Casting News + Scoop! [Oct 14-18] Updates on Coming of Age/Youth movies & drama: Poncho & Mob Psycho 100; Job hunting movie Shukatsu + Hyouka Making-Of photos!

We’re more than halfway through October, with plenty of casting buzz including live-action adaptation for Mob Psycho 100, Flower’s Bloom (BL) and Poncho, the job-hunting movie Shukatsu. Updates on Hyouka and Matsuoka Mayu’s Tremble All You Want.

From the same author who created One Punch Man, former child actor (he’s now 17) Hamada Tatsuomi headlines the live-action adaptation of Mob Psycho 100 -モブサイコ100. He is cast to play the main character, Kageyama Shigeo.

Continue reading “Casting News + Scoop! [Oct 14-18] Updates on Coming of Age/Youth movies & drama: Poncho & Mob Psycho 100; Job hunting movie Shukatsu + Hyouka Making-Of photos!”

Based on the popular manga series “Little Forest” written & illustrated by Igarashi Daisuke, Little Forest: Summer and Autumn is the first installment of the 2-part live-action adaptation written and directed by Mori Junichi. Starring Hashimoto Ai in the title role of Ichiko.

It tells the tale of a young woman who left the big city to settle back in her small hometown Komori, located on a mountain in the Tohoku region. It may be a temporary transfer for Ichiko, as she lives with nature while trying to reflect on certain life events that led to her hometown journey. Continue reading “Little Forest: Summer & Autumn – ‘Ritoru Foresuto Natsu Hen ・ Aki Hen’ [Movie Review]”

A Tale of Two Young Japanese Actresses: Matsuoka Mayu and Arimura Kasumi – Awesomeness and Mediocrity personified!

Maybe you’re wondering why pair Matsuoka with Arimura? Let’s see. Among Matsuoka Mayu’s many talents, it’s always her voice that draws attention and she seems to have almost perfected using it to differentiate her many movie and drama characters. On the other hand, Arimura Kasumi’s ticket to some prestigious casting opportunities is her ability to look ordinary. Maybe the term ‘miscast’ applies to her too!

Let’s discuss some more…

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JAPAN’S BEST YOUNG ACTRESSES [2017 Edition]: Spotlight on Kadowaki Mugi, Nikaido Fumi, Mitsuki Takahata, Matsuoka Mayu, Sugisaki Hana and Kuroki Haru!

Making bold statements by way of portraying strong, independent and unique female characters, Japanese actresses like Nikaido Fumi, Kuroki Haru, and Kadowaki Mugi lead the pack as we prepare for the 2017 edition of our annual Top 30 hottest Japanese talents! While we are not discounting such names as Aoi Yu, Mitsushima Hikari, and Yuriko Yoshitaka, among others the younger set of actresses seem to be at the forefront nonetheless. Why is that? Let’s see…

Continue reading “JAPAN’S BEST YOUNG ACTRESSES [2017 Edition]: Spotlight on Kadowaki Mugi, Nikaido Fumi, Mitsuki Takahata, Matsuoka Mayu, Sugisaki Hana and Kuroki Haru!”

The Year in Review – 2016: Who Made the Biggest Headlines Among Young Japanese Actresses?

While the likes of Sayuri Yoshinaga, Kirin Kiki, and Rie Miyazawa vie for more acting awards and Takako Matsu, Sakura Ando, Hikari Mitsushima, Chizuru Ikewaki, Mao Inoue, and Yu Aoi following their leads, the younger batch of Japanese actresses are as promising. 

2016 is a particularly strong year for young Japanese stars like Mayu Matsuoka, Mugi Kadowaki, Hana Sugisaki, Nana Komatsu, Fumi Nikaido and Mitsuki Takahata. 

Continue reading “The Year in Review – 2016: Who Made the Biggest Headlines Among Young Japanese Actresses?”

Live Action Buzz on Chihayafuru – Review & Reactions to Chihayafuru Kami no Ku + Chihayafuru Shimo no Ku [Part 4 of 4 Parts]

If you’ve watched both live-action Chihayafuru movies, then you know there is another film (or two) coming up. I mean, there’s so much still to be told! But before I get ahead of myself, let’s have a review.

Chihayafuru Kami no Ku (Part 1) – is the First installment of the live action based on the manga series written and illustrated by Yuki Suetsugu. It is about a school girl, Chihaya Ayase, who is inspired by a new classmate – Arata – to take up Hyakunin Isshu karuta competitively. Joining Chihaya is her long-time friend Taishi, and together with Arata, they formed a bond of deep friendship strengthened by the passion for the sport.

Chihayafuru Shimo no Ku (Part 2) – is the Second installment of the live action featuring the struggles of Chihaya and her friends to play competitive karuta. It also involves their personal issues about love, friendship, family, death and loss, loyalty and rivalry. The movie also introduced another major character – the current karuta queen and Chihaya’s thrilling encounter with the queen as they play karuta rivals.

Continue reading “Live Action Buzz on Chihayafuru – Review & Reactions to Chihayafuru Kami no Ku + Chihayafuru Shimo no Ku [Part 4 of 4 Parts]”

The Battle for the next Top Japanese Dramatic Actress: Tao Tsuchiya, Mayu Matsuoka, Suzu Hirose [ Part 1 of 6 Parts ]

Let’s see. There was a time when Hikari Mitsushima and Sakura Ando were just starting to make a name for themselves in the Japanese movie industry (watch Sion Sono’s Love Exposure to get an idea.). Then there was Chizuru Ikewaki wowing audiences in Josee, The Tiger and The Fish and of course who can forget Mao Inoue in Hana Yori Dango, one of the ultimate J-drama ever! Other big names include Takako Matsu who made waves on the international scene via the school-thriller Confessions and Erika Toda capturing a different set of audience as a top female detective/agent in SPEC. Previously there was Ryoko Hirosue in the Luc Besson-produced Wasabi and the Academy Award-winning Japanese film Departures. 

But more than anyone, it will always be Sayuri Yoshinaga who will best exemplify the Japanese actress ideal.

Yoshinaga Sayuri was born in March 1945, five months before World War II came to an end. She is a movie star whose career can be said to have followed the footsteps of postwar Japan. Although she will soon reach the age of 68, she still projects a youthful image and has an active career as an actress, performing the lead role in a film every two years or so.

Thus far Yoshinaga has acted in more than 100 movies and has fans of all ages. She has won four Japan Academy Prizes for the best actress in a leading role, more than any other actress, and in 2010 she was designated a Person of Cultural Merit, one of Japan’s highest cultural honors. Both in name and in reality, she is one of the foremost stars in the postwar world of film.

[ read more: Last of the Silver Screen’s National Heroines ]

Finally, this list will not be complete if we fail to mention Fumi Nikaido, who at the age of 20, has been nominated for Best Actress already. (She won a major acting award in Venice at the age of 16)

There were many others, but in today’s popular drama and J-movie scenes, we have a completely different set of names competing for high-profile roles. In Part 1 of this 5-part series, we’re putting the spotlight on three who have the greatest potentials.

Continue reading “The Battle for the next Top Japanese Dramatic Actress: Tao Tsuchiya, Mayu Matsuoka, Suzu Hirose [ Part 1 of 6 Parts ]”

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

2015 is a big year for women in Japanese movies. Aside from Koreeda’s Umimachi Diary (starring Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa, Kaho and Suzu Hirose), there’s Hikari Mitsushima and Erika Toda in Kakekomi, a historical movie dealing with divorce and the Tokeiji which is a Buddhist temple where women seek comfort from their husbands and undertake the process of separation. 

There were also a good number of TV dramas were the spotlight centered on strong (yet challenged) and authentic female characters – Yoko Maki, Miki Nakatani, Mayu Matsuoka, Anne, Tao Tsuchiya, Mitsuki Takahata and Mao Inoue, played such parts in these shows. 

The overlapping broadcast of the two asadoras – Tao Tsuchiya’s Mare [まれ] and Haru’s Asa ga Kita [あさが来た] – also paved the way for more opportunities to discuss young women regarding their relationships with their families, lovers, and friends as they seek to fulfill personal ambitions and goals. NHK’s taiga drama, Hana Moyu is all about Mao Inoue’s Fumi.

Just like our list of leading Japanese actors, we have an equalizer for the actresses.

Continue reading “The Year in Review: Who Made the Biggest Headlines in 2015 Among Leading Japanese Actresses?”

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