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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Imai Tsubasa announces the suspension of his work activities again due to Ménierè's disease

Imai Tsubasa will be taking a break from work for the time being due to Ménierè's disease as announced on 28 March. According to his agency, Imai complained of repeated and serious bouts of giddiness and was diagnosed with a relapse of Ménierè's disease which led to his immediate hospitalisation on the same day. His agency apologised to fans and work-related personnel for the worry and inconvenience caused as a result of this sudden situation.

Top 10 favourite and disliked actors in 2018 (Shukan Bunshun)

In this year's ranking, more than 5,200 votes were received from Shukan Bunshun's readers who chose their favourite and disliked actors. The number of votes received is reflected in brackets while their positions in 2017 are presented in italics and those outside of the top 10 get a dash:

Top 10 favourite and disliked actress in 2018 (Shukan Bunshun)

In this year's ranking, more than 5,200 votes were received from Shukan Bunshun's readers who chose their favourite and disliked actresses. The number of votes received is reflected in brackets while their positions in 2017 are presented in italics and those outside of the top 10 get a dash:

Friday, March 30, 2018

Top 10 movies box office ranking for the weekend of 24th & 25th March 2018

Numbers in brackets indicate the number of cinemas showing the movie:

1) The Boss Baby (322)

2) Coco (371)

3) Eiga Doraemon Nobita no Takarajima (370)

4) Chihayafuru - Musubi - (307)

5) The Greatest Showman (374)

6) Eiga Puri Kyua Superstars! (213)

7) Tomb Raider First Mission (314)

8) Kita no Sakuramori (350)

9) Kyounen no fuyu, Kimi to wakare (329)

10) Black Panther (355)

Source: Eiga.com

Top 10 favourite and disliked actors in 2017 (Shukan Bunshun)

Shukan Bunshun conducts an annual survey on its email magazine subscribers to find out which actress and actor they like or dislike that year. In the recently concluded survey, 6,900 responses were received and here is the list of the top 10 favourite and disliked actors in 2017. The number of votes received is reflected in brackets while their positions in 2016 are presented in italics and those outside of the top 10 get a dash:

Top 10 favourite and disliked actress in 2017 (Shukan Bunshun)

Shukan Bunshun conducts an annual survey on its email magazine subscribers to find out which actress and actor they like or dislike that year. In the recently concluded survey, 6,900 responses were received and here is the list of the top 10 favourite and disliked actresses in 2017. The number of votes received is reflected in brackets while their positions in 2016 are presented in italics and those outside of the top 10 get a dash:

Supporting cast line-up of new movie "Kasane" announced

The supporting cast line-up of new movie "Kasane" starring Tsuchiya Tao and Yoshine Kyoko had been announced. The movie which is based on the same-titled manga by Matsuura Daruma, has sold more than 1.8m copies to date and focuses on the theme of the beauty and ugliness of human beings. Tsuchiya plays the role of Tanzawa Nina who is blessed with good looks but is struggling to improve in her acting career while Yoshine plays Fuchi Kasane, an actress who is talented in her craft thanks to her mother who was a legendary actress but has less than desirable looks. As such, Kasane has a strong inferior complex due to her appearance. However, when Kasane inherits a mysterious lipstick which is said to have the power to switch the faces of people who kiss while wearing it, she decides to use it on Nina which allows Kasane to achieve great success with Nina's looks and her strong acting skills. On the other hand, Nina goes on a downward spiral in her life due to her newly-acquired ugliness.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Oosugi Ren's farewell ceremony to be held at Tokyo in April 2018

The farewell ceremony for Oosugi Ren who passed away on 21 February will be held at Aoyama Sougisho in Tokyo on 14 April 2018. From 1pm to 3pm, members of the public can attend the event where there will be a booth for fans and an altar for them to make flower offerings. For more details on the ceremony, please visit his agency ZACCO's official website.

Source: Natalie / Oricon

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The 2nd Dorama World Awards 2017 - Best Drama

Finally, here is the last category to be announced - Best Drama!

Although three of my favourites are in the top 5, I have to admit that I am disappointed with the way the ranking has turned out because it is yet another one-sided race. Although No.2 put up a valiant fight, it was still way insufficient to turn the tables.

No.5 Chiisana Kyojin - 26 points

To be honest, when I first started watching Chiisana Kyojin, I thought that it was just a police version of Hanzawa Naoki. The similarities between both dramas were aplenty and the way the story was structured i.e. two arcs seemed too identical. However, when placed in a different environment i.e. police force vs. bank, the story became quite unique and was more engaging than I expected. Of course, there were some dramatic and seemingly unrealistic moments but they were at least entertaining. Coupled with the strong acting from the cast (sometimes a bit too forceful especially Hasegawa Hiroki, Okada Masaki and Kagawa Teruyuki who I thought might get a stroke any minute because they were so engrossed and agitated), this turned out to be a better-than-expected piece of work. I guess having no expectations in the beginning helped me to enjoy this drama more and I did vote for this drama.

No.4 Rikuou - 44 points

As I pointed out previously, the only thing which I didn't really like about Rikuou was its overly-idealistic developments at times. Of course, there were setbacks for the characters most of the time but still, it's an all-ends-well conclusion for the characters (well, most of them except the baddies). In terms of the acting, it was a mixed situation with some doing extremely well e.g. Yakusho Koji, Takeuchi Ryoma and Matsuoka Shuzo while some others seemed unusually weak e.g. Pierre Taki who I think his baddie character was too one-dimensional. Yamazaki Kento was somewhat overshadowed by Takeuchi although I thought that he improved from the last time I saw him in Death Note. Overall, I could see the amount of dedication and effort put into the production of this drama so in the end, I could overlook the issues I had with the story and voted for this drama.

No.3 Kahogo no Kahoko - 46 points

This drama beat Rikuou by just 2 points to secure the No.3 position. Judging from the highly positive comments left by you guys about this drama, it seems like it is something worth checking out as there is more than what I initially expected.
One interesting trend which I've noticed was that the people who voted for Takeuchi Ryoma and Takahata Mitsuki in the individual acting awards also chose the drama in this category. It seems to suggest that they liked both the acting and the story unlike for some dramas where their cast members were not voted for at all.

No.2 Quartet - 128 points

Quartet did its best but it was just no match for the eventual No.1 which enjoyed overwhelming support from the beginning. Nonetheless, this was my No.1 for 2017.
Sakamoto Yuji's script was fantastic and the cast really brought it to life with their strong acting. The thing is, such dramas which have a lot of dialogue and dry humour, appeal to a niche audience so it may not be palatable to those who seek a faster paced story without so many conversations. On the other hand, people who like this genre will be "dissecting" each and every line for their meaning which usually resonates with us. If I watched this when I was much younger, I might not have appreciated it as much as I do now. Much as I loved this drama, I don't like the idea of a sequel because it might just kill off the magic that was created in the original series.

No.1 Doctor X Season 5 - 380 points

Doctor X has done it again this year. I think the fans must be rejoicing now as the drama and its cast performed rather well. I have said enough about how I feel about this drama and that I hope to see Yonekura ditching this role soon to do something different. I have nothing against Doctor X or it winning this category but that lazy TV Asahi should really stop taking the easy way out and milk the Doctor X series to the limit.
The voting process this year was marred by some overzealous fans who tried to skew the one-sided results even further with lots of duplicated votes for Doctor X and its cast. It was a pity that something like this happened because this deviates from the purpose of holding these awards in the first place. Ultimately, what I want to do is for everyone to get a rough idea which dramas are worth checking out within the year and to have some fun in voting and guessing the winners. Unfortunately, those fans who resorted to the mass voting seemed too obsessed with securing a win even though these winning dramas and actors get nothing from me. If you look at it from another perspective, I guess this shows how much they love this drama and want it to win at all costs. After discounting these errant voters, you can see that the fan base of Doctor X is still very significant as seen from the huge point difference compared to Quartet.

In case you are wondering, I also voted for Reverse which failed to make it to the Top 5. Although I think Minato Kanae's stories tend to have the problem of ending weakly i.e. extremely anti-climatic, the overall quality of Reverse and its cast made me support the drama in the end.

Now that all the results are out, I will be contacting the winners in the Guess the Winners game individually for you to choose your prize within the next two weeks.

What are your thoughts about the winners list in this year's awards?

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The 2nd Dorama World Awards 2017 - Best Leading Actor

We are nearing the end of the results announcement and here are the rankings of the top 5 finalists in the Best Leading Actor category!

I don't know about you but I tend to like competitions where the contenders can really fight it out rather than have an overwhelmingly strong winner to take everything right from the start. When the latter happens, I feel that the competition becomes boring. Again, the eventual No.1 in this category swept through the voting exercise thanks to the strong support he received just like how Yonekura Ryoko and Kishibe Ittoku won their respective categories. And I have to say, doctors seem to be very favoured for some reason or should I say, it's medical dramas which are popular with my blog's readers?

No.5 Fujiwara Tatsuya - Reverse (26 points)

Fujiwara got his spot in the top 5 with a razor-thin margin of just 1 point over the 6th-placed actor. As I pointed out above, the eventual winner literally swept up most of the points to the extent that the total score for the rest of the finalists was still lower than the No.1's score.
I have watching Fujiwara for a long time since he was a teenager but there have been times when I felt that he seemed not so suited for TV dramas especially after he spent a lot of time working on movies and stage plays. Particularly in the case of stage plays where you need to be more expressive and speak louder so as to project your voice to the audience, his body language seemed rather exaggerated and I thought he sounded really loud at times on TV. However, his performance in Reverse totally changed my mind because he managed to show a much subdued style of acting when playing Fukase who was kind of nerdy, quiet and not confident about himself which is very much unlike Fujiwara's usual cool and suave image. It's a pity that he didn't go higher in this ranking.

No.4 Yakusho Koji - Rikuou (33 points)

I have to say, I was quite surprised by Yakusho's ranking. The only plausible reason which I can think of is that the voting exercise was conducted soon after Rikuou concluded its run so it could be that many people have not watched this yet. Otherwise, I can't think of any reason why his performance in this drama could be overlooked.
Frankly speaking, the Sunday dramas from TBS can get rather dramatic and exaggerated at times but I can't deny that they are rather engaging as well. With regard to Rikuou, there were some parts when I felt were too far-fetched such as the ideal notion that things always work out due to hard work or perserverance. However, in real life, that may not always be the case. Despite these issues I had with the story, Yakusho's charisma as a leader and the passion he showed really came across through his acting and he looked convincing as the company president who could lead his ailing company to success.

No.3 Nakayama Yuma - Hokuto (34 points)

Being relatively new in the industry when compared to the rest of the finalists, Nakayama's entry in the top 5 was somewhat surprising to me. I haven't watched this drama so I can't assess whether he did well. Comparatively, the private network dramas tend to get more attention and have a wider reach so it somehow works out to more votes for them here as well. Of course, things may change by the time we get to the 2018 voting because many Internet platforms, cable TV and streaming services are giving these private networks a run for their money. Considering that Hokuto is a WOWOW drama and Nakayama is probably not as well-known as the other finalists, that's why I said that his No.3 spot was even more commendable. For those who had voted for Nakayama, perhaps you can share with us why you think he did well in this drama?

No.2 Asano Tadanobu - Keiji Yugami (57 points)

Nowadays, I tend to see ratings as a reverse indicator of a drama's quality. Somehow, the hit dramas don't really impress me while those which got single digit ratings tend to be the gems I like. Of course, this doesn't mean that my theory always holds true but I think we should no longer hold the notion that ratings are everything in this time and age.
In Keiji Yugami's case, it wasn't expected to do well initially. And true enough, the ratings were not that high. However, as the season progressed, there was an increasing amount of positive feedback about this drama's story and the acting so it was somewhat like a surprise which bucked the initial expectations. I haven't had the time to check this out yet but I'm convinced that Asano should have done well in this drama to warrant all that praise.

No.1 Kimura Takuya - A LIFE (180 points)

Looking at the score which was triple of Asano's, it's clear that nobody stood a chance to fight against Kimura right from the start. Despite all the bad press plaguing him after the SMAP saga and how the media kept labelling him as a star who had gone out of fashion, it's times like this when you see that he still has a strong following.
Sorry to the Kimura fans but I have to admit, I didn't like A LIFE at all. I hated it for making a joke out of strong actors like Matsuyama Kenichi and Asano. I disliked it for its illogical story such as making Kimura's role as a specialist in all fields which was so unrealistic. Isn't a specialist supposed to be an expert in one field only? As such, when the results came in, I actually wondered if I was seeing things.
I have rather mixed feelings about Kimura. Back when he was still not the almighty KimuTaku, his performance in Asunaro Hakusho was eye-catching, in fact more than the male lead. Then when he started becoming the ratings king, I watched his dramas more for his star-studded cast line-ups rather than for him or the stories. Although the media has been rather unforgiving about this part of his career saying that he always acted in the same way and his personal traits always came through in his acting, I sometimes think that this was not entirely his fault. He had to keep up appearances as the unreachable megastar of SMAP who was the national idol group in its heyday so his characters in dramas couldn't afford to be uncool or flawed.
It was only when the ratings king label was gradually being stripped off him that he became a more "down-to-earth" actor who you could relate to. His effort in "I'm Home" was the first time in recent years that I thought that he had come down from his pedestal and played a more "human-like" person with faults. Then again, when "A LIFE" came about, it felt like he was back as the superstar or hero who could do no wrong. I don't think he should be relying on his past success formula if he is to stay in the industry as a credible actor but judging from "BG", I think he's still trying various possibilities to see what works for him going forward. And I can't help but wonder, is it the people around him who are trying to stop him from becoming more "earthly" or is he the one who is still hung up over being the star?

In case you are wondering, besides Fujiwara and Yakusho, the only other person I voted for was Hasegawa Hiroki in Chiisana Kyojin. Too bad he was just slightly short of making the top 5.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Preview of "Yake ni ben no tatsu bengoshi ga gakkou de hoeru" - Spring 2018

Title: Yake ni ben no tatsu bengoshi ga gakkou de hoeru やけに弁の立つ弁護士が学校でほえる
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 21 April 2018
Timeslot: Satudays 8.15pm
Broadcast by: NHK
Total number of episodes: 6
Cast: Kamiki Ryuunosuke, Tanabe Seiichi, Kishii Yukino, Sato Ryuta, Hamada Mari, Horiuchi Keiko, Watanabe Tetsu, Sudo Risa, Inoue Jun, Sugawara Daikichi, Kosakai Kazuki, Minami Kaho

Japan premiere event of new movie "Kyounen no Fuyu, Kimi to wakare"

The Japan premiere event of new movie "Kyounen no Fuyu, Kimi to wakare" was held at TOKYO DOME CITY HALL on 21 February which was attended by the director Takimoto Tomoyuki and cast members Iwata Takanori, Yamamoto Mizuki, Saito Takumi, Asami Reina and Kitamura Kazuki. m-flo who sings the theme song for the movie also made a special appearance to perform the song "live". The movie will be released in cinemas from 10 March.

Shinkawa Yua to star in new Tokai TV Spring 2018 drama "Itsumademo Shiroi Hane"

Shinkawa Yua will be starring in the new Tokai TV Spring 2018 drama "Itsumademo Shiroi Hane" (Always white feathers) which will begin its run from 7 April in the Saturdays 11.40pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the same-titled novel by Fujioka Youko, is set in a nursing school. Shinkawa plays the lead character Kizaki Rumi who barely scraps through to enter the nursing school after failing her university entrance exams. She has never had the intention to become a nurse and is actually poor at interacting with others. While pondering over when to quit school and whether to retake the national university entrance exam, she goes ahead with the 3-year-long practical training where she meets various people and makes her change her mind about being a nurse. Ito Sairi plays Yamada Chinatsu who is in the same team as Rumi during the training and very clumsy at work. Saeki Noriko, a housewife and Endo Touka, a quiet and mysterious woman, who have their reasons for wanting to become a nurse are also members of the same team. Other cast members include Kato Masaya who play Banjo Kotaro, the director of the school.

Top 10 celebrities who you would like to have as your English teacher (2018)

Oricon conducted a survey on 1,000 men and women in their teens to 50s where they chose the celebrity who they wanted to have as their English teacher:

1) Ishihara Satomi

2) Patrick Harlan

3) Sakurai Sho

4) Atsugiri Jason

5) Yamashita Tomohisa

6) Dean Fujioka

7) Rola

8) Sekine Mari

9) Becky

10) Utada Hikaru

Source: Oricon

Winners of the 27th Nihon Eiga Professional Taisho (2017)

This award is decided by a panel of judges made up of movie directors, scriptwriters, producers, PR personnel and critics where they vote for the best works and actors for the year. This year's prize giving ceremony will be held at Theatre Shinjuku on 26 April 2018:

Best 10 Movies
1) Katte ni furuetero
2) Osanako warera ni umare
3) Kanojo no jinsei wa machigai janai
4) Gukoroku
5) Vigilante
6) Bangkok Nites
7) Kanojo ga sono na wo shiranai toritachi
8) MUKOKU
9) Hikari
10) Kabocha to Mayonnaise

Best Movie: Katte ni furuetero

Best Leading Actress: Matsuoka Mayu - Katte ni furuetero

Best Leading Actor: Asano Tadanobu - Osanako warera ni umare

Best Director: Hiroki Ryuuichi - Kanojo no jinsei wa machigai janai

Best Newcomer Director: Ishikawa Kei

Best Female Newcomer: Takiuchi Kumi - Kanojo no jinsei wa machigai janai

Best Male Newcomer: Murakami Nijirou - MUKOKU

Audience's Award: Aa, Kouya

Source: Natalie

The 2nd Dorama World Awards 2017 - Best Leading Actress

Today, let's meet the Best Leading Actress finalists and find out their rankings!

Similar to the situation in the Best Supporting Actor category, the No.1 here was on a solo journey to the top without any strong contenders for the title thanks to the strong support of the fans. Although No.2 and No.3 put up a good fight, it was simply not enough to turn the tables.

No.5 Yoshitaka Yuriko - Tokyo Tarareba Musume (16 points)

Due to the situation I outlined above, most of the points were given to the top 3 thus resulting in relatively lower scores for the rest of the field. Yoshitaka narrowly edged out the 6th placed actress by just 2 points so this reflects the razor-thin margin separating those outside the top 3.
I haven't watched this drama before but have a vague understanding of the storyline through covering it on this blog and viewing the trailers. To be honest, stories about single women and how they waver between the decisions of whether to choose work vs. love or singlehood vs. marriage are so common that it takes a lot for me to want to watch another drama of this nature. Perhaps those who voted for Yoshitaka can share with us what the charm of this drama is and why you chose her?

No. 4 Nakatani Miki - Kataomoi (20 points)

I've only finished one episode of Kataomoi to date so I can't really comment on Nakatani's acting in this drama. Nonetheless, she has always been rather consistent in her past performances so I have no doubt that she did a good enough job to make people want to vote for her. Considering the nature of her role here, I can imagine how difficult it was because just dressing as a guy is not enough to show the lead character's desire to live as a man even though she did get married to a man prior to this.
Generally, dramas from cable stations or online streaming platforms tend not to get as many votes compared to private network dramas in this voting exercise. Perhaps this is due to the fact that it can be harder to get access to such cable or online dramas so it inevitably leads to lesser fansubs for such dramas. Of course, with more licensed online platforms like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video churning out more productions, we might see a change in this situation probably by the time I hold this voting activity again.

No.3 Takahata Mitsuki - Kahogo no Kahoko (96 points)

As you can see, Takahata's score was close to 5 times more than Nakatani's. Similarly, like what I pointed out for Tokyo Tarareba Musume, this theme of a pampered/sheltered girl or boy breaking free of the shackles imposed by a protective parent and becoming a better person in the process is not very new. As such, there must be an interesting hook to get me started. I haven't been exposed to much of Takahata's works to date other than Tokyo Sentimental where she has a small role but Takeuchi Ryoma's performance in Rikuou impressed me well enough that I may just check out this drama one day to see why the two of them were chosen as best onscreen couple. As for the story, perhaps those who had voted for Takahata can share why you think she performed well?

No.2 Matsu Takako - Quartet (98 points)

I admit, I am biased towards Quartet so I was hoping that Matsu would win this category. Alas, it was not meant to be. Although she and Takahata both did quite well in terms of the number of points they got, it was still not enough to beat the eventual number even if their scores were combined.
Matsu's portrayal of Maki was so spot-on that it felt like she wasn't acting but was Maki herself. In particular, Eps 5 and 6 when the story of Maki and her husband played by Kudo Kankuro were especially engaging and very moving. She didn't have to resort to exaggerated acting to get her point across. Being plain, boring and ordinary is usually more difficult than playing someone who stands out in one way or another. In the past when she used to star in those romantic dramas with KimuTaku, I didn't really fancy her but she has matured a lot as an actress that my opinion of her has changed entirely for the better.

No.1 Yonekura Ryoko - Doctor X 5 (330 points)

Yonekura has done it again, this time almost doubling the number of points she received in 2016 for Doctor X 4. Thanks to the enthusiasm shown by fans of her and the drama, this pushed her to the top right from the start without anyone ever threatening her hold on the title.
I've mentioned in my earlier posts about my thoughts on Doctor X so you know that I am not a faithful viewer of this series. In the past, I probably would be the type to welcome sequels of my favourite series but over the years, I have developed a very strong resistance to the idea of sequels because a lot of these don't get done properly. It mars the reputation of the original and does not do any good in the end. Of course, there are exceptions but they are a dime in a dozen. Much as I love Quartet, I don't want to see a sequel unless they can show me that they can surpass the original.
Personally, I enjoyed Yonekura's performances when she was doing a string of bad women roles for a while. She was really charismatic on screen and showed off her improved acting which brought her to where she is now. The thing I find about Doctor X is, the story is too repetitive and rather unrealistic (making Daimon look like a god) and hardly gives her the room to show variation in her acting. That is why I look forward to seeing her in something different. However, going by how popular Doctor X is, it looks highly unlikely that the lazy TV Asahi will end this profitable franchise unless Yonekura herself stops playing Daimon. Just look at how many seasons of Aibou they have done to date.

In case you are wondering, Matsu was the only person I voted for in this category.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Preview of "Gakebuchi Hotel" - Spring 2018

Title: Gakebuchi Hotel 崖っぷちホテル (The hotel on the edge)
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 15 April 2018
Timeslot: Sundays 10.30pm
Broadcast by: NTV
Theme Song: "Strangers In The Night" by Frank Sinatra
Cast: Iwata Takanori, Toda Erika, Hamabe Minami, Nakamura Tomoya, Kukkii, Chad Mullane, Saeki Daichi, Suzuki Kosuke, Nishio Mari, Miyagawa Daisuke, Ryou & Watanabe Ikkei

Supporting cast line-up of NTV Spring 2018 drama "Gakebuchi Hotel" announced

The supporting cast line-up of NTV Spring 2018 drama "Gakebuchi Hotel" starring Iwata Takanori & Toda Erika had been announced. The drama which begins its run from 15 April 2018 in the Sundays 10.30pm timeslot, is a situational comedy set at a hotel in the suburbs with a debt of JPY 300m and is on the verge of bankruptcy despite having seen better days in the past as a high-class hotel. Ukai Naoya (Iwata), a guy with a rough appearance and hardly looks like a typical hotel guest, shows up unannounced at the hotel and starts making unthinkable demands on the staff who are not motivated and poor at their work which then leads to various unexpected miracles happening as a result. Toda plays the 29-year-old general manager Sakurai Sana who is serious and straightforward but somewhat clumsy as she tries to save the hotel from ruin. The entire drama will features locations within the hotel only i.e. the rooms, lobby, playroom and restaurant etc.

Yoshida Kotaro to return in new SP of "Tokyo Sentimental" in March 2018

Yoshida Kotaro will be back in the new SP of TV Tokyo's drama series "Tokyo Sentimental" along with regular cast members Takahata Mitsuki and Katagiri Jin. The SP titled "Tokyo Sentimental ~ Ochanomizu no Koi ~" will be shown at 12.12am on 30 March and is the latest installment in the series which had two SPs in 2014 and 2017 and a full drama in 2016. Yoshida plays the role of Japanese sweets maker Kururi Takuzo who had gone through 3 divorces and is currently single. In each episode, he falls in love with different women but these relationships never bear fruit. Takahata plays Sudo Akane who works part-time at Kururi's shop while Katagiri plays Shibata Koukichi, a barber who is a longtime friend of Kururi.

Adachi Rika to star in new BS Japan Spring 2018 drama "Uwasa no onna"

Adachi Rika will be starring in the new BS Japan Spring 2018 drama "Uwasa no onna" (The woman of rumours) which will begin its run from April 2018 in the Saturdays 9pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the same-titled novel by Naoki Award winner Okuda Hideo, marks Adachi's first leading role in a primetime timeslot.

Adachi plays the lead character Itoi Miyuki who is a sexy and daring woman with lots of dark rumours about her. For example, she is said to love only rich men. Back when she was in senior high school, she used to be plain and largely ignored by everyone but she suddenly changed to become a charming woman one day. Miyuki's presence drives the men in a small town crazy as they get besotted with her. However, when the men around her die one by one in strange circumstances, Miyuki is suspected of being involved in their deaths.

Preview of "Black Pean" - Spring 2018

Title: Black Pean ブラックペアン
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 22 April 2018
Timeslot: Sundays 9pm
Broadcast by: TBS
Official novel by: Kaidou Takeru
Cast: Ninomiya Kazunari, Takeuchi Ryoma, Aoi Wakana, Hashimoto Satoshi, Kanno Misuzu, Shuri, Uchimura Haruka, Konno Hiroki, Okada Kouki, Morita Kanro, Yamada Yuusuke, Okazaki Sae, Matsukawa Naruki, Mizutani Kaho, Hara Anna, Maru Itta, Shibue Jouji, Shigaki Taro, Tsuji Kazunaga, Baisho Mitsuko, Kato Ayako, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Koizumi Kotaro & Uchino Seiyo

The 2nd Dorama World Awards 2017 - Best Supporting Actor

Let's meet the top 5 finalists in the Best Supporting Actor category today!

Unlike the Best Supporting Actress category where the battle was between two candidates, the eventual winner of this category got extremely strong support from the fans thus making it impossible for anyone to overtake him right from the beginning of the voting exercise. As such, this resulted in a situation where the point differences between the rest of the top 5 were small while the No.1 sailed to a win easily without any competition.

No.5 Matsuda Ryuuhei - Quartet (28 points)

On the surface, Beppu-kun may seem like a really bland, quiet and ordinary guy just like how Matsuda appears to be in real life. However, when the need arises, Beppu-kun can do some unexpected things which is probably where his charm lies. For roles like this which may seem to be lacking in a highlight trait, they are difficult to stand out. However, Matsuda managed to play Beppu-kun in such a way that I saw him fitting into the latter's shoes so easily as if it was an effortless performance on his part. Although I would have hoped to see him get a higher position in this ranking, things didn't turn out exactly as I wished. Nonetheless, a No.5 spot is still better than none especially since the point difference between him and the sixth-placed actor was just 2 points.

No.4 Takeuchi Ryoma - Kahogo no Kahoko (32 points)

Takeuchi narrowly edged out Matsuda to grab the No.4 spot which was a bit surprising to me, considering the strong support he and Takahata Mitsuki got in the couple category. Nonetheless, you can't ignore the fact that Takeuchi had a brilliant 2017 with appearances in a number of hit dramas and movies. Another surprising thing to me was that he got a place in the ranking not due to his performance in Rikuou which was very eye-catching and comparatively more significant than his role in this drama. Then again, many people might not have watched Rikuou by the time the voting exercise was held so I guess that's why his performance in this drama earned him the points needed to be in the Top 5.

No.3 Takahashi Issei - Quartet (48 points)

Much as I am happy to see both guys from Quartet make it to this ranking, I have to admit that I would have wanted to see them get higher places. Takahashi was also hot property in 2017 just like Takeuchi which was partly due to his performance in this drama. Comparatively, he had a more eye-catching role as the somewhat eccentric Iemori who can be serious and funny at the same time because Beppu-kun was the exact opposite. Although there has been talk of late about the recent dating rumour with Morikawa Aoi being a strong factor which can derail his rising career, Takahashi can probably ride out the storm soon especially since he's been in the industry for so long and has seen his fair share of ups and downs.

No. 2 Endo Kenichi - Doctor X 5 (50 points)

I have no doubts about Endo Kenichi being a good actor so I wasn't that surprised about him making it to this ranking. Despite his "scary" looks, he actually seems to be more down-to-earth and goofy if his appearances on variety shows are to be believed. Like I mentioned before, I haven't watched any of the Doctor X dramas in full and only caught random episodes here and there while channel surfing. My impression of Endo's performance in the 5th season is somewhat hazy as I did not really see much of him in the episodes I watched. Nonetheless, it does appear that the fans of Doctor X do like his performance well enough to pick him out of the numerous supporting actors in the drama which helped him win the No.2 spot with just a 2 point difference over Takahashi. And it does seem that doctors seem to be very well-favoured in this year's ranking as we've seen a number of doctor roles in the top 5 rankings announced so far.

No.1 Kishibe Ittoku - Doctor X 5 (210 points)

Just looking at the score that Kishibe got, it's clear that nobody was a match for him. And the passion of the Doctor X fans was so evident as he led the ranking from start to finish. Judging from the guesses submitted, nobody expected him to win as well (except for one person who happened to have voted for him too).
Kishibe has been a permanent fixture in the Doctor X series and my strongest impression of him is always him bringing a very expensive melon to the hospital director's office to demand payment for Daimon's services AND the two of them celebrating when they get the money. As such, I always thought that his character was more on the comical side. However, I read before that there was a scene in the 5th season where he showed off some emotional acting which could have swung the votes to his favour in one way or another. Whatever it is, this is a resounding win for Kishibe.

In case you are wondering, besides voting for the Quartet duo, I also chose Kagawa Teruyuki from Chiisana Kyojin. This guy is always so eye-catching and easily overtakes the lead with his acting. Frankly speaking, there were some parts in Chiisana Kyojin which can come across as overly dramatic e.g. that 1 + 1 = 2 conversation but for some reason, Kagawa kept me glued to the screen even as I rolled eyes at how funny some lines were. In particular, I think his "battles" with Hasegawa Hiroki in this drama were such a joy to watch. Too bad he didn't get many votes this time.

Completion screening event of new movie "honey"

The completion screening event of new movie "honey" was held at Shinjuku Wald 9 on 21 February 2018 which was attended by the director Shintoku Koji and cast members Hirano Sho, Taira Yuna, Yokohama Ryuusei, Mizutani Kaho, Asakawa Rina, Sano Gaku and Takahashi Yu. The movie will be screened in cinemas from 31 March 2018.

The story which is based on the same-titled manga by Meguro Amu, features Hirano as the lead character Onise Taiga who behaves like an delinquent but has a pure personality. One day, he is approached by Kogure Nao (Taira) who is afraid of Onise's reputation but asks to date him with marriage in mind. Onise is unable to reject her and has no choice but to accept her "proposal" which marks the beginning of a sweet and unlikely love story between them.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Completion screening event of new movie "Chihayafuru - Musubi -"

The completion screening event of new movie "Chihayafuru - Musubi -" was held at TOKYO DOME CITY HALL on 20 February which was attended by the director Koizumi Norihiro and cast members Hirose Suzu, Nomura Shuhei, Arata Mackenyu, Kamishiraishi Mone, Yamoto Yuuma, Morinaga Yuuki, Yuki Mio, Sano Hayato, Kiyohara Kaya, Matsuoka Mayu and Kaku Kento. The movie will be released in cinemas from 17 March and is set two years after the end of the last movie "Chihayafuru Shimo no Ku".

Hashimoto Ai, Kadowaki Mugi & Narita Ryo to star in new movie "Koko wa taikutsu mukaenikite"

Hashimoto Ai will be starring in the new real-life adaptation movie "Koko wa taikutsu mukaenikite" (It's boring here, come and pick me up) which is based on the same-titled debut novel by Yamauchi Mariko and will be directed by Hiroki Ryuuichi. Co-stars also include Kadowaki Mugi and Narita Ryo. The novel was picked as one of the novels in the 2013 Kino Best! ranking as selected by the staff of Kinokuniya Bookstore.

Preview of "Hana nochi hare ~ Hanadan Next Season ~" - Spring 2018

Title: Hana nochi hare ~ Hanadan Next Season ~ 花のち晴れ ~ 花男 Next Season ~ (Sunshine after flowers ~ Boys Over Flowers Next Season ~)
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official LINE: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 17 April 2018
Timeslot: Tuesdays 10pm
Broadcast by: TBS
Original manga by: Kamio Yoko
Theme Song: "Cinderella Girl" by King & Prince
Cast: Sugisaki Hana, Hirano Sho (King & Prince), Nakagawa Taishi, Hamada Tatsuomi, Iitoyo Marie, Imada Mio, Suzuki Jin, Nakata Keisuke, Kinami Haruka, Horiuchi Keiko, Tet Wada, Shiga Kotaro, Takaoka Saki, Takito Kenichi & Kikuchi Momoko

Winners of Nikkansports Dorama Grand Prix (Winter 2018)

There were 2,144 valid votes for this round of voting between 8th and 15th March where the top 5 for each category in each season would then be eligible as nominees for the annual awards.The numbers in brackets indicate the number of votes received for the drama and/or actor/actress:

The 2nd Dorama World Awards 2017 - Best Supporting Actress

Today, let's meet the top 5 finalists in the Best Supporting Actress category and find out their rankings!

In this year's ranking, it felt like the top 2 were playing musical chairs because they were taking turns to hog the No.1 spot. However, the eventual No.1 won thanks to a last-minute surge of votes while the No.2's votes were concentrated in the earlier part of the voting period. Compared to last year's results where the top 5's scores were not too far from one another, the top 2 this year were way ahead of the competition so the remaining slots were left for contention by other nominees.

No.5 Toda Erika - Reverse (25 points)

Honestly speaking, even though I enjoyed Reverse a lot, Toda's character didn't really stand out in the first half of the drama other than being the lead character's (Fujiwara Tatsuya) love interest. It was only when more revelations came out towards the end that the significance of her role was more evident. This was inevitable because Reverse is one of the few Minato Kanae stories focusing on male characters so it's no wonder that the ladies were somewhat neglected in this drama. Personally, I felt that Toda's performance was a lot more subdued than what I had seen from her to date. To make a seemingly bland and unimportant character stand out requires more than screen presence so I think her acting skills did see a great improvement from before. In case you are wondering, I voted for Toda as well.

No.4 Yoshioka Riho - Quartet (28 points)

2017 was unmistakably Yoshioka Riho's year starting with Quartet which thrust her into the spotlight and got her a leading role in "Gomen, Aishiteru". Until this drama, I had never heard of Yoshioka. To be frank, although I thought that Yoshioka's portrayal of Arisu was interesting and eye-catching, I kept wondering why the media became so obsessed with her and was heaping so much praise on her. This somehow made me think if I had missed something along the way or whether my view of her was so vastly different from the "norm". Nonetheless, despite the limitations, she managed to leave a deep and favourable impression on those who voted for her thus narrowly edging out Toda to get the No.4 spot. As to whether she can continue her winning streak, that will depend on the types of roles she takes on from now on and how she performs.

No.3 Aragaki Yui - Code Blue Season 3 (47 points)

Aragaki grabbed the No.3 spot with a comfortable margin of close to 20 points over No.4's Yoshioka. From the voting pattern, it appears as that the long-running series has garnered a number of loyal fans who were supporting this drama and its cast members during the voting exercise, albeit the number of voters was not as overwhelming as that for Doctor X 5. I can't really comment on Aragaki's performance in this drama since I've not watched any of the dramas in this series. Despite the bad press about the less-than-ideal storyline, Aragaki's performance probably was good enough to make people want to vote for her.

No.2 Uchida Yuki - Doctor X 5 (140 points)

Looking at the point difference between Uchida and Aragaki, it's obvious that Uchida enjoyed a significantly higher level of support thanks to the Doctor X fans. Coincidentally, many of the top 5 finalists in the individual acting categories happen to be those who had played doctors or medical personnel. Could it be that medical dramas are favourites among the readers here?
Similarly, my exposure to Doctor X has been rather limited as I've watched random episodes from the 5 seasons to date but never had the desire to watch the entire drama. Perhaps it is the fatigue of seeing "genius doctors" everywhere that is deterring me from doing so. From my limited experience with this drama, what caught my eye about Uchida's performance was the chemistry she had with Yonekura Ryoko which I guess could have been a contributing factor to making her stand out among the competition.

And here is the No.1 for 2017!

No.1 Mitsushima Hikari - Quartet (160 points)

I have to admit, I was secretly rooting for Mitsushima to win this category because I really liked her performance in Quartet. I was quite worried when I saw her lagging behind for a while and it was such a relief when the last few voters turned the tables in her favour.
If you had watched Mitsushima's dramas to date, you might have had the same impression as I did i.e. she's really good at playing tragic heroine roles. As such, Suzume was a very refreshing change for Mitsushima because the character was bubbly, cute and very expressive. Despite her small frame, she was playing the largest instrument in the quartet which made her stand out in her own way. Even when she was showing the sad background story of Suzume, it was well-managed and not overly tear-jerking. I have to say, this was my No.1 favourite supporting actress role in 2017.

Other than Mitsushima and Toda who I voted for, there was one other actress I picked i.e. Saito Yuki from Okaasan, Musume wo yamete ii desuka? Saito's portrayal of that overly obsessive and possessive mother was so eye-catching and memorable that she literally overwhelmed Haru who was the lead in the drama. Unfortunately, her career was slightly derailed for a while due to her affair scandal so it might take her a bit of time to regain her momentum.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Preview of "Confidence Man JP" - Spring 2018

Title: Confidence Man JP コンフィデンスマンJP
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 9 April 2018
Timeslot: Mondays 9pm
Broadcast by: FujiTV
Scriptwriter: Kosawa Ryota
Theme Song: "No Doubt" by Official Hige Dandism
Cast: Nagasawa Masami, Higashide Masahiro & Kohinata Fumiyo

Mizukawa Asami to star in new WOWOW drama series "Double Fantasy"

Mizukawa Asami will be starring in the new WOWOW drama series "Double Fantasy" which is based on the same-titled novel by Naoki Award winner Murayama Yuka that had won the 4th Chuou Kouron Bungeishou, the 16th Shimaseren Aibungakushou and the 22nd Shibata Renzaburou Shou. The drama which consists of 5 episodes, describes how a woman decides to live according to how she desires and features a number of intimate scenes. It will be shown during summer this year in the Saturdays 10pm timeslot.