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I’ve decided that today’s Trailer Weekly (okay, strictly speaking, I’m still a week behind) should be dorama-inspired. As in, full of films starring actors that I have seen and enjoyed in TV series but whose work on the big screen I also want to explore further. This one happens to be all about actors, but I’ll do an actress version at some point too.

  • キッズ」 (Kizzu/Kids, Japan, 2008) – The first one is for Tamaki Hiroshi:
Unsuspected Chiaki, attacked by Nodame.

Unsuspecting Chiaki (Tamaki Hiroshi), attacked by Nodame.

I recently watched him in「結婚しない」(Kekkon Shinai/Wonderful Single Life, Japan, 2012), which I loved for its characters (including Tamaki’s total sweetheart Junpei) but which didn’t always convince me in terms of storyline and only half-hearted message. The TV role that everyone knows Tamaki best for, however, is that of the perfectionist, I’m-better-than-everyone Chiaki in「のだめカンタービレ」(Nodame Kantābire/Nodame Cantabile, Japan, 2006, plus series and film sequels) who gets stuck with a girl, Nodame, that is his complete opposite – carefree, haphazard and a total slob. It’s a must-see dorama, so long as you are up for whacky, manga-style humour. (There is the original manga and an anime adaptation too. All fab.) As for the film: Kizzu is about Asato (Koike Teppei) who has a strange ability to transfers other people’s wounds onto his own body. Asato befriends Takeo (Tamaki), who is a deeply troubled soul. Looking forward to see him playing a dark character.

  • 俺俺」 (Ore Ore/It’s Me, It’s Me, Japan, 2013) – Kamenashi Kazuya is this one.
Tatto

Kamenashi Kazuya in Tatta Hitotsu no Koi.

Kamenashi Kazuya is an idol (KATTUN)-turned-actor and he’s one I’m still figuring out. He’s not the most skilled one on this list, but it’s not like he’s untalented either – it’s just that I kind of want to typecast him. He has got quite a few highly popular doramas to his name -「野ブタ。をプロデュース」(Nobuta wo Produce, 2005) and「ヤマトナデシコ七変化」(Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge/Perfect Girl Evolution, 2010), but I could never quite get into those myself (not sure if I finished even the first episode of either one). 「サプリ」(Sapuri/Suppli, 2006) was good, but lightweight and not all that memorable. But then there is「たったひとつの恋」(Tatta Hitotsu no Koi/Love of My Life, 2006), which, I’ll be the first one to admit, is a cheesy love story but I can’t help but marathon it whenever I watch it. Kamenashi is just so… intense in it somehow. Now, the interesting thing about the film I’ve chosen here (only Kamenashi’s third, and the others are movie sequels attached to doramas) is that it’s directed by Miki Satoshi, whom is the last one I would expect to cast ‘just a pretty boy’. Ore Ore also has a totally quirky storyline (not that I expected otherwise): Kamenashi is Hitoshi who starts a phone scam, calling people with the words “It’s me, it’s me” and pretending to be a friend. But Kamenashi doesn’t just play Hitoshi, he plays 20 (!) other roles in the film. Note: Kamenashi dorama I have yet to watch but that sounds potentially interesting:「妖怪人間べム」(Yokai Ningen Bem/Humanoid Monster, Bem, 2011).

  • 人間失格」 (Ningen Shikkaku/The Fallen Angel, 2010) – Next, Ikuta Toma:

    Screen Shot 2013-01-06 at 7.37.01 PM

    Ikuta Toma’s two ways of being Jotaro (Osozaki no Himawari): over-excited about a totally random idea vs. downcast and pensive about life and all.

I never paid all that much attention to Ikuta Toma who portrayed the secondary male lead in「花ざかりの君たちへ イケメン♂パラダイス」(Hana zakari no kimi tachi he: Ikemen paradaisu/Hana Kimi, 2007), where he was hilariously freaked when he fell for a boy (that was actually a cross-dressing girl). Then came「遅咲きのヒマワリ~ボクの人生、リニューアル~」(Osozaki no Himawari ~Boku no Jinsei, Rinyuaru~/Late Blooming Sunflower – My Life Renewed, Japan, 2012, still airing) and I realised that the slightly older Ikuta really works for me. In Ningen Shikkaku Ikuta plays Yozo, a young man from a wealthy background, that has since childhood felt alienated from everyone around him. However, he has always hidden these feelings. When Yozo moves to Tokyo, he is popular with women in bars, but beneath the surface his life is spiralling out of control and towards suicide.

priceless

Kimura Takuya, in a Priceless pose.

Currently airing is Kimura’s dorama「PRICELESS ~あるわけねぇだろ、んなもん!~」 (PRICELESS~Aru Wake Nedaro,n namon!~/Priceless, 2012) and I have to say it is rather refreshing. Someone also recently recommended the much older「プライド」(Puraido/Pride, 2004) to me and I had to watch it all within a matter of two days. It’s one of those series that suddenly gets you much more interested in a sport – ice hockey in this case – that you never really thought about before (「ウォーターボーイズ」/Wōtā Bōizu/Waterboys, 2003, is another example). It also has the most awesome Queen soundtrack that the producers must have paid gazillions for. Kimura is one of the most famous and popular Japanese actors in Asia, although his film- and TV-ographies don’t seem all that long (compared to others like Tsumabuki and Eita – see below -, who are roughly ten years younger). One of his film is Bushi no ichibunwhich tells the story of a low-ranked samurai, Miura Shinnojo, who samples food for his clan’s lord. After ingesting poisoned fish one day, he becomes blind. It’s a terrible fate that leads his wife to enter into an illicit relationship with a higher-ranked man so as to be able to support her husband. When Miura learns of this, he challenges the man to a duel, to defend love and honour. Note: trailer is a teaser only and doesn’t even seem to show Kimura! Couldn’t find anything else…

どろろ」 (Dororo/Dororo, Japan, 2007) – Two for one deal here: Tsumabuki Satoshi plus Eita.

Slow days.

Tsuambuki Satoshi: Slow Days in green aprons.

Both Tsumabuki Satoshi and Eita are two young and highly prolific Japanese actors with simply too many doramas as well as films to list here (image above is from Tsumabuki’s 2005 dorama「スローダンス」/Surōdansu/Slow Days). They make for lovely eye candy (although Eita has a penchant for weird hair – see below), but they are actually both superb actors. Now, Dororo is a bizarre thing and it could well be a disaster of a movie – or a total riot. Hyakkimaru (Tsumabuki as the lead) is a demon hunter who has 48 (!) extra body parts attached to his body in place of his own limbs that were sold to demons by his father. He is on a quest to regain the missing parts and is joined by Dororo, a female warrior on a mission of her own. Eita is in a secondary role as Tahōmaru.

nodame cantabile eita

Nodame Cantabile: Whacky hair day for Eita (not the first time).

Bokutachi Kyuukou – A Ressha de Ikou – is the sort of film for me that only the Japanese can make. It’s about two young men that are railroad otakus – i.e. they are obsessed with trains. They – surprise, surprise – meet on a train and become friends, as they struggle to connect to the rest of the world.

Bonus Bits

  • Twitter update from Shinkai Makoto on「言の葉の庭」(Kotonoha no Niwa, Japan2013): Screen Shot 2013-01-06 at 3.59.37 PM…. announcing that we’ll get a trailer and a new website for his newest animated film next month. The excitement is growing! I’ll of course feature it in the Trailer Weekly once it becomes available.
  • And because we are big fans of anime here at Otherwhere, a lovely article/interview with Yamamura Kôji that was published in the BFI’s Sight & Sound magazine today. Jasper Sharp is the author & interviewer.
Mountain Head.

Yamamur’s「頭山」 (Atamayama, Mountain Head, Japan, 2001).

Note: If anyone has a suggestion for special-themed Trailer Weeklies, feel free to let me know!