High budget production 80%
Interesting characters 90%
Unique Story 95%
Detective vs Detectives: Rena Sasaki (Keiko Kitagawa) becomes a private detective and risks her life to chase down evil private detectives, because her younger sister was murdered by a stalker
This show is really unique. It spans several years and shows the protagonist (Sasaki Rena) actually growing up and changing over the course of several episodes. She’s plenty smart to start, but the producers decided to keep her interesting, and we continue to learn new things about her. Possibly the most full-fleshed female drama protagonist I’ve ever seen. You should watch this show if you like smart people and deep characters.
Kitagawa was born on August 22, 1986 in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, and has a younger brother. She grew up in Kobe, and lost many friends in the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995. As a child, she wanted to be a doctor, but by the time she reached high school she was uncertain as to whether she could do that, and not sure what to do in the future. At around this time, she was scouted by a talent agency, and she decided to try the entertainment world. Her parents were initially opposed, but they gave their permission, on two conditions: that she give up if she was making no progress within a year, and that she put her studies first and graduate from university. She has kept the second half of the promise, graduating in commercial science from Meiji University in Tokyo in March 2009.
The one year time limit did not prove to be a problem. Within a week or so of joining an agency, she had been selected as both a model and an actress. She was chosen as Miss Seventeen 2003, which led to her working as a model with the Japanese Seventeen until she graduated from the magazine in September 2006. In the latter part of the run, she had her own regular feature, “Keiko’s Beauty Honey”.
As an actress, she was given the role of Rei Hino in the live action television series of Sailor Moon, which began her acting career. Her first significant film role was in Mamiya Kyōdai, and as result of the influence of the director, Yoshimitsu Morita, she decided to concentrate on acting rather than modeling. She initially concentrated on films, including the leading roles in Cherry Pie and Dear Friends. In late 2007, she had her first leading role in a TV drama, in the late-night drama Mop Girl. In 2008, she was given the role of the heroine in Homeroom on the Beachside, Fuji Television’s Monday 9pm drama for the summer season. As this is the headline drama slot for a major network, it represented a major step forward for her career.
She moved to Tokyo when she started working as an actress and model, and has lived there since. She traveled to California for the filming of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and returned there to study English for a couple of months early in 2006. At this time, she started a blog, which she continued until June 2007; the blog was deleted in July 2007. From May to December 2007, she wrote a column entitled Keytan Hakusho for the Japanese weekly television listings magazine Weekly The Television. (“Kii-tan” was her nickname at elementary school. “Hakusho” means “white paper”.) She started a new blog at the end of May 2008, shortly before her role in Homeroom on the Beachside was announced.
She describes herself as a stay-at-home person, and likes watching DVDs, listening to music, and reading books. When asked what she would do if the world was going to end tomorrow, she said “read books”. She also likes swimming, particularly backstroke. She has a pet (male) cat, called Jill.
At present, she is managed by Stardust Promotion.
She has appeared in the films Mizu ni Sumu Hana (2006), Mamiya Kyōdai (2006), The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), Cherry Pie (lead role) (2006), Dear Friends (lead role) (2007), Sono Toki ha Kare ni Yoroshiku (2007), Southbound (2007), Heat Island (2007), Handsome Suit (2008), Orion in Midsummer (2009), I’ll Pay (2009), After the Flowers (lead role) (2010), and Matataki (lead role) (2010), and Elevator to the Scaffold (2010).
She appeared in the TV dramas Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (2003-4), Mop Girl (lead role) (2007), Homeroom on the Beachside (2008), Buzzer Beat (2009), and Moon Lovers (2010).