With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Thursday, June 22, 2017


Magic: The Gathering, Wizards of the Coast, and their respective logos are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast LLC in the USA and other countries. ©2017 Wizards.

Pre-Orders Also Open For
Set For Retail Release In July

Wizards of the Coast and VIZ Media have jointly announced the latest edition of THE ART OF MAGIC: THE GATHERING collection with the release in January 2018 of THE ART OF MAGIC: THE GATHERING – IXALAN. The fifth release in VIZ Media’s ongoing series of impressive hardcover art books presents the incredible illustrations of Magic: The Gathering™.

The substantial 240-page tome will feature dozens of full-color works by an impressive array of talented artists, including Christine Choi, Daarken and Titus Lunter, and will be complemented with additional in-depth lore by bestselling author and Magic: The Gathering Senior Game Designer James Wyatt.

THE ART OF MAGIC: THE GATHERING – IXALAN invites fans to set sail for the uncharted jungles of Ixalan, where dangerous beasts, magnificent ruins, and lost treasures lie waiting to be discovered. Saddle up your dinosaur mount and brave the unknown as you search the plane for a prize forgotten by history… until now!

VIZ Media also announces the opening of pre-orders for THE ART OF MAGIC: THE GATHERING – AMONKHET. Scheduled for retail release on July 4th, THE ART OF MAGIC: THE GATHERING – AMONKHET will present scores of full-color illustrations from artists such as Cliff Childs, Winona Wilson, Christine Choi and Adam Paquette. Additional insights and lore on the dangerous and beautiful world of Amonkhet are provided by James Wyatt. Amonkhet is the latest expansion game for Magic: The Gathering and is set for release by Wizards of the Coast this month.

Throughout its 22-year history, Magic: The Gathering has visited many richly imaginative worlds through card sets and stories. Developed by Wizards of the Coast, Magic: The Gathering has more than 20 million fans, is played in more than 70 countries, and is available in 11 languages. Magic: The Gathering has won numerous notable awards, including a Mensa Award and multiple Origins Awards, the Hobby Game industry’s annual top award.

“Magic’s newest plane explores untamed jungles teaming with dinosaurs that come to life in THE ART OF MAGIC: THE GATHERING – IXALAN,” says Elaine Chase, Vice President of Global Brand Strategy and Marketing for Magic: The Gathering. “We are excited to continue working with VIZ Media to provide our fans and players a deeper dive into Magic’s art and detailed lore.”

“Our unique catalog of THE ART OF MAGIC: THE GATHERING books has delighted fans and players, and we are very excited to announce the addition in early 2018 of THE ART OF MAGIC: THE GATHERING – IXALAN,” says Joel Enos, Editor, VIZ Media. “The stunning artwork depicting these imaginative realms combines with intriguing lore and extensive background to make each book an ideal complement to Wizards of the Coast’s iconic strategy card game.”


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Yaoi manga series FINDER returns

© 2017 Ayano Yamane/libre

The Acclaimed Erotic Crime Thriller Makes A Fresh
Debut In Deluxe Print And Digital Editions

SuBLime, the leading global English-language yaoi manga publisher, has announced a special re-release of internationally bestselling creator Ayano Yamane’s erotic underworld thriller FINDER.

FINDER is rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers and is releasing in print and digital formats. Volume 1 of the series was released on June 13th, with each subsequent volume releasing every other month until caught up with current volumes. The latest never-before-published volume of the series (Vol. 8) is already available for purchase through SuBLime. Each volume of this series is a deluxe edition containing a double-sided foldout color poster, a bonus manga story never before published in English, a special cover treatment, and a brand-new translation.

Print editions will carry an MSRP of $14.99 U.S. / $19.99 CAN each. The digital versions will carry an MSRP of $6.99 U.S. Readers have two methods of digital access to the volumes on SuBLimeManga.com – via a DRM-free downloadable PDF, viewable on any enabled eReader device and computer, as well as via the online manga viewer. Readers can also purchase a digital version through the NOOK, Kindle and Kobo eReaders.

In FINDER, freelance photographer Akihito Takaba takes on a risky assignment trying to document the illegal activities of the Japanese underworld. When he captures its leader – the handsome, enigmatic crime lord Ryuichi Asami – in the crosshairs of his viewfinder, Takaba’s world is changed forever. The older man ravages him, both body and mind. Does this mean the end for the naive photographer, or will he live to shoot another day?

“SuBLime’s re-release of FINDER presents the series in a fresh new way to fans, with brand-new translations and the addition of beautiful, full-color foldout double-sided posters and special bonus manga content,” says SuBLime Editor, Jennifer LeBlanc. “We look forward to publishing all of the earlier volumes of FINDER as well as future volumes of the series for the enjoyment of both new and veteran readers alike!”

Ayano Yamane is one of Japan’s most popular boys’ love manga creators and also created the notable series, A Foreign Love Affair and CRIMSON SPELL (published in English by SuBLime). She has also published several doujinshi (independent comics) under the circle name, GUN MANIA.

Visit SuBLimeManga.com for a complete array of additional yaoi manga titles that are available digitally in a download-to-own format for $5.99 (U.S. / CAN) each and are viewable as a PDF on any enabled eReader device or computer or accessed via the online manga viewer found on the web site.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

SAILOR MOON S PART 2 available on home video starting today

©Naoko Takeuchi/PNP, Toei Animation

Season 3 Of The Popular Anime Adventure Series Continues
This Summer With This All New Release!

VIZ Media invites SAILOR MOON and anime fans to dive into the latest episodes available on home media with the release of SAILOR MOON S Part 2 today, Tuesday, June 20th.

This set features the much anticipated second-half of Season 3, Episodes 109-127, of the beloved, classic anime series based on Naoko Takeuchi's original Sailor Moon manga series. SAILOR MOON S Part 2 will be available as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack as well as a Standard Edition DVD only set.

Fans that order SAILOR MOON S Part 2 from RightStufAnime.com will receive a special set of ten art cards while supplies last.

In the latest episodes, Sailor Uranus and Neptune’s search for the three talismans has led them to become targets of the Witches 5, the Death Busters’ beautiful and deadly agents, who also seeks the talismans to summon the powerful Holy Grail! Now, Sailor Moon and the other Sailor Guardians are on a race against time to save their friends’ lives, and to prevent the power of the Holy Grail from falling into the wrong hands. Meanwhile, Chibi-Usa befriends a young girl named Hotaru, whose mysterious power quickly attracts the attention from both friend and foe. Is there a connection between Hotaru and the enemy? And who is the Messiah of Silence that is said to bring destruction? Will Sailor Moon’s new power be enough to protect the world from the coming Apocalypse?

The SAILOR MOON S Part 2 Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack will carry an MSRP of $69.99 U.S. / $81.99 CAN; the Standard Edition DVD set will carry an MSRP of $39.99 U.S. / $52.99 CAN.

The Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features three Blu-ray discs, three DVDs and special features including clean opening and closing segments, a digital art gallery, English voice cast interviews and official series trailers.

The Standard Edition DVD Set features three discs, clean opening and closing segments and official series trailers.

Fans are also invited to enjoy the classic SAILOR MOON and the all-new SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL anime series, which are available from VIZ Media on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Packs as well as multi-disc Standard Edition DVD sets. VIZ Media also recently released the home media edition of SAILOR MOON R: THE MOVIE.

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

RAILROAD TIGERS reviewed; debuts in a Blu-ray+DVD combo pack and on DVD today, June 20th

Well Go USA
Railroad Tigers
Directed by Ding Sheng
Starring Jackie Chan, Huang Zitao, Wang Kai, Darren Wang 
China, 2016, 125 minutes

Railroad Tigers is an action-comedy set in China during World War II. Today, Tuesday, May 20th, it becomes available as Blu-ray™/DVD Combo Pack and as DVD only, from Well Go USA Entertainment. (It's been available on digital since Tuesday, May 9th.)

Ma Yuan (Jackie Chan) is the head porter at a railroad station in part of China occupied by the Japanese. He and several cohorts  (the titular "Railroad Tigers") are just a bunch of regular guys who really want to do something great for their country. Thus far they've engaged in various small-time action against the Japanese, but nothing of any real consequence.

They have an opportunity to change that when they learn that the Hanzhuang Bridge, along a major route vital to the Japanese for bringing supplies to their front line, must be destroyed. Although the Chinese Eighth Army Route soldiers have been unsuccessful in accomplishing this, Jackie and his rag-tag compatriots take on what looks to be a suicide mission.

Japanese aggression during WWII has been the subject of numerous Chinese (as well as Korean) films. Such movies seem find a receptive audience in these two countries, but they can seem like a worn out trope to North American audiences. Sad to say, such is the case here, because the film is weak in almost every regard. The story line is simple (as opposed, say, to the psychological complexities in the somewhat similarly themed The Bridge on the River Kwai). There's nothing particularly compelling about the characters, and the action (choreographed by He Jun) and stunts (performed by the Jackie Chan Stunt Team and involving lots of wire-work) are not top drawer, and the CGI often is not very good.

That the film has problems becomes evident in the first few minutes. As each character is introduced, the frame freezes and text, in Chinese and English, gives the character's name and occupation. In the case of several of the "Railroad Tigers", their catchphrase is also indicated. Do we really need to be told that Jackie's character's catchphrase is "Shut up!" when we will hear him say it several times in the course of the movie? Or that "Let's go!" is the catchphrase of Xiaohun, a railroad porter? This freeze frame introduction -- which visually brings the film to a screeching halt -- is employed for seventeen characters! Not good cinema technique at all.

No one should begrudge the fact that Jackie, who became 62 years old this past April, can't handle the kind of stunts and action sequences that he performed so brilliantly in years gone by. With his terrific sense of timing and ability to poke fun at himself, he's better served at this stage of his career with  comedic fare that includes some action, rather than an action-drama with some comic touches, as is the case in Railroad Tigers. Thus, Kung Fu Yoga, which opened in North American theaters on January 27th and will soon be offered by Well Go, showcases him to much better advantage.

Disc Specs:
-- Audio
    -- Mandarin DTS:X
    -- Mandarin 2.0 Stereo
    -- DTS Headp;hone X
    -- English 5.1 DTS HDMA
    -- English 2.0 Stereo
-- Subtitles
    -- English
    -- Off
-- Bonus
    -- “Director’s Featurette”
    -- “The Dangers of Shooting”
    -- “The Making of ”
    -- “VFX Featurette”
    -- “The Characters”
    -- Trailer
    -- International Trailer
-- Previews
    -- Kung Fu Yoga
    -- Operation Mekong
    -- Cold War 2

Die-hard Jackie fans will probably enjoy Railroad Tigers well enough, but for the rest of us it's just an almost pleasant watch.

AsianCineFest Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars; fair, but shy of being a truly good film.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Maiden Japan licenses anime "reality" series HINAKO

It’s been said that if a film or television genre exists, someone in Japan has probably made an anime about it. As proof of this theorem, MAIDEN JAPAN submits HINAKO, Japan’s first interactive anime reality and exercise video series! Which may sound strange at first, but transforming robots, collecting virtual pets and dancing with video games were once all considered odd ideas as well, and look how that turned out.

Beginning with TRAINING WITH HINAKO, the surprise hit that topped Amazon Japan’s and other internet retail sales charts for two consecutive weeks, HINAKO’s videos focus on a ‘self aware’ anime heroine who constantly stops to chat about her feelings with the audience. Of course, the fact that Hinako tends to be continuously bouncing up and down exercising or stretching, and that her videos’ scene order can be rearranged to create different scenarios, might be as responsible for her success in Japan as the innovative format. But whatever the case, HINAKO’s producers were quick to serve Hinako’s legion of fans with two more interactive video experiences, SLEEPING WITH HINAKO and BATHING WITH HINAKO, all three of which will be packaged together for Maiden Japan’s U.S. home video release.

Hinako used to be a normal girl, but then she became an anime character! Now she does things like play the heroine’s best friend, but unlike most people in anime, Hinako is completely aware that she’s being watched by an unseen audience! So, if she’s doing something and thinks of something to say, she’ll just say it to the people she can’t see. Or CAN she see them? The most self-aware anime character ever invites you to peek behind the screen and experience Training, Bathing and even Sleeping in the intimate interactive life of HINAKO!