Last August 2013, PsychoDrama ran a series of articles talking about Shota Sometani and Ryunosuke Kamiki and why they represent the best of their generation. They have a lot of things in common - they both started out as child actors, and while Kamiki also ventured into voice acting, Sometani is regarded as the more "accomplished" of the two. Of course, fans of Kamiki will argue about that. They were in the drama Kokoro no Ito, where Kamiki took the lead role, with Shota played a supporting part. Not really enough to conclude that an acting showdown took place, but fast forward to 2015, they were once again reunited via Bakuman and still no acting showdown. In a recent interview, both actors were reported to be very interested "to act together." If that happens, we're in for a celebration!
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In the span of 1 year, I have come to realize that Someya and Kamiki are not the only ones worthy of raves and recognition. Perhaps a more accomplished young actor was already making waves, yet his personal life took a downward turn, thus the hiatus - of course, we're talking about Yuya Yagira. While it was many years ago that he won Best Actor at Cannes Fest, his recent work speaks volumes of his talent - Unforgiven, Crows Explode, Again, Aoi Honoo, a single episode appearance in Nobunaga Concerto and Gassoh.
Then there's Sosuke Ikematsu with back to back movies, Pale Moon When I Sense the Sea and Vortex of Love not to mention being a child actor himself. He certainly made waves in 2014, and he ruled that year.
But this year, it's a Masaki Suda year. I don't know what sort of role he has yet to play, but he already made waves playing a woman (and beautiful at that), a comatose patient, an assassin/student, a Kamen Rider, an asshole chef apprentice and much more.
Masataka Kubota also obliterated his second lead syndrome title and came up with some acting milestones himself. But while Kento Yamazaki got some flack for playing Kubota's rival in the TV Death Note, he nonetheless got rid of Sota Fukushi and claimed the rom-com prince crown. Now, some may laugh at the way I make the title sound like it's okay and cool, but then again it's cool to be adored by the local fans, and to think that Kento is worthy of the adulation is good enough for me. I also believe that - looking forward - since he has saturated the rom-com roles, he'll get to play the kind of roles that his Mare co-star, Yagira, used to relish and enjoy still...
Other favorite stars like Shuhei Nomura, Kanata Hongo, Hiroya Shimizu, Nijiro Murakami, Shotaro Mamiya are also making acting headways themselves.
Now, looking forward: what has 2016 in store for us featuring these fine, fine actors?
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Distraction Babies is one of 2016's most anticipated production - not only because of the cast, but the looming showdown between Yagira and Suda, plus to cast Sosuke Ikematsu as a supporting player is simply a genius move on the part of the production committee. I would hope, Ikematsu agreed to join the movie, with the notion that the role is challenging enough. Ikematsu is also in SetoUtsumi, with Masaki Suda and this time, both are playing the lead characters.
I have not mentioned anyone from Johnny's but certainly, Yuto Nakajima is making some noise himself, and while others may frown at my raves, I think he is becoming a competent actor. Even in Deto - Koi to wa Donna Mono Kashira - where he plays a supporting role (with Anne and Hiroki Hasegawa), he was a pleasure to watch. Still, an acting performance that is tentative at best, but he's slowly getting there. The lead role in Pink and Gray is reported to be an acting highlight, so we'll see in 2016.