Casting News + Scoop! [Sept 1-11] Hongo Kanata on spotlight! + Yamazaki Kento’s Hyouka LA new trailer! + Yokohama Ryusei and Yamada Yuki new projects + More ‘Hibana’ analysis + Overprotected Kahoko buzz with Takahata Mitsuki!

September is an exciting month for Japanese drama and live-action adaptations! The current drama season is filled with gems – aside from Eita’s Hello Harinezumi, Takahata Mitsuki’s Overprotected Kahoko deserves all the spotlight for a refreshing take on the coming of age theme, with Takeuchi Ryoma leveling up his acting as well. While the big screen is gearing up for the live-action Hyouka, Yokohama Ryusei, and Yamada Yuki get new movie projects. We’ll also celebrate new photos from the upcoming Hibana movie starring Suda Masaki. 

 

Hyouka (a.k.a. Frozen Desserts) is a school mystery drama with plenty of thrills but also features interesting intellectual discussions. 

Continue reading “Casting News + Scoop! [Sept 1-11] Hongo Kanata on spotlight! + Yamazaki Kento’s Hyouka LA new trailer! + Yokohama Ryusei and Yamada Yuki new projects + More ‘Hibana’ analysis + Overprotected Kahoko buzz with Takahata Mitsuki!”

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?”

Celebrating the stars and the films at the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival! Satoshi Tsumabuki, Godzilla, Mitsuki Takahata & Makoto Shinkai get ‘Arigato’ awards!

A lot of buzz in this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival. Aside from the appearance of Meryl Streep and major stars from Asia, the festival is celebrating its 29th edition this year.

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We previously posted a few excellent Japanese movies that deal with youth, a slice of life drama.

This time we join the film festival community in celebrating the winners of the Arigato award (its second edition only).

Continue reading “Celebrating the stars and the films at the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival! Satoshi Tsumabuki, Godzilla, Mitsuki Takahata & Makoto Shinkai get ‘Arigato’ awards!”

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.

Continue reading “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!”

The Battle for the next Top Japanese Dramatic Actress: Mitsuki Takahata [ Part 3 of 6 Parts ]

The Deputy Chief of Mission of the US in Japan, Jason Hyland has something to say about Toto Nee-Chan:

I am fascinated by the latest NHK Morning Drama, “Toto-ne-chan.” I am especially intrigued by the saga of three of the women leaders in the story, the owner of “Aoyagi Shoten” trading, the imposing Takiko Aoyagi, the unique teacher Chiyo Todo, and our heroine, Tsuneko Kohashi. As women rightfully assume more and more leadership positions in business, in government, in academia, in all sectors, I see the question raised again and again – What is the most effective leadership style for women? I think the answer, based on the many, many role models out there, is that there is no single answer. Toto-ne-chan has her own unique way of engaging people. The often stern Takiko-san (but with a heart of gold) on the other hand runs her business in a more traditional style, and definitely gets results. And then there is the eccentric Chiyo Todo, the teacher who told her never to give up. Just in this one drama we have three different leadership styles by three different women.   As I watch this drama, I am reminded of some of the extraordinary female leaders I have encountered in my own life, all with their own distinct ways of achieving their goals. [ source ]

Mitsuki Takahata was that annoying restaurant staff in one of the year’s best doramas – Mondai no Aru Restaurant. Her character is as complex as that of Fumi Nikaido and Mayu Matsuoka, but she has the additional challenge to convince dorama audience that she can be villainy and then become the object of everyone’s sympathy. In Yuya Ishii’s The Vancouver Asahi, Takahata proved she has what it takes to shine in spite of the star-studded cast led by Satoshi Tsumabuki, Sosuke Ikematsu, Kame and many others. As the private tutor of one of the richest Canadian families in the period drama, Takahata’s character – Emmy Kasahara – symbolizes the aspirations and dreams of young Japanese girls living abroad. Her short but effective speech to rally support for her brother and friends in their final baseball tournament is both inspiring and endearing.

Continue reading “The Battle for the next Top Japanese Dramatic Actress: Mitsuki Takahata [ Part 3 of 6 Parts ]”

Casting News + Scoop! [Apr 28-May 17] What’s up with the Kentos? (Hayashi + Yamazaki); Hero Mania + Mirai Shida & Mitsuki Takahata!

I wanted to post this casting news way back, but a lot of things are happening in RL at the moment, so please bear with me.

The live action report is still underway and the countdown to the top 30 hottest Japanese young actresses are also in the works! Speaking of which, we’re featuring three of the top contenders – Mirai Shida, Mitsuki Takahata, and Fumi Nikaido in this edition of the casting buzz! Also in the news are the Kentos – Yamazaki and Hayashi.

This is our second reminder just how much Mirai Shida is admired by the psychodrama community! I was told that the trailer for Nakimushi Pierrot no Kekkonshiki [ 泣き虫ピエロの結婚式 ] is up already and it’s just awesome! Shida’s co-star who happens to be managed also by Ken-On may have been under the radar, but no more! Hopefully, he can be a better alternative to the lifeless Sota Fukushi. Ryusei is the second lead guy in Orange (the Tao Tsuchiya-Kento Yamazaki box office hit) and this time, he grabs the main role opposite Shida.

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Also in the news (as usual) is Kento Yamazaki while doing the rounds to promote his latest movie, Wolf Girl and Black Prince, with the incomparable Fumi Nikaido. Not far behind, and certainly making his own set of waves is his namesake, Kento Hayashi, who remains one of the most under-rated Japanese actors around.

Continue reading “Casting News + Scoop! [Apr 28-May 17] What’s up with the Kentos? (Hayashi + Yamazaki); Hero Mania + Mirai Shida & Mitsuki Takahata!”

Vancouver Asahi (Vancouver no Asahi ) – バンクーバーの朝日 [Movie Review]

When it was first announced way back in 2013 that The Vancouver Asahi will have Satoshi Tsumabuki and Kazuya Kamenashi among the cast, I am quite confident I will do whatever it takes to watch this movie. I am aware that many sports drama films (coming from Hollywood and elsewhere) are – more often than not – glossed over to highlight particular sport’s milestone. I would not be bothered if this movie follows the formula, just to watch this latest directorial attempt from Yuya Ishii is already enough for me. 

Reports have it that it was only Tsumabuki who has no prior knowledge of the sport and has to undergo training. I am thinking this would not be a big deal since the spotlight might be on Kame, but I was dead wrong. I’m happy (ecstatic even) that it was Tsumabuki who grabbed the biggest share of the movie – his scenes were not only important and telling, his character runs the show!

Continue reading “Vancouver Asahi (Vancouver no Asahi ) – バンクーバーの朝日 [Movie Review]”

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