To continue the feature section which I did previously for Ueno Juri and Eita, I decided to dedicate another one for an actress who recently grabbed my attention. She is Fumino Kimura (age 27). I’m not very familiar with her past work but believe it or not, she’s been in the industry for 10 years. In those 10 years, she’s been playing supporting and minor roles in dramas and movies alike.
Then, Mother Game came along where she landed her first lead role. For those who recently visited this blog, you should know I reviewed the drama and it was one of my favourite dramas of the season. In many ways, I see Mother Game as a life changing moment for Fumino, especially towards her career. Although the ratings for the show is not as high as say, the likes of Dr Rintaro, I’m Home or Tennou no Ryouriban, I’d say it did quite fine with an average 8.74% rating. It’s even higher than Algernon (Yamapi), which is surprising because I expected more support from his fans, considering Mother Game is filled with mostly female cast with a specific genre and aimed at families. That being said, the reception seemed to be quite good in Japan (at least from Twitter reactions).
Of course, initially, I couldn’t say for sure whether her acting range is good or not because it would be unfair to judge her based on Mother Game alone (although on hindsight, she showed various emotions in MG that I was pretty impressed). So I began searching for her previous work. I summarized some of her more notable work below, those that I manage to attain. Some of the older ones are hard to find now.
If I were to name her best work so far, I’d recommend Mother Game, without any hesitation. She proved she could carry the lead role with ease and keep you entertained. She displayed a rather wide range of versatility in MG, thanks to how well her character was written and because of that, her ability could be put to test. From comedy to heartfelt moments to outbursts of frustration, she basically nailed most of them so effortlessly it would put her other overrated peers to shame in a second.
I’m mostly fascinated by how fluently she absorbed the character of Kiko Kamahara so well that it makes her look so natural. There wasn’t a moment of doubt or where she faltered during her role. Everything from her facial expression and body language was convincing that you can empathize with her.
Earlier this year before Mother Game, there was Zeni no Sensou (Kusanagi Tsuyoshi, Oshima Yuko). I briefly went through the show and to be honest, it’s not my type of drama. Kusanagi’s acting has its ups and downs too. As for Fumino, she played the rich ex-fiance of Kusanagi’s character so if I compare her in Zeni no Sensou and Mother Game, I guess I can say she did manage to deliver good transitions between the two characters. Regretfully, she didn’t have much to do in Zeni no Sensou because the focus was on Kusanagi and Oshima Yuko, so her screentime was rather limited.
Besides that, check out Suteki na Sen Taxi (episode 3) where she was a featured guest. It was quite a funny episode and her chemistry with Yutaka Takenouchi was particularly engaging. Her character was involved in an illicit affair with her boss and she was trying to coerce him to divorce his wife. However, the events didn’t go as planned and she ended up in Yutaka’s taxi which can bring passengers back in time. It’s an episode worth watching so give it a go.
It turned out that this wasn’t the first time she worked together with Yutaka. In the same year 2014, she also acted in a movie, The Tale of Nishino with him in a more intimate relationship. Although her character was a minor one and only appeared right about the end of the movie, I’d say her character was one of the highlights, given how short she came on screen but left quite a memorable impression. In fact, she’s one of my favourite characters among all of Yutaka’s partners in the movie (Yutaka plays the role of Nishino who is charming and has women infatuated with him).
She starred in a movie called It All Began When I Met You (2013) that portrayed several characters and their respective plot. She was partnered with Masahiro Higashide in a long-distance relationship. I think they were quite sweet in there as a couple.
She also appeared in a movie with Yamapi, Naze Shoujo wa Kioku o Ushinawanakereba Naranakatta no ka. Such a long title sigh. Anyways, I endured an hour 30 mins of Yamapi in this movie out of curiosity. At least Yamapi was bearable. Fumino didn’t appear much but the movie itself is quite nice, mainly due to the child’s touching plot. I wouldn’t really recommend this though, unless you’re a fan of Yamapi.
She has quite a number of dramas in her catalogue like Ashita Mama ga Inai (2014), Kumo no Kaidan (2013), ATARU (2012) and more. Unfortunately they’re not something I would write home about. The ones I mentioned above are clearly more memorable and if you’re curious, you should definitely check them out at least. Mother Game is obviously, a must.
As mentioned earlier, I see Mother Game as a defining moment in her career. I have no doubt it would put her in the spotlight among other lead actresses in the future. According to the news, it seemed her popularity has begun to really take off this year. In that case, I fully support more lead role casting for her. I don’t think she’s a one trick pony judging from her performance in MG.
What kind of dramas would I want to see her in the future?
She proved she can handle comedy in MG, quite naturally too. So I think comedy would be great for her in the future. However, more than anything else, I’d love for her to challenge darker roles for example disturbed and tortured soul? Troubled characters are often tougher to play and would be advantageous to really determine her range and versatility. Hopefully, she would get those kinds of roles down the road.
What’s next for her?
She is slated to appear as lead in WOWOW drama, Ishi no Mayu (Stone’s Cocoon) in August. It’s a police drama with 5 episodes based on a novel. I think this is the first detective role for her so I’m looking forward to see how she fares here. Of course, it depends on the screenplay as well. Thankfully, WOWOW dramas never really disappoint and they often tackle darker plots. Will it be intense? Will she deliver? We’ll have to see in August. She’ll also appear in movies like Piece of Cake, Have a Song on Your Lips and Initiation Love. But those are just supporting roles and maybe a more noticeable one in Initiation Love (Shota Matsuda, Maeda Atsuko).