We've shown you the acting collaboration between Shota Sometani and Kamiki Ryunosuke in Part One, and their individual acting highlights in Parts Two (Sometani), Three & Four (Ryunosuke), now in the last part of this series, we want to focus on their essential dramas and movies - in particular for the uninitiated. We'll also concentrate on future roles and what to expect in the next few seasons.

It has been quite a ride - the video clips and the time it took to review previous drama episodes were a blast! Just a reminder of how awesome they both are!

The Essential Guide to Kamiki and Shota's movies and dramas after the jump!

Question 1: If you're to recommend just one or maybe two drama shows/movies for Shota and Kamiki, which of them would you put on the list and why?

For Shota: It has to be WOWOW'S xxxHolic where he plays Watanuki Kimihiro, a young student who attracts spirits and ghouls because of his tasty blood. This is a fantasy-drama-thriller that tackles some grave and funny issues of life, relationships and growing up. He has done about 24 dramas in his young acting career, two of them as the lead actor (aside from xxxHolic, he was one of the leads in Minna Esper Dayo!).

For movies, it's hard to pick just one because he has such an exciting line-up of performances - Himizu, Yuriko's Aroma and A Liar and a Broken Girl. These three movies are so varied you would be surprised that you are watching the same actor - Himizu is high drama from acclaimed filmmaker Sion Sono and worth a watch or two. Yuriko's Aroma features a young Sometani on the verge of sexual awakening, while A Liar and a Broken Girl deals with the psychological trauma of two young individuals.

Says Shota on his role in A Liar and a Broken Girl:

My first impression was I thought this was going to be a tough character to portray, but once I started, it was not difficult. As I progressed on the set, I could just naturally understand what my character was going through as he seemed to me. I predict that the reactions of the Western audience will be entirely different from the Japanese ones, so that’s one of the reasons why I want as many people to see it. [ source ]

Regarding Himizu, he described his role quite simply:

I’m the star of Himizu, which is directed by Sion Sono. It was originally a comic book and I play a character who murders his father, and I take a knife and set out, determined to kill unnecessary human beings. [ source ]

For Kamiki: Kogure Photostudio is a definite favorite and one fantastic family drama that is a collectible in my book. Kamiki plays Eiichi Hanabashi, the eldest son in a family of five. All the members of the family suffer from a tragic event that haunts them to this day - the death of Eiichi's younger sister. With this terrible memory everyone tries to adapt to a new environment and live their lives, but can they overcome this event and be happy once again? Featuring a variety of dramatic scenes that showcase Ryunosuke's mastery of the family drama. The young actor was also exceptional in Kazoku Game, another family drama but with a sinister theme mixed with bullying, blackmail, murder, and psychodrama.

The Kirishima Thing, SPEC, The Great Yokai War and Little DJ would be a fantastic line-up of Kamiki movies to enjoy. You can do a marathon or select one movie per night; it will not matter - the emotional impact and entertainment value will remain the same. By the way, Kamiki did some excellent voice acting as well- you may want to check out Summer Wars and The Borrower Arriety.

Says Kamiki on playing the lead role in Summer Wars:

'Kenji' in "Summer Wars" is similar to me, and we are the same age, I will very quickly forget myself and immerse into the character, this part is especially memorable. During the recording, because there are 20~30 voice actors recording together, it's like Kenji directly talking to the person, it has a very realistic feel. [ source ]

On his role in SPEC, he made some personal character analysis himself:

Pure and innocent is the theme that penetrates through in Ninomae's character. Regarding his mental state, I've heard that he looks like a typical high school student outwardly, but because of a certain incident, Ninomae's mental state and body are separated. Inside he is an innocent and pure elementary school student. Therefore I used "beautiful and innocent and pure" as the central theme to act. Ninomae is an average boy himself, so he has parts which are scary [ source ]


Question 2: What would you consider Shota and Kamiki's most important acting award/recognition so far? Is there a list of what they have won already?

Shota's Awards, so far: (biggest award has got to be The Marcello Mastroianni Best New Actor, Venice Film Festival)

Elan D’or Awards Rookie of the Year
36th Japanese Academy Prize Rookie Actor Award
17th Japan Internet Movie Award Starring Actor
3rd Japan Theatre Staff Film Festival: Best New Actor for “Himizu.”
Venice Film Festival - Marcello Mastroianni Award: Best New Young Actor for "Himizu."
Mainichi Film Awards - Sponichi Grand Prix Newcomer Award for "A Liar and a Broken Girl."
3rd TAMA film festival: Best Emerging Actor
11th TAMA NEW WAVE Festival: Best Actor
65th Japan Broadcasting Art Film: Rookie of the Year

Kamiki's Awards, so far: (biggest prize is 2006 Japan Academy Rookie of the Year trophy)

77th Television Drama Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor - Kazoku Game
17th Nikkan Sports Drama Grand Prix (Apr-Jun 2013): Best Supporting Actor for Kazoku Game
2006 Japan Academy Awards: Best Newcomer for Yokai Daisensou
51st Monte-Carlo TV Festival 2011: (Nominated) Outstanding Actor in TV Films for Threads of Our Hearts (Kokoro no Ito)
2011 Seoul International Drama Awards: Yahoo! People's Choice - The Best Actor of Japan / Netizen Popularity Award
4th Tama Eiga Awards: Best Newcomer Actor for Kirishima, Bukatsu Yamerutt

In an interview, Kamiki was quite serious about his acting career (and personal life), saying:

I want to "confront myself" in 2010 and beyond. So far, acting is just an enjoyable thing to me, I want to find my future goal as an actor, even if it's 1mm, I want to steadfastly improve! As a person, I want to become a gentle and honest person. For example, even if I'm betrayed, or encounter extremely unfair situations, I will not seek revenge. Be magnanimous and generous, unconditionally gentle to others. I feel that my mother is very honest and gentle, this type of mother is my goal as a person. But the girls in class told me "Being too gentle is boring" (laughs). Recently, I've understood that those who want to become popular are conversely not popular (laughs), so I will tone it down, and quietly put the thought of "wanting to be popular" somewhere in the corner of my heart (laughs). [ read more ]


Question 3: What sort of roles or characters they are really good playing at? Why is that?

Both actors are quite good playing a variety of roles - Shota has done both lead and supporting roles, but he has yet to play an evil character. Kamiki was able to play some villain roles, and he exceeded many expectations as well. Kamiki is particularly great at playing the student-role-model-high-achiever character (Kazoku Game and Kogure Photostudio), and he has done some amazing voice acting as well. Shota has more comedic charms as evidenced by the sex-comedy Minna Esper Dayo! Although Kamiki showed, he could also tickle some funny bones in 11 Nin mo Iru!

Observed 13oys&M3n:

Relatively quiet in dramas compared to films, Sometani nonetheless has started to gain recognition. And for that recognition, Sometani was awarded the Elan D’or Rookie of the Year Award (2013) for his acting throughout 2012. Sometani started drama acting at an early age and had appeared in several popular series in minor roles. However, his biggest break came in 2013 with the adaptation Minna! Esper! Dayo | Everyones! Esper! (TV Tokyo/ 2013) – as lead character Kanagawa Yoshio. [ source ]


Question 4: Who do they often collaborate in their movies and drama series?

Shota Sometani has done a number of film collaboration with maverick filmmaker Sion  Sono (best known for his 3-hour movie Love Exposure). He also played characters together with Fumi Nikaido (Himizu, Lesson of the Evil), Masaki Okada (Life Back Then), Haruma Miura (Tokyo Kouen).

Shota has done 30+ drama shows (since 2002) and 45+ movies shown and about to be released.

Kamiki Ryunosuke was directed by Takashi Miike for The Great Yokai War, and the same film won him the Rookie of the Year trophy at the Japanese Academy. Some of his co-stars in dramas include Erika Toda, Ryo Kase, Shuhei Nomura, Kenichi Matsuyama and Haruka Ayase.

Kamiki has made 38+ drama shows (since 1999) to his credit and 28+ full-length movies, (including voice acting) as of latest count.

He has done the most voice acting compared to his peers for Studio Ghibli: In 9 years he has dubbed for 5 Ghibli works, the most amongst actors. To people who like Ghibli, this is supreme happiness. And he has worked with Director Miyazaki Hayao in "Spirited Away" and "Howl's Moving Castle", with Director Takahata Isao in the Studio Ghibli-produced Japanese dialogue for "Kirikou and the Sorceress", with Director Yonebayashi Hiromasa in the new movie "Karigurashi no Arrietty", the only actor who has ever worked with these 3 directors. Furthermore in making of Sho's design in "Karigurashi no Arrietty," there is a surprise that makes Kamiki's eyes sparkle.

I've liked Kurenai no Buta from kindergarten; I watched it a lot of times. When I was young, rather than understanding the theme of the film, it more like purely thinking that airplanes and gunfights are cool. The use of adrenaline pumping BGM that boys like is also one of the reasons. With this film as the trigger, I also watched "My Neighbor Totoro", "Kiki's Delivery Service", "Princess Mononoke", and after that in terms of work I had the opportunity to voice "Bou" in "Spirited Away", other than that I've also watched "The Cat Returns", "Ghiblies Episode 2", "Ponyo" etc. I like Ghibli's works. About their charm? First is, of course, the dreams they give to people, even though it seems like it is separated from reality, but you can immerse into the world naturally, and there are themes that tie in with the period. Therefore, whenever I receive an invitation to voice act in Ghibli's movie, I feel very fortunate.

I heard that Sho's character is referenced from my posters and the roles I had so far, that made me really happy, really happy! To exaggerate a bit, it feels like I've appeared in a Ghibli film myself, something I'll never forget. Ah, but the personality is completely different (laughs). But while I'm voice acting I can feel that, resting in the bed reading books or looking outside the window, suddenly aimlessly walking out, listening to music while thinking, these parts are very similar. [ read more ]

Both actors collaborated with newcomer Masahiro Higashide - Shota and Higashide co-stars in xxxHolic, while Kamiki and Higashide played lead roles in the award-winning movie, The Kirishima Thing.


Question 5: What are some of the feedbacks or reactions they got from fellow actors, filmmakers or talent managers? Did they ever have any bad press, scandals or controversies? Other interests outside of acting?

Kamiki is being managed by Amuse while Shota is under management with a new agency, Toy's Factory. Both are passionate about photography. Hopefully nothing controversial and expecting that this trend will continue. They are not idols who are hunted by the media if they happen to enter a motel with some pretty young things. Even if there are controversies, you will not find it here.


Question 6: Any special interviews they did which reflected something a bit more "personal"?

Kamiki likes photography, as mentioned already. In the November 2009 issue of Junon Magazine, he was reported to have said something very detailed about photography:

The first time I took a photograph of myself was probably around six years old; I was still in kindergarten at that time. Till now, I have been accompanied by the camera by ten years...I have another new identity (laughs). In the beginning, I used the slightly faulty camera that my mother had used before. When taking photos, the light will leak in for no reason, so the slot for film roll was taped (laughs). But it can still be used. The first thing that I shot with that camera is probably my grandfather's potted plant. After seeing the developed picture, I thought "The things that I take can be preserved this way!", so I started liking photography. After that, I used the camera for a period, until the second year of elementary school when a new digital camera was bought, and in the first year of middle school, I bought an SLR camera, half of it using my otoshidama money and my parents giving money for the other half. When I was young, my photography subject seemed to be just trained (laughs). I would frequently let my father bring me to Tokyo Station to take photos. The camera I use now was a gift from my uncle when the third year of middle school was about to end.

Now the photos I take are mainly of scenery, because when I go to other locations for the shoot, I will bring my camera. The photographs are all in the computer's USB memory; the earliest photos are from the time I went to Venice Film Festival at age 12 for "The Great Yokai War." Recently I went to Hokkaido to shoot "Kaze no Garden," not only is the scenery there beautiful, but there are also 350 or more types of flowers, I like flowers a lot too, so I was photographing to my heart's content. The best photo that I've taken so far is perhaps the one that I took when I went to Okinawa for "Ruri no Shima" in the second year of middle school. The light termed as "God's Light" (Kami no Hikari), spreads out gently from a break in the clouds, leaving a beautiful impression.

To me, the most important part of taking photos are the feelings, Feeling touched, wanting to take a photo and thus taking the photo. Mentioning my agency senpai Fukuyama-san again, I had chatted with him about photography before; he taught me a lot of useful things. "Photography is not only about composition, but you also need to photograph what you had felt truthful." [ source ]


Question 7: Prospects, what particular movie or drama are you most excited about for both actors?

Shota just wrapped up shooting for Wood Job! Where he plays a student opposite Masami Nagasawa and his Lesson of the Evil co-star Hideaki Ito. He is also part of the casting ensemble for The Kiyosu Conference, featuring some of the biggest names in Japanese cinema, including Koji Yakusho, Satoshi Tsumabuki, and Kenichi Matsuyama. He has often been cast in ensemble acting. Sion Sono is also tasked to do a short film for the 70th Venice Film Festival and cast Sometani as one of the leads.

Kamiki is part of the Rurouni Kenshin sequels - and together with Yusuke Iseya will play important roles opposite Takeru Sato.

 

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