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  1. MIXED NUTS EP (SINGLE+BLU-RAY) (Japan Version) MIXED NUTS EP (SINGLE+BLU-RAY) (Japan Version) Official HIGE DANdism
    Life is like a bag of mixed nuts
    June 30, 2022 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Official HIGE DANdism's song Mixed Nuts should sound familiar to anyone who's been watching Spy x Family, but you don't have to know the anime to enjoy this flavorful EP. Opening with a reverbing explosion of notes, Mixed Nuts (Track 1) highlights the funky, jazzy side of HIGEDAN's signature piano rock sound. The energetic pop melody is underlined by an awesome bassline that pulsates with life and a joyous swirl of brass and percussion. Mixed Nuts has wittily philosophical lyrics about living "in this world like nuts packed in a bag." Like a bag of mixed nuts, this EP has more texture and variety to offer in its side tracks. Anarchy (Track 2) is a wonderful surprise, expanding the band's... [read more]
  2. LOST IN TOKYO (ALBUM+DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) LOST IN TOKYO (ALBUM+DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) SOIL & "PIMP" SESSIONS
    Tokyo state of mind
    June 28, 2022 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    You can always count on Soil & "Pimp" Sessions for classy and funky jazz that brims with exuberant energy. Their latest album Lost in Tokyo also brims with city vibes. Themed around Tokyo, the album explores and evokes the city through 12 tracks that include two songs featuring guest vocalists. Lost in Tokyo opens with an atmospheric intro track blending the sounds of water, chirping birds, the muffled clamor of a subway and crisp footsteps. It leads into Meiji-Jingumae 'Harajuku' (Track 2), whose title referring to a metro station interchange already gets you in a Tokyo state of mind. The playful skitter of piano keys against laid-back beats, smooth brass notes and an unrushed melody feels... [read more]
  3. M87  (SINGLE+DVD) (First Press Limited Edition)(Japan Version) M87 (SINGLE+DVD) (First Press Limited Edition)(Japan Version) Yonezu Kenshi
    Yonezu Kenshi, the storyteller
    May 31, 2022 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Yonezu Kenshi delivers another certified jam with his latest single M87, the theme song of the new Shin Ultraman movie. The singer-songwriter wastes no time getting started, opening straight away with stirring vocals and emotive imagery: "Because I saw the stars shining in the distant sky / I trembled as I chased the light." Hooking listeners from the first line, M87 reminds of Lemon in the best possible way with its clean and catchy alternative melody, rousing feelings and immediate earworm impact. At the same time, the song has an exciting storytelling quality in its free-flowing rhythm and use of different types of instrumental transitions. M87 technically follows a conventional... [read more]
  4. Raging Fire (2021) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Raging Fire (2021) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Nicholas Tse (Actor) | Donnie Yen (Actor) | Qin Lan (Actor) | YANG TIAN YU (Actor)
    Benny Chan's action-packed swansong
    May 31, 2022 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    When people think of Hong Kong's greatest action film directors, Benny Chan may not be among the first few names to come to mind – but he should be. From the late 90s onwards, there have been few directors as reliable for solid, unpretentious and entertaining Hong Kong action as Benny Chan. From Big Bullet, Divergence and Rob-B-Hood to Connected, The White Storm and Call of Heroes, his films may not have traveled as many fests and won as many awards as those of his more famous contemporaries, but they sure were fun to watch. Even the bad Benny Chan films, like City Under Siege and Meow, were spectacularly bad rather than bleh. Benny Chan's final feature Raging Fire is everything great about... [read more]
  5. We Made a Beautiful Bouquet (2021) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) We Made a Beautiful Bouquet (2021) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Arimura Kasumi (Actor) | Suda Masaki (Actor) | Toda Keiko (Actor) | Odagiri Joe (Actor)
    Love blooms and love withers
    April 30, 2022 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Screenwriter Sakamoto Yuji has spearheaded a long list of hits and classics for Japanese television over the years, from Last Christmas to Mother to his most recent My Dear Exes. He's not the most prolific of TV writers, but basically every drama he touches is guaranteed quality. Sakamoto, however, rarely writes for the silver screen. His last film outing before 2021's We Made a Beautiful Bouquet was the 2007 film extension of the hit Saiyuki series, and his most representative film remains 2004's Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World. We Made a Beautiful Bouquet reteams Sakamoto Yuji with director Doi Nobuhiro after the excellent 2017 series Quartet. Encapsulating the different... [read more]
  6. F4 Thailand: Boys Over Flowers The Series Boxset (DVD) (Ep. 1-16) (End) (Thailand Version) F4 Thailand: Boys Over Flowers The Series Boxset (DVD) (Ep. 1-16) (End) (Thailand Version) Dew Jirawat Sutivanichsak (Actor) | Win Metawin Opas-iamkajorn (Actor) | Bright Vachirawit Chivaaree (Actor) | F4 Thailand
    Is this the best Boys Over Flowers adaptation?
    April 19, 2022 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    I had my doubts when F4 Thailand: Boys Over Flowers was announced. As much of an all-time favorite Hana Yori Dango may be, many aspects of Kamio Yoko's classic shojo manga story, which began serialization in the early 90s, don't hold up great without rose-tinted glasses. When I tuned into F4 Thailand, it was more out of the usual curiosity about how this latest cast and version would hold up against past adaptations. I didn't expect it would turn out to be one of the best Boys Over Flowers dramas. GMMTV churns out glossy youth romance dramas, so the studio is in comfortable territory with F4 Thailand. The story is the same old one that we know too well. Poor but lionhearted schoolgirl Gorya... [read more]
  7. Brother Beat [Type A] (SINGLE+DVD) (First Press Edition) (Japan Version) Brother Beat [Type A] (SINGLE+DVD) (First Press Edition) (Japan Version) Snow Man
    Fun, funny and funky
    March 31, 2022 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Last year was a standout year for Snow Man. Snow Mania S1 was the second highest-selling album of 2021 on Oricon's year-end chart, and all three of their singles ranked in the year-end top five, with million-seller Grandeur coming in first. The three singles, ranging from powerful (Grandeur) to refreshing (Hello Hello) to emotional (Secret Touch), also showed the Johnny's group's ability to comfortably take on different styles. Snow Man continues strong this year with Brother Beat, which is delightfully different than their previous singles. Snow Man's sixth single Brother Beat is a bright, mischievous and upbeat jam that looks and sounds more like something out of the Johnny's WEST canon.... [read more]
  8. Flow [Type A] (SINGLE+BLU-RAY)  (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) Flow [Type A] (SINGLE+BLU-RAY) (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) Perfume
    Dream with the Flow
    March 15, 2022 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    In the past few years, Perfume has only put out one new music release per year, usually in the second half of the year. This year, the trio is back bright and early in March with the dreamy synthpop sounds of the new single Flow. Produced as always by Nakata Yasutaka, Flow begins immediately, almost abruptly, with sweet vocals over a light melody. The sweet, gentle sound sets a dreamy mood as the beats build up to a bubbly chorus. A low and steady reverberation effect underlies the transition following the first chorus, adding unexpected texture to the song. Nakata continues to variegate the song progression by curling different beats, effects and echoes into the chorus sections and bridge,... [read more]
  9. Sinkhole (2021) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Sinkhole (2021) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Kim Sung Kyun (Actor) | Lee Kwang Soo (Actor) | Cha Seung Won (Actor) | Kim Hye Jun (Actor)
    Finding laughs in unlikely places
    February 28, 2022 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    After depicting a devastating fire in a high-rise building in The Tower, director Kim Ji Hoon brings another one of my secret fears to the silver screen in Sinkhole. The 2021 disaster drama depicts the fight for survival when an entire residential building sinks hundreds of meters into the ground. A group of survivors that includes Kim Sung Kyun, Cha Seung Won, Lee Kwang Soo, Kim Hye Jun and Nam Da Reum must navigate the precarious environment of a collapsed building on the edge of an abyss while searching for other survivors and a way back up to the surface. As can perhaps be expected with the unbeatable trio of Kim Sung Kyun, Cha Seung Won and Lee Kwang Soo in the mix, Sinkhole has a... [read more]
  10. Bad Buddy Series Boxset (2021) (DVD) (Ep. 1-12) (End) (English Subtitled) (Thailand Version) Bad Buddy Series Boxset (2021) (DVD) (Ep. 1-12) (End) (English Subtitled) (Thailand Version) Ohm Pawat Chittsawangdee (Actor) | Nanon Korapat Kirdpan (Actor) | Love Pattranite Limpatiyakorn (Actor) | Milk Pansa Vosbein (Actor)
    Modern-day Romeo and Romeo
    February 14, 2022 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    GMMTV changed the game for Thailand BL dramas in 2016 with SOTUS which took the genre to a new level of mainstream and international popularity. Elevating genre standards with better production values, promising young talents and savvy marketing strategies, GMMTV turned BL into a mainstay cash cow of its teen and romance roster. SOTUS was followed by SOTUS S and other hits like Theory of Love, Dark Blue Kiss, Fish Upon the Sky, A Tale of Thousand Stars, 2gether and Bad Buddy. Of these, I would choose Bad Buddy to be GMMTV's best BL series to date. Directed by Backaof Noppharnach Chaiwimol, Bad Buddy stays in the familiar territory of school romance. Pat (Ohm Pawat Chittsawangdee) and Pran... [read more]
  11. Man In Love (2021) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Man In Love (2021) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version) Tiffany Ann Hsu (Actor) | Roy Chiu (Actor) | Tsai Chen Nan (Actor) | Chung Hsin Ling (Actor)
    Man in Love remake that improves on the original
    January 21, 2022 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Before watching Yin Chen Hao's blockbuster romance Man in Love, I was rather surprised about its box office success. I did not love the original Korean film from which it was adapted, and was skeptical of how the remake managed to enter Taiwan's top ten domestic films of all time. After I watched it, I completely understood why it's such a crowd-pleasing hit. On paper, the Taiwan remake of Man in Love tells just about the same story as the Korean film. Ah Cheng (Roy Chiu) is a street gangster who collects debt for a living. Though he's quick to yell and fight, he has a kind heart, and looks out for struggling debtors in his own way. He coerces bank clerk Hao Ting (Tiffany Ann Hsu) to take... [read more]
  12. Endgame (2021) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Endgame (2021) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Xiao Yang (Actor) | Andy Lau (Actor) | Wan Qian (Actor) | Liu Tian Zuo (Actor)
    Key to a good remake
    November 30, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Uchida Kenji's 2012 comedy-drama Key of Life about a hitman and a failed actor swapping identities picked up a slew of prizes, and its 2016 Korean remake Luck-Key was a box office hit. In 2021, the third iteration of the story arrives with the ambiguously titled Chinese remake Endgame. So what does this version offer that hasn't already been covered in the previous two films? Well, for one thing, it has Andy Lau. Endgame also has director Rao Xiaozhi, who brings a different vibe to this same story. Andy Lau wears the heck out of a black suit as precise and unflappable professional killer Zhou Quan whose downfall turns out to be a slippery bar of soap. After taking a fall at the bathhouse,... [read more]
  13. Gintama: The Final (2021) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Gintama: The Final (2021) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Miyawaki Chizuru (Director)
    A very Gintama finale
    November 29, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Fans: How many Gintama endings will there be? Gintama animators: Yes. In 2018, the Gintama TV anime notoriously ended with a cliffhanger and a long gag about the series finally coming to an end after many fake-out endings. Over two years later, the Gintama anime returns with a feature film of The Very Final ending. Gintama: The Final starts with an extended Dragon Ball Z parody, in-jokes about the animators being free to do whatever they want since they're not locked down by the grind of a TV anime, and a long narration summarizing the events leading up to the feature film. Before you can gripe about the recap being long and confusing, rest assured, the characters do it for you. Gintama:... [read more]
  14. Dark wings (EP + Photo Album) Dark wings (EP + Photo Album) Yang Yu Teng (Singer)
    Embracing darkness
    October 31, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    When YU made his debut in the summer of 2020, he was a nearly unknown newcomer. Since then, a starring role in the hit Taiwan series We Best Love – which also featured his song "Blue Lover" – has turned him into one of the most anticipated new names in Taiwan pop. YU's second EP Dark Wings arrives over a year after his first EP. He works with the same core production team led by producer Howie Chou, but this time he wrote the lyrics for both songs on the EP. If My Night Has Nothing To Do evokes blue feelings, then Dark Wings brings out the feelings of darkness. The EP's two songs call upon the doubts, fears, loneliness, rebellion and uneasiness YU felt in the past as a youth who left Japan... [read more]
  15. The Magician On The Skywalk (2021) (DVD) (Ep. 1-11) (End) (Taiwan Version) The Magician On The Skywalk (2021) (DVD) (Ep. 1-11) (End) (Taiwan Version) Luo Shi Qi (Actor) | Lu Yi En (Actor) | Li Yi Qiao (Actor) | May Sun (Actor)
    Life, death and disappearance in 1980s Taipei
    October 29, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Chunghwa Market was an expansive integrated shopping mall located in Taipei's Ximending area from 1961 to 1992, when it was closed to make way for urban redevelopment. A skywalk over an intersection of roads carried foot traffic directly to the second level of Chunghwa Market, which bustled with people and activity as one of the city's most popular landmarks. This shopping market of yesteryear serves as the setting of the acclaimed 2021 PTS drama The Magician on the Skywalk, which won Best Television Series, Best Director and other prizes at the 56th Golden Bell Awards. Yang Ye Che honed his talent for telling human stories at PTS in the 2000s before going on to direct feature films like... [read more]
  16. Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop (Blu-ray) (Special Edition) (Japan Version) Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop (Blu-ray) (Special Edition) (Japan Version) Sugisaki Hana | Ichikawa Somegoro | 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]
  17. Tears on Fire (2021) (DVD) (Ep. 1-10) (End) (Tote Bag Limited Edition) (Taiwan Version) Tears on Fire (2021) (DVD) (Ep. 1-10) (End) (Tote Bag Limited Edition) (Taiwan Version) James Wen (Actor) | Austin Lin (Actor) | Liu Kuan Ting (Actor) | Annie Chen (Actor)
    Firefighters do more than fight fires
    August 30, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    On days of disaster and tragedy, we laud the heroics and sacrifices of firefighters and first responders. But are we providing the needed resources and understanding to support their work and livelihood every day of the year? The ten-episode PTS series Tears on Fire depicts the experiences and challenges of firefighters and EMTs in Taiwan. The drama follows a typical brigade in the Tongan Branch of Dayuan City Fire Department. The team, which includes James Wen, Annie Chen, Liu Kuan Ting and Austin Lin, works around the clock to respond to emergency calls. In Taiwan, EMS (emergency medical service) is provided by the fire department, so firefighters are also trained as EMTs (emergency... [read more]
  18. Detective Chinatown 3 (2021) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Detective Chinatown 3 (2021) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Liu Hao Ran (Actor) | Tsumabuki Satoshi (Actor) | Wang Bao Qiang (Actor) | Tony Jaa (Actor)
    More of the Detective Chinatown universe
    July 31, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Out of all the films that were originally set for theatrical release in China for Chinese New Year in 2020 and then pushed back due to COVID, only two films delayed their release dates all the way to 2021 Chinese New Year – the cartoon feature Boonie Bears: The Wild Life and Detective Chinatown 3. Most of the other big-name titles, like Leap, Vanguard and Jiang Ziya, opened later in 2020 or, in the case of Lost in Russia, premiered on digital platforms instead. Detective Chinatown 3, however, was held an entire year for the Spring Festival opening, because it's very much a Lunar New Year film. Despite the detective buddy comedy being a surefire blockbuster anytime of the year based on its... [read more]
  19. The Con-Heartist (2020) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) The Con-Heartist (2020) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Baifern Pimchanok Luevisadpaibul (Actor) | Nadech Kugimiya (Actor) | Phuak Pongsatorn Jongwilas (Actor) | Mam Kathaleeya McIntosh (Actor)
    Heart, humor and hijinks
    July 1, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    When it comes to glossy commercial films that hit you in the feels and the funny bone, it's hard to go wrong with GDH. The 2020 comedy The Con-Heartist deploys the blockbuster studio's tried-and-true formula of pretty people engaging in cute romance and wacky comedy, but this crowd-pleaser leads with crime caper elements. Romcom favorite Baifern Pimchanok gives one of her most lovable performances as Ina, a humble banker who wears her heart on her sleeve. That's how she ended up getting scammed by ex-boyfriend Petch (a wily, smiley Thiti Mahayotaruk) and saddled with debt. When she encounters suave con artist Tower, played by Channel 3 heartthrob Nadech Kugimiya, she ropes him into helping... [read more]
  20. Future Cops (1993) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Future Cops (1993) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Aaron Kwok (Actor) | Chingmy Yau (Actor) | Andy Lau (Actor) | Jacky Cheung (Actor)
    90s Hong Kong comedy at its craziest
    June 30, 2021 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Some people may say that Future Cops is a terrible motion picture. And those people would not be wrong, but that doesn't stop me from wholeheartedly loving this wacky 90s Hong Kong classic. The sci-fi action comedy is directed by – who else? – Hong Kong cinema's king of low-brow comedies Wong Jing, and it aims to entertain by throwing everything but the kitchen sink into its nonsensical fun. One of the biggest draws of Future Cops is that it's packed with stars, and they all dress up in ridiculous cosplay-quality costumes, as the film giddily rips off characters from Street Fighter II. Future Cops enjoys the distinction of having three Heavenly Kings – Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung and Aaron Kwok... [read more]
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