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.

View the embedded image gallery online at:

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. 

In what can be described as a dream cast, Kento Yamazaki and Ryunosuke Kamiki will be acting together in a live action adaptation that is as bizarre as it is unexpected. Based on the manga series written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki, Jojo's Bizarre Adventures (ジョジョの奇妙な冒険) will take us into a supernatural, action-horror/thriller trip that may defy genre and gender. (it supposedly targetted male manga fans, but it seems that even female manga readers like it too)

A manga series that has over 95 million copies in print making it one of the best-selling manga series in history, and has spawned a large media franchise that includes several novelizations and video games, action figures, a jewelry line, and even snack foods. 

View the embedded image gallery online at:

With such 'notoriety' (read: infamously famous), what's the juice behind it?

The plot across these stories is supplied in multi-chapter arcs detailing precarious, melodramatic conflicts between parties defined both by unique supernatural powers, mainly by the versatile Stand phenomenon, and exclusive ambitions, attitudes or moral standards. These arcs vary in tone, alternating adventure, suspense, mystery, and horror; always through action, often with some embedded comedy. Typically, a race emerges among the heroes of a story to intercept a powerful central antagonist.

Many references to modern film, television, fashion, fine art, and (particularly) popular music are readily identifiable throughout JoJo in many settings and both the characterization and nomenclature of the cast. Examples of physical, mathematical and psychological theory, biology, technology, mythology, natural phenomena, historic events, and segments of other artistic work inform the design and functionality of JoJo 's multitude of unique Stands. The series occasionally makes fanciful developments upon contemporary scientific theory in the creation of the routes by which certain Stands and other powers exert their influence on nature. [ read more ]