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  1. Oshi no Ko Vol.1 (Blu-ray)  (Japan Version) Oshi no Ko Vol.1 (Blu-ray) (Japan Version) Igata Kurou | Otsuka Takeo | Akasaka Aka
    The rise and fall of an idol
    July 27, 2023 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Aired from April to June 2023, the first season of the Oshi no Ko anime series has been a breakout hit – and the success starts with its epic first episode. Produced by Doga Kobo studio, Oshi no Ko is based on Akasaka Aka's same-titled manga set in the bright lights and dark shadows of the idol entertainment industry. There's a Japanese joke about being reborn as an idol's child, and that's exactly what happens to the protagonist of Oshi no Ko. Obstetrician Amamiya Goro is a superfan of an underground teen idol named Hoshino Ai, who shows up pregnant at his hospital one day. She is cheerily determined to become a single mother and also continue being an idol. On the night he's supposed to... [read more]
  2. Jujutsu Kaisen 0 (Blu-ray) (Normal Ediiton) (Japan Version) Jujutsu Kaisen 0 (Blu-ray) (Normal Ediiton) (Japan Version) Uchiyama Koki | Hanazawa Kana | Komatsu Mikako | Sakurai Takahiro
    Another Jujutsu Kaisen
    October 31, 2022 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    We'll have to wait for Season 2 of the Jujutsu Kaisen anime for the continuing story of Itadori Yuji, but to find out to what happened before Yuji's arrival, there's the feature film prequel Jujutsu Kaisen 0. Based on Akutami Gege's same-titled manga (which was published before Jujutsu Kaisen), Jujutsu Kaisen 0 revolves around the Jujutsu High School class of Okkotsu Yuta, Zenin Maki, Panda and Inumaki Toge when they were first-year students. Providing an interesting parallel to Yuji's story, fan-favorite character Okkotsu Yuta is the protagonist of Jujutsu Kaisen 0. The teenage boy is timid by nature and bullied by classmates, but he is protected by the cursed spirit of his late childhood... [read more]
  3. Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop (Blu-ray) (Special Edition) (Japan Version) Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop (Blu-ray) (Special Edition) (Japan Version) Ichikawa Somegoro | Sugisaki Hana | Hanae Natsuki | Ushio Kensuke
    Boy meets girl, poetry meets pop
    September 29, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Poetry, music and anime come together in delightfully fizzy fashion in the youth romance Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop, which was produced to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Victor Entertainment's anime-related music label FlyingDog. Directed by Ishiguro Kyohei, this original animated film is a simple yet fanciful boy-meets-girl summer story set in a suburban town. Bubbly and popular live-streaming influencer Smile (voiced by Sugisaki Hana) feels painfully insecure about her buck teeth and braces, which she hides under a face mask. Painfully shy haiku enthusiast Cherry (voiced by kabuki actor Somegoro Ichikawa VIII) works at an elderly day center and hides under headphones to avoid... [read more]
  4. Modest Heroes (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled & Audio) (Japan Version) Modest Heroes (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled & Audio) (Japan Version) Yamashita Akihiko (Director) | Momose Yoshiyuki (Director) | Yonebayashi Hiromasa (Director) | Kimura Fumino
    Heroes come in small sizes
    October 17, 2019 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Studio Ponoc continues down the Studio Ghibli path with a collection of whimsical, lovingly animated short films, and you don't have to go to a museum in Tokyo to watch them like the Ghibli shorts. The anthology Modest Heroes features original shorts written and directed by three former Ghibli animators, including Yonebayashi Hiromasa. The three charming shorts are very different in story but carry the common theme of small heroes. In the case of Yonebayashi's Kanini & Kanino, the heroes are quite literally small. Yonebayashi created a beautiful yet perilous countryside world for thimble-sized people in 2010's The Borrower Arrietty. Kanini & Kanino creates a beautiful yet perilous... [read more]
  5. Every Day A Good Day (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) Every Day A Good Day (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) Kuroki Haru (Actor) | Yamashita Mizuki (Actor) | Tabe Mikako (Actor) | Kiki Kirin (Actor)
    Tea for the soul
    July 31, 2019 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    The tea ceremony has a long history and esteemed status in Japanese culture. Besides being a refined art and ritual for the preparation and enjoyment of tea, the Way of Tea embodies zen principles of harmony, purity and tranquility. One particularly famous saying that is associated with the tea ceremony is ichi-go ichi-e, or "one time one meeting"; each tea ceremony is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. While such poetic pursuits and principles may seem rather abstract and far off, Omori Tatsushi's gentle drama Every Day A Good Day brings the meaning and beauty of the tea ceremony into ordinary life through the growth and experiences of an everyday woman. We first meet heroine Noriko (Kuroki... [read more]
  6. Mary and the Witch's Flower (Blu-ray + Digital Copy) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) Mary and the Witch's Flower (Blu-ray + Digital Copy) (English Subtitled) (Japan Version) Kohinata Fumiyo | Kamiki Ryunosuke | Mitsushima Hikari | Sugisaki Hana
    Almost Ghibli
    July 27, 2018 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    After Studio Ghibli shuttered its filmmaking arm in 2014, veteran producer Nishimura Yoshiaki founded the new animation house Studio Ponoc with the help of other key Ghibli alumni, most notably Yonebayashi Hiromasa. In its thirty-year history, besides Miyazaki Hayao and Takahata Isao, Studio Ghibli has only had two other in-house directors with more than one feature film credit: Yonebayashi and Miyazaki Goro. As the rare Miyazaki protégé to gain directing reins, Yonebayashi seemed to be Studio Ghibli's future when he stepped out with The Borrower Arrietty in 2010. Though Nishimura and Yonebayashi are no longer with Studio Ghibli, they have brought the themes and aesthetics that they spent... [read more]
  7. A Silent Voice (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) A Silent Voice (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) Yuki Aoi | Oima Yoshitoki | Hayami Saori | Nishiya Taishi
    A painful journey of redemption and self-discovery
    June 9, 2017 Picked By Pisces See all this editor's picks
    In November 2016, the case of a 13-year-old Japanese boy being bullied by classmates was revealed. An evacuee from the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, the young victim was called "germ" at school and beaten by classmates who extorted money from him. However, this case is just the tip of the iceberg. Bullying happens everywhere and it has become a common theme in manga. Dealing with the issues of bullying and disability, Oima Yoshitoki allows audience to listen to the inner voices of both the bullies and their victims in her award-winning manga A Silent Voice, which has been adapted into an anime film by K-On! director Yamada Naoko and studio Kyoto Animation. A Silent Voice is a... [read more]
  8. Seoul Station (DVD) (Korea Version) Seoul Station (DVD) (Korea Version) Yeon Sang Ho (Director) | Lee Joon | Shim Eun Kyung | Kim Jae Rok
    People are scarier than zombies
    December 8, 2016 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    With Train to Busan, arthouse animation darling Yeon Sang Ho proved resoundingly that not only is he perfectly capable of directing mainstream and live-action cinema, he's almost too good at hitting all the required action and emotional notes for commercial success. Meanwhile, Seoul Station, the animated companion piece to Train to Busan, still bears all the bleak, incisive markers that make it seem so unlikely that Yeon could be a ten-million-admissions blockbuster director. Made before Train to Busan but released after, Seoul Station depicts the beginning of the zombie virus outbreak. While Train is bright, glossy and attractive even as it's hurling full speed into gory zombie apocalypse,... [read more]
  9. Stand by Me Doraemon (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Korea Version) Stand by Me Doraemon (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Korea Version) Japanese Animation | Yamazaki Takashi (Director) | Yagi Ryuichi (Director)
    New Animation, Same Doraemon
    September 30, 2015 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    It's no exaggeration to say that Doraemon embodies the childhoods of multiple generations of people who grew up in East Asia. Since it began serialization in 1969, the manga series, about a magical robotic cat from the future sent back in time to help hapless grade schooler Nobita, has grown into a massive and massively beloved media franchise of comics, anime, movies, toys and licensed products. The manga series ran for 27 years from 1969 until 1996, the anime series has accumulated over 2000 episodes, and every year there is a new Doraemon movie for the whole family to enjoy. In 2014, audiences got two Doraemon movies: New Nobita's Great Demon – Peko and the Exploration Party of Five, the... [read more]
  10. STAND BY ME Doraemon (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition)(Japan Version) STAND BY ME Doraemon (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition)(Japan Version) Kakazu Yumi | Fujiko F. Fujio | Sato Naoki | Yamazaki Takashi (Director)
    Farewell, Doraemon
    March 31, 2015 Picked By Rockman See all this editor's picks
    Made entirely of short episodes, the original Doraemon manga is virtually impossible to adapt as a standalone film. The Doraemon story has a beginning, but the episodic structure means that there’s no middle and no real definitive ending (contrary to the rumored endings out on the internet). This is why Doraemon feature films are usually based on special one-off episodes spun off from the manga instead. Thanks to Yamazaki Takashi and Yagi Ryuichi (Friends – Naki on the Monster Island), that standalone film finally exists. Produced for the 80th anniversary of the birth of original authors Fujiko F. Fuijo, Stand By Me Doraemon attempts to fit the story of an ordinary kid named Nobita and his... [read more]
  11. Gudetama Anime (DVD+CD)(Japan Version) Gudetama Anime (DVD+CD)(Japan Version) Animation
    This is one lazy egg
    March 31, 2015 Picked By Frood See all this editor's picks
    Eggs – you can boil them, you can fry them and you can even leave them as they are, but one thing you can't change about them is their laziness. That's right. We now have proof that eggs are incredibly, unrelentingly lazy, thanks to Sanrio. In 2013, Sanrio ran a competition for food-based characters, and Gudetama, the aforementioned lazy egg, came in second (coming in first was a salmon filet called KIRIMI-chan). Since then, Gudetama's popularity has been on an unstoppable climb, due in no small part to its starring in anime shorts that air during the TBS morning program Morning Chance. Now, to the delight of lovers of the lethargic egg everywhere, the first 126 episodes of the series of... [read more]
  12. Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun Vol.1 (Blu-ray)(Japan Version) Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun Vol.1 (Blu-ray)(Japan Version) Hashimoto Yukari | Tsubaki Izumi | Okamoto Nobuhiko | Nakamura Yuichi
    A standout comedic anime/manga series
    September 26, 2014 Picked By Frood See all this editor's picks
    Sakura Chiyo is a normal high school girl. She has a crush on a slightly stern-looking boy named Nozaki Umetaro. One day, she works up the courage to tell him that she likes him, and he responds her his autograph? This is the beginning of Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun. Written by Tsubaki Izumi, the manga series has been serialized in Gangan Online since 2011, and an anime adaptation began airing in July 2014. Lest you think this is a romance series about a girl who likes a guy with seriously high self-esteem, Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun is actually a four-panel comedy series about a male shojo manga artist (Nozaki) and the schoolmates he ropes in to help him (Sakura and others). The... [read more]
  13. Lupin III VS Detective Conan The Movie (2013) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Lupin III VS Detective Conan The Movie (2013) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
    The boy detective and the world-class thief
    August 13, 2014 Picked By Frood See all this editor's picks
    Edogawa Conan and Lupin III. These are two names that would not be unfamiliar to anyone with a passing knowledge of Japanese popular culture. The two manga and anime titans first met in the 2009 TV special Lupin III vs Detective Conan, where after a reluctant collaboration, Conan promised to arrest Lupin and his gang if they were ever to meet again. Wouldn't you know it, Conan gets a chance to follow through on his promise on the silver screen in 2013's Lupin III vs Detective Conan The Movie. Nominated for the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year, the film was released to celebrate three milestones: the 50th anniversary of TMS Entertainment (animation studio under Toho), the 45th... [read more]
  14. The Fake (DVD) (Korea Version) The Fake (DVD) (Korea Version) Animation | Yeon Sang Ho (Director)
    Ignorance is bliss?
    April 28, 2014 Picked By Rockman See all this editor's picks
    Throughout the course of history, we've seen the devastating effects of religious fanaticism, from the Crusades to modern-day terrorist attacks. After showing us that high school is hell in King of Pigs, director Yeon Sang Ho takes his aim at organized religion in The Fake, a bleak, nihilistic social drama that will surely attract many angry detractors. A small village in South Korea is about to be flooded for the construction of a new hydroelectric dam. Taking advantage of the villagers' vulnerable state of mind, a new church led by a charismatic pastor has taken the hearts and minds of the people, who have been promised a spot in heaven for following him. Newly arriving in town to join... [read more]
  15. Padak (DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Korea Version) Padak (DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Korea Version) Animation
    Free the fish
    August 30, 2013 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Padak is an animated film about a fish who has lost its way, but Finding Nemo this is most emphatically not. The title refers to the sound of fish flopping on the ground, the only desperate escape route for a restaurant fish trying to escape back to the sea. What does the world look like from the eyes of a fish in danger of being devoured? Terrifying. Directed by Lee Dae Hee, Padak follows a mackerel who finds herself in the aquarium of a seaside seafood restaurant. She desperately tries to break past the "invisible wall" to no avail. The other denizens of her tank are jaded fish farm species that survive by playing dead when potential customers peer in and by pouncing and feeding on weak... [read more]
  16. The Garden of Words (Blu-ray + CD) (Multi-Language Subtitles) (Japan Version) The Garden of Words (Blu-ray + CD) (Multi-Language Subtitles) (Japan Version) Shinkai Makoto (Director) | Irino Miyu | Hanazawa Kana
    Longing and loneliness in the big city can be animated, too
    June 5, 2013 Picked By Rockman See all this editor's picks
    I'm not an anime fan, but I'm a huge fan of Shinkai Makoto's 5 Centimeters per Second. Combining poignant observations about unrequited love, regrets and longing with sublime imageries, Centimeter would be equally good in live-action. Shinkai's follow-up, Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below, explored similar themes, but its fantastical story and visuals made it a film that would appeal more to traditional anime fans. Two years later, Shinkai has returned to reality with Garden of Words, based on his own novel. Running just 45 minutes, this subtle drama depicts an unlikely romance between two lonely urbanites. With a free spirit mother and an older brother who can't be bothered to... [read more]
  17. My Neighbor Totoro (Blu-ray) (Multi-Language & Subtitled) (Region Free) (Japan Version) My Neighbor Totoro (Blu-ray) (Multi-Language & Subtitled) (Region Free) (Japan Version) Sakamoto Chika | Hidaka Noriko | Takagi Hitoshi | Itoi Shigesato
    Ghibli goes Blu
    October 26, 2012 Picked By Rockman See all this editor's picks
    I fear the arrival of any new video format on the market. Just a decade ago, DVD changed the way I saw movies, taking the luxurious LaserDisc experience into a much smaller, more affordable product that raised the bar on how people watch movies at home. Over the years, I had built a respectable collection of my favorite films in the best possible format available to normal consumers. A few years later, Blu-ray arrived. With nearly four times the capacity of a dual-layer DVD, a Blu-ray offers more than double the video resolution of a DVD. Ever since Blu-ray beat HD-DVD and became the prevalent high-definition video format, film companies have taken advantage of new remastering technologies... [read more]
  18. My Neighbors the Yamadas (Blu-ray) (Multi Audio & Subtitled) (Region Free) (Japan Version) My Neighbors the Yamadas (Blu-ray) (Multi Audio & Subtitled) (Region Free) (Japan Version) Takahata Isao (Director) | Asaoka Yukiji | Masuoka Toru | Yanagiya Kosanji
    Scenes from a family through the eyes of Studio Ghibli
    August 25, 2011 Picked By Rockman See all this editor's picks
    My Neighbor the Yamadas is in some ways the black sheep of the Studio Ghibli family. Not only was it a financial failure for the studio, there were also stories about newspaper headlines lying about its success and company employees ordered to fill in as audiences at one of the film's promotional events. While My Neighbor the Yamadas is a charming film that does the Ghibli tradition proud, it's also easy to understand why it was a box office failure. More a series of short episodes than a coherent story, the film would've worked perfectly as a weekly television series. As a 105-minute theatrical presentation, the film's lack of a narrative will cause the viewing experience to drag by its... [read more]
  19. ONE PIECE Film: Strong World (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) ONE PIECE Film: Strong World (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) Tanaka Mayumi | Sakai Munehisa (Director) | Okamura Akemi | Nakai Kazuya
    It's a Strong World After All
    August 30, 2010 Picked By Kozo See all this editor's picks
    The frequent complaint about manga-based anime "filler" arcs and theatrical features is that they're not canon. Well, no such complaints can be levied at One Piece: Strong World. The tenth film based on the hit manga from creator Oda Eiichiro, Strong World was conceived and supervised by Oda himself, with new characters, relationships and details neatly fitting into established One Piece continuity. Not that it matters that much; this is your standard One Piece adventure, meaning equal parts stirring friendship, over-the-top action, offhand coolness and pronounced wackiness. One Piece fans, this is your One Piece movie dream. Strong World details the Straw Hat Pirates' conflict with Golden... [read more]
  20. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Normal Edition) (Japan Version - English Subtitles) Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Normal Edition) (Japan Version - English Subtitles) Iemasa Yayumi | Miyazaki Hayao (Director) | Sakakibara Ryoko | Naoko Kyoda
    Doomsday tale meets anime
    September 30, 2008 Picked By A-Xiang Joe See all this editor's picks
    Miyazaki Hayao's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind presents an apocalyptic fantasy tale admonishing the horrors of war and the continued pollution of the environment by ignorant human behavior. In his second feature-length animation released in spring 1984, Japan's master director and animator warns of how mankind may finally bring about their own destruction through senseless warring activities and ignorant use of advanced technology, turning originally fertile land into one filled with toxic elements. At the center of Miyazaki's film is the relentless fight against all odds of a peaceful boundary nation living in the remote Valley of the Wind, as nature turns against them and... [read more]
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