I was waiting for Oricon to announce the 'breakthrough' boys after being surprised by the girls' list. [ See our reaction on the girls' list here ]
How could I still be surprised you might ask? Quite simple. Seeing 'established' names on the list - can make me or even others who are quite familiar with the real J-entertainment scene - react adversely.
Here's the list:
1) Suda Masaki
2) Yamazaki Kento
3) Sakaguchi Kentaro
4) Nomura Shuhei
5) Yamazaki Ikusaburo (A 30-year-old guy can become a breakthrough actor, yes! Only in Japan. If he's new in the movie/drama scene, maybe that's fine too!)
6) Kato Ryo
7) Iwata Takanori (Sandaime J Soul Brothers from EXILE TRIBE) (I find his acting still 'wanting' but he's better than most talents who are doing so many activities)
8) Takeuchi Ryoma (great choice! Takeuchi is one of the breakthrough actors of 2016, no doubt!)
9) Chiba Yuudai (Yuudai has been acting since 2010 for Christ sake! He did decent acting in many of these projects.)
10) Katagiri Jin (Rahmens)
I have plenty of arguments with the first four names on the list. For one, putting Kentaro Sakaguchi ahead of Nomura is a bit off. I mean, Nomura is not exactly new to the scene nor is as lightweight as Sakaguchi.
I would have preferred seeing Mackenyu as part of this list (top 5) since he did well in his role as Arata Wataya in Chihayafuru, among others. That's what you can call a breakthrough role!
Masaki Suda's breakthrough role is Tooma in Tomogui (Backwaters), released in 2013, while Kento Yamazaki already established a reputation for playing brooding characters way back in 2011 (Control Tower, with a follow-up as Tatsuya Sugino in the problematic Nobuhiro Doi film, The Wings of the Kirin.) That Doi movie features both Yamazaki and Suda, with the former playing the bully.
If ever there is one name who should be on the list, it's Taishi Nakagawa. Let's take a look at his recent (and future) projects, so far:
- ReLIFE (2017) - Arata Kaizaki
- Kyo no Kira-kun (2017) - Yuiji Kira
- Zenin, Kataomoi (2016) - Satake (segment "My Nickname is Butatchi")
- Your Lie in April | Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (2016) - Ryota Watari
- Tsuugaku Series Tsuugaku Tochu (2015) - Kou
- Tsuugaku Series Tsuugaku Densha (2015)
- Blue Demon ver.2.0 | Ao Oni ver.2.0 (2015) - Hiroshi
Aside from the back-to-back TV roles in Prison School and My Little Lover released last year, Taishi has done roles in many major productions, including the NHK taiga dramas.
Oh, add the name Nijiro Murakami and it could have been an awesome, credible list.
- Mukoku (2017) - Tooru Haneda
- Nidome no Natsu, Nidoto Aenai Kimi (2017) - Satoshi Shinohara
- Natsumi's Firefly | Natsumi no Hotaru (2016) - Koei
- Destruction Babies (2016) - Shota Ashihara
- Sayonara (2015)
- Forget Me Not | Wasurenai to Chikatta Boku ga Ita (2015) - Takashi Hayama
- Still the Water | Futatsume no Mado (2014) - Kaito
A first movie role in Naomi Kawase's Still The Water made Nijiro a 'breakthrough' actor already.
But then again, what can you expect from doing a survey with a random 1,000 respondents?
Surveys will never give a clear, accurate picture. If Oricon employs the services of experts in the field - talent agents, movie critics, Japanese film bloggers (yes, we! LOL) and members of the production committees (no matter how politicized their choices might be), the results are definitely more reliable.