Capturing the moods of Aoi Yu: How ‘Birds Without Names’ trailer shows the actress at her best!

Her most recent performance in Over the Fence was good enough for a couple of Best Actress nominations, but Aoi Yu continues to make headlines with new and exciting projects! In Birds Without Names (彼女がその名を知らない鳥たち) from The Devil’s Path director Shiraishi Kazuya, Miss Yu is an opportunistic young woman who had been involved in a few complicated relationships.

Towako (Aoi Yu) still can’t forget Kurosaki, even though they broke up 8 years ago. She now lives with a man named Jinji (Abe Sadao). Jinji is 15 years older than her. Towako hates Jinji who is poor and vulgar, but she lives with him because of his wage. One day, she meets Mizushima who has wife and kid. He reminds her of Kurosaki. Soon, she is in an affair with Mizushima. A detective visits Towako and tells her that Kurosaki is missing. [source]

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Tokyo Ghoul – 東京喰種 [Live Action Coverage]

Based on the original work by Ishida Sui, Tokyo Ghoul is one of the most fascinating and original series about seemingly ‘normal’ human beings but in fact are monsters with an insatiable appetite for human flesh. Like vampires who beguile and trick humans, ghouls also hide their true nature. A 12-episode animation series of Tokyo Ghoul was broadcasted in 2014 and Shochiku will take the lead in the production of the LA version – giving the directorial task to newcomer Hagiwara Kentaro. It stars Kubota Masataka who will play the main protagonist Kaneki Ken.

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What the movie is all about: Tokyo Ghoul is set in an alternate reality where ghouls, individuals who can only survive by eating human flesh, live among the normal humans in secret, hiding their true nature to evade pursuit from the authorities. The story follows Kaneki Ken, a college student who barely survives a deadly encounter with Kamishiro Rize, his date who reveals herself to be a ghoul. Due to circumstances, he ends up being taken to the hospital in critical condition. After recovering, Kaneki discovers that he underwent a surgery that transformed him into a half-ghoul. This was accomplished because some of Rize’s organs were transferred into his body, and now, like normal ghouls, he must consume human flesh to survive. The ghouls who manage the coffee shop Anteiku take him in and teach him to deal with his new life as a half-ghoul.

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Casting News + Scoop! [May 3-10] Spotlight on Aoi Yu, Mitsushima Hikari, Kadowaki Mugi, Nagayama Kento and Ikematsu Sosuke – New and exciting projects!

When it comes to compelling, haunting, sensual, and hypnotic performances, I have come to rely on Aoi Yu, Mitsushima Hikari, and Kadowaki Mugi. These actresses are known for their on-screen collaboration with some of Japan’s best filmmakers, and their latest projects have generated a lot of buzzes – some may be potential award winners!

 

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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.

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Spotlight of the Month: Yu Aoi: Celebrating one of Japan’s most exciting young actresses!

When it comes to choosing the first Japanese actress as “Spotlight of the month,” I had a hard time because I like a lot of them – Fumi Nikaido, Mao Inoue, Haru Kuroki, Tao Tsuchiya, Mitsuki Takahata, Hikari Mitsushima, Chizuru Ikewaki, Hana Sugisaki… But I settled for Yu Aoi because I think her acting career also needs to be celebrated in as much as the other names on my list. 

I first saw her in Honokaa Boy (featuring Masaki Okada), and I did not like her, probably because she plays the role of a spoiled brat, and that she was extremely effective playing the role. Then it’s time to see her dance the hula in Hula Girls and what an awesome performance it was! She’s a natural dancer, and she is always intense. Her role in the  Sang-il Lee award-winning film features a lot of dramatic scenes with Sumiko Fuji (who plays her strict Mom) and Yasuko Matsuyuki (who plays the dance trainer), and she was never left out when it comes to the performance. In fact, she was nominated and won some awards for her role.

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Casting News + Scoop! [Mar10-13]: Masaki Suda dominates casting news + Romancing Yu Aoi; Is Satoshi Tsumabuki her ideal on-screen partner? DISH//’s Takumi Kitamura rocks!

Our previous casting news round-up features both Satoshi Tsumabuki and Masaki Suda but for different projects – Suda, of course, grabbed another role which is now the subject of extensive discussion [ re: his character and what sort of performance he must do in order to do justice to the role. ] I’m talking about Oboreru Knife and I’m inviting you to join in the recent discussion! In today’s casting news, Suda may not be playing the lead character, but knowing his ability to steal scenes – I will not be surprised if he overwhelms his co-stars! The movie – Somebody [Nanimono] is all about 5 Uni students whose lives intertwined with both romantic and dramatic colors. Suda’s co-stars include Takeru Satoh (lead role), with Masaki Okada, Fumi Nikaido and Kasumi Arimura playing the other main characters. What makes this movie both anticipated and ‘problematic’ is how the actors can generate interesting chemistry between each other and as a whole.

I know that some of you have seen Mondai no Aru Restaurant, the acclaimed TV drama where Suda and Nikaido played a couple. While I considered the series as one of the best I’ve seen last year, the interaction between Nikaido and Suda has some unexplored areas, and I am in need of closure. I wish that their characters were explored more… 

I don’t know if they will be romantically paired again in this new project, but it seems Arimura is Suda’s girlfriend this time around. While both Nikaido (My Man) and Arimura (Biri Gal) both got Best Actress nom at the Japan Academy, Nikaido is miles away when it comes to talent. I’m not trying to insult or belittle Arimura because she can play well herself, but no one can come close to Nikaido. If you have someone like Nikaido and Suda acting together in a movie, you begin to doubt how their co-stars can catch up with them. Of course, Masaki Okada is as talented as one actor can get. [ I enjoyed watching Okada with Yui Aragaki in Okitegami Kyoko no Biboroku very much! ]

Continue reading “Casting News + Scoop! [Mar10-13]: Masaki Suda dominates casting news + Romancing Yu Aoi; Is Satoshi Tsumabuki her ideal on-screen partner? DISH//’s Takumi Kitamura rocks!”

10 Most Anticipated Japanese Movies 2016 – Haruko Azumi Is Missing – アズミ・ハルコは行方不明 (Daigo Matsui)

I don’t see the relevance when you say Yu Aoi’s last lead character in a film “One Million Yen and the Nigamushi Woman.” was seven years ago.

I mean, she has been stealing scenes and captivating audiences year in, year out – Shining Boy and Little Randy (2005), Mushishi (2006), Hula Girls (2006), The Lightning Tree (2010), About Her Brother (2010), Rurouni Kenshin (2012), Penance (2012), Tokyo Family (2013) and the two more recent Rurouni Kenshin sequels.

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Even in TV series Mozu and Wakamono Tachi, Aoi has consistently maintained her screen presence that it’s almost as if we know her personally.

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100 Best Contemporary Japanese Movies – [4] Hula Girls – Yu Aoi dances her way into our hearts!

Hula Girls (Hula garu) launched the career of Yu Aoi, one of Japan’s best young actresses. With her good looks, brilliant acting and her amazing dance moves, Aoi clearly establishes herself as a dramatic actress, and Hula Girls gave her the opportunity to make a mark in the Japanese movie scene.

Yasuko Matsuyuki also performed one of her best roles as Aoi’s dance teacher and has won acting awards for this movie.

What the Movie is all about: As the Korean War draws to a close and the pressing demand for copious amounts of coal takes a sudden plunge, the remote Japanese mining town of Joban attempts to compensate for the devastating economic blow by transforming itself into a lavish Hawaiian retreat in an affectionate comedy inspired by real events and directed by Lee Sang-il. The year s 1965 and the changes that have swept through the outside world are finally reaching Joban. As the mineworkers are laid off, and the women of the town take it upon themselves to gently nudge their once-prosperous community from the brink of economic collapse, the ancient Hawaiian art of the hula dance seems to offer the ideal means of doing so. Though highly fashionable Tokyo urbanite Madoka Hirayama (Yasuko Matsuyuki) at first seems terribly out of place when she arrives in Joban to teach local ladies how to saw their hips with authentic grace, her noble efforts soon instill her students with a newfound sense of confidence in both themselves and their struggling community. [ Narrative by Jason Buchanan ]

Why you should watch this movie: Both critics and moviegoers will agree that this type of film is already well-known, a group of misfits trying to prove their worth in society by doing something unique and even surprising.

But what makes this movie special is the emotional punch that is evident throughout the film. Yu Aoi, Yasuko Matsuyuki, and Sumiko Fuji represent three different women with their set of values and beliefs, and their clashes make it more than worthwhile.

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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.

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