Sera Myu Sightings – Late March and April

More Connections to Sera Myu in Minky Momo Musical!

Two actors involved with Sera Myu have just been confirmed to be a part of the 30th anniversary Minky Momo musical! Yoshiya Yukimura (many characters from 2000-2004) and Takayo Ooyama (Sailor Neptune 2004-2005) will be starring as Mocha the Monkey (middle) and Pipil the Bird (right) in the musical. The two of them starred in only one musical together, and we wonder if they spent any time reminiscing about Sera Myu in rehearsals. Along with Sindbook the dog, the three of these animals serve as Minky Momo’s companions. And to remind you, the show is produced by Toshiyuki Takezawa, who produced the Sera Myu musicals and also worked as a producer on PGSM. Yoshiya and Takayo were revealed at a special performance and talk show that took place at the Tokyo Anime Fair on March 28th. They were not there, but images were shown. The other big piece of news about this series at the TAF? There’s a new anime series in the works! Perhaps this is something we can look forward to from Sailor Moon in another ten years?

A New Movie for Mikako Tabe!

Way back in January, it was announced that popular manga title Kimi ni Todoke was going to get a live action movie adaptation. KnT is a shojo romance about a girl named Sawako who unfortunately earns the nickname Sadako because of her resemblance to the character of the same name from the popular movie, The Ring. Everyone at school thinks that Sawako can also speak to the dead and see ghosts. Sawako feels so alone, until she meets the very popular Kazehaya, and the two of them fall in love. Mikako Tabe (Yaten Kou/Sailor Star Healer) will be playing the role of Sawako, alongside the very popular Haruma Miura as Kazehaya. The film is set to open on September 25th in Japan.

Fumina Hara Appears with Salaryman!

On April 8th, NHK began to rebroadcast season 5 of the popular Japanese sketch comedy show, Salaryman Neo. Fumina Hara (Sailor Moon from 1998-1999) appears on the show, and also appeared at a promotional event at the NHK Broadcast Center on March 30th. Here she is posing with the rest of the cast – don’t you hear her saying “I am the business-suited pretty soldier of love and justice, formerly known as Sailor Moon!” At the event, NHK revealed that there is going to be an addition to this rebroadcast – each episode will have a new short story. It makes mention of a skit where Aki Nakada dresses up like a member of the Takarazuka Revue, and played her role very convincingly.

Tae Kimura Gets Fashionable and Controls Men in New Movie (and has a new book too)!

Tae Kimura (Fisheye) has a leading role in the upcoming movie Tokyo-Jima (Toyko Island). She plays Kiyoko, a 43-year-old housewife that suddenly finds herself in an icky situation when she is the only woman of 24 people stranded on an uninhabited island. Her character is tough, and she uses her charms as well as her body to control the men of the island. Even with all of the accolades that Tae has received in the last few years, this must be a challenging role for her to play! In the movie, she cooks for everyone and even caught a sea snake. She told everyone at a recent promotional event that she didn’t worry, because she likes snakes! Tae thinks that the women in the audience will sympathize but isn’t sure what the men in the audience will think. She hopes that everyone will wonder just what they are at the end of the movie. This movie also has a nice bit of a Haute Couture edge to it – French Luxury brand Hermes is the brand of choice for many of the cast members, and is featured prominently. Kiyoko wraps herself in a Hermes scarf during the movie. Japanese women who want the same scarf can purchase it in Hermes stores in Japan for the “affordable” price of ¥48300 (just shy of $520 USD). Fans can check out the R-rated Trailer at the official site (don’t watch it if you are under 18).

Tae also just released a new book of essays about her life as an actress, a daughter, a wife, a mother, and other personas. Entitled Kakato (Translation: Heel), these essays highlight many of her ups and downs in life from her career to her family. She isn’t much of a computer user, but really used it a lot to put this book together, staying up all night in hotel rooms just to get her thoughts written out. But, that isn’t to say that she didn’t write anything in longhand – in fact just to get the right meanings for the words, for some of her essays she wrote them out first. Despite her hardships, she knows that acting is her dream job and she is happy to be an actress, even though she is known as a very emotional and dramatic actress in Japan. As far as the title goes, there’s a very interesting reason why she chose it. It is a symbol of a part of the body that is often neglected to people, so she thinks. We kind of understand it since she feels that she has to show a lot of herself to the public and is always on her feet, never really having the time to lie down and reflect on life. This book is available from Kodansha and costs ¥1350 (or $14 USD).

Yuu Shirota to Dub Voice of Popular Dorama!

IRIS aired from last October to December in South Korea (information in English here), and was a huge hit. So much so, that TBS decided to purchase the dorama for broadcast. IRIS is about best friends Hyun Joon Kim and Seung Hee Choi, who are brought in to work for the NSS, an intelligence organization. The two of them fall in love, but things take a wicked turn when Hyun is sent to Hungary for a solo mission, and he learns that Vick, an assassin from a top secret spy organization known as IRIS, is looking for him. As this mysterious and unpredictable series progresses, Hyun Joon learns what IRIS is. This show has shot episodes all over the world, including the United States, China, Japan, and Russia! Yuu Shirota (Tuxedo Kamen from 2003-2004), will be dubbing the voice of Hyun Joon Kim in Japanese. IRIS will start on TBS on April 21st, and run for approximately 6 months. This show has been renewed for a second season in South Korea, however the actor that plays Hyun Joon Kim (Lee Byung Hun) is unable to return to his role.

Yuu was also featured in another article about singer Jin Akanishi, who just announced that he will be playing two concerts in LA this June. Everyone knows that Jin and Yuu are best friends, but did you know that Yuu considers Jin to be like an older brother to him? The rest of the article goes into other friends of Jin and how they have been caught partying by the tabloids.

Kousei Amano Starts Nightclub Tour!

Hot on the heels of the success of Tough Times at Club Indigo, Kousei Amano (Tuxedo Mask in 1999) is joining some cast members in a special night club tour of 22 Japanese cities to promote the show. They are going to also serve as the club hosts! The first of these party dates happened on March 31st at the Shinjuku Kabukicho Host Club called Club Acqua. By the way, if you are trying to spot him in the photo, he is second from the right in the gray suit. The boys of the Indigo Club sure looked sharp that night, as they partied with clubgoers and poured champagne. Kousei was quoted, saying that he only hopes that he can work hard to please everyone at these 22 cities, and that he understands how hard these hosts have to work to please everyone at the club. Here’s one last picture for all you fangirls to see these “dream hosts”.

Maki Aizawa Represents the Typical Resident of Niigata Prefecture in Japanese Variety Show!

Himitsu no Kenmin Show (Translation: Secrets of the Character of Prefectural Residents
). This show aims to find out what makes the residents of each prefecture in Japan different from one another by looking at these local customs and attitudes in depth. On April 22nd, Maki Aizawa (Loof Merrow in 2004), appeared on the show representing Niigata prefecture. We couldn’t find any more about Maki’s involvement in the show, but did learn a little bit about the episode’s features. There is a new way to enjoy Soba in Toshigi, every February 1st, the people of Aomori look forward to a day of bargain sales, and in Sapporo, the 1972 Olympics inspired a large part of their population to take up the Bobsled! To learn even more about the show and the products seen, visit the other official site of the show here.

And for our Anza Ooyama (Sailor Moon from 1993-1998) fans, she is currently touring in Brazil with her band Head Phones President. Head to SOSMP BR for more, including a video of her band performing a moving, acoustic version of their hit song “Chain”!

Sera Myu Sightings Late March 2010 – Part 2

Not too much to report now, but we thought we’d still report these since these actors were all featured in huge roles during Sera Myu!

Kenji Urai is a Prince!

Fresh off his win at the 44th Kinokuniya Theater Awards, Kenji Urai (Tuxedo Mask from 2001-2002) will be making an appearance in a stage musical, and he wil get to play a prince! Bara to Samurai: Goemon Rock Overdrive (Rose to Samurai: Goemon Rock Overdrive) began on March 18th in Tokyo, and will travel through to Osaka in April and May. The play takes place in the 17th century, about two pirates named Goemon and Ann. Lured by a reward, another pirate tries to kidnap Goemon, but captures Ann instead. Everyone finds out later that Annu is the long-lost daughter of the recently deceased King, and is set to rule over his kingdom. At her first party, Annu meets a prince named Charles from another country who falls in love with her, but Goemon isn’t ready to give her up easily. Kenji is playing Prince Charles, and has received some rave reviews from fans already over his performance! At a promotional event held earlier this month, the two leading cast members playing Ann and Goemon (Yuki Amami and Arata Furata) were excited for the chance to cosplay as pirates on stage!

Tae Kimura Presents at 33rd Japanese Academy Awards After Winning Year!

2009 was a great year for Tae Kimura (Fisheye in Sailor Moon SuperS musicals). She won two awards for her role in the critically acclaimed film All Around Us (including a Japanese Academy Award), and became well known around Japan. A few weeks ago, she appeared to present an award at the Japanese Academy Awards, and was also nominated for a Best Supporting Actress award for her role in the Japanese film Zero Focus. This movie was about a mysterious disappearance of a woman’s husband. We have a photo of her at the awards featured here (in the brown dress). Unfortunately, she didn’t win, but we are still proud of everything she has achieved! Zero Focus will be released to DVD and BD this June. Fans can check out more information about the film in English here.

Maki Aizawa Goes Shopping and Has a Beauty Blog

Maki Aizawa (Loof Merrow in 2004) went for a little shopping trip with her friend, Yuko Ogura (another idol) before they had to go to work. This for some strange reason was covered by the tabloids (*sigh*). They went to one of the most trendiest stores in Tokyo called ISBIT DAIKANYAMA which is very popular among idols for the eclectic selection of clothing it carries. They tried on a few items and took some photos of themselves without makeup and went on their merry way (which included posts on both Yuko and Maki’s blogs). Maki is the girl on the right side of the photo we have posted here. Maki also started a beauty blog a few months ago which is slowly gaining some steam with her fans. She reviews beauty products that she uses.

Tabe Mikako in New Lipstick Commercial!

Tabe Mikako (Yaten Kou/Sailor Star Healer) is currently being featured in a new lipstick commercial in Japan for Orbis Rouge Crystal. This lipstick has special shine enhancers in it to make your lips sparkle. Orbis has two commercials for this product, the first one features Tabe putting the lipstick on and talking about how it makes her lips sparkle. The second one, features Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott playing a Chopin waltz off of her brand new album. Both aim to show that this lipstick will make you sparkle and shine at just the right moment! Fans can check out videos of both commercials here!

Anza Oyama a Matter of Weeks Away From South America!

Anza Oyama (Sailor Moon from 1993-1998) is the lead singer of Japanese metal band Head Phones President, and they are heading out for the first time to South America a month from now! They will be playing four shows in Brazil, and 3 of them are at anime conventions: the concert on April 24th will happen at Anime Hero!, then they will head off to Anime Osasco the next day, and then to Porto Allegre’s J-Party Ballads on the 30th. On May 2nd, they will finish their tour playing in Rio de Janeiro. We know our friends at SOS Brazil are very excited about this and we can’t wait to hear what they have to report! The band sings in English, and their style of music is definitely a departure from the cutesy songs fans know Anza best for singing in Sera Myu. Fans who want to give their music a listen can check out their MySpace! We wish Head Phones President the best of luck on their tour and we hope to see them perform in other places as well.

Sera Myu Sightings Late March 2010 – Part 1

We’re a little behind on our posts – so this week will be mostly Sera Myu and PGSM will carry on until next week. Thank you Moonies! As of this writing we have 505 surveys for Phase 4! Only 195 to go till we hit our goal of 700! Today’s actor updates are all dealing with doramas and DVDs!

Yuu Shirota’s New Samurai Drama to Get Boxset Release!

Yuu Shirota (Tuxedo Kamen from 2003-2004) keeps popping up in lots of different places! Last fall, he played Tsuyoshi Nakamura in the Japanese dorama Samurai High School. Tsuyoshi befriends the main character named Kotaro Mochizuki, who is a very special person. He experiences flashbacks of his past life as a samurai, and even awakens his ancestors within him to save the day. The show’s premise seems a little silly but it was a lot more popular than you’d expect, and it ran for 9 episodes on NTV! The show is set to get a DVD Boxset release on March 26th. It will be packed with extras including cast interviews, event footage, making ofs, and special stickers. Last fall on his blog, Yuu said that this was the first time he had ever played a good-for-nothing student, and said that this is the funniest dorama he has ever been in! He also wanted to assure his fans that his character’s pants were not rolled up because they were too tall for him, that it was just the way his character was supposed to dress.

Fumina Hara in Drama Special!

Fuji TV aired a 4-night special drama event in the beginning of March, and Fumina Hara (Sailor Moon from 1998-1999) was featured in the very last episode. Sotsu Uta was a slice-of-life/coming of age dorama featuring four women’s stories of graduation, that are based on popular graduation songs in Japan. Her episode aired on March 4th, and was titled Sotsugyou Shashin and was based on the song by Yumi Matsutoya. J-pop Queen Ayumi Hamasaki sang a version of this song on her A Ballads album, and fans can hear a version of it here. The story was about a radio personality named Hitomi Tachibana (played by Masami Nagasawa) who moved back to her hometown after working in the brutal Tokyo working world for a long time. She makes a brand new start in her old hometown with the help and support of a classmate from high school days. Fumina played Manami Kiguchi in the episode, and appeared for only a few moments. She played another employee at the same office as Hitomi, who was “sleeping her way to the top”.

Fumina also appeared on NHK’s office sketch comedy series Salaryman Neo last year. That show is also on its way to DVD on April 10th.

Reiko Kataoka Comes a Long Way From Being an Ensemble Member

Reiko Kataoka is probably one of those Sera Myu stars who is barely remembered. She only appeared in one musical – Gaiden Dark Kingdom Fukkatsu Hen as an ensemble member. She has since gone on to appear in many doramas and films, and one of those doramas is Gaiji Keisatsu. This show is about a special police unit that deals with threats like international terrorism and espionage. She played the leading role of Sargent Ayane Igarashi, a gutsy Sargent who is ruthless and given many tough assignments. She tires of her job and wants to retire. The show was just released on DVD on February 23rd. It’s surprising how far some actors from Sera Myu have come, even if they were only featured in a very minor role in the musicals!

3 Days of Sera Myu – Day 3: Loof Merrow is a Model, Tuxedo Kamen Wins as King!

Welcome to Day 3 – our final day of Sera Myu updates! These last two sightings are small, but we’re sure many of our readers will recognize these names!

Maki Aizawa to Model in Special Fashion Show!

Maki Aizawa (Loof Merrow in 2004) will be modeling at the Fukuoka Asian Collection (FACo) Spring/Summer 2010 Fashion Show on March 21st. There will be over 40 brands represented at this event, and even brands from Thailand and Taiwan will be featured! Parco (Japan’s largest department store) is currently holding a model search. The winners of this “Cinderella Girl” search will also be walking the runway at this show. Maki said at the press conference that she doesn’t think that there is much difference between fashion in Fukuoka and Tokyo, but that she thinks Fukuoka fashion is a little more sophisticated. Tickets are sold out, but hopefully we will be able to show you some photos of Maki coming down the runway! For more information on the other models appearing at the event, check out the official FaCO site.

Kenji Urai Wins Award for Role in Henry VI!

Last Fall, the New National Theater Tokyo undertook a major task: they were going to present all 3 parts of William Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy (a whopping 9 hours). Playing Henry VI through all of these was none other than Kenji Urai, who played Tuxedo Mask from 2001-2002. He was hailed by the critics, who said that he really embodied the wavering monarch, and brought a tremendous reality to this production. At the 44th Kinokuniya Theater Awards, Kenji won an award for his performance as the fabled King. He was shocked that he was so young and receiving such a prestigious award, and could not believe they chose a person like him as the winner! Unfortunately, this was the only image we could find of him at the awards show, and that is him nodding on the left side with his drink. Congratulations Kenji, and we’d never imagine that someone on Sera Myu would be doing such a marathon performance on stage!

3 Days of Sera Myu – Day 2: Sailor Mars, Tuxedo Kamens, and Sailor Star Fighter all in New Doramas!

Risa Honma Stars in New Calligraphy Club Dorama!

Risa Honma, best known for playing CereCere in 2001 and Sailor Mars from 2004-2005, has a supporting role in a new dorama called Tomehane! Suzuri Koko Shodobu. This show is about a girl from Canada who returns to Japan after many years, and finds that she likes Japanese calligraphy. She joins her new high school’s calligraphy club, but the tiny club is in danger of being abolished without enough students. This is a slice of life drama, and Risa plays Arisa Hatakeyama, a member of a prestigious calligraphy school’s staff. The dorama is a live-action adaptation of a popular manga in Japan which ended last year by veteran mangaka Katsuoshi Kawai. Calligraphy is not just about learning the different characters and making them, but also “performance calligraphy” which involves dancing and drawing them. This series began January 7th on NHK. It was only meant to be a 6 episode special, and just ended on February 11th. Since Sera Myu ended, you may be surprised to know that Risa is a budding Sailor Pluto! She lists astrophysics as a hobby, and studied physics at Nihon University, Japan’s largest university!

Kousei Amano Plays a Host and is in a Special Boy Band!

Kousei Amano (Tuxedo Kamen in 1999) is now starring in a dorama that is adapted from a popular novel by Miaki Kato. Indigo no Yoru (or Tough Times at Club Indigo) began on Fuji TV in January, and tells the story of Akira Takahara, a woman who once was a successful editor at a major Japanese publisher. One day, her fiance suddenly disappeared, and an unfortunate embezzlement incident later caused her to lose her job. She ends up as the manager of Club Indigo, a strange host club in Shibuya. With various shenanigans happening every night around the club, she and her hosts become amateur detectives to try to solve the cases. Kousei plays a host named “Inu Man” (or Dog Man in English). But what’s even more interesting is that he is ten years older than the youngest host, and the two of them along with the famed Takagi twins have formed a pop unit! They are called INDIGO 4 and sing the theme song to the show “Kokoro -Dear my friends-“. The single is set to be released today! This show also has a connection to PGSM, as Masu Takeshi (Rei’s Dad) also appears in this show playing a supporting role as Mama Nagisa. And if the name of this author sounds familiar, it is! Miaki also wrote the Mop Girl novels, which were later turned into a dorama starring none other than PGSM Sailor Mars, Keiko Kitagawa! The story has also been adapted for the stage, and is set to debut on April 30th at the New National Theatre in Tokyo.

Yuu Shirota in New Movie Based on Popular Dorama!

Yuu Shirota (Tuxedo Kamen from 2003-2004) reprises his role as the condemned criminal Mariya Kyousuke in the just released Koshonin: Time Limit at 10 000 m Above the Ground. This movie is a spinoff from the popular Koshonin: The Negotiator dorama in Japan which lasted for two seasons. The show’s premise seems very familiar to that of Flashpoint, but with detectives involved with the Special Investigations Team (SIT). An airplane is hijacked in this movie, but the team’s lead negotiator Usagi Reiko is on the flight, and races against time to save the day.

We also came across this very special interview that was conducted by Cinema Today to celebrate his 24th birthday. Yuu Shirota is half-Japanese, half-Spanish, and was largely raised by his Spanish mother. He was asked about cultural differences with Spanish people, and he noted that he lived in Spain when he was a child. He said something interesting that Japanese people are shier than Spanish people. For example if you bump into someone and they drop their handkerchief, in Japan they very hurriedly say “Sorry!” and keep going. In Spain though, people are a lot friendlier and the conversation would go something like “Hey, I dropped my handkerchief!” “Oh, I’m sorry! Can I help you?” He thinks people feel closer in Spain to each other. He has immense respect for his mother since she raised him and his 4 siblings alone in Spain, and had a hard time raising them in Japan where she didn’t understand a word of Japanese. She had been through so many hard times, but she raised them all “splendidly”. He has immense respect for her, and how she helped them all to grow. On his birthday each year, he says that he thanks his mother for giving birth to him. He thinks that the day when children get presents should be a day when they thank their mothers for giving birth to them, since they are the reasons that they are alive and living happily! And, he especially notes that mother hurt her belly giving birth to him, and that the father’s genes are important too.


Mikako Tabe is Everywhere!

Mikako Tabe (Yaten Kou/Sailor Star Healer from 2003-2004) is starring in a new adaptation of a critically acclaimed Japanese novel by Toyoko Yamasaki. Fumo Chitai (The Waste Land) began last October on Fuji TV and continues to run. This series follows Iki Tadashi, a former military leader who was captured by the Soviets during World War II. Treated as a war criminal, he was sentenced to many years of labor in a harsh Siberian detention camp. After 11 years of imprisonment, he is released. He returns to Japan and begins readjusting to life as a civilian, rejecting an offer from his former colleague to work on a defense project. Tadashi has decided to never involve himself in war again, much to the joy of his family. Instead, he attempts to set off on a new path working at a major trading company. Mikako plays his daughter, Naoko in teh series. The series was not only shot in Japan, but also in New Zealand to re-create the Siberian detention camp, and is loosely based on the life of Ryuzo Sejima. This drama is doing very well in the ratings and is one of the more popular shows in Japan.

A brand new recording was released of famed Japanese poet Noriko Ibaragi‘s greatest works. When I was Most Beautiful ~ Words to Live By ~ was released on January 30th, and Mikako can be heard reading her most famous poem “When I was Most Beautiful” about the unfairness of war among the poems included. Fans can read an English translation of the powerful poem here (and wander around and read her other poems too – they are great!). The poem, since its publication in 1957, has been translated into many different languages, and was even put to music by Pete Seeger in the late 60s.

And, last December 4th, Japan’s prestigious Elandor Awards were handed out. These awards recognize excellence in Japanese cinema and TV dramas. Mikako won a “Rookie Award” for her acting in the Japanese fantasy film, Fish Story. Fans can learn more about the time-traveling adventure in a review from Variety (yes, this is in English). She played the schoolgirl Asami in this punk-rock themed movie about fate through the ages. There may be an international release of this film, but as of this writing no one has picked it up internationally (hey FUNImation, here’s a Japanese film actually worth licensing). Congratulations!

Only one more day to go – guess who’s modeling, and guess who won an award for his performance in a Japanese production of a Shakespearean play?