Welcome to PsychoDrama! This site contains movie and drama reviews, casting news, trailers, movie posters and information about the latest Japanese productions, including profiles of established and aspiring young actors and actresses. We feature the hitlist - rankings of the hottest Japanese talents and actors' bias articles - where we discuss prominent talents including Shota Sometani, Yuya Yagira, Fumi Nikaido, Sosuke Ikematsu, Masaki Suda, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Ai Hashimoto, Mayu Matsuoka, Mitsuki Takahata, Aoi Morikawa, Hiroya Shimizu, Nijiro Murakami, Hana Sugisaki and many others. Join in our discussion and let us know what you think! Started in March 2012, you can find out more about us here.
The raves and respect for Kudo Kankuro cover the whole spectrum of the J-entertainment scene - from movie critics to drama bloggers to theatergoers. It was Twitch [ inspired by an earlier interview by Midnight Eye ] who sums up Kankuro's amazing career:
... the prodigious talent delivering a seemingly nonstop string of high-end oddity throughout his career. As a writer he's delivered the screenplays for cult hits Go, Ping Pong, Zebraman and others. As a performer he's worked with acclaimed directors such as Yukisada Isao and Nakashima Tetsuya. And as a director he's responsible for offbeat favorites Maruyama The Middle Schooler, Brass Knuckle Boys and Yaji & Kita: The Midnight Pilgrims. [ source ]
Kankuro is back on TV and the new drama features the trio of Masaki Okada, Tori Matsuzaka and Yuya Yagira.
In Yutori Desu ga Nani ka [ ゆとりですがなにか ], we enter the world of three handsome young guys in their late twenties who belong to the Yutori generation. This "Yutori generation" is meant to identify a certain generation of Japanese who underwent school (late 1980s) under a more 'relaxed' relatively stress-free environment, as opposed to the current Japanese curriculum where pressure is applied on a grand scale to keep everyone on a seemingly dangerous alert level - a constant reminder that they are the lucky ones who got accepted in prestige schools and will later get managerial jobs at some of Japan's top corporations.
Belonging to this Yutori generation has exposed the guys to ridicule since poor performance at work always meant their failure to appreciate the strict academic requirements of the current 'norm'.
"He's a Yutori, therefore, he cannot appreciate hard work and just want to take everything the easy way..." that's what they always say.Read more...
In what appears to be a most anticipated drama coming up, Shohei Miura did a crossover to the younger batch of actors led by Kento Yamazaki and Shuhei Nomura for a squaring off [ as opposed to a love 'triangle' ] with Mirei Kiritani, who incidentally, was Yamazaki's love interest in the box office hit Heroine Disqualified. Miura is supposed to be the eldest among three siblings, with Nomura and Yamazaki playing the other two.
Mirei Kiritani is an aspiring chef while Miura is supposedly her first love in high school. Their lives crossed path a few years later as Miura is now embarking on a career as a restauranteur with his brothers Shuhei Nomura and Kento Yamazaki. As the drama unfolds, Kiritani's character will have romantic episodes with the brothers.
As the more senior J-drama watchers are aware, Shohei Miura belongs to Haruma Miura's batch of actors and has been known to play both leading and supporting parts, with some amazing (and disappointing) results. Shuhei Nomura, on the other hand, is steadily gaining a lot of momentum as he gets to play diverse roles (Litchi Hikari Club, Chihayafuru and Moriyamachu Driving School, among others).Read more...
The previously released poster for Himitsu: The Top Secret is deplorable and without any appeal, but the new poster below is just fantastic! One can never go wrong with a poster showing the actors' faces expressing different emotions! Toma Ikuta has slowly but surely developed an acting style all his own, and with Masaki Okada and Tori Matsuzaka as co-stars, this crime thriller ought to be a step above the usual detective-suspense drama.
4 out of 5 stars
Here's the background: Set in the late 21st century, an MRI scanner is introduced at the National Research Institute of Police Science's 9th Forensics Laboratory. The machine is able to scan the memories from even the deceased. As ethical questions arise over the machine's use, the 9th Forensics Laboratory members, including rookie Ikko Aoki and Chief Tsuyoshi Maki, struggle to solve cases.
For me, there is still a long way to go before I can appreciate the style of Japanese forensic investigative dramas. Not to mention the mix of science fiction and making sense of it all- in the case of this movie. Probably it's just the English translation of some of the movies/dramas I've seen, or the kind of acting I prefer, but still when you find CSI: New York as a sort of standard for such genre, then you know what I mean...
It's been a while since I posted a casting news/scoop, but there is a reason for that. I'm doing an extensive research on live action adaptation (Japanese, American and French) so it has taken almost all of my time. But it is definitely worth it! I'll be posting Part 1 of the series very soon, please stay tuned!
I browse some of my favorite Japanese entertainment portals and was happy to note that Mirai Shida is - once again - active on the scene. I always love watching her and I think she deserves the spotlight and the raves that many of the 'veteran' J-ent watchers are bestowing on her. If you have not seen her yet, try one of her most important movies - Nobody to watch over Me - where she plays the sole survivor of a family haunted by tragedy. She also made waves in Yoji Yamada's Kabei: Our Mother, and to think that both movies were more than 5 years old makes me sad.
How come 'talents' like Ayame Gouriki, Emi Takei, and Kasumi Arimura get to play significantly important roles while an amazing and definitely more talented actress like Mirai Shida only gets to play supporting parts? Now, that's the greatest tragedy of them all.
The tradition of playing supporting roles for Shida continues, but this time, she will play second lead to Tao Tsuchiya.
Not bad, considering that Tsuchiya is pretty much a competent actress herself. I'd love to see Shida on the big screen anyway, so I'm happy she's back! The pair of Tsuchiya and Shono Hayama is a reunion of their Mare (asadora) casting where both play the siblings of Yo Oizumi and Takako Tokiwa. I fondly remember Tokiwa as the young mother of Yuya Yagira from an earlier movie, Shining Boy and Little Randy - so having Yagira also in that popular asadora is another reunion of sorts.
I'm not sure what I think of Yutori Desu ga Nani ka (ゆとりですがなにか) yet since I'm waiting for the English subs, but Yagira's scenes in the first episode are pretty much shorter than the scenes dedicated to Tori Matsuzaka and Masaki Okada. But, as we have observed many times, it is not the quantity that matters - it's the quality and Yagira already dominated the scenes where all the lead stars converged. [ Yutori is probably the only TV series I'm planning to do a review this season ]Read more...
We tweeted about the "China casting" of Kento Yamazaki previously, and the buzz surrounding his role were speculated and known in record time.
Just like Kingdom, the Japanese manga adapted into a live action clip, which holds a Guinness World Record for manga written by the most people. The said clip stars Kento Yamazaki as Xin, a war orphan who rises from humble beginnings to become a great general during China's Warring States period. It was shot at Hengdian World Studios in Dongyang, Jinhua, Zhejiang Province, China. It was directed by Hiroki Ohno, and it also stars Chihiro Yamamoto as Qiang Hui and Kenji Gojo as Pang Nuan. The music for the film was produced by Thomas Suess and composed by Robster Henke, and the narration is provided by Koichi Yoshinaga.
With box office hits (Heroine Disqualified, Orange) to his credit and a growing reputation as a serious, dramatic actor, Kento Yamazaki is without a doubt, one of Japan's most sought-after talents. This new casting development is just a 'sample' of what's to come! [ Video clips after the jump! ]Read more...
“Yutori education is suited to the 21st century, but the old men who run Japanese companies have outdated 20th century thinking.” - Hideki Wada (from an article on Japanese school reforms)
In Japan, primary education is prescribed by a teaching guideline called Curriculum guideline (学習指導要領 Gakushū shidō yōryō?). Since the 1970s, the Japanese government gradually reduced the amount of class time and the contents given in the guideline, and this tendency is called Yutori education. Especially in recent years, this has been a controversial issue. Yutori education may be translated as "relaxed education" or "education free from pressure".
Updates! Aside from the casting of Sakura Ando, the new teaser photo above brings in more excitement to the just released drama. Hopefully, someone will sub the show... but even without any English subtitles, I'm going to watch it! According to Yahoo Japan, the first episode registered a 9.4% rating, which is quite a decent performance.
NTV is launching a new drama come April 2016 that stars Yuya Yagira, Masaki Okada and Tori Matsuzaka, about the tales of three young men born in 1987. These young men are considered to belong to the so-called Yutori generation.Entitled Yutori Desu ga Nani ka, it portrays the lives of Masakazu (Masaki Okada), Kazutoyo (Tori Matsuzaka) and Maribu (Yuya Yagira) and deals with their private lives, their ambitions, loves, and careers.
Okada's role is that of a regular salaryman who lives with an extended family that includes his mother, an older brother, his older brother’s wife and younger sister. The focus on his story arc is his career path. Matsuzaka is portraying a teacher who has a different concept on teaching, thus creating controversy within the school while Yagira portrays a young man who failed to enter his dream school - Tokyo University- and his attempt to gain entrance after having a family of his own.
My issue with Masaki Okada, even from the beginning is that he looks too handsome and too gorgeous to effectively portray a regular guy. While he did an amazing job in Villain, as the egoistic romantic dream boy of Hikari Mitsushima, I'm not sure this is the right role for him. However, I'm not shutting down the possibility that he can do a good job since he's (overall) a competent actor in my book.Read more...
I understand that there is always the need to inject comedic relief especially so when the subject matter is serious. That may be the case in 35-sai no Koukousei (35歳の高校生 35-Year-Old High School Student). But I would prefer comedic relief with a certain finesse since I hate the over-acting variety. There were talks about the difference between acting in a movie and a TV series on this site a few times already. I think actors including those who are playing roles in a theatrical play (where exaggerated facial expressions are a given) - there is one particular requirement: authenticity. An authentic (or truthful) performance even in science fiction or fantasy in that we (the audience) can still accept.
And the fact that some people accepting TV shows where the director and scriptwriter are conniving to bring out the over-acting as being the norm are just unacceptable (insert a barbaric yawp!). Why would we settle for something inferior when we know there can be better alternatives? Well, I blame these directors - Noriyoshi Sakuma, Seiichi Nagumo, Maki Nishino and their scriptwriters - Masahiro Yamaura, Yuya Takahashi for the crime. But blaming them when I have yet to finish the show? Yes, there are a lot of instances when they redeemed themselves!
I finished re-watching episodes 4-11 in a marathon and while the tragedy of the suicidal teacher gets to me (Chapter 4), the spotlight remains with the students and the adventures outside the school where teams 1, 2 and 3 are pitted against each other. The caste system may be cruel, but I think it brings something to the table - it tests student's resolve. Life and the world outside school are tough and it's the duty of the school administrators and the teachers to prepare their students to face to reality. But...
Students will never admit to being bullied, let alone report on the bullies themselves. It would practically trigger more bullying since "rat"-ting on a fellow classmate is "worst" than being the bully [ that's debatable of course if you're the parent or someone who never had to endure the pain and humiliation of being bullied]
The whole social structure or the caste system in high school is there - in my opinion - to develop friendships. These are the kind of life-long friendships that you develop until you get old. Unlike in a college or University setting where students are required to attend classes from one subject to another. The high school caste system is rigid, and each member of the class is "forced" to come up with a buddy system or become a loner. Of course, you may gain more friends in college too, but the kind of relationships you have during high school are quite different and very unique. As in the case of bullying, I think it's more dangerous and cruel when the bullies are quite impressionable and not yet matured to develop their own sense of "decency".Read more...
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-age children (which also applies to adults) involving a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically, psychologically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. [ source ]
I've waited for a long time to tackle this issue and review this particular drama because I know what it feels like to be bullied (and do the bullying too). The fact that the show features some of Japan's most promising young actors and actresses is just another reason to give it the spotlight it deserves. Let me just do an introduction first...
35-sai no Koukousei (35歳の高校生 35-Year-Old High School Student?) is a 2013 NTV Japanese television drama, starring Ryoko Yonekura. It aired from 13 April 2013 to 22 June 2013 with a total of 11 episodes.
In April, a beautiful and mysterious woman suddenly appeared at Kunikida High. She is a new student and will become part of a class for 3rd-year high school.
Her classmates are surprised and intrigued - wondering who she truly is and what are her real intention for going back to school at such an age. She did what ordinary high school students are expected to do - wear school uniform, participate in classes and do homework. She went to school in an expensive car and during break time, she smoked with a teacher. After school, she drank beer. No one knows what she is up to, but they know, she can change people. She questioned the system and fought to change it. She tried to solve the problems faced by high school students - bullying in particular.
But who is she? What has happened in her past that she seems so obviously affected by what her classmates are going through?
Now, I don't know about you but I felt a lot of conflicting emotions watching each episode. Let me explain...Read more...
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