Meisa Kuroki teams up with Kusanagi in “Ninkyo Helper” – Tokyograph

Some details are now out about Tsuyoshi Kusanagi’s new comedy series, ‘Ninkyo Helper,’ which starts filming this week. One major cast addition is Meisa Kuroki, who will take on the heroine role.

‘Ninkyo Helper’ stars Kusanagi as the boss of a yakuza group. As part of training, his group’s parent organization orders all of its subordinate bosses to work as nursing helpers at an elderly institution. This includes Kusanagi, as well as Kuroki, a female yakuza boss who starts out as Kusanagi’s rival.

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(Link: Meisa Kuroki teams up with Kusanagi in “Ninkyo Helper” – Tokyograph.)

Watari, Ueto play father and daughter in drama special – Tokyograph

Veteran actor Tetsuya Watari is teaming up with actress Aya Ueto as co-stars in a TV Asahi drama special called ‘Kekkon.’ The drama comes from screenwriter Sugako Hashida and producer Fukuko Ishii, who have previously worked together on the TBS series ‘Wataru Seken wa Oni Bakari.’ […]

(Link: “Watari, Ueto play father and daughter in drama special – Tokyograph.”)

Aya Ueto can currently be seen on the Fuji TV Getsu 9 drama “Konkatsu!

MatsuJun, Gakky pair up for “Smile” – Tokyograph

Jun Matsumoto and Yui Aragaki will co-star in a new TBS drama series titled ‘Smile.’ Takayuki Takuma (‘Hana Yori Dango’) is handling the script, though he is using his real name rather than his usual pen name of Mikio Satake.

Matsumoto plays a half-Filipino whose father has died and mother has disappeared. Despite his misfortune and the issues he deals with, such as race, he lives his life positively with a constant smile.

Similarly, Aragaki plays a young woman living cheerfully despite losing her ability to speak due to an accident. Her character is said to be modeled after a real actress in the theatrical troupe that Takuma runs.

The supporting cast includes Kiichi Nakai as a lawyer who watches over Matsumoto and Aragaki.

‘Smile’ will air on Friday nights at 10:00pm, starting in April.

(Link: MatsuJun, Gakky pair up for “Smile” – Tokyograph.)

Sounds like it’ll be an interesting drama and it’ll be nice to see Gakky in a drama—I believe it’s her first for 2009.

Ryoko Kuninaka to be in “Zettai Kareshi” special

Fuji TV’s live-action ‘Zettai Kareshi’ series is coming back for a special episode. Based on the manga by Yuu Watase, the series originally aired from April to June 2008.

The special, titled ‘Zettai Kareshi ~Kanzen Muketsu no Koibito Robot~,’ is set after the end of the series. Mocomichi Hayami will reprise his role as the robot Night (Naito) Tenjo, along with co-stars Saki Aibu and Hiro Mizushima. The cast will have a couple of additions, with Ryoko Kuninaka playing a brilliant scientist and Asahi Uchida playing her assistant.

Fuji TV will broadcast the episode this spring.

(Link: “Zettai Kareshi” returns – Tokyograph.)

Zettai Kareshi” was pretty interesting and I watched to the very end so I’m even more excited that the special episode will feature the beautiful Ryoko Kuninaka.

Meisa Kuroki to star in a Fuji TV special in March

Young actress Maki Horikita will star in a two-part drama special on Fuji TV titled ‘Chance! Kanojo ga Seikou Shita Riyuu,’ described as a comical success story. The show will also feature Hitori Gekidan and Meisa Kuroki.

Horikita plays a 22-year-old who struggles to find a job, finally landing one at a travel company. Kuroki plays a career woman at the same firm who happens to have the same last name. One day, they mistakenly take each other’s cell phones, and as a result, Horikita’s character ends up having to give a critical presentation. This becomes her ‘chance’ at success.

Fuji TV will broadcast the drama at 11:10pm on March 7 and March 14.

(Link: A “Chance” for Maki Horikita – Tokyograph.)

“Gokusen” gets another special episode – Tokyograph

NTV has announced another special episode for the ‘Gokusen’ drama franchise. The show’s third season aired this past spring, and the upcoming episode will be a ‘graduation special’ featuring the same characters. Yukie Nakama will of course star in the show, with Yuya Takaki, Haruma Miura, and Hideo Ishiguro among the returning cast.

The two previous seasons of ‘Gokusen’ in 2002 and 2005 also had special episodes that aired several months after the show’s end.

The upcoming special is scheduled to air in March.

(Link: “Gokusen” gets another special episode – Tokyograph.)

HY’s “366日” used as the theme song to “Akai Ito”

If you should know the name of at least one indie label band from Okinawa along with all of the other things you’ve accumulated in your mind for 2008, know HY. The band, despite their continued popularity, remain unsigned to a major label (by choice) and have released a total of five albums in a range of eight years (2001-2008). Their latest album, “HeartY,” includes the song “366 Nichi” which is currently featured on the J-drama and the film version of “Akai Ito.”

It’s a wonderful ballad sung by Izumi Nakasone (the band has two main vocals, the other is Hideyuki Shinzato) and it’s currently streaming on the band’s official website or check it out on YouTube (you’ll have to do a little searching around to find it tho). Also check them out on MySpace.com.

Sakaguchi stars in Okinawan police drama – Tokyograph

Kenji Sakaguchi will be playing the lead in a police drama series titled ‘Honjitsu mo Hare. Ijou Nashi,’ set to air on TBS this winter. Sakaguchi stars as a cop assigned to a fictional remote island in the Okinawa prefecture, modeled after the real island of Hateruma.

Nao Matsushita appears as the heroine, the only primary school teacher on the island. Matsushita will also be singing an insert song for the show. Other cast members include Noriko Aoyama and Yoshimasa Kondo.

The drama will run on Sundays at 9:00pm, starting on January 18.

(Link: Sakaguchi stars in Okinawan police drama – Tokyograph.)

So, there doesn’t seem to be any actors who are actually from Okinawa in this drama so it’s similar to two others (in recent memory) “Ruri no Shima” and “Dr. Koto Shinryojo” which follow the same format.

“Code Blue” SP to air on January 10 – Tokyograph

Fuji TV has announced a broadcast date for its ‘Code Blue’ drama special. The episode is scheduled to air on January 10 at 9:00pm.

The special is a continuation of the ‘Code Blue’ drama series from this past summer, which starred Tomohisa Yamashita, Erika Toda, Yui Aragaki, and Yosuke Asari as four young doctors training in an emergency helicopter program. The show started out with 21.2% ratings and finished with an average of 15.9%, the highest of the summer dramas.

(Link: “Code Blue” SP to air on January 10 – Tokyograph.)

I’ve been meaning to blog about this J-drama (I actually started on it a couple of months ago) because it starred two beauties from Okinawa, Yui Aragaki and Manami Higa so I’m happy to hear that it’ll be returning in a special episode. I couldn’t keep up with the drama (I’m not much of a fan of the medical genre) but maybe I’ll check out this special when it airs.