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  1. House of The Rising Sons (2018) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) House of The Rising Sons (2018) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version) Carlos Chan (Actor) | Jonathan Wong (Actor) | Tan Yu (Actor) | Sing Lam (Actor)
    Friendship wyns
    January 16, 2019 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    It's hard to muster up much expectation for a biopic about an aged cookie-cutter Hong Kong pop band directed by one of the band members, but House of the Rising Sons turns out to be an appealingly amiable and nostalgic film whose overall niceness actually feels right. Formed by Alan Tam, Kenny Bee, Anthony Chan, Bennett Pang and Danny Yip, The Wynners were arguably Hong Kong's first idol band. The band exploded into popularity in the 70s with feel-good English and Cantonese pop numbers that appealed to a younger generation. By the early 80s, Alan Tam and Kenny Bee had shifted focus to solo careers. However, The Wynners never disbanded. The band has remained intermittently active over the... [read more]
  2. ONEUS Mini Album Vol. 1 - Light Us ONEUS Mini Album Vol. 1 - Light Us ONEUS
    New generation of concept idol
    January 16, 2019 Picked By Violet See all this editor's picks
    Founded by renowned composer Kim Do Hoon, the RBW label is known for launching talented vocal groups like Mamamoo and Vromance. Though RBW's new group ONEUS officially debuted a week ago, they didn't appear out of the blue – the members previously took part in Produce 101 Season 2, MIXNINE and the debut project We Will Debut along with their brother group ONEWE. Among the six members, perhaps the most familiar one would be Keon Hee, who made a name for himself after singing BoA's Amazing Kiss on Produce 101. Hip-hop has been a major part of the Korean music scene over the past few years, and more and more idol groups are digging into the genre. Among the great amount of swaggy music... [read more]
  3. Ossan's Love (Blu-ray Box) (Japan Version) Ossan's Love (Blu-ray Box) (Japan Version) Uchida Rio | Tanaka Kei | Hayashi Kento | Yoshida Kotaro
    Men's Love
    November 30, 2018 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    There may be plenty of releases in the boys love genre in Japan, but gay romance stories rarely emerge so prominently from the mainstream realm of network television like the way Ossan's Love did this year. The workplace romantic comedy about a 30-something real estate agent who suddenly receives love confessions from two male colleagues – his middle-aged boss and a younger colleague – first appeared on TV Asahi in December 2016 as a one-episode special. The late-night broadcast earned decent response, enough so that TV Asahi brought it back in spring 2018 as a seven-episode series that turned into a surprise hit. Tanaka Kei and Yoshida Kotaro returned to play the hapless protagonist Haruta... [read more]
  4. Gintama 2: Rules Are Made To Be Broken (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) Gintama 2: Rules Are Made To Be Broken (Blu-ray) (Normal Edition) (Japan Version) Oguri Shun | Yoshizawa Ryo | Yagira Yuya | Miura Haruma
    More gags, more Gintama
    November 30, 2018 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    In the "Countdown" introduction at the start of the first Gintama, Oguri Shun referred to the film as "the one-time-only Gintama live-action adaptation." But when a manga adaptation makes over three billion yen at the Japanese box office, you can bet there's a sequel coming, and fast! Hence, a mere year later, we have Gintama 2 and even more of the giddy gags, insider jokes and manga-mined stories that made the first film such a crowd-pleasing hit. When I wrote about Gintama last year, I noted that the Shinsengumi were well cast but underused. Well, they take front and center this time! For most of the film's first half, the Yorozuya trio of Sakata Gintoki (Oguri Shun), Shimura Shinpachi... [read more]
  5. The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue (2017) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue (2017) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Ikematsu Sosuke (Actor) | Ishii Yuya (Director, Writer) | Ishibashi Shizuka (Actor) | Matsuda Ryuhei (Actor)
    Lonely pulse of the city
    November 28, 2018 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    "The moment you love the big city, it's like you've killed yourself." Ishii Yuya's The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue is full of pithy and pensive lines drawn from Saihate Tahi's poetry collection, but the above thought, expressed in voiceover by protagonist Mika early in the film, struck me as the most representative of the film. After taking a step backward with the conventional Vancouver Asahi, Ishii returns more to indie sensibilities in this 2017 drama that presents less of a story and more of a loose portrait of love, death and loneliness in the city. The Tokyo Night Sky follows two typical lonely outsiders that you may find in the big city – Mika (Ishibashi... [read more]
  6. The Third Charm OST (2CD) (JTBC TV Drama) The Third Charm OST (2CD) (JTBC TV Drama) Korean TV Series Soundtrack | Boramiyu | YONGZOO | ONESTAR
    Bittersweet love tunes
    November 28, 2018 Picked By Violet See all this editor's picks
    The soundtrack always takes up an important role in a successful Korean drama. A nice and catchy OST definitely helps to boost the popularity of a K-Drama, and those iconic theme songs – for example, Stay With Me, My Destiny, "That Man" and Almost Paradise – remain popular and recognizable even many years later. Starring Seo Kang Joon and Esom, JTBC's romantic comedy series The Third Charm started off with a compelling storyline and good word of mouth that led to a gradual climb in ratings during the first half of the drama. However, the drama eventually ended with mixed reviews from the audience as some found the latter part to be way too melodramatic. Beyond the drama itself, I am totally... [read more]
  7. BTOB Special Album - HOUR MOMENT (HOUR Version) BTOB Special Album - HOUR MOMENT (HOUR Version) BTOB
    Fall for BTOB
    November 15, 2018 Picked By Violet See all this editor's picks
    Since their 2015 hit song "It's Okay," BTOB has been known for autumn ballads in their honey sweet voices and beautiful harmonies. Last year, their "Missing You" took over the music charts when it was released. In October 2018, the song still ranked in the top 100 on digital music charts, and BTOB has become the fifth male idol group to surpass 100 million streams for one song on the Gaon Chart. This November, they return with the special album Hour Moment to give you comfort in these breezy autumn days. Following "Pray (I'll Be Your Man)," "Missing You" and "Only One for Me," Hyun Sik teamed up with producer EDEN again for Hour Moment's title track "Beautiful Pain" (Track 5). The... [read more]
  8. Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer (Blu-ray) (US Version) Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer (Blu-ray) (US Version) Oshii Mamoru (Director)
    Oshii Dreamin'
    November 9, 2018 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Oshii Mamoru and Urusei Yatsura? It is now almost hard to imagine that Ghost in the Shell director Oshii, the master of cyber punk and artful alienation, first made his name with Urusei Yatsura, a hectic off-color anime series about a lecherous high school student and his turquoise-haired, leopard-bikini-clad alien girlfriend. When Oshii embarked on Beautiful Dreamer, it was his second go at a feature-length Urusei Yatsura film, and he did things a bit differently this time around. While the first film was a competent, fairly faithful extension of the manga, 1984's Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer was an entirely different and beautiful beast. Manga writer Takahashi Rumiko and die-hard... [read more]
  9. fromis_9 Special Single Album - FROM.9 fromis_9 Special Single Album - FROM.9 fromis_9
    National sweethearts-to-be
    October 31, 2018 Picked By Violet See all this editor's picks
    Survival programs have been so popular in Korea over the past three years. If you have watched either Idol School or Produce 48, rookie girl group fromis_9 may sound familiar to you. fromis_9 consists of the top nine winners of Idol School. And a few months ago, member Jang Gyu Ri joined as a trainee contestant of Produce 48. After she got eliminated, she returned to her original group to release the new single album FROM.9. The album's title track Love Bomb (Track 1) is co-written by producer David Amber, who also composed Twice's Heart Shaker, GFRIEND's Love Bug and NCT Dream's La La Love. When I first watched the comeback teaser, I thought the title track was going to be similar to Red... [read more]
  10. Detective Chinatown 2 (2018) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Detective Chinatown 2 (2018) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Xiao Yang (Actor) | Wang Bao Qiang (Actor) | Liu Hao Ran (Actor) | Wang Xun (Actor)
    The birth of a detective comedy franchise
    October 31, 2018 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    There is no shortage of crime mystery and suspense productions in China, but most with buzz and budget of late are based on novels – and often the same ones. Criminal Minds, Yu Zui and Qin Ming adaptations abound and no Nan Pai San Shu or Tianxia Bachang story is left unturned. In that sense, Chen Sicheng's blockbuster Detective Chinatown film series stands out for being a successful original creation rather than an extension of a pre-existing IP. Following his success with Beijing Love Story, actor-turned-director Chen Sicheng tried his hand at mystery in 2015 with the sophomore directorial effort Detective Chinatown. The film brought together the unlikely detective duo of comedy veteran... [read more]
  11. Pad Man (2018) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Pad Man (2018) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) Akshay Kumar (Actor) | Sonam Kapoor (Actor) | R. Balki (Director) | Radhika Apte (Actor)
    A different kind of superhero
    October 29, 2018 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    Akshay Kumar is known for his man's man action hero image, but lately he's become Bollywood's unlikely onscreen hero for the cause of public health and sanitation. In last year's Toilet, Akshay Kumar played a man whose marriage begins to unravel because his new wife cannot accept the lack of a toilet in their home. The film's unabashed focus on toilets and what goes in them may seem like crass humor, but it actually broaches the very serious issue of improving sanitary conditions in rural India. In this year's Pad Man, he plays a man whose marriage begins to unravel because of sanitary pads. The film is produced by writer Twinkle Khanna, whose short story "The Sanitary Man of Sacred Land"... [read more]
  12. DAY6 - EVERY DAY6 FINALE CONCERT - THE BEST MOMENTS (3DVD + Out Sleeve + Photobook + Photo Card) (Korea Version) DAY6 - EVERY DAY6 FINALE CONCERT - THE BEST MOMENTS (3DVD + Out Sleeve + Photobook + Photo Card) (Korea Version) DAY6
    A pleasing wrap-up to the Every DAY6 project
    October 19, 2018 Picked By Violet See all this editor's picks
    In 2017, JYP's first band DAY6 launched new songs and concerts monthly for their Every DAY6 Project. The ambitious year-long project is undoubtedly a successful one that showcases the band's talent in songwriting. Known since debut for songs about breakups and heartbroken sentiments, DAY6 caught the public's attention with hits like "I Like You" and "You Were Beautiful." Though they recently made a transformation with the wild rock song Shoot Me, let's go back in time to appreciate the band's softer pop rock and alternative rock sounds in the Every DAY6 Finale Concert, the final wrap-up concert of the Every DAY6 Project. DAY6 kicks off the concert with the very first song released for the... [read more]
  13. Super Junior Special Album - One More Time (Normal Edition) Super Junior Special Album - One More Time (Normal Edition) Super Junior
    SuJu rocks the Latin vibe
    October 10, 2018 Picked By Violet See all this editor's picks
    Despite going through different obstacles throughout the past 13 years, Super Junior is still going strong as the Hallyu King. Their last hit Lo Siento featuring Latin singer Leslie Grace was their first attempt in a brand new genre, and it affirmed both their musical talent and impressive popularity. Half a year after Lo Siento, Super Junior brings another wave of Latin sound with the album One More Time! This time, the SuJu members collaborate with Mexican band Reik for the reggaeton Latin pop number One More Time (Otra Vez) (Feat. REIK) (Track 1). Andreas Stone Johansson (the composer of Super Junior's Island, EXO's "Miracles in December" and NCT Dream's JOY) and Denniz Jamm (the... [read more]
  14. Dear Monster (EP) Dear Monster (EP) Aaron Yan (Singer)
    Greet the monster in our hearts
    October 2, 2018 Picked By Violet See all this editor's picks
    The 2000s Taiwan boy band Fahrenheit is probably a familiar name to most fans of Mandopop. After parting ways, Aaron Yan was the first member to go solo with his first release The Next Me. Unlike many idols, Aaron is known for his frank and honest personality as he publicly comments on political issues and even his relationship with other Fahrenheit members. The singer creates the new album Dear Monster under the concept of "REAL AARON" to share his thoughts to every listener. Most people tend to get used to things that happen around us in everyday life. As days go by, we gradually forget how to think and how to express; we don't want to be special, we just follow. We hide our unique selves... [read more]
  15. The World Sings Danny Chan The World Sings Danny Chan Hong Kong Various Artists
    Oh Danny Boy
    September 30, 2018 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    If he was alive, September 7, 2018, would have been Danny Chan's 60th birthday. Though the legendary singer has long left us, his many hit songs remain as classic representatives of eighties Hong Kong music and Cantopop ballads. To commemorate Danny's 60th birthday, Universal Music launched a special project that included a memorial concert and the tribute album The World Sings Danny Chan produced by veteran Alan Tsui. The album begins with Alan Tam's version of "Cherish Today" (Track 1) and the classic encouraging line of "Put down your worries / Please cherish today." The original song is probably the best example of how Danny's music blended traditional "xiao diao" melody with a... [read more]
  16. Lim Chang Jung Vol. 14 Lim Chang Jung Vol. 14 Lim Chang Jung
    Soulful ballads to welcome fall
    September 26, 2018 Picked By Violet See all this editor's picks
    Autumn is just around the corner – it's finally the season of ballad! Looking through the Korea digital music sites, the top two songs are currently without exception Roy Kim's "The Hardest Part" and Lim Chang Jung's "There Has Never Been A Day I Haven't Loved You." All-round artist Lim Chang Jung's sensational 2016 song "The Love I Committed" hit 200,000 likes on Melon, Korea's biggest music streaming site. This fall, he returns with some new hit-songs-to-be and remakes of his two classics! Following his megahits "The Love I Committed" and "Love Again," Lim Chang Jung partners up with producer Wild Pig again for the title track "There Has Never Been A Day I Haven't Loved You" (Track 3).... [read more]
  17. The Poet and The Boy (DVD) (Limited Edition) (Korea Version) The Poet and The Boy (DVD) (Limited Edition) (Korea Version) Jeon Hye Jin (Actor) | Jung Ga Ram (Actor) | Yang Ik Joon (Actor) | Bang Eun Hee (Actor)
    Genuine love without lust
    September 19, 2018 Picked By Violet See all this editor's picks
    It's hard to believe that The Poet and The Boy, which won Best Screenplay at the Busan Film Critics Awards and the Women in Film Korea Awards, is only the feature debut of director Kim Yang Hee. In the film, married poet Mr. Hyeon (Yang Ik Joon) finds inspiration and infatuation in attractive young man Se Yoon (Jung Ga Ram) who works at a donut shop near his home. There are many questions about whether Mr. Hyeon and Se Yoon are truly in love or not. Rather than giving an exact answer, Kim Yang Hee shows the parallel between the backgrounds of the two and their surrounding characters. Mr. Hyeon is out of ideas and teased by other poets for writing vague and lame poems. With his wife (Jeon... [read more]
  18. NCT DREAM Mini Album Vol. 2 - We Go Up NCT DREAM Mini Album Vol. 2 - We Go Up NCT Dream
    Teen power overload!
    September 10, 2018 Picked By Violet See all this editor's picks
    Time flies. It's hard to believe that NCT Dream is already two years old. I still remember how I was all excited while waiting for Chewing Gum to be released, and the young and adorable boys in the music video just seem like yesterday to me. Go from NCT 2018 Empathy marked the beginning of the group's transformation from the cute and energetic boys in We Young to chic and swaggy teens. Now the teenage subunit returns with the brand new hip-hop-style record We Go Up! Written by Kenzie and Mark, urban hip-hop track We Go Up (Track 1) serves as the title track for this album. The tempo, hooks and roaring and bell sounds make the whole song more addictive. The song's lyrics, in short, say "Let... [read more]
  19. Mirai no Theme / Uta no Kisha (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) Mirai no Theme / Uta no Kisha (First Press Limited Edition) (Japan Version) Yamashita Tatsuro
    Music from Mirai, Sounds from the Past
    September 6, 2018 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
    When I first heard Yamashita Tatsuro's latest single, I smiled at the singer-songwriter's timeless ability to write new songs that sound like old songs. At the time, I had not yet watched Hosoda Mamoru's animated feature film Mirai for which the songs were made. After watching Mirai, I now smile at the songs for capturing the sentiments of the film so perfectly in melody form. Yamashita previously created the beautiful theme song Bokura no Natsu no Yume for Hosoda's 2009 film Summer Wars (an acoustic live version of that song is included on this single). For Mirai, he made the theme song Mirai no Theme ("Theme of Mirai") and ending theme Uta no Kisha ("Music Train"), which are delightful... [read more]
  20. Modern Tragedy Modern Tragedy Joanna Wang (Singer)
    Slice-of-life drama in pop rock jams
    August 31, 2018 Picked By Violet See all this editor's picks
    Joanna Wang swept many awards as a newcomer with her first album in 2008. Though her debut became a massive hit, she frankly stated that the whole album was designed and created under "business considerations" and not what she really wanted. Starting from her second album Joanna & Wang Ruo-lin, she has expressed her own style of music on her own terms. Modern Tragedy is Joanna's latest album with songs all written and composed by the singer-songwriter. It was my first time listening to her and the tracklist attracted me with its funny long titles. As Joanna puts it, every sad story has its value; we just have to embrace it. Let's enjoy some 90s pop rock in her new album! Modern Tragedy... [read more]
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