Casting News + Scoop! [Oct 25-30] A Mackenyu & Mei Nagano appreciation post! What makes them the next big “stars” in Japan!

Mackenyu belongs to Japanese acting royalty, while Mei Nagano’s ‘plain-looking but sympathetic’ appeal may be her ticket to stardom! You may disagree with me, but Mei Nagano is not as ‘kawaii’ as Tao Tsuchiya or Suzu Hirose and that makes her a fantastic candidate to epitomize the regular Japanese school girl – the one many can quickly identify with and not necessarily look up to but feel a real connection.

She did exactly that type of character in My Love Story!! with Ryohei Suzuki and Mackenyu’s ultimate rival, Kentaro Sakaguchi. The same applies to her role in TV Tokyo’s Koe Koi (こえ恋) which is getting a lot of buzz among Japanese dorama lovers. At seventeen, she is currently represented by Stardust – the same agency that handles the careers of Takako Tokiwa, Kou Shibasaki, Kaho, Nana Komatsu and Keiko Kitagawa, among others. 

In Daytime Shooting Star (ひるなかの流星), Nagano grabs the lead role and together with Shohei Miura and Aran Shirahama, continues the trendy rom-com manga adaptation:

Suzume Yosano (Mei Nagano) is a first-grade high school student. She lived in the countryside, but, due to her parents transferring overseas for work, Suzume now lives in Tokyo with her uncle. Suzume has never had a boyfriend before, but she has feelings for her homeroom teacher Satsuki Shishio (Shohei Miura). Meanwhile, her classmate, Daiki Mamura (Aran Shirahama), becomes attracted to Suzume. [AsianWiki]

Reports have it that one of the main characters – Mamura – is written with Kentaro Sakaguchi in mind. However, the casting took in another actor – Shirahama. I have only seen Shirahama in a few roles, and he did not impress me at all. While Sakaguchi is slowly becoming a competent actor with excellent performances in Juhan Shuttai, Heroine Disqualified, and Love That Makes You Cry.


Finally, Nagano is also part of the cast of Peach Girl, with Mackenyu, Kei Inoo, and lead actress Mizuki Yamamoto.

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Peach Girl (ピーチガール) is a Japanese shōjo manga series by Miwa Ueda. A high school drama centered on character Momo Adachi, her love life, friendships and rivalries. Momo Adachi is a former member of the high school swim team. She tans easily and her hair is bleached out; unfortunately, she is stereotyped by her ignorant classmates and is forced to endure rumors about being an “easy girl” who has had many sexual relationships. Her only friend is Sae, who is actually responsible for spreading the nasty gossip due to her jealousy of Momo. Momo is in love with Toji, a taciturn baseball player, but the scheming Sae also has her sights set on the boy. Momo’s life is further complicated with the introduction of Kairi Okayasu, a wise-cracking playboy who is determined to make her his. He reveals to Momo that she had saved him from drowning the summer before high school started.

In Peach Girl, Nagano plays the villain, a significant departure from her previous roles. Here we’ll see if she can be as good playing the good girl as being the nasty girl who likes to spread rumors and lies about her ‘best friend’. 


The nasty rumor about Mackenyu only adds up to his enigmatic appeal as the next big Japanese movie star.  What can you say about the son of Sonny Chiba, a legend of Japanese films? 

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Aside from eight full-length films (2016-2017), Mackenyu is set to play a role in the Pacific Rim sequel:

Japanese-American actor Mackenyu has joined the cast of Legendary Pictures’Pacific Rim 2, the follow-up to Guillermo del Toro and Travis Beacham 2013 sci-fi film, which Universal is releasing February 23. 2018. Steven S. DeKnight will direct the sequel that stars John Boyega. Thomas Tull, Mary Parent, Jon Jashni, and del Toro will produce the film with Boyega’s Upper Room Productions. Cale Boyter will exec produce. Mackenyu will next star in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure based on a manga comic book, directed by Takashi Miike. He is repped by Don Buchwald & Associates and Asian Cinema Entertainment. [ source ]

Here are those eight films:

  • Cheerdance | Chia☆Dan ~Joshi Kosei ga Chia Dansu de Zenbei Seiha Shichatta Honto no Hanashi~ (2017) – Kosuke Yamashita
  • JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2017) – Okuyasu Nijimura
  • Peach Girl (2017) – Toji
  • Night’s Tightrope | Shojo (2016)
  • Bittersweet | Nigakute Amai (2016) – Atsushi Babazono
  • Chihayafuru Part II | Chihayafuru Shimo no Ku (2016) – Arata Wataya
  • Chihayafuru | Chihayafuru Kami no Ku (2016) – Arata Wataya

If that is not enough proof why Mackenyu is destined to become Japan’s next big star, then I rest my case!

 

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