Monday, 25 September 2017

Masaki Medley

Okada Masaki's latest character as Nijimura Keichō
in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (2017), a totally irresistible bastard 

I haven't watched Okada Masaki series for a while. The last Okada series that I watched was Legal High 2 (2013) where he was the supporting actor for Aragaki Yui's and Sakai Masato's characters. I wasn't really impressed by Masaki-kun's character in Legal High 2 (too upbeat and cheerful, too one-dimensional), until the last episode that is, when Sakai Masato's character managed to make Masaki's character angry. And it was a very nice explosion, but too limited a use of Masaki's spectrum of talent.

Anyway, then about two weeks ago, I found out that Masaki-kun starred against Oguri Shun again in 2017 in Gintama live action as Katsura Kotarō. That finding rebooted my fan-girling of Okada Masaki, thus this post, where I will briefly post videos, photos or GIFs of Masaki-kun in his recent roles since playing as Minamoto no Yoritomo in "Taira no Kiyomori". Including in this post are Masaki-kun's character as Nijimura Keichō (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure), Katsura Kotarō (Gintama), Kakushidate Yakusuke (Okitegami Kyōko no Biboroku), Yamada Haruhiko (Little Giants, Chiisana Kyojin), and... a very surprising fact that Masaki actually participated in 2-3 stage performances (!!) in 2014!

It has been a great journey re-finding Okada Masaki, for his acting has matured since then... (although I am very proud that he played Yoritomo and narrated that Taiga drama!). Hence, consider me a very happy fan of Okada Masaki!

Nijimura Keichō, in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, 
Diamond is Unbreakable part 1 (2017)

Nijimura Keichō (Okada Masaki), the cool bastard...

Nijimura Keichō is a really, really bad guy  in the JoJo world. I wouldn't want to meet his manga and anime versions. I actually despise them. However, the live action version of Keichō is so cute in his evilness that I cannot but root for him. Keichō is quite bulky in the manga and anime, reminding me of a Captain America villain. Although Masaki is slim (he just doesn't have that built), he made it up by delivering Keichō's scary, dangerous and borderline lunatic behaviours and, as this article stated, his arched eyebrows.

Keichō's brother (Nijimura Okuyasu) was played by Mackenyu Arata, a totally cute 20 years old Japanese American actor.  He wasn't cute as Okuyasu, but Arata was totally adorable in his off-screen interactions with Masaki-kun (Mackenyu is going to star in Pacific Rim 2, so I suppose I should see that movie then). I know Keichō died in the manga and anime because he protected Okuyasu from Otoishi Akira's Red Hot Chilli Pepper, but I'm not sure if Keichō died in Part 1 of the live action.

Oh yeah, I haven't seen JJBA, but from the trailers of Nijimura Keichō alone, I want to see it! I recall only one instance where Masaki played as a baddie, in a TV series a few years ago, just one episode. He also played as the antihero Young Black Jack in 2009, thus he had practiced his scowls back then, LOL!

Click this to watch this great series!

In JJBA, Masaki shines as a really badass baddie. Just look at the way he dealt with Angelo's Aqua Necklace (that's the "water" in the wine glass), the way he stretched his Bow and Arrow and the way he commanded his very cool Stand (appropriately called "the Bad Company"). I'm glad they chose Masaki to play Keichō. He did well!

And Masaki got Keichō's posture correct as well! Live action vs anime Nijimura Keichō (source)

And his fans are happy with his performance as Keichō, and he also gathered new fans! I mean, Masaki gathered new fans, and people also unexpectedly developed soft spots for Keichō.

And these are just English Tweets...

At home-base Japan, Keichō is also well-accepted. Just go to Twitter and put "虹村 形兆 岡田将生" in the search bar, and you'll get loads of fans gushing over Masaki's Keichō. I'm telling you, if a villain is well-accepted by the fans, it means that the actor did a good job there. Just look at Tom Hiddleston's Loki as a classical example.

[Update 29 Sept 2017: I know now what happens to Keichō in this movie. I'm sad, but I'm also happy for Masaki for Keichō was well-accepted by fans!].

Anyway, these are YouTube videos of how evil (yet cool) Keichō is. 

The English trailer (you'll hear Masaki's Keichō saying "Kōgeki o kaishi!", "Commence Offensive!" in 01:15)

"Omedeto. Omae wa erabareta." ("Congratulations. You have been chosen.") The Nijimura Kyōdai (Brothers) trailer:

Nijimura Keichō calmly dealing with Angelo's Aqua Necklace Stand. Afterwards, Keichō taught Angelo some lessons (which is interesting, cos I thought water will always win against artillery).

"Zenbu tai! Soko geki no taise o tore!" (Keichō ordered his Bad Company to attack Josuke):

Not sure what it translates to, sounds like "All out! You take Taise!", but I'm not sure what Taise is...

Yet, although he was evil, Keichō still protected his brother from "Sheer Heart Attack", a secondary bomb that belonged to Yoshikage Kira's Killer Queen.

I totally love this scene... (GIF Source)

Here's the YouTube clip. I cannot catch what Keichō warned about, but it must be about the Sheer Heart Attack.

Some more Keichō gifs...

When Masaki's bad side shoots his Arrow into my heart... (source)

Keichō's Bad Company in action (Source)

By the way, Masaki had an accident while filming this movie. He slipped in a bathtub and injured his head. It took him almost an hour to come to life. The bathtub was filled with bright red blood, such that the fans and the crew were worried. Here the JJBA director (thanks for casting Masaki as Keichō, Director!) explained the accident that happened to Masaki (min 11:40). Masaki went red-faced, and at 12:08, Arata was very protective of his aniki (big bro).  Choooo cweeeeet!!! I am so sold for Arata now for this scene, that I must see Pacific Rim 2 just for him!

Glad that Masaki came back alright from the accident!

Kyotsukete ne, Masaki-kun! Tanomu! Gambarimasu!

And just because Arata is such a lovely little brother, here's Mackenyu Arata and Okada-san... (it's nice to see Masaki becoming the big brother for a change. He is usually the little brother among Oguri Shun and Ikuta Toma).

Arata's bromance with Masaki is so cute... (Source)

Katsura Kotarō, in Gintama (2017)

Zura, I mean Katsura, and his pet Elizabeth (Gintama 2017)

This time, Masaki-kun paired up again with Oguri Shun. They were paired up as brothers in "Space Brothers" 2012 and I loved them there.

Zura, I mean, Katsura and Gintoki (Oguri Shun), source

Again, I haven't seen the Gintama movie (might not see it for another two years until someone subs it). However, the GIFs in Tumblr makes be believe that it would be very cool to see Masaki-kun playing Zura.



My own GIF, sourced from YouTube

If you are familiar with Okada Masaki's series/movies, he has played as a Kendo player in Otomen (2009). I have seen Otomen again a few nights ago. I have done a few months of Kendo in 2015 that I realised that Masaki's moves as Masamune Asuka were difficult to execute. You have to be very agile and very fast to execute them. Masaki-kun did well as Masamune. Then, in 2016, Masaki played against Ikuta Toma in Himitsu: Top Secret, and there's a kakkoi scene where Masaki's character practiced judo (original source from Kakumasaki). Masaki is tall, yet considerably thin. However, his judo moves were really good... (and his wet hair was yummy...).

I made the gif, but the original video is here (play it to hear Masaki yelling)

Zura's long hair...

Ahem, anyway, the point is that although Masaki is not on par with Sato Takeru in agility (there's a reason why Takeru was chosen to play as Kenshin), I trust that Masaki was able to portray the swordsman Zura, I mean, Katsura. Some available GIFs showed his very fast sword movements (I wonder if he also learned Iaido once?).

Some fans commented how interesting that Masaki played two very famous manga/anime characters (Katsura Kotarō and Nijimura Keichō), for the two characters are so different from each other. I agree with them. True that Zura had a penchant of delivering bombs to his opponents, but he was nowhere near the evilness of Keichō. The fact that Masaki was able to portray the two characters true to, well, their characters, makes me so proud of him!

By the way, this post gives a heavy spoilers of what happens in the movie. I am rather disappointed to read that Zura wasn't really well-used in the end, but I still want to see it... Plus, the movie has Elizabeth. Who doesn't love Elizabeth?!?!


Can I keep Elizabeth, please, Zura...? Onegaishimasu? Tanomu?

Kakushidate Yakusuke, in Okitegami Kyōko no Biboroku (2015)

I have no hesitation in labelling this simple series as the most enjoyable one
from Okada Masaki. After all, his chemistry with Aragaki Yui so sweet!

THIS series, I have seen! I saw it about two weeks ago. I fact, it was the start of my renewed love affair with Masaki-kun. Here, Masaki was paired up with Aragaki Yui who excellently played as Okitegami Kyōko, the forgetful detective whose memory reset as she sleeps or lose consciousness. Yakusuke loved Kyōko, but she hardly remembered who he was. Yakusuke himself is very self-conscious with his bad luck due to the lack of creativity from his parents (his name contains a character that means "bad luck").

The series was made stronger with the additional role of Oikawa Mitsuhiro as Kizunai Horo, Jinbo Satoshi as Shigenobu, and Kudo Shunsaku (as Detective Toasa). The end of the series was very sweet, for although Kyōko still didn't remember that she had experienced so many adventures with  Yakusuke-kun, the latter has decided to pursue his love anyway.

I think Aragaki Yui and Okada Masaki made a very sweet pairing here. I don't often find Masaki's co-star compatible with him. Yu Aoi (in Raiō) definitely made the cut, as well as Inōe Mao (I Give My First Love to You), as well as Mizukawa Asami in Aishiteru Kiruna. The chemistry between Masaki and Ayase Haruka in Himitsu no Akko-chan (2012) was entertaining, but I guess the fact that Akko was actually a little girl made the chemistry somewhat thwarted (but after Akko was grown up, the possibility opens again, hence I wrote this fan-fiction for Akko-Naoto).

Anyway, I'm SO looking forward for Okitegami Kyōko no Biboroku part 2, or at least an SP episode. I would say... Aragaki Yui's Kyōko is definitely compatible with Masaki's Yakusuke. Below is a cute clip of NGs during the making of the series. As per usual, Masaki's NGs are very cute...

See the part at 03:12 where he was trying to wake Kyōko up.

"Okitegami-san? Okite o-o-o-okay-okay-okite-okitegami-san!!!"

So funny! Classic Masaki tongue-twist!

Takeyama Jun in Fuben na Benriya 
(the Inconvenient Handyman, 2015)

You gotta give the series a try...

I watched Fuben na Benriya last year, but I didn't finish it because the story was weird. Masaki-kun played as Takeyama Jun, a screenwriter who just lost a movie project in Tokyo, and somehow ended up in a small town in Hokkaido. He tried to return to Tokyo, but the locals hid his mobile phone and backpack, such that he had no choice but staying in the little town for a while.

Anyway, last weekend I gave the series another chance. Boy I'm glad I did, for I laughed out loud while watching the episodes! Fuben na Benriya is a comedy which successfully wrote a character that did not undermine Masaki's talent. Unlike Legal High 2, Masaki's comedy did not feel forced or out of place. Masaki's penchant of being able to utter long sentences (albeit with NGs...) was used very well in Fuben na Benriya, particularly in supporting Jun's penchant of coming up with unbelievable stories.

Jun (Masaki) had a role-play with Batsu-san (Endo Kenichi) in white dress about a snow woman
(Ep 5). Jun had a white patch on his eyebrow cos his eyebrow was accidentally shaved off.

Also, Masaki's co-stars were veteran actors here, which I like because it shaped up his performance as well. You can always learn more from the veterans.

Update: I just checked the Guinness World Record website and it is true: the town of Akabira in Hokkaido broke the world record for snowmen built in an hour on 28 Feb 2015. The actors of Fuben na Benriya indeed participated in making the 2,036 snowmen!

Oh Masaki-kun, how amazing that was...

Yamada Haruhiko 山田春彦 in Chiisana Kyojin (2017)

Masaki-kun as Yamada Haruhiko in Chiisana Kyojin (Ep 6)

I haven't finished this series (literally translated as "Little Giants"), for it's not yet subtitled, hence following it is rather difficult. Masaki played as another detective, but unlike when he was at the Scientific Investigation Squad (as Inspector Yurine Tomohisa), this time Yamada Haruhiko was a serious detective at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. Yamada's name in Kanji is written like this: 山田春彦. Yamada means "the paddy field in the mountain", while Haruhiko means "the lad of spring time" (春 = haru = Spring, 彦 = lad, boy). Beautiful name, eh...

[update: I have finished the series and LOVE it! Click here for my summary]

I jumped to Ep 6 the first time a few nights ago just to see Masaki's Yamada dove in to rescue his colleague. Then just now I watched Ep 1 and Ep 2, and I find Yamada an interesting character. He used to be the second-in-command for Detective Kosaka Shinichiro (actor Hasegawa Hiroki). However, Kosaka was then demoted to a local police station. Yamada remained in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. In Ep 1-2, he was often at odds with Kosaka. I think Yamada just wanted to play by the book, though he might be snob as well for he was still with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. Later, Yamada questioned the morality of Chief Onoda (Kosaka's supervisor) at the end of Ep 1. However, for some reasons Yamada double-crossed Kosaka in a case in Ep 2. In Episode 6, Yamada was suspected of murder, and I wasn't sure how he got away with it, but he did. It seems Yamada later apologised to Kosaka for all the troubles, and since Ep 7, the two had started to work together for a case involving highly political figures.

Yamada in Ep 3

Because he's so beautiful when he scowls... (Ep 3)

I just keep watching you though I only understand the basic stuff... (Ep 3)

Yamada reminds me of Nijimura Keichō (Yep, I think I am besotted with Keichō...), but not the bad version. At least I hope Yamada isn't the bad apple here, although I don't know what will Yamada do in Ep 8-10.

Look! They even have the same hands-in-pockets habits! 

I love it that Masaki played a shaded character in Little Giants, for I want him to explore such characters as well. I like his performance in the JoJo's trailers as Keichō (I've said it so many times now), and I think Masaki playing Yamada brought out another interesting aspect of his talent. Masaki once played as a good guy-turning-bad-turning-good again in the Golden Piggy (Ogon no Buta). I like him there, he was so funny. But this time, as Yamada, Masaki makes me second guess himself every episode. Which is good.

Anyway, those series are but some series that Masaki had played since I stopped monitoring him after Taira no Kiyomori, Space Brothers and Akko-chan. Although some series/movies were standard (Kiyoku Yawaku was sweet, but that was it, Legal High 2 was not giving me high at all), I love it that Masaki had taken some projects that explored his larger spectrum of talent. Yes, Kakushidate Yakusuke seemed to be the usual air-headed character that Masaki played in comedic series, but Yakusuke was different in the sense that he was actually a desperate character trying to come to terms with life. Then there's Katsura Kotarō and (again) Nijimura Keichō. I also love it that Masaki took the role of Takeyama Jun. Superficially, the series was just a gag... but it actually was a very funny gag because you had to listen to the dialogs to really understand what the heck was going on in that town.

Oh, and I need to watch this series as well: 何者 (Nanimono). Even just to see Masaki-kun smoking... (he doesn't smoke in real life anyway, he's such a good boy...). Masaki paired up with, among others, Sato Takeru, so it should be fun!

I'm such a pervert... look at his thin moustache and lips... (source)

Total Eclipse 皆既食 (2014)

Masaki and Ikuse Katsuhisa-san in the "Brava" part (CMIIW) 

I place Total Eclipse at the end because it's not a TV series or a movie. Instead, Total Eclipse is an on-stage drama or production, or company. Masaki-kun performed on-stage! I'm so excited to find out about this. I want to see the full record of his stage performance, so if anyone can give me the link, I'd be so happy!

It seems Masaki played two characters. The first one was a dark-haired guy in a production called "Bunkamura". The other one is a blond guy (oh his hair was so adorable...) wearing 19th CE clothing in a production called "Brava!". I'm not sure actually that Masaki used a wig in Brava, for it looks like he just dyed his hair and made it curly-er...

Masaki in "Brava!"

Anyway, in "Brava!", Masaki played it with Mr Ikuse Katsuhisa (生瀬勝久), who I assume is a seasoned actor. Masaki played as Ikuse-san's son, and Ikuse-san liked Masaki's acting.

Isn't he cute?... isn't my boy so cute...?

Have a look at the snippets of the two productions here. I really want to see the rest of the drama... for watching Masaki on-stage brings a different, although still warm, feeling in me...

The first part of the Total Eclipse seemed to be played on 7-29 November 2014.

This one below, which seemed to be titled "Brava!", was played on 4-7 December 2014. The way the costume was so different from the first part made me think that it is indeed a different part of the whole production.

And this is the interview with Ikuse-san and Masaki-kun:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Ah, I just realised that Masaki also played in "Gogo Boys, Gogo Heaven", a stage play that totally deconstructed his image as a cute, nice boy. Let's see... he played as a bisexual I think here, for he had at least one relationship with a guy, and he also slept (or at least had a 50-shades of Grey thing) with a woman. I can't find the clip on YouTube (which might be good I guess, or I have to flag this post), but you can see the clip here. Thanks to Twitter User Seohaseurri22 for the link, for I had been looking for that link for a few days. I think Gogo Boys was played on 24 December... 2014 (??).

Update 23 Oct 2017

Now I'm confused if Total Eclipse is actually one production with a long storyline. Doramaworld reported that Kaikishoku (Total Eclipse) was to be played from 7-29 November 2014. Masaki portrayed Arthur Rimbaud, a mid 19th CE gay French poet.  FYI, in 1995, Leonardo DiCaprio actually played Rimbaud as well!

Now, I don't know if Rimbaud was also the blonde character Masaki played in the clip above, but if yes, then Rimbaud had at least two hairstyles then: one shoulder-length curly blonde and one short curly black.

I will post a link if I can find Masaki's record of playing Rimbaud. Here this website said that he was very excited in playing theatre, for he always wanted to do that.

My dear darling Masaki has expanded his portfolio... I'm choked with happiness...

End of Update 23 Oct 2017

Here's hoping that Masaki will take more challenging roles next year. He can do that, I have faith in him. I do wish that he would participate in the Sekigahara the movie, but he wasn't involved in that cool movie. I'm sure he could do justice in a Sekigahara-like movie. I hope he has the chance next time!

And I want him to do more stage plays. Theatre is a different beast to movies or TV series, and the fact that Masaki held ground in three stage productions is evidence of his acting maturity to me!

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