Friday, March 30, 2012

Preview of Mikeneko Holmes no Suiri - Spring 2012

Title: Mikeneko Holmes no Suiri
Official website: here
Broadcast by: NTV
O.A. Start Date: 14 April 2012
Timeslot: Saturdays 9pm
Cast: Aiba Masaki, Fujiki Naohito, Ookura Tadayoshi, Oomasa Aya, Matsuko Deluxe, Omi Toshinori, Ishizaka Koji

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Preview of Blackboard ~ Jidai to Tatakatta Kyoushitachi ~

Title: Blackboard ~ Jidai to Tatakatta Kyoushitachi ~
Official website: here
O.A. Dates: 5th, 6th and 7th April
Timeslot: 9pm
Broadcast by: TBS
(Part 1) Sakurai Sho, Miyazawa Rie, Oshima Yuko, Nakamura Aoi, Morisako Ei, Suzuki Fuku, Watanabe Ikkei, Megumi Toshiaki, Ando Sakura, Natori Yuko, Kitaoji Kinya
(Part 2) Sato Koichi, Shida Mirai, Kanjiya Shihori, Kimura Tae, Hayashi Kento, Sometani Shota, Endo Yuya, Tanaka Tetsuji, Matsushige Yutaka, Ito Kazue, Yamaguchi Tomomitsu, Asada Miyoko
(Part 3) Matsushita Nao, Kamiki Ryunosuke, Kato Shigeaki, Matsui Jurina, Toda Keiko, Aso Yumi, Kaneda Akio, Ukaji Takeshi, Kato Takako, Kamikawa Takaya, Harada Mieko, Baisho Mitsuko

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de" drama SP hits rating of 14.7%

The drama SP of "Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de" starring Sakurai Sho and Kitagawa Keiko shown on 27 March achieved a rating of 14.7%. The drama series which ran from October to December 2011 started off with a rating of 18.1% for the first episode and maintained an average rating of 15.9% by the end of the season. In the drama SP this time, the story took place in Okinawa and Hong Kong. Guest stars included Takashima Masahiro, Sano Shiro, Kuninaka Ryoko, Kato Natsuki, Bobby Oregon, Kunimura Jun and Asou Yumi.

Source: Sponichi

Yonekura Ryoko as an eccentric housekeeper in Matsumoto Seicho drama SP

Yonekura Ryoko will be starring in TV Asahi's drama SP "Matsumoto Seicho - Atsui Kuuki" (Hot Air) due to be shown within this year. The novel had been made into a drama series named "Kaseifu wa Mita!" (The Housekeeper saw it) back from 1983 all the way to 2008 which starred Ichihara Etsuko. This is the 4th time Yonekura will be acting in a drama based on Matsumoto Seicho's works following her 2004 drama "Kurokawa no Teccho", 2006's "Kemonomichi" and 2007's "Warui Yatsura".

In this drama SP, Yonekura plays a beautiful housekeeper Koono Nobuko who is divorced and deliberately changes her appearance to an ugly woman with messy hair and black thick-rimmed spectacles to hide her beauty. She derives pleasure by delving into the dark side of the rich family she works for. Even when treated badly by her employer, Koono continues to put on a faint smile on her face while plotting the downfall of the family which she has a grudge against.

Source: Sanspo

Preview of Mou Ichido Kimi ni, Propose (Proposing to you once again) - Spring 2012

Title: Mou Ichido Kimi ni, Propose もう一度君に、プロポーズ
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 20 April 2012
Timeslot: Fridays, 10pm
Cast: Takenouchi Yutaka, Wakui Emi, Yamamoto Yusuke, Kurashina Kana, Ichikawa Yui, Mitsuishi Ken, Onodera Akira, Mano Kyoko etc.

Storyline: Miyamoto Haru (Takenouchi) and his wife Kanako (Wakui) have been married for four years. One day, Kanako suddenly collapses due to a subarachnoid hemorrhage and has to be operated on urgently. Even though Kanako manages to survive, she has lost her memories with Haru. This has made it extremely difficult for them to live as a married couple again since Haru remembers everything but Kanako doesn't. In a bid to make sure he won't lose Kanako, Haru decides to woo her again despite the lack of support around him.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Preview of Kaeru no Oujosama (Princess of the Frog) - Spring 2012

Title: Kaeru no Oujosama (Princess of the Frog)
Official website: here
Official Facebook page: here
O.A. Start Date: 12 April 2012
Timeslot: Thursdays 10pm
Broadcast by: FujiTV
Cast: Amami Yuki, Ishida Yuriko, Oshima Yuko, Oshima Yoko, Kikuchi Mika, Fukuhara Miho, Chiba Yuta, Tamayama Tetsuji, Katase Nana, Hamada Mari, Koizumi Kotaro, Kuno Akiko and Kishibe Ittoku

Kuroki Meisa's 1st public appearance since her marriage

Kuroki Meisa made her first public appearance at a Bandai event on 26 March since her marriage to Akanishi Jin on 2 Feb. She didn't wear her wedding ring and avoided answering questions regarding her 4-month pregnancy or marriage. Despite being pregnant, Kuroki was wearing 10-cm heels and didn't look like she had put on any weight in a white tank top and pants. She is due to appear in another reading event on 12 and 13 May.

Source: Sanspo

Top 10 ideal bosses ranking by Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance

This ranking was derived from the voting results of a survey involving 966 people. Numbers in brackets indicate their ranking in 2011. Blanks mean that they were ranked outside the top 10 last year.

Top 10 ideal male bosses
1) Ikegami Akira (1)
2) Abe Hiroshi (-)
3) Sekine Tsutomu (2)
4) Tadokoro George (7)
5) Yamaguchi Tomomitsu (5)
6) Tsutsumi Shinichi (4)
7) Hasebe Makoto (-)
8) Matsuoka Shuzo (-)
9) Watanabe Ken (9)
10) Tamori (8) 
Top 10 ideal female bosses
1) Amami Yuki (1)
2) Esumi Makiko (4)
3) Maya Miki (2)
4) Matsushima Nanako (9)
5) Shinohara Ryoko (3)
6) Sawa Homare (-)
7) Takashima Aya (-)
8) Nakama Yukie (6)
9) YOU (-)
10) Takeuchi Yuko (-)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Preview of 37-sai de Isha ni Natta Boku - Spring 2012

Title: 37-sai de Isha ni Natta Boku (I became a doctor at 37)
Official website: here
Broadcast by: FujiTV / KTV
Cast: Kusanagi Tsuyoshi, Mizukawa Asami, Mimura, Yaotome Hikaru, Kiriyama Ren, Suzuki Kosuke, Saito Takumi, Tanabe Seiichi, Matsudaira Ken

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Akanishi Jin's nationwide concert tour cancelled, role in GTO unconfirmed

Following his surprise marriage to Kuroki Meisa, Johnny's Jimusho has finally announced how they will punish Akanishi Jin for not informing them before he got married. First of all, his scheduled nationwide arena concert tour which is supposed to begin in early April will be cancelled. The tour consists of 7 performances in 5 cities i.e. Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo and Fukuoka and should have ended in early May. Any expenses or losses arising from the cancellation will be solely borne by Akanishi. The announcement of the tour had been made in January during a fan event at Yokohama Arena and details of the tour were supposed to have been announced in mid February. However, with Akanishi's surprise marriage to Kuroki, Johnny's Jimusho decided against announcing any details of the tour. After discussing with various parties including companies inconvenienced by this sudden development, the agency then decided on this penalty against Akanishi.

In addition, despite rumours that Akanishi had been scheduled to star in July's remake of hit drama "GTO", the agency and the TV station concerned both confirmed that nothing has been decided yet and that his schedule from now on remains open.

Source: Nikkansports


JE really means business this time, it seems. Cancellation of the tour and plans to star in a drama aren't that much of a big deal since this is something that usually happens if an artiste gets into trouble. However, if you think of the fact that he has to bear the costs of the cancellation (deposits may have been made to secure the venues, equipment and staff involved in the concerts), this might be a big dent to his pocket especially if his schedule stays blank for a long time. Akanishi should actually count his lucky stars that tickets haven't been sold yet. Otherwise, he might have to fork out more money in the end. Now that Kuroki is also not working, it leaves people to wonder how they are going to survive if there is going to be a baby on the way. Till now, they still haven't confirmed if Kuroki is pregnant. It'e bewildering why they are holding back on this piece of news.

Trailer of "Papa wa Aidoru"

I bet people who didn't know about this drama in the first place must have been shocked to see this newsflash on TV. ^__^ Quite an interesting way to promote the drama, I think. As for how the story turns out, I'm not exactly confident about it being an engaging one because the setting reminds me a bit of Mukodono i.e. big star marries ordinary person. With kids thrown into the equation, it will probably offer a different angle to the relationships. I haven't watched the Nakayama Miho version before but it will probably be a different set of challenges for a big star to marry a single mother than the other way round.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Trailer of "Kaeru no Oujosama"

Is it just me or does anyone also think that the trailer resembles BOSS' opening sequence i.e. the background and how Amami throws the headphones towards the screen?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ikimonogakari to sing the theme song for NHK's Olympic programme

Ikimonogakari will be singing the theme song for NHK's coverage of the 2012 London Olympics as announced on 22 March. According to NHK, the reason why the group was chosen arises from the fact that they enjoy wide support across various age groups. Ikimonogakari had appeared on NHK's Kouhaku for four years in a row since 2008 and they also sang the theme song for the 2010 hit drama "Gegege no Nyoubo".

Source: Nikkansports

Review of Seinaru Kaibutsutachi Ep 7

After getting to know from Honma that Mie had a rare blood type, Shiba wonders if Mie's death had to do with the fact that she got a wrong blood transfusion by mistake. However, Kasugai's denial only serves to make Shiba more intent on finding out the truth. To that, Kasugai responds by saying that Shiba's persistence is only to make himself feel better since he would feel better if it is found out that Mie's death wasn't due to his inexperience but rather some uncontrollable factor. Although it appears that Kasugai is not shaken by the exchange, she does feel that Shiba poses an increasing threat to those involved in the scam since he's getting closer to the truth. As such, Kasugai makes use of Okubo to tell Keirin University Hospital about Shiba's surgical error which results in him being suspended indefinitely.

Shiba resolves to find out the truth regardless of whether he can still be a doctor. Touched by his sincerity, Yoko steals a sample of Mie's blood from the hospital and delivers it to Shiba. He then goes to Mizuhara for help to test the blood type. Unknown to them, Kasugai happens to see Mizuhara behaving suspiciously and finds out about what is going on. Mizuhara passes the test results to Shiba who's surprised to know that Mie has the Bombay blood type which would give a result of O+ if the simple test kit is used. That coincides with Yoko's story about how she was certain that Mie's blood type is definitely O+. The complication is, someone with the rare Bombay blood type cannot receive blood transfusions from anyone other than those with the same blood type. As a result, Shiba suspects that Kasugai deliberately killed Mie because Mie only developed complications towards the end of the surgery after Kasugai connected a new bag of blood to her!

Shiba goes to look for Itokawa and finds out that he had seen Kasugai swopping the labels on the pre-prepared blood packs belonging to Mie with those in the hospital. This strengthens his belief that Kasugai had a hand in Mie's death and he wants to confront her about this. Shiba then asks to take part in Itokawa's surgery even though he's no longer a doctor in the hospital but Mizuhara lets him have his way. Although Okubo sees what happens and wants to stop them, Kasugai stops him. When Shiba confronts Kasugai with his findings, the latter feigns ignorance but it is obvious that Shiba has hit the nail right on its head. However, before Shiba can do anything else, he is taken away by the police called in by Okubo for operating on Itokawa without permission

At the same time, tension rises in the Hyuga household as Keiko and her mother-in-law become enemies. The mother-in-law finds out the truth about the surrogate pregnancy from Toshio's ex-wife and questions Keiko about it. However, unexpectedly, Keiko admits to everything easily and insists that they had to do it to maintain the family line. In another surprising turn of events, this somehow makes her mother-in-law impressed with Keiko's convictions in thinking of the Hyuga family's interests and she even fires Toshio's ex-wife from the company in order to stop her from talking about this.

I don't know what's the bigger surprise in this episode. The fact that Kasugai killed Mie on purpose? The thing is, what was the motive? Or Keiko's mother-in-law doing an about-turn and forgiving her about the surrogate mother scam so easily? Makes me wonder how warped her values are as demonstrated through her insistence to do everything for the sake of the Hyuga family. I think I was more surprised by the latter though because I was half-expecting the mother-in-law to blow up at Keiko for engineering this scam but that was a smart move by the scriptwriter. As for Kasugai's involvement in Mie's death, I think it was pretty obvious she had a part to play but as for why and when she decided to do it, I think the answers will only be out by next week.

Frankly speaking, by this point in time, viewers already know that there isn't a surrogate mother scam after all because Mie gave birth to her own child. As such, it will be anyone's guess what happens to everyone at the end because I don't really think that anyone can be held responsible for coming up with the scam but heads may roll for Mie's death.

It has always been my concern that whenever I see a drama which impresses me throughout the entire season, there is a high chance that its ending will fall flat. I hope this drama will buck the trend though.

Trailer of "Ataru"

Here's a short trailer of "Ataru" and interview of the main cast members Nakai Masahiro, Kitamura Kazuki and Kuriyama Chiaki.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

SPEC's completion press conference

The completion press conference for the movie "Gekijouban SPEC ~ Ten ~" was held at Tokyo International Forum on 21 March where cast members Toda Erika, Kase Ryo, Kuriyama Chiaki, Ryu Raita, Ito Atsushi, Kamiki Ryunosuke, Fukuda Saki, Asano Yuko and Shiina Kippei made appearances. The movie is scheduled to be screened from 7 April and is the sequel to the drama series shown via TBS from October 2010.

Source: Sanspo

Trailer of "37-sai de Isha ni Natta Boku"

Here's the trailer of Kusanagi Tsuyoshi's new drama. Seems like an interesting one to watch out for from April.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

DREAMS COME TRUE's Yoshida Miwa gets married

DREAMS COME TRUE (DCT)'s Yoshida Miwa got married to FUZZY CONTROL's vocalist cum guitarist JUON on 8 March which was also his birthday. JUON is 19 years younger than Yoshida and the couple got to know each other in February 2009 when FUZZY CONTROL worked on DCT's single "GOOD BYE MY SCHOOL DAYS and started to perform together on stage. Both groups belong to the same agency.

Yoshida had announced in May 2004 that she had a common-law husband Sueda Ken but he passed away in 2007 due to an illness at the age of 33. At one time, Yoshida had lost faith in life but she had slowly come to terms with her loss and began to think positively after knowing her husband.

DCT are currently in New York for recording and their new single happens to be titled "MY TIME TO SHINE" which seems to correspond with the timing of the marriage announcement. The group will hold a concert in Osaka on 13 May while FUZZY CONTROL is due to appear at an event on 25 March in Tokyo.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

"Liar Game - Saisei -" achieves 1 million cinema visits

The latest movie in the Liar Game series "LIAR GAME - Saisei -" held a thanksgiving event at Shinjuku Wald 9 on 20 March. The lead actor Matsuda Shota and the director Matsuyama Hiroaki made appearances to thank fans for their support where Matsuda expressed interest in seeing a part 5 to the series so that he can tell more elaborate lies the next time.

Source: Sanspo

Eguchi Yosuke to host NHK travel programme

Eguchi Yosuke will host the NHK travel programme "Sekai Bikkuri Ryokousha ~ Shinsou Kaiten SP" to be shown on 27 March at 7.30pm. He attended the production press conference along with comedy duo Oodorii on 20 March.

This programme has been broadcast at irregular intervals since 2007 where its host had been the late Kodama Kiyoshi. It shows places which don't appear in travel guidebooks and features amazing tours to overseas locations. Some highlights of the latest edition would include a 3 day-1 night tour in Germany by Oodorii's Kasugai Toshiaki and Eguchi spending one week in Italy's Sicilia Island.

Source: Sanspo

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Trailer of "Mikeneko Holmes no Suiri"

Here's the trailer of Aiba's drama...looks like it's going to be another comical performance from him this time! I hope the story doesn't bore me to the extent that I can't stay with this drama till the end.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Trailer of "Kagi no Kakatta Heya"

Here's the 30-second trailer of Ohno's new drama. Is it just me who thinks that Toda Erika looks kinda different here? Surprised to see Sato Koichi in this drama too. He might just provide some humour here because I have a hunch that this isn't going to be a prim-and-proper investigative series after all. ^__^

Sunday, March 18, 2012

First-day-screening of "Bokura ga Ita Zenpen"

Ikuta Toma and Yoshitaka Yuriko appeared at the first-day-screening of their movie "Bokura ga Ita Zenpen" at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi on 17 March. The movie is based on a pure love manga and the sequel to Part 1 is expected to be shown in April. Ikuta remarked that when filming a kiss scene, he was very embarrassed by the fact that there were about 200 staff members looking on. On the other hand, in order to boost publicity given to the movie, Yoshitaka shouted one of her signature lines in the movie i.e. "Suki da, Baka" (I love you, idiot!) to the media.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

I remember being very frustrated with the anime version because I couldn't stand Yano's wishy-washy attitude (even after knowing why he behaved like that) so I gave up on the anime. I'm hoping that the movie will be less frustrating to watch though even if the ending might be inconclusive given that the manga hasn't ended.

For those who are interested in watching a trailer of this movie, please see below. All rights reserved by the respective movie company.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Enomoto Tasuku and Ando Sakura married on White Day

Actor Enomoto Tasuku and actress Ando Sakura got married on 14 March, as announced on two days later through a joint fax statement. Enomoto is the eldest son of actor Enomoto Akira and actress Tsunogae Kazue while Ando is the daughter of actor Okuda Eiji and writer Ando Kazu.

The couple got to know each other 4 years ago at the Akita Juumonji Film Festival and worked together in the 2010 film "Kenta to Jun to Kayo-chan no Kuni" before they were reported to be dating in August the same year. Ando is not pregnant yet and they will continue their acting careers even after getting married.

Ando's father wrote a haiku on his Twitter account to offer his best wishes to the newlyweds. Her mother also released a comment through her agency, expressing her happiness in seeing them married.

Source: Sanspo

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tanimura Mitsuki and Renbutsu Misako in NHK drama "Yoyake no Lullaby"

Tanimura Mitsuki and Renbutsu Misaki appeared at the press conference for NHK drama "Yoyake no Lullaby" on 15 March. The drama which won the 35th TV Drama Creation Award features both of them as co-leads and will be shown on 26 March at 12.15am. Tanimura plays Kanae who keeps inflicting injuries on herself and Renbutsu plays Midori who is suffering from an incurable illness. The two of them get to know each other and start to consider the meaning about living.

Source: Sanspo

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Oguri Shun & Yamada Yu's marriage press conference

Following Oguri Shun and Yamada Yu's marriage announcement on 12 March, Yamada held a press conference on 14 March which was also their 4th dating anniversary and the day when they registered their marriage. As Oguri was away in China for filming, Yamada appeared alone at the event with 150 members of the press. During the session, she showed her 2-carat engagement ring from Harry Winston worth about JPY 8m which was bought soon after Oguri's proposal.

Although Oguri was absent from the press conference, he gave a letter to his wife which she read on his behalf. At the end of the letter, he mentioned that he will leave the press conference to his wife Oguri Yu where Yamada commented that she had finally took on the surname of Oguri.

It had originally been decided that they were going to get married last year on Yamada's birthday but the plan was aborted due to the earthquake and tsunami crisis. Oguri officially proposed in early March this year but Yamada did not want to reveal details of it. It took her about 10 minutes to realise what was happening and the episode made her burst out in tears.

When asked about Oguri's popularity with the opposite sex and scandals that broke during their courtship, Yamada recounted that there were times when things were not going well for them but looking back, she thought that they were challenges which made them stronger in the end. However, if this type of scandals come up in future, Yamada jokingly remarked that she will strangle her husband.

Yamada commented that they would like to have their wedding within this year and aims to have at least three children just like Oguri's family.

Source: Sanspo

Kimura Takuya's driving licence suspended due to speeding offences

Following a report by "Shuukan Bunshun" in their 15 March issue, Johnny's Jimusho confirmed on 14 March that Kimura Takuya has his driving licence suspended due to two speeding offences. The offences took place respectively in September last year at an expressway in Chiba Prefecture and in January this year in Tokyo. In both instances, Kimura was driving at more than 20km/h faster than the speed limit. He had been fined for both offences and due to the repeat offence in Jan, his licence has since been suspended.

Kimura apologised for his actions and promised not to do it again. Johnny's Jimusho also said that they had given a stern warning to Kimura regarding this matter. Despite this, Toyota has no plans to drop Kimura as their CM personality even though they expressed regret to know that he had been involved in such traffic offences. They also said that they have no intention of cancelling his CM deal or suspend the airing of his CMs for now.

Source: Nikkansports


Well, if Shuukan Bunshun didn't report this, it might have been likely that the public would not have heard about it at all. And Toyota's response was kinda expected given the popularity Kimura enjoys. If it had been a less popular celebrity, the CM deal may be cancelled as soon as the matter comes to light, I guess.

Oomori Nao gets married to Ono Yuriko

Actor Oomori Nao announced his marriage to actress Ono Yuriko through his official website on 14 March. Ono also released her statement through her agency's website. There are no plans for the couple to hold any press conference regarding their marriage.

Ono, who is 18 years younger than Oomori, started out as a model in 2008 and began acting in stage plays and movies such as "Minami e" and "Hard Romantica" in 2011. The two of them have never been romantically linked together in the past.

On the other hand, Oomori had been reported to have dated PUFFY's Yoshimura Yumi, actresses Asami Reina and Aoi Yu. Oomori and Yoshimura were even rumoured to have plans to get married when their relationship came to light in 2006 but they broke up in 2009. His relationship with Aoi was reported back in 2010 but they also went their separate ways last summer.

Source: Sanspo

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Oguri Shun & Yamada Yu getting married

Oguri Shun and Yamada Yu announced their marriage through a fax statement to the media on 12 March. The couple plan to submit their marriage application on 14 March which is the day when they started dating four years ago. Yamada is scheduled to hold a press conference alone as early as on 13 March regarding their impending marriage since Oguri is away in China due to filming commitments. They have been living together for some time and Yamada is not pregnant.

Oguri and Yamada became close friends through working on the 2008 drama "Binbou Danshi Bonbimen" and started dating soon after the filming ended in March. Throughout their four-year relationship, there had been numerous reports on them being on the verge of a breakup but they have continued to stay together and even went on a trip with their families to Hawaii during the New Year holidays.

According to insiders, the couple had intended to get married one year ago but it was then when the earthquake and tsunami crisis hit so they decided to postpone. Later, when they had planned to get married on Yamada's birthday on 5 July, they had to shelve the plans again due to work commitments. Oguri has always expressed his wish to get married before he turns 30 so they finally decided to get married on their dating anniversary this year.

Source: Nikkansports

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Renbutsu Misako stars in the movie RIVER

Renbutsu Misako appeared at the first day screening of her new movie "RIVER" on 10 Mar at Shibuya's Eurospace. The movie which is directed by Hiroki Ryuichi is based on the Akihabara killings in June 2008. Renbutsu plays a woman who lost her boyfriend as a result of this and has a 15-minute scene at one shot with no cuts for the first time. Other than Renbutsu and the director, jazz singer meg who sings the movie's theme song also appeared at the event.

Source: Nikkansports

Friday, March 09, 2012

UPDATE: Uehara Takako engaged to MC TENN from ET-KING

SPEED member Uehara Takako announced her engagement to hip-hop group ET-KING's MC TENN via her official website and blog on 9 March. They have plans to register their marriage within the year and Uehara is not pregnant. Uehara is the second SPEED member to get married after Imai Eriko.

Source: Oricon

SPEED's Uehara Takako getting married?

SPEED's Uehara Takako is reported to be getting married to a member of hip-hop unit ET-KING. According to insiders, the details will be announced on 9 Mar. It was said that Uehara met her future husband at a charity concert "Sing for EAST" held in Kobe last June as both SPEED and ET-KING performed there.

Source: Sanspo

Sawajiri Erika to star in TBS drama SP "Akujo ni tsuite"

Sawajiri Erika will make her return to a TV drama in five years since her last appearance in "Ichi Litre no Namida SP ~ Tsuioku" shown on 5 April 2007. This time, she will star in the TBS drama SP "Akujo ni tsuite" (About an evil woman) which is due to start filming next week.

The story is based on the novel by late novelist Ariyoshi Sawako which was published in 1978. The heroine is Tomikoji Kimiko who's called the queen of pretenses and the story reveals her life through the testimonies of 27 people. 34 years ago, the drama version starring Kage Marie and Ogata Ken was shown at the same time as the novel was being serialised in a magazine. For this drama SP, it hasn't been announced who will be Sawajiri's co-stars.

Source: Nikkansports

Thursday, March 08, 2012

TBS 3-part drama SP "Blackboard ~ Jidai to Tatakatta Kyoushitachi"

TBS will be showing a 3-part drama SP "Blackboard ~ Jidai to Tatakatta Kyoushitachi" which will air from 5 April at 9pm. The story is set in the 1980s and present day which features three teachers who deal with various educational problems. The three teachers will be played by Arashi's Sakurai Sho, Sato Koichi and Matsushita Nao.

In the first episode, Sakurai plays a former soldier in the post-war period who becomes a social studies teacher and has problems adjusting to the idea of introducing democracy to his students. His colleague is played by AKB48's Oshima Yuko.

Sato Koichi will appear in the second episode set in the 1980s where he plays a teacher who has to deal with violence in the school. Shida Mirai will play his student who's a juvenile delinquent.

In the finale set in modern days, Matsushita Nao will play a junior high school English teacher who goes all out to help her student played by Kamiki Ryuunosuke who's a victim of child neglect and has learning difficulties. However, a female student who's jealous of Matsushita's character spending time alone with the student spreads rumours that they are romantically linked thus leading to intense pressure and mockery by her colleagues and complaints from the PTA.

Source: Sanspo source 1, Sanspo source 2

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Ito Hideaki to star in movie adaptation of "Aku no Kyouden" (Lesson of the evil)

Ito Hideaki will be starring in the movie adaptation of popular mystery novel "Aku no Kyouden" (Lesson of the evil) as reported on 5 March. The movie will be directed by Miike Takashi and is scheduled to be screened in November. Having played a righteous hero in his signature Umizaru series, Ito's character this time will be a totally different one as he plays a teacher who wants to kill his class of 40 students.

"Aku no Kyouden" was published in July 2010 by Kishi Yuusuke and the story is about a senior high school teacher Hasumi Seiji who is popular with everyone but is actually a psychopath who thinks lightly of other people. In order to achieve his aims, Hasumi doesn't care about killing people who stand in his way. Ito apparently got the role because of his bright smile and screen image as a good guy. Even the author Kishi said that it was important to get someone who could appear as kind as possible so as to show the gap between the public image and the dark side of Hasumi.

Coincidentally, Ito's new movie "BRAVE HEARTS Umizaru" is slated to be shown in summer from July while this movie showing him as the evil Hasumi will be screened in autumn. "Aku no Kyouden" is also scheduled to be screened overseas and may also take part in the Venezia International Film Festival come September. Auditions for actors to play Hasumi's students are in progress and filming will start in April.

Source: Sanspo

Oohashi Nozomi to quit showbiz

Child actor Oohashi Nozomi who shot to fame after singing the theme song of "Kake no ue no Ponyo" will quit showbiz at the end of this month as announced on 6 March. According to the theatre group which she belongs to, Oohashi made the decision to concentrate on her studies instead since she will be entering junior high in April. As a result of this, her movie "Daisuki na kutsu wo haitara" will not be screened as scheduled.

Source: Sanspo

Toda Erika & Kase Ryo in "Gekijouban SPEC ~ Ten ~"

Toda Erika and Kase Ryo appeared at a PR event for their movie "Gekijouban SPEC ~ Ten ~" which is due to be screened from 7 April. The movie is directed by Tsutsumi Yukihiko and continues from the drama broadcast on TBS in autumn 2010. Toda plays a police officer in MPD's Public Safety Division who has a special power which helps her to solve cases.

In conjunction with the launch of the movie, a specially-made gyoza will be sold at various locations nationwide. As Toda's character is potrayed as one who loves gyoza, the same will be made available to fans through a gyoza wagon. Toda and Kase were all praise for the gyoza which they said was very delicious and urged fans to try it if they can. In addition, there will be a series of events held until the movie's screening as part of the promotional campaign. Last but not least, the drama SP of SPEC will be shown via TBS on 1 April and the drama's Blu-ray and DVD versions will be on sale from 4 April.

Source: Nikkansports

Monday, March 05, 2012

Kanjani 8 to star in the movie "Eight Ranger"

Kanjani 8 members will be starring in the movie "Eight Ranger" directed by Tsutsumi Yukihiko due to be screened from 28 July. The movie is based on a conte the group had performed during their concerts and meant to commemorate their 8th anniversary since their debut. The 7 members will play voluntary police officers in a future setting of Japan. The movie will also star big star actor Tachi Hiroshi as a legendary hero Captain Silver. Filming begins on 6 Mar.

Source: Nikkansports

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Review of Seinaru Kaibutsutachi Ep 6

The biggest change from this episode onwards is that the narrator becomes Kasugai instead of Shiba. As such, the narration is taken from her viewpoint i.e. how she views Shiba's efforts in uncovering the truth compared to the "monsters" attempting to cover it up.

Shiba finds out that the address supposedly belonging to Mie's family was a hoax after all and happens to meet Yoko's brother Hirai Kunio at the police post. Kunio introduces himself and even mentions to Shiba that he had been following Yoko to find out what is going on with her much to Shiba's surprise. When Kunio offers to help Shiba with his search, the latter decides against revealing the details as he feels that something is not quite right with Kunio.

As a result of financial backing from Hyuga, Okubo starts to order advanced medical equipment and spends money on improving things in the hospital much to everyone's amazement. When Shiba approaches Okubo about what he has found out, Okubo stops him from investigating further since it may cause unhappiness with Mie's family. Soon after, Shiba finds himself being sent back to the university hospital in an attempt to stop him from investigating further and can't operate on Itokawa. At the same time, Yoko finds out that her brother approached Shiba and in an attempt to protect him (not sure from what yet), she initiates a breakup. However, Kunio doesn't want to back off and seems to be keen on continuing what he's doing in order to get money.

Meanwhile, Keiko's status in the Hyuga family is elevated as a result of her son (well, Mie's son) Kei. Her mother-in-law even slaps Kimiyo, Toshio's ex-wife for insinuating that Kei isn't Toshio's and Keiko's child which makes Keiko smirk with pride. However, this new-found confidence also causes conflict between Keiko and her mother-in-law because Keiko is no longer a pushover like before. Keiko's newfound assertiveness even causes her to flare up at her mother-in-law for attempting to take Kei away from her which would have been unthinkable in the past.

Shiba finds out that Toshio was the one who took away Kei from the hospital and goes to look for him at his company. However, Toshio denies having any knowledge of this while his mother is suspicious after hearing what Shiba said. When Shiba goes back to the university hospital, he chances upon Keiko's medical records in Prof Shiono's office and finds out that she could never have given birth to Kei because her womb was removed during her miscarriage!

In an attempt to find out the truth, Shiba gatecrashes the party held by Toshio and Keiko which makes Toshio very uneasy. Keiko doesn't realise that Shiba is investigating the birth of Kei and even smiles heartily at him. Before Shiba can probe further, he is brought to another room by Kasugai and she reveals the truth to him. Just when Shiba has sort of come to terms with what Kasugai told him because he knows that Kei will be in good hands in the Hyuga family, he arranges to meet Mie's ex-lover Honma at her grave and finds out that Mie has a rare blood type which is usually not available at hospitals. This leads Shiba to suspect that Mie's death might not have due to his lack of inexperience in the operation but rather she was murdered!

Just as I thought that it will be a straightforward search for the truth which the viewers already know, it turns out that there is more than meets the eye. This episode not only gives us more information about Mie's past but also provides an useful clue in finding out what really caused her death. If the blood transfusion Mie received was indeed tampered with (most likely by Kasugai), does this mean she had the intention of killing Mie so that Mie wouldn't cause any trouble for Keiko? That's the only logical explanation I can think of at the moment since Kasugai loves Keiko that much and may be prepared to go the distance for her sister. Besides, she was the one who brought the blood packs into the operating room after switching the blood type stickers so it doesn't seem like anyone can tamper with the blood given to Mie.

Keiko's assertiveness isn't that surprising after all since she went through so much to get Kei. Of course, she would want to stop her mother-in-law from bullying her like in the past now that she has Kei as a bargaining chip. However, this definitely rubs her mother-in-law the wrong way and I won't be surprised if she sets out to find out what is going on now that her suspicions are aroused.

Looks like the truth is going to get uglier as we approach the end since Mie's death is likely not to be an accident. The "monsters" involved would probably come to no good end but I think Shiba won't be necessarily happier when that happens. It's most likely going to be a lose-lose situation by the time everything gets out into the open.

Friday, March 02, 2012

The 35th Nippon Academy Awards

Best Movie: Youkame no Semi

Best Director: Narushima Izuru (Youkame no Semi)

Best Leading Actor: Harada Yoshio (Ooshikamura Soudouki)

Best Leading Actress: Inoue Mao (Youkame no Semi)

Best Supporting Actor: Denden (Tsumetai Nettaigyo)

Best Supporting Actress: Nagasaku Hiromi (Youkame no Semi)

Best Animation Movie: Kokuriko Saka Kara

Best Music: Youkame no Semi

Best Photography: Youkame no Semi

Best Lighting: Youkame no Semi

Best Art: Saigo no Chuushingura

Best Sound: Youkame no Semi

Best Editing: Youkame no Semi

Best Foreign Film: The King's Speech

Best Newcomer:
- Kumada Sea (Sayazamurai)
- Sakuraba Nanami (Saigo no Chuushingura)
- Watanabe Konomi (Youkame no Semi)
- Kamiji Yuusuke (Manzai Gyangu)
- Koura Kengo (Keibetsu)
- Nomi Takaaki (Sayazamurai)
- Hasegawa Hiroki (Second Virgin)

Popular topic award:
(Movie category) - Moteki
(Actor category) - Maeda Atsuko (Moshi Koukou Yakyuu no Joshi Manager ga Drucker no [Management] wo Yondara)

Sorimachi Takashi to star in Matsumoto Seicho drama SP "Shichou Shisu"

Sorimachi Takashi will be starring in the drama SP "Shichou Shisu" (The city mayor is dead) based on the same titled novel by Matsumoto Seicho. The drama SP is meant to coincide with Matsumoto's 20th death anniversary and is scheduled to be shown via FujiTV on 3 April. This is the first time Sorimachi is starring in a Matsumoto Seicho work and the second time in 53 years since this novel was made into a drama.

The story is set in the post-war period where a city mayor is found missing during work and found later dead in a hot spring. His nephew Kasaki Kouzou who owns a flower shop and is also a city council member finds the death suspicious and sets out to find the truth behind it. Filming began on 1 March.

Source: Sanspo

Igawa Haruka announces her 2nd pregnancy

Actress Igawa Haruka announced her 2nd pregnancy via her official site on 2 March and expressed happiness at being able to announce the news to everyone. She had married fashion designer Matsumoto Atou in November 2006 and given birth to her first daughter in June 2009.

Source: Nikkansports

Kairoutei Satsujin Jiken's novel by Higashino Keigo

Title: Kairoutei Satsujin Jiken
Author: Higashino Keigo
Price: 540 yen
Total number of pages: 308
ISBN: 978-4334719685
First published in: November 1994
For more details on this novel, please visit this site.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Review of Higashino Keigo 3-week drama SP series - Kairoutei Satsujin Jiken

Title: Kairoutei Satsujin Jiken (Murder at the Pavilion Corridor)
O.A. Date: 24 Jun 2011
Kiryu Eriko / Honma Miyoko (Tokiwa Takako)
Yabe (Naitou Takashi)
Satonaka Jirou (Tanaka Kei)
Ichigahara Naoyuki (Tanaka Tetsushi)
Ichigahara Takehiko (Cho Tamiyasu)
Fujimori Kanae (Tokunaga Eri)
Ichigahara Yuka (Iriki Mari)
Kobayashi Maho (Kokusho Sayuri)
Fujimori Yoko (Toyota Maho)
Takano (Matsuo Satoru)
Ichigahara Takaaki (Kitamura Souichirou)
Ichigahara Sousuke (Ibu Masato)
Furuki (Hiraizumi Sei)
Ichigahara Kiyomi (Katahira Nagisa)
Rating: 13.6%

Kiryu Eriko, the secretary of tycoon Ichigahara Takaaki, suffered burn injuries when she was a kid and bears the scars of that accident even as an adult. Despite her looks, she was highly trusted by Takaaki. She had a boyfriend Satonaka Jirou who allegedly committed a double suicide with her at the Kairoutei ryokan. Shocked and baffled by Jirou's suicide, Eriko attempted to kill herself but she survived with injuries to her face. Thanks to Takaaki's good friend Honma Kikuyo, Eriko managed to get a plastic surgery and took on the identity of Honma's daughter Kikuyo.

Takaaki passes away and the 49-day rites are to be held at Kairoutei where his will is to be read out by the lawyer Furuki. Miyoko a.k.a. Eriko takes part in the ceremony on behalf of Kikuyo and attempts to find out who had tried to kill Jirou and her...

Frankly speaking, I think the story suffered from a similar problem like Brutus no Shinzou. In Brutus' case, the problem was the culprit not figuring in the main picture for most of the drama SP. In Kairoutei's case, the culprit wasn't even seen until the end. There was a bit of an excitement by the time the culprit appeared but I have to say, viewers probably can't guess it was going this way until that person showed up. In addition, the ambiguous ending also means that viewers are left guessing what happened to Eriko and the mastermind because they were just pictured lying down in the fire.

Acting-wise, Tokiwa Takako does a good job as usual although I thought that long hair was a bit awkward-looking. It's also not easy to tell when the story was set in because the clothes worn and how they spoke seemed to be reflecting an era not in modern days. Her chemistry with Tanaka Kei was a little lacking but it can't be helped since their characters are supposed to incompatible and poles apart in the first place. As for the rest of the cast, they didn't leave much of an impression on me except for Naitou Takeshi who had some brilliant scenes with Tokiwa when he was trying to leave traps for Miyoko to expose herself.

And my ratings for this drama...
Story: 3 out of 10 (It would be better if there were some clues leading to the culprit instead of having the person appear right at the end)
Acting: 6 out of 10 (Generally passable acting but other than Tokiwa and Naitou, nobody else really stands out)
Theme song: 3 out of 10 (No impression of the BGM nor any theme song)
Visual effects / Scenery: 5 out of 10 (Most of the scenes took place in the ryokan so there's nothing much that catches my attention)
Teamwork / Chemistry: 6 out of 10 (For Tokiwa vs. Naitou, not Tokiwa vs. Tanaka)

Total: 23 out of 50