Casting News + Scoop! [Jan 11-13] Tao Tsuchiya + Shono Hayama; Litchi Hikari Club; a ‘Hint’ of BL in Mubansou (Ikematsu + Saito) and the return of #deadfisheyes on TV shows!

It seems that the likes of Sosuke Ikematsu and Takumi Saito are hard to be typecast because they are just talented and can easily play any characters. Just the same, Ikematsu has been doing a lot of movies where his roles are that of matured (beyond his years), bold, daring type of young men, while Takumi Saito has been doing some rom-com drama shows and even action movies. But Saito, before getting such roles in For Love’s Sake and Ace Attorney, used to play characters in some BL movies. So it is not entirely surprising that there might be some ‘hint’ of BL in their latest film – A Cappella (Mubansou) – 無伴奏 with Riko Narumi.

On the other hand, Tao Tsuchiya and her Mare co-star Shono Hayama are certainly two of Japan’s most sought-after young actors. Teaming up with Ryoma Takeuchi, the trio are the main cast in Yell For The Blue Sky (Aozora Yell) -青空エール.

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The buzz surrounding Litchi Hikari Club remains very high since the movie is about to be released soon in Japan – February 2016. People have been asking me about the ‘intense, intimate’ scenes between the actors and while it would be a big “boo boo” to reveal it all. I can certainly say something about the scenes, without spoiling everyone.

Lastly, the return of #deadfisheyes on TV shows (and movies) are quite alarming this 2016 – Kasumi Arimura (with Kengo Kora in Itsuka Kono Koi wo Omoidashite Kitto Naite Shimau).

Continue reading “Casting News + Scoop! [Jan 11-13] Tao Tsuchiya + Shono Hayama; Litchi Hikari Club; a ‘Hint’ of BL in Mubansou (Ikematsu + Saito) and the return of #deadfisheyes on TV shows!”

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]”

Casting News + Scoop! [Dec 21- 31] Masataka Kubota dominates casting buzz; The Rise & Rise of Shuhei Nomura + The Emergence of Yuta Koseki; Why the push on Kasumi Arimura?

Being recognized (finally!) as one of Japan’s best dramatic actors, Masataka Kubota headlines 2015 with an acting win for the TV series Death Note and a double whammy in the movies and drama fronts as well. – 64 Rokuyon and Hero Mania: Life (movies) and Criminologist Himura and Mystery Writer Arisugawa and Mars (drama shows). 

Recently, he created a splash by teaming up with Masato Yano and did a quasi-BL part in April Fools (starring Tori Matsuzaka, Erika Toda in the lead). Among his new projects, it’s Mars that caught my attention, and his venture into something fresh and challenging is not a surprise, but what a casting scoop!

Kira Aso (Marie Iitoyo) and Rei Kashino (Taisuke Fujigaya) meet when Rei asks Kira for directions to a local hospital one day in the park, but instead of telling him the directions she draws him a map and hands it to him without saying a word. On the back of the directions is a picture Kira drew of a mother and child. On the first day of school, they are both surprised to find that they are in the same class. Later, Rei walks in on their teacher sexually harassing Kira. Rei promises to protect Kira in exchange for a painted version of the sketch that was on the back of the map. He also offers to “lend Kira his body,” and she asks him to model for her. Thus began a relationship that is opposed by the world in general. They draw on their love for each other to heal the wounds the world has left on them; Rei, the scars from his twin’s suicide over something Rei told him, and Kira, her hatred of men due to her stepfather taking advantage of her.

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And Kubota’s character:

Masao Kirishima (桐島 牧生 Kirishima Masao?) is an effeminate sociopath who was often bullied by his only friend, Yuji Aoki. Rei had saved Masao from being beaten to death at one point in time, but he barely remembers this event as the action was impulsive because Rei was still in shock over Sei’s death. Soon after this incident, Masao kills Aoki. Masao admits to having a crush on Rei, but he also claims to have a crush on Kira.

Continue reading “Casting News + Scoop! [Dec 21- 31] Masataka Kubota dominates casting buzz; The Rise & Rise of Shuhei Nomura + The Emergence of Yuta Koseki; Why the push on Kasumi Arimura?”

Blow by Blow account: Litchi Hikari Club releases new movie photos!

In our interview with director Eisuke Naito, he explained: 

When I saw “Litchi Hikari Club” on the stage, most females in the audience were really enjoying boy’s love (BL) scenes. So I am sure that they want to see BL scenes on the big screen too. So, I tried to shoot a film that they will be happy with. “Boy’s love” is popular and a completely established genre here in Japan and there are lots of manga about the theme. On the other hand, Japanese audience can react quite negatively to violence. Usually, we don’t enjoy violent scenes like American audience. Some people take violence too seriously and that might be considered as being conservative. I added a few scenes to say “You can laugh!” to mix up with the violence. 

There were, at least, 8 new photos from the movie that showcase some of the highlights of Litchi Hikari Club [ read film review here ] – the mechanical robot, the first captive girl, and the relationships between the members of the club, in particular Zera, Tamiya and Jaibo.

Continue reading “Blow by Blow account: Litchi Hikari Club releases new movie photos!”

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.

Continue reading “Wakamonotachi 2014: Ep 7-11 Review + Afterthoughts”

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.

Continue reading “Wakamonotachi 2014: First Impressions + Episode 1-6 Review”

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?

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

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.

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

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