Her most recent performance in Over the Fence was good enough for a couple of Best Actress nominations, but Aoi Yu continues to make headlines with new and exciting projects! In Birds Without Names (彼女がその名を知らない鳥たち) from The Devil's Path director Shiraishi Kazuya, Miss Yu is an opportunistic young woman who had been involved in a few complicated relationships.

Kanojo ga Sono Mei wo Shiranai Toritachi

Towako (Aoi Yu) still can't forget Kurosaki, even though they broke up 8 years ago. She now lives with a man named Jinji (Abe Sadao). Jinji is 15 years older than her. Towako hates Jinji who is poor and vulgar, but she lives with him because of his wage. One day, she meets Mizushima who has wife and kid. He reminds her of Kurosaki. Soon, she is in an affair with Mizushima. A detective visits Towako and tells her that Kurosaki is missing. [source]

Murakami Nijiro co-stars with Ayano Gou in Kumakiri Kazuyoshi's latest movie Mukoku about two disconnected individuals who find inner peace through the sport of kendo. Gou's character - Yatabe Kengo - is a disillusioned individual who is gifted in the martial arts, but a recent tragedy involving his domineering father put his sport on hold. Murakami, who made waves in Aogeba Toutoshi and Destruction Babies, plays a high school student (Haneda Tooru) who loves to rap but turns to kendo when a monk discovered his talent in the sport. 

Nijiro Murakami in Mukoku

I had the privilege to screen the movie a few days ago and what really struck me is how Mr. Murakami has grown as an actor. Certainly, people think very highly of Ayano Gou, but Mukoku is as much Ayano's movie as Murakami's. 

Live action adaptations have always been a thing Japan has been known for. That’s just a fact. Whether or not people would complain about a “sudden” surge in adaptations, in-between the original content and novel adaptations alike, there’d always been at least some projects based around manga/anime. Some clearly turned out better than others, but that’s besides the point.

Nakagawa Taishi and Takasugi Mahiro in "ReLIFE"Japan wouldn’t be Japan, I guess, without them. The first few movies I saw as a kid were based on novels (Battle Royale, Ring), and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to come up with more than five standalone movie projects in the span of five minutes. I guess there’s Love Exposure? SPEC?  Lately though there hasn’t been a week that’s gone without news of a new project, or at least a cast reveal. It can’t just be me who’s been wondering when the rush of LAs – which clearly started a few years ago – will end, or at least slow down. But I guess when you have a near bottomless pit of base material, you won’t ever really run out of ideas.

 

50,000 Japanese picked their choices for "Best Actor" and the most "Beautiful Actress" in a recent survey by TV Asahi. The list was then featured in Nakai Masahiro's TV show.

Topping the survey is Takakura Ken, followed by Yamada Takayuki, and Fujiwara Tatsuya. On the ladies side, the most beautiful are Kitagawa Keiko, followed by Yoshinaga Sayuri, and Sasaki Nozomi.

 Japan's Best Actors - 2017

The final results were tabulated based on votes coming from age-level respondents (20s, up to 50s and 60s). No idea if there are certain criteria to follow, but Takakura Ken is universally loved and admired in Japan. The acclaimed actor also cultivated a strong but modest presence in Hollywood, with castings in high-profile movies, including Black Rain (with Michael Douglas). Mr. Takakura died on November 2014 but left behind an impressive list of movies covering more than 4 decades. 

When an actor successfully transforms himself into a character - not only showing different physical attributes but also displaying a distinct personality, moviegoers are in awe. Of course, credit goes to the makeup and special effects artists who helped in the transformation. But still, the actor gets a round of applause for pulling it off. 

Shota Sometani - Movie role transformation

Most movie bloggers mention Christian Bale (The Machinist), Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers' Club) and Charlize Theron (Monster) among the most notable, but there are a great number of Asian actors who have made impressive transformation themselves. There was even a Chinese actress who pulled off her teeth to make a performance as realistic as possible.

Tadanobu Asano, one of Japan's best actors, play some high-profile roles that require equally difficult transformation - as Kakihara in the ultra-violent Ichi, the Killer, as Temudjin (Genghis Kahn) in Mongol and as Samurai Hyozo Tashiro in Gohatto, among others.