WOOOOOO!! A freakin’ year~~~~
Today a year ago, I was introduced to Yu Aoi’s work on Shunji Iwai’s All About Lily Chou Chou, and the Shunji Iwai-related Rainbow Song. Little did I know that the characters that interested me the most in the films were played by the same actress. Nine days later, I watched Hula Girls, and a month later I was completely hooked with Yu Aoi, and yet another Shunji Iwai film… Hana & Alice.
I’ve come a long way since those days… especially my not-a-Japanese skills of reading and trying to understand. Over 20 films seen, 2 dramas… various photobooks later. I was introduced to Yu Aoi’s work in 2008, the year that her career seemed to take another bust~~~ After sweeping awards for her role as Kimiko on the Japanese Academy Award winner Hula Girls (which was also sent off to Oscar that season), Yu released Tokyo! – the Michel Gondry, Leo Carax, and Bong Joon-Ho short film collection, as well as One Million Yen Girl. She also had two starring-dramas that year with Camouflage on WOWOW, and Osen on NTV. Moreover, Yu was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Asian Film Awards for her work in Don’t Laugh at my Romance, and was named Rookie of the Year in the field of films by The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.
She’s also got three (possibly) films slated to release this year… well, actually. One’s already out, one is about to be released and the other is in post. The first one is Honokaa Boy shot in Hawaii, in which Yu takes another small role… then there’s Ikechan & Me, about to be released in June where Yu does the voice for Ikechan, and Younger Brother (Otouto) set to be released by the end of the year or perhaps next year.
It is perhaps a little bit sad that we don’t get so see Yu in more leading roles, but it’s amazing what a perk it is to be a supporting character in films ;)
So this post is for the first year of fandom!
In order to support Yu and her work, try to buy her films, go to the theaters if possibles, or in the end make up for it buying a photobook or a calendar.
If you’re just entering into her work, and are much more interested in Yu’s work as an actress and not as an idol, check out her following Top10 films:
All About Lily Chou-Chou [US]
Hana & Alice [US] | Hana & Alice [JP]
Letters from Nirai Kanai [JP]
Honey & Clover [US]
Hula Girls [US] | Hula Girls [JP]
Tekkon Kinkreet [US DVD] | Tekkon Kinkreet [Blu-ray] | Tekkon [Single-disc JP] | Tekkon [Special JP]
Rainbow Song [JP]
Welcome to the Quiet Room [JP]
Don’t Laugh at my Romance [JP]
One Million Yen Girl [JP]