A star-studded cast for Takeru Satoh's new movie entitled Inuyashiki ( いぬやしき) was recently announced to the delight of both fans and movie lovers. At the same time, it would allow the famous Japanese actor (and box office draw) to portray a different role - that of a teen with superpowers and with a tendency to kill anyone who annoys him. Veteran actor Noritake Kinashi will play an elderly man who 'suffered' the same fate as Satoh's character.
Inuyashiki Ichiro is an elderly, friendless man with an uncaring family. One fateful day he is struck by a mysterious explosion in a public park, hinted to be of extraterrestrial origin, his body is replaced by an incredibly powerful, but still outwardly human, mechanical body. He quickly realizes the extent of his body's powers, and after saving a homeless man being beaten by a pack of teenagers, he decides to dedicate himself to doing good, using his powers to heal those with incurable diseases and fight crime. However, a teenager who was with him at the time of the explosion, Shishigami Hiro, had the same fate as Ichiro, but unlike Inuyashiki, Shishigami becomes a sociopath who uses his new found abilities to murder classmates he dislikes and innocent people, including young children, just for amusement. His acts of cruelty bring him the attention of the police, who can do nothing to stop him, and it does not take long for Hiro to become the most wanted criminal in the country. The series then keeps following these two different individuals who once shared the same, bizarre experience, as their paths are destined to clash. [The Wiki ]
Satoh has continued to evolve as an actor, with different movie and drama roles - a chef, a postman with a terminal illness, a dedicated man whose wife suffered an amnesia, a young career professional, a dangerous 'ajin' and terrorist, among others.
What I like most about his career path is that he (and his agency) are taking their time to make him more versatile and more engaging as an actor.
As Hiro, Satoh will test the waters as a 'villain'. While playing superhero with superpowers is nothing new, this latest role will allow him to explore his 'bad side' so to speak. We are so used to seeing him portray the good guy that it's exciting to anticipate how he'll do as the bad guy. His character is that of a 'sociopath' who kills people - young and old - for amusement.
Here's the complete cast:
- Noritake Kinashi - Ichiro Inuyashiki
- Takeru Satoh - Hiro Shishigami
- Kanata Hongo - Naoyuki Ando
- Fumi Nikaido - Shion Watanabe
- Ayaka Miyoshi - Mari Inuyashiki
- Nayuta Fukuzaki - Takeshi Inuyashiki
- Mari Hamada - Marie Inuyashiki
- Yuki Saito - Yuko Shishigami
- Yusuke Iseya - Detective Hagihara
Sato Shinsuke will direct the new movie - known for projects such as "I am a Hero", "Gantz", and upcoming "Bleach."
Hiroya Oku, the manga artist behind Inuyashiki, is the same guy who penned GANTZ, Zero One, and Hen.
The Japan Professionals Movie Award, just announced winners for 2016, including Destruction Babies (Best Picture) and Masaki Suda and Haru Kuroki as Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively for their roles in SetoUtsumi/Drowning Love and The Bride of Rip van Winkle.
Still underrated but already getting that much-needed 'breakthrough' roles is no other than Mayu Matsuoka. After an impressive showing in both TV dramas and movies, Matsuoka is gunning for the loveless-clueless young woman roles.
In Katte ni Furuetero (勝手にふるえてろ), Matsuoka is Yoshika, still loveless at the age of 24 and a fossil researcher/enthusiast. She previously had her eye on a young boy named Ichi but it seems someone else is going to have a 'go' at her. The yet to be announced cast for the lead male role is up for speculation. Will it be Masahiro Higashide, Ryo Narita, or someone else?
I'm sure most of Matsuoka's fans love her in The Kirishima Thing (Higashide's possessive girlfriend) and in Mondai no Aru Restaurant (as the elusive chef). Her previous Tv dramas - Kounodori and Aquarium Girl - are also "treats" for those who want to see more of her acting.
While she has yet to gain the kind of stature that Fumi Nikaido and Mugi Kadowaki had worked on, she is surely leveling up to such top-tier acting. Her 'secondary' role in the Chihayafuru live-action is an indication of her level of competitiveness - stealing scenes away from lead Suzu Hirose, who remains quite conscious of her acting. Of course, Hirose will always get the lead, but Matsuoka will always steal the thunder.
Tao Tsuchiya remains one of the most highly-sought after Japanese actresses of her generation.
Take a look at her most recent projects:
- The 8-Year Engagement | 8 Nen Goshi no Hanayome (2017) - Mai
- Ani ni Aisaresugite Komattemasu (2017) - Setoka Tachibana
- Tori Girl (2017) - Yukina Toriyama
- Policeman and Me | P to JK (2017) - Kako Motoya
- Gold Medal Man | Kin Medaru Otoko (2016) - Midori Yokoi
- Yell For The Blue Sky | Aozora Yell (2016) - Tsubasa Ono
Some J-movie/drama watchers may still frown on her capacity as an actress, but Japanese filmmakers already have a high regard for her.
Here's one 'confession' written by Mark Schilling for The Japan Times:
(Tao) Tsuchiya, Konaka says, was his first choice for the challenging role of Juri. “I first saw her playing the heroine in an ‘Ultraman’ three or four years ago — one I didn’t direct — and thought she was a good actress,” he explains. “Then I saw her again in the ‘Suzuki Sensei’ TV series and her acting abilities had improved.” More than him guiding Tsuchiya in the role, Konaka says, “We thought it through together. I would ask her, ‘How would you play this in the script?’ and she would give me her ideas,” he explains. Another point of reference for the director was his own teenage daughter: “She reminded me what it was like to be one of these young characters,” he says. [ source ]
I still agree that she has a long way to go to compete with Nikaido and Kadowaki, and even with Matsuoka and Mitsuki Takahata, but she is certainly more engaging, more competitive than Suzu Hirose by a mile. I'm not saying Hirose is a bad actress, but I have yet to see her do something different. Her acting remains generic and predictable, in as much as the popular and overrated Kasumi Arimura. Arimura, like Hirose, remains stuck to the same facial expression no matter the role or the emotion she is supposed to project on screen.
All things being said, Tsuchiya is my favorite romantic partner for Kento Yamazaki. I hope they can work on another movie together. I don't care if it's another youth-oriented romance film, as long as they are cast as the lead.
There is something to be said about actors known with just a single name - a sense of being awesome. Kentaro has that "soon-to-grab-a-really-good-role-soon" aura.
After Gakko no Kaidan and Aogeba Toutoshi, Kentaro will be seen in Sakurada Reset and Jets. While both are supporting roles, they remain opportunities for the young actor to shine.