Written and directed by first-timer Kanai Junichi, under Stardust Pictures, Yurusenai Aitai – ゆるせない、逢いたい (translated into English as ‘Again’) is about the romantic relationship between Hatsumi (Yoshikura Aoi) and Ryutaro (Yagira Yuya) that turned ugly. 

Released in 2013, I’m fortunate to screen this film even after four years because of the cast (the amazing Yagira Yuya!), and the serious theme of the movie. 

Continue reading “Again – ‘Yurusenai Aitai’ [Movie Review]”

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! [March 1-6] Masaki Suda and Ryunosuke Kamiki dominate casting news with March Comes in Like a Lion and Teiichi no Kuni! + The latest on Gintama!

Instinct tells us when something is good or bad. In the case of March Comes In Like a Lion, there is no denying that it’s good – great even. Of course, we have yet to watch the movie, but the anticipation is just as intense. There is a firm belief that this 2-part movie will be Ryunosuke Kamiki’s biggest role to date, maybe even worthy of acting awards.

Speaking of intense, the recently released trailer for Teiichi no Kuni is worth a watch, even more, just for the scene reveals. With five movie projects alone for 2017, Masaki Suda is – once again – dominating the casting news. Having multiple projects may be bad for one’s health, but I have yet to see a bad performance from Suda. My only problem is overexposure, but then again why would you complain if you’re seeing the future of Japanese acting in Suda’s enigmatic presence?

Continue reading “Casting News + Scoop! [March 1-6] Masaki Suda and Ryunosuke Kamiki dominate casting news with March Comes in Like a Lion and Teiichi no Kuni! + The latest on Gintama!”

Actors Transformation: A Visual ‘study’ of contrasting characters – Shota Sometani and Yuya Yagira [Part 1, Vol. 1]

When an actor successfully transforms himself into a character – not only showing different physical attributes but also displaying a distinct personality, moviegoers are in awe. Of course, credit goes to the makeup and special effects artists who helped in the transformation. But still, the actor gets a round of applause for pulling it off. 

Most movie bloggers mention Christian Bale (The Machinist), Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers’ Club) and Charlize Theron (Monster) among the most notable, but there are a great number of Asian actors who have made impressive transformation themselves. There was even a Chinese actress who pulled off her teeth to make a performance as realistic as possible.

Tadanobu Asano, one of Japan’s best actors, play some high-profile roles that require equally difficult transformation – as Kakihara in the ultra-violent Ichi, the Killer, as Temudjin (Genghis Kahn) in Mongol and as Samurai Hyozo Tashiro in Gohatto, among others.  

Continue reading “Actors Transformation: A Visual ‘study’ of contrasting characters – Shota Sometani and Yuya Yagira [Part 1, Vol. 1]”

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.

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

Destruction [Distraction] Babies (Disutorakushon Beibizu) – ディストラクション・ベイビーズ [Movie Review]

Destruction Babies is an intense tale of two brothers, Taira Ashihara (Yuya Yagira) and Shota (Nijiro Murakami) who live by themselves in a small port town. Both young men are prone to violence – the older lives by the thrill of a fight, while the younger is more restrained, yet might follow the same path of destruction. 

The most extreme 108 minutes in Japanese film history?

That byline, which caught my fancy when the casting news was announced, lives up to its expectation. 

Tetsuya Mariko, the celebrated indie filmmaker, showcases his latest work, in the tradition of Yellow Kid (rookie boxer turned manga model) and Ninifuni (about a provincial young burglar). While his previous films feature young men who are often misunderstood and treated shabbily by society, Destruction Babies goes a notch higher as Mariko’s characters reverse roles spewing hate and violence to an otherwise unsuspecting society. 

Continue reading “Destruction [Distraction] Babies (Disutorakushon Beibizu) – ディストラクション・ベイビーズ [Movie Review]”

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]”

Casting News + Scoop! [Sept 9-13] Eating Pancreas, Second Summers, Destruction Babies & Yuya Yagira’s acting!

Another milestone appears on the Japanese casting horizon! With the likes of Masaki Suda, Yuya Yagira and Sosuke Ikematsu taking on the more challenging, complex roles previously awarded to such actors as Satoshi Tsumabuki, Masanobu Ando, and even Joe Odagiri, there is now a sort of “void” being filled up by younger, fresh players. This time, we have Takumi Kitamura and Nijiro Murakami hugging the headlines. Remember, they are not the only ones getting the prized roles – Taishi Nakagawa (it seems he’s about to challenge Kento Yamazaki and Sota Fukushi?), and before him Hiroya Shimizu (remember The World of Kanako and Solomon’s Perjury?).

And what a movie title it is! I Want to Eat Your Pancreas ( Kimi no Suizo wo Tabetai – 君の膵臓をたべたい) stars Kitamura with new actress Minami Hamabe (yes, the girl who played Menma in Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day). If you think about it, Kitamura and fellow actor Nijiro Murakami switch places! Murakami was cast in Anohana with Hamabe, and this time, Kitamura was the main character who will narrate and bring back the memories of Hamabe’s character. Keiko Kitagawa and Shun Oguri are playing present-day characters to fill up the story.

Continue reading “Casting News + Scoop! [Sept 9-13] Eating Pancreas, Second Summers, Destruction Babies & Yuya Yagira’s acting!”

The Transformation of Yuya Yagira

It’s a delight to know that award-winning Japanese actor Yagira Yuya – 柳楽優弥 has a twitter account! Suffice to say, we @PsychoDrama are inspired to launch a special feature on the actor celebrating his most amazing films! Born 26 March 1990, Yagira has done more than 30 full length-films and TV series. During the 90th Kinema Junpo Film Awards, Yagira won Best Actor for Mariko Tetsuya’s Destruction Babies.

– – gg

Yuya Yagira photo courtesy of the actor from his Twitter account

In what can be considered Yuya Yagira’s most challenging role to date (after Nobody Knows and Gassoh), his depiction of Taira is devoid of any human emotions. Except for a few grunts and sighs as he recovers from one bloody fight on his way to the next, he remains cool and collected despite the beatings. Unlike other actors who get overwhelmed by the confusion and chaos in filming violent, demanding scenes, Yagira looks inspired, almost serene and otherworldly. [read our movie review here]

Let’s take a closer look at how he got started as an actor…

After winning the Best Actor for Nobody Knows at the 57th Cannes Film Festival at the age of 15, Yuya Yagira initially struggled with fame and the glare of the spotlight, plus the nasty attitude of the press who constantly hunted him down for gossip and news. After finishing All to the Sea (Subete wa umi ni naru) back in 2010, he took a sort of hiatus and came back to making movies three years later.

Continue reading “The Transformation of Yuya Yagira”

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