Once again Oricon confused me with the use of the term "breakthrough" as if they don't even know what it means. For 2016, they declare that Mitsuki Takahata tops the ranking as 'breakthrough' actress. So what exactly does 'breakthrough' means?
a sudden, dramatic, and important discovery or development; an instance of achieving success in a particular sphere or activity.
How can you include Fumi Nikaido as a breakthrough actress when she already made more than 25 movies and about a dozen dramas since 2009? The fact that she has won a major acting award in a prestigious film festival counts more than getting a local acting trophy from one of Japan's redundant award-giving bodies! Ridiculous!
Anyway, here's Oricon's ranking of "breakthrough" actresses, whatever that means:
1) Takahata Mitsuki
2) Haru (How come? What has she got to deserve a high ranking aside from an asadora?)
3) Hirose Suzu
4) Tsuchiya Tao
5) Nikaido Fumi
6) Matsuoka Mayu
7) Shimizu Fumika (Great choice! She got Tokyo Ghoul and lead role in few movies)
8) Yoshioka Riho (Who is she??)
9) Kamishiraishi Mone (They put the voice actress of Kimi No Na Wa and notable supporting actress of Chihayafuru at #9? No way! She deserves higher ranking!)
10) Kawaei Rina (Who is she?? part 2)
Between Mayu Matsuoka and Mitsuki Takahata, I think Takahata has an edge when it comes to the variety of roles and prestige of projects. She got an asadora, same as Haru and Tao Tsuchiya. But Matsuoka has an advantage when it comes to performing. Mayu has already developed her own acting style, and it comes naturally to her. Her versatility is also quite obvious given that she can play both main and supporting roles with ease and confidence. The best example is how she obliterates her co-stars in Chihayafuru.
However, both may find it difficult to match the fearlessness of Hana Sugisaki and most especially of Mugi Kadowaki, let alone Fumi Nikaido who - for all the right reasons - is definitely at the top of the ladder. Not one of them has been nominated for Best Actress at the Japan Academy Prize, except for Nikaido. Even without the nomination, Fumi is miles ahead of the pack. I'll give you just a few of her recent movies (as samples) to illustrate the glaring fact that Nikaido dominates her peers and that includes the over 25 actresses:
- Himizu (2012) - Keiko Chazawa (mistreated daughter and inspiration to Sometani's character - the light that shines);
- My Man | Watashi no Otoko (2014) - Hana Kusarino (manipulative surrogate to an older man who acted as her Dad but is having a sexual relationship with him);
- Au revoir l' ete | Hotori no Sakuko (2014) - Noriko (Uni student, discovering love and what she wants in the future);
- La La La At Rock Bottom | Misono Yunibasu (2015) - Kasumi Sato (band manager cum rescuer to a young man who suffers from trauma and loss of memory);
- Wolf Girl and Black Prince | Okami Shojo to Kuro Oji (2016) - Erika Shinohara (naive high school student who asked a pretty boy to be her pretend boyfriend);
- Bitter Honey | Mitsu no Aware (2016) - Akago (a goldfish that can turn into a seductress);
- Hibi Rock: Puke Afro and the Pop Star (2014) - Saki Utagawa (a singing idol).
Aside from acting, Nikaido is known to speak her mind, something that is quite admirable, given that almost everyone likes to keep their mouth shut.
So what? Well, it's refreshing to find someone who can write well and be published and at the same time be an awesome actress. I can't think of anyone who can do the same, save Natalie Portman (who is Harvard educated) and is also a filmmaker herself.
If you look at the ranking, there is no mention of Hana Sugisaki. Yes, the same girl who takes the lead role in The Blade of the Immortal and has won Best Supporting Actress for 'Her Blood Boils Bathwater'. She's the same girl in Pieta On The Toilet. How come? No idea.
Putting Tsuchiya behind Hirose is also laughable. Does it mean an actress had to have a lot of projects no matter how mediocre or repetitive they are? Just browsing through Tsuchiya's movies and drama, she got more variety than Hirose. Suzu can't even match Matsuoka's intensity in Chihayafuru. The fact that her elder sister, Alice Hirose, is a better actress and also deserves a place in that ranking!
Oh, no Kasumi Arimura in the rankings? [ To be fair, Arimura was nominated for Best Actress @Japan Academy for Biri Gal and she deserved it. However, her inconsistent acting remains. ]
We have our own hitlist, coming up! Please stay tuned.
Speaking of Breakthrough actresses, Oricon also managed to ignore Mei Nagano! How is that? Let's see what Nagano got:
- Parks (2017) - Haru
- Teiichi's Country |Teiichi no Kuni (2017) - Mimiko Shiratori
- Daytime Shooting Star | Hirunaka no Ryuusei (2017) - Suzume Yosano
- Peach Girl (2017) - Sae Kashiwagi
- My Love Story!! | Ore Monogatari!! (2015) - Rinko Yamato
Add the TV drama romantic comedy Koe Koi and you got one amazing actress with lots of potentials!
The trailer for Daytime Shooting Star speaks volume of that said potential. [ More about the movie here ]
She has some of that Mao Inoue vibes, which is a good thing. I speculate that her career path may take the same route, but then again it takes a lot of confidence and courage to do something like Rebirth, which Inoue did or even such a role as the antagonistic, yet mysterious and elusive Miki Shirono in The Snow White Murder Case!
So will they also put Sometani and Suda as 'breakthrough' actors? Last time, Oricon put Sota Fukushi as 'breakthrough' actor, something that is not only laughable but tragic. It says a lot about how they regard actors and that competency matters little to their ranking criteria. It only means a guy who has lots of projects will get the laurels. Of course, getting cast in main roles is a big deal, but then again if you have a #deadfisheyes taking all the big projects all the time, something will crack. In the case of Fukushi (and of Yamapi, Ayame Gouriki and now also, Kasumi Arimura) what we have are mediocre projects not even worth re-watching, let alone recommending.
I can hardly wait for the release of the boy's ranking and have a go!
情報解禁されました！— 永野芽郁 (@mei_nagano0924) December 8, 2016
Speaking of actors, Sometani stars in a new movie, with Ai Hashimoto, and yes - Mei Nagano! The said movie is for the 100-year celebration of Inokashira Park in Tokyo and will involve the characters of the three actors in the course of discovering certain relationships in the past. Someya and Ai Hashimoto were last seen together in Parasyte Part 2.
Holy crap, Nobuyuki Takeuchi's directional debut on an Iwai work. Anime films really are in a new golden age. https://t.co/e31upcthGf— kViN (@Yuyucow) December 7, 2016
Masaki Suda, on the other hand, with be voice acting with Suzu Hirose and Mamoru Miyano for Fireworks - Uchiage Hanabi, Shita Kara Miru ka? Yoko Kara Miru ka? (Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?).