When it comes to compelling, haunting, sensual, and hypnotic performances, I have come to rely on Aoi Yu, Mitsushima Hikari, and Kadowaki Mugi. These actresses are known for their on-screen collaboration with some of Japan's best filmmakers, and their latest projects have generated a lot of buzzes - some may be potential award winners!

Kanojo ga Sono Mei wo Shiranai Toritachi 

Yamada Ryosuke's drive into dramatic roles continues with The Miracles of the Namiya General Store (Namiya Zakkaten no Kiseki), where he plays one of the three youth who gives advice to a young girl from another time. 

I'm glad that Japanese producers are not only looking for a manga to turn into movies but best-selling novels as well. Miracles is written by Higashino Keigo, described as Japan's mega-bestselling author of crime thrillers and mysteries.

 Yamada Ryosuke in Miracles of the Namiya General Store

Ryuichi Hiroki will direct the film. The director is pretty much an credible filmmaker who previously helmed The Egoists, The Lightning Tree, Yellow Elephant and Wolf Girl and Black Prince. Saito Hiroshi was tasked with the script. He previously wrote for the films Kiseki: Sobito of the Day, April Bride, and The Glorious Team Batista, among others.

Fans of Chihayafuru must rejoice as a third installment was announced! Perhaps with an impressive box office showing, there could even be a 4th movie? 

New cast includes Yuuki Mio who will play a romantic interest, M!lk's Sano Hayato as a new member of the karuta team, and Kiyohara Kaya is a rival from a competing team perhaps? The consistent and often underrated Kaku Kento will star as a mentor. The new film is set for release in 2018.

Chihayafuru live action 3rd movie casting

The first two installments of the Chihayafuru LA represent one of the finest examples of how manga should be adapted to the silver screen. For me, the movies were successful because of many factors - (1) Director Koizumi Norihiro was able to condense the story and managed to include relevant scenes that provide smooth character development and story progression; (2) Acting from the leads, especially Mackenyu, Nomura Shuhei, and Matsuoka Mayu, was excellent; (3) The card game battles were both revealing and exciting, and (4) There are no side stories that would have complicated the movie and confuse the audience.

While love triangles in movies abound, so is featuring a dystopian future or in the case of Koi to Uso, a world where love is 'exiled' or suspended in favor of more logical partnership. By 'logical relationship' feelings are not considered as important in having a life-long partner.

Love and Lies - Aoi Morikawa

Lies are forbidden and love is doubly forbidden. In the near future, when young people in Japan turn sixteen, they are assigned a marriage partner by the government. People don't have to go through the trouble of looking for someone, and everyone accepts that the country will find a compatible partner to make them happy. Yukari Nejima is fifteen years old. He lives in a small corner of the country, and just can't seem to get ahead in life. Both academically and athletically he's below average. But within him, he hides a heart burning with passion! In this world in which love is forbidden, what will happen to him when he falls in love? [ source ]

Japan continues to be fascinated with love triangles, spinning similar tales with both young and matured characters.

I look forward to watching "P and JK" starring Tsuchiya Tao and Kame but that may not happen anytime soon. The only remedy to lessen the itch is to read what film critics have to say. Apparently, there is no one other than Mark Schilling at The Japan Times who have seen it locally. To garner an impressive 3 1/2 out of 5 stars is a big surprise, but then again, Mr. Schilling must have enjoyed the movie, right?

Policeman and Me (P & JK)

The film is accordingly tilted more toward light romantic comedy than serious drama about age-inappropriate love, though Kota, its cop hero played by pop idol/actor Kazuya Kamenashi, is the soul of sincerity. And, as his teenage fiancee Kako (Tao Tsuchiya) gleefully observes, he does look great in uniform. [ source

More of Tsuchiya Tao in this spotlight/news post.