PsychoDrama [Talkback]: Kinema Junpou No 1722. Issue features 50 actors under 30 to look out for + Did they get everyone right? [Part 1 of 4 Parts]

When Kinema Junpou announced their 50 names of actors (under 30) to watch out for, the whole PD community was not surprised. I mean, most of the names have been featured on the site – one way or another. Just take a look at the top 30 hit list [ promising | hottest ] and you’ll notice that most of them are included in the Kinema list.

I’d love to open up the discussion on both those who are already part of our list and those who may be considered “under the radar” since I think we have some exciting names in the Kinema Junpou list that need some research. Here’s the rub: If you’re an editor exposed to all the buzz inside the Japanese entertainment industry, you obviously have the advantage (and disadvantage) since – I really believe – we on the outside has a more ‘objective” look. Then again, that’s debatable of course!

Let’s see…. so we have 50 names!

Continue reading “PsychoDrama [Talkback]: Kinema Junpou No 1722. Issue features 50 actors under 30 to look out for + Did they get everyone right? [Part 1 of 4 Parts]”

Japan’s Best Actors – The Hottest List [Top 15; 2016 Edition]

During our first rankings, it was Satoshi Tsumabuki who ruled! Aside from winning Best Actor at the Japan Academy for Villain, Tsumabuki dominated the casting buzz – with back to back roles, including lead roles for My Back Page (with Kenichi Matsuyama), Smuggler and Fly With the Gold. A year later, it was Ryuhei Matsuda’s turn  – he also won Best Actor and had a string of amazing films. On our third year, it was Shota Sometani who dominated the rankings.

Sometani went on to top the rankings 2 years in a row, with Yuya Yagira closing in at 2nd place… This year is very different!

 

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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]”

Gassoh (Joint Burial) – 合葬 [Movie Review]

Gassoh tells the tale of three childhood friends who harbor different political and social leanings. The year is 1868, after 300 years of domination, The Tokugawa Shogunate has fallen. Yoshinobu Tokugawa, the last Shogun, has just been exiled to Mito. This historical political event was said to have started without bloodshed as the political leaders at that time agreed to a peaceful discussion (rather than war) to usher in the Meiji era. But as the movie’s narrator explained, humans are not so innocent creatures as discontent and rebellion soon ignited all over Japan.

We have 3 life-long friends – Kiwamu (Yuya Yagira), the fiery and loyal samurai who clings to the glory of the Shogunate; Masanosuke (Koji Seto) the adopted son of the House of Kasai who was forced to leave his home as a result of the death of his adopted father and Teijiro (Amane Okayama), the scholar among the three, who pursues Goku for breaking off his marriage to his younger sister (Mugi Kadowaki). 

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The Year in Review – 2015: Japanese Dramas that made waves during the year + Favorite dramatic scenes & performances! [ Spring Shows – Part 2/4]

Unpredictable, concise, exciting – these are some of the adjectives most often used to describe Japanese dramas.  I often smile when I read that someone who has left the J-dorama scene and went over to Korean dramas would exclaim that they have been “far removed” from such shows that they felt elated and happy to be back. On the other hand, those who left the scene (for good) would often complain about the lack of originality and the over-acting of most Japanese drama performers. I guess we have to follow what we like and never settle for anything less. 

Spring 2015 Japanese drama list is one filled with many notable (and otherwise) titles and the case of loving (or hating) as describe above continues.

Continue reading “The Year in Review – 2015: Japanese Dramas that made waves during the year + Favorite dramatic scenes & performances! [ Spring Shows – Part 2/4]”

Japan Academy Prize 2014: The Great Passage & Like Father, Like Son dominate award ceremony!

FINAL UPDATE: As predicted, the two most acclaimed pictures we have listed below grabbed the most number of awards in the 37th Japan Academy Prize held 7th of March 2014.

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Ryuhei Matsuda + Aoi Miyazaki in The Great Passage, directed by Yuya Ishii,  Asmik Ace Entertainment, Shochiku 2013, All Rights Reserved. 

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Here are the nominees and the winners of the major categories:

Picture of the Year:

The Devil’s Path
A Boy Called H
Like Father, Like Son
Tōkyō Kazoku
The Great Passage – winner
Ask This of Rikyu

Animation of the Year:

The Tale of Princess Kaguya
The Wind Rises – winner
Space Pirate Captain Harlock
Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion
Lupin the 3rd vs. Detective Conan: The Movie

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30 Essential Japanese Coming-of-Age Movies (Part 1)

Inspired by the recent Cannes Film Festival win of Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda’s “Like Father, Like Son”, we are compiling 30 of the best Japanese movies dealing with the coming-of-age theme! Think Billy Elliot, Pretty in Pink, Stand by MeStrayed, Dead Poets’ Society and Good Will Hunting in different lights, settings, and circumstances and with English subtitles!

In a country where family dramas rule TV and plenty of exciting young talents, movies about the joy of growing up are meant to be celebrated. But some of the movies also deal with the dark side of society and of the family – bullying, incest, suicide, abandonment, and separation.

The aim is to compile a diverse list of not only critically acclaimed titles but also ordinary moviegoers’ favorites. Part 1 after the jump!

Continue reading “30 Essential Japanese Coming-of-Age Movies (Part 1)”

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