Casting News + Scoop! [Oct 19-24] Of cats and Japanese men; Of Japanese girls and why they never die; Spotlight on Kanata Hongo’s latest project!

Our casting news begins with a closer look at Yu Aoi’s latest film – Haruko Azumi Is Missing –  アズミ・ハルコは行方不明 – now also known as “Japanese Girls Never Die.” While it would be a fantastic news to hear that Yu Aoi gets nominated for Best Actress for the upcoming Japan Academy Prize, her recent win at TAMA (for the movie Over the Fence) is more than enough as a celebration of her talent. 

Don Brown described Aoi’s performance in his regular post at The Asahi Shimbun:

(Yu) Aoi totally owns her difficult role, which at times hews very close to manic pixie dream girl and hysterical bipolar stereotypes. The actress excels at making Satoshi believable and sympathetic through the sheer force of her commitment and charisma. Less detail is offered regarding her traumatic background than Shiraiwa’s, but Odagiri is just as comfortable in his character’s skin, puncturing his smirking inscrutability with sudden flashes of jaded and wounded intensity. [ source ]

There was never any doubt about Aoi’s charisma when it comes to an analysis (or simply an observation) of her on-screen persona. Take the case of her performances in Hula Girls, Shining Boy and Little Randy, The Lightning Tree,  or her more recent works in Tokyo Family, Penance, and Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends.

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PsychoDrama [Talkback]: Kinema Junpou No 1722. Issue features 50 actors under 30 to look out for + Did they get everyone right? [Part 3 of 4 Parts]

What I like about the 50 young Japanese actors list from Kinema Junpou is the variety of the talents. Many have taken significant roles in movies and drama series. Some have won acting awards – both local and abroad and some also made box office records. Some started as male models and were given supporting, bit parts only to become the lead after a few tries. 

As expected, there will be idols, a majority of whom came from Johnny’s and finally there are some newcomers. It’s a bit of an issue to consider someone as a newcomer. For instance, is Hiroya Shimizu and Nijiro Murakami and Takumi Kitamura newcomers? Maybe, but Kitamura is also part of a J-pop band, so that makes him more than just a “pure” actor in a sense. Murakami and Shimizu, therefore, are the newcomers in the strict meaning of the term. That’s not a big issue – I think they deserve to be on the list, in as much as, Yuto Nakajima or Kento Nakajima or Ryosuke Yamada – who all belong to Johnny’s.

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Japan’s Best Actors – The Hottest List [Top 15; 2016 Edition]

During our first rankings, it was Satoshi Tsumabuki who ruled! Aside from winning Best Actor at the Japan Academy for Villain, Tsumabuki dominated the casting buzz – with back to back roles, including lead roles for My Back Page (with Kenichi Matsuyama), Smuggler and Fly With the Gold. A year later, it was Ryuhei Matsuda’s turn  – he also won Best Actor and had a string of amazing films. On our third year, it was Shota Sometani who dominated the rankings.

Sometani went on to top the rankings 2 years in a row, with Yuya Yagira closing in at 2nd place… This year is very different!

 

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The Year in Review – 2015: Japanese Dramas that made waves during the year + Favorite dramatic scenes & performances! [ Spring Shows – Part 2/4]

Unpredictable, concise, exciting – these are some of the adjectives most often used to describe Japanese dramas.  I often smile when I read that someone who has left the J-dorama scene and went over to Korean dramas would exclaim that they have been “far removed” from such shows that they felt elated and happy to be back. On the other hand, those who left the scene (for good) would often complain about the lack of originality and the over-acting of most Japanese drama performers. I guess we have to follow what we like and never settle for anything less. 

Spring 2015 Japanese drama list is one filled with many notable (and otherwise) titles and the case of loving (or hating) as describe above continues.

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