Archive for July, 2006

My sofa, sponsored by CMX, Dark Horse, DMP, Del Rey…

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Let the games begin.

The FedEx packages are loaded with galleys and photocopies of what’s coming up this year. Spread out are a selection of CMX titles.

A fellow blogger/mother/writer recently commented on my ability to cover so many cultural events on my blog. Culture? What culture? The culture of sitting on my ass and reading comics? The culture of my home being papered by manga galleys?

Don’t get me wrong, my life of watching movies and reading manga ’til my teeth fall out is pretty ducky. But in truth, I don’t think there’s that much I contribute to the world through this blog, although I do strive to change that (and change it soon.)

In the meantime, my sister and her family are staying with me for a brief New York visit. What have they done so far for their big New York adventure? Why, what they always do when they visit me: read comics!

Some of my sister’s thoughts on manga:

Dolls by Mitsukazu Mihara – “This is so strange. It’s spooky, but I can’t stop reading it.”

Tenjo Tenge by Oh! Great – “Why do you have only have up to volume 4? You know volume 8 is out already.”

Path of the Assassin by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima – “What is this? Lone Wolf and Cub? I’ll read it later.”

BLAME! by Tsutomu Nihei – “None of the characters speak in this book. Why doesn’t anyone speak? Why isn’t anyone speaking in this book?”

Luckily I was able to distract her by popping in my DVD of Initial D.

Whoohoo! New York rules! Culture and all…

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Densha Otoko at Asian American International Film Festival

Say it isn’t so!

The AAIFF starts next week and runs July 13-21 at Manhattan’s Asia Society, Quad Cinema and Long Island’s StonyBrook U. So regardless if you’re uptown, downtown or even out of town, there’s a participating venue near you.

The roster is heavy with features and shorts from all over America and Asia, but what did I spy buried underneath the schedule of narratives about lost identity, oppressive political regimes and human traffiking? Train Man:Densha Otoko!

The live action movie is premiering at the festival Friday, July 14 at the Asia Society! Densha Otoko is a reality based tale of Tokyo love and romance that was spun into a novel, four separate comics (manga) series, a television series and a live action movie. Densha Otoko is also about to take the States by storm (or at least, the comics world) as three publishers have licensed the manga versions.

My article on the Densha Otoko phenomenon ran in this past week’s PW Comics Week (link at right under ‘articles’).

Check out the AsianCinevision link for more info on the Festival! AAIFF is in it’s 29th year (29? We’re the same age!) and thrown annually by AsianCinevision. Needless to say, I’ve missed just about every festival since…well, since my kid was born. But I won’t be missing it this year! No way, Baby!

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Jay Chou SlamDunks!

Monkeypeaches has some news on the intersection of manga (Japanese comics) and Jay Chou (Taiwanese Mando-pop King). Chou will be starring in the film SlamDunk! which is inspired by Inoue Takehiko’s manga series by the same name.

Jay Chou as the brash, Dennis Rodman based character Sakuragi Hanamichi? The softspoken Chou, who barely spoke in his premier role in last summer’s blockbuster Initial D (also based on the manga) would do better as the Rukawa character that’s modeled after Michael Jordan. As it is, the film is only loosely related to the manga, taking instead a Shaolin Soccer detour and mixing in Chinese kung-fu and CGI.

SlamDunk! the movie will be a Taiwanese production with almost all the shooting done in Taiwan. Mainland Chinese NBA star Yao Ming will be making a cameo. Shooting starts next year. As a fan of Takehiko and SlamDunk! all I can say is I really, really hope this is good.

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When Seoul meets HK

Playing a little catch up here.

Couldn’t help notice Grady Hendrix’s entry in his Kaiju Shakedown blog on the Variety website.

Soi Cheang’s Dog Bite Dog has got to be the future of cinema in East Asia. You’ve heard of Hong Kong productions casting Japanese and Mainland Chinese actors. Well, Dog Bite Dog is a Hong Kong production that has Korean director Cheang at the helm. The result? Check out the raw nastiness of the trailer at Grady’s blog.

Also note HK heartthrob Edison Chen is starring in this production. Chen will be making his U.S. debut in Hollywood’s The Grudge 2. Hard to believe that this pop-idol is going to reach an American audience. Chen’s work ethic is rather impressive (does not, will not quit) and he seems to be pushing himself to take risky roles.

Here’s a shot of the EDC looking like Ichii the Killer, a look he sports for Dog.

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I’ll probably have more speculation on his prospects on my .mac site.

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News! Actual news!

I go on vacation and all sorts of stuff happens. Which pulls me in opposing directions: I should go on vacation more often vs. Vacation sux! I hate vacation! All the good stuff happens when I’m away!

Well, the big news I’m excited about is Vertical Books acquiring the license to Kitano Takeshi’s (one and only) novel Shonen.

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Vertical’s Anne Ishii took my call, but the news is still so new that Vertical hasn’t even had time to digest it themselves!

A longer article will appear in my .mac blog under Beat Takeshi Goes Vertical at the end of the day.

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Back from the 4th

Sometimes 7 days is a long time. And a lot of times, it’s just not.

I just returned from spending my 4th of July with my family in Cape Cod. We’ve been summering out there since I was a kid and it’s pretty fun. It’s definitely always interesting. Cape Cod has boomed as a vacation spot for Americans, but it seems to be drawing more foreigners (Europeans) as well.

What’s interesting is that the small town feel is still there and the same race/gender/class politics arise in the same manner they did some 20 years ago.

Despite some stares (but no racist slurs this time around! yay!) my son and I had a blast. He got to run around with his younger cousin (whom we both adore) and play with my ever cool sister and brother-in-law while my parents cooked and cleaned up after us like fiends. Everday was a new activity: bike riding the trails along the Cape, beaching at the National Seashore – I even had a chance to catch a few waves on the long boards my sister rented! We stayed up late and woke up early so it’s no wonder the days flew by.

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