A single photo of Ryunosuke Kamiki for March Comes in like a Lion has sent buzz over the net as the young actor is put on spotlight once again. Considered as one of the most interesting characters to portray in live action, it marks an acting milestone for Kamiki who got a Rookie from the Japan Academy (The Great Yokai War) eleven years ago. As Rei Kiriyama, Kamiki will play a young shogi player who questions his capacity to play competitively and faces both family and relation issues.

- - -

His latest voice acting perf for Makoto Shinkai's 'Your Name' has already sent the film to the list of the most successful anime (of all time). Is he ready for a major acting award this time?

"I don't see Kamiki Ryunosuke" is what I want people to say about my acting. To be the kind of actor - who only shows the character and makes people see only that - is the kind of powerful performance I aim for.

That's what he said a year ago and it sure applies now!

It seemed just yesterday when Satoshi Tsumabuki and Masanobu Ando taunted US servicemen in the coming of age Sang-il Lee movie 69 (2004). The same with Shun Oguri and Takayuki Yamada in the Crows Zero (2007-2009) movies as they fight it out for gang leader supremacy in said Takashi Miike films. Yes, more recent when Masaki Suda, Shuhei Nomura, and Mahiro Takasugi bullied their way into their high school class targeting with delight and amusement the "old lady" - the great Daimon Michiko of DR. X fame, Ryoko Yonekura in 35 Year Old High School Student (2013) drama. 

While Japanese movies (of the so-called 'golden era') are all about the Samurai (Kurosawa) and family (Ozu), today's drama are all about youth, romance, bullies, time travel, and superpowers. What a drastic change, right?

View the embedded image gallery online at:

The just concluded Aogeba Toutoshi ( 仰げば尊し) continues the tradition of school life-adventures, bullying, angst and more (band music, familial dramatics, anyone?). I failed to mention that this tradition follows such favorite high-rating shows as Great Teacher Onizuka - GTO (1998-2004) and Gokusen (2002-2009), among others. The young cast is now Nijiro Murakami, Mackenyu, Anna Ishii, Taiga, Gaku Sano, Kentaro and Takumi Kitamura. Here's the story:

Hikuma Koichi was a saxophone player, but he suffers from the after-effects of an accident. Due to that, he turned his back on music. Hikuma Koichi finds hope in the high school brass band. The band consists of problem students. Koichi struggles to instruct the brass band and to give them hope.

I'm tempted to write a review (not episodic review) and will post if I decided to. 

Makoto Shinkai's latest anime, Your Name, is poised to secure one of the top positions in the highest grossing anime of all time.

- - -

The story is set one month after a comet has fallen for the first time in a thousand years in Japan. Mitsuha, a high school girl living in the countryside, wants to live in the city because she is tired of life in the country. Then, there's Taki. He's a high school student living in Tokyo with his friends while working as a part-timer at an Italian restaurant. He also has a strong interest in fine arts involving architecture. One day, Mitsuha dreams of herself as a young man. On the other hand, Taki also has a dream where he is a female student attending high school in the countryside. What's the secret behind their dreams?

Combining tales of love, body switching, and science fiction, Your Name ((Japanese: 君の名は。 Hepburn: Kimi no Na wa.?) employs the voices of Ryunosuke Kamiki and Mone Kamishiraishi to take over the main characters - Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu. [ see the list of the 30 highest grossing anime worldwide list after the jump ]

I can still remember the first time I saw Tao Tsuchiya, and nope it's not in Mare, the asadora that she headlined. It was a supporting role but with huge impact - on all the senses! She was an alluring, mysterious, charming young student with a sparkle in her eyes, and an attitude that borders from girlish to a grown up lady who is about to discover the world. As Somi Ogawa in TV Tokyo's Suzuki Sensei, Tao Tsuchiya was a sight to behold!

A few years later, and she is stepping it up - climbing the Japanese movie casting ladder like a veteran and amassing a list of memorable and beloved characters to her acting resume. Is she the next Yui Aragaki? Aoi Miyazaki? Masami Nagasawa? Or perhaps someone who will follow the career path of Hikari Mitsushima? Sakura Ando? I think her casting situation is still liquid - but one thing is sure - moviegoers and the Japanese general public love her. 

Since I'm given this chance to start working as an actress, I encounter many different works. I, too, also have things that are becoming (un)clear as I face those challenges. There were times when I thought, "How did I say this line before?" and would become confused as things get mixed up. However, by valuing those works one by one, I think it is important to jive in with the directors and co-stars at that time from the main parts of those works. Therefore, I personally want to do more things such as reading more newspapers and books, or climbing a mountain. Aahh, I suddenly want to go to the beach. (LOL) [ source ]

I watched her in a lot of TV appearances and one thing that always come across - her honest, unassuming demeanor. I wish she would do a hundred more movies with Kento Yamazaki, but reality bites - she is cast with other actors now and in the future. What I do hope is that there will be a magical movie that will put them back together, and I hope it will be sooner rather than later.

Whew, that was a long intro! So what sort of movies she's doing currently?

Another milestone appears on the Japanese casting horizon! With the likes of Masaki Suda, Yuya Yagira and Sosuke Ikematsu taking on the more challenging, complex roles previously awarded to such actors as Satoshi Tsumabuki, Masanobu Ando, and even Joe Odagiri, there is now a sort of "void" being filled up by younger, fresh players. This time, we have Takumi Kitamura and Nijiro Murakami hugging the headlines. Remember, they are not the only ones getting the prized roles - Taishi Nakagawa (it seems he's about to challenge Kento Yamazaki and Sota Fukushi?), and before him Hiroya Shimizu (remember The World of Kanako and Solomon's Perjury?).

And what a movie title it is! I Want to Eat Your Pancreas ( Kimi no Suizo wo Tabetai - 君の膵臓をたべたい) stars Kitamura with new actress Minami Hamabe (yes, the girl who played Menma in Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day). If you think about it, Kitamura and fellow actor Nijiro Murakami switch places! Murakami was cast in Anohana with Hamabe, and this time, Kitamura was the main character who will narrate and bring back the memories of Hamabe's character. Keiko Kitagawa and Shun Oguri are playing present-day characters to fill up the story.