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2017 Kohaku lineup: Twice, Hey! Say! JUMP & Miura Daichi make debuts

  November 16, 2017  
Japan broadcaster NHK has announced the performers for the 2017 edition of its annual Kohaku Uta Gassen New Year's Eve. This year's lineup features 46 announced acts, including ten artists making their Kohaku debuts.

After debuting this year in Japan with record-setting sales, Twice has become the third ever K-pop girl group to be invited to the Kohaku after Kara and Girl's Generation. Other first-time performers on the red team include girl group Little Glee Monster, band SHISHAMO and enka singer Oka Midori.

Johnny's group Hey! Say! JUMP will join for the first time as a group, though Yamada Ryosuke and Chinen Yuri previously participated as members of NYC. Also new on the white team are R&B artist Miura Daichi, actor-musician Takehara Pistol, rock band Elephant Kashimashi, punk band WANIMA and Tortoise Matsumoto, who will participate solo for the first time. The Ulfuls frontman has also revealed that he will have a collaboration stage with Sheena Ringo, who will be making her 29th appearance on the show.

Other returning performers include AKB48 (10th appearance), Arashi (9th), E-girls (5th), Fukuyama Masaharu (10th), Hirai Ken (8th), Hoshino Gen (3rd), Kanjani8 (6th), Keyakizaka46 (2nd), Kuraki Mai (4th), Matsuda Seiko (21st), Nishino Kana (8th), Nogizaka46 (3rd), Perfume (3rd), Sandaime J Soul Brothers (6th), Sekai no Owari (4th), Sexy Zone (5th), Superfly (2nd), Tokio (24th), X Japan (8th) and Yuzu (8th). Show producers indicated that offers are also out to Kuwata Keisuke and Amuro Namie.

Arashi's Ninomiya Kazunari and actress Arimura Kasumi, the star of NHK morning drama Hiyokko, will be the hosts for the white and red teams, respectively. This is Arimura's second consecutive year in the role.

An annual tradition since 1951, the Kohaku Uta Gassen ("The Red and White Song Battle") features Japan's most popular musical acts (split into red and white teams) in a friendly competition that involves performing hit songs for viewer votes. The Kohaku remains one of the highest-rated television programs on Japanese television, and the preferred New Year's Eve pastime for most Japanese families. The show can also have significant impact on music sales, as certain songs experience an increase in sales after being exposed to a nationwide audience on the show.

Text / Sanwei

Cast announced for 2018 Meteor Garden remake

  November 13, 2017  
Sixteen years after the broadcast of the classic Taiwan TV drama Meteor Garden, a new Chinese remake based on the manga Hana Yori Dango has been announced. The show's original producer Angie Chai confirmed the remake earlier in the year, and the newcomer cast and their roles were recently revealed in the production's first press conference.

Aired in 2001, the original Meteor Garden became a bonafide phenomenon throughout East Asia. The series' success established Taiwan's idol drama genre and launched then newcomers Jerry Yan, Vic Zhou, Vanness Wu and Ken Chu into overnight stardom. The four were so popular, they continued to use the name F4 as a pop group after the drama. Hana Yori Dango was subsequently adapted into TV dramas in Japan, China and Korea, all of which were also big hits and star-making vehicles.

With every adaptation of the campus romance story, the greatest attention usually falls on the casting of F4, the four rich and handsome students who rule the school. Like in the original 2001 series, the members of the new F4 are newcomers: 19-year-old Dylan Wang as Dao Ming Si (Domyoji Tsukasa), 22-year-old Darren Chen as Hua Ze Lei (Hanazawa Rui), 23-year-old Connor Leong as Mei Zuo (Mimasaka Akira), and 21-year-old Caesar Wu as Xi Men (Nishikado Sojiro). 20-year-old rookie actress Shen Yue plays the poor and spunky heroine Shan Cai (Makino Tsukushi) who dares to challenge F4. The five leads were cast from a pool of 30,000 candidates after auditions and workshops. Darren Chen is from Taipei while the other four are from mainland China.

Hsu Fu Hsiang, the Golden Bell-winning director of The Way We Were, is directing the 2018 version of Meteor Garden.

Text / Sanwei

The Merciless leads 38th Blue Dragon Film Awards

  November 6, 2017  
Nominations for the 38th Blue Dragon Film Awards were recently revealed. Director Byun Sung Hyun's gangster thriller The Merciless leads with nine nominations including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, and Best Film Editing. Han Jae Rim's The King and Jang Hoon's A Taxi Driver, which follow closely with eight nominations each, complete the Best Film race along with Lee Joon Ik's Anarchist from Colony and Hwang Dong Hyuk's The Fortress. Kim Hyun Seok picked up a Best Director nom for the heartwarming comedy I Can Speak.

Lee Byung Hun seeks his second win in the Best Actor category, which also includes his The Fortress partner Kim Yoon Seok, Sol Kyung Gu (The Merciless), Song Kang Ho (A Taxi Driver) and Jo In Sung (The King). Best Actress nods go to Gong Hyo Jin (Missing), Kim Ok Bin (The Villainess), Na Moon Hee (I Can Speak), Yeom Jung Ah (The Mimic) and Moon So Ri (The Running Actress), who is also recognized in the Best New Director category for the self-directed comedy. The remaining New Director nominees are Kang Yoon Sung (The Outlaws), Lee Joo Young (A Single Rider), Lee Hyun Ju (Our Love Story) and Cho Hyun Hoon (Jane).

Following their victories at the Daejong Film Awards, Bae Sung Woo and Kim So Jin will again compete in the Best Supporting Actor and Actress races against Kim Dae Myung (Bluebeard), Kim Hee Won (The Merciless), Jeon Hye Jin (The Merciless), Jin Seon Kyu (The Outlaws), Kim Hae Sook (New Trial), Yum Hye Ran (I Can Speak) and Lee Jung Hyun (The Battleship Island).

Lee Min Ji and Koo Gyo Hwan from Jane, Lee Sang Hee (Our Love Story), Lee Soo Kyung (Yongsoon) and Im Yoon Ah (Confidential Assignment) will vie for the Best New Actress title against Anarchist from Colony's breakout star Choi Hee Seo, who won Best Actress and Best New Actress at the Daejong Film Awards. Kim Joon Han (Anarchist from Colony), Nam Yeon Woo (Lost to Shame), EXO's D.O. (My Annoying Brother) and Ryu Jun Yeol (A Taxi Driver) are in the New Actor category.

The 38th Blue Dragon Film Awards will be held in Seoul on November 25.

Text / Garden
Translation / Pisces

Anarchist from Colony and Taxi Driver win at 54th Daejong Film Awards

  October 27, 2017  
Lee Joon Ik's period drama Anarchist from Colony swept the 54th Daejong Film Awards held in Seoul on October 25. The biographical drama about the life of revolutionary activist Park Yeol won five awards, including Best Director for Lee Joon Ik. Choi Hee Seo was crowned both Best Actress and Best New Actress for her first leading role as the activist's Japanese lover.

A Taxi Driver, Jang Hoon's blockbuster drama about the Gwangju Uprising, was named Best Film. Sol Kyung Gu, who plays a cruel inmate leader in The Merciless, became this year's Best Actor. Bae Sung Woo and Kim So Jin from The King triumphed in the Best Supporting Actor and Actress categories. The political crime thriller also picked up Best Screenplay and Best Editing.

TV star Park Seo Joon came in first in the Best New Actor race for the action comedy Midnight Runners. Um Tae Hwa received Best New Director for the fantasy romance Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned, which also won Best Music. Veteran actress Kim Young Ae was recognized with the Special Award.

Text / Pisces

Chihayafuru 3 to open in March 2018

  October 24, 2017  
In 2016, Suetsugu Yuki's popular award-winning manga series Chihayafuru was adapted into two live-action films that opened a month apart. Directed by Koizumi Norihiro, the two films starred Hirose Suzu as a high school girl immersed in the world of competitive karuta, a traditional Japanese card game. The release date for the third and final film of the series has been announced for March 17, 2018.

Besides Hirose as heroine Ayase Chihaya, Arata Mackenyu and Nomura Shuhei reprise as her childhood friends Arata, who first brought her into karuta before moving away, and Taichi, who continues to compete by her side. Other returning main cast members include Matsuoka Mayu as Chihaya's rival and Kamishiraishi Mone, Yamoto Yuma and Morinanga Yuki as the fellow members of her high school karuta club. Sano Hayato (Have a Song On Your Lips), Kiyohara Kaya (March Comes in Like a Lion), Yuki Mio (Assassination Classroom) and Kaku Kento (Paradise Kiss) join the cast as other karuta players.

Set two years after the events of the second film, Chihayafuru Part 3 follows the protagonists, who are now seniors, for their last high school national tournament. As Chihaya strives to reach the top of her game, she must also navigate her ambiguous relationship triangle with Arata and Taichi.

Text / Sanwei

2017 Mnet Asian Music Awards nominations

  October 24, 2017  
Nominations for the 2017 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) were announced on October 19.

New sensation Wanna One, who debuted in August this year, breaks into the Best Male Group race and will go head to head with strong competitors including EXO, BTS, GOT7, Seventeen and NU'EST W. Last year's Best Female Group winner Twice strives for their second victory in the category, which also includes BLACKPINK, Red Velvet, Mamamoo and GFriend. Zico will defend his Best Male Artist title against G-Dragon, Zion.T, PSY and Jong Shin Yoon. Two-time Best Female Artist winner Tae Yeon is again shortlisted for the prize along with IU, Sun Mi, Suzy and Heize. The Produce 101 effect is strong in the Best New Male and Female Artist categories, which feature Wanna One, Samuel, Jeong Se Woon, The EastLight, Pristin, Weki Meki and Chung Ha, as well as Golden Child, Dream Catcher and Momoland.

In the Best Vocal Performance categories, Zion.T ("The Song"), Jong Shin Yoon ("Like It"), Jung Seung Hwan ("The Fool"), Han Dong Geun ("Crazy") and Hwang Chi Yeul ("A Daily Song") are nominated for Male Artists; IU ("Through the Night"), Suran ("If I Get Drunk Today"), Heize ("You, Clouds, Rain"), Gugudan's Se Jeong ("Flower Way") and Apink's Jeong Eun Ji ("The Spring") for Female Artists; and Winner (Really Really), Mamamoo ("Yes I Am"), Bolbbalgan4 ("Tell Me You Love Me"), BTOB ("Missing You") and Highlight (Calling You) for Groups.

Best Dance Performance is also divided into three categories for Male Group (EXO's Ko Ko Bop, NCT 127's Cherry Bomb, Monsta X's "Beautiful," BTS's DNA, VIXX's "Shangri-La" and Seventeen's "Don't Wanna Cry"), Female Group (Apink's Five, Twice's Signal, Red Velvet's "Red Flavor," Girl's Generation's Holiday and GFriend's "Love Whisper") and Solo (Sun Mi's Gashina, PSY's New Face, Lee Hyo Ri's Black, Tae Min's Move and HyunA's Babe).

For Best Band Performance, the nominees are CNBLUE ("Between Us"), DAY6 ("I Smile"), FTIsland (Wind), Buzz ("The Love") and Hyukoh Tomboy). Dean's "Come Over," Mad Clown's "Lost without You," Woo Won Jae's "We Are," Zico's Artist and Heize's "Don't Know You" received the Best HipHop & Urban Music nominations. For Best Collaboration, nods go to "Nosedive" by Dynamic Duo and EXO's Chen , "Most Hated" by Jay Park and Dok2, "Rain" by So You and EXO's Baek Hyun, "Can't Love You Anymore" by IU and Oh Hyuk, and Blue Moon by Hyo Rin and Changmo.

The Best Music Video race features the shortlist of EXO's Power, Twice's Signal, Wanna One's Energetic, BTS's "Spring Day" and Seventeen's "Don't Wanna Cry." Songs from the hit drama Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, namely Ailee's "I Will Go to You Like the First Snow," Crush's Beautiful and Stay with Me by EXO's Chan Yeol and Punch, dominate the Best OST category, which also includes Bolbbalgan4's "You and I from the Beginning" (Ruler: Master of the Mask) and Suzy's I Love You Boy (While You Were Sleeping).

This year, the annual music award show will be divided into multiple events held in three regions over four days: Vietnam on November 25, Japan on November 29, and Hong Kong on November 30 and December 1.

For more information and online voting, refer to MAMA's official site: https://mama.interest.me.

Text / Pisces

Kimura Takuya takes on first police role in Higashino Keigo adaptation

  October 18, 2017  
Kimura Takuya and Nagasawa Masami will collaborate for the first time in the film adaptation of Higashino Keigo's 2011 mystery novel Masquerade Hotel.

Masquerade Hotel, which has sold over 2.75 million copies, is set at a Tokyo luxury hotel in which a series of foretold murders occur. Kimura, who has played a prosecutor, pilot, doctor and even prime minister in his varied career, will take on his first police role as Kosuke Nitta, the detective in charge of the serial murder case. He goes undercover by posing as hotel staff and teams up with receptionist Yamagishi Naomi, played by Nagasawa, to solve the mystery.

Masquerade Hotel reteams Kimura with Hero series director Suzuki Masayuki, while Liar Game series writer Okada Michitaka serves as the screenwriter. The film is expected to open in Japan in 2019.

Text / tabo
Translation / Sanwei

Winners of 10th Korea Drama Awards

  October 6, 2017  
The Korea Drama Awards, one of the main events of the Korea Drama Festival, held their tenth anniversary ceremony in Jinju on October 2.

Guardian: The Lonely and Great God emerged victorious with five prizes, including Best Drama, Best New Actor and Star of the Year Award for BTOB's Yook Sung Jae, and Popular Character Awards for Kim Byung Chul and Park Kyung Hye. The second biggest winner Ruler: Master of the Mask followed closely with four awards including Best Drama, Best Screenplay for Park Hye Jin, the Excellence Award for Jeon No Min and the KDA Award for Hur Jun Ho.

Veteran Kim Sang Joong was honored the Grand Prize for playing a slave fighting for freedom in Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People. Kim Ji Suk and Honey Lee from the historical drama were on the winner list for the Top Excellence Award, which also included Kwon Yool (Whisper). Good Manager director Lee Jang Soo walked away with Best Director while Lee Il Hwa won the Excellence Award for her performance in the workplace romcom. Other Excellence Award winners include Min Jin Woong (My Father Is Strange) and Song Ha Yoon (Fight for My Way). Rapper DinDin's Must Be the Money from the soundtrack of Good Manager was chosen as Best Original Soundtrack.

Apart from Yook Sung Jae, Ko Won Hee from Strongest Deliveryman was also named Best New Actor. Jung Young Sook (Dal Soon's Spring) received this year's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Text / Pisces

54th Golden Horse Awards Nominations

  October 3, 2017  
Nominations for the 54th Golden Horse Awards were recently revealed. Taiwan documentary filmmaker Huang Hsin Yao's The Great Buddha+ grabbed ten nominations including Best Feature Film, Best New Director, Best Supporting Actor for Leon Dai, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Effects, Best Original Film Music Award and Best Original Film Song Award. Gilles Yang's The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful, Sylvia Chang's Love Education and Wong Kar Wai's See You Tomorrow follow with seven nominations each. Love Education, The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful, Chinese director Vivian Qu's Angels Wear White and Geng Jun's Free and Easy received nods in Best Feature Film and Best Director. Ann Hui will seek her fourth Best Director trophy for her wartime historical drama Our Time Will Come.

Kara Hui, a three-time Best Actress winner at Hong Kong Film Awards, is shortlisted for the top acting prize at the Golden Horse Awards for the first time for her performance in The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful. The actress will be competing against Sylvia Chang (Love Education), Shu Qi (The Village of No Return), Wen Qi (Angels Wear White) and Ivy Yin (The Island That All Flow By). Takeshi Kaneshiro (See You Tomorrow) earned the first Best Actor nomination of his 28-year career. Other Best Actor nominees include Kaiser Chuang (Who Killed Cock Robin), Huang Bo (The Conformist), Tu Men (Old Beast) and Tian Zhuangzhuang (Love Education).

Best Actress nominee Wen Qi (Angels Wear White) is also in the Best Supporting Actress race against Deanie Ip (Our Time Will Come), Tiffany Hsu (The Tag-Along 2), Chen Shiang Chyi (The Receptionist) and Wu Yan Shu (Love Education). Mason Lee (Who Killed Cock Robin) will go head to head with heavyweight Tony Leung Ka Fai (Our Time Will Come), Leon Dai (The Great Buddha+), Bamboo Chen (Alifu) and Lei Jiayin (Brotherhood of Blades II: The Infernal Battlefield) for Best Supporting Actor.

Apart from Huang Hsin Yao (The Great Buddha+), rookie filmmakers Chen Sheng Ji (Shuttle Life), Huang Xi (Missing Johnny), Zhou Ziyang (Old Beast) and Chan Ching Lin (The Island of River Flow) are also nominated as Best New Director. Rima Zeidan (Missing Johnny), Kent Tsai (All Because of Love), Elaine Zhong (Youth), Zhang Aoyue (The Hidden Sword) and Wu Nien Hsuan (The Tag-Along 2) complete the Best New Performer category.

Sound engineer Hu Ding Yi is this year's Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker and veteran actress Feng Hsu will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The 54th Golden Horse Awards will be held in Taipei on November 25.

Text / Garden
Translation / Pisces

52nd Golden Bell Awards Winners

  October 3, 2017  
The 52nd Golden Bell Awards, Taiwan's premier television awards ceremony, was held on September 30 in Taipei. Awards were fairly evenly distributed this year with several major winners. Qseries suspense drama Close Your Eyes Before It's Dark won Best Television Serial, as well as Best Supporting Actress for Sun Ke Fang and Best Sound.

Veterans were recognized in the acting categories with Best Actor going to Liu De Kai (Never Forget Then), Best Actress to Ke Shu Qin (Love in Sandstorm) and Best Supporting Actor to You An Shun (Abula). Hsu Chao Jen, director of the family series Family Time), won for Best Directing in a Television Serial.

The Teenage Psychic came out on top in the Best Mini-Series category and won Best Supporting Actress for Nana Lee. The Last Verse, however, received the most accolades, sweeping Best Actor and Actress for Fu Meng Po and Jenny Wen, Best Editing and Art Direction. She's Family's Tsai Chen Nan received the Best Supporting Actor prize. The Long Goodbye won Best TV Movie, Best Cinematography and Best Directing in a Mini-Series/TV Movie. Qseries sitcom Love in a Sandstorm's Chen Yu and PTS Life Story movie An Angel at My Table's Lin Yu Ting were awarded the Best Newcomer prizes.

In the Variety section, Just Dance won Best Variety Program and 100% Entertainment's Show Luo and Linda Chien were named the Best Variety Program Hosts. Director Lin Fu Ti was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Text / Sanwei

Jang Dong Gun & Park Hyung Sik play lawyers in Korean remake of Suits

  September 28, 2017  
Five years after A Gentleman's Dignity, Jang Dong Gun announces his TV drama comeback with the upcoming Korean remake of popular American legal drama Suits. Park Hyung Sik (Strong Woman Do Bong Soon) will co-star alongside the actor in the drama adapted by director Kim Jin Woo (Queen of Mystery) and rookie screenwriter Kim Jung Min.

The original Suits started airing in 2011 and has run for seven seasons. In the Korean version, Park Hyung Sik will play Go Yeon Woo, a university dropout with a remarkable memory. He runs into top lawyer Choi Kyung Seo (Jang Dong Gun) and accidentally obtains a job interview. Impressed by Yeon Woo's profound knowledge of law, Kyung Seo decides to hire him as his law associate despite his lack of a license. The two work together on different cases while keeping Yeon Woo's identity a secret.

The Korean version of Suits is scheduled to broadcast on KBS in 2018.

Text / Pisces

EXO & Twice win top prizes at 1st Soribada Best K-Music Awards

  September 22, 2017  
Soribada, one of the major digital music platforms in Korea, held its first music awards on September 20, 2017, in Seoul. Based on music releases launched from September 2016 to August 2017, winners were selected through online voting and ratings from the judging panel and critics.

The biggest winner EXO garnered three awards including the Grand Prize, Main Prize and Popularity Award. The Digital Grand Prize went to Twice, who also won the Main Prize. Other Main Prize winners include GFriend, B.A.P, Mamamoo, T-ara, BTOB, Hwang Chi Yeol, Monsta X, Red Velvet and VIXX.

BTS, who didn't attend the ceremony, received the Artist Award and gave their acceptance speech through a video. Popular newcomer Wanna One took their first Rookie Award together with Pentagon, as well as the Rising Hot Star Award along with Cosmic Girls. NCT 127 and Gugudan emerged victorious in the Performance category.

Ailee gained her third OST Award with "I Will Go to You Like the First Snow" from the soundtrack of sensational drama Guardian: The Lonely and Great God. Han Dong Geun was recognized for his vocal performance. Tae Jin Ah and Hong Jin Young walked away with the Trot Awards. Songwriting duo Leegi Yongbae, who has created songs for GFriend, Pristin and Astro, picked up the Producer Award. Singer-songwriter Eru was honored with the Global Career Achievement Award.

Text / Pisces

Amuro Namie announces decision to retire in September 2018

  September 21, 2017  
On September 20, 2017, her 40th birthday, J-pop diva Amuro Namie shocked the Japanese entertainment industry and music fans by announcing her intention to retire in the coming year. In a message posted on her official website, the singer, who just celebrated the 25th anniversary of her debut the past Saturday, stated that she would retire on September 16, 2018.

Amuro first made her debut in 1992 at the age of 14 in the short-lived idol group Super Monkey's. She made her solo debut three years later with the platinum-selling single Taiyo no Season, and soon moved labels to Avex where she has remained since. Known for dance, pop, EDM and R&B music, Amuro has proven to be an enduringly popular pop artist and style icon in Japan, with a significant overseas following as well. One of Japan's top-selling female artists of all time, she has sold over 30 million records, and has multiple million-selling albums and singles to her name. Her most recent release is the single Just You and I in May.

As stated in her announcement, Amuro will remain active in the last year of her music career by focusing her "full attention on creating a final album and performing at concerts."

Text / Sanwei

31st Golden Rooster Awards

  September 21, 2017  
China's 31st Golden Rooster Awards were held on September 16, 2017. Operation Mekong, Dante Lam's crime action blockbuster about Chinese anti-narcotics agents fighting a drug cartel in the Golden Triangle, was crowned Best Film at the biannual award ceremony. Following wins at the Golden Horse and Asian Film Awards, Feng Xiaogang's satirical comedy-drama I Am Not Madame Bovary garnered him another Best Director prize, as well as Best Actress for Fan Bingbing. Deng Chao won Best Actor for his role in Cao Baoping's crime drama The Dead End.

I Am Not Madame Bovary's Yu Hewei shared Best Supporting Actor honors with Wang Qianyuan, who played a kidnapper in the crime thriller Saving Mr. Wu. Meanwhile, veteran Wu Yanshu won Best Supporting Actress for Relocate. Actor-turned-director Wen Zhang's romantic comedy When Larry Met Mary was named the Best Directorial Debut, and Guan Hu's Mr. Six won for Best Screenplay.

Technical prizes were spread out amongst Bangzi Melody (Cinematography), Chongqing Hot Pot (Sound Recording), The Wasted Times (Art Direction), Saving Mr. Wu (Editing) and Cairo Declaration (Music). Pema Tseden's Tharlo and Degena Yun's A Simple Goodbye were recognized as the Best Low-Budget Features.

Text / Sanwei

70s mecha classic Mazinger Z returns in 2018 feature film

  September 14, 2017  
Classic 70s mecha manga and anime series Mazinger Z will return to screens in 2018 with the new animated film Mazinger Z/Infinity, which is set ten years after the final episode of the anime. The film also commemorates the 50th anniversary of Mazinger Z creator Nagai Go.

Serialized from 1972 to 1974, Nagai Go's original manga revolves around a giant super robot called Mazinger Z and its pilot, Kabuto Koji. Mazinger Z was created by Professor Kabuto to fight against mechanical monsters controlled by archvillain Dr. Hell, a mad scientist who endeavors to take over the world. Before his death, Kabuto passes on the robot to grandson Koji, who takes up the mantle of defending humanity against Dr. Hell and his mechanical army. Mazinger Z was adapted into an anime series that aired from 1972 to 1974 in Japan, and went on to find great popularity around the world. One of the most famous representatives of the mecha genre, the Mazinger franchise has spawned various sequels and spinoffs and mountains of merchandise.

In Mazinger Z/Infinity, set ten years after Koji's final battle with Dr. Hell, he has left his piloting days behind to pursue science. However, with the return of an old nemesis and the rise of a new threat, Koji and Mazinger Z will be called upon to once again fight the forces of evil and protect the future of mankind.

Mazinger Z/Infinity is directed by Shimizu Jinju and written by Ozawa Takahiro of Ume, the mangaka duo that's also responsible for the film's spinoff manga Mazinger Z Interval Peace. The film will open in Japan on January 13, 2018.

Text / Sanwei

Winners of 12th Seoul International Drama Awards

  September 12, 2017  
The 12th Seoul International Drama Awards took place in Seoul on September 7. The American family comedy-drama This Is Us received the Grand Prize. Turkish actor Kerem Bürsin (Heart of the City) and Russian actress Aleksandra Nikiforova (Detective Anna) won the top acting prizes. Park Bo Gum (Love in the Moonlight) and Park Bo Young (Strong Woman Do Bong Soon) were crowned Outstanding Korean Actor and Actress.

Sensational Korean youth romance Love in the Moonlight was recognized as the Excellent Korean Drama, while W and Doctors took the Outstanding Korean Drama awards. Ailee picked up the Outstanding Korean Drama OST prize for her song "I Will Go to You Like the First Snow" from the soundtrack of hit drama Guardian: The Lonely and Great God.

Walking away with the Silver Bird Prize, Korean school drama The Red Teacher was the only Asian winner in the program category. The Golden Bird Prize went to Redemption Road (Germany), Please, Love Me (Belgium), The Slave Mother (Brazil) and Fleabag (UK). Switzerland's Urs Egger (Gotthard) was named Best Director, while Rodica Doehnert was this year's Best Screenwriter for her work in the Austrian period drama Hotel Sacher.

About a Vietnam woman struggling to live in a foreign land after marrying her Taiwanese husband, Taiwan drama We Are One won the Jury's Special Prize along with the Indian political thriller P.O.W. Bandi Yuddh Ke. American comedy Mozart in the Jungle Season 3 was The Most Popular Foreign Drama of the Year. The Asian Star Prize went to Debbie Goh (Malaysia), Hyunri (Japan), Satyadeep Mishra (India), Sukollawat Kanarot (Thailand) and Gabby Concepcion (Philippines).

Text / Pisces

Son Ye Jin & So Ji Sub to co-star in Korean adaptation of Be With You

  September 6, 2017  
Son Ye Jin (The Last Princess) and So Ji Sub (The Battleship Island) are currently filming for the fantasy melodrama Now I Will Meet You, the Korean adaptation of Japanese author Ichikawa Takuji's bestselling novel Be With You about the emotional reunion between a deceased woman and her family. Thirteen years after the Japanese film adaptation starring Takeuchi Yuko and Nakamura Shido, rookie director Lee Jang Hoon brings the classic to life in his directorial debut.

Released in 2003, the original novel follows single father Takumi, who lives a quiet life with his six-year-old son Yuji after the death of his wife Mio. Before she died, Mio promised that she would return on a rainy day. One year later, Takumi and Yuji encounter a mysterious woman who bears a strong resemblance to Mio but has no recollection of her past.

Apart from Son Ye Jin and So Ji Sub who play the star-crossed lovers, Now I Will Meet You also features child star Kim Ji Hwan as their son, Lee Joon Hyuk (Two Rooms, Two Nights), Ko Chang Seok (Seondal: The Man Who Sells the River) and Lee Yoo Jin (Daddy You, Daughter Me) and Kim Hyun Soo (Goodbye Single) as the young versions of the leads. The film is set to hit local cinemas in 2018.

Text / Pisces

Taiwan 52nd Golden Bell Awards Nominations

  August 29, 2017  
Nominations for Taiwan's 52nd Golden Bell Awards were recently unveiled, and TV dramas under the Qseries imprint dominate the shortlist. Qseries sitcom Love in a Sandstorm leads the way with nine nominations including Best Television Serial, Best Directing, Best Writing and Best Actor for both Guang Yao Fan and Chris Wu, last year's winner. Wu is also nominated as Best Actor in a Mini-Series/TV Movie for We Are One.

Qseries suspense drama Close Your Eyes Before It's Dark follows with seven nominations including Best Television Serial, Best Supporting Actor (Huang Shang Ho) and Best Supporting Actress (Sun Ke Fang). FTV period drama Abula, Hakka TV's Game and TVBS's Family Time complete the Best Television Serial category.

Rainie Yang, who won Best Actress in a Television Serial seven years ago for Hi My Sweetheart, will seek her second trophy for her performance in the Qseries urban romance Life Plan A and B. She is up against Love in Sandstorm's Ke Shu Qin, Love by Design's Allison Lin, Reborn From the Dust's Queenie Fang and Life List's Yang Kuei Mei, who also received a Mini-Series/TV Movie Supporting Actress nomination for She's Family. In the Best Actor category, Chris Wu and Guang Yao Fan are competing against Blue Lan (Miss Jiang, You Talked About Love It), SpeXial member Wes Luo (High 5 Basketball) and Liu De Kai (Never Forget Then).

Best Mini-Series and TV Movie are split into two categories this year with Far and Away: Black Beauty, The Devil Game, The Teenage Psychic and She's Family shortlisted in the former, and The Long Goodbye, Their Heaven, Keep Going, We Are One and Upstream in the latter. PTS TV movies The Long Goodbye and The Last Verse both received eight nominations each, including acting nods for leads Christopher Lee, Fu Meng Po, Annie Chen and Jenny Wen. Tiffany Hsu (Rock Records in Love: Gui Mi Xin Qiao), Kuo Shu Yao (The Teenage Psychic) and Cheryl Yang (Rock Records in Love: New Endless Love) are also nominated in the Best Actress in a Mini-Series/TV Movie category.

In the Variety section, Fighting Ba! Tian Tuan, Global Chinese Music, 100% Entertainment, Hot Door Night and Just Dance are nominated for Best Variety Program. Meanwhile, Global Chinese Music's Mickey Huang, 100% Entertainment's Show Luo and Linda Chien, Sleep Less's Kid Lin and Linda Chien, Hot Door Night's Jacky Wu, LuLu and Chen Han Dian, and the hosts of Variety Together will compete for Best Variety Program Host.

The 52nd Golden Bell Awards will be held in Taipei on September 30.

Text / Sanwei

12th Seoul International Drama Awards Nominations

  August 29, 2017  
The 12th Seoul International Drama Awards recently revealed this year's nominations. Out of 266 entries from 55 countries, 29 dramas and 27 individuals are shortlisted as the nominees.

Park Bo Young is nominated as Best Actress for her performance in the Korean drama Strong Woman Do Bong Soon. She will be competing against Bat Hen Sabbag (Dumb, Israel), Luise Heyer (The Glassblower, Germany), Ursula Strauss (The Silence that Follows, Austria), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, UK), Nadine Nassib Njeim (Samra, Lebanon) and Aleksandra Nikiforova (Detective Anna, Russia).

Japanese singer-actor Hoshino Gen seeks his first Best Actor trophy for his role as an exceedingly precise IT worker in We Married as a Job. The popular romcom is also one of the contenders in the Mini-Series category, which also includes Strong Woman Do Bong Soon and the Taiwanese melodrama Life Plan A and B.

Korean school drama The Red Teacher about a teacher at a female high school is nominated in the TV Movie category. Japanese family drama Desperate for Love, the novel-based Our Land from Taiwan, and the Crow drama episode from Malaysian urban fantasy Beautiful World are also in the race. Hong Kong's House of Spirits is the only Asian drama in the Comedy category, alongside Fleabag (UK), Mozart in the Jungle Season 3 (USA) and The Case (Sweden).

Korean fantasy romance W's playwright Song Jae Jung received a nod for Best Screenwriter (Mini-Series).

To be hosted by Shin Dong Yup and Kim Jung Eun, the 12th Seoul International Drama Awards will be held on September 7 at the KBS Hall in Seoul.

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