The Eight Year Engagement: A roller-coaster ride between tragedy and romance!

In the Eight Year Engagement, a couple, Hisashi (Satoh Takeru) and Mai (Tsuchiya Tao), is about to get married when the girl fell into a coma. 

Instead of abandoning her, the boy remains at her side. When Mai wakes up, she fails to recognize Hisashi and so the story continues.

Following the tradition of undying love – as exemplified by April Bride (Eita + Eikura Nana) and Koizora: Sky of Love (Miura Haruma + Aragaki Yui ), Shochiku ventures into the romantic drama genre. While April Bride tackles cancer, and so is Koizora, among others, The Eight Year Engagement brings the complication of disease with lapses in memory. The movie revolves around the loyalty and steadfast duty of a man waiting for his loved one to recover from an illness.

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The Emperor’s Cook – 天皇の料理番 Comprehensive Review and Acting Highlights [Part 2 of 3 Parts]

TBS Network’s The Emperor’s Cook swept the major trophies at the 8th International Drama Awards in Tokyo back in 2015. Aside from the Grand Prix (Best Drama), Satoh Takeru, Kuroki Haru, and Suzuki Ryohei won major acting awards as well. 

In Part One, we have an introduction and some historical notes. Let’s have a recap, shall we?

Based on the novel “Tenno no Ryoriban” by Sugimori Hisahide, it tells the story of Akiyama Tokuzo (1888-1974) who served as Emperor Taishō’s and later Emperor Shōwa’s Imperial chef. He is regarded as an influential figure in spreading French cuisine in Japan and is also referred to as the “Japanese Escoffier”.

Tokuzo is a spoiled brat, who is notorious, annoying and easily gets bored on any activity he joins out of curiosity. His strict father and diligent mother had almost given up hope on whether he can be reformed, but his niiyan (eldest brother) remains his staunchest supporter. Forced into a marriage of convenience, Tokuzo, instead became passionate about cooking when he had his first taste of beef cutlet. Even in his pursuit of becoming the “Best cook of the Empire of Japan”, his arranged wife took it upon herself to support him. Trained in Tokyo, and later in Paris, France, he learned the many secrets and wonders of cooking amidst discrimination, hardship, and rejection. He overcomes it all to be appointed Emperor’s Cook at the young age of 25.

Continue reading “The Emperor’s Cook – 天皇の料理番 Comprehensive Review and Acting Highlights [Part 2 of 3 Parts]”

Casting News + Scoop! [Sept 12-18] Odagiri Joe’s Ernesto + Spotlight on Suga Kenta + Romancing Tsuchiya Tao + Mrs. GREEN Apple’s ‘Poetry Angel’ video + Yoshizawa Ryo and his brand of ‘comedy’!

We’re more than halfway in September, with plenty of articles to celebrate Food month still, and the casting news keeps on coming! Third Window Film’s Love and Other Cults is a special viewing event with an upcoming review – just have to say Suga Kenta and Itoh Sairi deserve all the raves they get from critics and reviewers. We’ll have more of Suga Kenta later, and a definite top placement for Itoh at our upcoming Top 30 hottest Japanese actress list. 

We begin our casting buzz with Ernesto, starring Odagiri Joe, Nagayama Kento, and Juan Miguel Valero Acosta. Odagiri plays a Japanese-Bolivian citizen named Freddy Maemura Hurtado who travels to Cuba to study medicine. He meets Che Guevarra. Years later, he joins Guevarra’s army in Bolivia’s civil war and was nicknamed Ernesto Medico. Nagayama plays a news reporter.

Continue reading “Casting News + Scoop! [Sept 12-18] Odagiri Joe’s Ernesto + Spotlight on Suga Kenta + Romancing Tsuchiya Tao + Mrs. GREEN Apple’s ‘Poetry Angel’ video + Yoshizawa Ryo and his brand of ‘comedy’!”

The Emperor’s Cook – 天皇の料理番 Its Relevance in today’s perception of Chefs + historical and acting highlights! [Part 1 of 3 Parts]

The awards and impressive reviews bestowed on TBS’s The Emperor’s Cook – 天皇の料理番 (released in 2015) may be regarded as unprecedented when it comes to a foodie drama. As it tackles very important milestones in Japanese history, it also puts the spotlight on the status of cooks and chefs in recent Japanese society.

Based on the novel “Tenno no Ryoriban” by Sugimori Hisahide, it tells the story of Akiyama Tokuzo (1888-1974) who served as Emperor Taishō’s and later Emperor Shōwa’s Imperial chef. He is regarded as an influential figure in spreading French cuisine in Japan and is also referred to as the “Japanese Escoffier”.

Continue reading “The Emperor’s Cook – 天皇の料理番 Its Relevance in today’s perception of Chefs + historical and acting highlights! [Part 1 of 3 Parts]”

Ajin:Demi-Human- 亜人 [Live Action Coverage]

Ajin:Demi-Human is a manga series written and illustrated by Gamon Sakurai. It has an anime version (a trilogy) produced by Japanese 3DCG animation studio, Polygon Pictures. The live-action adaptation is under Toho, with Bayside Shakedown director Motohiro Katsuyuki and stars Satoh Takeru in the lead role, with Ayano Go, Chiba Yudai, Shirota Yuu, Hamabe Minami, and Yamada Yuki as supporting cast. The film is scheduled to be released on 30th September 2017.

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What the movie is all about: The LA centers on a student, Kei Nagai (永井圭), who discovers he is an immortal referred to as Ajin. The realization only came when he was hit by a truck, died but actually recovered. He becomes a target for the government as Ajin are considered dangerous semi-human beings. While the government claims to help Ajin live in a safe environment, they are using them as subjects for cruel and inhumane experimentation. As a result, many Ajin that have escaped are bent on revenge with a specific Ajin, Sato (Ayano Gou), planning to destroy humanity. Is Kei the only one who can stop him?

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The Year in Review – 2016: Who Made the Biggest Headlines Among Leading Japanese Actors?

A precursor to our upcoming Top 30 Hottest Japanese actors list, the 2016 newsmakers reflect the current state of ‘acting’ in Japan and the names of those who are given opportunities to follow in the footsteps of the greats – Mifune, Takakura, Yakusho, Watanabe. While senior actors like Tadanobu Asano, Joe Odagiri, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Eita, Mirai Moriyama, Shun Oguri continue to pay major roles, our contenders have captured a sizeable portion of the casting pie among themselves.



Are they the best actors Japan could offer? Apparently, the answer is yes! 

Before that, let’s see who are the frontrunners for acting awards this year:

Tomokazu Miura (Katsuragi Case);

Joe Odagiri (Over the Fence);

A few more names will soon appear as the Japan Academy Prize nominees are announced later. Kinema Junpo’s list is still being considered, with readers participating in the annual survey.

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Does it matter if they cast the right actor on Live-action adaptations? A list of the best and worst casting choices! [Part 3 of 3 Parts]

I want to understand how exactly actors get movie or TV drama roles in Japan. We can only make a list of the best and worst casting choices without knowing anything that goes behind the casting. But then again, it’s easy to make a list and hard to get those ‘facts.’ 

Here’s what we know:

  1. Production Committees make all the important choices, including the director and the cast;
  2. Talent agencies are part of these boards, and they have their roster of talents. Amuse got Haruma Miura, Takeru Satoh, Ryunosuke Kamiki; while Stardust manages Kento Yamazaki, Masataka Kubota, Yuya Yagira. Topcoat has Masaki Suda and Tori Matsuzaka. Of course, Johnny’s got the idols including Junichi Okada, Nino, Kame, Toma Ikuta, Yuto Nakajima. Ken-On promotes Sota Fukushi.
  3. Cast and crew get low pay compared to their Hollywood counterparts; they can’t even match what the Chinese or the Koreans are getting, according to many reports;
  4. The producers of a successful TV series, when adapted into a movie, will have ‘priority seats’ in the committee. Cast and crew can be same, or some casting choices have to be made to assure that there is a success in the box office;
  5. There is enough income to be had in the local market. 

Does it matter if they cast the right actor on Live-action adaptations? A list of the best and worst casting choices! [Part 1 of 3 Parts]

Does it matter if the powerful production committees in Japan cast the right actors in our favorite manga, anime or light novels? The question appears either valid or invalid to fans since no one could do anything about it anyway, but still – what have we got to lose? 

 

It is equally relevant to say that – some of us – can also make accurate ‘predictions’ as in the case of Kento Yamazaki and Ryunosuke Kamiki grabbing some noted roles of late. I say it’s delightful since it only means ‘we get it!’ And the people in these committees do too! Though I question their choices most of the time. The fact remains that the members of these committees and not artists or filmmakers, but are businessman and they are tasked to make sure that the funds put into these films will earn them a reasonable ROI (return on investment).

Let me get back to that later.

Continue reading “Does it matter if they cast the right actor on Live-action adaptations? A list of the best and worst casting choices! [Part 1 of 3 Parts]”

Live Action Report: Casting scoop for Takeru Satoh (Ajin), Mahiro Takasugi (Gyakkou no Koro) & Ryo Yoshizawa (Tomodachi Game)!

Three live action adaptations that star Takeru Satoh, Mahiro Takasugi, and Ryo Yoshizawa are creating a lot of buzz in the J-ent universe! One of Japan’s biggest box office draw – Takeru Satoh – has just been reported to be playing the leading role in the manga-based series “Ajin” by Gamon Sakurai. Mahiro Takasugi who was such a terrific actor in Bon Lin has added a new project – Gyakkou no Koro, while Ryo Yoshizawa takes on the lead in Tomodachi Game (a 3-part movie (?) and drama).

After the critical success of Bakuman, Takeru Satoh takes on the role of Kei Nagai, a mysterious immortal human:

Mysterious immortal humans known as “Ajin” first appeared 17 years ago in Africa. Upon their discovery, they were labeled as a threat to mankind, as they might use their powers for evil and were incapable of being destroyed. Since then, whenever an Ajin is found within society, they are to be arrested and taken into custody immediately. Studying hard to become a doctor, Kei Nagai is a high schooler who knows very little about Ajin, only having seen them appear in the news every now and then. Students are taught that these creatures are not considered to be human, but Kei doesn’t pay much attention in class. As a result, his perilously little grasp on this subject proves to be completely irrelevant when he survives an accident that was supposed to claim his life, signaling his rebirth as an Ajin and the start of his days of torment. However, as he finds himself alone on the run from the entire world, Kei soon realizes that more of his species may be a lot closer than he thinks. [ source ]

The live action will “mature” the main character and will be a medical intern instead.

Continue reading “Live Action Report: Casting scoop for Takeru Satoh (Ajin), Mahiro Takasugi (Gyakkou no Koro) & Ryo Yoshizawa (Tomodachi Game)!”

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