This is Part 2 of our Live Action Buzz featuring Chihayafuru. [ Part 1 talks about the three major characters - Chihaya, Taishi and Arata and the live action cast ]

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Another interesting character of Chihayafuru is the traditional, yet fiery and strict Kanade Oe.

Kanade often has her short brown hair in two neat and low pig tails. Her bangs are separated, half at the right of her face and a half at the left, exposing her wide forehead. She has round brown eyes, single eyelids and only three eyelashes on each eye. She usually wears her uniform which consists of a tucked in white shirt with a bow, a green and red plaid mini-skirt, black knee-socks and brown loafers. Sometimes she wears a t-shirt with the Oe Traditional Clothing Shop logo. Kanade gets her looks from her mother. Oe is a female high school student who loves traditional Japanese culture. Kanade has shown a great love for Japanese poems and traditional clothing. She is in the karuta club that Chihaya and Taichi created and is the third member to join after being persuaded by Chihaya. [ source ]

Kamishiraishi is the lead star/heroine of the movie Lady Maiko. Kamishiraishi is among 800 applicants who took part in auditions over a six month period and it was one of the best performances from a newcomer (the other being Ryoko Fujino in Solomon's Perjury). The lead role required her to wear traditional Japanese kimono, which is what she will do in Chihayafuru. What's interesting, aside from wearing traditional Japanese clothes, is her reciting some of the poems from the Karuta tournament and explaining the history of the poems.

The first of three Chihayafuru movies has been released outside Japan -  it's time for some discussion! This report is part one of a 4-part series featuring the live-action movies Chihayafuru.

My head is spinning as I glimpse at the list of live action adaptations coming up in the next few months or so... I know the manga to anime to movie adaptations/productions have been going on for years, but since we're so much into the younger generation of Japanese actors and actresses, I just can't help but feel excited and incapable of covering everything. Just like the more than dozens of J-doramas coming up every season, a reviewer/blogger has to make a choice - either cover just 1 or 2 or get overwhelmed with the pressure to post a review of everything.  

I am not only fascinated with Chihayafuru (the anime version is beautiful and heartbreaking and just brilliant!) but also the Japanese sport of karuta which is just unique to me. 

Also, the primary thing you always read on this blog - actor bias and their acting style. So the fundamental questions - Can Suzu Hirose play an excellent Chihaya Ayase? Is Shuhei Nomura bitten by the bug called "Second Lead Syndrome" and is suffering from such casting? Is Mackenyu gearing up for a reliable Arata Wataya and come up with some heartbreaking dramatic acting? 

Our previous articles on Japanese live-action adaptations have focused on the movies, the storylines, and box office results. In this series, we'll put the spotlight on select characters and the actors playing the parts. 

Much of the buzz is on Death Note: Light Up the World due to the triple casting of Masahiro Higashide, Sosuke Ikematsu, and Masaki Suda. Let's talk about that later - I think the topic of L and Light Yagami (notwithstanding that we have fresh new characters in this movie) has been exhausted to a great extent already. I also believe there are plenty of interesting characters aside from these two colorful personalities.

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For example, we have:

Rei Kiriyama: March Comes in Like a Lion, portrayed on the silver screen by Ryunosuke Kamiki;

Kusuo Saiki: The Disastrous Life of Saiki K, played by Kento Yamazaki;

Ichigo Kurosaki: Bleach, played by Sota Fukishi

Since this is just Part 1 of the series, let's discuss some others later on.

Yaoi movies don't exist for bed (read: sex) scenes alone. Of course, moviegoers who watch love stories between young boys would expect such scenes to spice it up. Filmmakers are also 'obliged' to add them up since people would expect them. With this frame of mind, I went to watching the first movie in the Takumi Kun Series.


Set in Shidou Gakuen, an all-boys boarding school up in the mountains, Takumi Kun encompasses all other BL movies, in its ambition and scope - with an array of exciting and promising young actors, breathtaking location, a memorable and poignant musical score, and stories that explore the beauty and pain of young love. Takumi-Kun may be considered a trailblazer of sorts for being simply the best of its kind. But not everything is perfect, as you will see from the critique below.

This post is the final part in our BL/Yaoi series.

Bullies are everywhere. And so is love, if you're lucky that is. But not everyone is molested by his brother, while the parents go about their ways as if nothing has happened. What would you do if your parents even blame you for being molested? I would probably go insane and jump from a building, how can I even think of asking for psychiatric help, I'm a high school student, for chrissake! With a situation like that, I would probably acquire the Human phobia syndrome myself.

So what makes a good rom-com? In this case, a Japanese romantic comedy. Let's see...

1. It must be filled with characters we care about, even if we hate some of them;

2. There are minimal plot holes - acceptable even if we question them or have flimsy explanation ( or none at all), but the point is, it shows a certain sincerity and honesty that we can somehow accept or live with;

3. There is a sense of humor - how would you really enjoy a romcom if there is no funny, comedic relief, at least with all the expected scenarios (or plots) including cancer, abortion, bullying, amnesia and the likes?

4. Complemented with memorable, romantic, at least appealing music (yes, soundtrack) not necessarily sugary-sweet, but appropriate for the scene (or scenes). I don't care if they have Metallica or death metal music but at least it sounded 'appropriate' for the scene if you know what I mean...

5. Offers breathtaking (at least picturesque) shots where you expect the leads to have a kiss. It's not necessary to have a location shoot in Paris (though it might be a good idea) or some other famous romantic locations since there are plenty of nice places in Japan that foreigners have not yet seen or at least, love to explore a bit more ( of course, from the PoV of the locals, places where they have fond memories).

Anyway, here's a definition that may be acceptable to many:

Romantic comedy films are films with light-hearted, humorous plotlines, centered on romantic ideals such as that true love is able to surmount most obstacles. One dictionary definition is "a funny movie, play, or television program about a love story that ends happily". Another definition states that its "primary distinguishing feature is a love plot in which two sympathetic and well-matched lovers are united or reconciled". In a typical romantic comedy the two lovers tend to be young, likable, and apparently meant for each other, yet they are kept apart by some complicating circumstance (e.g., class differences, parental interference; a previous girlfriend or boyfriend) until, surmounting all obstacles, they are finally wed. A wedding-bells, fairy-tale-style happy ending is practically mandatory.

Some may argue with me that a rom-com must have a happy ending to be considered a rom-com, but even the genre has to grow and expand and allow some form of innovation. So, which Japanese movies of recent years are in my top list? Let's see...


Psycho Drama list of 100 favorite Japanese films through the years.