Death Note 2016: “Consummate” actors Sosuke Ikematsu & Masaki Suda battle for supremacy; Masahiro Higashide, the casting’s weakest link?

I can’t develop feelings. That’s how most idiots screw up. – Light Yagami

The dead god of death will disappear, but the DEATH NOTE will remain. The ownership of this DEATH NOTE is usually carried over to the next god of death that touches it, but it is common sense that it is returned to the Great god of death. Only by touching each other’s DEATH NOTE can human individuals who own the DEATH NOTE in the human world recognize the appearance or voice of each other’s god of death. – Death Note Rule [ quotes taken from Wikiquotes ]

If you cast two of Japan’s most exciting and talented actors in one movie, then you would expect a lot of fireworks!

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In the case of the 2016 upcoming Death Note movie, having Sosuke Ikematsu (as Kenichi Matsuyama & Kento Yamazaki’s successor to L) and Masaki Suda (as a fervent follower and admirer of Kira; following the footsteps of Tatsuya Fujiwara & Masataka Kubota’s Light) then you got an exciting movie in the making.

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Casting News + Scoop! [Jan 1-10] Fumi Nikaido’s Mitsui no Aware + Masaki Suda & Tori Matsuzaka reunites in FujiTV show “Era of Us”!

Our first casting buzz for 2016 is all about reunions and first encounters. Take the case of Tori Matsuzaka, Fumi Nikaido and Masaki Suda.

In 2012, Matsuzaka, Nikaido and Suda played childhood friends in The Boy Inside (Osama to Boku) with Suda’s character Morio getting confined in the hospital due to an accident and in coma. I did not particularly buy the story since the chances of someone in “vegetative state” recovering and getting back on his feet is almost nil, but watching the actors together is simply worth my while. Nikaido was doing a bit of over-acting thanks to director Tetsu Maeda, but Suda was just phenomenal that Matsuzaka was obviously trying very hard to match his performance. While both Matsuzaka and Suda appeared in recent movies, being together in “Era of Us” looks interesting. They are joined by another amazing actor, Taiga (who incidentally played Nikaido’s lover in Au revoir l’ ete.) The said show features topics that the actors are supposed to ‘discuss’ about.

UPDATE: ‘Era of Us’ from FujiTv is not a new show as corrected.

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Looking Back & Moving Forward: Spotlight on Masaki Suda [Part 2 of 4 parts]

It was in September 2013 when PsychoDrama posted an article about Masaki Suda, proclaiming him as one of Japan’s best actors.

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During that time, even Japanese movie portals have yet to put the spotlight on him:

He started doing movies by portraying a Kamen Rider hero, just like many aspiring Japanese actors at the beginning of their careers. However, instead of being typecast in this sort of easy-going roles like his co-star Renn Kiriyama, the young Suda developed a taste for playing unique characters. He either gets bullied or be the bully himself. He also often changes his hair style – the color and the look itself to suit his characters. He is talented, aggressive and most of all, fearless in his choice of roles. You may wonder, why put him in the same league as Shun Oguri, or even Kengo Kora or even the tandem of Shota Sometani and Kamiki Ryunosuke? Well, because he can pit talent with any of the big names I mentioned and will never feel or be inferior to anyone of them. He has his charisma on the big screen and can command the attention of viewers in dramas as well. 

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Looking Back & Moving Forward: Shota Sometani, Yuya Yagira, Sosuke Ikematsu, Ryunosuke Kamiki + Masaki Suda, Kento Yamazaki & Johnny’s Yuto Nakajima! [Part 1 of 4 parts]

Last August 2013, PsychoDrama ran a series of articles talking about Shota Sometani and Ryunosuke Kamiki and why they represent the best of their generation. They have a lot of things in common – they both started out as child actors, and while Kamiki also ventured into voice acting, Sometani is regarded as the more “accomplished” of the two. Of course, fans of Kamiki will argue about that. They were in the drama Kokoro no Ito, where Kamiki took the lead role, with Shota played a supporting part. Not really enough to conclude that an acting showdown took place, but fast forward to 2015, they were once again reunited via Bakuman and still no acting showdown. In a recent interview, both actors were reported to be very interested “to act together.” If that happens, we’re in for a celebration!

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In the span of 1 year, I have come to realize that Someya and Kamiki are not the only ones worthy of raves and recognition. Perhaps a more accomplished young actor was already making waves, yet his personal life took a downward turn, thus the hiatus – of course, we’re talking about Yuya Yagira. While it was many years ago that he won Best Actor at Cannes Fest, his recent work speaks volumes of his talent – Unforgiven, Crows Explode, Again, Aoi Honoo, a single episode appearance in Nobunaga Concerto and Gassoh.

Then there’s Sosuke Ikematsu with back to back movies, Pale Moon When I Sense the Sea and Vortex of Love not to mention being a child actor himself. He certainly made waves in 2014, and he ruled that year.

But this year, it’s a Masaki Suda year. I don’t know what sort of role he has yet to play, but he already made waves playing a woman (and beautiful at that), a comatose patient, an assassin/student, a Kamen Rider, an asshole chef apprentice and much more.

Continue reading “Looking Back & Moving Forward: Shota Sometani, Yuya Yagira, Sosuke Ikematsu, Ryunosuke Kamiki + Masaki Suda, Kento Yamazaki & Johnny’s Yuto Nakajima! [Part 1 of 4 parts]”

The Year in Review: Who Made the Biggest Headlines in 2015 Among Leading Japanese Actors?

I find it funny that Oricon would consider Masataka Kubota as having a breakthrough year, since, in all aspects, Mr. Kubota is already an accomplished actor who have been playing in movies and dramas since 2006. That means he’s in the industry for more than nine years already. You consider someone was having a breakthrough year if he is only ‘involved’ in the biz for two years or less. The term “breakthrough” may apply to the likes of Kentaro Sakaguchi or Mackenyu Chiba, or even to the more established Taishi Nakagawa – all three had a breakthrough year in 2015. [ that’s a separate post here, with an equalizer for the girls as well ]

There is always this ‘loss in translation’ issue when it comes to Japanese to English. Take the case of AoT (Attack on Titan, which should be Attack of the Titans) or the Takashi Miike movie Lesson of the Evil (with the totally inappropriate use of ‘the’). 

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Let’s have a short recap. Last year, it was Sosuke Ikematsu who topped our list, followed by Shota Sometani, Masaki Suda, Masataka Kubota and Yuya Yagira. This year, it’s all about grabbing those high profile roles in cinema, as well as, the biggest TV dramas! 

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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.

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

The Emergence of Masaki Suda: Is he the next big dramatic actor after Yuya Yagira, Sosuke Ikematsu and Shota Sometani?

I had an interesting discussion about Masaki Suda on Twitter about what sort of roles he may find challenging – since he’s been doing such a variety already – that playing a cross-dresser or a bully – seem so easy to do! Some may argue about our assessment that Masaki Suda is one of Japan’s best young actors at the moment – in the same league as Shota Sometani, Yuya Yagira, and Sosuke Ikematsu.

The three young actors we’ve mentioned have been getting a lot of attention lately – Sometani with high profile movies like Parasyte and Strayer’s Chronicles, Ikematsu portraying matured roles in Paper Moon and Love’s Whirpool, while Yuya Yagira goes all-out in Crows Explode, Ushijima, the Loan Shark and Again. Of course, one may argue, Suda needs to get more challenging roles to be in the same league as Sometani, et al. – perhaps another Tomogui?

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Tomogui (The Backwaters) gets recognition at Locarno International Film Festival!

Shinji Aoyama’s Tomogui – 共喰い gets recognition at the 66th Locarno International Film Festival. The director of Crickets (Masanobu Ando) and Tokyo Kouen (Haruma Miura) latest movie competed in the festival held from August 7 to 17.

Review of the movie follows:

“Japanese women are strong… they outlive men.” (Imamura Shōhei)

On the surface, Tomogui might seem a misogynist tale, a story of the violence and abuse long perpetuated against women (not only Japanese). Looking closely, though, the parable of Toma and the curse his father seems to have passed on to him hides between the lines a more nuanced message, suggesting that the youth is a victim of a system that has become a hereditary defect.

Continue reading “Tomogui (The Backwaters) gets recognition at Locarno International Film Festival!”

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