It appears like a coincidence that after a few hours of launching our spotlight of the month for Taishi Nakagawa, we heard of the casting buzz for ReLIFE live action where the young actor grabs one of the main roles! Joining Nakagawa is Yuna Taira.
I believe that our acting radar has been accurate so far - since 2012 we feature the best, most promising Japanese actors there are - Satoshi Tsumabuki, Kengo Kora, and Ryuhei Matsuda to current celebrated talents like Shota Sometani, Yuya Yagira, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Masaki Suda and Kento Yamazaki.
Playing a 27-year old loser maybe the best, most challenging role for Nakagawa to date!
Dismissed as a hopeless loser by those around him, 27-year-old Arata Kaizaki bounces around from one job to another after quitting his first company. His unremarkable existence takes a sharp turn when he meets Ryou Yoake, a member of the ReLife Research Institute, who offers Arata the opportunity to change his life for the better with the help of a mysterious pill. Taking it without a second thought, Arata awakens the next day to find that his appearance has reverted to that of a 17-year-old.
Arata soon learns that he is now the subject of a unique experiment and must attend high school as a transfer student for one year. Though he initially believes it will be a cinch due to his superior life experience, Arata is proven horribly wrong on his first day: he flunks all his tests, is completely out of shape, and can't keep up with the new school policies that have cropped up in the last 10 years. Furthermore, Ryou has been assigned to observe him, bringing Arata endless annoyance. ReLIFE follows Arata's struggle to adjust to his hectic new lifestyle and avoid repeating his past mistakes, all while slowly discovering more about his fellow classmates. [ source ]
Among the main roles of select future live action productions, I am inclined to choose Ryunosuke Kamiki's Rei Kiriyama in March Comes in Like a Lion as the most exciting. I think Kamiki will have plenty of opportunities to showcase his talent - there will be enough 'nuances' and highlights for playing such a complex character. I also am interested to see how Kento Yamazaki will "attack" his role in Jojo's Bizarre Adventures. The same level of interest is also being generated by Ryosuke Yamada in Fullmetal Alchemist and Sota Fukushi in BLEACH. These live action films are already the 'backbone' of Japanese films, whether we like it or not. While many lament the "demise" of quality films in Japan, there is no way we should not support our budding talents!
Nakagawa for his part has been fairly competent in his acting choices. To date, he has proven himself to be good at drama in both contemporary (Ferris Wheel at Night) and historical (Ohisama, taira no Kiyomori, Sanada Maru). He also made his share of romantic comedies (Your Lie in April, Minami-kun no Koibito, Tsuugaku Series Tsuugaku Tochu), sex comedy (Prison School) and horror (Blue Demon v 2.0).
Observers once noted that he was cast to play older characters because he looked matured for his age. No wonder, he's playing a 27-year old employee who participated in an experiment which altered his looks! The challenges he will face as he returns to school - take exams, join the younger generation and adapt to the current trends, not to mention the fairly different way of life (and philosophies) of these young boys and girls. Will he remain a loser or will this experiment alter his future course?