Casting News + Scoop! [Mar 13- Apr 27]: Mirai Shida + Taishi Nakagawa; Death Note 2016; Natsumi Firefly + Japanese movies about ‘unrequited’ love!

It’s been a while since I posted a casting news/scoop, but there is a reason for that. I’m doing an extensive research on live action adaptation (Japanese, American and French) so it has taken almost all of my time. But it is definitely worth it! I’ll be posting Part 1 of the series very soon, please stay tuned!

I browse some of my favorite Japanese entertainment portals and was happy to note that Mirai Shida is – once again – active on the scene. I always love watching her and I think she deserves the spotlight and the raves that many of the ‘veteran’ J-ent watchers are bestowing on her. If you have not seen her yet, try one of her most important movies – Nobody to watch over Me – where she plays the sole survivor of a family haunted by tragedy. She also made waves in Yoji Yamada’s Kabei: Our Mother, and to think that both movies were more than 5 years old makes me sad.

How come ‘talents’ like Ayame Gouriki, Emi Takei, and Kasumi Arimura get to play significantly important roles while an amazing and definitely more talented actress like Mirai Shida only gets to play supporting parts? Now, that’s the greatest tragedy of them all.

The tradition of playing supporting roles for Shida continues, but this time, she will play second lead to Tao Tsuchiya.

Not bad, considering that Tsuchiya is pretty much a competent actress herself. I’d love to see Shida on the big screen anyway, so I’m happy she’s back! The pair of Tsuchiya and Shono Hayama is a reunion of their Mare (asadora) casting where both play the siblings of Yo Oizumi and Takako Tokiwa. I fondly remember Tokiwa as the young mother of Yuya Yagira from an earlier movie, Shining Boy and Little Randy – so having Yagira also in that popular asadora is another reunion of sorts. 

I’m not sure what I think of Yutori Desu ga Nani ka (ゆとりですがなにか) yet since I’m waiting for the English subs, but Yagira’s scenes in the first episode are pretty much shorter than the scenes dedicated to Tori Matsuzaka and Masaki Okada. But, as we have observed many times, it is not the quantity that matters – it’s the quality and Yagira already dominated the scenes where all the lead stars converged. [ Yutori is probably the only TV series I’m planning to do a review this season ]

I know that Taishi Nakagawa is making a lot of headways in so far as his acting career is concerned. The ‘double’ whammy he did – Prison School and My Little Lover – plus the casting in Your Lie in April (together with Kento Yamazaki + Suzu Hirose) add acting milestones for Nakagawa. My Nickname is Butatchi, is Taishi latest attempt to corner part of the rom-com ‘market’ now dominated by Kento Yamazaki, and to a certain extent by Sota Fukushi and Masahiro Higashide. Speaking of Butatchi, it seems the movie is part of a bigger project. [ See movie poster above ]

I’m not really sure if my translation is correct but it seems the movies have a common theme – Unrequited Love. You may also notice Takumi Saito + Alice Hirose in a separate story and project. There’s also Yudai Chiba and Fumika Shimizu featured in another. Jun Shison and Dori Sakurada are also shown in the poster. You can read more from their official website here.

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While I consider Kasumi Arimura to be an inferior actress compared to the likes of Mirai Shida, Mayu Matsuoka, Tao Tsuchiya, Mitsuki Takahata and Alice Hirose, I think she can improve her acting given the right roles. In Biri Gal (Flying Colors), she managed to dive into the character and made it her own. Of course, the role is not as challenging as those played by Fumi Nikaido, but still – I’d rather watch her than torture myself with Ayame Gouriki, who is definitely one of Japan’s worst actresses.

In Natsumi Firefly (夏美のホタル), I’m not sure if she can do justice to her role. But let’s see…

Natsumi (Kasumi Arimura) wants to become a photographer. She takes a bike which her late father left behind and goes to a forest to find a firefly she saw with her father. In the forest, Natsumi meets old mother Yasu and old son Jizo. They run a general store. Natsumi learns how to live in nature from them. She has happy summer days there. One day, Jizo tells her that he became estranged from his son in the past. [ AsianWiki ]

With Nijiro Murakami also part of the cast, Natsumi Firefly appeals more than when I first discovered it!

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The 4th Japanese production of Death Note may or may not appeal to the general audience – with the TV series featuring Masataka Kubota and Kento Yamazaki still fresh from many diehard J-dorama fans (this author included), but to watch (no matter how many times) Sosuke Ikematsu and Masaki Suda together and engaged in acting showdown is good enough for me. Of course, what we’ll have here are murders, intrigues, and mental battles, plus the world’s deadliest notebooks, now numbering six!

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