Movie and Acting awards season have officially begun when TAMA New Wave announces its 2016 winners! We're still waiting for more buzz from the Japan Academy Prize and the hitlist from Kinema Junpou but enough to say that this may be an exciting year in Japan for movie talents and their fans.

Nobuhiro Yamashita's Over The Fence, starring Joe Odagiri, Yu Aoi, and Shota Matsuda won one of the two Best Picture recipients for the 2016 edition of the TAMA New Wave - an organization in Japan described as a community that promotes the advancement of Japanese cinema industry.

Alice Hirose takes the spotlight in the fairy tale/romantic mystery mashup L-エル- (from filmmaker Ten Shimoyama who previously helmed Shinobi starring Joe Odagiri and Yukie Nakama).

As we previously reported, the cast includes Yuki Furukawa and Ryo Narita. 

The Tokyo International Film Festival may not be as high profile and famous as Busan, but it certainly has its unique way of showcasing talents from all over the world.

Since its inception, the Tokyo International Film Festival has been dedicated to discovering and cultivating new talent, and has contributed to the careers of countless international filmmakers. Past award winners include such directors as Michel Hazanavicius, whose 2011 film The Artist won five Academy Awards, and Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, who went on to win Academy Awards for Best Director for two consecutive years withBirdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) in 2015 and The Revenant in 2016. Koji Fukada, whose work has also been featured several times in the festival, received the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival with Harmonium. This year marks the 29th edition of the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF), the only Japanese film festival accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF).* TIFF started in 1985 as Japan’s first major film festival. Since then, it has grown to become one of the biggest film festivals in Asia. TIFF seeks out excellent films from around the world and brings them to Tokyo, where filmmakers and film fans can enjoy them, meet emerging filmmakers, and be inspired. [ source ]

Our top picks of Japanese movies shown on the festival, right after the jump!

It appears like a coincidence that after a few hours of launching our spotlight of the month for Taishi Nakagawa, we heard of the casting buzz for ReLIFE live action where the young actor grabs one of the main roles! Joining Nakagawa is Yuna Taira. 

I believe that our acting radar has been accurate so far - since 2012 we feature the best, most promising Japanese actors there are - Satoshi Tsumabuki, Kengo Kora, and Ryuhei Matsuda to current celebrated talents like Shota Sometani, Yuya Yagira, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Masaki Suda and Kento Yamazaki.

Playing a 27-year old loser maybe the best, most challenging role for Nakagawa to date!

The Irregular at Magic High School (Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei - 魔法科高校の劣等生) aired in 2014, but I only watched it last year. What intrigued me about the anime is the almost incestual relationship between the two leads - supposedly brother and sister Tatsuya and Miyuki Shiba. I don't want to reveal more than that, but aside from the development of the two lead characters, I find the story that deals so much with magic, class hierarchy, activism, the battle between good and evil and the many interactions between the students to be worth the time.

A new film slated for 2017 was just announced and that there will be the appearance of a new character! The title of the movie is The Irregular at Magic High School: The Girl Who Calls the Stars.

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From Crunchyroll:

The new character revealed is named Kokoa. Kokoa is a mysterious girl with a youthful appearance. She escaped from a naval defense base and is under the protection of Miyuki Shiba and her companions. [ read more ]

The previous anime series features exciting competition (and rivalries) between the Weeds and Blooms, as well as, intense battles with other magic schools.