichun are nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role. The nominees were announced on Saturday in Taipei.

The film was adapted by veteran Hong Kong film director Peter Chan (Comrades Almost a Love Story, Dragon) from a online novel written by Anni Baobei. Soulmate was nominated for Best Director, Best Leading Actress (two) , Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Costume Design and Best Original Film Song.

Producer Peter Chan, director Derek Tsang, two leading actresses Zhou Dongyu and Masichun reacted to the nomination.

Peter Chan: I’m gratified and relieved. (Both actresses you picked for the roles are nominated) It’s perfect! Both of them are indispensable.

Director Derek Tsang: I’m very grateful. I’m so excited! I don’t know what to say. My mind has gone blank. (You were nominated for Best New Director in 2010. Now you are in the same category with Feng Xiaogang and Johnnie To) It’s a great honor to be nominated together with them. I feel I have already won. They are both masters. Their films are great. (Both actresses are nominated for Best Leading Actress?) Both of them getting nominated actually is exactly what I have been hoping for. Because both of them did such wonderful job in Soulmate. This is what I have wanted to see. Now I have finally seen it happen. Don’t know what to say. I am thrilled.

Zhou Dongyu: Hahaha…Happy! I don’t always get nominated. The photo…(Talking about the still used for nomination announcement) The teeth, the eyes…so tight. Thanks to the director! Thanks to July. Thanks to Soulmate. Thanks to everybody!

Ma Sichun: (Teared up) It’s my first time getting nominated for Best Leading Actress. I’m shocked, moved and surprised. It’s a special thing. I’m grateful I have a wonderful co-star Zhou Dongyu. I am happy for her. I am happy for all of us. Thanks to the director, our producer and the entire team. They lifted us up. My special thanks to Dongyu. We had great chemistry. This is my second Golden Horse nomination. I thought I wouldn’t be so lucky to get nominated twice in a row. I can’t thank enough.

The film is now playing in theaters in North America. Full theater list is at filmsoulmate.com.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Section23 Films has announced its November 2016 slate of releases

Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its November slate of releases; including Sentai Filmworks’ science fiction hit Knights of Sidonia Season 2: Battle for Planet Nine Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Collector’s Edition Premium Box Set!

Product details follow, in order of release.

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 350 min.
Street Date: 11/1/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98, $49.98

SYNOPSIS: Rito Yuki's latest close encounters are starting to resemble a straight out invasion! While intergalactic romance is out of this world, attracting such high voltage vixens is not unlike being a fork stuck into an anti-matter engine to retrieve a plutonium bagel; it definitely messes with your head and heart. Rito struggles to grasp how he can love more than one girl at once, all while his inability to confess to his human paramour, Haruna, causes Devilukean Princess Momo's Harem Plan to come to a standstill. On top of that, the transforming assassin, Golden Darkness, is still interested in killing him, but she has her own family issues to deal with. Not to mention, a different darkness lurks among the innocent pandemonium. Things are just as out of control as always, but danger is on the horizon in TO LOVERU DARKNESS 2!

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 11/8/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98, $49.98

SYNOPSIS: Even though there are still only five students who attend the remote Asahigaoka Branch School, each one of the girls already has a lifetime of wonderful experiences in the carefree Japanese countryside. Some memories may belong to just one person, like Hotaru's recollections of her first day in Asahigaoka before she'd had a chance to meet her new friends. Other memories bring an otherwise sleepy town to life for Komari, Natsumi, Renge, or even Suguru. From daily life in school, to unforgettable holiday festivities, or even simple adventures like learning how to make okonomiyaki, new adventures are just waiting to be shared as we return to Asahigaoka in NON NON BIYORI REPEAT!

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 11/15/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $59.98

SYNOPSIS: When Hotaru Tachibana storms into a host club to avenge the honor of a wronged female student, the last thing Hotaru expects is to duel the club's most popular host with airsoft guns instead of fists. When Masamune Matsuoka's experience wins out over Tachibana's brawn, he realizes that he can use his victory (and the large bill for damaging the club) to make Tachibana join his struggling Survival Gaming team. However, what ladies' man Masamune totally misses is that his unwilling new guy… isn't a guy at all! Under the boy's clothing and strong need to defend justice, Tachibana is all-girl, but, for a number of complicated reasons, she absolutely CAN'T expose that fact to Masamune or his teammate, the erotic manga artist Toru Yukimura. Blood will boil both on and off the airsoft arena, but it's not over until the last round is shot in AOHARU X MACHINEGUN!

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 11/22/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $59.98

SYNOPSIS: You can't keep a good Gatchaman down, especially when a new organization called VAPE (short for Violent Ape) starts hijacking CROWDS technology. The ensuing wave of "Red CROWDS" incidents targeting high profile targets like the Prime Minister make it clear that the good team needs to start recruiting; fast. Fortunately, help arrives quickly, and with a rather… loud entrance. The alien Gelsadra's ship crashes in a rice paddy in Nijima! Besides being generally peaceful, Gelsadra has a unique power involving comic-book-like speech bubbles that display a person's inner feelings, rather like an emoji. There's also the fireworks enthusiast, Tsubasa, whose life becomes the focus of millions of viewers when she's chosen as the newest Gatchaman - on nationwide live television! As if that wasn't enough pressure for a teenage girl to handle, she's also assigned Hajime as her mentor! Will she survive? Will the world survive? Things are about to get really wild and crazy in GATCHAMAN CROWDS INSIGHT!

Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 308 min.
Street Date: 11/29/2016
Format: BD, DVD, COMBO
Language: English, Japanese with English Subtitles & Spanish
SRP: $69.98, $59.98, $99.98

SYNOPSIS: Discovering the nature of one’s individual identity is a question every sentient being confronts. Do you only count if you’re entirely human? What does it mean to be a person? In a war with the alien Gauna, capable of absorbing and re-purposing human DNA, these are no longer abstract questions In these uncertain conditions, pilot Nagate Tanikaze finds himself developing an obsession with the Gauna clone of his deceased beloved, Hoshijiro. Meanwhile, his close friend, Izana, a manufactured non-binary human, goes through an alarming change as their feelings for Nagate grow. Existential and romantic problems will have to wait though, as the Guana step up their attacks and a virtual coup d’état threatens to throw Sidonia’s leadership into chaos, while even darker forces stir within. The very definition of what it means to be human is about to be questioned as the battle to survive continues in KNIGHTS OF SIDONIA SEASON 2: BATTLE FOR PLANET NINE!