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  1. As another pandemic-disrupted year approaches its end, we look back on the artists, shows, games and moments that entertained, inspired and gave us something to look forward to in 2021. BRAVE GIRLS In late February, Brave Girls transformed from a "nugu group" on the verge of disbanding to fast-rising stars in K-pop thanks to a viral compilation video of their performances of Rollin', which was released back in 2017. With the skyrocketing popularity of the catchy sleeper hit, Brave Girls scored their first #1 on music charts and shows, garnered trophies from various award ceremonies, landed commercials and endorsements, and experienced many other firsts this year. The continuing success of... [read more]
  2. Beyond Squid Game: 15 Other Asian Death Game Thrillers
    Written By YumCha! Editorial Team
    This autumn has been all about Squid Game, which became Netflix's biggest original series launch of all time. While the sensational K-Drama about financially strapped players competing to the death in warped children's games may have seemingly come out of nowhere to international audiences, the death game genre is a popular screen staple in Asia. If you enjoyed Squid Game, you may want to check out what else the genre has to offer. Below are 15 other live-action thrillers revolving around deadly yet inventive games that test the physical, mental and moral limits of players. 1. Battle Royale (2000) The OG of bloody death game thrillers, Fukasaku Kinji's violent dystopian classic drafts a... [read more]
  3. 15th Asian Film Awards Preview: The Nominated Films
    Written By YumCha! Editorial Team
    The 15th Asian Film Awards are upon us! Held annually since 2007, the Asian Film Awards (AFA) celebrate the best in cinema from across Asia. Like last year's edition, the 15th AFA will be held in conjunction with the Busan International Film Festival. Korean auteur Lee Chang Dong, who received the Lifetime Achievement at the 13th AFA, serves as this year's Jury President, and Lee Byung Hun has been announced as the recipient of the Excellence in Asian Cinema Award. Winners of the 15th Asian Film Awards will be announced on October 8, 2021. This year, 36 works from nine regions are in the running for awards in 16 categories. Read on for a primer on all the nominated films! One Second... [read more]
  4. Road to MIRROR: Hong Kong's Biggest Boy Band
    Written By YumCha! Editorial Team
    Anyone who's been in Hong Kong lately would be able to attest to this: MIRROR is big. The Cantopop boy band is everywhere, appearing in TV shows and countless advertisements promoting everything from beauty products and fast food to banking services and public health notices. Their albums and concert tickets sell out in the blink of an eye, their retail collabs inspire long lines out the door, and the members are showered with the type of fervent fan support usually reserved for K-pop idols. Hong Kong has fallen in love with MIRROR in a way that hasn't been seen here for years. Meet MIRROR MIRROR consists of 12 members discovered through ViuTV's audition reality program Good Night Show –... [read more]
  5. YesAsia 2021 Bestsellers - Half-Year Report
    Written By YumCha! Editorial Team
    The below rankings are based on sales of movie, music, TV and book releases on from January 1 to June 30, 2021. Sales of all editions and versions of the same title are summed up to determine the total sales and ranking of each title. BEST-SELLING K-POP RELEASES SHINee's back to top our K-pop bestsellers with Don't Call Me and repackage album Atlantis. Besides SHINee, the chart is dominated by other SM artists including EXO, Baek Hyun and NCT Dream. JYP artists continue to go strong, with Twice at #3, ITZY breaking into the top ten for the first time, and Stray Kids climbing back up with their 2019 release Clé 2: Yellow Wood. Dreamcatcher and ATEEZ also secure positions in the... [read more]
  6. 21 Asian LGBTQ+ Films for Pride Month
    Written By YumCha! Editorial Team
    This month, we're highlighting 21 Asian LGBTQ-themed films, ranging from the popular to the arthouse and from the provocative to the groundbreaking. The selection spans three decades of Asian cinema, including early auteur-driven works like Farewell My Concubine that inspire thought and discussion, and blockbuster coming-of-age stories like last year's Your Name Engraved Herein that reflect on heartache and self-discovery. 1. Beautiful Boxer (2003) Directed by Ekachai Uekrongtham, this Thai biopic dramatizes the inspiring life story of transgender kickboxer Parinya Charoenphol, better known as Nong Toom. In his acting debut, boxing champion Asanee Suwan plays Nong Toom, who realizes from a... [read more]
  7. Spring is the season of love, and there's no love more memorable than first love. Following last month's Spring Playlist feature, we've now selected ten romance films that hit you right in the feels with warm memories of pure love. A Crazy Little Thing Called Love First love is a process of growth in this effervescent coming-of-age romcom that introduced many fans across Asia to the joys of Thai cinema. Starring Baifern Pimchanok and Mario Maurer, the hit film follows an everyday teenage girl through the rites of her middle and high school years. Her seemingly hopeless crush on a popular upperclassman drives her to improve herself day by day, bit by bit, over time. The relatable heroine's... [read more]
  8. 15 K-Pop Songs for Your Spring Playlist
    Written By YumCha! Editorial Team
    Spring is in the air! While we might not all be able to go out and see cherry blossoms, we can all enjoy a playlist dedicated to this warm, lively and blooming season. We've picked 15 K-pop spring songs for a seasonal playlist that will brighten your days with the sound of love and hope! 1. 10cm – What The Spring?? 10cm's chill and rhythmical 2016 song "What The Spring??" comes into the spring picture a bit differently with lyrics throwing bitter words at lovey-dovey couples who are enjoying the season so much. Kwon Jeong Yeol uses his sweet, unique tone to mischievously represent the perspective of every lonely single who is sick of seeing lovers having fun: "Do you love spring so, you... [read more]
  9. A year after the competition program Road to Kingdom, Mnet is back with its sequel, Kingdom: Legendary War, bringing together six of the hottest K-pop boy groups to compete for the crown. Among the six teams, who will win the title of the new K-pop king of this generation? Before Kingdom premieres on April 1, let's have a quick introduction to the six groups – BTOB, iKON, SF9, The Boyz, Stray Kids and ATEEZ! BTOB – "Born to Beat!" Missing You MV Dreamers don't die – and that explains why BTOB is taking part in Kingdom, despite being a more well-known and senior name among the contenders. BTOB's music journey began in 2012 with Insane. Though they had hits like "The Second Confession" and... [read more]
  10. March is Women's History Month. In addition to reading up on history, take a look at how notable female figures, from artists and athletes to royals and revolutionaries, are remembered and reimagined on the silver screen. A Resistance Yu Gwan Sun was only 17 years old when she passed away in prison in 1920 as a martyr of Korea's independence movement. Incidentally, March also marks the anniversary of the March 1st Movement, and Jo Min Ho's somber, stirring biopic pays homage to the young activist who was arrested for organizing demonstrations against Japanese rule in her hometown. Ko Ah Sung portrays the heroic resistance of Yu Gwan Sun, who is remembered as one of the most symbolic figures... [read more]
  11. 10 Korean Actors to Anticipate in 2021
    Written By YumCha! Editorial Team
    Many rising actors who started out in supporting roles are now gradually taking up leading characters and becoming the new stars of the K-Drama world. We've profiled ten promising Korean actors who have made a breakthrough over the past two years. Let's look into why they're worth anticipating in 2021 and beyond! 1. Kim Hye Yoon Do you remember the rude and ambitious kid Kang Ye Seo from Sky Castle? After bit roles in dramas like I Can Hear Your Voice, My Love From the Star and Goblin, Kim Hye Yoon turned from an unknown actress to one of the breakout stars of the high-rating JTBC drama, and even won Best New Actress at the 55th Baeksang Arts Awards. Shooting to fame, she got her first... [read more]
  12. Watching movies is a common pastime during the Chinese New Year holidays, so much so that there's an entire genre of Lunar New Year films. Films made to be released during this holiday period run the gamut from comedy to action to romance, but they tend to be lighter in tone and suitable for family viewing. Think Sam Hui's Aces Go Places series and the films of Jackie Chan and Stephen Chow. Probably the most classic image of the Chinese New Year movie is a Hong Kong ensemble comedy filled with stars and gags – plus an end reel of the cast singing a New Year's song and reciting well-wishes. Since heading to the cinema may not be a good idea this holiday season, why not (re)watch some old... [read more]
  13. YesAsia 2020 Bestsellers - TV Dramas
    Written By YumCha! Editorial Team
    The below rankings are based on sales of television/drama releases on from January 1 to December 31, 2020. TOP 10 TV DRAMAS (OVERALL) 1. HIStory3: Make Our Days Count 2. HIStory3: Trapped 3. What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? 4. Addicted 5. TharnType 6. Goblin 7. The Untamed 8. HIStory2 9. Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo 10. Healer CHINESE TV BESTSELLERS In 2019, HIStory 3: Trapped was the top-selling drama of the year. In 2020, it dropped one spot and ceded the throne to… HIStory 3: Make Our Days Count. The popular Taiwan BL series nabbed a whopping three entries, and the 2016 gay youth drama Addicted also returned to the chart. Meanwhile, the BL-based period fantasy The Untamed... [read more]
  14. YesAsia 2020 Bestsellers - Chinese Music
    Written By YumCha! Editorial Team
    The soundtrack of the popular drama The Untamed emerged as 2020's Chinese music bestseller. Another hit drama OST, Someday or One Day, also almost made it into the top ten. Proving their growing international popularity, WayV leaped forward as our best-selling male artist of the year, with all four of their albums since debut charting in the top ten. G.E.M. claimed high positions on both the album and artist charts. Sammi Cheng, the second highest-selling female singer, continued to top our concert chart with her latest #FOLLOWMi, while last year's #1 Sammi By My Side Birthday Gig Live still ranked seventh. Juno Mak and Kay Tse maintained their spot in the album bestsellers, and AGA... [read more]
  15. YesAsia 2020 Bestsellers - Japanese Music
    Written By YumCha! Editorial Team
    Making their Japanese debut in 2020, Stray Kids stormed to the top of our Japan music bestsellers by claiming the top spots across the board. Besides having the top two albums and #1 single, the Korean boy band was the best-selling artist overall. In their final year before hiatus, Arashi went strong with the top album and single among Japanese artists as well as the best-selling concert. The enduringly popular KinKi Kids are well represented with a group album, solo album, single and concert on the charts. Other Johnny's artists predictably appear including Hey! Say! JUMP, NEWS, newcomer SixTONES, and Kimura Takuya with his solo debut, not to mention the charity project unit Twenty★Twenty.... [read more]
  16. YesAsia 2020 Bestsellers - Korean Music
    Written By YumCha! Editorial Team
    BTS continues to dominate the #1 spots of our K-pop bestseller charts for the fifth consecutive year! From album Map of the Soul:7 to video releases like 5th Muster Magic Shop and Memories of 2019, the world sensation topped both of our K-pop charts and reigned as the best-selling artist. Stray Kids secured their position as our second highest-selling group with their first full-length album GO LIVE, which came right after BTS's. Baek Hyun, the only solo male artist in the top ten, rose to #3 in the album chart with Delight, and EXO's latest concert video ranked third as well. Fast-rising group NCT and subgroup NCT 127 claimed spots in both the album and artist charts, while GOT7 and IZ*ONE... [read more]
  17. YesAsia 2020 Bestsellers - Chinese Books
    Written By YumCha! Editorial Team
    The below rankings are based on sales of Chinese books on from January 1 to December 31, 2020. TOP 10 CHINESE BOOKS Continuing her steady output and popularity, Yi Shu claimed six spots in the top ten Hong Kong book bestsellers of 2020. However, she ceded the top-selling author title to Mo Xiang Tong Xiu, whose BL fantasy period novel series Mo Dao Zu Shi stayed at #1 among Taiwan books. Not only that, the series' side story and her other novel, The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System, follow right behind. Popular Taiwan TV host Kevin Tsai has two books in the top ten, and cookbooks from Chef Chu and Hong Kong YouTuber Martin provided recipes for those stay-at-home days. HONG KONG... [read more]
  18. YesAsia 2020 Bestsellers - Movies
    Written By YumCha! Editorial Team
    The below rankings are based on sales of movie releases on from January 1 to December 31, 2020. TOP 10 MOVIES (OVERALL) 1. Ip Man 4 2. Enter the Fat Dragon 3. Parasite 4. Fagara 5. Detention 6. EXIT 7. Flowers of Shanghai 8. Line Walker 2 9. A Witness Out of the Blue 10. Ashfall BEST-SELLING CHINESE MOVIES Not even Parasite can beat Donnie Yen – only Donnie Yen can. The action legend's Ip Man series finale narrowly edged out his action comedy Enter the Fat Dragon to become our best-selling film of 2020. Sammi Cheng's sisterhood drama Fagara, Taiwan horror Detention and the 4K restored Blu-ray of Hou Hsiao Hsien's Flowers of Shanghai round out the top five Chinese-language films.... [read more]
  19. Best Chinese Albums of 2020
    Written By YumCha! Editorial Team
    Our editors' picks for the best Chinese albums of 2020! AGA - So Called Love Songs AGA illustrates the different shapes and phases of romantic love with ten self-penned tracks in So Called Love Songs, her first regular studio album in almost three years. Sharing heartfelt stories that we can all resonate with, AGA takes us on a journey of recounting past relationships and lingering feelings. She's lovestruck in a pure love in Tonight, which comes with a hint of retro feels, but then she's immersed in a love triangle in the signature AGA-style R&B Two At a Time. After being lost in a swirl of past memories in Everyday, she coolly bids farewell to an incompatible partner in See You Next Time... [read more]
  20. Every now and then, there's an older or previously overlooked song that suddenly breaks out and creates a buzz in the K-pop world, like the Rollin' craze this year. Let's take a look at ten of the most well-known K-pop sleeper hits that climbed up the charts! 1. Brave Girls – Rollin' Early in 2021, a Rollin' fever spread in Korea due to a viral video that shows the Korean army cheering and singing along to the Brave Girls song during their performance. Very close to disbandment at the time, Brave Girls suddenly swept the charts with the uptempo EDM song originally released in 2017. The Rollin' fever brought them numerous endorsement deals and appearances on TV programs – they transformed... [read more]
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