Keiko Kitagawa to star in a live action adaptation of The Promised Neverland manga

Keiko Kitagawa as Mama Isabella in The Promised Neverland

Keiko Kitagawa, best known to Sailor Moon fans as Sailor Mars from the live action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series, will be in yet another live action adaptation of a popular manga and anime series. She will be in the upcoming The Promised Neverland movie as the character Isabella, also known as Mama. The series is about a group of children in a mysterious orphanage where Isabella is their caregiver. This takes place in the distant future where the orphanage, the only world they know, is part of some nefarious plot. I guess that means they’re not actually going to Neverland. Would it be rude to suggest this is similar to the plot of The Island? I haven’t read or seen the series but it seems like Keiko Kitagawa’s character is potentially a villain in this.

The Promised Neverland - Isabella

The casting for the film has already caused some controversy as the character or Krone will be portrayed by a Japanese actress, Naomi Watanabe, though the character in the manga and anime is black. This is an interesting controversy given the recurring backlash when white actors are cast in Hollywood adaptations of Japanese franchises such as Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell.

The Promised Neverland - Live Action

The movie will be released in Japan on December 18th. There are no details about a North American release at this time. Fans looking to check out the anime can watch the first season on Crunchyroll, FunimationNow, Hulu or Hidive. Are any of you fans of the manga and anime series? Will you be checking out this movie when it’s released?

The Promised Neverland

Source: Sports Hochi via Anime News Network

Could Keiko Kitagawa be returning in Fast & Furious 9?

Keiko Kitagawa in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

The trailer for Fast and Furious 9 was released yesterday and it has been revealed that a number of characters from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift will be returning in this film. This makes me wonder if Keiko Kitagawa, who played Sailor Mars in the live action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series and was also in Tokyo Drift, might be returning to the franchise? The returning actors that we see in the trailer are Sung Kang as Han, who was in many other Fast and the Furious films, Lucas Black who portrayed the main character Sean in the film, and Jason Tobin who was Earl in the film. You can watch the new trailer below.

In the film Earl frequently interacted with Keiko Kitagawa’s character Reiko so it would certainly make sense to have her join him. Since she’s not seen in the trailer however one might be inclined to believe that she won’t be making an appearance in this one. The two are in many scenes with Bow Wow’s character Twinkie. It would be nice to see him returning in the film as well. Can we have too many characters in a Fast and the Furious film? Box office history tells us that the answer is clearly no! Though Bow Wow would be a tougher get than Keiko Kitagawa, this franchise seems to have a near unlimited budget for big stars.

Keiko Kitagawa in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

The return of Han is certainly an interesting twist in the Fast and the Furious franchise. Director Justin Lin, who’s first film in the series was Tokyo Drift, has gone to great lengths to include Han in as many movies as possible. Even though Han is killed during The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, the third film in the franchise, he is in a number of later movies which makes them take place earlier in the series. Tokyo Drift becomes a sort of flash forward for the series or alternatively we flash back to earlier films. This is why we still see flip phones in movies released years after they were obsolete. The events of Tokyo Drift finally occur during the timeline of Furious 7. It seem a movie and a half without Han was long enough so he’s been somehow brought back to life. This wouldn’t be a first for the franchise as Michelle Rodriguez’s character Letty was presumed dead after Fast and Furious but shown to be alive with amnesia in Fast Five. Maybe Gal Gadot can return as Gisele somehow as well? Why not? Would a CGI Brian be disrespectful to Paul Walker?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 10 - Rei gazes at the Moon

It remains to be seen if Keiko Kitagawa will be in the film. She is a Japanese actress and model who’s only Hollywood work is The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Her part in that film was fairly minor, even though it gave us this great deleted scene of her swearing. The Fast and the Furious films are always huge international box office draws thanks in no small part to their diverse cast from around the world as well as filming in many exotic locations. Including a Japanese actress in this film could only help with this trend.

I wonder how Han will feel about the fact that the team is now good buddies with the guy who attempted to kill him, not to mention Brian and his family, in earlier films? We will find out May 20th when the movie hits theatres!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 16 - Sailor Mars

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 and 4 discussion

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Sailor Mars, Mercury and Moon

This is a review and discussion of Live Action Sailor Moon Act 3, The 3rd Senshi is Miko Rei, and Act 4, Sneaking into the Party! These episodes originally aired on TV in Japan October 18th and 25th 2003. Since Act 3 includes a date of October 22nd on a blackboard and Act 4 takes place at a Halloween party, it is safe to conclude that these episodes of the series were intended to take place roughly during the same dates in which they were aired. Assuming this trend was meant to continue we can estimate that roughly a year of time is elapsed over the course of the series.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Sailor Mars

Act 3 introduces us to the Miko, or Priestess, Rei Hino who becomes Sailor Mars. Once again this episode quite closely follows the equivalent manga story for Act 3, which has a plot by the Dark Kingdom around Hikawa Shrine causing the disappearance of girls, where Rei is suspected, and where ultimately she travels to a pocket dimension and transforms into Sailor Mars. Rei is played by the lovely Keiko Kitagawa. Though most of the actresses have had minor acting and modelling careers following the series Keiko Kitagawa has without a doubt had the most success. She is a very accomplished model and has acted in many movies and TV series in Japan.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - A game show at Karaoke Crown HQ

The episode opens with a game show hosted by Luna. A lot of the sense of realism becomes a bit hard to grasp with some of the things which take place at Karaoke Crown. How does Luna, a cat with no opposable thumbs, do any of this? How did she create the forged year long passes that the girls use to freely come and go? How did she set up the headquarters? How does she set up things like gameshow buzzers on a whim? All magic, perhaps? There’s no evidence that she’s able to transform into a human to do this work… yet. Luna quizzes the girls and the answers we get are at best intentionally misleading and at worst, completely false. In an answer to the question of how many more Guardians there are, the correct answer is given to be 2. Let us ignore Sailors Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Saturn as they do not appear in this series, but the answer is still incorrect. There are 4 Sailor Guardians who protect the Princess. Okay let us assume, for argument’s sake, that one of the remaining 3 Sailor Guardians is the Princess, meaning two more to protect her, but there’s still this pesky business of a 6th Sailor Guardian which appears in the later half of the series. Without getting into specifics, this is perhaps something Luna should have some knowledge about! Little things like this, and the general way the show plays out, lead me to believe that even with a relatively short run of the show, a lot of the plot points were not known ahead of time but instead were a bit made up as the show goes on. Minako in the opening, for example, is seen interacting with the others and wearing a school uniform that never appears in the series, but resembles what is seen in the manga and anime.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Umino?

A bit of probably pointless trivia. This guy in Usagi’s class… doesn’t he look a bit like Umino? Perhaps it’s just a guy with glasses.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Ami doesn't want to have lunch with Usagi

In class Usagi invites Ami to eat with her and her friends. She is at first excited but, upon seeing her friends looking at her oddly, declines the invitation stating that it would be too suspicious if all of a sudden they were friends. This seems to be a fabricated excuse on Ami’s part because of a potentially uncomfortable situation with Naru and Usagi’s other friends. Usagi and Ami bonded quickly before it was even known that she was Sailor Mercury, simply because they ran into each other on a bridge. They could have stated that, perhaps leaving out the part about the magical talking stuffed cat which can arrange game shows without thumbs, and it should be good enough!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Usagi's mom is a bit nuts

Meanwhile Ami visits Usagi’s house, and their friendship appears to be developing, but we will eventually see that things aren’t all that easy. We learn in the process that Usagi’s mother is a bit nuts.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Rei Hino

Enter Rei! She first bumps into Usagi on a bridge, leaving behind a bracelet which leads Usagi to try to track her down. With all of the disappearances and rumours about Hikawa Shrine, Usagi gets scared when she hears a couple of crows. These crows aren’t named however they could be Phobos and Deimos, Sailor Mars’s two pet crows.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Usagi and Rei

Some girls show up at the shrine and bully Rei, taking her weird birdhouse looking thing and even pushing her to the ground. Usagi to the rescue! It doesn’t take much for her to befriend someone, and she immediately tries to be kind with Rei, again not knowing that she’s really a Sailor Guardian. It seems like the series constantly assures us that Usagi would get along with these girls if they didn’t have super powers, so that we don’t think they are just together for convenience.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Rei attacks

In a classic Terminator move it looks like Rei is about to attack Usagi and Ami with a charm but it turns out she’s attacking a pack of leaves turned monster behind her. Kyle Reese does this to Sarah Connor in the first film. The Terminator does this to John Connor in the second. Usagi and Rei get whisked away to this pocket dimension type thing where everything has a blue haze to it. The fight goes on as expected with Rei becoming Sailor Mars and using Youma Taisan, which is an attack unique to the live action series similar to her Fire Soul from the anime and manga.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Where did Tuxedo Mask come from?

The fight is won and everyone starts leaving the blue pocket dimension thanks to Sailor Mercury. Sailor Moon gets cut off and … Tuxedo Mask… is in the blue dimension? Where did he come from? Jadeite mentioned 6 girls were kidnapped. Did he kidnap Tuxedo Mask as well? Did he sneak in at some point? It seems plausible that he snuck in through the portal as it was closing, but this isn’t clearly demonstrated.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Rei snubs Usagi and Ami

The episode concludes when Usagi, happy to have her friends together, suggests a karaoke party. Rei says that she hates karaoke and doesn’t intent to join them! Big spooky music, this is clearly the conflict to be dealt with in Act 4…

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 4 - Tuxedo Mask and Usagi the bear

Act 4 on its surface appears to be a story unique to the live action series, but it actually has some similarities to the manga Act 4, Masquerade – Dance Party. This is also somewhat similar to episode 22 of the original anime, Romance Under the Moon: Usagi’s First Kiss. In these there is a gem to be revealed at a masquerade party which invites the attention of the Sailor Guardians, Nephrite and Tuxedo Mask, who all fight to get the crystal. Here the masquerade is instead a Halloween themed disguise birthday party for a girl who is again revealing a gem with all parties interested in getting it.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 4 - Nephrite

This episode introduces us to a great relationship of the series, and that’s Queen Beryl and Jadeite! She point blank says to Jadeite that if he loves her, he should be of some use to her. It seems that Jadeite’s motivation is his love for Queen Beryl. This dedication, as we will see throughout the series, is beyond that of the other Shitennou. With that we are introduced to Nephrite, the second of the Shittennou, who looks nothing like his manga or anime counterparts! He has short red hair and a reddish uniform. While Jadeite looks much like other versions of Jadeite, we will see that this similarity is not there for the rest of our Dark Kingdom villains!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 4 - Skirt pants

Another first of the series we see here is Rei and her skirt pants! Back in 2003 when this show was first airing I had never seen a person wear a skirt and pants at the same time. This was a fashion trend that eventually became somewhat common, but whether this was due to my ignorance of high fashion or not, this was the first time I saw it and I thought it was weird! I’ve since come to accept and appreciate Rei’s shirt pants and pretty much anything she wants to wear to be honest.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 4 - Rei and Ami

The tension with Rei continues. Not only does she not like karaoke but she doesn’t want to attend the party with Ami and Usagi. Ami confronts Rei alone about this and insightfully suggests that perhaps Rei is afraid of friends. This seems right on the mark as Rei says that friends and family eventually abandon a person, and we get some insight into her past that we will be seeing more of as the series goes on. By the end of the episode Rei warms up to Usagi and Ami a little, stating that even though she still hates karaoke, she would be okay with a get together if it didn’t involve karaoke. If only all social problems were this easily resolved!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 4 - Usagi transforms in public

In two cases in this episode Usagi does a terrible job of hiding her super powers. In the first case, while looking for fancy dresses for the party, Usagi uses her magical clothes changing phone in front of a crowded street full of traffic to change her outfit a number of times. In the second case, at the end of the episode, Ami calls out “Tsukino-san” to Sailor Moon in front of Tuxedo Mask. Sailor Moon responds by calling Sailor Mercury “Ami-chan” and Sailor Mars “Rei-chan”. Tuxedo Mask appears to be too dense to notice this, as the eventual revelation of Usagi’s identity much later in the series is a total surprise to him.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 4 - Ami as a cat

Ami shows up at the party wearing a ridiculous cute/sexy cat costume. Luna makes a comment asking how they could have known it was a Halloween party. This is ridiculous for a few reasons. For one, they clearly seem to know as Ami and Usagi both came with costumes. Sure they have those phones which can copy another person’s costume, but there do not appear to be any other sexy cat or ridiculous furry bear costumes present at Yuka’s party. The other reason should be obvious and that’s that it’s Halloween! During Act 3 we see a date of October 22nd on a blackboard. Act 4 aired on October 25th, within a week of Halloween. It stands to reason, based on this and the fact that this is a Halloween party, that it is in the whereabouts of Halloween at this point! Why, then, is a Halloween costume party so out of the question?

Adam dressed as Jadeite

Back in 2002 I was invited to a Halloween party at a friend’s house. This friend had Halloween parties every year and they were always dress up parties. I made my own Jadeite costume for this party and, upon arriving, was informed by all my friends that it wasn’t a costume party! The correct question is not how one could have known it was a costume party, but how anyone in their right mind could expect that one wouldn’t think such a thing was a Halloween costume party! I spent the night ignoring my friends and talking with people at the party who I had never met. They, having no prior contact with me, did not have the social responsibility of explicitly informing me that this was not a costume party and so I was not upset at any of them.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 4 - Sailor Mars, Moon and Mercury

Much like in the manga and anime versions of the episode, the guest of honour of the party, in this case Yuka, is possessed by a monster so that she can steal her own gem. The monster, in this case, is a ridiculous looking cactus. It splits into 3 pieces requiring precise timing of three attacks to defeat him. The trick? The three girls sing Minako’s hit song “C’est la vie” in unison. This was a trick used in the film Hudson Hawk by a bank robber played by Bruce Willis and his partner. They sang a song of a particular length to get the timing of their job just right, and like in Sailor Moon, the trick worked! As Rei sang along with “C’est la vie” all I could think was “Who hates karaoke now, Rei?”. This will not be the last time we hear Rei sing in this series!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 4 - Tuxedo Mask holds Sailor Moon

With the fight completed Usagi leaps to catch the jewel, in doing so nearly falling off the ledge of the building. Tuxedo Mask grabs her and in doing so puts her in a much more favourable position that Sailor Moon and Ami were in Act 2. Tuxedo Mask, in this case, is fully stable on the roof. Although Sailor Moon told Ami not to give up when in a much worse position, she tells Tuxedo Mask it’s no use. Where did that optimism go? They both fall and Sailor Moon creates a magic bubble to float to the ground. In the manga and anime equivalent stories, the two fall off of a balcony and Usagi uses her disguise pen to create an umbrella which allows them to defy physics and float to safety. Since the disguise pen in this series is a cell phone app, things needed to be switched up a bit.

Feel free to leave a comment with your own thoughts on these two episodes. If you’re looking to watch along with the series you can get English subtitled fan subbed versions from sites such as Miss Dream, TV-Nihon and Sea of Serenity. What does everyone think of the new banner?

Keep reading for more screenshots from these episodes.

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Keiko Kitagawa looks like Rei while dressed as a fortune teller in Your Home is My Business

Keiko Kitagawa as a Fortune Teller in Your Home is My Business

Keiko Kitagawa, who played Sailor Mars in the live action Sailor Moon series, looks a bit familiar in an upcoming episode of Your Home is My Business. The show stars Keiko Kitagawa as a real estate agent and here we see her dressed as a fortune teller. To me this looks a lot like Rei did when she was a fortune teller in episode 189 of Sailor Stars. Coincidence? Probably. The show plays Wednesdays on NTV in Japan but I’m sure you can find it on the Internet if you try.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 189 - Rei the fortune teller

Why am I sharing this? There’s not much to post about with no Sailor Moon episodes playing every week! If you’re a fan of Keiko Kitagawa you should check out some of her drama series. A couple of them, Detective vs. Detectives and Hero are available to view on Crunchyroll.

Keiko Kitagawa in Your Home is My Business

Image source: keikokitagawa0822 on Instagram

Keiko Kitagawa, Sailor Mars from the live action series, is getting married

Keiko Kitagawa as Sailor Mars

Keiko Kitagawa, best known to fans of the live action Sailor Moon series as Sailor Mars, is getting married. This was reported Thursday by the Japanese newspaper Sports Hochi. She is engaged to DAIGO, a singer from the band BREAKERZ who has performed theme songs for anime series such as Detective Conan. The wedding is set to take place in January.

Keiko Kitagawa and Daigo

Keiko Kitagawa has had a great career since appearing in the live action Sailor Moon series in 2003 and 2004. She has done a lot of modeling work and has appeared in a number of Japanese drama series and movies, including the live action adaptation of Paradise Kiss. North American fans may have seen her in Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift. The scene below shows her swearing in a deleted scene from the film.

Fans may be asking themselves, as I have, why this guy and not me? Surely I was expecting that despite considerable differences in geography, culture, spoken language, income, social status, age and attractiveness that the two of us were perfectly suited for each other, but alas this does not seem to be the case.

Keiko Kitagawa and a baby goat, see?

There is currently no news about whether or not her cat Jill will be involved in the ceremony.

Keiko Kitagawa's cat Jill

Source: Anime News Network

Sailor Mars wearing a surgical mask

Keiko Kitagawa wearing a mask

Keiko Kitagawa, the actress who played Sailor Mars in the live action Sailor Moon series, is seen above wearing a surgical mask at an airport. This photo was posted to her official web site today as she is going overseas. Below is a picture of Sailor Mars wearing a surgical mask in episode 19 of the Sailor Moon Anime. This kind of thing is commonly seen in Japan amongst people who are sick, as Sailor Mars was in episode 19 of the anime, or simply trying to avoid getting sick. I am posting these for no real reason but I thought it was funny to see a picture of Keiko Kitagawa doing something so similar to her anime counterpart.

Sailor Moon episode 19 - Sailor Mars wearing a mask

Source: Keiko Kitagawa’s official web site and The Reality Check Podcast

The cast of the live action Sailor Moon show got together for Keiko Kitagawa’s birthday

Rika Izumi, Mew Azama, Keiko Kitagawa, Miyuu Sawai and Ayaka Komatsu

Here’s a great look at what the cast of the live action Sailor Moon series look like now, 10 years later. The whole recently got together to celebrate the 28th birthday of Keiko Kitagawa, Sailor Mars in the series. From left to right are Rika Izumi, Sailor Merucry, Mew Azama, Sailor Jupiter, Keiko Kitagawa, Sailor Mars, Miyuu Sawai, Sailor Moon and Ayaka Komatsu, Sailor Venus. The photo was posted to Keiko Kitagawa’s official blog and Facebook page.

It’s great to see that these girls are still getting together nearly 10 years after the last episode aired. Just a short while ago they also got together to celebrate Ayaka Komatsu’s birthday.

The Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series premiered 10 years ago today

Miyuu Sawai as Sailor Moon and Jouji Shibue as Tuxedo Mask from the live action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series

October 4th 2003, 10 years ago, the first episode of the live action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon TV series premiered in Japan. The show didn’t achieve much success with a North American audience but many fans did have a fondness for it. With a total of 49 episodes the series ran for about a year and also had two direct to video specials and a live stage show, along with a lot of merchandise.

Keiko Kitagawa as Sailor Mars

The story of this series was a retelling of the Dark Kingdom storyline from the manga and anime. While at the beginning there were many similarities, the series quickly defied expectations and did it’s own thing going so far as to introduce new variations of classic characters like Sailor Luna, Dark Mercury, Mio Kuroki and Princess Sailor Moon. The effects were a bit cheap and Luna was a plush most of the time but the show still had a certain quality to it that made it very much Sailor Moon.

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