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Matsuda Ryuhei & Radwimps' Noda Yojiro to star as Japanese chess players

  August 18, 2017  
Matsuda Ryuhei will star as a shogi (Japanese chess) player in the film adaptation of Segawa Shoji's autobiographical novel Nakimushi Shottan no Kiseki ("Crybaby Shottan's Miracle"). Following Blue Spring, 9 Souls and I'm Flash!, this film marks Matsuda's fourth collaboration with director Toyoda Toshiaki, who aspired to be a professional player in his youth.

Matsuda plays Segawa Shoji, or Shottan, who devotes himself to shogi from a young age. Due to the pro qualifier league's rule that players must reach the ranking of fourth dan by their 26th birthday, Shoji is forced to quit at age 26. Afterwards, he begins life as a salaryman, but remains passionate about shogi. With the support of his family and friends, he decides to strives for his dream once more. Radwimps' lead singer Noda Yojiro co-stars as Shoji's close friend and biggest rival.

Matsuda Ryuhei and Noda Yojiro started receiving shogi training in May. The film is expected to begin shooting in late August and open in 2018.

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Translation / Sanwei

TVXQ's Yun Ho plays mind-reader in post-military comeback drama

  August 8, 2017  
Following his military discharge in April this year, TVXQ's Jung Yun Ho has begun filming the tvN drama Meloholic, a live-action remake of Team Getname's same-titled webcomic. Oh Hae Young Again director Song Hyun Wook is at the helm of the mystery romcom.

Serialized from 2010 to 2013, the original comic follows a mind-reading student who falls for a girl with a split personality. College student Eun Ho can read minds when he touches people's hands. He becomes distrustful of people because they never show their true hearts. Ji Eun, an apparently cold-hearted girl with a sincere heart, proves to be the exception. However, when Eun Ho begins to open his heart to Ji Eun, he discovers that she has two distinct personalities.

Kyung Soo Jin (Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo) joins the drama as the female lead, alongside Choi Dae Chul (Our Gap Soon), Han Jae Seok (Introverted Boss), Laboum's Sol Bin (Solomon's Perjury) and rookie actresses Ko Min Shi and Song Yoo Ji.

Meloholic started shooting in May and is set to air within 2017.

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Wu Jing's Wolf Warriors 2 on pace to become China's biggest film of all time

  August 7, 2017  
Since opening in China on July 28, the Wu Jing-directed and -starring action thriller Wolf Warriors 2 has swept the box office at record-breaking pace. The film has made over 3.2 billion yuan in a mere 11 days, along the way setting new records for the speed at which it reached every box office milestone, and refreshing the single-day box office record for Chinese films three times.

On August 5, its tenth day of release, Wolf Warriors 2 reached its highest single-day gross, to date, of 396 million yuan and surpassed The Fate of the Furious as this year's highest-grossing film at the Chinese box office. At its current pace, the film will soon dethrone the 3.39 billion yuan record of Stephen Chow's Mermaid to become China's biggest film of all time.

The first Wolf Warriors directed by and starring Wu Jing as a special forces soldier turned into a sleeper hit in 2015, earning strong reviews and a box office gross of 545 million yuan. The martial arts star's 2017 sequel beat the first film's box office in less than three days. Wolf Warriors 2 sees Wu's Leng Feng getting pulled into the violent conflicts of an African country while searching for his missing fiancée. Though he has the chance to safely evacuate, he chooses to re-enter occupied territory in order to rescue his compatriots and other refugees, and lead them out of the danger zone against all odds.

Text / Sanwei

Tsuchiya Tao and Yoshine Kyoko co-star in live-action Kasane film

  August 7, 2017  
Actresses Tsuchiya Tao and Yoshine Kyoko, the stars of NHK's 2015 and 2016 morning dramas Mare and Beppin-san, respectively, will collaborate for the first time in the film adaptation of Matsuura Daruma's suspense manga Kasane.

Exploring the themes of beauty and ugliness, Kasane began serialization in Evening in October 2013, and has sold over 1.8 million copies. Yoshine will play Kasane, a girl with ugly looks but amazing acting talent. Tsuchiya will play Tanzawa Nina, a stage actress of outstanding beauty but middling talent. Kasane's late mother, a legendary actress, left her a mysterious lipstick that allows her to take the face of whomever she kisses. After exchanging faces with Nina, Kasane takes on Nina's name and identity and rises to prominence on stage. As the story is about exchanging faces, the two actresses will each play both characters.

Kasane will be directed by Sato Yuichi (Strawberry Night) with a script by Kuroiwa Tsutomu (Boku no Yabai Tsuma). The film is slated to open in 2018.

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Translation / Sanwei

Ikuta Toma and Eita co-star in Zeze Takahisa suspense film

  July 31, 2017  
Ikuta Toma and Eita have been cast in the lead roles of 64 Six-Four director Zeze Takahisa's live-action adaptation of Yakumaru Gaku's suspense novel Yuuzai.

Published in 2013, Yuuzai tells the aftermath story of a juvenile offender whose crimes once shocked the world. The novel depicts the relations between Masuda, an aspiring journalist who begins working at a rundown factory, and his co-worker Suzuki who joined the same day and avoids interaction with the outside world. Ikuta will play Masuda who gradually suspects Eita's Suzuki of being the culprit behind a child serial killing case that occurred 17 years ago.

Yuuzai marks Ikuta and Eita's third collaboration following the 2009 Fuji TV drama Voice and last year's The Mole Song: Hong Kong Capriccio. Eita also appeared in Zeze's acclaimed 2016 two-part crime suspense drama 64 Six-Four.

Yuuzai is slated to open in Japan in May 2018.

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Hyun Bin and Jang Dong Gun to fight zombies in period action blockbuster

  July 27, 2017  
Hyun Bin reunites with Confidential Assignment director Kim Sung Hoon for the upcoming period zombie blockbuster Outbreak. The actor will go head to head with Jang Dong Gun (No Tears for the Dead) as his rival.

Outbreak is set in the Joseon dynasty, when a deadly epidemic spreads through the country and leads to an upsurge of zombies. Hyun Bin will take the lead role of talented swordsman Lee Chung, a Joseon prince held hostage in Qing China. After returning to Joseon, he assists his elder brother Crown Prince Lee Young (Kim Joo Hyuk, Like for Likes) to destroy the man-eating creatures while confronting his biggest rival Kim Ja Joon (Jang Dong Gun), the Minister of War. Archer Deok Hee (Lee Sun Bin, Missing9) and her older brother (Jo Woo Jin, Inside Men) also join the life-and-death fight. The film also includes Kim Eui Sung (Train to Busan) as the King.

Outbreak will start shooting in the second half of 2017 and is set for a 2018 release.

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Li Chen makes directorial debut with air force film co-starring Fan Bingbing

  July 26, 2017  
Popular Chinese actor Li Chen, who is also well known as a cast member of the hit variety program Keep Running, is making his directorial debut this fall with the film Sky Hunter. Produced in collaboration with the Chinese air force, Sky Hunter is billed as China's first modern aerial warfare film.

Sky Hunter revolves around an elite air force squadron that gets dispatched to carry out a dangerous cross-border anti-terrorism rescue mission. The film is expected to feature many aerial combat scenes and active fighter aircrafts of the Chinese air force.

Li Chen himself stars in the film along with Fan Bingbing, Wang Qianyuan (Saving Mr. Wu), Li Jiahang (iPartment), Zhao Da (Candle in the Tomb), Leon Lee (The Lost Tomb), Guo Mingyu (The Frontier Warrior), Ye Liu (Soldier's Way) and Lu Siyu (The Strange House). Wu Xiubo and Wang Xueqi also make special appearances.

Sky Hunter opens in China on September 30.

Text / Sanwei

Lee Jong Suk & Suzy collaborate for their small screen comebacks

  July 26, 2017  
Lee Jong Suk (W) and miss A's Suzy (Uncontrollably Fond) are set to make their TV drama comebacks in their first collaboration. The pre-produced SBS fantasy romance While You Were Sleeping is directed by Oh Choong Hwan (Doctors) and created by Park Hye Ryun, the screenwriter of Pinocchio, I Can Hear Your Voice and Dream High.

Lee Jong Suk plays unsociable prosecutor Jung Jae Chan, who feels isolated after transferring to a new office. The desperate rookie lawyer becomes ambitious after meeting his big fan Nam Hong Joo (Suzy), an unemployed journalist. Hong Joo can foresee adverse events through dreams but is unable to change the future. However, Jae Chan believes that he can control destiny and prevent those events from happening.

While You Were Sleeping also co-stars Jung Hae In (Yeah, That's How It Is) as a playful cop who falls for Hong Joo, Shin Jae Ha (Wanted) as Jae Chan's younger brother, Lee Sang Yeob (My Wife's Having an Affair This Week) as a deceitful lawyer and Ko Sung Hee (Spy) as an aggressive prosecutor. Kim So Hyun, Lee Sung Kyung and Yoon Kyun Sang will make cameo appearances.

While You Are Sleeping begins airing on SBS on September 27.

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Lee Byung Hun & Kim Tae Ri to star in Kim Eun Sook's new historical melodrama

  July 19, 2017  
Eight years after Iris, Lee Byung Hun will return to the small screen in the new drama Mr. Sunshine, the third collaboration between screenwriter Kim Eun Sook and director Lee Eung Bok after smash hits Descendants of the Sun and Guardian: The Lonely and Great God. Rookie actress Kim Tae Ri (The Handmaiden) will make her TV drama debut in the historical melodrama about the love story between a soldier and a young woman from a prestigious family.

Set in the early 1900s, Mr. Sunshine will tell the story of a group of voluntary soldiers fighting against the Japanese occupation of Korea. In 1871, a teenage boy boards a U.S. warship and becomes an American soldier. Decades later, he (Lee Byung Hun) returns to Korea from the U.S. and encounters his love Go Ae Shin (Kim Tae Ri), the last descendant of a prominent family. Yoo Yeon Seok (Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim) will co-star as a butcher's son who wants to flee his country and start a new life in Japan, while Byun Yo Han (Six Flying Dragons) will portray a playboy with a warm heart.

Produced by Hwa and Dam Pictures, the production house of The Heirs and A Gentleman's Dignity, Mr. Sunshine is slated to air in the first half of 2018.

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Mini Yang and Ethan Ruan star in period fantasy drama Legend of Fuyao

  July 18, 2017  
After starring in the hit Chinese period fantasy Eternal Love that aired earlier in the year, Mini Yang has begun filming another online novel-based costume fantasy series titled Legend of Fuyao, co-starring Taiwan actor Ethan Ruan. Based on Tian Xia Gui Yuan's 2011 novel Queen Fuyao, Legend of Fuyao is directed by Yang Wenjun, who worked with Yang on the film You are My Sunshine.

Legend of Fuyao is set in an ancient mystical China divided into five lands, with the Wuji Imperial City as the seat of the states. Yang plays the eponymous heroine Meng Fuyao, a swordswoman of the Xuanyuan Sect in Taiyuan. In order to collect the secrets to deciphering an ancient seal, Fuyao sets out on a dangerous adventure across the five lands. On her epic journey, she meets and falls in love with Prince Zhangsun Wuji. While Yang is no stranger to the costume fantasy genre, Legend of Fuyao marks Ruan's first ever costume TV drama, and his first television outing since 2009's My Queen.

The cast of Legend of Fuyao also includes Vengo Gao (Eternal Love), Zhang Yaqin (Twenties Once Again), Huang Youming (Perfect Couple), Ceng Yixuan (Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace), newcomer Liang Yimu and Liu Yijun (Nirvana in Fire) in a new original character.

Text / Sanwei

Godzilla to return in first animated film Monster Planet

  July 12, 2017  
Following the critical and commercial success of last year's Shin Godzilla, Japan's favorite kaiju will grace the silver screen again this year in the CGI animated film Godzilla: Monster Planet.

The first installment in a planned trilogy by Toho Animation, Monster Planet is the first ever animated feature in the Godzilla franchise. Directed by Shizuno Kobun (Detective Conan: The Darkest Nightmare) and Seshita Hiroyuki (Ajin: Demi-Human), the film features animation by Emmy-winning 3D CG studio Polygon Pictures (The Sky Crawlers), original story and script by Urobuchi Gen (Madoka Magica), and original character design by Kozaki Yusuke (Under the Dog).

Monster Planet depicts mankind's counterattack against the monsters after being driven off Earth by Godzilla. In the year 2048, protagonist Haruo (voiced by Miyano Mamoru), whose parents were killed by Godzilla when he was a child, is among a select few chosen to emigrate to the planet Tau-e. After 20 years of travel on the spaceship Aratrum, the crew arrives in Tau-e, only to discover the planet to be uninhabitable. Haruo leads the Aratrum crew's return to Earth to take back what was robbed from them. They find that 20,000 years has passed on Earth and monsters rule the land, with Godzilla on top of the new ecosystem.

Godzilla: Monster Planet opens in Japan on November 17, 2017.

Text / Sanwei

Kim Jae Joong falls into a Manhole in new time-travel comedy

  July 11, 2017  
Kim Jae Joong (Spy) is gearing up for his small screen comeback with the upcoming KBS drama Manhole, which marks his first drama after his military discharge in December 2016. The JYJ member will be paired up with actress-singer UEE (Marriage Contract) in the time-travel romcom.

Manhole is a collaboration between crime thriller screenwriter Lee Jae Gon (Special Crimes Force TEN) and director Park Man Young, who is known for romantic dramas such as Love & Secret and That Man in Vineyard. The drama revolves around the amusing time-slip story of Kim Jae Joong's character Bong Pil, a jobless young man trying his luck for his third civil service exam. After learning that his long-time love interest Soo Jin (UEE) is getting married in a week, he travels back in time hoping to stop the marriage.

The drama also includes Jung Hye Sung (Good Manager), Jang Mi Kwan (Strong Woman Do Bong Soon) and B1A4's Baro (Angry Mom), who plays Bong Pil's double-faced friend.

Manhole starts airing on KBS on August 9.

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Abe Hiroshi returns as Detective Kaga in 2018 feature film

  June 28, 2017  
Abe Hiroshi is set to return as detective Kaga Kyoichiro in the upcoming feature film Inori no Maku ga Orirutoki ("When the Curtain of Prayer Descends"), based on Higashino Keigo's 2013 mystery novel. This will be Abe's fifth time playing the brilliant police detective following the 2010 TV drama Shinzanmono, the 2011 TV special Akai Yubi, the 2012 feature film Wings of the Kirin and the 2014 TV special Nemuri no Mori.

Higashino's Inori no Maku ga Orirutoki, which concluded the Detective Kaga novel series, begins with the discovery of a woman's corpse in a Tokyo apartment whose owner has gone missing. Evidence indicates that the victim came to Tokyo to see stage director Asai Hiromi, an old acquaintance of Kaga. In the course of the investigation, Kaga unexpectedly finds that the murder case is connected to his mother who disappeared many years ago.

Besides Abe, series regular Mizobata Junpei reprises as Kaga's cousin and fellow detective Matsumiya Yuhei, Tanaka Rena as nurse Kanamori Tokiko, and Yamazaki Tsutomu as Kaga's father. Matsushima Nanako co-stars as Asai Hiromi. The film is helmed by Fukuzawa Katsuo, who has directed I Want to Be a Shellfish and many TV dramas including ratings giant Hanzawa Naoki and the Abe vehicle Downtown Rocket.

Planned for a 2018 theatrical release in Japan, Inori no Maku ga Orirutoki began shooting on June 6 and will film until late July.

Text / Sanwei

Khalil Fong and Eve Ai crowned Best Singers at 28th Golden Melody Awards

  June 26, 2017  
The 28th Golden Melody Awards were held at the Taipei Arena on June 24. Five-time nominee Khalil Fong was crowned Best Mandarin Male Singer for the first time, and Eve Ai also took her first Best Mandarin Female Singer award.

Indigenous singer Sangpuy and rookie indie band No Party For Cao Dong were the biggest winners, with three prizes each. Thanks to his acclaimed Yaangad, Sangpuy won Album of the Year and secured his second Best Aboriginal Singer trophy following his win in 2014 for his debut dalan. The multi-nominated No Party For Cao Dong walked away with Best Newcomer and even defeated strong contenders such as Mayday and Jam Hsiao's Lion in the Best Band race. Their song "Simon Says" was selected as the Song of the Year.

Mayday, which had led with eight nominations, took only one prize in Best Mandarin Album for History of Tomorrow, and vocalist Ashin was recognized as Best Lyricist for "Almost Famous." Ellen Loo received the Best Arrangement prize ("Not Far Enough") and Best Composer went to Europa Huang ("Centrifugal Force"). New jazz duo Mr. Miss triumphed over more experienced acts like Power Station and Grasshopper in the Best Group race.

Wu Bai's Ding Zi Hua was named Best Taiwanese Album. Urban Cat picked up Best Hokkien Album (The Golden Age) and Best Hokkien Singer. Hsieh Ming Yu (Chiou Nien) and Olivia Tsao (A Song of Missing) emerged victorious in the Best Taiwanese Male and Female Singer categories. Taiwanese diva Chi Lu Hsia and late singer-songwriter Tom Chang were honored with this year's Lifetime Contribution Award.

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Seo Kang Joon to play robot in new sci-fi romance

  June 22, 2017  
Seo Kang Joon (Cheese in the Trap) and Gong Seung Yeon (The Master of Revenge) will team up for a robot-human romance in the new KBS drama Are You Human Too? In the sci-fi romance, the actor will play both a comatose business heir apparent and a humanoid robot falling in love with his bodyguard. The drama also features Kim Sung Ryung (Mrs. Cop 2), who portrays the protagonist's mother, the mastermind behind a deceitful robot project.

Are You Human Too? will follow an AI robot who gets involved in a fierce power struggle. Nam Shin (Seo Kang Joon), a young man from a rich family, falls into a coma after an accident. His mother (Kim Sung Ryung), an expert in brain science and artificial intelligence, creates a mind-reading android named Nam Shin III with other top scientists to replace her son. Since Nam Shin III has the same appearance as Nam Shin, no one discovers his real identity. The robot soon develops an unlikely relationship with bodyguard Kang So Bong (Gong Seung Yeon) and becomes entangled in an unexpected fight for power. Lee Joon Hyuk (House of Bluebird) co-stars as Nam Shin's secretary and only friend, while Park Hwan Hee (Descendants of the Sun) plays the protagonist's fiancée.

From the producing team of hit drama Love in the Moonlight, Are You Human Too? will be directed by Cha Young Hoon (Uncontrollably Fond) and written by Jo Jung Joo (The Princess' Man). The drama will start shooting at the end of June and is set for an autumn release this year.

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Nakajima Kento and Chinen Yuri to star in Miseinen Dakedo Kodomo Janai

  June 19, 2017  
Sexy Zone's Nakajima Kento (Silver Spoon) and Hey! Say! JUMP's Chinen Yuri (Gold Medal Man) have been cast as romantic rivals in the live-action adaptation of the manga Miseinen Dakedo Kodomo Janai ("That is Not a Child but a Minor"). The two Johnny's idols will star opposite up-and-coming actress Taira Yuna (Sagrada Reset) in the teen love story.

Based on Minami Kanan's manga that was serialized from 2012 to 2016, Miseinen Dakedo Kodomo Janai will follow Taira's schoolgirl Karin who receives an unexpected gift from her parents for her 16th birthday: marriage with her crush Nao, a senior at her high school played by Nakajima. While Karin initially thinks that they're getting married out of love, Nao only agreed to the arrangement for economic reasons. Chinen plays Karin's childhood friend and longtime admirer Isuzu who discovers their secret and pushes her to get a divorce.

Miseinen Dakedo Kodomo Janai will be directed by Hanabusa Tsutomu, who helmed the shojo manga adaptations No Longer Heroine and High School Debut. Shooting will take place in August and September, and the film is slated for release on December 23, 2017.

Text / Sanwei

Produce 101 Season 2 winners to debut as Wanna One

  June 19, 2017  
Hit Mnet survival show Produce 101 Season 2 announced the top 11 contestants during the final episode on June 16. Selected through voting from an initial pool of 101 contestants, the winning members will make a summer debut as the limited-time boy group Wanna One, which means everyone will become one together. Like Season 1's I.O.I, the group is managed by YMC Entertainment.

Kang Daniel (MMO Entertainment) came in first with more than 1.5 million votes and will automatically become the center of the group. Second place went to Park Ji Hoon (Maroo Entertainment), followed by Lee Dae Hwi (Brand New Music). The remaining winners are Kim Jae Hwan, Ong Seong Woo (Fantagio Entertainment), Park Woo Jin (Brand New Music), Lai Guan Lin (Cube Entertainment) from Taiwan, Yoon Ji Seong (MMO Entertainment), Hwang Min Hyun (Pledis Entertainment), Bae Jin Young (C9 Entertainment) and Ha Sung Woon (Ardor & Able).

The new idol group will hold a concert in July together with other show contestants, and release their debut album in August. They have been invited to model for the school uniform brand Ivy Club and will appear on tvN's sketch comedy show SNL Korea 9. The group members' contracts with YMC Entertainment will end in December 2018.

Some of the eliminated contestants will also debut very soon. Popular contestant Kim Samuel (Brave Entertainment) is gearing for his solo debut later this year, while RBW's Son Dong Myung will start his music career as a member of the band MAS.

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Sashihara Rino tops AKB48 Senbatsu Election for 3rd consecutive year

  June 19, 2017  
The results of super J-pop girl group AKB48's 9th Senbatsu Election were announced on June 17 in Okinawa. HKT48's Sashihara Rino extended her reign on top for the third consecutive year with total votes of 246,376, nearly 100,000 more than the next highest member.

The second and third positions also remained the same as last year. Watanabe Mayu retained second place with a vote total of 149,132. The popular AKB48 member also announced her plans to graduate from the group. SKE48's Matsui Jurina came in third with 113,615 votes.

The remaining members of the top 16 Senbatsu lineup are Miyawaki Sakura (82,803 votes), Ogina Yuka (73,368), Suda Akari (63,124), Yokoyama Yui (58,314), Souda Sarina (52,475), Okada Nana (48,143), Kitahara Rie (45,684), Takahashi Juri (42,663), Shiroma Miru (41,494), Honma Hinata (41,230), Furuhata Nao (40,202), Takayanagi Akane (38,576) and Yoshida Akari (35,540).

NGT48's Ogina Yuka, who ranked first in the interim results revealed on May 31, made a huge leap to 5th from last year's 95th, and her bandmate Honma Hinata also rose to 13th after being outside the top 80 last year. The biggest surprise of the night came from 20th-ranked NMB48 member Sutou Ririka who declared her intentions to get married during her thank you speech.

Per tradition, the top 80 members will participate in the group's 49th single, which will be released on August 30. The top 16 members will feature in the artwork and perform the single's lead song, with Sashihara Rino as the center. Members in 17th to 32nd place will perform as the Under Girls unit, the 33rd to 48th placed members will perform as the Next Girls unit, the 49th to 64th place spots will perform as the Future Girls unit, and the 65th to 80th place members will perform as the Upcoming Girls unit. Each subunit will perform a B-side track in the single.

Text / Sanwei

Gugudan's Kim Se Jeong as female lead in School 2017

  June 13, 2017  
Popular Korean drama franchise School is returning with its seventh installment, School 2017. Gugudan's Kim Se Jeong will take her first leading role in the upcoming KBS drama alongside rising actors Jang Dong Yoon (Solomon's Perjury) and Kim Jung Hyun (Jealousy Incarnate). Director Park Jin Seok (Haeundae Lovers) and Let's Eat series' screenwriter Lim Soo Mi bring a brand new high school tale in the hot-blooded coming-of-age drama that tackles teen issues such as bullying and academic pressure.

The new season records the school life of a group of 18-year-old high schoolers. Kim Se Jeong plays optimistic student Ra Eun Ho, a drawing talent who is mistaken for a delinquent while seeking inspiration for her comic at school. Her schoolmates include model student Song Dae Hwi (Jang Dong Yoon) and rebellious Hyun Tae Woon (Kim Jung Hyun), a transfer student from America whose father is an investor of the school. Led by a timid teacher played by Han Joo Wan (Blow Breeze), the class also includes SF9's Ro Woon (Click Your Heart) and Seol In Ah (Strong Woman Do Bong Soon). Former Secret member Han Sun Hwa (Radiant Office) joins the cast as an ace detective who ends up becoming a school police officer after bungling a case.

School 2017 will begin shooting in mid-June and is set to air on KBS in July.

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Chinese version of Midnight Diner adapted by director of Black & White

  June 12, 2017  
Having already inspired multiple television seasons and feature films in Japan, Abe Yaro's acclaimed manga Midnight Diner arrives on Chinese television with a star-studded adaptation by top Taiwan television director Tsai Yueh Hsun, whose works include the idol drama classics Meteor Garden, Mars and Black & White. The foodie healing drama revolves around a late-night diner that serves as a warm refuge for urbanites seeking comfort food and conversation. Stepping into the role made famous by Kobayashi Kaoru, Huang Lei (Men, Where Are We Going Day?) stars as the sage chef/owner who dispenses just the right food and advice for his troubled diners.

Like the Japanese series, each episode of the Chinese version of Midnight Diner tells a story based around a dish, such as beef noodles, red braised pork and fried rice. The series enlists an impressive lineup of guest stars from Taiwan and Mainland China, including Jam Hsiao, Richie Jen, Cheryl Yang, Kirsten Ren, He Qiong, Liu Haoran, Wu Xing, Ma Su, Stephy Qi, Xu Jiao, Cherrie Ying, Song Yang, Liang Jing and Black & White's Mark Chao, Ivy Chen, Janine Chang, Shiou Jieh Kai and King Shih Chieh. Midnight Diner also marks a return to television for Tsai Yueh Hsun, who has only directed two films since 2009's Black & White.

First adapted by TBS in 2009, Midnight Diner turned into a late-night hit and found fans throughout Asia. The series went on to inspire three more seasons in Japan, the most recent of which was aired on Netflix in 2016, as well as feature films in 2015 and 2016. Besides the Japanese adaptations, Midnight Diner was also adapted into a Korean television drama in 2015, with Kim Seung Woo in the leading role.

The Chinese version of Midnight Diner begins airing on Beijing Television and Zhejiang Television on June 12.

Text / Sanwei

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