The Year of Asian 2.0: Hallyu and More
It’s been nearly 11 years since I wrote the small piece on The Year of Asian, celebrating Yojiro Takita’s Okuribito snatching the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and Slumdog Millionaire sweeping award season and launching the mainstream career of Dev Patel. We also celebrated the first Kpop acts to reach American shores, and the broader appeal of Asian films for distributors. A decade later, we’ve already gone through PSY’s Gangnam Style, the explosion of BTS in American mainstream; we had Hirokazu Koreeda hitting the cinematic mainstream with Shoplifters (万引き家族), Park Chan Wook’s Stoker, Kim Jee-Woon’s The Last Stand, and Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer, Okja… and the crown jewel of Parasite, which swept the Oscars earning Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay on top of Best Foreign Film.
Cherry on top is seeing Indian superstar Shahrukh Khan tweeting about his experience watching Parasite, while other Indian superstar Aamir Khan was finishing riding the wave Dangal had created in Mainland China, on the same year Thailand saw it’s biggest surprise hit with Bad Genius, launching the career of actress Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying.
We’ve got Well Go USA Entertainment for the distribution of some Asian films, everyone knows the Baby Shark song, and Kdrama and the K-variety format is flying with the licensing for content such as The Good Doctor and The Masked Singer. Even Turkish entertainment is flying high with the remakes of the 2010 jdrama Mother, and their most recent re-adaptation of Miracle in Cell No. 7.
I will be biting my tongue, after all, it took over a decade to get to this point. But what’s next? It seems clear that in the era of the I.P., there will be a lot more cross-cultural re-adaptation of popular films; be it HBO’s Parasite universe or something else. Production, however, in the era of ‘rona virus’ times seems uncertain, it will be certainly a struggle. In the meantime, remote production of brand new animated series (and videos games) seem to be flourishing, especially for brand new -and old- streaming platforms thirsty for more content.
I’ve heard Asian shows like Kingdom are doing relatively well on streaming platforms. Asian-American romantic comedies are making strides in the US, and as you mentioned in the last paragraph, anime has broken out of its nerd niches outside Japan, We’ll see if the pandemic cuts some demands while fueling others.