[Editor's Note: This article was published early 2012. Many acting showdowns follow, and in Part 2 and 3, we're launching more samples of such showdowns. Please stay tuned!]

I just love to watch movies where the lead actors have acting showdowns! One classic example would have to be Martin Scorsese's The Departed, where Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon pit talents as rival police officers. If you think about it, this movie was actually a remake of a Hong Kong film entitled Infernal Affairs (starring Andy Lau and Tony Leung).


Looking closely at the Japanese movie scene, there is a fantastic list of movies where the lead actors are engaged in acting showdowns - it doesn't have to be a rivalry between two samurai warriors or a Yakuza versus a cop, or between the top dogs of rival gangs. It can be about friendships or a seemingly light bromance, where the acting is worthy of discussion.

Part 1 - with 5 awesome showdowns - after the jump!

Making bold statements by way of portraying strong, independent and unique female characters, Japanese actresses like Nikaido Fumi, Kuroki Haru, and Kadowaki Mugi lead the pack as we prepare for the 2017 edition of our annual Top 30 hottest Japanese talents! While we are not discounting such names as Aoi Yu, Mitsushima Hikari, and Yuriko Yoshitaka, among others the younger set of actresses seem to be at the forefront nonetheless. Why is that? Let's see...

Kadowaki Mugi

In Part 2 of our Live-action spotlight, we featured some near-future box office potential winners. In Part 3, we're into the sentimental, romantic, mysterious, and coming-of-age genre and we'll talk about Yamazaki Kento, Fukushi Sota, Kitamura Takumi, and Johnny's Yamada Ryosuke and Chinen Yuri.

Casting Scoop - Yamada Ryosuke, Sota Fukushi, Takumi kitamura, Kento Yamazaki

Here are six upcoming LA with the above actors playing main roles:

Hyouka (氷菓) - from a light novel, then turned anime - A youth drama with a touch of mystery and philosophical discussions on life, student politics, and rivalries. Stars Yamazaki Kento and Hirose Alice;

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas (Kimi no Suizo wo Tabetai - 君の膵臓をたべたい) - based on a manga - A young boy discovered the diary of a distant classmate who suffers from a pancreatic disease and decides to make her remaining days delightful and worthwhile. Playing main roles are DISH//'s Kitamura Takumi and Hamabe Minami;

Kids on the Slope (Sakamichi no Apollon - 坂道のアポロン) - manga, then anime series - Tales of friendship and romance, where two young boys with opposite personalities strike a friendship, soon to be tested by love, peer pressure, and their own personal circumstances. Chinen Yuri and Nakagawa Taishi play best friends;

The major cast in the LA films featured here represent the current and future stars in the Japanese movie firmament - Kimura Takuya, Oguri Shun, Yamada Takayuki, and the new heroes: Satoh Takeru, Yamazaki Kento, Kubota Masataka, Suda Masaki, Fukushi Sota, Yagira Yuya, Yoshizawa Ryo, and Yamada Ryosuke. 

 Japanese Live action films 2017

While Blade of the Immortal appears to be the most "historical" among the live-action films, Gintama and Fullmetal Alchemist are also set in a historical timeline. Both Jojo's Bizarre Adventures and Tokyo Ghoul center on its respective main characters, as well as Ajin: Demi-Human. So, among them, which one is generating the most excitement?

Let's see... 

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. is one of the three (and counting) live-action adaptation with Kento Yamazaki as lead. Though the other two, most notably Jojo's Bizarre Adventures which is such a high profile role, I still believe playing Kasuo is Kento's most challenging yet. Based on the manga series "Saiki Kusuo no Sainan" by Shuichi Aso, the movie version has a 2017 release date.

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Kento's reported 'over-exposure' is the subject of discussion among fans and haters. The big issue is whether he can deliver performances that show the individual differences of these characters. There was a time when Masaki Suda was doing 5-6 movies at the same time, but he never encountered the same hate. If only Kasuo could speak telepathically to them and say "fuck off!" that would be all right would you say? 


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