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AsianPopShock
The skinny on official, English-subbed Asian Films & TV
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Welcome to AsianPopShock
Getting your Asian pop-culture fix can be pricey unless you know where to look, and even then, bargain shopping can be hit-or-miss when you're worrying about whether or not an item might be a bootleg rather than a legal, licensed product. AsianPopShock is designed to be a resource for when you're looking for the latest (often unadvertised) deals on licensed, English subtitled DVDs and Blu-rays for your favorite Asian media - like a perpetually updated, universal sale flyer.

It's also set up to let you know exactly what's available with news and features covering packaging, performers and more.

Have a tip about a film or drama solicitation or cool Asian media deal out there? Let me know via email or twitter, and I'll post about it ASAP.

Where to start in this community?
Upcoming North American Blu-ray & DVD Releases: A quick rundown of some of the major (and not so major) upcoming Asian film and drama Blu-ray and DVD releases.
Online Retailers: Reputable stores (both online and brick & mortar) that offer good deals and reliable customer service.
North American Asian Media Distributors: Companies that license Japanese and Korean titles from their home countries and release them with English subs in Region 1.
Actor and Actress Pages: Growing lists of Asian actors/actresses featuring their movies and dramas with official, English subtitled editions available. For details, see “Resources” in the sidebar.
The JE Connection: Specifically for fans of JE members. These are all the movies and dramas I know of with official, English-subbed editions. Most are Region 1 films, but a few (as indicated) are Region 2.
Packaging Spotlight Gallery: Index of all AsianPopShock's packaging spotlights.

Inoue Mao Bright Light
I'm not usually one for tearjerker K-dramas, but I'm making an exception for today's pick of the week, Thousand Day Promise. I've seen early-onset Alzheimer's disease at the center of more than a handful of films and dramas - some treat the subject with grace and sensitivity resulting in truly moving stories, while others end up like poorly hashed together after school specials...if after school specials covered Alzheimer's.

Thousand Day Promise is penned by renowned screenwriter Kim Soo-hyun, plus I've heard really great things about both Soo Ae and Kim Rae-won's performances, so I'm very optimistic that this will be a beautiful (though heartbreaking) series. The cast also features Lee Sang-woo and Jung Yoo-mi, as well as Park Yoo-hwan (a.k.a. JYJ member Yoochun's younger brother).



Thousand Day Promise
Available on DVD
YA Entertainment
$59.99 SRP

Synopsis (from YA Entertainment):
How do you love when you can't remember? The hit Korean TV drama series Thousand Day Promise breaks hearts quietly with the unforgettable story of a young woman with early-onset Alzheimer's disease and the man who gives up everything to stay by her side. Award-winning actress Soo Ae (Two Outs Bottom of the 9th Inning, Love Letter) gives the performance of a lifetime alongside mega-star Kim Rae-Won (The Grand Chef, My Love Patzzi).

From the day they started seeing each other, Park Ji-hyung (Kim Rae-Won) and Lee Seo-yeon (Soo Ae) were aware their love could not last. Ji-hyung is already engaged, and Seo-yeon knows when to walk away. Proud and independent to a fault, she has to deal with not only her confused relationship with Ji-hyung, but also the shocking realization that her unsettling memory lapses are early symptoms of something far worse.


Preview:



Not sure where to shop? Trying to avoid bootlegs? Check out my retailers page to get the skinny on reliable online stores out there!



2PM Junho Smile
Foodies rejoice! Magnolia Pictures' release of J-documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi is finally hitting U.S. Blu-ray and DVD this July 24, 2012.

The film follows 85 year-old Jiro Ono, a man considered to be the "world's greatest sushi chef," as he goes about his days in a tiny, 10-seat sushi shop, which is located in a Tokyo subway of all places. The documentary also delves into the relationship between Jiro and his eldest son Yoshikazu, and whether Yoshikazu is able to live up to his father's legacy.



The Blu-ray will retail for $29.99 and the DVD for $26.99 and is currently available on Amazon (though it will likely hit the rest of the retailers shortly). No info on special features, so far, but I'll be sure to share as soon as more details are revealed.

Trailer:


Other releases from the week of May 20, 2012:
Mutant Girls Squad - J-movie - May 22 - Blu-ray/DVD Combo [U.S. Site]

Check out the schedule for other upcoming Asian film U.S. Blu-ray and DVD releases!


Not sure where to shop? Trying to avoid bootlegs? Check out my retailers page to get the skinny on reliable online stores out there!


DBSK - Changmin - Small Flail


5 Points Pictures just revealed its 2-disc special-edition DVD release of caper film Tazza: The High Rollers will hit U.S. retailers this September 18, 2012. Not only will the release include the 140 minute film with upgraded English subtitles, but it will also feature 2 hours and 50 minutes of special features.

Special Features:
"Tazza: Comic vs. Movie," "Adaptation of the Comic," "The Making of Tazza: The High Rollers," staff and cast interviews, character discussion by the cast and crew, documentary about action sequences, "Hwatu Explained," deleted and alternate scenes (with on/off director commentary), promotional footage, plus 5 Points Pictures trailers.

Now those are some serious special features!

Synopsis (from the PR):
After losing his entire savings in an illegal, backroom card game, Goni (CHO Seung-woo, The Sword With No Name) discovers it was all a set up – he was swindled by professional gamblers. Enraged and desperate, he sets out to get his money back by any means necessary.

Impressed by the young man’s determination, veteran gambler Mr. Pyeong (BAEK Yoon-sik, The Taste of Money) takes Goni on as his apprentice and teaches him all there is to know about hwatu, a card game also known as “The War of Flowers.”

Now Goni is ready to make his debut in an underworld where the stakes are high and the rules are few: To win, you must be ruthless. The hand must be quicker than the eye. No game is safe. And there are no friends for life, just as there are no enemies for life.


If you're psyched about director Choi Dong-hoon's upcoming heist film The Thieves, you should definitely check out Tazza. It has all the elements that make great gambling movies memorable - the intricate plot, the Yoda-like card-master, high tension scenes, and a beautiful woman (there's always a beautiful woman), plus a unique, engaging energy that imbues all Choi's films.

I'm a huge fan of the director's movies (Big Swindle and Woochi are also excellent), so the fact that his work is finally making it to U.S. home video audiences is hella exciting.

Hit the jump for the full press release...Collapse )

Trailer:



Not sure where to shop? Trying to avoid bootlegs? Check out my retailers page to get the skinny on reliable online stores out there!


MnO - Step Chat
Pathfinder Pictures is bringing Chinese rom-com Sophie's Revenge (co-produced by South Korea's CJ Entertainment) and Korean political satire/comedy Good Morning President to U.S. DVD this July 10, 2012.



I'm actually really excited to pick up Sophie's Revenge. It's a romantic comedy starring Zhang Ziyi, Fan Bingbing, Peter Ho, and So Ji-sub that follows recently jilted Sophie as she seeks revenge on her one-time fiancé and his new squeeze. Though it doesn't blaze new ground in the rom-com genre, the film is carried well by Zhang, especially when you consider that it's not her usual fare. It's full of cute and occasionally trippy fantasy sequences (I will never look at a carrot the same way again), and there's definitely a nice sizzle of chemistry between Zhang and Ho.

From Pathfinder Pictures:
Sophie's Revenge stars international sensation, Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Rush Hour 2 and Memoirs of a Geisha). Dumped by her fiance just two months before their wedding, comic strip writer Sophie hatches an elaborate plan to get her Jeff back and punish the movie star, Joanna, who seduced him away. She finds herself a partner, Gordon, an ex-lover of Joanna's. The two start on a comic adventure full of laughs and tears, aided by Sophie's two best friends, Lucy and Lily. At the eve of her success, Sophie suddenly realizes that she has been so focused on revenge that she has not heard her own change of heart...

Sophie's Revenge trailer:


Special Features:
Trailer

Specs:
U.S. Region 1, NTSC
Pathfinder Pictures
$24.98
1-disc
107 minutes
16:9, letterboxed 2.35:1
Chinese audio (I'm pretty sure it's in Mandarin, but the sell sheet didn't specify)
English subtitles






From Pathfinder Pictures:
The film takes viewers to the private quarters of the Blue House during the terms of three fictional presidents. Kim Jong-ho wins the lottery just before retiring. Cha Ji-uk, a young, handsome single parent, romantically involved with his childhood sweetheart, must deal with diplomacy problems. Last but not least, the nation's first female president, Han Gyeong-ja, has to deal with a loving but rather troublesome husband.

Good Morning President trailer:


Special Features:
Trailer

Specs:
U.S. Region 1, NTSC
Pathfinder Pictures
$24.98
1-disc
132 minutes
16:9, letterboxed 2.35:1
Korean audio
English subtitles

Not sure where to shop? Trying to avoid bootlegs? Check out my retailers page to get the skinny on reliable online stores out there!


May, 22nd 2012, 10:30 am Trailer Tuesday: Runway Cop
DBSK - Changmin - Small Flail
He's no James Bond, but Runway Cop's detective Cha Cheol-soo (Kang Ji-hwan ♥) is ready for action when he goes undercover as...a runway model. Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, from the looks of the trailer, ridiculous is the name of the game, but in a very good way. It seems guaranteed to make me laugh, which is exactly what I'm looking for in this kind of movie.

Plus, Kang Ji-hwan has a gift for playing outrageous characters. Whether they're uptight or a little too lax, he's always entertaining, and it looks as though he's set to win me over once again. The movie also stars Sung Yu-ri, making this a Hong Gil-dong reunion (a.k.a. my dream come true).

Runway Cop is set to hit Korean theaters May 31, 2012, which means a home video release is at least a few months away. Distributor CJ Entertainment has been really good about quick turnarounds, though, so here's hoping we'll see an English-subbed DVD release soon!

Will any fellow Hong Gil-dong fans be checking this one out?

Trailer:



Not sure where to shop? Trying to avoid bootlegs? Check out my retailers page to get the skinny on reliable online stores out there!


Gokusen Fight-O
If you're a fan of historicals and martial arts movies, be sure to give FUNimation's recent release of C-film The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake a try. Directed by Herman Yau, the film tells the story of Chinese feminist and revolutionary QIU Jin and how she became involved in the uprising against the Quing Dynasty. It stars HUANG Yi as Qiu Jin and Yu-hang (Dennis) TO as XU Xilin and hit retailers last Tuesday, May 15 in a Blu-ray DVD Combo.

I wasn't a big fan of Yau's The Legend Is Born - Ip Man, which was also distributed in the U.S. by FUNimation (I much preferred Wilson Yip's Ip Man films), but Woman Knight really steps up the game. The emotional drama inherent in movies about revolution is punctuated with well-choreographed and filmed action sequences that perfectly fit the personalities of each protagonist. Qiu's feature a fluid, almost ballet-like grace and Xu's a controlled and focused force not to be reckoned with.

FUNi's release of the movie features a kick-ass cover and includes a 23-minute "Making Of" featurette, as well as a ton of previews for the company's other live-action titles. The Blu-ray DVD Combo comes in a standard Blu-ray case and a slipcover.



Hit the jump for more pics...Collapse )

Back of the box:
From director Herman Yau (The Legend is Born – Ip Man) comes the thrilling story of one woman who dared to fight for her ideals, even in the face of certain death. Filled with intense scenes of martial-arts action, The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake burns with the fires of revolution.

In late-19th century China, Qui Jin was many things: a defiant rebel armed with both blades and guns; a paramilitary leader dedicated to overthrowing an unjust government; a non-conformist who boldly donned men’s attire in spite of tradition; a radical poet whose words inspired the oppressed; a heroic martyr whose views on equality altered history. Her steadfast resolve to improve the plight of women and her bravery in the face of tyranny led her to the executioner – but her determination to topple the status-quo changed a nation forever.


Special Features:
Making Of
Previews

Specs:
U.S. Region 1, NTSC / Region A, NTSC
FUNimation
$29.98 SRP
1 DVD / 1 Blu-ray
115 minutes, plus 23 minutes for special features
16:9, anamorphic widescreen
Mandarin audio, English audio
English subtitles

Trailer:


A review copy of this Blu-ray DVD combo pack was provided by FUNimation.


Have I missed a deal out there? Let me know via email or twitter!


blank
Hi, guys!

This is Amy, editor of YAM Magazine, guesting for AsianPopShock for the very first time! After much deliberation, I decided to make my first post a recommendation of this film: Love Is Not Blind (失恋33天) -- also known as China's Little Movie That Could (in 2011). Directed by Teng Hua-Tao (and written by him alongside Bao Jingjing), this little indie film not your typical romantic comedy starring actor Wen Zhang and actress Bai Baihe.



The movie has been released in three different versions that include English subtitles:

1- The Mainland China R-6 PAL DVD (pictured above), which includes:
  • A Behind the Scenes Gag Reel
  • The Deleted (But Famous) Scene of Wen Zhang Doing the Peace Sign
  • Gallery
  • The Trailer

2- The Hong Kong R-3 NTSC DVD, which apparently includes:
  • The Trailer
  • Gallery

3- The Hong Kong Region A Blu-ray, which apparently includes:
  • The Trailer
  • Gallery

Synopsis:
XiaoXian (Bai) is a Beijing wedding planner whose relationship with her longtime-boyfriend Lu Ran (Guo) has failed. Explaining in pretend scientific and sociological ways of the art of break-ups in one of the most complex scenes during the whole film, XiaoXian’s life completely falls apart. Thus, beginning the count of days being lovelorn. However, with dumbfounding help from her own boss (J. Zhang) and her unusual friendship with XiaoJian (Wen), XiaoXian actually learns something worth learning in a romantic comedy. She’s got someone that will be there for her.

Trailer:
Osen Smile Big
Hi, gang! I've got hella exciting news for all of you out there. After over three years of manning AsianPopShock all on my own, the fabulous siutou_amy is joining the team as a new content contributor. Many of you probably already know Amy as the editor of YAM Magazine - an awesome media site that features reviews and articles on films, music, programs and more from around the world.

Be on the lookout for Amy's first post, and be sure to give her a big AsianPopShock welcome!


Have I missed a deal out there? Let me know via email or twitter!


Kimutaku Glasses
Right Stuf just started a sale on selected VIZ Media DVDs & BDs from Viz Media, and thankfully, a number of New People Entertainment live-action titles are included! The below are just a handful of my favorite eligible movies, but there are several other films to be found, plus the Gackt music video collections.

Happy shopping!

My Picks:

Gantz [Blu-ray/DVD Combo] - $14.99 (50% off) - J-movie - 3-discs
Gantz [DVD] - $10.99 (56% off) - J-movie - 2-discs [SPOTLIGHT]
Starring: Kazunari Ninomiya, Kenichi Matsuyama ♥, Yuriko Yoshitaka ...watch trailer...Collapse )

Honey and Clover [DVD] - $10.99 (56% off) - J-movie - 1-disc
Starring: Sho Sakurai, Yu Aoi ♥, Ryo Kase ...watch trailer...Collapse )

Hula Girls [DVD] - $10.49 (65% off) - J-movie - 2-discs [SPOTLIGHT]
Starring: Yu Aoi, Yasuko Matsuyuki, Etsushi Toyokawa ...watch trailer...Collapse )

Nana [DVD] - $10.49 (58% off) - J-movie - 1-disc
Starring: Mika Nakashima, Aoi Miyazaki, Ryuhei Matsuda, Hiroki Narimiya ...watch trailer...Collapse )

Ping Pong [DVD] - $10.49 (65% off) - J-movie - 2-discs
Starring: Yosuke Kubozuka, Arata ♥, Shido Nakamura, Naoto Takenaka ♥ ...watch trailer...Collapse )


Have I missed a deal out there? Let me know via email or twitter!


mao/jun peace love & happiness
This week's Pick of the Week goes to New Video's DVD release of J-movie Norwegian Wood, from director Tran Anh Hung (The Scent of Green Papaya, I Come With the Rain) and starring Kenichi Matsuyama (Death Note, Gantz) and Rinko Kikuchi (Babel, Assault Girls). The DVD includes the 113 minute film, plus "The Making of Norwegian Wood" and a featurette on the movie's Venice Film Festival premiere.



Norwegian Wood
Available on DVD
New Video
$29.95 SRP

Synopsis:
Tokyo, the late 1960s… Students around the world are uniting to overthrow the establishment and Toru Watanabe’s personal life is similarly in tumult. At heart, he is deeply devoted to his first love, Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi), a beautiful and introspective young woman. But their complex bond has been forged by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Watanabe lives with the influence of death everywhere. That is, until Midori, a girl who is everything that Naoko is not –outgoing, vivacious, supremely self-confident—marches into his life and Watanabe must choose between his past and his future.

Trailer:


Other releases for the week of May 13:
The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake - May 15 - HK-movie - Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack [U.S. Site]


Not sure where to shop? Trying to avoid bootlegs? Check out my retailers page to get the skinny on reliable online stores out there!


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