Toei's Kiseki: Sobito of the Day and Metamorphosis (Transformation) from TV Tokyo offer the latest casting buzz that features our favorite stars.

Junki Tozuka teams up with favorite Arata Horii and Airi Matsui for TV Tokyo's "Transformation" about the lives of high school students. A previous show featuring Shono Hayama and Yuina Kuroshima was a precursor of this new TV film. This latest production is the third, after selecting the winner of a story as told by a real student. 

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Kiseki (キセキ あの日のソビト) is the reunion of Masaki Suda and Tori Matsuzaka on the big screen, after The Boy Inside and Piece of Cake. This time, they play brothers, with Matsuzaka as the manager of a boy band called "GreeeeN" while Suda is the lead member of the group. I dunno if fans may resent the use of the term "boy band" compared to Japanese "pop group". The title is from the name of their song "Kiseki" which became a big hit upon release. The other members of the band are Ryusei Yokohama, Ryo Narita, and Yosuke Sugino.

It's not difficult to understand why many Japanese filmmakers - both making full-length films and drama shows - single out Fumi Nikaido. Aside from her proven capacity to deliver worthy performances, she is known to speak her mind and participate in the way she'll play her part. While we are not privy to actual situations during shooting, a collaborative effort between artists seems to be the way to go.

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Winning a major international acting award (with Shota Sometani) in Himizu, paved the way for roles in My Man, Brain Man, Au revoir l' ete, Misono Universe and many others. 

Now it seems is the time for her to "graduate" from playing school girls to a teacher! In NTV's movie specially made for television, Gappa Sensei, Nikaido is an elementary school teacher who comes from the countryside. Her rural background makes her different from other teachers, and in her initial encounter with the pupils and co-teachers alike, she nervously spoke her local dialect, thus her title Gappa sensei. 

I find FUNimation's synopsis of Donten ni Warau to be just exactly right, for both fans and the uninitiated.

When swords were outlawed in the eleventh year of the Meiji Era, the mighty samurai population began to dwindle. Those who rejected the ban on blades rebelled, causing violent unrest to erupt throughout the countryside. To combat the rise in criminal activity, an inescapable lake prison was constructed. Three young men, born of the Kumoh line, were given the duty of delivering criminals to their place of confinement—but could there be more to their mission than meets the eye?

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You see, I watched this anime when I was very much into the supernatural genre and I really had a great time watching the episodes. I'm not much of a manga reader, so my timeline is quite different from those who became loyal to Donten via the original source. What I like most about it is the interaction between the Kumoh brothers - they have such distinct personalities. Even the supporting characters can be quite fascinating - the Yamainu Squad and of course, Shirasu Kinjo.

When the casting of Sota Fukushi as Tenka Kumoh was announced, it was such a disappointment! [ Read Kaye casting news here

I dunno really why they could cast such an incompetent actor to play such an intriguing lead, but hey, it's a done deal. Johnny's Yuma Nakayama & Kirato Wakayama are to play the two other brothers. Nakayama is just Ok for me, have seen him in a few shows (Pin to Kona, being one of them). The casting of Yuki Furukawa is great news, though his role may be quite limited...

So what's the biggest casting news worth the buzz? Let's see... there's actually plenty!

While we're still in the process of posting Parts 2-3 of the Kinema Junpou for the young men, the succeeding issue of Kinema for the young women is already at hand and it has Suzu Hirose on the cover.

I would have appreciated it more if they put Tao Tsuchiya on the cover though but with so much buzz on Hirose, I'm not surprised at all. In terms of acting, I would prefer Tsuchiya or Mayu Matsuoka (Hirose's co-star in Chihayafuru, who have been very consistent in all her shows) or Hana Sugisaki or Mitsuki Takahata, but let's get to that later (I'm just happy they did not put Tsubasa Honda on the cover!)

So, the buzz on Your Lie in April is reaching fever pitch as the release date is coming soon (September 10 to be exact). I did some sampling of the anime and I can visualize the cast from the first episode...

I know how much attention Kento Yamazaki is getting from manga/anime fans and even from regular J-movie fanatics, and the main complaint is how come he gets similar roles all the time? Well, as Don Brown has explained to me (the interview will be posted soon!), when someone is so in demand, his agents will try their best to get as many roles as possible, never mind the over-exposure.

We’re halfway 2016 but I can’t help but feel I’ve missed a memo at some point. I mean, live action adaptations have been a constant thing in the Japanese movie industry, but with over a 35 of those projects having been released or announced in these first six months I feel like we’ve hit a new height.

You could say that it’s a thing for a lot of romance series to get adapted when they’re nearing the end, but this time around it’s the big names such as Death Note, Full Metal Alchemist, Gintama, Tokyo Ghoul, Isshuukan Friends (One Week Friends), and Sangatsu no Lion (March Comes in Like a Lion) that are on the schedule. When it comes to the big ones you can debate that most of them were somewhat expected, but there’s a lot of random stories that have seemingly slipped under the radar only to suddenly show up in front of us with announcements. This time around, we’ll be laughing under the clouds.

Donten ni Warau(Laughing Under the Clouds) is a six-volume manga series which started in October 2010, and ended May 2013. It received an anime adaptation nearly a year and a half later, as well as a stage play which debuted February 2015 and got a second run recently. Earlier this year, the next part of the project was officially revealed to be a live action adaptation.