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Lee Hyun Woo & Red Velvet's Joy star in live-action The Liar and His Lover drama

  January 20, 2017  
Lee Hyun Woo (Moorim School) will make his small screen comeback in tvN's upcoming live-action drama The Liar and His Lover alongside Red Velvet's Joy, who takes her first leading role in her acting debut. Marriage Contract director Kim Jin Min collaborates with rookie screenwriter Kim Kyung Min for the Korean adaptation of Aoki Kotomi's hit manga The Liar and His Lover. Focusing on the love between a music genius and a high school girl, the award-winning manga was serialized from 2009 and was previously adapted for the big screen in Japan in 2013.

Lee Hyun Woo will star as talented composer Kang Han Kyul, who was once the bassist of famous rock band Crude Play but ends up working behind the scene as a songwriter. One day, he encounters optimistic high school girl Yoon So Rim (Joy), who is a diehard fan of Crude Play. The two soon fall in love but Han Kyul chooses to not tell So Rim his identity. Yet, their relationship is put at risk when So Rim is recruited by Han Kyul's agency because of her gifted voice.

Produced by Bon Factory, the production house of hit dramas Master's Sun and She Was Pretty, The Liar and His Lover also co-stars Lee Jung Jin (The K2), Lee Seo Won (Uncontrollably Fond) and musical star Hong Seo Young in her small screen debut. The romance drama is expected to air in March.

Text / Pisces

Trivisa named Best Film of 2016 by Hong Kong Film Critics Society

  January 17, 2017  
The winners of the 23rd Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards were announced on January 16. The Milkyway Image crime drama Trivisa was named the Best Film of 2016, and earned star Gordon Lam his first ever Best Actor prize. Zhou Dongyu followed her Golden Horse Awards win with another Best Actress accolade for her role in Derek Tsang's Soul Mate about the friendship of two young women.

Best Director honors were shared by Stephen Chow for his blockbuster fantasy comedy Mermaid and Golden Horse Best New Director winner Wong Chun for his feature debut Mad World. Wong's drama about a man struggling with bipolar disorder also won Best Screenplay.

Besides Trivisa, six other films were shortlisted as Recommended Films by the HKFCS: Mad World, Mermaid, Soul Mate, baseball drama Weeds on Fire, Wong Kar Wai-produced comedy-drama See You Tomorrow and JC Wong's documentary Snuggle.

Text / Sanwei

Rage and Godzilla Resurgence lead 40th Japan Academy Prize nominations

  January 16, 2017  
The Japan Academy Prize has announced the shortlist for its 40th edition. Lee Sang Il's crime suspense drama Rage leads with 12 nominations, followed by Anno Hideaki and Higuchi Shinji's Godzilla Resurgence with 10.

Besides recognition for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay. Rage secured acting prizes for Miyazaki Aoi (Best Actress), Tsumabuki Satoshi (Best Supporting Actor), Moriyama Mirai (Best Supporting Actor) and Hirose Suzu (Best Supporting Actress). The twice-nominated Hirose and Miyazaki are also in the Best Actress and Supporting Actress categories for Chihayafuru and Birthday Card, respectively.

Rage and Godzilla will compete in the Best Picture and Best Director race against Yamada Yoji's Nakano Ryota's Her Love Boils the Bathwater, What a Wonderful Family! and Zeze Takahisa's 64 Part 1, all three of which are also recognized for Best Screenplay. Makoto Shinkai earned nods for Best Director and Best Screenplay for his blockbuster Animation of the Year frontrunner Your Name.

Godzilla's Hasegawa Hiroki and 64's Sato Koichi are shortlisted for Best Actor alongside Ayano Go (Twisted Justice), Okada Junichi (A Man Called Pirate) and Matsuyama Kenichi (Satoshi: A Move for Tomorrow), while the remaining Best Supporting Actor spots go to Takehara Pistol (The Long Excuse), Higashide Masahiro (Satoshi: A Move for Tomorrow) and Lily Fanky (SCOOP!). Miyazaki Aoi and Hirose Suzu are joined in the actress categories by Otake Shinobu (Black Widow Business), Miyazawa Rie (Her Love Boils the Bathwater) and Kuroki Haru (A Bride for Rip Van Winkle) for Best Actress, and Sugisaki Hana (Her Love Boils the Bathwater) and Godzilla's Ichikawa Mikako and Ishihara Satomi for Best Supporting Actress.

Sugisaki Hana, Takahata Mitsuki, Iwata Takanori, Sakaguchi Kentaro, Chiba Yudai, Mackenyu, Hashimoto Kanna and Sakumoto Takara all receive Best Newcomer prizes.

The Grand Prize winner for each category will be announced at the 40 Japan Academy Prize award ceremony on March 3, 2017.

Text / Sanwei

Ryu Jun Yeol & Kim Tae Ri heal hearts in live-action Little Forest film

  January 16, 2017  
Ryu Jun Yeol (One Way Trip) and The Handmaiden's breakout star Kim Tae Ri collaborate for the first time in the live-action film adaptation of Igarashi Daisuke's popular manga Little Forest about the village life of a young woman. Nominated for the 10th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize, Little Forest was serialized from 2002 to 2005 in Monthly Afternoon and was adapted into a four-part Japanese live-action film starring Hashimoto Ai in 2014 and 2015. Directed by Yim Soon Rye (Forever the Moment), the Korean version will show the country's beautiful scenery and soul food.

Kim Tae Ri takes the starring role of Hye Won, a young girl who gets tired of busy city life and returns to her hometown where grows her own food and creates various delicious dishes with seasonal ingredients. Supported by her friend Jae Ha (Ryu Jun Yeol), she gradually heals from the trauma of her painful past. The foodie drama also co-stars Moon So Ri (The Handmaiden) as Hye Won's long-lost mother and rookie actress Jin Ki Joo in her silver screen debut.

Little Forest starts shooting in January and is slated for release in 2018.

Text / Pisces

EXO and Twice win Grand Prizes at 31st Golden Disc Awards

  January 16, 2017  
The 31st Golden Disc Awards, which recognizes the most outstanding physical and digital K-pop releases of 2016, were held on January 13 and 14 in Seoul. The biggest winner EXO picked up the Album Grand Prize for the fourth year in a row with their third album Ex'act and Twice won the Digital Grand Prize.

Seventeen, Monsta X, GOT7, BTS, EXO, VIXX, Infinite, SHINee and member Tae Min all walked away with Album Awards, while Digital Album Awards went to GFriend, Suzy and Baek Hyun, Lee Hi, Urban Zakapa, Mamamoo, Twice, Zico, Tae Yeon, Lim Chang Jung. Sechs Kies and Sistar were named the Best Performance Male and Female Groups. Rookie groups Black Pink, Bolbbalgan4, NCT 127 and I.O.I won New Artist Awards.

Despite his long hiatus for military service, the freshly discharged Kim Jae Joong was honored the Most Popular Star of Asia. SHINee also took home the Most Popular Star Award for two consecutive years.

In the genre categories, Crush was awarded for Best R&B/Soul and Gummy for Best OST. Other special awards were presented to Red Velvet and EXO (CeCi Asia Icon Award ), CNBLUE (Best K-Pop Band Award) and BTS (Global K-Pop Artist Award).

Text / Pisces

11th Asian Film Awards nominations announced

  January 12, 2017  
Nominations for the 11th Asian Film Awards were announced on January 11 in Hong Kong. Feng Xiaogang's I Am Not Madame Bovary garnered five major nominations for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress for Fan Bingbing, Best Supporting Actor for Da Peng and Best Cinematography. Korean cinema is represented twice in the Best Film category with Kim Jee Woon's action thriller The Age of Shadows and Na Hong Jin's horror The Wailing, which is also nominated for Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Kunimura Jun) and Best Sound Design.

Fukada Koji's dark family drama Harmonium received three nominations for Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor for Asano Tadanobu. Taiwan director Chung Mong Hong's dark comedy Godspeed takes the final Best Film slot, as well as a Best Actor nod for Michael Hui. Feng, Na and Fukada are joined in the Best Director race by Hong Kong's Derek Tsang for Soul Mate and Philippines auteur Lav Diaz for The Woman Who Left, which is also shortlisted for Best Screenplay and Best Actress (Charo Santos-Concio). Son Ye Jin (The Last Princess), Kuroki Haru (A Bride for Rip Van Winkle) and Kara Hui (Happiness) are also in the running for Best Actress.

Zombie blockbuster Train to Busan scored Best Actor and Supporting Actor nominations for Gong Yoo and Ma Dong Seok, and technical nods for Editing, Costume Design and Visual Effects. Hong Kong crime drama Trivisa also received double acting nominations for lead Richie Jen and supporting actor Lam Suet, as well as a Best Screenplay nom. Fresh off a Best Actor win at the Golden Horse Awards, Mr. No Problem's Fan Wei will look to repeat at the Asian Film Awards.

Park Chan Wook's erotic thriller The Handmaiden was shut out of the Best Film and Director categories, but received a leading six nominations for Best Screenplay, Supporting Actress (Moon So Ri), Newcomer (Kim Tae Ri), Editing, Costume Design and Production Design. Other notable contenders include the Wong Kar Wai-produced See You Tomorrow with four nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Lynn Xiong), Costume Design, Production Design and Visual Effects; Lee Sang Il's Rage with four nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Ayano Go), Newcomer (Sakumoto Takara), Editing and Music; and Asghar Farhadi's The Salesman and Makoto Shinkai Your Name., both of which are nominated for Best Screenplay.

The 11th Asian Film Awards will be held in Hong Kong on March 21, 2017.

Text / Sanwei

Winners of 2016 KBS, MBC and SBS Drama Awards

  January 6, 2017  
Korea's three major television broadcasters KBS, MBC and SBS all held award ceremonies before the year's end. KBS mega-hit Descendants of the Sun swept eight awards including Grand Prize and Best Couple Award for Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo, Best New Actress and Excellence Award for Kim Ji Won, and Best Writer for Kim Eun Sook at the KBS Drama Awards on December 31. Another big winner Love in the Moonlight also took eight awards including the Excellence Award for Kim Yoo Jung and a Netizen Award for Park Bo Gum, who also shared the Top Excellence Award with Park Shin Yang (My Lawyer, Mr. Jo). Edging out other female contenders, Kim Ha Neul (On the Way to the Airport) walked away with the Top Excellence Award.

At the MBC Drama Awards, W led with seven prizes. Lee Jong Suk took his first Grand Prize and shared the Best Couple Award with Han Hyo Ju. The two also picked up Top Excellence Awards along with Lee Seo Jin and Uee (Marriage Contract) and Happy Home's Lee Sang Woo and Kim So Yeon.

Different from past years, SBS's awards were grouped into four categories, including fantasy, romantic comedy, genre and serial drama. The Top Excellence Awards went to Kim Rae Won (Doctors), Park Shin Hye (Doctors) and Lee Min Ho (The Legend of the Blue Sea) in the genre and fantasy categories, to Jang Keun Suk (The Royal Gambler) and Kim Hae Suk (That's the Way It Is) in the serial drama category, and to Gong Hyo Jin (Jealousy Incarnate), Jo Jung Suk (Jealousy Incarnate) and Nam Gung Min (Beautiful Gong Shim) in the rom-com category. The Best Couple Award was given to Lee Min Ho and Jeon Ji Hyun (The Legend of the Blue Sea), Lee Jun Ki and IU (Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo), as well as Yoo Yeon Seok and Seo Hyun Ji (Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim). Seasoned actor Jang Yong (Our Gap Soon) was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award and Han Suk Kyu (Romantic Doctor, Mr. Kim) took home the Grand Prize.

Winners of the three broadcasters' Entertainment Awards were also announced. MBC's Infinite Challenge, KBS's 2 Days & 1 Night and SBS's My Ugly Duckling were chosen as the Entertainment Programs of the Year.

Text / Pisces

A Fist Within Four Walls sweeps 2016 TVB Anniversary Awards

  December 19, 2016  
Martial arts drama A Fist Within Four Walls swept six prizes at leading Hong Kong broadcaster TVB's annual TV Awards Presentation (TVB Anniversary Awards) held on December 18. Set in Hong Kong's infamous Kowloon Walled City in the 1960s, Fist clinched Best Drama, Best Actor for Ruco Chan and Best Actress for Nancy Wu, who triumphs for the second consecutive year following her win last year for Ghost of Relativity.

Chan and Wu were previously crowned TV King and Queen at the 2016 TVB Star Awards Malaysia held last month, and their duet "Never Knew That You're the Best" was named the Most Popular Drama Theme Song. Co-stars Benjamin Yuen and Grace Wong won the My Favorite Male and Female Television Character prizes. Best Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress went to Short End of the Stick's Raymond Cho and Two Steps From Heaven's Katy Kung, while Jonathan Cheung and Ali Lee won Most Improved Actor and Actress.

In the Variety categories, game show I Heart HK won for Best Variety Program and Sidewalk Scientist for Best Infotainment Program. DoDo Goes Shopping's Carol Cheng, Luk Wing and C-Kwan were named the Best Television Presenters. Veteran actor Chow Chung was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Like previous years, Best Drama, Best Actor, Best Actress and other main awards were determined by popular voting.

Text / Garden
Translation / Sanwei

EXO, BTS and Twice win top prizes at 2016 MAMA

  December 5, 2016  
The 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) was held in Hong Kong on December 2. BTS, who led with six nominations, was crowned Artist of the Year and walked away with Best Dance Performance ("Blood Sweat & Tears") in the Male Group category. EXO received their fourth Album of the Year trophy from renowned Hong Kong singer Leon Lai, as well as Best Male Group for the third consecutive year and Best Asian Style Award. Fending off strong contenders EXO, BTS, GFriend and Zico, last year's Best New Female Artist winner Twice garnered Song of the Year for their mega-hit Cheer Up and was recognized as the Best Female Group.

Girls' Generation leader Tae Yeon won Best Female Artist award for the second consecutive year, while Block B leader Zico was honored with Best Male Artist for the first time. Ailee secured her fourth Best Vocal Performance Female prize with If You, and R&B singer-songwriter Crush picked up Best Vocal Performance Male with "Don't Forget" featuring Tae Yeon. Davichi reclaimed Best Vocal Performance Group with "Beside Me."

For Best Dance Performance, GFriend ("Rough") and SHINee's Tae Min ("Press Your Number") won in the Female Group and Solo categories, respectively. Two-time winner CNBLUE again triumphed in the Best Band Performance race with "You're So Fine." Defeating notable rappers including Dok2 and last year's winner San E, Show Me the Money 5 winner BewhY and runner-up C Jamm won for Best Rap Performance (Puzzle).

miss A's Suzy and EXO's Baek Hyun received Best Collaboration prize for their jazzy Dream. Prevailing over Gummy's "Moonlight Drawn by Clouds" (Love in the Moonlight) and Davichi's "This Love" (Descendants of the Sun), veteran singer Lee Juck's nostalgic "Don't Worry" from the soundtrack of Answer Me 1988 emerged as the black horse winner of the Best OST category. I.O.I and NCT 127 came out on top in the Best New Artist race, and GOT7 won the Worldwide Favorite Artist Award.

Other world-renowned artists were also recognized for their contributions. Quincy Jones was honored with the Inspired Achievement award. Timbaland, who had a special stage with Eric Nam for their new collaboration Body, was acknowledged as the Best International Producer. Best Asian Artist awards were given to outstanding Asian musicians, namely Getsunova (Thailand), Noo Phuoc Thinh (Vietnam), Isyana Sarasvati (Indonesia), JJ Lin (Singapore), Sekai no Owari (Japan) and Hua Chenyu (China). Besides the nominated artists, other performers of the night included NCT Dream, Gallant, Yoo Ah In, pianist Yiruma and Wiz Khalifa.

See photos from the MAMA press conference and red carpet on YesAsia Facebook.

Text / Pisces

53rd Golden Horse Awards Winners

  November 28, 2016  
The 53rd Golden Horse Awards were held in Taipei on November 26. Mainland Chinese director Zhang Dalei's The Summer Is Gone, a black-and-white drama about a boy's last summer vacation before entering junior high, emerged as the surprise winner, beating out I Am Not Madame Bovary, The Road to Mandalay, Soul Mate, Godspeed and Trivisa for Best Film. The film also won Best New Performer for its child star Kong Weiyi.

Zhou Dongyu and Ma Sichun shared Best Leading Actress honors for their roles as close friends through the years in Soul Mate while Fan Wei was crowned Best Leading Actor for his role in the black-and-white Lao She-based drama Mr. No Problem, which also won Best Adapted Screenplay. Feng Xiaogang, who did not attend the awards ceremony last year when he won Best Actor, was on hand this year to receive the Best Director prize for I Am Not Madame Bovary.

Young Taiwan actor Austin Lin of coming-of-age drama At Café 6 edged out Paul Chun, Eric Tsang and Lam Suet to become the dark horse winner in the Best Supporting Actor category. Veteran Elaine Kam, meanwhile, earned her second Best Supporting Actress Prize after 22 years for Mad World. The Hong Kong drama about coping with mental illness also won Best New Director for Wong Chun.

Hong Kong crime drama Trivisa picked up Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing while detective comedy Chinatown Detective won Best Action Choreography and Best Makeup & Costume Design. Other technical prizes went to Crosscurrent (Best Cinematography, Best Sound Design), Mojin: The Lost Legend (Best Visual Effects) and Chung Mong Hong's Godspeed, which had led with eight nominations but got shut out of all categories except Best Art Direction. Taiwan musician Lim Giong won Best Original Film Score for the fourth time for his work on City of Jade, and Zee Avi's Arena Cahaya from Ola Bola was named the Best Original Film Song.

87-year-old Taiwan screenwriter Chang Yung Hsiang, who has written over 120 film scripts, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Text / Sanwei

2016 Kohaku lineup: Utada Hikaru, KinKi Kids & Radwimps make debuts

  November 25, 2016  
Japan broadcaster NHK announced the performers for the 2016 edition of its annual Kohaku Uta Gassen New Year's Eve show on November 24. This year's lineup includes ten artists making their Kohaku debuts, five each in the red and white teams.

Diva Utada Hikaru, who sings the theme song for NHK's 2016 morning drama Toto Nee-chan, will finally appear on Kohaku for the first time. Other new performers on the red team include pop duo Puffy which celebrated their 20th anniversary this year, Nogizaka46's new sister group Keyakizaka46, enka singer Ichikawa Yukino and veteran actress Otake Shinobu.

New in the white team are Johnny's duo KinKi Kids, legendary band The Yellow Monkey which regrouped this year, alternative band Radwimps whose career reached a new high with the Your Name soundtrack, comedian-led unit Radio Fish of viral hit Perfect Human fame, and actor Kiritani Kenta whose commercial song Umi no Koe became a big hit.

Returning performers include AAA (7th appearance), AI (2nd), AKB48 (9th), Arashi (8th), Ayaka (8th), E-girls (4th), Fukuda Kohei (3rd), Fukuyama Masaharu (9th), Go Hiromi (29th), Hikawa Kiyoshi (17th), Hoshino Gen (2nd), Ikimonogakari (9th), Ishikawa Sayuri (39th), Itsuki Hiroshi (46th), Kanjani8 (5th), Kozai Kaori (19th), Matsuda Seiko (20th), miwa (4th), Miyami Hiroshi (2nd), Mizumori Kaori (14th), Nishino Kana (7th), Nogizaka46 (2nd), Perfume (9th), Sakamoto Fuyumi (28th), Sandaime J Soul Brothers (5th), Sekai no Owari (3rd), Sexy Zone (4th), Sheena Ringo (4th), Shimazu Aya (3rd), Takahashi Mariko (4th), Tendo Yoshimi (21st), Tokio (23rd), V6 (3rd), X Japan (7th), Yamauchi Keisuke (2nd) and Yuzu (7th). Notably absent from the lineup are mainstays Wada Akiko, who has appeared on the show 39 times, and SMAP which will disband at year's end.

The theme of this year's Kohaku is "Let's sing a dream." The show will be hosted by Arashi's Aiba Masaki and actress Arimura Kasumi, the lead of NHK's upcoming 2017 morning drama Hiyokko.

An annual tradition since 1951, the Kohaku Uta Gassen ("The Red and White Song Battle") features Japan's most popular musical acts (split into red and white teams) in a friendly competition that involves performing hit songs for viewer votes. The Kohaku remains one of the highest-rated television programs on Japanese television, and the preferred New Year's Eve pastime for most Japanese families. The show can also have significant impact on music sales, as certain songs would experience an increase in sales after being exposed to a nationwide audience on the show.

Text / Sanwei

Nicholas Tse & Jung Yong Hwa Cook Up a Storm in new foodie comedy

  November 24, 2016  
Since hosting the culinary show Chef Nic, Hong Kong singer-actor Nicholas Tse has impressed audiences with his creative cooking skills. The program's success has now inspired the Lunar New Year movie Cook Up a Storm about the intense rivalry between two chefs. Helmed by Raymond Yip (Phantom of the Theatre), the foodie comedy features a stellar lineup that includes Nicholas Tse himself, Ge You (Gone with the Bullets), CNBLUE member Jung Yong Hwa in his silver screen debut, Tiffany Tang (A Chinese Odyssey: Part Three), Michelle Bai (Kung Fu Jungle) and Anthony Wong (The Mobfathers).

Cook Up a Storm will be released in theaters as a 4D film that provides an innovative moviegoing experience by giving off delicious smells along with mouthwatering cooking scenes. Nicholas Tse exhibits his cooking talent as Cantonese street cook Ko Tin Ci, who runs a restaurant with his teacher Hong Qi (Ge You). In an attempt to establish his own Eastern cuisine brand, Michelin-starred chef Paul An (Jung Yong Hwa) comes to China from France and opens a restaurant with his girlfriend (Michelle Bai). The two talented chefs meet in a world-famous culinary competition where they go head to head for top honors.

Produced by Emperor Entertainment Group, Cook Up a Storm is set to open on January 28, 2017.

Text / Pisces

Liu Haoran, Huang Xiaoming and Tiffany Tang in Nirvana in Fire sequel

  November 16, 2016  
In 2015, the period drama Nirvana in Fire starring Hu Ge and Wang Kai made a huge pop culture splash as one of the most popular and acclaimed Chinese TV series of recent years. Soon after the drama's broadcast, a sequel was announced to much anticipation, and the cast has recently been unveiled. Again spearheaded by producer Hou Hongliang, directors Kong Sheng and Li Xue, and writer Hai Yan, Nirvana in Fire 2 gives way to new characters and an original story set a generation after the events of the first series.

Nirvana in Fire 2 will begin a decade after Xiao Jingyan's son ascends the throne and power struggle again breaks out in the Southern Liang dynasty. 19-year-old breakout star Liu Haoran (Chinatown Detective) takes the leading role of Xiao Pingjing, the second son of Changlin army general Xiao Tingsheng, played by veteran Sun Chun. Huang Xiaoming and Tiffany Tang make special appearances as General Xiao's oldest son Xiao Pingzhang and his wife Meng Qianxue. Other cast members include Mei Ting, Guo Jingfei, Wu Haochen, Zhang Bo and Qiao Xin from Hou Hongliang's other recent hit Ode to Joy, whose sequel is also in production.

Currently in pre-production, Nirvana in Fire 2 is expected to begin filming in December and air in 2017.

Text / Sanwei

Jung Kyung Ho & Baek Jin Hee to star in SM-produced mystery drama

  November 15, 2016  
Jung Kyung Ho (One More Happy Ending) and Baek Jin Hee ( My Daughter, Geum Sa Wol) will take the leading roles in the new MBC drama Missing Nine. Directed by Choi Byung Gil (Angry Mom and written by Han Jung Hoon (38 Revenue Collection Unit, the series unveils the secret behind a mysterious plane crash.

The mystery drama follows the conflicts between the survivors of a plane crash on an uninhabited island. Jung Kyung Ho will play former K-pop star Seo Joon Oh, a music genius who ends up becoming an entertainment reporter. Baek Jin Hee co-stars as his rookie assistant Ra Bong Hee, who plays a key role in revealing the secret behind the incident and finding the whereabouts of other missing passengers.

The crash survivors also include popular actor Choi Tae Ho (Choi Tae Joon, The Flower in Prison), Joon Oh's longtime rival since they formed idol group Dreamers; playboy Lee Yeol (EXO's Chan Yeol), a Dreamers member who successfully struck out on his own with his composing talent; and sassy top actress Ha Ji Ah (Lee Sun Bin, 38 Revenue Collection Unit) who suffers from hemolytic anemia. The drama also co-stars Yang Dong Geun (The Three Musketeers) as a prosecutor, Fiestar's Cao Lu and rookie actress Ryu Won, who debuted through Uncontrollably Fond.

Produced by SM Entertainment subsidiary SM C&C, Missing Nine is slated for release in January 2017.

Text / Pisces

Sato Takeru to star in live-action Ajin: Demi-Human film

  November 9, 2016  
Having already inspired an anime series and film trilogy over the past year, Sakurai Gamon's manga Ajin: Demi-Human is now greenlit for a live-action film adaptation directed by Motohiro Katsuyuki, the creator of the blockbuster Bayside Shakedown series. Sato Takeru, who drew widespread praise for his performance and action scenes in the Rurouni Kenshin film series, will take the leading role in the action fantasy suspense.

Serialized since 2012, Ajin: Demi-Human has accumulated a circulation of 5.4 million copies. The manga's story follows emotionally detached prodigy Nagai Kei who learns that he is an "Ajin" – an immortal human with special abilities – after surviving a car accident. The government, however, deems Ajins to be a threat and has performed cruel experiments on them. Hunted by the government, Kei gradually uncovers his own powers as he gets caught in the battle between the Ajins and the authorities. For the film adaptation, the protagonist will be changed from a high school student to a medical intern in order to better match with Sato Takeru's real age.

Ajin: Demi-Human is slated for release in 2017.

Text / Sanwei

Kim Soo Hyun challenges noir-action genre in upcoming film Real

  November 7, 2016  
Kim Soo Hyun challenges the noir-action genre in his long-anticipated new movie Real. The directorial debut of Lee Jung Sub, the screenwriter of Romantic Island and The Perfect Couple, the Korean action crime thriller is about the battle of wits between an aggressive troubleshooter and his rivals. Announced back in April 2015, Real completed shooting earlier this year.

Kim Soo Hyun takes the lead role as Jang Tae Young, an ambitious and ruthless fixer with dissociative identity disorder. His ultimate goal is to control the city by building a casino empire. Real co-stars Sung Dong Il (Proof of Innocence) as a casino mafia boss and Tae Young's major rival, Lee Kyung Young (The Great Actor) as a detective-turned-reporter, Lee Sung Min (Sori: Voice from the Heart) as a rehabilitation doctor, rising star Han Ji Eun (Miss Granny) as an up-and-coming actress, and former f(x) member Sulli (Fashion King) as rehabilitation therapist Song Yoo Hwa. It was recently revealed that singer IU and miss A's Suzy, both of whom co-starred with Kim Soo Hyun in TV dramas, also make special appearances in the film.

Real marks Chinese film company Alibaba Pictures' first foray into the Korean film industry. Korean casino operator Paradise Group as well as Kim Soo Hyun himself also invested in the film which is slated for a 2017 release.

Text / Pisces

The Wailing leads 37th Blue Dragon Film Awards nominations

  November 7, 2016  
Nominations for the 37th Blue Dragon Film Awards were recently announced. Director Na Hong Jin's blockbuster suspense The Wailing leads with 11 nominations, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best New Actress. The remaining Best Director nominees are Park Chan Wook (The Handmaiden), Kim Jee Woon (The Age of Shadows), Woo Min Ho (Inside Men) and Lee Joon Ik (Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet). Box-office hit Train to Busan, which earned nine nominations, will compete against Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet and The Age of Shadows for Best Film.

Best Actor nominations went to Kwak Do Won (The Wailing), Song Kang Ho (The Age of Shadows), Lee Byung Hun (Inside Men), Jung Woo Sung (Asura: The City of Madness) and Ha Jung Woo (The Tunnel). Kim Min Hee (The Handmaiden), Kim Hye Su (Goodbye Single), Son Ye Jin (The Last Princess), Yoon Yeo Jeong (The Bacchus Lady) and Han Ye Ri (Worst Woman) received nods for Best Actress. Though Train to Busan's Gong Yoo isn't shortlisted for Best Actor, the film scored triple nominations in the Best Supporting Actor and Actress races for Kim Eui Sung, Ma Dong Seok and Jung Yoo Mi, alongside strong contenders like Um Tae Goo (The Age of Shadows), Oh Dal Soo and Bae Doo Na (The Tunnel), Kunimura Jun and Chun Woo Hee (The Wailing), Ra Mi Ran (The Last Princess) and Park So Dam (The Priests).

For Best New Director, the nominees are Yeon Sang Ho (Train to Busan), Lee Il Hyung (A Violent Prosecutor), Jang Jae Hyun (The Priests), Yoon Ga Eun (The World of Us) and Kim Tae Gon (Goodbye Single). Park Jung Min (Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet), Lee Won Geun (The Net), Lee Sang Yoon (Insane), Ji Soo (One Way Trip) and Jo Woo Jin (Inside Men) garnered Best New Actor nods. Breakout star Kim Tae Ri (The Handmaiden) seeks her third Best New Actress trophy against Kang Ha Na (Spirits' Homecoming), Kim Hwan Hee (The Wailing), Yoon Joo (A Break Alone) and Jeong Ha Dam (Steel Flower).

The 37th Blue Dragon Film Awards will be held in Seoul on November 25.

Text / Garden
Translation / Pisces

Kimura Takuya plays cursed samurai in Blade of the Immortal adaptation

  November 7, 2016  
Kimura Takuya takes the starring role of a cursed samurai in the live-action adaptation of Samura Hiroaki's manga Blade of the Immortal. The film marks Kimura's first period role since 2006's Love and Honor in which he played a struggling blind samurai. Serialized from 1993 to 2012 in Monthly Afternoon, Blade of the Immortal follows the quest of samurai Manji who must kill 1,000 evil men in order to free himself from the curse of immortality. The ever prolific Miike Takashi directs the Tokugawa-era fantasy action thriller.

Following the announcement of the film's director and lead in August, more cast members have now been revealed. Up-and-coming teen actress Sugisaka Hana (Her Love Boils Bathwater) co-stars as Asano Rin, a young girl whose parents' death Manji pledges to help avenge, while Fukushi Shota (As the Gods Will) plays the antagonist Anotsu Kagehisa, the killer of Rin's father and the leader of a powerful and ruthless dojo. Ichihara Hayato, Toda Erika, Ichikawa Ebizo, Yamazaki Tsutomu, Tanaka Min, Kitamura Kazuki, Kuriyama Chiaki and Mitsushima Shinnosuke are also confirmed for the all-star cast.

Blade of the Immortal will be released in Japan on April 29, 2017.

Text / Sanwei

2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards Nominations

  October 31, 2016  
Nominations for the 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) were announced on October 28.

EXO, who won Best Male Group for the last two years, looks to extend their streak against Block B, BTS, iKON, Infinite and SHINee. With Girls' Generation and Sistar out of the running, GFriend, Mamamoo, Red Velvet and TWICE have the chance to win Best Female Group for the first time while Wonder Girls seek to reclaim the prize since their 2008 win. Crush and Zico are up against veterans Lim Chang, Park Hyo Shin and Psy for Best Male Artist, and Girls' Generation Tae Yeon will defend her Best Female Artist title against Ailee, Baek A Yeon, Apink's Jung Eun Ji and Lee Hi. Rookie idol groups continue to dominate the Best New Male and Female Artist categories, which feature Astro, KNK, NCT 127, Pentagon, SF9, Blackpink, Bolbbagan4, Gugudan, I.O.I and WJSN.

In the Best Vocal Performance categories, Crush ("Don't Forget"), Dean (D (Half Moon)), Eric Nam ("Good For You"), Jang Beum June ("Fallen in Love (Only With You)") and Lim Chang Jung ("The Love That I Committed") are nominated for Male Artists; Ailee ("If You"), Baek A Yeon ("So-So"), Baek Ye Rin ("Across the Universe"), Jung Eun Ji ("Hopefully Sky") and Tae Yeon ("Rain") for Female Artists; and Beast ("Ribbon"), BTOB ("Remember That"), Davichi ("Beside Me"), Mamamoo ("You're the Best") and Urban Zakapa ("I Don't Love You") for Groups.

Best Dance Performance is also divided into three categories for Male Group (BTS's "Blood, Sweat & Tears," EXO's Monster, GOT7's Hard Carry, Monsta X's "All In," Seventeen's "Pretty U" and VIXX's Fantasy), Female Group (AOA's Good Luck, GFriend's "Rough," Red Velvet's "Russian Roulette," Sistar's I Like That and Twice's Cheer Up) and Solo (HyunA's "How's This," Jun Hyo Seong's "Find Me," Luna's Free Somebody, Tae Min's Press Your Number and Tiffany's I Just Wanna Dance).

For Best Band Performance, the nominees are 10cm ("What the Spring??"), CNBLUE ("You're So Fine"), Day6 ("Letting Go"), FTIsland ("Take Me Now") and Guckkasten ("Pulse"). For Best Rap Performance, nods go to Dok2's "Illusion," Gary's "Lonely Night," Zico's "I Am You, You Are Me," San E and Mad Clown's "Sour Grapes" and Cjamm and Bewhy's "Puzzle." Mino and Bobby (Hit Me), Park Kyung and Eun Ha ("Inferiority Complex"), BoA and Beenzino ("No Matter What"), Suzy and Baek Hyun (Dream) and Eric Nam and Wendy ("Spring Love") are nominated for Best Collaboration.

Blackpink's Whistle, BTS's "Blood Sweat & Tears," Dean's bonnie & clyde, Gain's "Carnival (The Last Day)" and Wonder Girls' Why So Lonely will compete for Best Music Video. Lastly, Gummy's "Moonlight Drawn by Clouds," Davichi's "This Love" from Descendants of the Sun, Ben's "Like a Dream" from Oh Hae Young Again, Lee Juck's "Don't Worry" from Answer Me 1988 and Jang Beom June's "Reminiscence" from Signal are shortlisted for Best OST.

One of K-pop's major year-end music award shows, MAMA will be held in Hong Kong for the fifth consecutive year on December 2.

For more information and online voting, refer to MAMA's official site:

Text / Sanwei

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