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Thursday April 24, 2014
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The 100 Best Contemporary Japanese Movies - Psycho Drama is launching an ambitious yet invigorating project to compile 100 of the best modern-day Japanese movies from the last 2 decades or so - that features the best young actors of their generation - from Joe Odagiri, Takako Matsu and Tadanobu Asano, to Satoshi Tsumabuki, Hikari Mitsushima, Mao Inoue, Ryuhei Matsuda, Shun Oguri and Masanabu Ando to the current crop of exciting young talents - Shota Sometani, Yuya Yagira, Kamiki Ryunosuke, Fumi Nikaido and Ai Hashimoto.

We have started with Sway (Yureru) | Confessions (Kokuhaku) | Josee, the Tiger and the Fish | Hula Girls | Nobody to Watch Over Me and more to come!

Koizora is one of the first Japanese drama movies I've seen and after watching lots of French and German movies, I was in for a culture shock! The Japanese have this obssession with dramatic, over the top kind of stories - where the girl is usually suffering from cancer (mostly leukemia) and there is a boy who will help her get through. In Koizora, it was the other way around, but with a surprising twist.

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I was impressed with Haruma Miura. While looking very young, he portrayed his role with a certain maturity. He was both intense and funny, sympathetic and annoying, deliberate and nonchallant. It was an impressive performance from an actor who also happens to be into the Japanese music scene.

Movie Career so far - Miura made his debut in NHK drama Agri, when he was seven. He was enrolled at Tsukuba Actor's Studio and whilst he was still acting, formed Brash Brats with two other students ( Majda rhaif... ) When Tsukuba Actor's Studio closed down, Miura and his fellow bandmates joined Amuse agency.

Miura soon gained recognition following several dramas such as Fight. During this time, Brash Brats went on hiatus, while Miura continued his acting career.

He was cast in the movie Koizora, which was based on a popular cell phone novel. It was released in the fall of 2007. The same year, he was cast in the movie Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge starring Hayato Ichihara. In 2008, he starred opposite Juri Ueno in Naoko and won the Sponichi Grand Prix Newcomer Award in the 63rd Mainichi Film Awards in 2009 for his role. He also was given a newcomer award in the 31st Japan Academy Awards on February 15, 2008. Miura then went to star in dramas such as Binbō Danshi and the third season of Gokusen as major supporting characters. His continuingly growing popularity during 2008 then led to him to become the leading character of Fujimaru Takagi in manga based drama Bloody Monday, in which he played a genius computer hacker trying to prevent the release of a biological virus from a terrorist organization. The autumn drama also co-starred fellow Amuse actor Takeru Sato. In February 2009, he was one of the recipients of a newcomer award in the 2009 Elan d'or Awards. Miura starred in Crows Zero II, which is the sequel to Crows Zero and was reunited with actor Shun Oguri whom he had previously worked with in Binbō Danshi. It opened in theaters on April 11, 2009. A movie of Gokusen was released in July, in which Miura reprised his role of Ren Kazama. From June 20, 2009 to July 26, 2009, Miura starred in his first stage production entitled Hoshi no Daichi ni Furu Namida. On September 2, 2009, it was announced that Miura would play the lead role in the NTV drama Samurai High School.

Spotlight Movies - We'll begin with Koizora, of course. Just by looking at fans' reaction of Japanese drama, anyone would assume this movie (and the TV series from which it was adapted) is much beloved. Together with I Give my First Love to You, Koizora is a tale of love and loss.

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What the Movie is all about: "Koizora" is a love story that was originally published on the popular cell phone site Mahou no iRando. It was authored by new writer Mika, and is based on her own experiences. The story was released in book form last October, selling more than a million copies in its first month. The story revolves around Mika (named after the author), who falls in love with her classmate, Hiroki, upon entering high school. But over the course of the novel, she ends up suffering through many trials, such as rape, abortion, and betrayal. [ source ]

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Crow Zero II: Several months after "Crows: Episode 0" trouble brews again when thugs known as "The Army of Killers" from rival high school Hosen Academy threaten Suzuran High aka the School of Crows.
The ruthless Hosen gang go after Suzuran alumni Sho Kawanishi (Shinnosuke Abe) after his released from reformatory for killing a Hosen member two years back. Kawanishi turns to his younger Suzuran gang members for protection. The Housen gang then seeks out right revenge on the entire Suzuran school, while in-fighting at Suzuran High makes them even more susceptible to the Housen threat.

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Looking forward: Tokyo Kouen (Tokyo Park) is on the top of my list to watch within the next few days. I don't know what to expect, but Shinji Aoyama, is a well-regarded filmmaker in Japan. Here's what Japan Times' Mark Schilling has to say about Miura's performance:

As Koji, Miura is anything but the typical movie mama's boy, however. In addition to his smoldering good looks, which wreaked havoc among female fans in the 2007 romantic drama "Koizora" ("Sky of Love"), his breakthrough hit, Miura has an aura of fires burning within... [ read more ]

I'll be the judge of that!

About the Movie: Koji Shida (Haruma Miura) is a college student who hopes to become a photographer. He spends an afternoon in the park snapping photos of passersby. Koji is then interrupted by Takashi Hatsushima (Yo Takahashi) who offers a large sum of cash to follow his wife Yurika (Haruka Igawa) and baby daughter as they walk through the park. The man suspects his wife may be using the walks as a pretense while having an extra-marital affair. Koji's assignment is set to change his relationships with the women around him. Miyu Tominaga (Nana Eikura) is a childhood friend whom Koji often confides in. Misaki Shida (Manami Konishi) is a step-sister he gained when his parents remarried. There is also the woman on the other side of the camera lens Yurika Hatsushima (Haruka Igawa), who reminds Koji of someone from the distant past.

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Essential Sites & Blogs

Asian Addicts Anonymous - Comprehensive reviews and recaps of exciting Japanese drama, including interesting post on Asian music and movie news.

D-Addicts - Great and insightful discussions about Japanese dramas, English subtitles of the latest and previously released dramas, and torrents.

Dorama Doll - a new blog that will feature recaps of selected Japanese dramas, most probably related to Johnny & Associates talents, with some great recommendations on what to watch if you're new to the J-drama scene.

Genkinahito's Blog - Reviews, news, box office results & some amazing insights into Japanese films, including manga and anime.

I see, Ikemen - Promoting the awesome and talented young Japanese actors, with lots of screenshots and insights into the careers of top and upcoming young talents. A new blog 13oys and Men incorporates most of the actors' profiles and more!

My Drama Tea - Honest and insightful reviews of Japanese drama, also reviews of Chinese, Korean and Taiwanese dramas, with music news and movie reviews.

OtherWhere - Excellent and varied trailer showcase, insightful reviews of Japanese movies (both indies and mainstream), and a great resource for news on Studio Ghibli too!

Twitch Films - Extensive coverage of film events, with an amazing spotlight on Japanese movies.

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