Casting News + Scoop! [Mar10-13]: Masaki Suda dominates casting news + Romancing Yu Aoi; Is Satoshi Tsumabuki her ideal on-screen partner? DISH//’s Takumi Kitamura rocks!

Our previous casting news round-up features both Satoshi Tsumabuki and Masaki Suda but for different projects – Suda, of course, grabbed another role which is now the subject of extensive discussion [ re: his character and what sort of performance he must do in order to do justice to the role. ] I’m talking about Oboreru Knife and I’m inviting you to join in the recent discussion! In today’s casting news, Suda may not be playing the lead character, but knowing his ability to steal scenes – I will not be surprised if he overwhelms his co-stars! The movie – Somebody [Nanimono] is all about 5 Uni students whose lives intertwined with both romantic and dramatic colors. Suda’s co-stars include Takeru Satoh (lead role), with Masaki Okada, Fumi Nikaido and Kasumi Arimura playing the other main characters. What makes this movie both anticipated and ‘problematic’ is how the actors can generate interesting chemistry between each other and as a whole.

I know that some of you have seen Mondai no Aru Restaurant, the acclaimed TV drama where Suda and Nikaido played a couple. While I considered the series as one of the best I’ve seen last year, the interaction between Nikaido and Suda has some unexplored areas, and I am in need of closure. I wish that their characters were explored more… 

I don’t know if they will be romantically paired again in this new project, but it seems Arimura is Suda’s girlfriend this time around. While both Nikaido (My Man) and Arimura (Biri Gal) both got Best Actress nom at the Japan Academy, Nikaido is miles away when it comes to talent. I’m not trying to insult or belittle Arimura because she can play well herself, but no one can come close to Nikaido. If you have someone like Nikaido and Suda acting together in a movie, you begin to doubt how their co-stars can catch up with them. Of course, Masaki Okada is as talented as one actor can get. [ I enjoyed watching Okada with Yui Aragaki in Okitegami Kyoko no Biboroku very much! ]

Oh, and yes, the title role is still with Takeru Satoh, and with his recent acting win for his role in The Emperor’s Chef, I see nothing but positive signs that he might be able to produce some amazing acting as well. 

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Speaking of Masaki Suda, another teaser trailer for Setoutsumi has just been released (featuring some amusing interaction with Sosuke Ikematsu).

In preparing for the Top 30 Hottest Japanese actors list, I’m still trying to decide on the top 5, with both Ikematsu and Suda vying for the top slot. I just can’t help it if I remain undecided until now since both are really superb actors and have come up with some really intense acting for the last 3 years or so… 

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The Japan Times’ film critic Mark Schilling once described Yu Aoi’s acting as ‘intense’ and while the description is on the critical side, I think Yu Aoi represents the best of Japanese talents today. From the time, I saw her in Hula Girls and The Lightning Tree, Aoi is just a sight to behold. I like her a lot – more than I like Yoko Maki, who is also a top notch actress herself or even Masami Nagasawa, who continues to grow on me and is coming up with amazing performances as well. But what makes Yu Aoi a little bit ahead of both of them is her ability to play versatile. Her on-screen romance with Satoshi Tsumabuki is going to level up once again via Yoji Yamada’s latest film, What A Wonderful Family. This is probably her 3rd time to be paired with Tsumabuki. Yamada’s What A Wonderful Family features the same cast as in the 2012 homage to Ozu’s Tokyo Story, entitled Tokyo Family.

Takumi Kitamura, who impressed me in AngfelAngel’s need to be in more movies and drama! From the time I saw him in Suzuki Sensei, I have been anticipating only good things about this young performer/actor. While his work as part of DISH// represents most of his output as a performer, he can really play intense, dramatic roles as he did in the school drama Suzuki Sensei and recently in WOWOW’s Angel’s Knife, where he plays one of the young murderers – the other two being Hiroya Shimizu and Nijiro Murakami.

In Ayashi Kanojo, he’s doing a less intense role and being like himself as performer. He’s rockin and rollin’ with Mikako Tabe. Oh, he’s also part of the Distraction Babies cast!

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