A live-action film adaptation of Hidenori Hara's Hoshi no Furumachi - When You Wish Upon a Star coming-of-age manga has been green-lit, and the producers are now holding open auditions for the cast. Hara drew the manga in Shogakukan's Weekly Young Sunday magazine from 2006 to 2008, and seven compiled book volumes have been published.
The love story is set in Himishi City in the central Japanese prefecture of Toyama, and the final auditions and the actual filming will be done in the local area. The main character, Kōtarō Tsutsumi, is unable to get into a Tokyo prep school, so he ends up transferring to a high school in Himishi where he has relatives. Through the various encounters with the locals — in particular, a high school classmate and girl next door named Nagisa Ichinose — his life is slowly but inexorably turned around for the better.
Hara received an award in the 33rd Shogakukan Manga Awards for his Just Meet and Fuyu Monogatari manga. He drew one of the manga adaptations of the Train Man: Densha Otoko story that Viz Media published in North America from 2006 to 2007.
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Author Shoji Gatoh revealed in a Tuesday blog entry that he is now writing the final full-length volume of his Full Metal Panic! high school action comedy light novels. He anticipates that it will be released this spring. Gatoh has not ruled out writing more Full Metal Panic! short stories; in fact, Fujimi Shobo's Dragon Magazine will publish a new Full Metal Panic! short story, set during the characters' second high school year, on January 20 to mark its 300th issue.
The story of Full Metal Panic! centers around a brusque young sergeant named Sousuke Sagara who must protect an assertive high school girl named Kaname Chidori by masquerading (somewhat unsuccessfully) as a high school student himself. Shikidouji illustrated the original novels that Tokyopop published.
The Hollywood Reporter newspaper revealed Mandalay Pictures' acquisition of the live-action film rights to the story last April. Although the newspaper listed Zac Efron's possible involvement, the actor downplayed the project's chances. ADV Manga released both the first manga adaptation from Retsu Tateo and Full Metal Panic: Overload! manga spinoff from Tomohiro Nagai in North America. ADV Films and Funimation have split the North American DVD releases of the three television anime series between the two of them.
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The Yomiuri Shimbun paper's website reports that Yasushi Akimoto, the producer and songwriter of the Japanese female idol group AKB48, is entertaining offers for spinoff groups from seven television stations and production companies in six countries. The six countries include Thailand, Singapore, China, and Italy.
According to the website, Akimoto believes that "the era of imitating the West is over. Now we export Japanese culture." The seven companies want to license the rights to localize AKB48's concept and format in their respective countries. In particular, the proposed spinoffs would each have a theater of its own (like AKB48 has in Tokyo's Akihabara otaku shopping district), 48 members and a name that ends with "48," costumes modeled after high school uniforms, and songs written by Akimoto.
AKB48 performed theme songs for the Deltora Quest and ICE anime projects. The contemporary artist and occasional anime creator Takashi Murakami illustrated the jacket for the AKB48 idol group's June 24 single, "Namida Surprise!" In return, AKB48 producer Yasushi Akimoto wrote the lyrics for the "First Love" tie-in song for Murakami's "Superflat First Love" anime short. Members of the group have made appearances in New York Anime Festival in the United States and Japan Expo in France.
In a separate development, Beckii Cruel, the 14-year-old British dancer who rose to Internet fame in Japan by dancing to anime songs in net videos, is making her first appearances in a manga and a Japanese television program on Wednesday. The dancer appeared in Hideo Nishimoto's Mō, Shimasen Kara non-fiction manga in this year's sixth issue of Kodansha's Weekly Shonen Magazine. The manga installment reports on her first sightseeing trip to Tokyo's traditional Asakusa neighborhood. She is also making her Japanese television debut on the Jinrui Akiramekaketeita Yume program on the NTV television network on Wednesday.
After her dancing videos were seen over 3.3 million times last year, Beckii Cruel released a DVD in Japan, performed at a stage event in Akihabara, and is now leading a three-girl band for a CD.
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Actor Oguri Shun and model Yamada Yuu, who have been in a relationship for quite a while now have left for a pre-marriage journey to Hawaii during the night of January 4th. 15 Minutes before their scheduled flight at 9.45 in the evening, Yamada had been seen passing through the boarding gates. Hiding behind dark sun glasses it was the gleaming ring shining on her left ring finger. When being asked, what their plans had been for Hawaii, either of the two hardly answered and just commented laughing "We'd just like to enjoy our time there."
Five minutes later, Oguri had also been spotted. During interviews he usually only looked down and said "We just want to relax a little. After all it is a journey with our family". Hence, Oguri's family could also be seen around the two at that time.
As for the questions, if they were to marry this year Oguri said "That's not our plan." Despite the clear negation, the two of them wear the golden necklaces, representing the bond between them. According to friends and people around them, however, both of them would like to marry quickly, therefore a sudden arrangement might be possible.
Rock band the brilliant green revealed last month that they had signed with the Warner Music Japan record label, and now they have finally announced their first new release since two years ago.
In February 2008, the band put out the single "Ash Like Snow" and the album "complete single collection '97-'08." They have been quiet since then, and in May 2009, they left their management agency, Ken-on. Now, they are resuming activities this year, starting with a new single called "LIKE YESTERDAY," to be released on February 24.
On Tuesday, the brilliant green launched a new website under Warner, which reveals that they will also have a special limited-time MySpace website from January 12 to March 8. The MySpace site will feature a demo of "LIKE YESTERDAY" when it opens.
Yumi Yoshimura (34) of the pop duo Puffy got married on New Year's Eve, it has been learned. The unexpected news was announced on the group's website on Saturday.
Yoshimura's husband is a 29-year-old businessman. The two have been friends for about seven years, but they only started seriously dating this past September. They registered their marriage on December 31, though there are currently no plans for a wedding ceremony due to their busy work schedules.
Yoshimura was previously married to musician Takanori Nishikawa (39) from 1999 to 2002. In 2006, Yoshimura was reported to be in a seriously relationship with actor Nao Omori (37), but it appears that they broke up in August 2009, just before she began dating the businessman.
SMAP member Katori Shingo was originally set to appear for the live broadcast of Fuji TV's program SMAP X SMAP. However, he could not attend after catching the flu. Katori has had the flu since last Saturday. While he has spent the last few days resting, it's hard to say when he'll be back to work again.
Towards the end of last year, SMAP had been extremely busy with work, especially preparing for their Michael Jackson tribute at NHK's 60th Kohaku Uta Gassen. Not wanting to disappoint, they trained very hard for their performance. Perhaps Katori was over exhausted, which made him more susceptible to catching the flu. Yesterday's SMAP X SMAP was the first time they had a live four hour broadcast. The special guests were none other than their kouhai, KAT-TUN. In the Bistro SMAP program, they invited Hatoyama Miyuki to appear. Hatoyama is the wife of Japan's current Prime Minister.
Katori Shingo Catches the Flu; Not Fated to Meet with Japan's First Lady
Translated by: sparkles_n15 @ asianfanatics.net
TOKYO — Actress Meisa Kuroki, 21, who released her new mini-album, “ATTITUDE,” on Jan 1, says she wants to do live concerts this year, as the sexy young actress continues her foray into singing.
Last April, Kuroki released her first album, titled “hellcat,” featuring a song called “Bad Girl.” The video for the song indicated she is just that, and sees her
rolling around in bed in red lingerie. One of the songs on her new album - “Are ya Ready?” - is a damning indictment of conformity that sees Kuroki bounce about in a mirror-walled cube, appealing for people to express themselves and not fear the consequences.
Kuroki, whose father was Panamanian, said she used to dance to Janet Jackson’s music when she was growing up in Okinawa. She also said she hopes to produce music with dancing at its core, and is looking forward to people’s reaction.
TOKYO — Koichi Domoto, 30, and Tsuyoshi Domoto, 30, who form pop duo KinKi Kids, are back in Tokyo for their traditional end of year concerts, putting on three shows, the last being on Friday night.
The pair, who are unrelated but who both come from the Kinki region, have performed at Tokyo Dome over the New Year every year since 1998, but last year, they held shows at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome. The duo are back in Tokyo this time, much to the delight of the 50,000 strong crowds, and are singing songs from their new album, called “J album.”
Along with their band and back-up dancers, they are electrifying the Dome with three stages that move simultaneously up to a distance of 100 meters.
Including Friday night’s show, KinKi Kids will set a new record for artists to perform solo at Tokyo Dome, coming to 37 concerts. They will also perform at Kyocera Dome on Jan 9, 10 and 11.
The first TV spot has been released for Takashi Yamazaki‘s live-action adaptation of Space Battleship Yamato, nearly a year before it’s scheduled to be released in Japan. The project cost an estimated 2 billion yen (about $20 million USD) and will be the first of the franchise to use the English title domestically in an effort to appeal to international audiences as early as possible.
The film stars Takuya Kimura of the boy band SMAP as Susumu Kodai and Meisa Kuroki as Yuki Mori. According to Tokyograph, formerly male crew members Aihara and Dr. Sado are played by actresses Maiko and Reiko Takashima in this version.
“Space Battleship Yamato” will be released by Toho in December 2010.
The 60th NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen happened on December 31st at NHK Hall in Tokyo's Shibuya. Appearing for the first time, Arashi performed the year's biggest hit Believe as part of their four-song medley. In the midst of the performance, Ninomiya Kazunari (26) shouted out "Kohaku cho tanoshii!" (Kohaku is super fun!). Matsumoto Jun (26) rushed over to the guest panel and shook hands with the judges, including Mori Mitsuko (89), Yokozuna・Hakuho (24), and exchanged a 'good touch' with Yomiuri Giant's manager Hara Tatsunori (51).
After the performance, Arashi received a shout out from a male audience member who yelled "Arashi, Kohaku arigatou!" Leader Ohno Satoshi (29) promised "We'll continue to work hard next year to carry over this good feeling." Ninomiya also said, "We'll return to this place next year," promising to make a consecutive appearance at Kohaku.
Arashi's 4 Song Medley! Ninomiya "Kohaku Cho Tanoshii!"
Translated by: sparkles_n15 @ asianfanatics.net
Yamashita Tomohisa (24) from NEWS will reprise his role as a doctor in ‘Code Blue Doctor Heli Kinkyuu Kyuumei 2nd season’ that starts in January at the 9pm Monday slot next year. The first season aired on Thursdays at 10pm last summer and this time Fuji TV has moved it to the most prominent spot in its lineup. Furthermore Yamashita was also the lead in a Monday at 9 drama that aired this July and this is the first time in history that anyone has held the spot in the main role with one season separating the two appearances.
Yamapi’s power seems unstoppable. In summer, he played a pro basketball player in ‘Buzzer Beat Gakeppuchi no Hero’. Currently ‘Tokyo DOGS’ (lead played by Oguri Shun) is on air and soon the next season will start with Yamashita in the lead again.
Ever since the Getsu 9 slot was established in 1987, there has never been a case of anyone in the lead role separated by a mere season, proving the strength of his popularity. The average ratings for ‘Code Blue’ that started airing in July 2008 was 15.9%, the highest among dramas on commercial broadcast that season. The special that aired in January earlier this year garnered 23.1% in ratings.
The other young case members, Aragaki Yui (21), Toda Erika (21), Higa Manami (23) and Asari Yousuke (22) will also return in the 2nd season.
‘Doctor Heli’ are doctors who fly in special helicopters to aid patients as soon as possible and also administer medical treatment while transporting them to medical institutions.
Yamashita commented,”I want to show the importance of these helicopters so that the number of ‘Doctor Heli’ will increase.” Expect a powerful medical drama this New Year.
Kamenashi Kazuya (KAT TUN) as Kyouhei Takano
Oomasa Aya as Sunako Nakahara
Tegoshi Yuya (NEWS) as Yukinojo Toyama
Uchi Hiroki (NEWS) as Takenaga Oda
Miyao Shuntarou (japanese ballet dancer) as Ranmaru Morii
Takano Kyohei is a handsome but bad-tempered university student who is always ready for a fight; Toyama Yujinojo possesses a cuteness that can be mistaken for a girl; the cool-headed Oda Takenaga excels in academics and sports; and the princely Mori Ranmaru loves females, accept a proposal from the female owner of the house where they are lodging at for “free lodging if they are able to transform her niece into a proper lady”. Her niece, Nakahara Sunako lives in a gloomy and solitary world because of an inferior complex about her looks. -Jdrama Weblog
The Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge TV Drama will premiere on January 15, 2010 on TBS channel and it will broadcast during Fridays at 10 pm (22:00) japanese time. The Director is Ishii Yasuharu (Kurosagi, Hana Yori Dango) and the producer along with Ishii is Shinichi Sanjo.Shinozaki Eriko is in charge of the screenplay.