While perusing Japanese news aggregators for anything interesting I could find for our readers, I came across this tidbit. Keiko Kitagawa (Sailor Mars in PGSM) blogged a few days ago about meeting PGSM producer Shinichiro Shirakura and PGSM director Ryuta Tasaki, and they mentioned to her that it had been 10 years since she had acted in PGSM. Keiko could not believe that much time had passed! She then shared the story of her audition for the show. When she was just 17 year old, Keiko didn’t think she was very attractive, nor could she sing, dance, or do any sort of rhythmic gymnastics. She considered herself to have no talent, and was just your average, boring, high school student. The night before the audition, she still didn’t know what to do, so she cut a sweet potato in half and wrapped it in plastic, and put a chisel in her bag. She slipped past the more attractive girls in the audition that had their skilled performances ready, and silently carved a potato stamp in front of the judges. She passed! And the rest is history. She has not forgotten the generosity of Shirakura and Tasaki for accepting her act. And with this potato, Keiko is living history that one of the biggest lessons we have all learned from Sailor Moon still holds true: be yourself no matter what!
Keiko Kitagawa (PGSM Sailor Mars) has recently landed an endorsement for Knorr in Japan. The commercial (which is currently on the air in Japan) finds Kitagawa paired with Haruma Miura, and together they pitch a cup soup and bread meal. Keiko and Haruma represent different ways of enjoying the soup and bread – Keiko is for soaking the bread in the soup while Haruma is for dipping the bread in it. The official site is also taking a poll to determine which is the best way to enjoy the soup! Keiko fans will also want to know that she will be starring in a live action rendition of the popular manga series “Paradise Kiss”. Shooting for the film has included a surprise guest appearance at a fashion show, in which footage will be used in the movie. Keiko has also appeared in the remake of the classic French movie “Ascenseur pour l’echafaud”, playing Mikayo Matusmoto, a character whose car is stolen during the movie. The movie saw a release date of October 9, and Kitagawa appeared alongside the rest of the cast for the movie premiere. Keiko described the movie as one of her most challenging roles, but found the overall results to be satisfying. On October 19th, Keiko started shooting a new commercial, in which she met an unidentified member of the PGSM production staff (on her blog entry, titled “It’s Funny to Have This Happen”, Keiko did not identify the member). Keiko received a warm welcome and great praise from the PGSM staff member for her continued evolution as an actress since her time playing Sailor Mars back in 2003. Keiko states in her entry that she felt confident during the shoot, and that she was not expecting to be in contact with this person after the end of PGSM (she was going to try to keep in contact with the staff member, however the two did not meet until this most recent commercial shoot). For a fun side story, Kitagawa has also been promoting Hello Kitty merchandise (and even appearing alongside Hello Kitty) in collaboration with fashion designer Samantha Thavasa. Keiko has been a fan of Hello Kitty since she was growing up, and she has stated that she has been having fun promoting the merchandise.
Aya Sugimoto (PGSM Queen Beryl) has also been busy lately – she has recently been promoting the DVD release of the American drama “Lipstick Jungle” (this is another series created by Sex and the City creator, Candace Bushnell). During the promotional event, Sugimoto participated in a question and answer session, which focused primarily on the relationships between men and women. In an interesting and controversial twist, Sugimoto stated during the question and answer session that no person should be committed to another person in a relationship, and she has no problems with cheating. She also stated that as long as one finds their perfect partner, that having fickle tastes in an relationship is okay. Sugimoto has also penned her autobiography in the last year – the book “Liberal Life” is currently available on Amazon. Fans of Sugimoto will find this book to be an intriguing read – she opens up about a suicide attempt at age 15, the separation of her own family, as well as her own problems with marriage and divorce. Sugimoto has described the writing process as being able to “free her heart” of the problems she has encountered in her life. Sugimoto has also revealed her plans to enter the world of cosmetics – fans will want to check out her new company called Liberata.
Mariko Tsutsui (Ami’s mother in PGSM) will be appearing as a minor character in a BeeTV television drama called “Sekai No Owari ni Saku Hana”. This drama is about a young couple who is suffering from kidney disease and are waiting for a transplant. Tsutsui has landed the role of Manami Yano, the mother of the boy who is suffering from the kidney ailment. The series has been running on television in Japan since September 20th, and a total of 12 episodes are planned to air.
Kaori Moriwaka (Ikuko Tsukino) was busy this summer promoting her J-Rock band the Go-Bangs. She recently performed at a function called Nexus: Battle 80’s”,“ which featured J-Rock bands from the 1980’s engaging in a head on battle. . She will also be rocking out on November 21st at “Nexus Respectable 80s” in Shibuya’s C.C. Lemon hall in Tokyo. Tickets for this event have just gone on sale!
Jyoji Shibue (PGSM Tuxedo Kamen) has recently appeared in a new romantic comedy called “Miss Kurosawa”. In this movie (directed by Taku Watanabe), he falls in love with a female comedian – like most romantic comedies, the couple starts to get closer to each other until the inevitable setbacks occur. He plays himself in this movie (as does everyone else), a hunky actor who is a big fan of the comedian!This is definitely a movie for all you Shibby fangirls, and it is even an award winner! It won the top award at the 2nd annual Okinawa Film Festival! The movie opened on October 9th. The entire cast wore white tuxes and wedding dresses. All of the press surrounding this film is around the star Kazuko Kurosawa, and there has not been a lot heard from Shibby in the press. Earlier, Shibby noted that Kazuko was his complete opposite!
Sawaii Miyu, who portrayed Usagi/Sailor Moon in the live action series in 2003-2004, has recently been starring in a musical adaption of the classic fairy tale Snow White. The musical production of Snow White began its eight day run on July 16th. Miyu has also been spotted in a Box Corporation program to celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary. http://www.sanspo.com/geino/news/100717/gnj1007170501003-n1.htm
Fans of Aya Sugimoto (PGSM Queen Beryl) will definitely want to check out the new feature length Kamen Rider movie “Double Forever: A to Z/The Gaia Memories of Fate”, where she will be appearing as a guest character named Maria S Cranberry. The movie was recorded with 3D technology in mind, making it the first feature length movie of the 3D Kamen Rider series. The movie will hit theaters on August 7, 2010. (http://www.japantoday.com/category/entertainment/view/aya-sugimoto-to-appear-in-3-d-kamen-rider-movie)
Ayaka Komatsu (Minako Aino/Sailor Venus) has been busy lately promoting a new movie called “Neck”. The movie, which was assembled by Shirakawa Professional, is a hybrid of both horror and comedy as it details the twists and turns of a group of junior college students.(http://www.moviecollection.jp/news/detail.html?p=1379)
Rina Koike (Sailor Luna) has also landed a new role as the main heroine in the detective drama production “Akechi Three Generations”. Right now in Japan, Koike can be spotted making some public appearances to support her new acting role, alongside her current co-star Tanabe Seiiti. http://journal.mycom.co.jp/news/2010/06/27/008/?rt=na
Finally, no PGSM news update would be complete without some Keiko Kitagawa sightings. The live action Sailor Mars actress was recently a presenter at the 12th annual Taipei Film Festival, where she was greeted with huge support from her Taiwanese fan base. Keiko admitted to being nervous about the presentation on her blog, and she was relieved to have finished it successfully. Keiko can also be caught starring in a new Fuji TV drama called “Lovers Of The Moon”. http://www.cinematoday.jp/page/N0025561 Apparently the recording schedule for the show was gruelling – Keiko stated on her blog that she was getting as little as 2 hours of sleep at night.
Rika Izumi Gives Exercise Lessons
Rika Izumi (PGSM Sailor Mercury) recently made an appearance on the TV Asahi program Easy Sports. The purpose of Easy Sports is to make athletics and a healthy lifestyle accessible to women of all body types and ages. Viewers who were watching the program during the week of January 18 to January 22 would have been treated to some footage of Izumi performing various yoga lessons. Izumi, who lists Pilates as one of her favourite sports on her profile, showed viewers five different poses for the week long stretch that she was featured. We’re also linking you to videos that we have been able to find! Monday’s lesson was for a triangle pose, which enhances thigh flexibility and strength of physique. Tuesday’s lesson was an Extended Side Angle pose, which helps the back and improves blood circulation. Wednesday’s exercise was the Bound Angle Pose which strengthens the back and abdomen. Thursday’s exercise was the Upward Dog Pose, which strengthens the back of the legs and improves posture. Finally, Friday’s lesson was the Bridge Pose, which strengthens the abdominal and back legs. For pictures and descriptions of Izumi’s lesson, visit here.
In other Rika Izumi news, the former PGSM actress will be appearing in a supporting role on “BeeTV”, a station geared towards mobile devices and the internet. She will be making some cameo appearances on the omnibus love dorama, “Onna-tachi wa Nido Asobu”. Aibu Saki, Koyuki, Hazegawa Kyoko, Yuuka and Misukawa Asami will be the full time cast members that Izumi will be acting with. A typical episode of this show will feature five different mini-episodes within its 24 minute run time.
Also Buzzing Around on BeeTV is A Turtleman!
Poor Masaya Kikawada (PGSM Motoki Furuhata), your infamous turtle antics from PGSM will live with us fans forever…He is also appearing on a dorama on BeeTV that is also a collaboration with FujiTV called Hidamari no Basho ~Hatsukoi~, which translates to “Place of Sunshine ~First Love~”. He plays a supporting role in this show about a delinquent who falls in love with the most perfect girl at school. Fans can click here to learn more about the show and watch a trailer!
Masaya also posted something pretty quirky on his blog. Last December, he admitted to really liking the scent of Downy (y’know, the fabric softner?). He was the happiest person in the world when he discovered that popular Japanese laundry detergent Bold has a limited edition detergent out that has the scent of Downy in it (similar to the “Tide with a Touch of Downy” we have here). He thinks that now he is washing his clothes with this, that he will be more attractive. We couldn’t help but laugh reading this entry!
Mew Azama Endorses Suntory Products
Suntory, a company which specializes in various drinks, has put together a special campaign for Jug-Nana, a popular line of beer. Suntory has gathered six young idols for its latest promotion, one representing each day of the week. Sharing Thursday for this promotion is none other than Mew Azama (PGSM Sailor Jupiter) . Some of the idols representing the other days of the week are Yuriko Yoshitaka (Monday), Sayo Aizawa (Tuesday), Airi Taira (Wednesday), and Inamori Izumi (Friday). All six idols will represent Saturday and Sunday.
PGSM Stars Reunite (Well, Almost…)
Special thanks to reader RB for sending in this sighting! Mew Azama and Ayaka Komatsu (Sailor Venus) hosted a combined birthday party for Mew and a New Years’ Party a little over 2 weeks ago. The only one who couldn’t make it this time was Keiko Kitagawa (Sailor Mars). Miyuu Sawaii (Sailor Moon), Rika, and Ayaka all posted images and a few thoughts on their blogs! Rika remarked that it was fun to get together with everyone again after a long time, and that they are so close that they can talk for hours. Ayaka also said that she was happy to see everyone, and that they were so restless when they caught up with each other! Miyuu just wrote that they had a great time and they talked a lot. Here come the photos:
Keiko Kitagawa is Valentine’s Queen, Journalist Offender, and a Hair-Raiser!
Keiko is too busy doing promotions for her new productions and filming others, but she still continues to make some quirky appearances in Japanese news. On February 3rd, she was voted a Valentine’s Day Queen in the categories of Drama Heroine and Most Fascinating Female Celebrity. This was a survey done by 300 Japanese High Schoolers sponsored by both Oricon and Pocky. Valentine’s Day is a little different in Japan – women give men chocolate, and then men return the favor giving women chocolate exactly a month later. So, Keiko was voted the woman that these High Schoolers would most like to receive chocolate from! Standing alongside her is Japanese idol Masuwaka Tsubasa (who is best known for her Gyaru modeling). Keiko was quoted during the event: “I attended a girls’ school for junior high and high school. Making homemade chocolates was not one of my strong points. Instead, I often received really cute chocolates made by other girls.” Mishapen or lumpy Keiko, it’s the thought that counts! Fans can watch some highlights from the event here. Keiko also wrote something that offended journalists a few days later on her blog (English translation here), ranting about how she finds it difficult to keep her answers consistent during interviews ahead of the March 10th premiere of her upcoming movie After the Flowers, and that she thought she put all the intense stress on her brain away after she graduated. We hope that this doesn’t hurt the press because the movie looks really good (and could hopefully be picked up for international distribution). On the bright side, some critics have already lauded her performance in this movie “Hair-Raising”,”Trembling” and “impressive” at a preview screening held on January 26th.
Natsumi Kiyoura Releasing First Album!
Natsumi Kiyoura (Sailor M) is releasing her debut album, and boy has she come a long way since her days on PGSM. She is a singer, and has even sung the theme song for Spice and Wolf “Tabi no Tochu”. The song is featured on her upcoming album “19 Colors”, which is produced by many big names in the industry. It even has a song (“Anone Demone”) produced by Yoko Kanno, who is legendary among anime fans for her work on anime movie and TV show soundtracks. This long awaited release will come out on February 24th, and fans should order it now from overseas retailers as it is predicted to be a hit!
2009 has been a significant year in the world of Sailor Moon. Hard to believe, but it has been 5 years since PGSM has come to an end. Many fans of PGSM have continued to follow the careers of the cast members since the show has ended, and there is some recent news to report.
Masaya Kikawada (Motoki Furuhata) co-hosted a documentary about life in Vienna, Austria, along with Japanese actress Yoshino Kimura. Yoshino appeared in the movie Sukiyaki Western Django (which is not a movie that is everyone’s cup of tea). In the documentary, Yoshino sought to discover what made life comfortable in Vienna, and also met with the conductor of the world famous Vienna Philharmonic (Rainer Kuchl). Masaya took another route and learned about how the people live in Vienna, and visited lots of markets and taverns. Producer Yutaro Mimuro was quoted that he aimed to look beyond the history and tradition, to discover why the people of Vienna had such a richness in life. While we were unable to find any pictures of Masaya in the documentary, we did find an entry on his official blog with a picture of him in the Vienna airport. He said that he was having a fun time and was sad that the final scenes were going to be shot that next week. It was an experience that he will never forget!
Ayaka Komatsu, who recently portrayed Minako Aino (Sailor Venus) in the live action version of Sailor Moon, is turning towards voice acting for her latest role. PGSM fans might want to check out a movie called Goey-ETO, which is an adaption of a one-off manga chapter in the June 1998 edition of Weekly Shonen Jump. The story is centered on the relationship between male and female rabbit like aliens. In this movie, Komatsu will be voicing a male character named Shibushige.
Masu Takeshi, who portrayed Rei’s father in PGSM is currently starring in a host club drama called “Rondo Of The Wind”. This soap opera is part of Tokai Fuji’s “TV’s Night Indigo”, and its start date is January 5, 2010. In this drama, a successful female editor loses her husband and her job due to an embezzlement accusation, leading her to decide to manage a host club. The female editor and her co-workers work together as a team of detectives in an attempt to restore her reputation.
Once again, the cleanest idol in Japan’s industry has been the subject of tabloid fodder once again. This time, she is rumored to be dating another star – actor Tomohisa Yamashita, who is a year older than her. The two starred together in the drama Buzzer Beat, and also went to the same college (he was a year ahead of her). They have been spotted out and about holding hands. On November 21st, he performed his first solo concert show (“Short But Swell”) at Yokohama Arena. Fans can read a review of the concert in English here – he even performed a rendition of Michael Jackson’s Thriller! One of his songs is titled Daite Senorita and after the concert ended, our poor Sailor Mars was bombarded with reporters asking if she was Tomohisa’s senorita. She snapped back at then and said they were just friends who sometimes go out to dinner together. Poor Keiko just can’t catch a break, can she?
Kitagawa has continued to obtain acting roles in the wake of the success she has earned playing Sailor Mars in PGSM. Kitagawa will portray the role of Rie Saito (a number 1 hostess) in the TBS drama Hitsudan Hostess. The story is somewhat based off of Saito’s personal life, as the title character becomes deaf at the age of one due to an illness, and she rebels against her strict parents. Kitagawa’s new role will require very little dialogue, making this one of her most challenging acting roles to date. The two hour long episode is based off of a best selling book by Rie Saito, of which Keiko is a big fan of. Keiko is looking forward to utilizing her skills in calligraphy and writing – skills that she obtained in her childhood.
Kaori Moriwaka Writes Hit Song!
In September of this year, popular J-Pop singer Maki Goto (pictured) released a new album with her new collaboration featuring her record label Avex, popular radio station J-Wave, and Japanese social networking site Mixi. She called the collaboration (and the album) “SWEET BLACK” because those two words describe perfectly the positives and the negatives in the life of today’s women. The album has 8 tracks, featuring unique collaborations with people like Japanese reggae star BIGGA RAIJI, mangaka Erika Sakurazawa, and Japanese rapper Ken the 390. The song TEAR DROPS, featuring the singer KG is a sad and beautiful song, and has a connection to PGSM – Kaori Moriwaka (Ikuko Tsukino) wrote the song! This is a little different since we’re normally used to hearing rockier tunes from her! Fans can watch the video here, and read a lyrics translation here.
Two Rival Fashion Magazines Get Together For a Fashion Show That Thunders! and Jupiter Speaks Up.
Excuse the horrible Sailor Jupiter pun! Mew Azama was one of a handful of CanCam magazine models chosen to appear in a special fashion show with rival models from ViVi magazine that was sponsored by Sony Ericsson. Sony Ericsson was launching the S002 “THE SUPER FIT” which is a phone being marketed as the worlds smallest “WanseguKeitai” (or “oneseg” cell phone capable of mobile TV). The fashion show took place on December 1st at Tokyo’s JCB Hall, and some of the fashions modeled had a “sexy santa” theme. Fans can check out more pictures here – and Mew is sporting a new, shorter, haircut! She’s the one in the beige gown pictured here! It’s a relief to see some pictures of Mew in classier clothing compared to the ridiculous things she sometimes wears as the weather girl on NTV’s Zoom! Saturday.
We’ve featured a few of her strange costumes on this blog before, asking fans to caption the photos! But her fans in Japan have come to love her costumes, and also the clothing she wears on the show. She even talks about her outfits on her blog. She looks forward to doing more in 2010, and hopes to be an anime seiyuu too. Our fearless Mew can accomplish anything she puts her mind to, with a little perseverance!
New Idol DVD and a Strange Dream for Rina Koike!
PGSM’s youngest star has another new idol DVD out, this time co-starring two other young stars, Yui Koike and Aya Koike. Despite sharing surnames these three are not closely related in real life, but they play sisters in the movie. Rina also made mention of a strange dream she had involving Michael Jackson. As best we can tell, she dreamed she was on a plane that crashed in a jungle in the Amazon, and Michael Jackson came riding in on a blue throne set on an elephant and brought two other people to rescue her. After Rina had the dream, she called her friend and she said it was all in her head. An interesting dream indeed!
Gundam Character Astrology Book!
Keiko Han (Luna in the anime and PGSM) has a new book out, “Fortune Telling of Sune” Written from the perspective of her character Lalah Sune from Mobile Suit Gundam. The book is illustrated by Hideki Ohwada, author of a Gundam parody comic and is meant for Gundam fans to enjoy!