Casting News + Scoop! [July 18-26] Updating Japanese-Korean movie collaboration hitlist + The buzz on Eita, Mitsushima Hikari and Tsumabuki Satoshi + Ikuta Toma’s Sensei!

There are plenty of casting news featuring Japan’s more established actors, including Tsumabuki Satoshi, Eita, Mitsushima Hikari, Aragaki Yui, and Ikuta Toma. This post is dedicated to their new movies and TV drama and more!

One Hitoshi’s latest project – Okuda Tamio ni Naritai Boy to Deau Otoko Subete Kuruwaseru Garu – features the unlikely ‘team-up’ of Tsumabuki Satoshi and Mizuhara Kiko as ‘lovers’ or are they? 

 

The story centers on Kōroki, a 35-year old man who uses the life of Japanese singer and songwriter Tamio Okuda as a guide for his own life. He works as an editor at the lifestyle magazine “Mare,” where he meets Akari Amami, a mischievous fashion press writer, and falls in love with her at first sight. The manga chronicles the joy and sadness of his relationship.

Continue reading “Casting News + Scoop! [July 18-26] Updating Japanese-Korean movie collaboration hitlist + The buzz on Eita, Mitsushima Hikari and Tsumabuki Satoshi + Ikuta Toma’s Sensei!”

Casting News + Scoop! [July 12-17] Higashide Masahiro’s casting domination – Sanposuru Shinryakusha, Netemo Sametemo and Overdrive + Nakajo Ayami’s flicks! + Spotlight on Awesome CMs!

Taking on lead and supporting roles, Higashide Masahiro dominates casting news for the week! Let’s see, what’s new for the model turned actor?

Overdrive (2018)
Netemosametemo (2018) – Baku / Ryohei
Before We Vanish | Sanpo Suru Shinryakusha (2017) – pastor
Sanposuru Shinryakusha (2017) – Drama series WOWOW
Sekigahara (2017) – Hideaki Kobayakawa

Let’s start with Overdrive. Director Hasumi Eiichiro reveals that Overdrive will be the first its kind – a rich human drama that depicts the world of car racing.

Continue reading “Casting News + Scoop! [July 12-17] Higashide Masahiro’s casting domination – Sanposuru Shinryakusha, Netemo Sametemo and Overdrive + Nakajo Ayami’s flicks! + Spotlight on Awesome CMs!”

Casting News + Scoop! [July 1-11] The Buzz on Tsuchiya Tao and Hirose Suzu + Yamazaki Kento’s Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure wins in France! + Yoshizawa Ryo’s “Deadly games with friends” and new project “Anoko no, toriko”! + new movie releases!

July 2017 promises to be an exciting month for movies! Gintama, The Anthem of the Heart, I Want to Eat Your Pancreas, The Time of Backlights, Love and Other Cults, Her Sketchbook, and Mitsushima Hikari’s ‘Umibe no Sei to Shi’ are all set for release.

On the international front, Yamazaki Kento’s latest film, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable wins the Audience Award at the 17th Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival. 

Continue reading “Casting News + Scoop! [July 1-11] The Buzz on Tsuchiya Tao and Hirose Suzu + Yamazaki Kento’s Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure wins in France! + Yoshizawa Ryo’s “Deadly games with friends” and new project “Anoko no, toriko”! + new movie releases!”

Excitement intensifies for the ‘Fireworks’ anime! + Matsu Takako, Hirose Suzu, Suda Masaki lend voices and talent to new film!

Toho (with Iwai Shunji’s name attached to it) reverses the trend in Japanese movie production by launching an anime after the live-action version! In the case of Fireworks, Should We See it from the Side or the Bottom?(Uchiage Hanabi, Shita kara Miru ka? Yoko kara Miru ka?) that’s exactly what’s happening. The LA version (drama) was shown in 1993. Yesterday, the anime’s official LINE blog announces the casting of acclaimed actress Matsu Takako. 

{gallery}casting-news/june-2017/fireworks{/gallery}

Already part of the cast is Hirose Suzu as Nazuna, Suda Masaki as Norimichi and Miyano Mamoru as Yusuke. Japanese film trailblazers are also attached to the anime – One Hitoshi will write the script based on Iwai Shunji’s original work, Studio SHAFT featuring Takeuchi Nobuyuki and Simbo Akiyuki will lead directorial efforts.

Continue reading “Excitement intensifies for the ‘Fireworks’ anime! + Matsu Takako, Hirose Suzu, Suda Masaki lend voices and talent to new film!”

Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso) – 四月は君の嘘 [Movie Review]

Based on the manga series “Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso” by Arakawa Naoshi, the live action adaptation of Your Lie in April (四月は君の嘘) centers on Arima Kosei (Yamazaki Kento), a shy, unassuming young boy and piano prodigy and Miyazono Kaori (Hirose Suzu), a free-spirited and fearless young girl who is a passionate violinist. Their lives intersect when a close friend (Ishii Anna) set up a date between Kaori and Watari Ryota (Nakagawa Taishi) with Kosei tagging as the friend’s date.

While the girl tries to be friendly with her match, it was Kosei she is eyeing all along. She later revealed to having known Kosei as the young musical genius who inspired her to take on the violin. Thus, a bond was formed which gets to be tested time and again as the duo joins a number of musical competition. 

It’s not hard for Kosei to fall for Kaori since they are opposites – Kosei plays the piano with subtlety, technical competence, and honesty, while Kaori challenges conventions by doing her own interpretation without regard to what the judges (or the audience for that matter) might say. 

Continue reading “Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso) – 四月は君の嘘 [Movie Review]”

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 ]”

Live Action Buzz on Chihayafuru – Chihaya and Arata v Taishi: Who are you rooting for? [Part 3 of 4 Parts]

The release of the first Chihayafuru movie offers viewers a glimpse of the complicated relationship between Chihaya with Taishi and Arata. While the first film puts the spotlight on Taishi’s side, with love that seems to overflow and can sometimes be heartbreaking, Arata’s story is yet to unfold.

I’m pleasantly surprised with the changes (alterations) the live action movie has made. Of course, watching the anime episodes, you begin with the premise that this is more than just a love story, it’s also about friendship and connection, of camaraderie and teamwork, of competition and rivalry. Most important, it promotes the sport of karuta – a contest that has a long history and is uniquely Japanese. But we’ll get into that later. I just want to say, the karuta tournament scenes are thrilling to watch. [ special mention to Yuki Morinaga who plays Komano and yes! Hiroya Shimizu as Akihito Sudo for excellent acting! ]

If you’ve read Part One (about our main characters, Chihaya, Taishi and Arata), then you are aware that there is a rivalry between Taishi and Arata – a battle for Chihaya’s love and affection. Though you can hardly tell if there is any competition at all – you can just feel the tension and that there is something bubbling – just underneath the surface.

Which gives me the chance to ask you – our viewers – one of the most universal of questions:

Will you choose the one who loves you or wait for the one you love?

When Chihaya called Arata after many months of separation, it was with Taishi’s ‘blessings.’ Chihaya is eternally grateful to Arata for introducing her to karuta and with that – the chance to find something worthwhile to pursue. It shaped her world in ways she could not imagine. Arata, at a young age, is already a legend amongst karuta players. With such a reputation, Chihaya is in awe, looking up to Arata as if he’s an idol or a young god.

Continue reading “Live Action Buzz on Chihayafuru – Chihaya and Arata v Taishi: Who are you rooting for? [Part 3 of 4 Parts]”

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