Sunday, December 17, 2017

Hirose Suzu to be the heroine of NHK's 100th morning drama "Natsuzora"' in 2019

Hirose Suzu was announced to be the heroine of NHK's 100th morning drama "Natsuzora" (Summer Sky) which is due to be shown in the first half of 2019 during a press conference held on 20 November. This announcement was unprecedented because the heroine for "Manpuku", the 99th morning drama, had not been announced yet and the 100th morning drama is only due to be shown 1 year and 5 months later. NHK explained that due to the extended filming period for this drama partly due to the reforms by the TV station to improve working conditions and prevent overwork, it was decided that the announcement would be brought forward earlier than usual. At the time when the drama is shown from April 2019, Hirose will be 20 years old so this will be her first drama after she becomes an adult.

Hirose who appeared in a chic purple dress, admitted that the 100th drama is a huge milestone and adds pressure to her but she hoped to be able to deliver an unique performance which will leave a mark in the morning drama's history. She revealed that she only got the news about the offer one day before the press conference and was very shocked about it. Till date, the news hadn't quite sunk in yet but she expressed her joy in getting such a big role just 5 years since she made her debut. Morning drama heroines are usually chosen via an audition but Hirose was specially picked for "Natsuzora" just like Arimura Kasumi who was chosen to be the lead for "Hiyokko".

"Natsuzora" is an original story set during the high economic development period of the Showa period where Hirose plays the lead character Natsu who lost her parents during the war and moves to the Tokachi region in Hokkaido with her foster father who is a dairy farmer. While growing up in the beautiful nature of Hokkaido, Natsu meets a boy at primary school who draws a very beautiful picture of a horse and grows to take an interest in animated movies. Upon graduating from senior high school, Natsu moves to Tokyo and joins the budding animation industry in order to realise her dream of being an animator. Filming will begin in summer next year so as to capture the four seasons of Hokkaido and is expected to last for one year and four months.

As for whether she can cope with the physical demands of the long filming, Hirose said that she could see how tough it was as her elder sister Arisu is acting in the ongoing morning drama "Warotenka". However, as she had built up her physical fitness over 8 years while playing basketball and working in this industry, she pledged to try her best and not lose out in this regard.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi


Anonymous said...


junny said...

Eh, not sure NHK handled this well. I wish they'd settled Manpuku's heroine first and then announced Natsuzora's. Now Manpuku is going to seem like an afterthought. Also, it's great for Suzu and she seems decent, but surely there are other young actresses equally, if not more, deserving of this chance?

Chiaki said...

Hi junny, I share your sentiments. The fact that they chose to skip the announcement of Manpuku's heroine seems to undermine the significance of that drama. I mean, the 99th Asadora is also considered meaningful when compared against the 100th so why relegate it to something which you can easily forget about when it hasn't even been made? I have a hunch that they haven't even decided on the heroine for "Manpuku" or else why wouldn't they break this news first ahead of revealing Hirose as the 100th heroine since she will only start filming in the second half of next year?

The rumour mill has two theories as to why NHK was in such a hurry:
1) They didn't want the media to get wind of the filming and break the news ahead of their official announcement
2) They are effectively sending a hands-off message to everyone because Hirose Suzu is so sought-after these days and the asadora filming means that she can't do anything else major during that 1 year and 4 months. If the word didn't go out first, Hirose's side wouldn't be able to reject those offers without divulging that she's already committed to such a long-term project ahead.

I'm rather neutral to the choice of Hirose without an audition because I honestly haven't seen much of her works to determine whether she deserves all these praise. All I can see is that she is so over-exposed that it may not be to her advantage in the long run as people get tired of her quickly. I'm more concerned about who takes on "Manpuku" though. It will be tough to grab the attention of the public when NHK is obviously putting in so much effort in "Natsuzora" and seemingly puts "Manpuku" in such a weak position.

junny said...

Chiaki, you raised very good and plausible points, and I agree with them. It's all very well to issue a hands-off message, but surely that can be done after choosing Manpuku's heroine - and if they're doing away with the audition for Hirose Suzu, they can do the same for Manpuku's heroine as well (if they want it done quickly).

I hope Manpuku's heroine doesn't feel bad when she's revealed, that she was essentially made to look like an afterthought. It's a shame, since the asadora was gaining popularity and prestige again after a string of good ones, and then NHK goes and jumps the gun unnecessarily.

Also, even if they want to lock down Hirose now, what's the guarantee that she will still be as popular in a couple of years when Natsuzora airs? Such is the fickleness of fame. I'm sure she'll have some staying power, but it is a fact that there are many other young actresses out there more talented than her, and she may or may not be such hot property then. Based on what little I've seen of her, she's decent but not exceptional, ie she's not the kind who would wow me regardless of project. Natsuzora had better be amazing for NHK to justify this decision.