I think I'm becoming obsessed with this drama - it's only the first episode and yet I have so many thoughts about it
: like people here have said, it's true, beyond changing her hair and clothes, Ueno Juri has this strange, even creepy way of going on morning news programmes or variety shows 'in character'. In the days of Nodame she would be all cutesy and in a world of her own: remember how she accidentally peeked at the answer in a Waratte iitomo
game? I watched the Spring special the other day, and Nakai was rapping her for acting like a 'yankee' (juvenile delinquent). On the other hand Nagasawa Masami seems to be basically the same person no matter what role she's playing at the moment. This is true even with her darkest characters, like the girl who's dying of leukemia in Sekachuu
or the wrist-cutting girl in Yasashii Jikan
(which is a very, very good show, by the way). There's a just sunny side to her that penetrates through the gloom.
Maybe Ueno Juri just takes the marketing side to her job more seriously than Nagasawa or most of her fellow actors, who don't 'carry' their characters off the set and don't feel the need to. It could also just mean that Ueno Juri is inherently a more flexible actor and is less hamstrung than Nagasawa Masami by how people react to things like her cutesy voice and, let's put it this way, certain parts of her body. But perhaps they are just examples of two different types of performers. Ueno is the sort who actualizes or affirms different parts of her own character by taking on those of the roles she plays, while most actors (usually the lesser talented, but not always) choose and adapt roles to suit their very dominant original personality. In Hollywood terms, it is the difference between Daniel Day-Lewis and Jack Nicholson.
As far as I can tell, both Ueno and Nagasawa are very serious and hardworking actors - they just do things and express themselves differently. I know people have very
different opinions on, say, whether Kimura Takuya is an excellent and versatile actor, or he basically just plays himself. Nagasawa Masami is kind of like that too - a polarizing figure in terms of her 'true' acting skills. No one will call her a terrible actor the way you would call, say, Fukada Kyoko, one. (I know I'm always picking on her, but she is an obvious example.) And yet Nagasawa is not known as the "great actor"-type of actor. Yet?
Another thing. Yamazaki Shigenori
is slated to be the fifth roommate, as you can see from photos in the first episode. He gets his own mug and all that. But it's not clear at this point how big a part he will play in subsequent events, especially the bad ones.
I say we should show the guy some love. He debuted in 2002's Tentai Kansoku
(Searchin' for My Polestar) as part of that 8-member all-star high-wattage cast (with Ito Hideaki, Sakaguchi Kenji, Odagiri Joe, Koyuki, Konishi Manami, Tabata Tomoko and Hasegawa Kyoko). His career has sort of stayed flat since then. I also remember him as the trainee doctor with an inferiority complex that backstabbed Dr. Kotoh but later came to regret it. Coming after his blink-and-you'll-miss-him role as the emcee of that never-ending wedding reception in Proposal Daisakusen
, I hope he gets a chance to regain some dignity as an actor and play a role of some significance. For all we know, he could also be deeply involved in what's to come.
P.S. I suppose the "other show" joeboygo
was talking about was Prodai?