JAPAN’S BEST YOUNG ACTRESSES [2017 Edition]: Spotlight on Kadowaki Mugi, Nikaido Fumi, Mitsuki Takahata, Matsuoka Mayu, Sugisaki Hana and Kuroki Haru!

Making bold statements by way of portraying strong, independent and unique female characters, Japanese actresses like Nikaido Fumi, Kuroki Haru, and Kadowaki Mugi lead the pack as we prepare for the 2017 edition of our annual Top 30 hottest Japanese talents! While we are not discounting such names as Aoi Yu, Mitsushima Hikari, and Yuriko Yoshitaka, among others the younger set of actresses seem to be at the forefront nonetheless. Why is that? Let’s see…

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On Live Action Adaptations: Spotlight on “Hyouka”, “Miracles of Namiya General Store”, “I Want to Eat Your Pancreas”, “Tabineko Report”, “Laughing Under the Clouds”, “Sakamichi no Apollon” and their main casts! [Vol 3, Part 3]

In Part 2 of our Live-action spotlight, we featured some near-future box office potential winners. In Part 3, we’re into the sentimental, romantic, mysterious, and coming-of-age genre and we’ll talk about Yamazaki Kento, Fukushi Sota, Kitamura Takumi, and Johnny’s Yamada Ryosuke and Chinen Yuri.

Here are six upcoming LA with the above actors playing main roles:

Hyouka (氷菓) – from a light novel, then turned anime – A youth drama with a touch of mystery and philosophical discussions on life, student politics, and rivalries. Stars Yamazaki Kento and Hirose Alice;

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas (Kimi no Suizo wo Tabetai – 君の膵臓をたべたい) – based on a manga – A young boy discovered the diary of a distant classmate who suffers from a pancreatic disease and decides to make her remaining days delightful and worthwhile. Playing main roles are DISH//’s Kitamura Takumi and Hamabe Minami;

Kids on the Slope (Sakamichi no Apollon – 坂道のアポロン) – manga, then anime series – Tales of friendship and romance, where two young boys with opposite personalities strike a friendship, soon to be tested by love, peer pressure, and their own personal circumstances. Chinen Yuri and Nakagawa Taishi play best friends;

Continue reading “On Live Action Adaptations: Spotlight on “Hyouka”, “Miracles of Namiya General Store”, “I Want to Eat Your Pancreas”, “Tabineko Report”, “Laughing Under the Clouds”, “Sakamichi no Apollon” and their main casts! [Vol 3, Part 3]”

On Live Action Adaptations: Spotlight on “Ajin: Demi-Human”, “Blade of the Immortal”, “Fullmetal Alchemist”, “Gintama”, “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” & “Tokyo Ghoul” [Vol 3, Part 2]

The major cast in the LA films featured here represent the current and future stars in the Japanese movie firmament – Kimura Takuya, Oguri Shun, Yamada Takayuki, and the new heroes: Satoh Takeru, Yamazaki Kento, Kubota Masataka, Suda Masaki, Fukushi Sota, Yagira Yuya, Yoshizawa Ryo, and Yamada Ryosuke. 

 

While Blade of the Immortal appears to be the most “historical” among the live-action films, Gintama and Fullmetal Alchemist are also set in a historical timeline. Both Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures and Tokyo Ghoul center on its respective main characters, as well as Ajin: Demi-Human. So, among them, which one is generating the most excitement?

Let’s see… 

Continue reading “On Live Action Adaptations: Spotlight on “Ajin: Demi-Human”, “Blade of the Immortal”, “Fullmetal Alchemist”, “Gintama”, “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” & “Tokyo Ghoul” [Vol 3, Part 2]”

2017 Most Anticipated Japanese Movies: The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. (Saiki Kusuo no Sainan) – 斉木楠雄のΨ難 [Yuichi Fukuda]

The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. is one of the three (and counting) live-action adaptation with Kento Yamazaki as lead. Though the other two, most notably Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures which is such a high profile role, I still believe playing Kasuo is Kento’s most challenging yet. Based on the manga series “Saiki Kusuo no Sainan” by Shuichi Aso, the movie version has a 2017 release date.

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Kento’s reported ‘over-exposure’ is the subject of discussion among fans and haters. The big issue is whether he can deliver performances that show the individual differences of these characters. There was a time when Masaki Suda was doing 5-6 movies at the same time, but he never encountered the same hate. If only Kasuo could speak telepathically to them and say “fuck off!” that would be all right would you say? 

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2017 Most Anticipated Japanese Movies: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (Jojo no Kimyona Boken) – ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 [Takashi Miike]

A few days ago, there was some buzz about the live action adaptation of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures (ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 ダイヤモンドは砕けない 第一章). The new Takashi Miike film will allow Kento Yamazaki a first-hand experience of what it feels like to be directed by a foremost filmmaker – something that would lend more credibility to his position as one of Japan’s most exciting young actors. 

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As I said many times, Yamazaki is destined to travel this route precisely because he has the talent and the looks to handle roles usually reserved for the likes of Satoshi Tsumabuki and even Shun Oguri, though the matured, career climbing and romantic roles are still a few years from now. With less than 20 full-length features to his credit, Yamazaki’s climb to the Japanese acting scene is nothing but both guarded and surprising.

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PsychoDrama Guide to Japanese Cinema: 100 Japanese Actors you need to know! – Introduction [Part 1 of 2]

Five years is not long considering how some actors spent a quarter of their lifetimes learning the craft. In celebration of our 5th year anniversary, I am tasked to come up with a list of actors who I consider the best representative of Japanese movies and drama – yesterday and today. Unlike the 100 Contemporary Japanese movie list, there is a ranking here, and an acknowledgment of each actor’s contribution to cinema – as inspiration, as role models, as provocateurs, as spokesmen for worthy causes or simply for the ability to make people laugh, happy, angry, and cry. 

While some who are new to the Japanese movie/drama scenes are aghast, surprise, shock, annoy and amuse on the seemingly “overacting” nature of certain Japanese performers, it says a lot also about the other side – the subtle and understated acting of some of its best.

In this 100 list, we have both and #deadfisheyes too!

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Cat is Neko and Dog is Inu: Japanese Movies with cats and dogs + History and Trivia [Part 1/3]

Cats appear – more often in Japanese movies – as constant, loveable companions or a symbol of luck and good harmony or both. While dogs [we’ll talk about them in Part 2] are considered more popular (a poll shows dogs are preferred by 49.8% versus 27.9% for the feline creatures), the Japanese is reputed to be one of the most passionate cat lovers in the world.

Tashirojima Island in Ishinomaki City located east of Sendai City is known as the ‘Cat Island’. Cats come to welcome the boats at the port. Many cats wait patiently around the fishing port for fishermen to return. Neko-jinja or the cat shrine is located in the central area of the island and it enshrines a “cat god” in hope of a good catch and safety of the fishermen. Cats have been worshiped as gods for several hundred years when people began forecasting the outcome of fishing based on cats’ behavior. Tashirojima Island was damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in 2011, but many of the cats survived, evacuating to the area around Neko-jinja. [ read more ]

Aside from the cat island described above, it is in Japan where “Hello Kitty” originated (by Sanrio Co. Ltd.), Kroochi, the stray cat, and the now popular cat cafes and of course, the Maneki-neko (welcoming cat and lucky charm). 

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The Year in Review – 2016: Who Made the Biggest Headlines Among Leading Japanese Actors?

A precursor to our upcoming Top 30 Hottest Japanese actors list, the 2016 newsmakers reflect the current state of ‘acting’ in Japan and the names of those who are given opportunities to follow in the footsteps of the greats – Mifune, Takakura, Yakusho, Watanabe. While senior actors like Tadanobu Asano, Joe Odagiri, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Eita, Mirai Moriyama, Shun Oguri continue to pay major roles, our contenders have captured a sizeable portion of the casting pie among themselves.



Are they the best actors Japan could offer? Apparently, the answer is yes! 

Before that, let’s see who are the frontrunners for acting awards this year:

Tomokazu Miura (Katsuragi Case);

Joe Odagiri (Over the Fence);

A few more names will soon appear as the Japan Academy Prize nominees are announced later. Kinema Junpo’s list is still being considered, with readers participating in the annual survey.

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