If one actor can make it in Hollywood, not just small filler roles but becoming big, it is Yamada Takayuki. SCREEN PRESENCE, he may not be considered as good looking to some, but the charisma of this dude is overflowing. There is no other Asian actor that gave me this feeling, he is a freaking scene stealer in every production he is in. CHAMELEON, he is gifted with this face that can look different, with a beard, without a beard, long hair, with glasses, whatever, but not just by looks but this guy's range is so wide that even a dozen untalented idols won't fit. He is the most versatile actor in japan today, he can play any given role to him, from otaku, killer, sexual offender, journalist, hopeless romantic, stupid RPG character, cocaine dealer, gangster. If I would compare Yamada Takayuki to a Hollywood actor then I would say he is the combination between Johnny Depp and Daniel Bruhl and that says it all.
The journey of Yamada Takayuki as an actor is so weird that he starts from being a heartthrob wallflower actor to crybaby actor, to a serious versatile actor of today, and doing dramas mold him into that path. He has done 24 dramas so far, but I will talk about dramas that I think worth mentioning or dramas that shown his talent as an actor.
The series that produced talents like him, Tsubamuki, Moriyama and Eita. Highly recommended drama with friendship as a theme with only 1 goal which is to perform synchronized swimming together, and yes you heard it right boys synchro swimming ONLY IN JAPAN.
This may look like a joke to you, but trust me there is a drama here and you might get emotional cause these guys are so passionate. That is the thing about Japanese drama, even the most absurd plot has a moment to touch your heart. Also, who would have thought that Yamada, Eita and Moriyama would become actors that they are now
It has already been years since that "Pure love style" era, and Sekachu is the first drama I reckon during that time. Sekai no Chuushin de, Ai wo Sakebu is perhaps one of the longest title ever, but don't let this cheesy title fool you, cause this IMO is the saddest drama I have ever seen in my 24 yrs of life, yes IMHO sadder than 1 Litre of Tears. Unlike other tearjerker dramas, Sekachu focuses more on the nostalgia and not the actual death, it narrates the story from a guy's perspective, so it hit me pretty hard, I'm not exaggerating If I say this drama had made me depressed for months. Superb story, fantastic cinematography, haunting music, realistic acting. This dorama had established Yamada as one of the best dramatic actors on that day.
Yamada as Saku is phenomenal, once I saw him in this drama, I knew that he is going to become big in the future, his acting is very real, he was able to show raw emotions perfectly. In this scene for example (see pic above), as he encounters his first love. Some force dragged his feet towards Aki, as Aki delivers her speech for their dead teacher, and that force I assume is what we called destiny. Powerful scene perhaps my favorite scene in my years of watching Japanese drama.
Actually, I do not want to post this because I am never been fond of kissing in any drama, but I must admit this one got me, and it happens at a moment you would not expect. This drama was shown during Yamada's heartthrob days, with his co-star Satomi Ishihara who is in my opinion, has the best chemistry with him, and yes over Ayase Haruka. Great drama not just for the romance but this has to be one of the best sports drama ever, btw this drama is based on a manga of the same name.
As a fan of the manga, I can say that Yamada was able to play Kunimi Hiro as I imagine him in real life. He was able to capture the mannerisms of the character, and he looks like a real pitcher on the mound.
A nice romance drama but such a waste, cause both leads do not share the same wavelength, they don't have chemistry, but nonetheless the best pairing in terms of acting talent ever. This dramas theme as cliche as it sound is "never give up", Kaoru is always being supported by his friends to achieve her dream. Although I didn't like this drama, but I kinda liked their friendship, so I stuck with this and finished it. I forgot to mention that this drama has great cinematography and the music was done by Hiroyuki Sawano the same dude responsible for Attack on Titan OST. I still recommend this because this being a music theme drama, how many music theme drama do you know that are actually good.
As for Yamada's role here, he played a music inclined guy that is somewhat lost his passion in it. You may become interested seeing Yamada playing a guitar tho.
Byakuyakou, now we are witnessing a transition, the boy is growing now, he is bold, he is fierce, watch him as he owns this role, and perhaps his best performance ever. About the drama: it is adapted from one of the best selling books by Keigo Higashino, a suspense drama that might question your thinking of what is right or what is wrong. From the same guys that are behind the success of Sekachu, so if like Sekachu then you might like this too, both masterpiece, if Sekachu is Romeo and Juliet then Byakuyakou is Hamlet.
Ok, here is when I knew Yamada was the real thing. He played Ryouji convincingly, a guy who will do anything for his love. Even tho Ryouji is the one who is committing the crime, he still has a bit of conscience in him. One of his most intense performance, his wanting to be clean, his sadness, his self-recrimination, his pain, him being emotionally vulnerable...Yamada was able to show that.
When I thought I have seen all Yamada can give as an actor I was wrong, freaking wrong. I knew he has a great timing in comedy before, but this drama kinda open my eyes on how great he is this genre. The stupidity of this show is unparalleled, in fact while watching I am questioning myself "Am I also stupid that I like the show? LOL", but It works for me I liked this humor a lot that I keep laughing all the time. I am also an JRPG lover, Ive been playing RPG games since the PS1 era, so that helped me liking this show a lot. They said that this is a low budget drama so I guess 80% went to Yamada's pay cut 18% for the other actors and the staffs and the rest went to the props and costume XD. Aside from Yamada of course, for me the stars of this show are the Budda and Merebu. Sato Jiro is a comedic genius I never liked this comedy based on facial expression but for some reason Sato Jiro is an exception. Merebu, the funniest thing about him is his simple dream, which is when he woke up, he checked the time, he saw that he still has more time, so he went back sleeping again - it is a very relatable dream..right?
It is confirmed that the 3rd season is in the works now and scheduled to show this year 2016 XD.
Doing movies has become important in Yamada Takayuki's career as this is where he develops his versatility by doing different roles. He has been doing more movies now than drama, which he prefers. IMO you can judge the skill of an actor by the number of movies he/she has.
Boy meets girl, boy does not have any courage, boy gets courage from his online friends, this is a unique concept that appealed to me, which is in fact based on a true story. I love how they portray those online friends, tho I feel that in real life they won't be as exaggerated, but still I felt their passion in helping trainman YATTA!. I watched both drama and the movie, but I like the movie better, some might say that the drama is better but I beg to disagree this one is created more realistic than the drama. Yamada Takayuki as Densha is more human while the drama version is a manga character that pops out from screen. But nonetheless, Atsushi is still phenomenal if you don't take his character serious.
The little devil who has owned every freaking scene he is in, who am I talking about TAMAO SERIZAWA, the best character played by Yamada, and the quirkiest character he played, even tho he is the villian in the first installment I kept rooting for him. One of those movies that best known abroad, it has huge appeal international because of the plot and the setting. This movie showcases how great Miike in directing action scenes with quirky moments along with it, I think only Miike can do that, and that's why crow zero explode kinda suck, cause he is not involved with that movie. This movie starts the relationship between Yamada, Shun and Miike.
Yamada and Miike again but this time with Koji Yakusho, which IMO is the best Japanese actor living today. The revenge plot of this drama is so obvious that the moment you saw that limbless lady you'll develop this anger inside you, which would make you have no choice but to root for our heroes. In this movie, you'll witness the best nonstop bloodbath scene ever, and the buildup for that moment helps to make that scene epic, against all odds, 13 vs 200. Yamada doesn't disappoint as he wears that devilish look, he is no joke, he is intense, he was able to capture the gist of his character. But honestly, the star of this film was Tsuyoshi Ihara as he says this best quote ever "Ogura kill the men that passed me" btw Ogura is the young Masataka Kubota.
After the somewhat failure of Taiyou no Uta thankfully we got Tegami, this time, Yamada and Erika have a bit of chemistry between them, but that is not the reason why this become successful. This movie follows the disappointments, challenges and obstacles Nao (Yamada) faces because he shares the blood of a murderer. The title Tegami comes from the letters Nao and his brother exchanges for 10 years, Tegami is a movie the tackles the ugly side in our society. It's a must see movie its 10/10 for me and I'm kinda picky. Not Yamada's finest performance but definitely his best movie to this date.
A sign of a great actor is, if he can at least perform even if the movie or the script sucks. These next 2 movies are examples for that.
PLOT Death-row inmate Sudo sends a letter to magazine reporter Fujii. In his letter, he states that a man named Kimura, also known as "teacher," committed numerous murders for insurance money. While checking out the story, based on Sudo's tip, Fuji becomes convinced that the letter is correct. But, a lot of time has passed from the incidents and Sudo's testimony isn't clear. Due to the persistence of Sudo, who is a former yakuza, and Fuji, the police begin to move.
With that gripping story and with the right actors in it namely Yamada, Lily Franky, Pierre Taki, who wouldn't be excited. One of my most anticipated movies and also my biggest disappointment. The problem here is the pacing, it is so freaking slow at first, and it is not just slow but it is also bland, its feels like you are watching a silent black and white movie that has no substance. Not everyone has seen this, and hopefully you guys won't find it, causes IMO this movie sucks such a waste of great plot and great talents. But I might want to see it cause of this one scene which IMO is the most intense scene Yamada plays.
This was Yamada's baddass role yet, not in a cool baddass way, but I mean bad as in evil, and creepy might be a better word to describe him. He has no remorse from what he has done and he is still committing crimes, so I kept rooting for Sakai Masato's character while watching. All the actors were great but just like Devil's Path this one just wastes those talents. A slow film with events that didn't make sense, quirky scenes that didn't save the boring development of the story, but as a Yamada or even a Sakai Masato fan, this movie is worth watching just for that last confrontation under the rain, one hella epic scene performed by two of the best actors in japan today.
Not everyone will like this, but everyone will agree how fantastic an actor Yamada is once they saw this, as he plays 3 very different characters to its core. A child trapped inside a guys body, an obnoxious radio host love adviser, and a business man turned samurai ready to die for his love. This is a weird movie, that colors in each transition were different, and you may find the story all over the place if you don't pay attention. I have said that I love the 45 minute non stop action in 13 Assasins, but I find the slow motion sword fight here cooler. I have shown this film to my friend and I told him that 3 characters were played by 1 actor and he couldn't believe it, so he became a fan.
Yamada has been part of a great movies and also movies that suck, but that only prove him as an actor that always looking for a challenge. Lately, he is only playing supporting roles in movies which I kinda worried cause I want to see him again on movies with him as the main role.
Yamada's versatility on commercial XD
If there is an actor or an actress that is worthy of a Stalker's Guide in your opinion, and you have watched enough dramas of his/hers to prove it, please contact KatelynJaynea about it.