Haro Hari Nezumi – First Impressions + Ep 1 Review

After skipping a significant number of drama seasons, I had an inclination (perhaps even an itchiness) to review a drama series. TBS’s Haro Hari Nezumi –  ハロー張りネズミ is my perfect candidate, and I have some very compelling reasons why I am writing a review:

1. One Hitoshi of Bakuman, Moteki, and Scoop! fame is directing the series;

2. Eita headlines the cast, with a guest (correction: a mainstay) appearance from Aoi Yu. Kamikaze Girls’ Fukada Kyoko is also one of the mainstays, so who can resist two fabulous actresses in one drama?

3. Reminiscent of such shows as Mahoro Eki Mae Bangaichi (Eita with Matsuda Ryuhei) and Rivers Edge Okawabata Detective Agency (Odagiri Joe), this is another opportunity to be in awe at a quality Japanese slice-of-life, detective thriller/drama series.

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Casting News + Scoop! [July 18-26] Updating Japanese-Korean movie collaboration hitlist + The buzz on Eita, Mitsushima Hikari and Tsumabuki Satoshi + Ikuta Toma’s Sensei!

There are plenty of casting news featuring Japan’s more established actors, including Tsumabuki Satoshi, Eita, Mitsushima Hikari, Aragaki Yui, and Ikuta Toma. This post is dedicated to their new movies and TV drama and more!

One Hitoshi’s latest project – Okuda Tamio ni Naritai Boy to Deau Otoko Subete Kuruwaseru Garu – features the unlikely ‘team-up’ of Tsumabuki Satoshi and Mizuhara Kiko as ‘lovers’ or are they? 

 

The story centers on Kōroki, a 35-year old man who uses the life of Japanese singer and songwriter Tamio Okuda as a guide for his own life. He works as an editor at the lifestyle magazine “Mare,” where he meets Akari Amami, a mischievous fashion press writer, and falls in love with her at first sight. The manga chronicles the joy and sadness of his relationship.

Continue reading “Casting News + Scoop! [July 18-26] Updating Japanese-Korean movie collaboration hitlist + The buzz on Eita, Mitsushima Hikari and Tsumabuki Satoshi + Ikuta Toma’s Sensei!”

Wakamonotachi 2014: Ep 7-11 Review + Afterthoughts

Update: The final episode of Wakamonotachi is a bit of an anti-climax with most of the scenes in Episodes 9-10 already summing up the drama. 

With one final episode to be released soon, the Japanese drama Wakamonotachi continues to reveal new twists and turns as the stellar cast put on a show that is not perfect, yet can be quite a thrilling ride with dramatic and comedic scenes out to impress (or depress) the viewers.

The Story so far: Asahi (Satoshi Tsumabuki) raised his younger brothers and sister due to the deaths of their parents. Satoru (Eita), the second son, was incarcerated for swindling an old lady of her millions. Hikari (Hikari Mitsushima) is the only girl among the five – is having an affair with a married man, who happens to be the Doctor she works with at the ICU for pediatric patients.

The other members of the family Haru (Tasuku Emoto) and Tadashi (Shuhei Nomura) are both students, with Haru still clinging to his theater club instead of looking for a job while Tadashi is on the verge of manhood, discovering his first love.

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Wakamonotachi 2014: First Impressions + Episode 1-6 Review

I recently asked the question: Can Wakamonotachi compete with the best Asian drama during its broadcast? After watching the first six episodes, I have to say the 2014 version of the 1966 original FujiTV drama has a lot of good things to offer – particularly in the acting department – Hikari Mitsushima, Yu Aoi, Eita and Shuhei Nomura were standouts. There are also some dramatic scenes that tug at the heart and an equal measure of fun and comedy to keep the drama interesting.

But some scenes may appear incredulous – particularly those involving Satoshi Tsumabuki’s character as it seems to be someone drawn from yesteryears. Nobody wants to watch a moral, idealistic, highly-strung character in the majority of the episodes.It’s the first time I felt disappointed with Tsumabuki as an actor.

While I may seem critical of the drama, I highly recommend it. Our reviews have been performance oriented since the beginning, and there are a lot of acting highlights here.

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Can Young People (Wakamono Tachi) compete with the best in Asian drama? Satoshi Tsumabuki, Eita, Hikari Mitsushima reunite as one family!

Japanese drama addicts are probably looking forward to the July 2014 broadcast of Young People (Wakamono Tachi) starring Satoshi Tsumabuki, Eita, Hikari Mitsushima, Masami Nagasawa and Yu Aoi among its star-studded cast. The fact that the cast is not only “stars” but talented and critically acclaimed actors make all the difference. Can it duplicate the success of the 1966 original drama? Will there be deviations to the original story? Will the characters be altered to suit the modern times?

These questions will have answers soon, but let’s focus on one issue here: How was the on-screen chemistry between our talented cast? Have they been together before in a drama or a movie perhaps? What sort of roles did they play together?

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Satoshi Tsumabuki leads powerhouse cast for Wakamonotachi (The Youngsters); Hikari Mitsushima, Eita & Shuhei Nomura co-star!

Award-winning dramatic actor Satoshi Tsumabuki will join forces with Hikari Mitsushima, Eita, Tasuku Emoto and Shuhei Nomura in the upcoming drama “Wakamonotachi” (The Youngsters). The five stars will play siblings who lost their parents early in their childhood, and together they struggle to live – with several emotional clashes due to their different dreams and aspirations. These emotional confrontations and their various relationships will be the focus of the drama first aired in 1966.

 

Tsumabuki and Mitsushima were in the award-winning movie Villain (Akunin), which won for Tsumabuki, the Best Actor trophy at the Japan Academy Prize back in 2011. Mitsushima was also in the award-winning drama Soredemo, Ikite Yuku, this time with Eita as the leading man. In essence, we have three of the best dramatic actors working in Japan together in this drama which will also commemorate FujiTV’s 55th anniversary.

The show is reported to be ready for broadcast this coming July. Also in the show are Yu Aoi and Ai Hashimoto, Yu Aoi also figured prominently with Tsumabuki in Tokyo Family.

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Countdown to the 10 Best Japanese Movies of 2012 – Part 2

Part 2 of our countdown to the Top 10 Japanese movies of 2012 features two drama and a light comedy. These movies feature some of Japan’s best-known actors. Kiki Kirin is already an icon in Japanese cinema – with countless movie roles to her credit and awards and accolades through the years. She is one of the leads in Chronicle of my Mother. Compared to her, Shota Sometani is just starting his acting career but is already considered one of today’s most important young talents not only in Japan but in the international scene. One of his latest movies, Himizu – from famed director Sion Sono – is a hard-hitting look at the recent Japanese tsunami and nuclear disaster.

On the lighter side, Eita and Kenichi Matsuyama played train otaku (train enthusiasts) in Train Brain Express, the last movie helmed by Yoshimitsu Morita, who passed away last year. What makes them such amazing films? Get to know why after the jump!

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Acclaim for Toyoda Toshiaki’s “Monsters Club”: Eita continues to play brilliant roles!

Says filmmaker Toshiaki Toyoda about his movie, Monsters Club:

This is the story about a young man living in a cabin in remote place outside of urban culture and away from all things. Living by himself in the winter covered mountains, we see the emotional survival of the person depicted. I was really thinking about the Unibomber in America. The Unabomber was quite strict, he did not bomb everywhere but was rather making a statement and was thinking about how to make things a little bit different, asking maybe, the question of the people and a question to the people living in a world of egoism. We’ve got the pyramid in our society. You have the top and then the bottom. I have been asking people: how are we going to survive in this pyramid world?! [ source ]

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After we posted the positive reviews on Hard Romanticker, it’s inevitable that we mention Monsters Club, since it stars Eita Nagayama, another top Japanese actor who figured prominently in our Top 30 Hottest Japanese Actors.

Continue reading “Acclaim for Toyoda Toshiaki’s “Monsters Club”: Eita continues to play brilliant roles!”

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