[Editor's Note: A favorite hit list way back in 2012, we're launching a Part 2 to showcase new titles to add to these 5 amazing movies - with an equally amazing collaboration between Japanese and Korean artists! ]

So, I'm starting the list with what is considered one of the most expensive movies (USD 25 million) produced in South Korea- the war drama My Way. Says filmmaker Kang Je-Gyu in response to a question about the painful memories of World War Two:

This movie doesn’t dramatize who are the offenders and who are the victims. The story is about one human being who doesn’t let go of his dream even though he is caught in World War II. Because of his dream there is forgiveness and understanding. The movie is basically a human story. [ source ]

My Way - poster

What the Movie is all about: Inspired by a true story. Jun Shik works for Tatsuo's grandfather's farm while Korea is colonized by Japan, but he has a dream to participate in Tokyo Olympics as a marathon runner. Tatsuo also aims to become a marathon runner, so the two are in rivalry. But war breaks out and they both are forced to enlist in the army. Tatsuo becomes the head of defense in Jun Shik's unit and he devises a scheme but fails. Jun Shik and Tatsuo are captured by the Soviets. They run away but soon are captured by Germans and forced to separate. In 1944, they meet again at the shores of Normandy.

[Editor's Note: This article was published early 2012. Many acting showdowns follow, and in Part 2 and 3, we're launching more samples of such showdowns. Please stay tuned!]

I just love to watch movies where the lead actors have acting showdowns! One classic example would have to be Martin Scorsese's The Departed, where Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon pit talents as rival police officers. If you think about it, this movie was actually a remake of a Hong Kong film entitled Infernal Affairs (starring Andy Lau and Tony Leung).


Looking closely at the Japanese movie scene, there is a fantastic list of movies where the lead actors are engaged in acting showdowns - it doesn't have to be a rivalry between two samurai warriors or a Yakuza versus a cop, or between the top dogs of rival gangs. It can be about friendships or a seemingly light bromance, where the acting is worthy of discussion.

Part 1 - with 5 awesome showdowns - after the jump!

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...

Kadowaki Mugi

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.

Casting Scoop - Yamada Ryosuke, Sota Fukushi, Takumi kitamura, Kento Yamazaki

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;

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. 

 Japanese Live action films 2017

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... 


Psycho Drama list of 100 favorite Japanese films through the years.