I realize it’s fairly traditional for new blogs to showcase their top ten favorites of whatever they happen to be blogging about. However, I’m lazy and refuse to limit myself to ten, so instead this will be part one of a series of my favorites, this time focusing on Japanese actors of the male variety *wink wink* (no this is not just an excuse for me to put in pictures of shirtless men, they all do genuinely have great acting skills).
This list is in no particular order, but I do want to put a warning note beforehand. Most of the dramas I watch are youth/rom-com oriented. Therefore this actor list tips very heavily in favor of pretty younger guys. I’m not saying they’re any better than older Japanese actors, but that’s just the type of shows I’ve watched *so deal with it!*
Anyways, here we go!!!
From my Battle of the Boys post, I make it pretty clear that I LUFF this boy. So much. I realize loads of people have mined him already, but I DON’T CARE. Recently I feel he’s been unfortunately type cast as the hyper Tamaki-esque character ever since his role in Ouran High School Host Club. I love him when he’s like that, however, if you look at some of his older projects, like Hana Kimi and Rinne No Ame, you can see he’s capable of a lot of depth on top of the crazy. In Tumbling, my personal favorite, he was able to mix his crazy antics with a much softer, sensitive, and vulnerable side, which had my heart flipping round like a bag of popcorn in the microwave. LOVE HIM!!
I don’t think I know anyone who dislikes Shun. He’s one of those actors’ actors. He’s capable of taking any role and breathing a sense of reality and truth into it. Whenever I watch him, I really feel like I’m seeing a person rather than a character in a drama, which is a skill a lot more actors should have in my opinion. I’ve unfortunately not seen a lot of his more recent dramas, because he has a penchant for choosing slightly odd roles. However, I loved him as Sano in Hana Kimi, in Gokusen, and in Hana Yori Dango. Truthfully, I feel both his characters in HYD and Hana Kimi are annoying, however I didn’t realize that until I saw other versions of these same dramas, and other actors trying and failing to make them sympathetic. The fact he was able to make Rui in HYD sympathetic and sexy is pretty damn impressive!
Truthfully, I’m not a huge Kame fan. Generally speaking I don’t see him as a sexy person, which I know a lot of people will probably faint in shock and horror at, but it’s the truth. However, as soon as he starts acting, I’m gobsmacked by him. He’s a very sensitive actor, and he has a quality that instantly stirs your heartstrings, and makes you want to root for him. He was great in Nobuta wo Produce and Gokusen, and I adored Yamato Nadeshiko Henge. I haven’t finished Yokai Ningen Bem *it made me too sad* but from what I’ve seen of it, he again manages to make me want to give his character a big old hug.
Here’s another one I MINE like none other. Narimiya Hiroki is probably my favorite out of this list. In terms of acting, he’s spectacular. Over his very long acting career, he has played loads of different types of characters, and each and every one of them was believable and well-portrayed. In fact, every single time I see him in a drama, I get convinced that whatever character he’s playing is similar to his own personality, until I see the next drama of his where he plays someone entirely different, and I’m convinced of it again. I think he brings a portion of himself into each of his characters, which allows the audience to really connect with him. I’ve seen him in loads of dramas, but my personal favorite is actually when he played the villain in Bloody Monday. His character was at first despicable and truly annoying, but as the show progressed Hiroki managed to make me feel bad for the character. He has ridiculously expressive eyes and facial features, and I LOVE HIM SO MUCH!!!
CUTE CUTE CUTE. He’s literally just buckets full of cute. He’s like the boy next door, meets puppies, meets muscles, meets rainy summer days, meets… ok I should probably stop. Haruma’s just really adorable. Also, he is a great actor, based on the fact that he can play a gangster/yankee like in Gokusen one moment and then adorable boy next door in Kimi Ni Todoke the next. I personally loved him in Gokusen the most, but that’s because I love the gruff prickly boys on the outside, with deep marshmallowy gooey cuteness on the inside.
*Ugh!! This boy has one of the shmexiest smoulders I’ve ever seen. Seriously if looks could kill, or melt panties off a girl, it would be his. He’s a great actor, and reminds me a lot of a young Oguri Shun in terms of talent. He has the same quality of being able to breathe realism into each person he plays, even the smallest roles. LOVE HIM!!
Ok, so for a very large amount of the time I’ve spent fangirling over this man, I wasn’t convinced he was a great actor. I saw him in Gokusen and he wasn’t great. Not awful, but not great. In Tumbling he was wonderful, but his role was too small to really see his acting chops. However, I still loved him to bits anyways. Then he starred as Nakatsu in the Hana Kimi Remake. Nakatsu is one of the best characters ever, and Shohei played him so well, that I was crying BEFORE he got rejected because I didn’t want him to get hurt. He was like the most adorable little puppy that some evil girl (I’m looking at you, A-chan) kicked and shouted insults at. Anyways, he keeps getting better and better, so I look forward to seeing what else he’ll be able to do in the future!
Ok, Tori is just really, really pretty. I don’t think anyone can deny that. His face is pretty close to perfect. However, he’s also a really great actor. I’ve not seen him in much, but he was adorable and sweet in Atsuko March!, and creepy, psychotic, and fascinating in Clone Baby. I liked his Clone Baby role the most, because I was never really sure if he was good or bad, but I still liked him nevertheless. He managed to bring a level of intrigue and mystique to the roll that had me begging for more screen time.
This guy is an amazing actor. I know everyone loves him in Nodame Cantabile, but my favorite of his roles is actually in Love Shuffle, where he played the adorably confused Usami Kei, and had one of the best romance lines ever in a Jdorama. I want the relationship those two characters had: the best friends who finish each others’ sentences and spend all their time together. He’s very believable and has an amazing amount of skill, and he’s also one of the oldest on this list, so that might help with the obvious sense of ease he has an actor. Recently he made a cameo in Kagi no Kakatta Heya, and even though the ending of that drama was a hot mess, he managed to get me excited and screaming within the first two seconds of his screen time.
I know he doesn’t do much acting any more, but god damn is Hiro awesome. He’s gorgeous, obviously, but also such a spectacular actor. I loved him so much in Zettai Kareshi, and he was hilarious in Tokyo Dogs. Also, he played the best sempai ever in Hana Kimi. Love this guy! He expresses a lot of emotion in those big eyes of his.
Ok, so the only drama I’ve ever seen of KimuTaku’s is Mr. Brain. I didn’t grow up with Jpop, or watching Japanese TV, so I don’t hero worship him as much as most other people. However, I can easily see how great he is from Mr. Brain, where he played the brilliant and quirky neuroscientist who solved mysteries. I need to watch more of his older dramas, because he’s obviously awesome.
To be honest, I originally really didn’t like Sato Takeru. It’s amusing looking back on it, because now he can do no wrong in my eyes, but I wasn’t impressed by him in his Mei-Chan no Shitsuji days, partly because I hated his hair and thought he looked like a lizard, and partly because I just didn’t think he was a great actor. That has changed COMPLETELY, however, and I’m glad I ended up watching other shows of his to convince me otherwise. I was actually shocked and impressed when I saw him in one of the Mr. Brain episodes, because suddenly, not only was he damn sexy, but he was playing an amnesiac piano player with so much sensitivity that I wanted to go straight into the drama’s world and give him a big hug. Then I started watching him in Q10 and Bloody Monday, and he kept striking the right notes with me. I’m so looking forward to when the film version of Rurouni Kenshin comes out, because I just know he’s going to be awesome in that role. Sato Takeru is probably one of the most talented actors of his generation, and as he keeps winning more and more roles, I have a feeling we’ll get to see more of his spectacular acting in the future!
So that’s my favorites list for now! I know I probably left some people out, but this is just my quick list. So what do you guys think? Who are your favorites? Let me know!