Friday, August 30, 2013

Completion screening event of movie "Hidamari no Kanojo"

The completion screening event of movie "Hidamari no Kanojo" was held on 29 August which was attended by the leads Arashi's Matsumoto Jun and Ueno Juri as well as the director Miki Takahiro. The movie will be shown in cinemas from 12 October. Miki revealed that the reason why he chose Matsumoto to appear in his movie was that the latter usually appeared to be quite strongheaded and blowing hot and cold on TV but Matsumoto has a natural smile and is considerate towards his guests on TV so he hoped to show this side of Matsumoto to the fans. As for Ueno, Miki said that the works she had been in so far never portrayed her beauty so he wanted to project this side of her through the film.

The movie which is based on the novel  by Koshigaya Osamu that had sold 350,000 copies to date, features Matsumoto as Kosuke, a newbie sales department employee who reunites with Mao (Ueno) after 10 years but their relationship is thwarted by a secret she is hiding.

Source: Oricon

And here is the trailer of the movie:

Ono Machiko to be the lead in FujITV drama SP "Hasegawa Machiko Monogatari ~ Sazae-san ga umareta hi"

Ono Machiko will be playing the role of Hasegawa Machiko who was well-known as the author of popular manga "Sazae-san", in the FujiTV drama "Hasegawa Machiko Monogatari ~ Sazae-san ga umareta hi". The drama SP will be a celebration work to mark the 45th anniversary of "Sazae-san" and is due to be shown in November.

Ono commented that she felt an affinity to Hasegawa since they both share the same first names and that she is happy to act in this SP which talks about Hasegawa's life before, during and after the war and how she came to produce "Sazae-san". This is not the first time that Ono is playing a real-life person but she still fears doing it Nonetheless, she hopes to use her own mode to take up the challenge of playing Hasegawa.

Filming begins in mid September.

Source: Sponichi

Top 6 movies during summer 2013 (Oricon)

As some of these films have not finished their runs in the cinemas, the figures are estimated:

1) Kaze Tachinu (More than JPY 10 billion)

2) Monsters University (Between JPY 8.5 billion and JPY 9 billion)

3) Manatsu no Houteishiki (Between JPY 3.4 billion and JPY 3.5 billion)

4) Gekijouban Pocket Monster Best Wish (Between JPY 3.0 billion and JPY 3.2 billion)

5) Eiga Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato De (Around JPY 3.0 billion)

6) World Speed EURO Mission / Lone Ranger / World War Z (Around JPY 2.0 billion)

Source: Oricon

Tokiwa Takako works with Kitagawa Eriko again in the TBS drama SP "Tsuki ni inoru Pierrot"

Tokiwa Takako who last worked with scriptwriter Kitagawa Eriko in her previous hit dramas like 1995's "Aishiteiru to itte kure" and 2000's Beautiful Life", will be working together again for the first time in three years through the TBS drama SP "Tsuki ni inoru Pierrot" which will be shown on 5 October at 2pm. The story is set in Gifu Prefecture i.e. Kitagawa's hometown where Tokiwa plays the character Tamai Shizuru, a 41-year-old single woman who lives in her hometown in Gifu with her grandmother and mother. Due to a random incident, she starts to exchange phone messages with Tobuse Wataru (Tanihara Shosuke) who lives in Tokyo and they start to become close friends despite not having met before. Tokiwa revealed that Kitagawa had written a letter to her, "challenging" her to see if she can play the role of Shizuru well which Tokiwa felt that was a great way of getting her interested in the role.

Filming began on 11 August in Tokyo and shifted to Gifu after that.

Shizuru's grandmother Sakura will be played by Yachigusa Kaoru while Shizuru's mother Tokie will be played by Negishi Toshie. Takuma Takayuki will play Tanizawa Yuto, Shizuru's former classmate and the director of a hospital while Takahashi Yumiko will play Ikeba Megumi, Shizuru's former classmate and a single mother.

Source: Oricon

Seto Koji & Arimura Kasumi co-star in new movie "JUDGE"

Seto Koji and Arimura Kasumi co-star in the upcoming movie "JUDGE" which will be shown in cinemas from 8 November. The movie which is based on the manga by Tonogai Yoshiki that has sold 1.6 million copies to date, was serialised in Gekkan Shonen  Gangan up till September 2012. The story features a group of "sinful" people who are guilty of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride and they are brought into a murder game to kill one another.

The story in the film will deviate a lot from the manga and all filming was done on surveillance cameras in order to increase the reality factor of the film.


Here is the trailer of this movie:

NTV conceals the identity of its female lead for the autumn 2013 drama "Hakuba no Oujisama Junai Tekireki"

NTV will be airing the autumn 2013 drama "Hakuba no Oujisama Junai Tekireki" (Prince Charming on a white horse - the appropriate age for pure love) from 3 October at 11.59pm on Thursdays but is keeping the identity of its leading lady a secret until the first OA. This is the first time that any drama's lead has been deliberately concealed and NTV even covered the face of the actress on the posters of this drama.

The story of the drama features the heroine as Hara Takako, a senior high school teacher at 32 years old who is unsure about her future as a single woman when she suddenly meets a newbie teacher played by Miura Takahiro who is 7 years younger than her and falls for him. However, Miura's character already has a fiancee so Takako starts to rekindle her feelings for a senior teacher played by Nakamura Shunsuke as they had been involved in an extramarital affair in the past.

According to the production crew, the reason for keeping the leading lady's identity under wraps is to ensure that female viewers can put themselves in the shoes of Takako and not let the leading lady's image stop them from feeling emotionally involved in the story.

There are four hints as to who the leading lady is:

1) This is her first leading role in a drama since one and a half years.
2) She is about the same age as the heroine in the drama.
3) She is single.
4) She is well-known and high on the popularity rankings.

When interviewed about this arrangement of hiding her identity, the actress said that although she was unsure initially, she accepted the rationale behind the decision and will try hard not to disappoint viewers. As she had little experience in romance dramas, she feels shy about having feelings for a younger man although it is just within the drama. She also revealed that her own Prince Charming in real life has not appeared yet but has not taken any concrete actions to change the situation.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Kamenashi Kazuya, Tamaki Koji & Tabe Mikako to star in NTV autumn 2013 drama "Tokyo Bandwagon ~ Shitamachi Daikazoku Monogatari"

Kamenashi Kazuya, Tamaki Koji and Tabe Mikako will be starring in the NTV autumn 2013 drama "Tokyo Bandwagon ~ Shitamachi Daizoku Monogatari" which will begin its run from October at 9pm on Sundays. This is the first time in 8 years since Tamaki last appeared in a drama  and he will be playing the unconventional father Ganato of the lead character Ao (Kamenashi). The drama is based on the novel series by Shouji Yukiya and features a four-generation family operating a cafe and used books store which uses its weird family rules to resolve various unusual cases. Ganato who is actually a legendary rocker, likes to appear out of nowhere and says eccentric things with a pet phrase "LOVE dane". On the other hand, Tabe will be playing the role of Makino Suzumi, the heroine who is in love with Ao.

The ending theme song of the drama titled "Searchlight" will be sung by Tamaki and is due to be released on 27 November.

Other co-stars include Hiraizumi Sei who plays Hotta Kanichi, the grandfather of the family and Ganato's father, Kaga Mariko as the grandmother who has become a ghost and will be the narrator in the drama, Mimura as Aiko who is the elder sister of Ao and a single mother, Kaneko Nobuaki as Kon, Aoi's elder brother and a free writer who coops himself at home and Taira Airi who plays Ami, the wife of Kon who used to be a cabin attendant.

Source: Oricon

Tanaka Kei gets his first leading role in a drama through "No Con Kid Bokura no Game Shi"

Tanaka Kei will get his first leading role in a drama through the TV Tokyo autumn 2013 drama "No Con Kid Bokura no Game Shi" (No Con Kid Our Game History). The drama features how a trio of three youngsters grew up with video games from the 1980s to 2013 and how it affects their lives in terms of studies, love and career. Tanaka plays the role of Watanabe Reiji as a 15-year-old teenager back in 1983 whose father operated a video games centre "Game Centre Watanabe" which was extremely popular with students and salarymen. Reiji's classmate Kido also frequented the game centre but Reiji himself had no interest in games. Until the day when a mysterious beautiful teenager Takano came to the game centre and played games, Reiji then started dabbling in the video games and even challenged Kido to a competition. Tanaka will play Reiji all the way till he's 45 years old so he commented that it will be interesting to viewers to see how the trio will develop and change as they grow older.

The word "No Con" actually comes from the "No Continue" one-coin game machines popular between 1983 to the mid 90s. The production crew went to secure rights to mention the actual game names in the drama which will definitely be nostalgic to viewers in their 30s and above.

The drama will be shown from 4 October at 12.52am on Fridays via TV Tokyo and TV Osaka.


Okada Masaki joins "Legal High 2" as new rival lawyer

Okada Masaki will be joining the cast of FujiTV autumn 2013 drama "Legal High 2" which will begin its run from October in the Wednesdays 10pm timeslot. He will be playing Hanyu Haruki, a lawyer who switched lines from a prosecutor, is such a nice guy that Komikado (Sakai Masato) can't bring himself to dislike him and secretly holds a torch for Mayuzumi (Aragaki Yui). According to the production crew, Hanyu would not be involved in a direct battle against Komikado as he goes by the belief that fighting is not the way out and mediation is the way to go so that everyone will be in a win-win situation.

Source: Sanspo

Sakai Noriko takes on the lead role in new movie "Utsusemi no Mori"

Sakai Noriko will be taking on the lead role in the new movie "Utsusemi no Mori" which is due to be shown in cinemas next year. This is Sakai's first movie appearance since she last appeared in the 2008 movie "Shinri" and was sentenced for her stimulants consumption violation in 2009. Filming was wrapped up at the end of July.

The movie features Sakai as a married woman who disappears one morning but suddenly returns home after a long time. However, her husband (Saito Ayumu) claims that his wife is someone else and the story unfolds to reveal the tragic past of this couple. Co-stars include Kanayama Kazuhiko and Emoto Akira.

Source: Sanspo

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Press conference for start-of-filming of 2014 Taiga drama "Gunshi Kanbee"

The press conference to mark the start-of-filming of 2014 Taiga drama "Gunshi Kanbee" was held on 27 August at NHK Broadcast Centre which was attended by cast members such as V6's Okada Junichi, Nakatani Miki, Kataoka Tsurutaro and Shibata Kyohei. The drama which features Okada as the lead character Kuroda Kanbee, will be broadcast via NHK from January 2014. Okada commented that a Taiga drama is a national drama thus he feels the pressure by taking on the lead role but he hopes that it will be a production which will entertain the whole family on Sundays.

As Kuroda Kanbee had been known as the advisor to Toyotomi Hideyoshi's unification efforts and upheld the belief that it is better to use someone instead of killing him, Kanbee was also feared for being the next potential leader due to his abilities. In order to prepare for the role, Okada said that he had received research materials on Kanbee. In addition, he was encouraged by an elderly lady not to lose to Hideyoshi while he was in the suburbs so Okada said that he hopes to grow together with his role and match up to the viewers' expectations.

His fellow V6 member Inohara Yoshihiko who also appears on the daily NHK morning information programme, had initially suggested visiting Okada at the studio when the latter was filming the drama. However, it turned out that Inohara decided to meet Okada at the canteen instead of heading to the studio even though Okada thought that Inohara might swing by during the press conference.

The scene to be shot on the same day of the press conference was Kanbee's wedding with his first wife Hikaru (Nakatani) and the wedding was to be attended by Kanbee's first master Kodera Masamoto (Kataoka) and Kanbee's father Kuroda Mototaka (Shibata). Okada praised Nakatani for being beautiful and hoped that they can play a couple who supports each other while she commented that she was honoured to play his wife.


Completion press conference of movie "Jinrui Shikin"

The completion press conference of new movie "Jinrui Shikin" was held on 27 August which was attended by the lead actors Sato Koichi, Moriyama Mirai and Nakadai Tatsuya. The movie features Sato as a man who gets tempted by an offer of JPY 5 billion if he can locate the legendary M Shikin which was said to be a sum of JPY 10 trillion accumulated for the purpose of post-WWII restoration efforts. In actual fact, fraud scams involving M Shikin had been common in the past thus Sato said that this movie will be a well-structured piece of entertainment work for the viewers. During the press conference, there was a stage display of imitation currency notes worth JPY 5 billion and everyone was visibly happy to see such a large sum of money before them while posing with the money notes in their hands.

Source: Sanspo

Premiere screening of movie "Tomogui"

The premiere screening of movie "Tomogui" was held on 26 August which was attended by the cast members Suda Masaki, Shinohara Yukiko, Mitsuishi Ken, the director Aoyama Shinji and the original novel's author Tanaka Shinya. The novel had won the 146th Akutagawa Award and the movie will be screened in cinemas from 7 September.

The film features Suda as the teenager Toma who lived in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture during the 63rd year of Showa (1988) and describes the desire and violent traits people possess in their nature. It also talks about Toma's relationship during that year's summer between him, his father  (Mitsuishi) who has a liking for violent sexual acts and the latter's mistress (Shinohara). The ending of the movie will be different from the novel.

Even before the movie is screened in Japan, it had already won the best movie and best director award in the 66th Locarno International Film Festival. When Suda recounted his experience of attending the film festival, he said that he was touched to be welcomed by the locals and those who had been at the screening and glad to know that the movie was well-received by critics and students. Mitsuishi revealed that there was one day when Tanaka came to visit the filming set and even took pictures with the cast which was surprising for them since they thought that Tanaka is such a serious person and rarely smiles.

Meanwhile, Tanaka revealed that he is happy to see his book being made into a movie and said that he was envious of the fact that many people came together just to finish one scene because he was always alone while writing his books. He also joked that he had been a AKB48 concert at Tokyo Dome recently and said that if that was considered the peak of joy, he hoped that there would be people who would enjoy this film as the peak of darkness on a moody Monday night.


Production press conference of WOWOW's new drama "Kagi no nai yume wo miru"

The production press conference of WOWOW's new drama "Kagi no nai yume wo miru" was held on 27 August which was attended by its leading ladies Kurashina Kana, Narumi Riko, Kimura Tae, Takanashi Rin and Hirosue Ryoko. The drama which is due to be shown from 1 Sep at 10pm on Sundays, consist of 5 episodes and is based on the same-titled novel by Tsujimura Mizuki which won the 147th Naoki award.

Hirosue plays a mother who finally gives birth to a long-awaited child but falls into panic mode when her baby gets abducted at a shopping mall. When asked to comment on her character, Hirosue who is also a mother of two in real life, said that as a mother, it is great to be able to discover new things and joys while raising a child but it is also tough physically and emotionally. As such, it was difficult to play this character.

Kurashina who plays an art teacher being dragged into a downward spiral by her boyfriend chasing after an impossible dream, analysed her character as someone who feels that she is indispensable to the man she loves and said that it was the first time she could understand such feelings. Although the story is a sad one, she was glad that as an actress, she could go through what the character experienced. Meanwhile, Narumi who plays a freelancer suffering from domestic violence inflicted by her boyfriend, commented that her character probably sees the apologies from her violent boyfriend as justification for her existence.

Kimura plays a woman in her 30s who is too caught up with maintaining appearances and said that female viewers will probably find her character's experience similar to theirs while male viewers may feel that her character is a scary person to go to that extreme. Last but not least, Takanashi who plays a woman being burdened by a past trauma, revealed that she will begin her filming from 28 August and hopes to be able to portray the complicated feelings of her character.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Romaji lyrics of "Love Story" by Amuro Namie (Theme song of "Watashi ga renai dekinai riyuu")

Title: Love Story
Artist: Amuro Namie
Lyrics: TIGER
Melody: T-SK/ TESUNG Kim/ Liv NERVO/ Mim NERVO

mukashi kara love story
nigate nano shitteta desho
koi ni mi wo kogasu heroine
hateshinaku tsuzuku girltalk
tawai naku kuri kaesareru gossip
itsumo nukedashitakatta

Now I'm grown
hoshii mono wa te ni shita kedo
kawari ni I know
anata ga kureru eien mo egao mo te ni dekinai baby

dare yori mo kitto aishiteiru kedo
eranda kono michi wo aruiteku kara
umare kawatte mo aishi tsuzukeru  kedo
isshoni wa irarenai mou
Cause life's no love story

sono ude no naka de
nemuritai kodomo mitai ni
futo negau hi ga nai wake janai oh
sou ieba namida sae mou
dono gurai nagashitenai?
demo ima sara kawarenai

You know that I'm grown
hoshii mono wa te ni shita kedo
kawari ni I know
anata ga kureta yasashisa to egao mo tehanashiteta baby

dare wo mitsumetemo
dare to sugoshitemo
wasurerareru hi nado kuru hazu nai
kono mune no naka de
aishi tsuzukeru kedo
isshoni wa irarenai mou
Cause life's no love story

yagate sure chigau to shitte itemo
deaeta koto kono kiseki kansha shiteru
kakegaenai  hibi mo
koukai mo itami mo
kanashimi sae
kagayakaseru yes,

dare yori mo kitto aishiteiru kedo
eranda kono michi wo aruiteku kara
umare kawatte mo aishi tsuzukeru  kedo
isshoni wa irarenai mou
Cause life's no love story

Monday, August 26, 2013

Utada Hikaru releases first statement regarding her mother's suicide

Utada Hikaru released her first statement on 26 August following the suicide of her mother Fuji Keiko who committed suicide on 22 August. In the statement published on her official website, this is what she wrote:

"In the morning of 22 August, my mother decided to end her life herself. As there are lots of speculation theories going around, I wish to talk a bit about this and reveal that she (Fuji) had been tormented by a mental illness for a long time.

Due to her temperament (Fuji's), it was extremely difficult to get her to undergo treatment out of her own will. Being her family member, it had been a troubling situation for a long time because I didn't know what was best for her. Since I was a child, I saw how her symptoms worsened and how she grew not to trust anyone including her family members. The border between reality and imagination became increasingly blur to her and she couldn't control her emotions nor actions. I was at the mercy of all these but I couldn't do anything to help her.

Although I hope that my mother would have been released of the torture she had been suffering all these years, her last action is no doubt very saddening and leaves me with full of regret. I know that she may be misunderstood by many people...she may have been a timid person but she was assertive, she had a strong sense of justice, she loved to laugh, she was quick-witted, she was rash like a child which was dangerous, she was a scatterbrain but she was still a cute person. Despite the abundance of sad memories, I remember her smiling face when I think of of my mother. I am proud to be my mother's daughter and is thankful for being able to meet her. I would also like to thank everyone for the many warm words for me and feel that many people are supportive. Thank you very much."

Source: Nikkansports

Review of "Watashi ga renai dekinai riyuu" - Autumn 2011

Title: Watashi ga renai dekinai riyuu (The reason I can't find my love)
Official website: here
Broadcast by: FujiTV
O.A. Start Date: 17 Oct 2011
Timeslot: Mondays 9pm
Theme song: Love Story by Amuro Namie
Insert song: Sit! Stay! Wait! Down! by Amuro Namie
Average ratings: 16.0%

Fujii Emi - Karina
Ogura Saki - Yoshitaka Yuriko
Hanzawa Mako - Oshima Yuko (AKB48)
Shiraishi Misuzu - Inamori Izumi
Hasegawa Yu - Tanaka Kei
Takahashi Kenta - Nakao Akiyoshi
Tamura Junichi - Katsumura Masanobu
Shiraishi Takumi - Hagiwara Masato
Maeda Hikari - Kurashina Kana
Maruyama Rumi - Kagami Seira
Kizaki Junya - Nakamura Ryu
Yamamoto Tadashi - Hiraoka Yuta
Hanzawa Momoko - Gouriki Ayame
Kawabata Ryoichi - KEIJI
Takei Daisuke - Koyanagi Yu
Noguchi Susumu - Nagai Masaru
Enomoto Shinji - Aoyanagi Sho
Guest Stars: Hirai Ken, Amuro Namie

At long last, finally, a new drama review up here! I've been watching a mix of current and past season dramas so you'll be seeing a mix of reviews on new and old dramas from now on. Before I begin, the usual disclaimer - there are going to be spoilers here so if you haven't watched this drama and do not wish to find out about them, please skip this post now.

Although the opening credits seem to suggest that the lead characters are Emi (Karina), Saki (Yoshitaka Yuriko), Mako (Oshima Yuko) and Misuzu (Inamori Izumi), the story actually focuses on the trio of Emi, Saki and Mako. Misuzu doesn't appear that often thus strictly speaking, her interaction with the main trio is largely restricted. Besides, Misuzu is already married so she probably doesn't fit the theme of being unable to fall in love or find her love even though she has her fair share of problems with her husband Takumi despite looking like the picture-perfect couple.

Emi, Saki and Mako used to attend the same senior high school and were in the theatre club (even though Emi and Mako had not met before due to their age differences). As such, Mako is the link between them and the person who made it possible for the three of them to live together. Emi was nearing the end of her apartment's lease contract, Saki wanted to find another place to live in but had a limited budget since she was still looking for a permanent job while Mako who was living with her parents, wanted to move out but couldn't do it on her own. Coincidentally, Mako's aunt who went overseas left her house vacant thus Mako suggested that the three of them live together there since they can live in a bigger place while sharing the financial burden of rent and utilities.

Emi works at an event lighting company "LIGHTING WORKS" headed by Shiraishi Takumi i.e. Misuzu's husband and is the only female employee there. Her colleagues Tamura and Takahashi always tease her for behaving more like a man than a woman but Emi is not offended by this at all and seems at ease with her current situation. However, the sudden return of her ex-boyfriend Hasegawa Yu from the United States makes Emi flustered. Before Yu went to the US, they had dated briefly for two weeks but Yu suddenly asked to end the relationship and said that it was best that they remain buddies. Although Emi was dumbfounded by this development, she never really found out the real reason behind Yu's decision at that time. Just when she thinks that she can rekindle the relationship with Yu this time, she is shocked to know that he already has a fiancee Hikari who works at Misuzu's company and is the only daughter of a hospital's director.

While still nursing her wounds from knowing that she stands no chance with Yu, Emi happens to meet a police officer Takei Daisuke during a lighting event she handles. Emi is flattered by Takei's attention and that he seems genuinely interested in her. What's more, Takei treats Emi like a woman which is something the men around her haven't been doing for ages and certainly not what Yu had done before too. Although things begin a little awkwardly for them, Takei's earnestness starts to win over Emi bit by bit and she finally agrees to start dating him. Meanwhile, Yu seems a bit disturbed by Takei's presence but still wishes the best for Emi.

Unfortunately, Yu and Hikari run into problems due to objections from her father. It turns out that Hikari's father wants a doctor as his son-in-law so that the latter can take over his hospital in time to come. As such, Yu is seen as someone who doesn't fit the bill and Hikari's father makes her go for an omiai where she meets Kawabata. Emi happens to find out about the meeting and worries about whether she should tell Yu. However, Hikari's father calls Yu to meet him and tells him point blank about why he is objecting to Yu and Hikari's relationship. Crestfallen, Yu calls Takahashi to join him for drinks in the office but the latter ends up calling Emi for help because he is busy. Although Emi is busy with supporting Takei at an important kendo match, she still leaves the venue to check on Yu. Takei then realises that Yu is the most important person in Emi's heart thus he decides to end the relationship.

After Yu and Hikari finally end their relationship, Yu and Emi start to get closer and find out what caused their misunderstanding and breakup. Yu thought that Emi didn't love him because she didn't seem to respond favourably to his romantic advances and even chose not to wear the necklace he gave to her. The fact was that Emi was merely shy and didn't know how to react since she was never treated like a woman in the past.

Yu's friend invites him to join in the US since he set up a new events lighting company so Yu invites Emi to go with him. However, she gets offered a position in another bigger company and is pondering over whether to jump ship before she gets Yu's invitation. Emi then decides to reject the job offer and wants to go to the US with Yu. At the very last minute, she realises that what Yu is trying to achieve is different from what she wants to do and doesn't think that it is a good idea to follow him blindly to the US just because she loves him so she tells Yu about her decision and they go their separate ways.

Saki is an university graduate who is still on the lookout for a job. However, she keeps the fact that she did not secure a job from her mother and elder sister and tells them that she's working at a publisher. In order to continue sending money back home to keep the family laundromat going and to support herself, Saki resorts to working as a bar hostess while still attempting to land a job at a publisher. As Saki's father had praised her for being able to write well when he was still alive, Saki vowed to find work in a publisher so that she can realise his dream of seeing her working in such a company.

Despite her cheerful appearance and various seemingly-sound theories about love, Saki is actually clueless about what it means by finding your true love. Her relationships with men tend to be short-lived and built largely on the premise of easy sex with no strings attached thus there is no way she can find a guy who she can love from the bottom of her heart. Saki gives a lot of advice to Emi and Mako with regard to their relationships but she can't seem to apply the same in her own life.

A chance encounter proves to be a fateful meeting for Saki and Takumi as they become drawn to each other. Takumi is feeling stressed about his marriage because he feels uncomfortable when people say that he owes his success to Misuzu (she helps his company get big event lighting jobs) and that his path in life seems to be planned by his wife. In addition, her intention to start a family now and buy a house makes Takumi feel like running away because he wanted kids long ago but Misuzu rejected the idea However, he feels obligated to grant her wish now at her convenience so the tension between them seems to be mounting. Saki proves to be a good listener to Takumi and offers some much-needed relief even though the friendship started on a platonic note.

When Saki makes it clear that she's attracted to Takumi in the romantic sense, he finally reveals that he's married which leads Saki to end their relationship and cut off all contact with each other. There is no way that she is going to be a third party and break up someone else's family. However, when Takumi finds out that he is having fertility problems and wouldn't be able to have children with Misuzu, it makes him go to look for Saki again for consolation. This reunion ignites a spark between them and despite Saki finding out that Misuzu is Takami's wife, she still goes by her heart and tries to justify her actions because they did not sleep together. Subsequently, Takumi leaves home because he doesn't think that he can bring any happiness to Misuzu due to his problem while Saki seriously considers moving out to be with Takumi even though she had detested the idea of being a third party in someone's marriage. To make things worse, Misuzu is already aware that something is not right between Saki and Takumi so she makes it known to Saki that she loves her husband too much to give him up. When Takumi stands Saki up because he went to take care of Misuzu who collapsed due to exhaustion, Saki finally decides to give up this relationship even though she regards Takumi as the first man she has ever truly loved. However, things on the career front seem to be looking up as Saki secures a part-time job at a publishing company.

Mako is a contract worker at a mail order company who is seen as a stiff and rigid person by her co-workers. No doubt Mako knows how people think of her, the thing is she has her own principles and doesn't want to change them. However, she still has doubts over whether her character is what's causing her to be unable to get into a relationship.

Mako is holding a torch for her co-worker Kizaki and is very flattered when he approaches her. However, things between them do not go well as Mako refuses to sleep with him at the very last minute. Overhearing Kizaki talk about sleeping with virgins is a huge emotional burden only serves to add on to Mako's troubles as she realises that there is little chance of developing a relationship with Kizaki. Nonetheless, Mako still tries to change her personality and way of doing things in the hope of getting Kizaki back later. Unfortunately, finding out that her younger sister Momoko had a one-night-stand with Kizaki means that her hopes are finally dashed because Kizaki is smitten with Momoko. Unknown to Kizaki and Mako (Momoko told Mako the real reason later), Momoko only slept with Kizaki on the spur of the moment and part of her motive was to snatch what Mako desires since Momoko was sick of being compared to her capable sister.

Just then, Mako gets unexpected attention from Yamamoto, another co-worker, and ends up dating him on the spur of the moment. Mako even sleeps with Yamamoto right on the first day she agreed to be his girlfriend which stuns Emi and Saki who knows how insistent she was about giving her virginity to the man she loves. Things are relatively rosy at first between Mako and Yamamoto but the first signs of trouble appear when he gets extremely possessive and angry whenever Mako and Kizaki talk in the office even though it is for work purposes. Mako tries her best to reassure him that there is nothing going on between Kizaki and her but to no avail. In addition, Yamamoto seems to think that sleeping with Mako is a form of expressing his love and blows up when she works up the courage to tell him that she doesn't enjoy doing that and thinks that they can cut back on the frequency too. He attributes Mako's resistance as a show of her lingering affection for Kizaki and breaks up with her without hearing what she has to explain.

However, this is not the end of Mako's troubles as word gets around that she is a promiscuous woman who was involved with Kizaki, Yamamoto and other male colleagues. This causes Mako's contract to be terminated prematurely due to her "reputation". To make things worse, Yamamoto even insults her for deserving this treatment since she was two-timing him and Kizaki and stresses that he did not spread any rumours about her. Well, if he didn't do it, he probably didn't have to stress this specifically in front of Mako. It just gives the impression that he wants to push all the blame to Mako and appear as the lofty one with high moral standards.

Crestfallen, Mako is unsure about what she can do and happens to visit Enomoto's restaurant on the day she leaves the company. She is deeply consoled by his dishes and even sheds tears while eating. When Momoko reminds Mako that her greatest strength is being able to cook well, the latter gets a part-time job at Enomoto's restaurant in order to gain experience while preparing to get a chef licence.

After a potential pregnancy scare, Mako is relieved to find out that she's not pregnant and the response from Yamamoto reinforces her belief that not being pregnant is good because he had actually accused Mako of sleeping around and the child (if any) is definitely not his. Later, when Mako and Enomoto start to develop feelings for each other with the help of his young son and with some nudges from Emi and Saki, things between them get off to a good start.

Emi, Saki and Mako have their fair share of ups and downs throughout the entire drama and keep wondering what is it that makes them unable to find the love of their lives. However, this topic is something which has been used so many times in the past that novelty is clearly lacking here. If the theme is not fresh, the delivery and packaging would matter a lot more but sad to say, this drama doesn't offer any fresh perspective nor presents the material in a palatable or memorable way. Frankly speaking, the stories involving the main trio don't really interest me because it was so easy to see where the story was heading to and all the cliches that used to appear in older dramas seem to be used at one go here. In particular, Emi's flip-flop decisions seem too rushed especially when it came to deciding whether to go with Yu to the US and taking the alternative job offer. It seemed like she could be easily influenced by what others say to her and change her mind really quickly. Moreover, her relationship with Yu felt more like friends than lovers so I wasn't entirely convinced by their "love" for each other. Karina and Tanaka Kei do look quite compatible with each other but still, there is some missing chemistry or romance spark between them which I guess is in line with the nature of Yu and Emi's relationship. It would have been good if Emi ended up with Takei but I guess it was not possible because in dramaland, the male lead and female lead must get together in most situations unless one of them is dead or has gone overseas for some reason.

I can see that Karina really tried her best by toning down on her fashionable image and looking almost like she didn't wear any makeup all the time but I find it really difficult to like Emi. She was too wishy-washy and kept pining for Yu without doing anything. In addition, I think her acceptance of Takei's feelings was too rushed and she ended up hurting this guy with her indecisiveness so that didn't go down too well with me.

Likewise for Mako, her relationships with Kizaki, Yamamoto and Enomoto seem to be such a seamless progression that it felt as if she was someone who fell in and out of love too easily. Especially with regard to Yamamoto who I don't think she ever loved in the same way as Kizaki, I thought it was really annoying for her to keep lamenting on her inability to love when it was obvious that she couldn't even see that she was turning to Yamamoto on the rebound. If she can't even see that she is sleeping with a guy who she doesn't even like, I think she can't blame anyone but herself on what has happened even though I think Yamamoto is a total jerk too. In short, both of them must share the blame for how the relationship turned out. The good thing for Mako is, she managed to get a man in the end so if you consider the theme of the drama, she's the most successful among the trio.

I haven't seen much of Oshima Yuko's works (maybe this is the first one?) but I think she fitted the kawaii aspect of Mako quite well. However, she seemed to be exerting too much strength when reading her lines until every single word was pronounced so clearly that it felt like she was reading straight from the script. I would have hoped that she can soften her delivery to make it sound like things people say in real life rather than scripted lines in a drama. Of course, this drama is an old one so she could have improved in this aspect by now. I like it when actors don't mumble their way through lines but it gets jarring to the ears when the lines feel like they are reciting passages in a classroom.

Gouriki Ayame didn't have a lot of scenes but I think she did quite well here and did steal some of the attention from Oshima initially. That's why Momoko could attract Kizaki so easily since Mako was so rigid and Momoko was a free spirit who literally sparkled compared to Mako's plain-ness. There's been talk in recent years about Gouriki being too heavily promoted by her agency until she is suffering from over-exposure and getting some less-than-favourable reviews about her acting. I've not seen many of Gouriki's dramas or movies but I think she reminds me a lot of Ueto Aya in the past (not just in terms of looks). Ueto Aya didn't score with every single drama she did too and was suffering from the over-exposure controversy too but she has managed to come out of it relatively unscathed. I can't say that Gouriki's good at acting nor can I write her off easily as bad but with enough experience, she can slowly grow into a better actress in future. The thing is, supporting roles like Momoko may be good for her (at least she makes an impression here) but if her agency insists on pushing Gouriki into leading roles which she may not be fully prepared for, this strategy can actually backfire.

No doubt Saki may seem rather obnoxious for her frank words and trying to snatch Takumi from Misuzu, I think her character is more interesting compared to her housemates. Her "words of wisdom" are quite thought-invoking and the fact that she can't practice what she preaches makes the character more realistic because most people can't do it as well. I don't want to see everyone behaving like a saint in a drama so Saki's weaknesses make me relate to her a little easier. Her struggle at deciding whether to stick with Takumi was depicted in such a way that you really see that Saki is more vulnerable than she looks. Her insistence at keeping up the perfect facade in front of her family is also what makes her more lovable than the other two characters who seem to be too weighed down by the romance issues in their lives. I like the fact that Saki is a multi-dimensional character and Yoshitaka Yuriko really nailed down the role with precision. It also helps that she's usually the most well-dressed among the trio so it's a visual feast to see her in all those beautiful clothes.

As for the men in these ladies' lives, there is no lack of good-looking eye candy around for the female viewers. It was kinda surprising to see Tanaka Kei in such a meaty role because he's usually a supporting actor. Strictly speaking, the lead is Karina but because he is her romantic interest. his weighting in the drama also goes up correspondingly. He's a credible actor but somehow, the romance factor between him and Karina seemed really lacking even when they finally made their feelings known to each other and kissed. They felt too much like buddies that I can see why the relationship didn't work out the first time. In that sense, the decision to choose Tanaka for the role of Yu is understandable.

On Mako's side, it was great to see Nakamura Ryu back again since it's been years I saw him in "Hakusen Nagashi". It seems that he appeared in other dramas in recent years but they turn out to be those which I've not watched. Unfortunately, his role is kinda small to make an impression. On the other hand, Hiraoka Yuta's character was a total jerk and I think his goody-two-shoes looks helped to create the contrast that Yamamoto may look like a good guy on the surface but his thinking and way of doing things are totally unacceptable. I did have the impression that Yamamoto approached Mako, thinking that he had a chance with her because she was spurned by Kizaki, not because he had been interested in her right from the start. Although Mako thought she had a part to play in how Yamamoto reacted, I think that's not correct because his possessiveness and suspicious nature caused the breakdown of their relationship rather than her not staying away from Kizaki.

Saki and Takumi are the ones to look out for since their relationship started on  such an innocent note and ended up being something so big that it could engulf them and destroy whatever they have achieved so far. They did try to end contact once but a few more bumps along life's journey brought them together again. Much as they think they are soulmates, the problem is that they met too late. If Takumi isn't married to Misuzu, he might have been with Saki. If Saki had no qualms about breaking up Takumi's marriage, she might get her man. The thing is, I don't think they love each other to that extent. They are indeed attracted to each other and can understand each other. However, to stay together requires sacrifices which they probably aren't willing to make so it was best to part ways. Hagiwara and Yoshitaka did rather well in that farewell scene which was rather sad and helpless because there was no way Takumi and Saki could have stayed together.

And my reviews for this drama:

Story: 6 out of 10 (Too predictable and cliche)

Acting: 7 out of 10 (Occasionally good in some scenes for most of the cast but Yoshitaka Yuriko was eye-catching in many ways)

Theme song: 8 out of 10 (I really like Amuro Namie's theme song but not so much of the insert song)

Visual effects / Scenery: 7 out 10 (I like the house where the main trio was living in which looked very comfortable and homey. Scenery-wise, there were a few outdoor scenes which looked nice too. In the final episode, there is a part which was supposedly filmed live at a place where the trio could see Tokyo Tower and there were some lights show in conjunction with the drama's finale so that was quite nice to see.)

Teamwork / Chemistry: 6.5 out of 10 (Karina and Tanaka Kei as buddies and Yoshitaka Yuriko and Hagiwara Masato as soulmates who cannot be together)

Total: 34.5 out of 50

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Seto Koji stars in WOWOW's autumn 2013 drama "LINK"

Seto Koji will be taking on the lead role in the upcoming WOWOW drama "LINK" which is due to be shown from 6 October at 10pm on Sundays over 5 weeks. Seto plays the lead character Aoyanagi Tomoya who is the culprit behind an explosion case and the drama will show how he tries to make his presence felt in the world by engineering such bombing incidents and why he wants to do so. This drama will also mark Seto's first appearance in a WOWOW drama. Co-stars include Oomori Nao who plays Terawara Ken, a former police detective who works for a private security firm now, Takeda Tetsuya as Matsuoka Kosuke the secretary general of a political party Minjitou, Kuroki Hitomi as Sakurai Satoko who works as a prosecutor, Tanaka Rena as Ishikawa Aki who works at a trust bank, Tamayama Tetsuji as Takashima Shoichi who is a junior high school teacher in Hokkaido, Mimura as Kawamoto Rie who is a nurse in Tokyo, Tanaka Naoki as Sawada Tsutomu who is working in a Osaka apparel company and Ayano Go who plays John the president of an IT company. Of these characters, Aoyanagi may be linked to some or all of them in one way or another.

Source: Oricon

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mikami Hiroshi & Takahashi Mitsuomi back in NHK drama "Jikken Keiji Totori" this autumn

Mikami Hiroshi and Takahashi Mitsuomi will be back in the second installment of NHK drama "Jikken Keiji Totori" which was first shown last autumn. The sequel will be shown from 12 October at 9pm on Thursdays over six weeks and features Mikami as Totori, a 44-year-old former animal ecologist who switches lines to become a police detective, teaming up with his younger superior Yasunaga (Takahashi) to solve cases. Co-stars include Kuriyama Chiaki, Sasano Takashi and new addition Takahashi Ai.

Source: Oricon

Horikita Maki, Matsuda Ryuhei & Yo Kimiko co-star in new movie "Mugiko-san to"

Horikita Maki, Matsuda Ryuhei and Yo Kimiko are starring in the new movie "Mugiko-san to" (With Mugiko-san) which is due to be shown in cinemas from December. The theme song of the movie will be Matsuda Seiko's signature hit "Akai Sweet Pea" which is used for the first time in a movie.

Mugiko (Horikita) who aspires to be a voice actor and her unreliable elder brother (Matsuda) are surprised to see their mother (Yo) appearing before them even though she had abandoned them when they were kids. When their mother moves in with them, they are unable to adjust to one another. Just then, Mugiko's mother passes away suddenly thus leading Mugiko to return to her mother's hometown and find out what kind of a person she was.


First-day-screening of movie "Gacchaman'

The first-day-screening of movie "Gacchaman" was held on 24 August at TOHO Cinemas Nigeki 2 which was attended by Matsuzaka Toori, Gouriki Ayame, Ayano Go, Suzuki Ryosuke, Hamada Tatsuomi, Kishitani Goro, Nakamura Shido, Hatsune Eriko and the director Sato Touya. The movie is the first real-life adaptation of the anime popular in the 1970s. Matsuzaka who plays the lead, said that he was deeply moved by the fact that they managed to reach this day and hopes that those who haven't seen the movie will see it soon and give them feedback which may increase the chances of a sequel being made. Nakamura who plays the enemy role of Matsuzaka, revealed that he initially thought that he would be one of the Gacchaman members and he didn't have enough time for his hair to grow longer. Ayano then revealed that on the first day of the screening, Nakamura actually went to Ayano and jokingly asked to exchange roles with him.

Source: Sanspo

"Hanzawa Naoki" baddie character changed to Owada Akira at the suggestion of Sakai Masato

Iyoda Hidenori, the producer of "Hanzawa Naoki", revealed that the change of the baddie character in the Tokyo arc which begins in the 6th episode to be shown on 25 August, was actually made at the suggestion of the lead actor Sakai Masato. In the original novel, the baddie character who had caused Hanzawa's father's suicide is the stand-in department manager but at the end of the last episode, it was revealed that the culprit is Owada Akira, the youngest managing director in the bank. Iyoda commented that Sakai raised the idea of reinforcing the idea of extreme evil which Hanzawa has to fight against thus the decision was made to choose Owada as the baddie in the Tokyo arc since Kagawa Teruyuki is great with portraying the sharp and cold side of his character.

Iyoda also said that Sakai is usually a very humble and cheerful person but he is becoming more and more like Hanzawa that sometimes he wants to call Sakai as Hanzawa. He also revealed that the rehearsal sessions for the drama tend to be longer than usual but this also means that the actual filming gets going more smoothly and wraps up early because the crew and cast are well-prepared during the rehearsals.

Source: Mantan Web

Friday, August 23, 2013

Oshima Yuko to play the heroine in drama SP "Kamisama no Beretbou ~ Tezuka Osamu no Black Jack Sousaku Hiwa ~"

AKB48 member Oshima Yuko will be the heroine in the FujiTV drama SP "Kamisama no Beretbou ~ Tezuka Osamu no Black Jack Sousaku Hiwa ~" which will be shown on 24 September. The drama SP which features SMAP's Kusanagi Tsuyoshi as manga artist Tezuka Osamu, will be the first time that Kusanagi and Oshima are working together.

Oshima will play the role of Odamachi Sakura who goes back in time to 1973 and becomes the newbie editor in charge of Tezuka's works at the publisher Akita Shoten but she actually has no interest in manga. In preparation for her role in the story set, Oshima dyed her hair black, cut her fringe shorter and wore clothes from 40 years ago to project the Showa look.

Source: Sanspo

Press conference of NHK morning drama "Gochisousan"

The press conference of NHK morning drama "Gochisousan" was held on 20 August at Osaka which was attended by cast members An, Higashide Masahiro, Miyazaki Yoshiko, Kondo Masaomi, Wada Masato, Kimura Midoriko and Takahata Mitsuki. The drama is set in Osaka during the Meiji, Taisho and Showa eras where An plays the heroine Uno Meiko who has a deep passion for food.

As the previous morning drama "Ama-chan" was a ratings winner with an average of 22.9%, An was asked about the ratings pressure for her drama and commented that she hoped to maintain the momentum so that "Gochisousan" can also do well. Her co-stars remarked that An is such a big eater that she tries all the types of food they use during filming and she replied sheepishly her weight has gone up slightly since filming started in mid May at Tokyo. The filming of the Osaka arc has already begun.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Completion screening of drama SP "Kyou no hi wa sayonara"

The completion screening of 24 Jikan Terebi's drama SP "Kyou no hi wa sayonara" was held on 20 August which was attended by Arashi's Ohno Satoshi. The drama SP will be shown on 24 August at 9pm and features Ohno as a 29-year-old young man Kouta who suffers from malignant lymphoma and makes a recovery once but suffers a relapse one year later and is told that he only has three months to live. Co-stars include Miura Tomokazu, Kishimoto Kayoko and Mimura who play Kouta's family members and Fukada Kyoko and Hey! Say! JUMP's Yamada Ryosuke. Ohno commented that even though this is the first time he worked with them but he felt as if they were his real family while they were filming.

Ohno also revealed that he passed the DVD of the drama SP to his mother on 19 August  because she looked forward to watching it. However, she has not shared her thoughts about it with him yet so he expects to hear from her later.

Ohno is the 3rd Arashi member to play a lead role in a 24 Jikan Terebi drama since Matsumoto Jun and Ninomiya Kazunari appeared in 2008's and 2012's editions

Source: Sanspo

Shiraishi Junya & Suzuki Ryohei to co-star in TBS autumn 2013 drama "Higanjima"

Shiraishi Junya and Suzuki Ryohei will be co-leads in the upcoming TBS autumn 2013 drama "Higanjima" which begins its run from October. The O.A. timeslot has not been decided yet.

The drama which is based on the same-titled manga by Matsumoto Koji that has sold more than 5.6 million copies to date, is the first drama adaptation of the manga. It will be directed by Miike Takashi who is famous for his movies such as "Aku no Kyoden". Suzuki and Shiraishi who both belong to the agency Horipro, will be playing brothers in their first collaboration where Shiraishi plays the younger brother Miyamoto Akira who heads to an isolated island Higanjima to look for his missing elder brother Atsushi but finds himself in a living hell where he has to fend on vampires which survive on human blood.

Source: Sanspo

Limited release of 10,000 CDs for "Kiyoku Yawaku" theme song "Kagerou"

"Kagerou", the theme song of new movie "Kiyoku Yawaku" which is sung by Saito Kazuyoshi, will be distributed through a limited CD release of 10,000 copies on 16 October. The movie starring Nagasawa Masami and Okada Masaki will be shown in cinemas from 26 October. The CD jacket drawn by the original's manga artist Ikuemi Aya, will feature Saito Kazuyoshi lying on the sofa with a cat.

"Kagerou" will be Saito's 43rd single release and it will be sold at 680 yen each. In addition, there will be pictures of Saito drawn by Ikuemi that will be included in the package. Pre-orders begin from 19 August.


Utada Hikaru's mother Fuji Keiko falls to her death - UPDATED

Utada Hikaru's mother Fuji Keiko who used to be a singer, was found lying on her back at the ground floor of an apartment block in Shinjuku, Tokyo, at 7am on 22 August. According to the police, Fuji suffered serious head injuries and died at the hospital.

Fuji was said to have visited the apartment of a male friend in his 30s which was on the 13th floor and one of her slippers was found on the balcony. The police believed that Fuji could have committed suicide but no suicide note had been found so far. Fuji was found lying on the floor by passerbys who called the police and her ex-husband. The male friend was said to be sleeping when the police called on him and he had not realised that Fuji was missing from his apartment until then.

Fuji made her debut as a singer in 1969 and was previously married to enka singer Maekawa Kiyoshi between 1971 and 1972 before she got married to Utada Teruzane in 1982. She gave birth to Utada Hikaru in 1983 and divorced her husband in 2007.

UPDATE based on press conference held by Shinjuku Police Station
- Fuji Keiko had been living with a male acquaintance at the apartment where she reportedly fell from for the past six years.
- The apartment building is 28 storeys high and the apartment where she fell from was on the 13th floor.
- One of her slippers was found on the outer ledge of the balcony. The railing at the balcony was 115cm high.
- She was found wearing a T-shirt and shorts. The other half of her slippers was near where she apparently landed.

Source: Sankei Shimbun / Sanspo

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hanzawa Naoki's Baigaeshi manju selling like hot cakes

The baigaeshi manju produced in conjunction with the ongoing TBS hit drama "Hanzawa Naoki" are literally selling like hot cakes since they went on sale from 9 August via TBS' internet site "TBSishop". The manju which comes in 9 pieces per box at JPY 840, had also been available at TBS Store (Akasaka), Tokyo Station and Tokyo Soramachi's Tree Village but the 400 boxes were sold out on the same day of its release. TBS announced on its blog that the new stocks will be sent to the stores this weekend.

The manju's skin is made of brown sugar and contains red bean paste with the words "Baigaeshi" printed outside. Hanzawa Naoki's namecard is also provided in the form of a sticker as a freebie with the box of manju.

TBS will be showing the 6th episode of the drama on 25 August which will be extended by 25 minutes and the setting will be moved from Osaka to Tokyo as Hanzawa Naoki (Sakai Masato) gets transferred to the Tokyo HQ.

Source: Oricon

Shiina Kippei to star in TBS autumn 2013 drama "Keiji no Manazashi"

Shiina Kippei will play a leading role in a drama for the first time in 14 years through the TBS autumn 2013 drama "Keiji no Manazashi" (A detective's look) which will begin its run from October at 8pm on Mondays. It will also be his first leading role in a TBS drama after he played the main character in FujiTV's 1999 drama "Renai Sagishi" (Love Trickster).

"Keiji no Manazashi" is based on the same-titled novel by suspense writer Yakumaru Gaku which features Shiina switching career paths to become a newbie police detective in his 40s after quitting as a legal officer at the juvenile detention centre. To date, Shiina had played many police detective roles and his most recent role was as Kazamatsuri in "Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato De" which had a strong comical touch. This time, his role Natsume will be a gentle man who tries to solve cases with a softer approach.

Co-stars include Kaname Jun, Kitamura Yukiya and Matsushige Yutaka.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

DREAMS COME TRUE's Nakamura Masato makes first drama appearance in "Kyuumei Byoutou 24 Ji"

DREAMS COME TRUE's Nakamura Masato will make his first appearance in a drama through the 9th episode of "Kyuumei Byoutou 24 Ji 5" which will air on 3 September at 9pm. He plays Oikawa Takumi, a patient who gets sent to the emergency room due to a leg injury and is an acquaintance of the doctors there. As DREAMS COME TRUE has been singing theme song for the Kyumei Byoutou 24 Ji drama series since 1999, Nakamura was then asked to appear as a guest in the latest installment which he dismissed as a joke initially.

This is Nakamura's second acting attempt since the 2004 movie "Amaretto" produced by the singing duo and he had appeared in the movie together with the vocalist Yoshida Miwa. However, after that experience, Nakamura revealed jokingly that he swore at that time never to act again. When told that he only needed to show facial expressions since he would be brought to the emergency room on a stretcher, Nakamura felt relieved and agreed to take up the offer.

Source: Yomiuri Hochi

Oguri Shun & Miura Haruma at marine event for movie "Captain Harlock"

Oguri Shun, Miura Haruma, Furuta Arata and Fukuda Ayano attended the marine event for the movie "Captain Harlock" at Odaiba on 20 August. The anime movie is due to be shown in cinemas from 7 September. The cast boarded the tourist ferry "Hotaruna" designed by Matsumoto Reiji where they could get a good view of Odaiba and enjoy the breeze. Oguri who is the voice actor of Harlock, commented that the movie will show viewers a world that they've never seen before while Miura who took on voice acting for the first time, commented that he had depended on Oguri a lot during the recording even though his character is supposed to be after Harlock's life.

Source: Sanspo

"Doctor X ~ Gekkai Ookado Michiko" to be back this autumn

The hit TV Asahi drama "Doctor X ~ Gekkai Ookado Michiko" starring Yonekura Ryoko will be back this autumn in the same Thursdays 9pm timeslot. Yonekura will reprise her role as Ookado Michiko, the freelance surgeon who is unafraid to challenge rules and conventions. This time, she will be working at Teito Medical University's affiliated hospital's HQ as compared to the 3rd branch she was working at in the drama series last year.

Filming began on 19 August at a racecourse where Ookado (Yonekura) was featured having fun at the races although the shooting took place in extremely sweltering conditions,

Source: Sanspo 1 / Sanspo 2

Hashimoto Ai & Koura Kengo pair up in new NHK drama "Hard Nut!"

Hashimoto Ai and Koura Kengo will be starring in the new NHK drama "Hard Nut" which will begin its run from late October in the Sundays 10pm timeslot. This is the first leading role in a drama for Hashimoto while this is the second time she is working with Koura since their collaboration in WOWOW's "Tsumi to Batsu A Falsified Romance" last year.

Hashimoto plays the role of Nanba Kurumi, a mathematics student in the famous Touto University who lacks communication skills and is seen as a weirdo by those around her. However, with her genius-like flashes of inspiration and her mathematics knowledge, she ends up solving many difficult cases e.g. terrorist bombings, murders and corporate extortion. As for the reason why she studies mathematics, it will also be explained in the drama. On the other hand, Koura plays a police detective Handa Tatsuhiko who works at the Hatsune Police Station and is known as a skilled marksman but his social life is shrouded in mystery. Co-stars also include Yajima Kenichi, Namioka Kazuki and Katsumura Masanobu.

Source: Oricon

"Chibi Maruko-chan" back as a drama series with 3rd generation Maruko-chan Shinta Maki

FujiTV will be producing a new series to its "Chibi Maruko-chan" real-life drama adaptation for the first time in five and a half years which will be shown this autumn at 6pm on Sundays. The new drama which will feature a mix of stories from the manga and newly-created stories, will feature 8-year-old Shinta Maki as the 3rd generation Maruko after Morisako Ei in 2006 and Ito Ayaka in 2007. With regard to her first leading role in a drama, Shinta commented that she is very happy especially since she is a big fan of the Maruko-chan anime.

Source: Sanspo

Special screening of "Kyuumei Byoutou 24 Ji 5"

A special screening of FujiTV summer drama "Kyuumei Byoutou 24 Ji 5" starring Matsushima Nanako was held at Cinem@rt Roppongi on 15 August which was attended by cast members Ashina Sei, Kashiwabara Shuji, Kojima Kazuya and Okamoto Rei. Episodes 7 and 8 which are due to be shown on 20 Aug and 27 Aug were screened during the event. In episode 6, Kaede's (Matsushima) 10-year-old nephew met with an accident at a river stream where his heart stopped for a while and was sent to the emergency centre at the hospital she works in. Episodes 7 and 8 will feature Kaede and her team fighting to save the little boy but are faced with the dilemma of pressing on with the treatment or letting him go without suffering any further and using his organs to save other people. As such, these two episodes are said to be the most tear-inducing ones in the entire series.

Before the screening, the cast held a talk show with the audience where Ashina said that organ transplant is a very difficult topic and through this drama, she had come to see the emotions felt by various parties. Kashiwabara also commented that although doctors have to recommend organ transplants to the family members of dying patients in order to save many other people, this drama had also taught him that if the same decision had to be made by the doctors themselves for their own family members, there would be various issues to consider and that it won't be an easy decision to make. The cast members stayed during the screening and revealed after it that they were crying even though they thought they wouldn't.

Source: Dogatch

Monday, August 19, 2013

Happy 7th anniversary, Dorama World!

7 years ago at precisely this moment, the very first post on Dorama World appeared on the Internet.

7 years is such a long time. A baby born 7 years ago would be in primary school by today. It hasn't been an exactly smooth-sailing period all this while because there were periods when I had to take a break from the blogging due to various reasons, be it work, studies or other engagements. Trying to revive this blog in November 2011 wasn't an easy decision to make. On one hand, I wanted to continue sharing my reviews and translated news. On the other hand, I wasn't sure if I could maintain the momentum and not disappoint those who had been still been reading the blog. Taking small steps at a time and sometimes taking short breaks in between but making up for it later, I'm glad to celebrate this occasion with everyone who had been reading whatever I've posted here. Thank you very much for your support to date and I really hope to hear more from you through the comments section. Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts, be it whether you agree or disagree with my reviews, find mistakes in my translations or wish to ask me to translate something.

There are some posts which I'm still in the midst of doing and they are taking me longer than I expected. Whatever requests I agreed to in the past, I tried to fulfill them if I had agreed to doing them. However, if you notice that it still hasn't appeared, it's all because of my lack of time and motivation to press on. I guess for me, laziness + fatigue = procrastination. I promise to try my best to churn out my half-done pieces soon but there's no fixed timeline at the moment. ^__^

On this day, I would also like to seek your comments on how you think this blog can be further improved. Fanciful blog visuals are not my forte (unless you can show me resources on how I can change the skin etc) but please feel free to share your thoughts, be it about the content or layout or design of the blog.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope that you'll continue joining me on this J-drama/J-movie/ J-ent journey!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Top 10 songs you want to listen to this summer - 2013 (Oricon)

1) Natsuiro - Yuzu

2) Manatsu no Kajitsu - Southern All Stars

3) Shonen Jidai - Inoue Yosui

4) ultra soul - B'z

5) Summer Splash! - Arashi

6) Kibou no Wadachi - Southern All Stars

7) Music Hour - Porno Graffiti

8) A~ Natsuyasumi - TUBE

9) Natsu no Namae - Arashi

10) Summer Nude - Magokoro Brothers

Source: Oricon

Takenaka Naoto & Eguchi Yosuke joins the cast of 2014 Taiga "Gunshi Kanbee"

Takenaka Naoto and Eguchi Yosuke attended a press conference held at NHK on 16 August where it was announced that they will be joining the cast of 2014 Taiga drama "Gunshi Kanbee" starring Okada Junichi. Takenaka will be playing the role of Toyotomi Hideyoshi for the first time in 18 years since he did so in 1996's Taiga "Hideyoshi" while Eguchi will be playing Oda Nobunaga. Takenaka commented that he didn't expect to play Hideyoshi again in a Taiga drama after all these years and expressed his joy at being able to return to his younger days. On the other hand, Eguchi commented that he was unsure what to do when the producer told him that he should act like a god when portraying Nobunaga but as soon as he wore the costume and beard during the fitting session, he felt like he could somehow achieve that and hoped to show a new side of Nobunaga through his performance.

Source: Sanspo

Kawaguchi Haruna, Tanabe Seiichi and Suzuki Sawa co-star in autumn 2013 drama "Otto no Kanojo"

Kawaguchi Haruna, Tanabe Seiichi and Suzuki Sawa will be starring in the TBS autumn 2013 drama "Otto no Kanojo" (My Husband's Girlfriend) which begins its run from October in the Thursdays 9pm timeslot. The drama which is based on Kakiya Miu's novel and is Kawaguchi's first leading role in a primetime drama since her debut 5 years ago, features the latter as a 20-year-old OL Hoshimi who gets mistaken as her superior's (Tanabe) mistress and ends up accidentally swapping bodies with his 39-year-old wife Ryoko (Suzuki) while they are locked in a scuffle. Hoshimi is a cool person who refuses to rely on anyone while Ryoko is a mother of two who is conservative and keeps imagining that her husband is straying. Suzuki Fuku will play Ryoko's eldest son who is 10 years old.

Filming will begin in early September.

Source: Sanspo

"24 Jikan Terebi 36" charity T-shirts sales pass the 1 million mark

The sales of NTV charity programme "24 Jikan Terebi 36" T-shirts have passed the 1 million mark as reported on 15 August. The T-shirts designed by artist Kusama Yayoi and Arashi's Ohno Satoshi, went on sale at 1,500 yen per piece on 14 June and passed the 1 million mark on 8 August and accumulated sales as of 11 August were 1.05 million pieces. This achievement also broke last year's record high of 764,198 units. Kusama commented that she was glad that the T-shirts they designed were well-received while Ohno expressed his happiness at being able to work with Kusama and that many people are wearing the T-shirts.

Although there were some weekly magazines which talked about whether Arashi was being paid to be the main personality of the charity programme, NTV confirmed that Arashi's participation was on a volunteer basis and even Ohno would not be getting anything for designing the T-shirts.

Source: Nikkansports