Lorenzo Ferro and Yutaro Discuss the True Crime Film ‘El Angel’ | MMN Interview
The 2018 Argentine-Spanish true crime film El Angel is set to hit theatres in Japan this year on August 16.
The movie is inspired by the real-life Argentine serial killer Carlos Robledo Puch. It was screened at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and was chosen for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards in the Argentine category. The film caught public attention and has enjoyed great success, and that’s in huge part thanks to Argentina actor Lorenzo Ferro, a newcomer who has made his acting debut with his role as Puch. He plays the character naturally and effortlessly, capturing the seemingly “pure” looks of Puch coupled with his evil intent, a killer who had free reigns to do whatever he needed to do to achieve his goal. The 60s-70s fashion that Ferro dons in the film is also a highlight worthy of note.
MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON spoke to Ferro who came to Japan to promote the film, and Yutaro, who is the same age as Ferro, and is a model that has recently become very busy in the acting world. We questioned them about them about the film, the character role, and fashion.
*Interview translated from Japanese.
──What are your thoughts after having seen El Angel, Yutaro?
Yutaro: This was actually my first time watching an Argentine movie. The first thing that piqued my interest was the unique sound of the language. With the story, when I heard that it was about a serial killer I thought it would be a pretty graphic portrayal, but it wasn’t. Even people who aren’t good with graphic and shocking kinds of films would be able to watch this.
──That kind of reasoning and moral compass [which the film depicts] makes you feel kind of uneasy, doesn’t it?
Yutaro: Obviously the things that the protagonist Carlos does is against the law and morally wicked, but he himself doesn’t believe any little thing he does is bad. He moves on instinct which in his mind is somehow acceptable, and that’s dangerous. Was it hard for you to create the character, Lorenzo?
Lorenzo: It really was tough. I hadn’t played a character until then, so the first thing I had to learn was just being in front of a camera. Playing the role came after. I had to become “friends” with the movie and “friends” with the camera. Those were the first things I needed to do to fulfill my commitment.
The whole shoot took around a month and a half, but prep time was half a year. During that time I practised playing piano and mastered riding a bike. It was a lot of work, but when I finally saw the completed movie, I felt it was definitely worth all the effort.
Yutaro: When you’re playing someone who is far from anything like yourself, prep time is really important, isn’t it? You have to gather material on the role and really use your imagination. I also make sure to properly communicate with the director before shoots. I ask about the film’s theme and intent. If our perceptions don’t match then it’s not going to hold up on screen.
Lorenzo: It’s definitely important to respect the director and communicate with them effectively. When we were filming, I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget to see the director as a friend. For instance, if the hierarchal relationship is overly strict and the director is the kind of person to look down on you and order you around, then you can’t build trust. I also think the best kind of relationship is when you can give your own opinion. Saying to them like, “That was no good, was it?” [laughs] “Why do I gotta do the same thing 40 times!?” You should be frank and express your doubts.
Yutaro: Speaking of that, it’s important to have trust with your fellow cast members too. I believe that even if you’re filming together, if you can’t build that trust, that subtle distance between you will be conveyed [in the scene]. You yourself have got to try and converse with them in a positive manner. Go out for a meal together before a shoot, talk together about your roles.
──You live your days laboriously, Yutaro, including as an actor. What does a time look like for you when things get particularly tough?
Yutaro: I’ve recently been doing a lot of shoots for multiple films at the same time. When that happens I find it very important to maintain retention so that I don’t forget my roles. In that sense, I also find that it’s important to look at how you spend your time outside of shoots when you’re working an acting job.
Lorenzo: Oh, yeah! Having spare time during shoots is a curse as an actor [laughs] Even if you fire yourself up―preparations are done, you’ve done your warmups, and you say, “Right, time to shoot!”―you have to start from zero again if you have time until the next shoot. That happens quite a lot.
──So you’re demanded to have self-discipline too. El Angel is set in 1970s Buenos Aires. The fashion and interior designs seen in the film really stood out.
Yutaro: For me personally the women’s clothes left an impression on me, particularly the one piece that Carlos’s mother wears. The clothes that Carlos wears in each scene too. They’re plain and simple but cool. I liked the leather jacket he wore when he went on a double date with his pal Ramón.
Lorenzo: Wow, you really took in at all the little details. The influence for Carlos and Ramón was drawn heavily from James Dean and Marlon Brando who were both popular actors at the time.
Yutaro: Oh, really?
Lorenzo: Like smoking cigarettes and wearing a leather jacket. We naturally had an amazing stylist who prepared our outfits for us. We were both also conscious of people like James Dean and Marlon Brando when we played Carlos and Ramón.
──What kind of clothes do you like, Lorenzo?
Lorenzo: I usually wear the kind of thing I have on now. I have a lot of rough-looking clothes. I really like fashion, my wardrobe is packed [laughs] The more clothes you have the harder it is to decide what to wear, so I really want to just wear the same t-shirt, pants and shoes all the time [laughs].
Yutaro: I looked at your Instagram, you wear t-shirts with Japanese games and anime characters on them, don’t you? You have a Super Mario one on today, and I saw a Pokémon one on your Instagram. I like how you venture to wear t-shirts of games that were popular a while back now.
Lorenzo: Really? Thanks, that makes me happy. The overalls you have on now are really cute, but I think that’s because it’s something that would suit you. If I wore something like that I’d probably look like a clown [laughs].
Yutaro: Do you have a criteria when picking out a character t-shirt?
Lorenzo: Well, I try not to wear t-shirts of franchises I don’t like, or games I haven’t played yet, or of bands I’ve never listened to before [laughs]. I’m wearing a Mario t-shirt today but there’s still much I don’t know about Japanese games or culture. I’m interested in many different cultures of many different countries, so I want to know more about Japan.
Yutaro: In that case, let’s go shopping together in Harajuku next time!
Writer: Takanori Kuroda
Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
©2018 CAPITAL INTELECTUAL S.A / UNDERGROUND PRODUCCIONES / EL DESEO
Release Date: August 16, 2019 (Japan)
Cinemas: Shibuya CINE QUINTO, Human Trust Cinema Yurakucho, Shinjuku Musashino-kan, and elsewhere across Japan
Director: Luis Ortega
Producers: Pedro Almodóvar, Agustin Almodóvar (Wild Tales, 2014)
Distributor: Gaga Corporation
Running Time: 115 Minutes
Japanese Subtitles: Rie Harada
Official Website: https://gaga.ne.jp/eiennibokunomono
©2018 CAPITAL INTELECTUAL S.A / UNDERGROUND PRODUCCIONES / EL DESEO
Yutaro was born in Hiroshima on June 3rd 1998. His modeling career has earned him lots of attention as a fashion icon of the new generation. The famous model also works as a “charisma” shop assistant. Yutaro has gained his reputation as a “mysterious and handsome guy” from his appearance on Japanese variety shows. His debut was made on the show “Gyoretsu no Dekiru Horitsu Sodanjo” and has since then appeared on numerous different TV shows. He challenged himself to appear on stage for the very first time in March this year and is gaining popularity by the day for his diverse work.
Tokyo Stroll: A relaxing date with Yutaro at Shibuya’s Cat Cafe MoCHA!
Our cute model Yutaro finally found some time in his busy schedule to go on a date with me! Today we’re heading to a spot where you can cure your fatigue after a long day at work. Our destination for today is a cat café! Today Yutaro took me out to Café MoCHA in Shibuya. This cat café is filled with many sofa seats, from which you can gaze at the scenery of Shibuya at nighttime.
This was my first time at this cat café, but Yutaro’s second time. Yutaro quickly proceeded as if he was very familiar with it. We ended up on the second floor of Cat Café MoCHA Shibuya. First, we spent time on the upper floor to meet the cats.
Cats, cats and more cats in so many different places – they were here, there and everywhere! Some stayed sprawled out on the swinging seats whilst some came to cosy up with the humans. This was a great opportunity to get to know them.
All of a sudden…
…When did Yutaro get those cat ears?! Did he do this to get into the cat café mood? With a bushy cat toy in one hand, he got closer to the cats. Notice Yutaro is wearing a sweater with a cat character on it in this photo! I wonder if he decided to wear this because of the cat café… anyhow, it’s so cute!
“I’ve got them all!”
I wonder if it’s Yutaro’s cat ears that attracted all the cats to gather around him? Yutaro waved the bushy cat toy about with one hand, triggering the playful cats. The sight of it healed my tired heart. ♡
Afterwards, we chilled with some cats on a sofa, purring. The sofa was a great spot to look over the beautiful nighttime scenery of Shibuya. It was very…romantic…
After our break, we went straight back to play mode! It was time to play with the cats!
The cats seemed to gradually get tired after all that playing and then it was back to relaxation mode. Why does this cat choose to sit right behind Yutaro?!
And here’s one sitting just like Yutaro!
Little by little, Yutaro and the cats became better friends.
Tokyo Stroll: An izakaya date with Yutaro at Sai in Shibuya
Shibuya―Tokyo’s central hub for youth culture and fashion trends. This commercial and business centre is one that never sleeps: it is always bustling with people enjoying themselves whether that be shopping with friends, going on dates with their special someone, and pretty much anything you can think of a young person doing in one of the most popular parts of a city like Tokyo.
This is where Yutaro-kun is taking me on our next long-awaited next date. It’s little more of a grown-up date than usual this time as we’re going to an izakaya. Yutaro-kun is crazy about umeshu, or “plum wine,” so he’s taking me to a place that stocks a wide variety of tasty drinks. This is our first time drinking together. My heart is pounding.
Our destination is Sai, an izakaya with private booths and charcoal fires for cooking yakitori. It’s a 5-minute walk from Shibuya Station’s Hachiko Exit. It’s on the third floor of the building directly in front of the Udagawa Kōban police station. The bar has around 100 varieties of umeshu as well as food and meals made using them. The wall is lined with wine bottles as far as the eye can see. I’m already getting excited.
The menu lists where each wine is produced by prefecture along with descriptions of each drink. I’m interested in trying the umeshu from the region I was born in, but there’s lots of other delicious sound ones too so I’m spoiled for choice.
“What shall we do? Want to compare different drinks?”
Yutaro-kun is quick to jump on board the idea. He’s so manly!
Umeshu Taste-Comparing Set (3 Drinks): ¥1,000
This taste-comparing set comes with three types of umeshu. It’s an ‘introductory-level’ set that rings true as all three varieties are very easy to drink and each of their flavours are completely different. The Akatan Umeshu produced in Nara Prefecture is made with unripened plums farmed from Nara. It has a refreshing taste and the flavour of the plums is very rich. The Kishu no Yuzu Umeshu from Wakayama is made with plums from Wakayama Prefecture and the fresh juice of yuzu fruits from Tokushima Prefecture. It’s sweet and sour with a refreshing flavour complemented by the citrus fruits. The Hotei Fuku Ume Nigori Umeshu from Osaka is made from highly valuable plum wine that has been aged over a long period of time. It’s mixed with plum jam and pieces of fresh plum to give it a sweet and thick texture.
As well as this introductory-level set there’s the mid-level set that focuses on shochu, an upper-level set with a wide variety of drinks, and an extra set that features fruit sake.
“Mm, this one’s delicious! It has a real citrus-y feel. Ah, but the Hotei Fuku is good too.”
Yutaro-kun looks like he’s really enjoying drinking and comparing the different varieties of umeshu.
My heart beats fast seeing his adult side drinking sake. Huh, am I drunk already?
Zeppin Caesar Salad: ¥780
The Caesar salad comes with a specially-made egg salad dressing made from soft-boiled eggs. It’s fun mixing the dressing. After mixing it enough we pour it over and tuck in!
“Do you eat tomatoes?”
I’m happy how considerate he is in portioning out the salad.
Seafood Carpaccio: ¥720
We both enjoy a carpaccio together made with fresh fish bought on the day and a jelly made with Kishu Akai Umeshu. Today’s fish ingredient was fatty salmon!
The amazing flavour of the salmon comes through the centre of the refreshing umeshu jelly.
Pork Spare Ribs: ¥820
Kishu Umeshu is this izakaya’s No. 1 recommendation. These spare ribs are cooked slowly in it, giving them a rich and intense flavour as well as a subtle sweetness.
They’re too delicious I could eat as many as they’d give me!
“So tender! So delicious! This is true happiness!”
Yutaro-kun never changes, he’s always so energetic when eating something tasty.
“Thank you for the meal.”
The umeshu and umeshu food was amazing, but what makes me happy more than anything is that I got to drink with Yutaro-kun. I wonder where our next date will take us?
Address: JOW Bldg. Floor 3F, 30-5 Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo
Official Website: https://izakayasai.owst.jp/
Tokyo Stroll Special: A cozy lunch date at home with Yutaro
Normally, Yutaro-kun takes us on a date to hot spots around town, but in this special edition we’re staying indoors. He’s planned a laid-back morning where he’ll wake up early and make us breakfast, and afterwards take us on a stroll around the area close to the house.
Since this is a special edition, there’ll be an interview with Yutaro-kun too. We spoke with him about his role in 3D Kanojo Real Girl and other things.
Today is a date at home. We made sure to arrive at the arranged time, but…
Are you still asleep? Are you awake?
It’s hard to tell, he still seems dozy.
First thing’s first, checking today’s weather on TV. Seems the weather will be nice today.
What kind of day will we have…?
After sleeping in until noon, it’s time for lunch. Yutaro-kun is making us Gaprao from scratch!
He changes out of his pajamas, puts on an apron and gets straight to cooking.
He slices up the vegetables and fries them. His technique shows that he’s definitely done this before. It’s nice to have a boyfriend that can cook♡
ーーDo you cook regularly, Yutaro-kun?
I cook when my older sister or friends come over. I made gyoza with my sister recently!
ーーWhat’s your speciality?
I’m not sure if you can call it a ‘speciality’ (laughs), but curry.
ーーWhat’s a dish you’d want your girlfriend to make you?
I like curry, so curry like this again!
Yutaro’s specially made Japanese style Gaprao is seasoned with mirin, shoyu and sauce!
Lunch is served! The dish has rice, minced meat and vegetables, all of which is topped with a sunny-side-up fried egg.
The seasoning is extremely delicious and was made short work of.
The fact that Yutaro is so good at cooking… does this make him the most perfect guy around?
After finishing food it’s time to laze around and read a magazine.
We check out lots of different magazines, ones on foreign culture, Japanese culture, and so on.
ーーWhat’s a place you want to visit most right now?
I like cold places, so if we’re talking Japan then Hokkaido. If overseas, then perhaps Finland.
ーーDo you have a recommended sightseeing spot?
Ura-Harajuku in Harajuku has a bunch of shops and there’s not that many people around so I go there a lot.
ーーWhat do you do most often on your days off?
I don’t really like staying at home so I might invite my friend to see a movie or go eat. I go and meet up with people I want to see.
We’ve lounged around at home plenty now, so it’s time to take a walk around the neighbourhood.
We take just a handbag with us and walk along at a steady pace. Going on a date just strolling around without any plans is absolute bliss.
We stopped by a nearby café and basked in the sun.
ーー3D Kanojo Real Girl comes out in September. How was filming for it?
It was very hot that day (laughs). But I got along really well with the cast and staff. For the first time in my life I really felt I experienced my adolescence.
ーーWhat role do you play?
A frank guy with cat ears. I appear from the start to the end and move around a lot, so I’d be happy if everyone looked out for me when they watch.
ーーFinally, what’s the highlight of the movie for you?
Each character is interesting. The characters are all unique in their own way, but somehow it all really comes together. The cast get along really well in this movie. I hope everybody looks forward to it.
That’s it for today’s date. It was fun going outside, but having an indoor date with Yutaro-kun and chatting was a fun time too.
You can find the details of the movie that Yutaro-kun will be in here. Be sure to check it out!
Actress Utano Aoi will star in the film Boku no Naka ni Saku Hanabi (The Fireworks That Blossom Within Me).
The film is directed by Yuto Shimizu, who won the Best J. Horror Award at the Japan Film Festival Los Angeles 2022 at the young age of 20 for The Soloist. Set in his hometown of Gifu Prefecture, he penned the screenplay after being inspired by his own life experiences. This marks his first feature film as a director.
After a painful incident, protagonist Minoru slowly begins to open up to his family and friends and gradually starts to accept his fear of death, deciding to live entirely in the present. The film focuses on the finite amount of time we have on this earth and Minoru’s knowing that even that nature around him will someday disappear, which is all the more reason to show love while you can. The heroine, Jyuri Mizuishi, is played by Utano Aoi.
Crowdfunding for the film is currently underway.
<Comment from Utano Aoi (Jyuri Mizuishi)>
“Strength and weakness, harshness and gentleness…we must juggle these extremes in order to learn how to live in the midst of unfathomable loneliness and despair. I hope to show all sides of Akari with subtlety. I want to feel the sights, smells, people, and emotions of the city. At the moment, I can already feel the power that the cast and crew are bringing to the filmmaking process. I’m also looking forward to the emotional location. I’m so excited. Please look forward to the film!”
Boku no Naka ni Saku Hanabi
Director/Screenwriter: Yuto Shimizu
Producer: Ken Ochiai
Starring: Iori Abe, Masaya Kato, Utano Aoi, Kokona Sumi, Nanako Sato
Planned Length: 100 min.
Genre: Youth/Family/Human Drama
Release: Theatrical Release/At Film Festivals in Japan and Abroad
On August 10, the apparel brand tiit tokyo released a short film titled ESCAPE starring model and talent Nagomi.
The film comes prior to tiit tokyo’s first solo pop-up shop at Shibuya PARCO, scheduled to open on August 24. The final scene of the film was filmed at Shibuya PARCO and features the location’s classic symbol–a neon ‘P.’
The story follows a woman who lives a strictly controlled life who, after witnessing an incredible scene, begins planning her escape and a new beginning. Nagomi plays the main character, a female vampire.
ESCAPE was written and directed by fashion event director and filmmaker Hajime Tsuda, who previously worked on the film Daughters. The creative director for tiit tokyo, Sho Iwata, served as fashion director.
ESCAPE (Part One)
*Part Two will be released on August 22
ESCAPE (tiit tokyo Short Movie)
Release Date: August 10, 2023 (Part One) / August 22 (Part Two)
Where to Watch: tiit tokyo’s Official Instagram / YouTube
Writer / Director: Hajime Tsuda
Fashion Director: Sho Iwata (tiit tokyo)
tiit tokyo Official Site
Sora Nomoto to Star in Upcoming Film ‘Fanfare’
27.July.2023 | MOVIE
Actress Sora Nomoto will star in the film Fanfare, set to premiere on November 17, 2023.
The film tells an emotionally-charged story as two women who have graduated from an idol group struggle to pursue new careers. Sora Nomoto will play the role of Rei Sudo, the former center of the idol group Fun☆Fare who left the group to pursue a career in fashion.
The film will be directed by Ryohei Yoshino, whose works include Spring Has Come (2015) and Eternally Younger Than Those Idiots(2021). The idol music, costumes, and choreography are all original to the film.
Crowdfunding is also underway to support the film’s nationwide release.
Release Date: November 17, 2023 at CINE QUINTO and other theaters nationwide
Starring: Kyoka Minakami, Sora Nomoto
Noa Kita, Karin Hashiguchi, Miyu Matsuzaki, Mimi Shirai, Nene Sotohara
Director/Screenwriter/Editor: Ryohei Yoshino
Marika and Rei were members of the idol group Fanfare, and after graduating from the group, the two went on to become choreographers and stylists. One day, Yuna, a current member of the group, asks the girls to design the costumes and choreography for her graduation concert. The opportunity appears suddenly, as the two yearn to grasp their own dreams. However, trouble soon arises as the two struggle to create what they envision and begin to dredge up painful past relationships. The film follows the girls as they face themselves and attempt to move forward, from the moment they begin the exciting project to the day of the concert.
Actress Haruhi Ito will star in the upcoming film Matatakimade, which will be screened at Ikebukuro’s cinema rosa for one week only starting August 5.
The film is the fourth from the independent film production company Rune Cinema and follows Kazoku Awase, which received record attendance in 2019 despite its late-night run at cinema rosa. The company’s film Arano no Hate won three awards at the Kadoma International Film Festival in 2020, including Best Film, while Tooi Raimei appeared at numerous domestic and international film festivals and won Best Director at the 2022 Asian Film Festival. Matatakimade tells the story of a family through the events that take place in a single room in an apartment.
Ito will play the role of Chiho Matsui, a childhood friend of the main character Ami Tokita, a popular novelist.
<Comment from Haruhi Ito (Chiho Matsui)>
“What is family? I’ve been thinking about that question since I read Matatakimade. Is it something ambiguous? Something solid, or corrupt, or something that’s warm and occasionally cold? I’ve thought about it so much, yet I haven’t found a complete answer. When you glimpse a family through a single telescope or a single book, I hope you’ll search for the answer too.”
Ami Tokita (Hitomi Maki), a popular novelist, is in the middle of dealing with a divorce settlement over custody of her only child, an elementary school student. One day, a mysterious man (Ryo Ikeda) appears at the apartment where she works, asking to rent a room for the night. Despite pushback from her editor, Reiko Iijima (Karin Nishina), Ami agrees to the man’s request out of curiosity. Strangely, the mysterious man intends to look through a telescope at the apartment building across the street. The next morning, Reiko casually peeks through the telescope left in her room, only to see a small child being abused. Ami’s best-selling novel, titled Snow, Moon and Flowers, tells the story of a young girl who was abused by her mother. Is what happened in the apartment across the street a coincidence? Or was it inevitable?
Release Date: August 5 – August 11 at cinema rosa in Ikebukuro (Late-night screenings)
Starring: Hitomi Maki, Ryo Ikeda, Karin Nishina, Yusuke Takahashi, Haruhi Ito, Yasuhiko Fujita, Harumi Shuhama
Writer/Director/Cinematographer: Tomofumi Hasegawa
Official Site: https://runecinema.com/matataki/
Report: Actors Reveal All at ‘Zenra Meshi’ Official Photobook Press Conference–“My Favorite Shot Is the Two of Us Taking a Bath Together”
On June 24, a special event was held at HMV&BOOKS SHIBUYA to celebrate the release of the official Zenra Meshi photobook. The popular drama series, currently airing on Kansai TV, stars Yutaro and Shori Kondo, who both took the stage for a press conference prior to the start of the event.
The book includes over 30 pages of gravure photos of Yutaro (Miki Mahiro) and Shori Kondo (Futa Ichijo). Also included are 20 pages of solo photos of Futa wearing a suit and posing in front of a beautiful night scene and Miki wearing a hoodie in a restaurant that smells of spices. Both shoots were intended to look as though a lover snapped the images. The photobook also includes Mizuchi’s Recipe Notebook, highlighting recipes from around the world with comments by popular cookbook author Yummy. Fans can also enjoy plenty of interviews with the cast and crew along with behind-the-scenes filming and production details.
――What were your thoughts when you first held the photobook in your hands?
Kondo: “To be honest, I didn’t expect these images to be released in photobook form. I was surprised but happy.”
Yutaro: “During filming, the producer and I chatted a ton about how we wanted to create this. We took so many pictures of each other, but I didn’t expect doing that to take an entire day, and I didn’t expect to see interviews with the director and producer included too. When I first saw the book, I felt nostalgic…a little warm and fuzzy too.”
Kondo: “I didn’t know you wanted to do this from the beginning. (Laugh)”
――Tell us some of your favorite moments from shooting or the setups you like most!
Kondo: “I have some good memories of the swan boat race. Even though the two of us were in a swan boat, the photographer was shooting from a canoe. It was a ton of fun–we’d try to paddle away from him and things like that. There was this playfulness that I really love.”
Yutaro: “We had our first photo shoot at Ueno Park, and we did so much–had a picnic and ate together, played badminton, just had fun. I used Shori-kun’s legs as a pillow, which was so boyfriend-like. Finally being able to see what those shots looked like in the photobook made me smile. Obviously, I couldn’t see them during the shoot itself.”
Kondo: “We were pretty awful at badminton, weren’t we?”
Yutaro: “That’s why there are only three shots of it. (Laugh)”
――Which is your favorite shot of each other?
Kondo: (Immediately) “I have one! The one with the toothbrush…”
Yutaro: “Oh, totally!”
Kondo: “Yutaro was wearing glasses and PJs, brushing his teeth, right? It looks like a candid shot, like it was just shot at home. I love it.”
Yutaro: “Mine would be the shot of the two of us taking a bath together. Even though it’s my favorite, it doesn’t have a huge presence in the book, and it wasn’t even planned too far in advance. We were asked to come in and take that picture together at the last minute.”
Kondo: “We took it while I was asking if we could get in the tub in our PJs. (Laugh)”
Yutaro: “I just love that picture. We look so cute.”
――What does Zenra Meshi mean to the two of you today?
Kondo: “It’s my first drama and my first acting role, so it’s something that will stick with me for a long time.”
Yutaro: “I’ve done more drama work than Shori-kun, and compared to those, this series allowed the two of us to spend so much time together. Even after shooting ended, we’d meet up for dinner and chat about all the people we worked with and how much we missed each other. We really care about each other and that’s why this project worked so well. I don’t usually watch the drama series I star in, but I am watching Zenra Meshi on TVer, so I think that’s subconsciously causing me to become a fanboy.”
Kondo: “I watched the first episode so many times I lost count. I couldn’t believe it was me on the screen. I was so incredibly happy. I watched the video sent to me, then I watched it on TVer, then I watched it on Hulu!”
Yutaro: “You watched it live at your parent’s house too.”
Kondo: “Yeah. I watched a video of myself eating dinner naked with my mom. (Laugh) I told her that it would be too embarrassing to watch with her, but she called me and told me to come home. (Laugh) I was in Osaka at the time, and she told me that we’d never get another opportunity like this again. It was my first drama series, so we needed to watch it together. I got home, woke her up, and we watched it together. (Laugh)”
――Do you feel like the response to the series has been positive after 11 episodes?
Kondo: “So many people I know have been watching, including my friends back in Osaka and my old teachers. They’ve reached out to me to let me know! I mean, people I haven’t heard from in years have told me that they’re tuning in. I’m realizing how great it is to have media available in so many ways.”
――Yutaro-san, you mentioned that you’re watching the show on TVer. How is the response on social media in real-time?
Yutaro: “The show is available to watch around the world, and I’ve found out that it’s popular in Brazil. If you look at the show’s Instagram page, you’ll find people from other countries summarizing the series for those who can’t tune in and who have trouble understanding. I’m so glad that we were able to share this series with fans around the globe because they send so much love on social media.
――Do either of you want to do a sequel in the future? Maybe Season 2 or a movie?
Yutaro: “I feel like a movie would be good, right?”
Kondo: “I was talking to some of the higher-up staff behind the scenes, and a bunch of them were talking about heading to Okinawa. (Laugh)”
Yutaro: “Why Okinawa though? (Laugh)”
Kondo: “No idea, they just said they wanted to go. (Laugh)”
Yutaro: “Would this be set years later or something? (Laugh) That sounds like fan service! We were close, even if it was just for two months.”
Kondo: “We shot in specific places and all of the actors and staff members ate together, so we still hang out like we’ve been friends forever.”
Yutaro: “It looks like we’re doing a barbeque soon. I’ll have to tell everyone to come.”
――Fans would love to see the two of you having a barbeque together.
Kondo: “Well, maybe if there’s a Season 2…I’m not sure how that would work though.”
Yutaro: “Since it’s an original series, we could really put the characters into any situation.”
Kondo: “I think my character would get angry again. (Laugh) Basically, I’m the source of all the trouble, so I’m sure I’d get carried away…(Laugh)”
――If there is a sequel, do you think it would be difficult to stay naked?
Kondo: “I think so. I’ve become much bigger than when we first started filming. I was so skinny then, but it was what it was. I have a little more muscle and a better overall body now. (Laugh)”
――We’re looking forward to hopefully seeing that in the future.
Kondo: “Oh, I’ll always take it all off. (Laugh)”
――Do you have a message to the fans ahead of the final episode?
Kondo: “It seemed like everything would be tied up in Episode 11 and that a happy ending was on the way, but things suddenly got muddled. Since everything will wrap up in Episode 12, I think fans have a lot of action to look forward to. I really love the last scene, and I can’t wait for people to see it. It’s so sweet.”
Yutaro: “The series has everything–gourmet flavors, human drama, romance. Each time I see the bittersweet feelings the two main characters share, I feel a little impatient, sad, and frustrated. Even though I know how it ends, I want to watch it at the same time as everyone else. I’ve been watching every episode on TVer, and there were so moments when I wondered how we filmed certain scenes. I was happy to be able to watch them at the same time as the fans so that I could really hear their honest feedback. The ending is filled with hope for the future, and I hope that everyone will tune in to see how things work out for our protagonists. Even though it’s fictitious, the photobook shows how the two live their daily life together, so I hope you’ll enjoy it while you watch the show.”
Kondo: “If you check out what people are saying on social media, they always say that Ichijo is mad all the time. At least, up until Episode 10. In Episode 11, he finally takes a proper step forward, and we see how much he’s grown since meeting Mahiro. I feel like I also grew as an actor. I’m happy that I met Mahiro, and I hope that the fans feel that way too.”
Zenra Meshi Official Photobook -Our Recipes Start Here-
Release Date: June 23, 2023
Publisher: Tokyo News
Yutaro to Star in TV Tokyo Drama Adaptation of ‘Nare no Hate no Bokura’
15.June.2023 | MOVIE
Yutaro will star in the TV Tokyo drama series Nare no Hate no Bokura, scheduled to air starting June 27.
The series is based on Yae Utsumi’s manga series, serialized in Weekly Shonen Magazine and available digitally by Magazine Pocket. A group of classmates gather for an elementary school reunion, but what happens isn’t so heartwarming–over a 52-hour period of confinement, the suspenseful series shows what humans will do when trapped in extreme conditions.
Yutaro plays Kohei Tachibana, a young man called the ‘Chairman’ by his classmates. A dependable leader, he also has a dangerous side after being raised with impossible expectations.
<Comment from Yutaro (Kohei Tachibana)>
“I’m Yutaro, and I play Kohei Tachibana, also known as the ‘Chairman.’ The original manga was just so interesting and so shocking–I was really looking forward to seeing how it would translate to the small screen. I remember being so excited that I couldn’t stop flipping through the pages. As we work on the final pieces and hope for rave reviews, please pray for Tachibana’s life as he hopes to maintain his relationships with his dear friends. Look forward to the first shocking episode on June 27!”
A repulsive experiment to test the “goodness” within people–
Nezu and 23 other former sixth-grade students from class 2 gathered at their alma mater for a reunion only to be held captive for three days, resulting in the deaths of 13 people. The culprit was Mikio Yumezaki (Inukai Atsuhiro), a former classmate. His goal? To test the bounds of human goodness in such an extreme and life-threatening situation. Who would betray who? Who would kill who? What would people do when faced with such difficult decisions? Revenge, bullying, betrayal, shocking revelations–you won’t want to miss this suspenseful series!
Nare no Hate no Bokura
Airing: Tuesday nights at 24:30 starting June 27
TV Tokyo / TV Aichi / TV Setouchi / TV Hokkaido / TVQ Kyushu Broadcasting / BS TV Tokyo / BS TV Tokyo 4K: Airing Monday nights from 24:30~24:59 starting July 3
*The first episode on July 3 will run from 24:59~25:28
Streaming: Unlimited viewing on U-NEXT / Past episodes will stream with ads on TV TOKYO’s website (TVer)
Original Work: Nare no Hate no Bokura – Yae Utsumi (Weekly Shonen Magazine KC)
©Nare no Hate no Bokura Production Committee ©Yae Utsumi / Kodansha
Drama Series Zenra Meshi, Starring Yutaro, to Get Official Photo Book in June
The Kansai Television drama Zenra Meshi, starring Yutaro, is getting an official photobook release on June 23, 2023 titled Zenra Meshi Official Photobook -Our Recipes Start Here-.
The unusual romantic comedy follows an elite businessman hiding an incredible secret–he loves to eat naked to relieve his stress. One day, this habit is revealed, and Ichijo finds himself quickly falling in love.
The official photobook will include over 30 pages of gravure photos of Yutaro (Miki Mahiro) and Shori Kondo (Futa Ichijo). Set as an epilogue taking place after the main story shown in the series, Futa and Miki can be seen enjoying a picnic date with a handmade bento and spending cozy time together in PJs at home.
Also included are 20 pages of solo photos of Futa wearing a suit and posing in front of a beautiful night scene and Miki wearing a hoodie in a restaurant that smells of spices. Both shoots were intended to look as though a lover snapped the images. The photobook also includes Mizuchi’s Recipe Notebook, highlighting recipes from around the world with comments by popular cookbook author Yummy. Fans can also look forward to plenty of interviews with the cast and crew along with behind-the-scenes filming and production details.
Zenra Meshi Official Photobook -Our Recipes Start Here-
Release Date: June 23, 2023
Publisher: Tokyo News
*The book may be released on a different date depending on the area.
Amazon: Limited Edition Cover
We! Premium Limited Store: Photo (Shori Kondo)
Seven Net Shopping: Autographed Photobook (Shori Kondo or Yutaro)
*The start date and time for orders may vary depending on the store. Check each company’s website for details.
*Purchase bonuses and limited-edition copies are available while supplies last.
*Additional retailers and special offers may be added in the future.
*Availability will vary by store. Please check with each location for details.
Official Photobook Release Event
Date: June 24, 2023
More details will be released later in TOKYO NEWS magazine&mook (https://zasshi.tv/)
Gai Ueno to Star in Upcoming Film ‘Sensei! Kuchisake-onna desu!’
12.May.2023 | MOVIE
On July 7, the film Sensei! Kuchisake-onna desu!, starring Gai Ueno, will open in theaters.
The coming-of-age battle and horror film focuses on the unlikely relationship between an urban legend and a group of high school punks. After three punks steal a motorcycle, they realize that the owner of the bike is none other than a Kuchisake-onna–in Japanese folklore, this is an evil woman with her mouth slit from ear to ear. Gai Ueno plays the role of F1, a member of the high school gang and a hotwiring genius.
<Comment from Gai Ueno (F1)>
“I’m Gai Ueno, and I play the role of F1. Sensei! Kuchisake-onna desu! is truly a film that I want everyone to see. The characters are somehow cute and you’ll immediately love them–I’m confident that this is the cutest-ever Japanese film focused on high school delinquents. Even now, I wonder if I can personally get fired up and serious about the smallest things. Working on this movie reminded me to have the power to believe in myself. Please enjoy the movie and take the time to think back to your high school days! I’ll be waiting for you at the theater.”
<Comment from Director Yuu Nakamoto>
“I guess it’s been about 10 years since I lived in Hiroshima, where I grew up. I’m really interested in motorcycles, and one day, I was just mindlessly driving along the country roads at night. Then, from the other side of the road, I heard a noise…and suddenly, there was a woman wearing a mask walking nearby. I had this intuition…I thought “she’s not from this world,” and in that moment, I lost consciousness. Before I knew it, I was here, directing this film. Hmm…strange, isn’t it?”
High school students Takeshi (Taisei Kido) and F1 (Gai Ueno) work part-time stealing motorcycles and selling them to a gang of delinquents for cash. One day, Ayaka (Reina Kurosaki) decides to join after transferring to the boy’s school, and business booms. While trying to steal a bike parked at a deserted apartment, the group is discovered by a masked woman who seems to be the motorcycle’s owner. In a panic, Takeshi and his friends rush to escape but are quickly overtaken by the woman, who seems to have unbelievable physical abilities far beyond any other human. This woman running 100 meters in 6 seconds is actually the Kuchisake-onna, her mouth slit from ear to ear! What will happen to the group of high schoolers?! And just who is this Kuchisaka-onna?!
Sensei! Kuchisake-onna desu!
Release Date: July 7, 2023 nationwide
Starring: Taisei Kido, Reina Kurosaki, Gai Ueno, Ririka, Masanari Wada/Naomasa Musaka, Shigeo Osako, Hiroko Yashiki, etc.
Director/Screenwriter/Editor: Yuu Nakamoto (Shiryou Gundan Ikari no DIY, Fukuyama Shichou ni Ichinichi Micchakushitemita)
Official Site: https://kuchisake-onna.jp/
Licaxxx, Yutaro Appear in Ad for Mandom’s ‘Gatsby’ Brand
01.May.2023 | FASHION
A total of nine cast members from all areas of the entertainment world appear in the ad, from voice actors and video creators to idols and DJs. The video features the song Kororon by the popular artist Eve.
Be sure to check out the ad for a glimpse into the Meta Rubber lineup, which aims to transcend standard hair styling techniques.
kemio (Video Creator)
Mizuho Habu (Artist, Sakurazaka46)
Keito Kimura (Performer, FANTASTICS)
Subaru Kimura (Voice Actor)
Yamato Inoue (Model/DJ)
Shuichiro (Video Creator)
Tensei Saito (Model/Younger Song Director)
Yutaro to Appear in Original Drama During the Recitation Play ‘Shitaitoka, Shitakunaitoka no Hanashi Janai’
18.April.2023 | MOVIE
The recitation play Shitaitoka, Shitakunaitoka no Hanashi Janai (It’s Not About Whether or Not I Want To) will be performed at the Haiyuza Theater in Tokyo starting on April 20. Yutaro will appear in the drama that will be shown as part of the production.
The recitation tells the story of a sexless couple and raises pertinent questions about the state of married couples and child-rearing today. AOI Pro., which has produced many theatrical films and TV dramas including the film Shoplifters and the drama series silent, planned and produced this performance.
For the stage production, the recitation will be staged with full-scale video footage from the play. It tells the story of Takashi, an unsuccessful screenwriter and husband, who was dumped by his lover. After his wife, Kyoko wins an award for excellence in a screenwriting contest she entered without her husband’s knowledge, she tries to break free from her conventional life of housework and childcare into a new world. The original drama shown during the performance will detail Takashi and Kyoko’s life when they were young and their first meeting before later becoming husband and wife.
The drama was produced exclusively for the performance by Izuru Kumasaka, the director of Pretenders and other popular films. Yutaro will play the role of Takashi.
<Comment from Yutaro>
“This story is both sweet and bittersweet. It tells the tale of two young people who, I think, should be adults by now, but they can’t seem to grow up.
I had never met Seira Hayakawa before this, but I’ve gotten to know her so well through this role. I hope you’ll enjoy the realistic struggles of two people through this reading!”
<Comment from Director Izuru Kumasaka>
“There’s a specific shot used in the play that Yutaro filmed with his smartphone. He managed to get a lot of great expressions out of Ms. Hayakawa, saying things like “the camera’s rolling,” and “the mic was in the shot, so is it okay if I resize the footage a bit?” It was a really novel experience. The last shot of the last day of filming was also done by him. The two of them really gave it their all until the end. There’s a scene where Hayakawa has to confess that she’s carrying her husband’s child, and it was so incredibly convincing despite how young she is. I was shaken. Please come to the theater to see their performance.”
<Comment from Producer Yusuke Kurozawa>
“Since we’re a video production company, we had to look at this theatrical performance in a unique way. We incorporated a lot of visual effects even though it’s largely a recitation. On stage, you see a fast-paced conversation between a couple on the verge of separation, but on the screen, you see them when they first met–when they were in love. You see how happy they were, and you wonder how their relationship became so incredibly warped. I was thrilled to work with Izuru Kumasaka on location in Chigasaki, since I’m a huge fan of Southern All Stars and Chigasaki Story – My Little Hometown, which he directed. I hope you’ll come to the theater to experience this blend of recitation and drama!
Shitaitoka, Shitakunaitoka no Hanashi Janai (It’s Not About Whether or Not I Want To)
Venue: Haiyuza Theater (Tokyo)
Original Work/Screenwriter: Shin Adachi (Shitakunaitoka no Hanashi Janai) (Futabasha Publishing)
4/20, 19:00 / Ryoko Shinohara x Hirofumi Araki
4/21, 19:00 / Ryoko Shinohara x Hirofumi Araki
4/22, 15:00 / Hitomi Sato x Shigenori Yamazaki
4/22, 19:00 / Hitomi Sato x Shigenori Yamazaki
4/23, 15:00 / Ryoko Shinohara x Shigenori Yamazaki
Drama Cast during the play:
Seira Hayakawa (Nogizaka46), Yutaro
It’s spring 2020, and the pandemic is the talk of the town. Once a successful film director, Takashi has since had bomb after bomb. His wife Kyoko finally gives him the boot after entering and winning a screenwriting contest without his knowledge, eager to break free from housework and childcare for a new life. One night, while Kyoko is busy revising a script that has been chosen to be dramatized, she receives a LINE message from Takashi, who has gone to pick up their child from preschool. “I wanna do it tonight. It’s been a while…” Though the message is brief, it starts something in their marriage, which is filled with compromises and self-restraint. A husband who wants to do it and a wife who doesn’t–is sex essential for a couple to have a good relationship? As they mercilessly confront each other, they realize their true feelings for the first time…This is a story of a clumsy couple who rethink their lives and the state of their marriage in the wake of their sexless relationship.
Official Site: https://aoistage.com/shitaitoka/
Yutaro will appear in the new Kansai TV drama series Zenra Meshi. The series is scheduled to begin airing this April during the EDGE time slot.
The romantic comedy follows the protagonist Ichijo, a professional man hiding an incredible secret–he loves to eat naked. One day, this habit is revealed, and Ichijo finds himself quickly falling in love. Yutaro will play the role of Miki Mahiro, a young man who runs a fruit and vegetable store in Ichijo’s hometown.
One highlight of the show is the number of tasty-looking dishes supervised by Yummy, a cooking expert who has gained incredible popularity for sharing simple recipes that anyone can make. The dishes that Ichijo and Mahiro prepare using foreign spices are especially noteworthy, and viewers will definitely want to recreate them at home.
<Comment from Yutaro>
“My name is Yutaro and I play the role of Miki Mahiro.
When I first heard the name of the series, I was so confused. I’d be naked? And eating? I thought I’d need to strip, but I was told that my character didn’t need to. I was so relieved…
My character is a young man who runs a fruit and vegetable store and likes to cook, so I tried to cook for myself as much as I could after being cast. Be sure to look forward to the cooking scenes–I did all of it myself!
I’ve previously worked with Shori Kondo, who plays Ichijo, so we already had a good relationship. So, there were some scenes where we get pretty close to each other, but it wasn’t stressful at all. Everything went smoothly from day one. The staff has been amazing–everyone has been fun to work with, and even during darker scenes, everyone starts laughing as soon as the director yells “cut!”
Even though this is a romantic comedy, there are sad scenes scattered throughout that will make your heart ache, and I think it will touch a lot of people’s hearts. Please look forward to it!”
Zenra Meshi (Drama Series)
Premieres April 13, 2023
Airing Thursdays during the EDGE slot from 0:25~0:55 (Kansai Local)
*Episode 1 will air from 0:40~1:10
Streaming on Kantele Douga・TVer
Starring: Shori Kondo, Yutaro, etc.
Script: Tomomi Ookubo, Ryo Kawasaki, Yoriko Kodama
Directors: Misato Kato, Ayaka Kato, Ryo Kawasaki
Producers: Yoko Toyofuku, Keiko Nakayama
Made in Collaboration with FCC
Written in Collaboration with Kansai Telecasting Corporation
<Episode 1 Synopsis>
Futa Ichijo (Shori Kondo) is an elite salaryman working for the Financial Services Agency. A “perfect” man both in appearance and work performance, he has a secret hobby that he can’t tell anyone about…
After an exhausting day at work, he comes home to his empty apartment, taking off his suit and his underwear, and eats a meal in the nude. Ah, what freedom! These stress-relieving nude meals would always be his secret.
One day, Ichijo receives a letter from his deceased grandmother–the letter had been sent before her death. Enclosed was the key to her house, and one day, after working overtime until the early morning hours, Ichijo is led to his grandmother’s house. After falling asleep, an unfamiliar man comes in through the front door! Fighting back against the intruder, sure it was a thief, it turns out to be Miki Mahiro, a friend of Ichijo’s grandmother. Mahiro owns a produce stand and spent time teaching the woman how to cook before she passed away.
Unique foreign spices and recipe notes were left in the house, and feeling hungry, Ichijo attempts to cook one of the dishes. Stripping naked before digging in, his secret is revealed as Mahiro appears!
Yutaro will appear in the upcoming stage production of How Many Sins are There, written, directed, and performed by Shigeyuki Totsugi. The play will begin in April 2023.
5D2-FIVE DIMENSIONS is a solo project by members of TEAM NACS, giving each member space to express themselves. This play will be Shigeyuki Totsugi’s first new work in nearly four years.
Yutaro will play the role of Raido Beppu, a transgender inmate on death row who is interviewed by the reporter protagonist.
<Comment from Shigeyuki Totsugi>
“Four whole years have passed since my last solo project, MONSTER MATES. I’m incredibly happy to finally be able to return to my professional solo career in this big way.
Moreover, as with previous performances, I’ve assembled the best possible cast. We’re all grateful for this opportunity and we’re determined to bring audiences the best possible performance. Please look forward to it!”
TEAM NACS Solo Project 5D2 -FIVE DIMENSIONS II-
Ikutsu no Daizai ～How many sins are there?～
Kenta Suga, Fumika Baba
Tomoya Maeno, Yutaro, Noritaka Hamao, Tsukasa Kuroiwa, Kazuki Namioka
Created and Directed by Shigeyuki Totsugi
Venue: EX THEATER ROPPONGI
Running: April 15 – April 23, 2023
Venue: Morinomiya Piloti Hall
Running: April 28 – April 30, 2023
Venue: Kanamoto Hall
Running: May 5 – May 7, 2023
Admission: ¥8,500 (Tax Included, all seats reserved)
General Sales: Lawson Ticket, March 18, 2023 at 10:00~
*General tickets for these performances will only be available for purchase at the Lawson Ticket website.
Gossip magazine reporter Karasumi Ootani (Kenta Suga) is assigned a feature-length piece on death row inmates by his editor-in-chief Hitomi Kanzaki (Fumika Baba).
The content of the piece is simple and terrifying: “Convicted Killers Brainstorming the Perfect Murder.”
The death row inmates to be interviewed include the dancer Tony Ogura (Tomoya Maeno), transgender inmate Raido Beppu (Yutaro), fisherman and gambling addict Idoharu Donguri (Noritaka Hamao), entertainment manager Rousuke Arisu (Tsukasa Kuroiwa), self-proclaimed musician Ichirou Enbi (Kazuki Namioka), and college professor Tobiemon Urasu (Shigeyuki Totsugi).
During the lengthy–and sometimes bumpy–interview process, the prisoners begin to mysteriously die one by one.
As the condemned prisoners become increasingly troubled as they face execution, they finally discover why they were brought together. An unpredictable ending awaits…