The Battle for the next top Japanese Dramatic Actor! Can Anyone beat Shota or Yuya? + The Cast of High&Low [Part 1 of 5 Parts]

Yeah right, some people may be asking,

…but I only knew of Hidetoshi Nishijima, Shun Oguri, Eita, Kenichi Matsuyama and Satoshi Tsumabuki?” I don’t know these new actors you’re talking about!

To think that Yuya Yagira and Shota Sometani have to reach their acting ‘peaks’ yet (and become household names themselves)… But the thing is, the current drama trends are geared towards the next generation already, and there is no stopping this ‘roller coaster ride.’ But are they doing a damn good job? I’m hoping, but I’m not too sure.


The current IT boys of Japanese drama/movie scenes + the buzz on High&Low after the jump!

The case of Sota Fukushi, Kento Yamazaki, Shuhei Nomura and Masaki Suda: 

Getsu9 ‘Koinaka’ starring Sota Fukushi, Tsubasa Honda, and Shuhei Nomura registered one of the lowest ratings for a primetime drama, the more recent Sukina Hito ga Iru Koto may be popular, but how ‘logical’ was the script and the integrity of the characters? 

Popular manga Death Note drama version suffers from similar downward rating trend, with Kento Yamazaki’s L portrayal receiving a disproportionate share of criticisms;

Masaki Suda and Kento Yamazaki look overworked, are there no other actors worthy of these high-profile projects?

I have my hopes high for Shuhei Nomura since he’s grabbing roles left and right – Hibi Rock, Puzzle, Summer of Whales, Wakamonotachi..  but to be relegated as the ‘villain’ in Koinaka? In the just concluded FujiTV getsu9 drama A Girl & Three Sweethearts (Sukina Hito ga Iru Koto) he was once again made to play a secondary character. 

Says jadefrost @JDrama:

One TV magazine writer observed that Koinaka would appeal to teens and might have been better in the late night slot than golden hour. While Fukushi and scriptwriter Kuwamura Sayaka had a hit movie with Strobe Edge which premiered in March this year, Strobe Edge is based on a very popular manga. Koinaka is an original production and Kuwamura does not have solid credentials yet. Noting that last season’s Yokoso, Wagaya e which was adapted from Ikeido Jun’s novel of the same name and starred Arashi’s Aiba Masaki in the lead had barely kept its two digit viewership rating, the writer believes there is a high likelihood that the combination of two the young leads will pull in a one digit viewership rating for the first episode. According to a source close to the network, if the leading actor is young, the actor or actress who plays opposite him will usually be someone who can act well and be the backbone of the drama. But this line-up is completely dependent upon Fukushi. So what is Fuji TV thinking? Someone familiar with dramas disclosed that Fuji TV has commenced not-so-secret discussions on scrapping its Monday 9 pm drama slot [ source ]

On Yamazaki’s L:

At the very least, writer Wakako Takō has her complaints about the characters. She recently stated that she was not impressed with Yamazaki’s work as L. “Ken’ichi Matsuyama’s portrayal of L in the movies was one of intense impact,” she stated. “But Yamazaki’s acting, so far as I’ve seen, is thin at best. Not even today’s visual effects can justify that cheap makeup on him, either.” On the other hand, Takō had nothing but good things to say about Kubota as Light. [ read more ]

However, I have to remind Wakako Tako that an actor’s job is limited to the material he is required to portray, coupled with the fact that it takes a good director to bring out the best in an actor. But since we’re talking about actors, is Kento Yamazaki a good (or promising) player in the first place? Definitely yes! I think his previous movie roles are proof of that (Control Tower, The Wings of the Kirin). Even when he was apparently bored with his recent rom-com roles, Yamazaki still registered decent, tolerable acting.

But Sota Fukushi and Tsubasa Honda? That’s an entirely different case. While many of Sota’s fans will argue that he’s been given too much too soon, the fact remains he’s a #deadfisheyes and Honda has failed to show the potential she was supposed to elevate to real decent dramatic acting.

The only actor in this current generation that shows awesomeness, versatility and dynamism is no other than Masaki Suda. [ Ah, but are you saying Ryunosuke Kamiki is a bad actor? How about others like Kanata Hongo, Sosuke Ikematsu, Kento Nagayama, Kento Hayashi? ] Yeah, but they are from another batch!

Masaki Suda, as his fans and even ordinary drama and moviegoers, are already aware of, is such a versatile actor that playing a man who wears women’s dresses then play the son of a sex maniac, and be a Kamen Rider hero and play a school bully with equal intensity and power looks so natural.

That’s something else! Even Yuya Yagira who is both talented in drama and comedy (as well as Shota Sometani) may as well find their match in Suda.

It just doesn’t seem right.

Other names worth the mention are Taishi Nakagawa, Nijiro Murakami, Kentaro Sakaguchi, Mackenyu, Ryouma Takeuchi and yes, Yuto Nakajima. 

Speaking of potential lead actors, the High and Low cast with their show of too much testosterone! Can anyone on the cast be relied upon to take on lead drama roles? Of course, Masataka Kubota – enough said right?

Did I pique your interest on High & Low? Here’s a rundown of what it’s all about:

The legend begins at a certain town that used to be under the rule of a legendary organization called “Mugen.” And fighting against the rule of this town’s overlords were two legendary brothers – the brutal and unbeatable Amamiya Brothers.

And during a deadly battle, somehow the Mugen was suddenly dispersed… In the aftermath of the chaos, five organizations emerged, with the aim to take control of that area. As a result, this area came to be known as SWORD, an acronym attributed to the names of the five organizations, which all came to be referred to as “G-SWORD” accordingly. These five organizations include the second generation of Sanno Shoten brawlers “Sanno Rengokai,” the alluring white demons “White Rascals,” the dark and brutal senior high school “Oya Koukou,” the ghosts on the ruthless street “RUDE BOYS” and a group of vengeful destroyers “Daruma Gurentai.”

These five gangs will put their pride on the line as they engage in a fierce battle for dominance! However, the plot thickens, a mysterious group called “MIGHTY WARRIORS” appears. And the question that everyone is asking now is, are they enemies or allies? What fate awaits this town. [ source ]

Notable actors are:

Hiroomi Tosaka – aside from Hot Road (the movie where he won Rookie at Japan Academy, co-starring Rena Nounen, the High&Low movies are his major casting coup.

Takanori Iwata – He’s part of the main cast of Crows Explode and did a tricky, intriguing supporting part in Tv drama, Dear Sister.

Keita Machida – Lots of drama roles, notably Bijo to Danshi (with Yukie Nakama) and a sex-comedy Suki Masuki.


How about you? Do you think these younger actors are too ‘inexperienced’ to handle high-profile drama as this early in their careers? Let us know what you think!


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