Alter-egos: Nanimono & Aku to Kamen no Ruru

Greetings for the new year! Here’s wishing everyone a plentiful year in terms of dramas and films, and whatever your heart desires. It is fitting therefore to begin the year with a post on films by two actors I like and who are always lovely to watch on screen. The two films are very different in content, but there are some surprising similarities to be found.

Also, happy birthday to Tamaki Hiroshi! 💖💖💖 He turns 39 this year, and after the big year he had in 2018 – getting married, starring in three films, and being picked for a WOWOW drama, among other achievements – here’s hoping 2019 will bring more success for him! Continue reading

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Happy birthday, Tamaki Hiroshi!

The cast of Aku to Kamen no Ruru celebrating Tamaki’s birthday with a “肉ケーキ” (niku keki) during a press conference. From left: director Nakamura Teppei, Araki Yuuko, Tamaki Hiroshi, Yoshizawa Ryo and Nakamura Tatsuya.

Happy birthday, Tamaki Hiroshi! 💕💕

Tamaki turns 38 this year and here’s wishing him many happy returns and all the best for the year! 2017 was a pretty decent year for Tamaki – even though he didn’t feature much on TV except for a few SPs, he made a successful return to the stage. One SP, Kichiku, aired really late in December last year and was about Tamaki’s character Takenaka Soukichi having to deal with the consequences of his affair when his lover dumps their three children on him and his family before disappearing. The SP was based on the novel of the same name by Matsumoto Seicho, and I think this is Tamaki’s second time doing an SP based on Matsumoto’s work (the other being 2011’s Suna no Utsuwa).

This year, he will have three films (and counting?) coming out. The first is Aku to Kamen no Ruru (Evil and the Mask), where he plays the lead character of Kuki Fumihiro. There is also Love x Doc, where he plays a gym trainer called Nomura Shunsuke, who is in a relationship with Goda Asuka, played by Yoshida Yo. Tamaki will also feature in Laplace’s Witch, playing Nakaoka Yuji, a police detective. It doesn’t seem like a big role, but at least it’s something to look forward to.

I read Aku to Kamen no Ruru and found it quite interesting, in the sense that it isn’t your traditional crime thriller, but is quite philosophical and psychological in a way as the characters talk about evil, criminal intents and various other ideas and their impact on society. I hope this has translated well to screen, as novels like that can sometimes be washed down to one main idea to make it more palatable. Aku to Kamen no Ruru is already out in the cinemas, so go watch it! 🙂 Here’s the trailer to whet your appetite:

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Lure of the dark side

At least this seems to be the case for Tamaki Hiroshi, whose latest roles all seem to be rather nasty. That’s actually not a bad thing, since he can’t be playing goody-two-shoes characters forever, and antagonist roles do help stretch one’s acting range, so kudos to him for being willing to experiment and not caring too much about building up a nice but bland onscreen image.

First up was his role as a ladies’ man called Yashiro Ginshiro in the spring drama SP Onna no Kunshou, opposite Matsushima Nanako, who played the heroine Oba Shikiko. Ginshiro initially helped Shikiko build up her dressmaking business but later made use of her, hurting her badly. Tamaki got to speak in Kansai-ben again for this SP as the drama was set in Kansai, and he wore glasses – presumably to complete the manipulative cad look, haha. I didn’t see any subs for this (sadly), but did skim the SP and it seemed interesting. At the very least, it featured some beautiful clothes since it was about the fashion industry in post-war Japan.

Next is the film adaptation of Aku to Kamen no Ruru (The rules of evil and the mask; published English title being Evil and the Mask), which is a novel by award-winning writer Nakamura Fuminori. Tamaki plays Kuki Fumihiro, who was raised by his father to create as much destruction and unhappiness as he possibly can. However, in order to protect the woman he loves, Fumihiro begins to question his father’s mandate and starts to resist. This sounds like a complex, layered character and Tamaki said as much, commenting that the character is a delicate person and it is very difficult to play him. It sounds like a challenging role and that’s great for Tamaki because he deserves to be doing roles that will test his range. I bought the source novel as soon as I could and can’t wait to start on it, looks like it’ll be a riveting read. The film is scheduled to be shown next year.

And for the biggie: Tamaki takes to the stage in October and November for the play Kiken no Kankei (Dangerous Liaisons). This is Tamaki’s second stage appearance – his first was in Hotel Majestic in March 2013 – and the play by Christopher Hampton is based on the famous French epistolary novel Les Liaisons dangereuses. The poster for the play has Tamaki and co-star Suzuki Kyoka in modern wear, so this is presumably a modern take on the 1782 novel (although I could be wrong). No prizes for guessing which role Tamaki will play – he is such an apt choice for the Vicomte de Valmont. Really happy for Tamaki that he’s tackling the stage again as it’s a great way to hone his acting skills, and getting to star with Suzuki is wonderful as she is a solid actress in her own right. The play’s run will be in Tokyo from Oct 8 to 31st, and Nov 9-14 in Osaka.

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