Japanese drama addicts are probably looking forward to the July 2014 broadcast of Young People (Wakamono Tachi) starring Satoshi Tsumabuki, Eita, Hikari Mitsushima, Masami Nagasawa and Yu Aoi among its star-studded cast. The fact that the cast is not only "stars" but talented and critically acclaimed actors make all the difference. Can it duplicate the success of the 1966 original drama? Will there be deviations to the original story? Will the characters be altered to suit the modern times?

These questions will have answers soon, but let's focus on one issue here: How was the on-screen chemistry between our talented cast? Have they been together before in a drama or a movie perhaps? What sort of roles did they play together?

Creating an awesome manga requires the team up of two individuals - the manga writer and the artist who will be responsible for the illustration and graphics. This is basically the premise behind Bakuman - but with an added twist - as both writer and illustrator joined forces to (1) produce the greatest manga ever and (2) marry the love of his life.

Moritaka Mashiro (Takeru Satoh) is a talented illustrator who draws amazing characters in his notebook, the kind that is ideal for manga, while Akito Takagi (Ryunosuke Kamiki) is an aspiring manga writer. Takagi convinces Mashiro to join him in becoming the greatest mangakas Japan has ever seen. Takagi, with his gift of writing, hopes to become a successful mangaka, and Mashiro, with his gift of art, hopes to marry the girl of his dreams, Azuki Miho. 

Award-winning dramatic actor Satoshi Tsumabuki will join forces with Hikari Mitsushima, Eita, Tasuku Emoto and Shuhei Nomura in the upcoming drama "Wakamonotachi" (The Youngsters). The five stars will play siblings who lost their parents early in their childhood, and together they struggle to live - with several emotional clashes due to their different dreams and aspirations. These emotional confrontations and their various relationships will be the focus of the drama first aired in 1966.


Tsumabuki and Mitsushima were in the award-winning movie Villain (Akunin), which won for Tsumabuki, the Best Actor trophy at the Japan Academy Prize back in 2011. Mitsushima was also in the award-winning drama Soredemo, Ikite Yuku, this time with Eita as the leading man. In essence, we have three of the best dramatic actors working in Japan together in this drama which will also commemorate FujiTV's 55th anniversary.

The show is reported to be ready for broadcast this coming July. Also in the show are Yu Aoi and Ai Hashimoto, Yu Aoi also figured prominently with Tsumabuki in Tokyo Family.

I stand corrected when I say Sosuke Ikematsu has two upcoming high-profile movies. In fact, there are more new projects for this fantastic young actor than some of his more 'famous' contemporaries. Adding more glam and spice to the new movie - a love affair between a young University student and a much-matured lady - is the actress chosen to play the role: Rie Miyazawa. If you've seen The Twilight Samurai, then you know who she is. Apparently, her popularity in Japan goes back many years - when she was both a fashion model and a highly-sought young actress.

Sosuke Ikematsu + Rie Miyazawa in Pale Moon

Entitled Paper Moon (Kami no Tsuki), the new movie will showcase a sizzling love affair between Ikematsu and Miyazawa who will be working in a film for the first time. Due to their relationship, Miyazawa's character was forced to embezzle money from the bank she is working for to support their expensive lifestyle.

For most western moviegoers, Sosuke Ikematsu remains that young kid from The Last Samurai, featuring Tom Cruise in the title role. But if you're already in the Japanese movie scene, you will certainly remember him in Dive!! as one of the aspiring Japanese divers who competed for sports glory and honor. He also made good impressions in The Story of Yonosuke as Kengo Kora's best buddy.

Two upcoming movies will further put the spotlight on Ikematsu as he graduates from playing second leads into the leading man territory.

First on the list is Vortex of Love - as one of the participants in a secret club that involves wild sex. The movie is controversial already for the nude scenes featuring different Japanese actors, with Ikematsu playing one of the main characters - and getting involved in a "whirlpool" of ecstasy. [ Watch video clip here ]

Second in line is a starring role opposite Ai Hashimoto entitled Adult Drop. Hashimoto is often cast with Kento Yamazaki, so this new pairing is both interesting and intriguing, to say the least. Both are capable actors, and we'll see if they have good on-screen chemistry. Hashimoto is such an alluring young actress; it may require the equally talented Ikematsu to level up his acting and create fireworks together!

Watch the teaser trailer for more of Hashimoto and Ikematsu together.

Adult Drop photos are below:

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Ikematsu's character in Vortex of Love seems to be the more difficult to play, but I also love to see Ikematsu romancing Hashimoto in Adult Drop.